New Zealand's variety, uniqueness, and breath-taking natural beauty make it the perfect destination for a self drive tour. Our suggested route is designed to allow you to experience as much as possible, journeying down from the more densely-populated, urban North Island to its largely rural southern counterpart. From the unique Art Deco style of Napier to the strong Maori culture of Wellington, each city or town has its own distinct look and atmosphere. New Zealand especially stands out when considered in light of its natural attractions, from rainforests to glaciers, waterfalls to hot springs - there's no shortage of incredible sights to enjoy.
Similarly exciting is New Zealand's range of activities; water sports enthusiasts will find their trip just as thrilling as fans of rugby, hiking, and bungee jumping. Wine connoisseurs and party animals alike will love the country's abundance of wineries and clubbing hotspots. The possibilities truly are limitless; explore your passions and discover new ones too!
Exploring New Zealand could not be easier or more convenient as you’ll pick up your Apollo Motorhome upon arrival then have the freedom to explore New Zealand however you would like.
|1-2||UK to Auckland|
|3||Auckland - Coromandel|
|4||Coromandel - Bay of Plenty|
|5||Bay of Plenty - Rotorua|
|6||Rotorua - Lake Taupo|
|7||Lake Taupo - Napier|
|8||Napier - Wellington|
|9||Wellington - Kaikoura|
|10||Kaikoura - Christchurch|
|11||Christchurch - Hokitika|
|12||Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier|
|13||Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier|
|14||Fox Glacier - Wanaka|
|15||Wanaka - Queenstown|
|18||Queenstown - Te Anau|
|20||Te Anau - Dunedin|
|21||Dunedin - Omarama|
|22||Omarama - Christchurch|
Arrive at Auckland and enjoy a one night stay at the Heartland Hotel Auckland Airport.
Auckland is New Zealand's largest town, as well as one of its most vibrant. Located towards the north of the North Island, the city contains many points of interest including a major shopping district, nearby beaches and surfing spots, and a major central park area. Particular attractions include Eden Park - home of the All Blacks national rugby team - and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. We recommend staying at Manaku Holiday Park.
A two-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland is Coromandel Forest Park, a stunning nature reserve largely covered by rain forest. It provides ample opportunity for hiking and adventure, while those interested in scuba diving and hot springs should head for the area's nearby coastline.
Next stop is the Bay of Plenty, a beautiful coastal area two hours to the south-east. The region features several settlements, including the serene Tauranga harbour and Mount Maunganui - the latter home to a dormant volcano perfect for exploration.
At this point, Lord of the Rings fans will definitely enjoy a detour to the set of Hobbiton, approximately a 45 minute drive away. Daily tours are available, ensuring that you make the most out of such an incredibly unique experience. The city of Rotorua is situated one hour further and features several prime examples of geothermal activity, including hot mud pools and geysers. The most famous of these is the Pohutu Geyser, which can reach heights of up to 30 metres! The Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park is an ideal place to park up for the night.
An hour further inland lies Lake Taupo, home to Huka Falls. This spectacular set of waterfalls is one of New Zealand's most visited and renowned natural attractions, while the area also boasts several hot springs and the volcanic Mount Tauhara. Although no longer truly active - instead slowly oozing an especially viscous lava - the mountain is well worth a visit for more adventurous visitors, with hikes through the dense bush proving both challenging and rewarding. Lake Taupo also has a Top 10 Holiday Park we can highly recommend.
The city of Napier, located within Hawke's Bay on the east coast, is one with a particularly unique historic and aesthetic value. Much of the buildings are decorated in a 1930s Art Deco style, owing largely to the rebuilding process after an earthquake in 1931. Another much-loved tourist attraction is a statue of Pania on the Reef, a significant figure of Maori mythology and a symbol associated with the city generally. Napier is also the key location for New Zealand's renowned wine industry, making it an essential destination for connoisseurs and informal fans alike. A stay at Kennedy Park Resort is very much recommended.
Wellington is rather far - a four hour drive or so - but proves itself well worth the trip. New Zealand's capital city, it is a destination rich in Maori culture and scenic beauty. Located on the southern tip of the North Island, it is home to a stunning harbour (best viewed from a cable car in the central suburb of Kelburn) and a wealth of museums and art galleries. Sir Peter Jackson's film studios lie in the eastern suburbs - a must see for fans of his, or of film in general. Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park is the place to stay for a conveniently central location.
A leisurely ferry trip of approximately three-and-a-half hours leads to the more rural South Island of New Zealand. Kaikoura lies a further two hours' drive away, a coastal town with excellent whale-watching and dolphin-swimming opportunities. The sights of Kaikoura are truly astounding, its surrounding mountains full of hiking routes and stunning landscapes, while bird-watchers will enjoy the several species of albatross native to the area. Staying at Kaikoura Top 10 Holiday Park is recommended.
Christchurch, the South Island's largest city, is vibrant and open, with many public parks, sports grounds, and outdoor music venues. Situated two-and-a-half hours away from Kaikoura, the city's focal point is its river, along the banks of which lie many bars and restaurants. All Seasons Kiwi Holiday Park Christchurch is our recommended overnight destination.
A three hour cross-country drive will take you to Hokitika, a historic township founded on a 19th century West Coast gold rush. The surrounding area features a beach, wilderness trails for hikers and cyclists, and the beautiful Hokitika Gorge. 252 Beachside Hotels and Holiday Park is a good option for an overnight stay.
Less than a two hours' drive lies Franz Josef, one of the world's most accessible glaciers. Those wishing to get a closer view can book guided hikes up the glacier itself, where they will be able to see the icefalls and tunnels at incredible proximity - although a helicopter ride is necessary to reach a safe starting point.
The Fox Glacier lies just half an hour away, and shares many of the unique features which make Franz Josef so accessible. Guided hikes are also available here, although no helicopter is necessary in this instance. Both Franz Josef and the Fox Glacier have nearby Top 10 Holiday Parks which we recommend.
A three hour drive leads to Wanaka and its eponymous lake, perhaps one of the most tranquil destinations in New Zealand. From sampling the produce of the local wineries to hikes through the surrounding mountains, as well as a growing nightlife and restaurant scene, Wanaka is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the lake's calming beauty. Parking overnight at the Glendhu Bay Motorpark is recommended.
The lakeside resort of Queenstown is one of the most diverse places in the country - well worth a three night stay to make the most of its various attractions. The surrounding mountains were used to film much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, ensuring their status as a must-see destination for fans of the films. Their appeal as stunning natural features in their own right is also unquestionable, especially during the winter ski season. Specialist rock-climbing instructors and mountain guides can be hired.
Thrill-seekers will feel right at home thanks to Queenstown's range of adrenaline-pumping activities. Bungee jumping, sky-diving, and white water rafting are all available to make your visit an unforgettable one. Those in search of a more peaceful stay will not be left wanting, as the town also provides ample opportunity for golf, hiking, and laid-back lake cruises. Water sports are also of prime importance to Queenstown, residing as it does on the edge of the expansive Lake Wakatipu.
No trip to Queenstown would be complete without a ride on the Skyline Gondola, the steepest cable-car lift in the entire Southern Hemisphere. Stunning scenery await as the Gondola carries you 450 metres above Queenstown to the top of Bob's Peak, a little hotspot of its own with a range of attractions and activities - as well as arguably the best views in all of New Zealand. During your time in the town, we recommend staying at the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park.
A two hour drive will take you to Te Anau, the town acting as a gateway to New Zealand's majestic Fiordlands. The area boasts natural beauties in abundance; cross the lake to enjoy a guided tour of the Te Anau Caves, or enjoy a spectacular hike around the Fiordlands National Park - the largest wilderness area in the entire country. Lake Te Anau itself is a popular destination for boat rides and kayaking.
It is well worth taking a trip out of town to visit one of the fiords themselves, the most famous of which include the Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. These features offer some of New Zealand's most breath-taking landscapes, no mean feat considering the sheer range of natural beauty the country has to offer. Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park is the recommended place to stay.
Travelling three-and-a-half hours across the country leads to the east coast and Otago Harbour, home of Dunedin. Regarded as New Zealand's archetypal university city, it features a varied and vibrant nightlife scene. Daytime pursuits include surfing at the popular St. Clair beach, as well as wildlife-spotting thanks to Dunedin's mainland royal albatross colony - while penguins and seals also live in the surrounding area. We suggest staying at Dunedin Holiday Park overnight.
Omarama is a small township some two hours and 45 minutes north of Dunedin, and the perfect spot for stargazing due to its exceptionally clear skies. Aspiring astronomers would be wise to visit Benmore Peak, an observatory located 13 kilometres out of town. Other popular activities include fishing, skiing, and hang gliding - due mainly to the scenic rivers, lakes, and mountains surrounding the town. Omarama Top 10 National Park provides a good place to stay.
The final leg of the tour is a journey back to the north of the South Island, spending one more night in Christchurch before departure the following day. The city's open, bustling nature and abundance of restaurants and bars makes it the perfect place to unwind and celebrate your last night in New Zealand.
The only thing left to do is drop off your motorhome, before departing with a wide array of exciting, unforgettable memories. Rarely does a country boast such natural beauty and city-based vibrancy in such equal measure, but New Zealand unquestionably has both in spades.