Our road trip through the south island was never in our travel plan, we came here as we heard so much about it and we were so close while visiting Australia. We chose the south island as it’s the one with the most adventure.

New Zealand Road Trip




This is entirely dependent on what you want and your comfort levels. There are vehicles from cars, to converted people carriers in to camper vans, to motor homes. They all suit someone.

Here are a few car rental companies who you can hire in one place and drop of at another location.


Minivan and motorhomes:


*** If you look at the sites individually and you are not strapped for time, then look out for their relocation deals. They range in offers but for example they ask you to drive a camper from Wellington to Christchurch for $1 per day. Read all the details. ***

A few tips for driving:

  • New Zealand laws are very strict

  • No driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Keep within the speed limits, instant fines and radar detectors

  • Know your route

  • Keep an eye on you fuel, distances are big and often nothing for a while

  • Keep water and food in the car for emergencies

  • Take regular breaks, he roads are sometime long and a while before you see anything again

  • Satnav – make sure you have a good satnav with you. We used Sygic. (the people who make tom-tom) the app is available in the app and play store and worked offline just using your GPS signal




Depending on what you get for transport will depend on your accommodation.

If you choose car then you will most likely be staying in motels, Airbnb, campsites with cabins. These will al range in price depending on what you want. We found that booking.com, Airbnb, were the best for us as we were travelling with a 2 year old.

A few tips for accommodation:

  • Try to find places with a kitchenette, or even just the basic microwave and toaster. It will save you a lot of money

  • When with kids, try get one with a swimming pool, it’s nice to let them play and doesn’t cost much more

  • Check the details for parking, some places may charge for parking

  • If in a campervan, bear in mind that you can’t just turn up, you may have to book.

  • Camp sites fees can vary depending if you chose power on not

  • Be flexible with location, as you do have a vehicle.

  • Don’t book too many nights, book 1 or 2 then extend if you need to.



Travelling for such a long time through New Zealand will be expensive if you eat out every day, with an average meal costing around $30-40 for 2 people. So the best thing to do is go shopping in fresh choice and cook your food yourself. Make sure you have the facility to sore it as well. I.e. Tupperware containers for the next days left overs.

Buy what you are going to eat, otherwise you will end up wasting it or carting it around.

A few things we picked up were:

  • Buy a cooler bag and ice pack from fresh choice, this is a life saver when moving from one place to another and you have milk and meat still in the fridge.

  • Keep a set of plastic plates and cutlery with you, some places don’t have anything to eat off so it will come in hands

  • Always keep water in the car/van. you may need It if you end up stuck somewhere






We arrived here from Cairns, Australia. We picked up a car from apex rentals on the out road of the airport for 2 weeks.

We decided to stay in Christchurch for 2 days to see the sights and rest up before hitting the road to see the rest of the island.

Things to do in Christchurch:

  • Mount peasant

  • Christchurch gondola

  • Corsair bay

  • governors bay

  • Sign of the kiwi

  • Cathedral

  • Re-start mall


Christchurch to Greymouth (3.5 hour drive – 250km)

We decided to check in to a farm stay in grey moth as we wanted to see pancake rocks and the blowholes.


Things to see along the way:

  • Castle hill

  • Lake Pearson

  • Arthurs pass

  • Death valley look out and viaduct

  • Pancake rocks and blowholes

  • Paparoa national park


Greymouth to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers (2.5 hour drive, 170km)

The next stop on our rout was to see the fox and Franz Josef glaciers. You can follow the hiking trails to the glaciers to get a good view of them. Or you can go even further via helicopter.

Things to see on the way:

  • hokikia – beaches, jade factories and kiwi feeding

  • kokitia  - blues pool (a really blue lagoon)

Things to do at fox and Franz Josef glaciers

  • Franz josef glacier trek – 1.5 hours

  • Fox glacier – 1 hour trek

  • lake Matheson – mirror lake - 

  • glacier hot pools (Franz Josef)

  • helicopter tours


Franz Josef to Wanaka (3.5 hour drive, 280km)

We stayed here for 2 nights, we managed to find a nice place next to the super market just behind the main road and we had a fully fitted kitchen so we had a feast.

Wanaka is beautifully located on the edge of Lake Wanaka. There a lot of walking trails you can take along the river or follow one of the photo spotting trails


  • passed through Bruce bay – nice beaches

  • passed through haast – and haast river – mineral rich blue waters

  • treks

  • lake Wanaka walks

  • tree – this is famous picture site where there is a sole tree emerging from the lake

  • jetty – duck feeding


Wanaka to Queenstown (2 hour drive, 70km)

Queenstown is known as the adventure capita, so we decided we wanted to check tis out. We were not disappointed.

Things to do here:

  • skyline gondola

  • evening dinner at the top of the skyline

  • luge at the top of the mountain

  • Hakka show

  • Shotover jet

  • AJ Hackett bungee jump

  • Nevis swing

  • Fergburger – best burgers we’ve ever eaten.

  • Party on one of the bars


Queenstown to Milford Sound (3.5 hour drive, 280km)

We booked our tour at the information centre in Queenstown with a company called Mitre Tours. They offer transfers but seeing as we had the car we would leave Milford sound until last then head out of Queenstown and move forward on our journey. Mitre Tours offers a smaller boat in comparison to the other tours, but we were told its better as there are less people and it gets closer to the water falls, which they were right about.

You can see:

  • Waterfalls – boat literally goes into the waterfalls

  • Sea lions

  • Dolphins

  • Penguins

  • Go kayaking

  • Rainforests


After Milford sound we drove back the way we came to The Ana (1.5 hours from Milford Sound) to rest up after a long day.

Te Anau is a relatively large town with plenty of shops and restaurants and supermarket.


Te Anau to Dunedin (3.5 hour drive, 290km)

We wanted to check out another city in new Zealand that wasn’t as popular as the other so went to Dunedin, which was surprisingly fun to be in it’s a big university town. There are lots of bars and restaurants, the shopping street is huge. And is home to the steepest street in the word.

Things to do in Dunedin

  • Drove to Otega Peninsula

    •  albatross centre 

    • watch sea lions sunbath

  • Lyndham Castle

  • Baldwin Street – steepest street in the world


Dunedin to Christchurch (4.5 hour drive, 360km)

Finally we drove back to Christchurch where we stayed for a night before catching our fight to Bali.

New Zealand Road Trip

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Hi Guys, here is a little it about us and how we ended up on this journey


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