Road trip: Auckland to Christchurch Road Trip Itinerary
Discovering New Zealand via road trip could be one of the best experiences you will have to date. New Zealand’s culture, nature and people add to your experience and can give you a whole new look to travel. Only located a 5-minute drive from Auckland airport, Travellers Autobarn has got you covered for your road trippin’ needs. We have made it easy for you and taken some of the highlights of your Auckland to Christchurch road trip itinerary and put them together so all you need to do is collect your campervan and get driving!
Waiheke Island is located off Auckland’s coast, where you can grab a ferry to and from the island which your campervan can travel on. The white sandy beaches at Oneroa, Palm Beach and Onetangi slope gently down into the Hauraki Gulf and are perfect for swimming, kayaking or having a picnic. As far as things to do on the island, there are many adventurous activities ranging from ziplines to diving, snorkelling and hiking! Food and wine tasting is one of the most popular things to do when visiting Waiheke.
Day 2-3Waiheki Island to Waitomo Caves
Once you’ve explored your way around Waiheki Island, you will need to catch the ferry back to Auckland where you will then head south to Waitomo Caves. Traveling through farmland and drive through towns for just under 3 hours will take you to the infamous caves. If you’ve never seen glow-worms before, Waitomo is the ideal location for you as you can gaze up at the multitude of glow-worms as they light up the ceiling, like stars in the night sky. If you like an adventure, you can also abseil into the depths of the Lost World cave.
Day 4-6Waitomo Caves to Rotorua
After you’ve seen the glow worms, its time to head across the country to Rotorua. Here, you will be able to firsthand experience the many geothermal wonders including multiple geysers, thermal wonderlands, volcanic valley and Hells Gate. Prepare yourself as the geysers can work up quite a smell, especially after its been raining! For the more adventurous travellers, Rotorua also offers a lot of adrenaline rich activities such as the slingshot, skyline luge, bungy jumping or zip-lining through the forest canopy. A must stop before you leave is into Epiphany café where you can grab a Franut before you leave – if you haven’t heard of this, google it! Think cool drink meets donut in various flavours, talk about mouth-watering!
Day 7-10Rotorua to Lake Taupo
Another short journey south and you will be in Taupo. Well known for its great lake, Taupo is the place everyone flocks to during the summer months to enjoy the sun and water sports. Stop in to Huka Falls on your way through, where thunderous falls squeeze through a ravine of hard volcanic rock. The mind-blowing baby blue colour of the falls will take your breath away as you view them from the foot bridge above. 5 minutes up the road you can stop in and collect natural honey or visit the maze world. Once you’re in Taupo, on a clear day you are able to see across the lake to the mountains on the other side.
Day 11-14Lake Taupo to Tongariro National Park
Now its time to visit the mountains on the other side of Lake Taupo! Next up we’re heading down to Tongariro National Park. This World Heritage park is over 80,000-hectare with a spectacular showcase of volcanic wonders, emerald lakes, craters and alpine gardens. If you are traveling during the summer months, we recommend doing the Tongariro Alpine crossing which will take you up and through the mountains showing you stunning 360-degree views. This is not a walk in the park however, proper walking/hiking gear must be taken! Head over to the Chateau Tongariro for lunch followed by a short drive up the hill to the base car park of the mountain. Take the sky waka up the mountain, which is the newest gondola. On clear days, you will be able to look over to Mount Taranaki, the mountain to the far West of New Zealand! If you haven’t quite had enough exploring, we recommend taking a short drive over to Ohakune, which is the other side of Mountain Ruapehu. There are numerous hikes and bike rides including the Old Coach road trail where you walk over the via duct. We highly recommend stopping into the Blind Finch for epic burgers and fries or keep it simple and grab some cheesy chips from Captain Kunes!
Day 15-16Tongariro National Park to Wellington
Travelling again South for just under 4 hours will take to you Wellington, the city at the bottom of the North Island of New Zealand. Unless you are in a hurry, why not stop in at a few of the smaller towns along the way? Road tripping is all about the journey rather than the destination after all! Stop in Taihape, New Zealand’s gumboot capital where you can grab a photo. Head through Foxton and check out how different the beaches on the west coast are when compared to the east. We strongly recommend just before you head into Wellington to put into google maps Red Rocks – Pariwhero. This will take you to a spot where you can see the seals as they are laying around on the rocks and playing in the water. The best part is there is no fee! Hundreds of seals come onto the rocks to play and lounge around, you mustn’t get too close to them and ensure you respect the area by not leaving any rubbish behind.
Day 17-18Wellington to Picton
You may want to spend a few days in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. Famous for a vibrant, creative culture fuelled by great food, wine, craft beer and of course the coffee! You will need to catch the ferry from the north island to the South Island. Head on either the Interisland or Bluebridge and make your way further South. Watch as the scenery changes when you travel through Marlbourough Sound, its like something out of a movie. The ferry will drop you off in Picton, the little scenic town at the top of the South Island. Why not spend a day or two in Picton, build around a sheltered harbour you can head onto the water kayaking or simply grab some food from one of the many seafront cafes!
Day 19Picton to Nelson
Now its time to head across country to Nelson, a coastal town that thrives with its creative community. There are numerous galleries and handcraft shops, the town centre is filled with life and a good place to relax. There is a cathedral from 1858 close to the town which represents the towns rich history. If you visit on a Sunday, you can go to the artisan market filled with food stalls. Make sure to stop into Tahuna beach on your way through! It’s a hidden gem and a particularly beautiful spot.
Day 20Nelson to Hanmer Springs
Continuing further South we are heading to our next stop which is Hanmer Springs. This thermal wonderland can be just what you need on a cold day, or the icing on the cake as your road trip is coming to an end! Relax in one of the 15 open air pools or try out on of the 3 aquatherapy pools. As you sit in the pools you are able to gaze out to the amazing landscape surrounding, massive mountains will make you feel extra warm while kicking back in the pool. If you’re in need of a cool drink after the pools, across the road you will find the Monteith’s Brewery, a classic New Zealand beer!
Hanmer Springs to Christchurchay 21Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
Your road trip is coming to an end as you make your way to your final stop in Christchurch, New Zealand’s garden city. Visit the botanical gardens or take a relaxing trip down the Avon Rover on a punt boat. You can ride on the historic tramway to see the various shopping and eatery precincts. Expect to see street art and innovative projects, bustling hospitality scene and established green spaces. It is a basecamp for exploring the South Island, everything is within a close reach including the Southern Alps and glaciers.
If you’re not in a hurry to return home, spend a few days exploring Christchurch and its surrounds, head over to the Glaciers to get a once in a lifetime experience at some of the world oldest and most treasured things. Once you feel satisfied with your exploration, Travellers Autobarn Auckland is located only a few minutes’ drive from the airport, drop off your campervan and begin your journey home!
For other amazing road trip ideas on the New Zealand North Island please visit our North Island Road Trip section…
We are using Cookies to allow for the best possible service & marketing activities.
By using our website you agree to the usage of cookies.