New Zealand Highway Journey Itinerary: Information for 1st-Time Guests

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Numerous you’ll have recognized by now how I adore New Zealand — and that’s not simply because it’s the set for ‘Center-earth’. (New Zealand Highway Journey Itinerary)

Regrettably, my first journey to this nation felt extremely brief; in spite of everything, I barely scratched the floor of the wonders held inside the North Island, and I didn’t even handle to drop by the South Island. So when Wild Kiwi invited me to go on a 21-day tour to each of the islands, you guess that I stated ‘sure‘ in a heartbeat.

Trying again, it has certainly turned out to be one of the epic highway journeys that I’ve ever completed in my life. With that, I hope that the remainder of this submit will present you why a tour with Wild Kiwi can be price your whereas, if not provide you with concepts to your personal New Zealand journey!

Discover out extra about Wild Kiwi and why I’ve chosen to go together with them (regardless of the variety of different New Zealand tour corporations who’ve prolonged their invites to me) by studying the submit under…
: My Large Journey to New Zealand with Wild Kiwi

New Zealand Journey Information

» Fast Journey Planning

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IMPORTANT: New Zealand has STRICT quarantine legal guidelines for undeclared meals and different biohazards. Because of this you shouldn’t usher in any form of contemporary meals similar to bananas, apples, honey, and so on. as you just be sure you get rid of them earlier than going by way of the luggage declare space. Processed or packaged meals could be accepted however you might be imagined to declare them in your arrival card. In the event you’re ever doubtful, ask for clarification — in any other case, you’ll be charged with a hefty high-quality.

In the event you’ve bought out of doors tools like diving gear, mountain climbing boots, and so on. it’s essential to clear them earlier than you journey to New Zealand to ensure that the inspection course of to go extra shortly for you. Be suggested that New Zealand is agency about this given how they’ve sniffer canine and bio-sensitive X-ray machines to detect any undesirable gadgets.

» Finest Time to Go to

Technically, there’s NEVER a foul time to go particularly if it’s for a New Zealand highway journey itinerary; but in fact, since each the North and South Islands are lengthy and slender, the climate is just not uniform. In order an outline, under are New Zealand’s seasons:

  • Summer season: That is the most well-liked time; therefore, the busiest — however the seashores are nice throughout this time of the 12 months. Take word by the best way that January would be the warmest month. Occupied with this, New Zealand is a superb escape for these months of the 12 months if you wish to get away from harsh winters.
  • Autumn: This time is beautiful because the leaves change colours and it’s additionally among the finest instances to plan a getaway or a mountain climbing spree for the reason that summer time crowds are principally gone. So as to add, charges are on an ‘off peak’ stage.
  • Winter: Queenstown as an illustration can be your winter wonderland, however there certainly are a lot of ski areas across the nation. In the event you are available June you’ll be able to benefit from the Queenstown Winter Competition.
  • Spring: This is among the ‘off peak’ seasons as you get to get pleasure from hotter days and longer sunlight hours.

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» New Zealand Foreign money

New Zealand Greenback (NZD) whereby about NZD 1.70 is the same as about USD $1~ / €0.85~ (that is as of August 2022). Within the occasion that you just need to change your cash for NZD, I extremely advise that you just do NOT change your cash on the airport for the reason that charges there aren’t aggressive.

  • Methods to finest change your forex? Both change it at a financial institution or at a cash exchanger in your house nation or within the metropolis middle. Higher but, simply withdraw from an ATM along with your debit/bank card — nonetheless, it’s essential to do one large withdrawal to reduce charges along with your financial institution. Talking of playing cards, quite a lot of the institutions settle for bank cards however it’s at all times advisable to have money readily available as a result of quite a lot of smaller outlets do not settle for worldwide bank cards.

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» Price of Journey in New Zealand

To provide you an thought, it is best to count on to journey in New Zealand with a mean each day price of about USD $40~ per individual on a finances, or at the least $70~ if you wish to expertise extra consolation in actions, excursions, accommodations, and extra. (Values under present low-budget to medium-budget ranges).

  • Resorts: $20 to $35 USD / day
  • Meals: $10 to $16 USD / day
  • Enjoyable: $10 to $20 USD / day
  • Transport: No less than $10 for native transportation

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» Visa for New Zealand

You may examine this checklist of nations to see who does NOT want vacationer visas to enter New Zealand. Naturally, in the event you’re NOT a citizen of any of the listed nations, you’ll then want to use for a vacationer visa within the New Zealand embassy that’s close to you.

In the event you’re a Philippine citizen like me, you’ll be able to learn my information on ‘Methods to Apply for a New Zealand Visa‘.

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» The place to Keep (New Zealand Lodging)

There’s in fact a spread of lodging in New Zealand so that you can select from. To seek for the most effective lodging at the most effective costs, I recommend testing Agoda and However in the event you’re quite curious about renting snug homes, examine AirBnB.

Anyhow, in the event you’re coming with Wild Kiwi, your lodging can be taken care of through the tour (a mixture of inns and hostels); however it’s extremely beneficial that you just e-book your personal lodging for at the least 1 night time earlier than and after your Wild Kiwi highway journey journey to allot a while of rest earlier than and after your flights. For an inventory of the highest lodging, see my posts under…

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» Wild Kiwi Routes

Thus far, Wild Kiwi has over 7 sorts of routes and mixtures that you would be able to select from:

  • North Island: 7-day Northern Voyager
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland
    • Worth: NZD $1,199 (topic to alter)
  • South Island: 7-day Southern Voyager
    • Stops: Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook dinner > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $1,199 (topic to alter)
  • South Island:7-day Southern Loop
    • Stops: Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $1,099 (topic to alter)
  • North & South Island:14-day NZ Explorer
    • Mixture of 7-day Northern Voyager + 7-day Southern Voyager
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook dinner > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $2,499 (topic to alter)
  • South Island: 14-day Large South
    • Mixture of 7-day Southern Voyager + 7-day Southern Loop
    • Stops: Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook dinner > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $2,499 (topic to alter)
  • North & South Island: 14-day NZ Adventurer
    • Mixture of 7-day Northern Voyager + 7-day Southern Loop
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $2,499 (topic to alter)
  • ★ North & South Island: 21-day NZ Discovery
    • Mixture of 7-day Northern Voyager + 7-day Southern Loop + 7-day Southern Voyager
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook dinner > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $3,599 (topic to alter)

The next are the fundamental inclusions for all of the excursions of the New Zealand highway journey itinerary…

  • Knowledgeable native information/driver
  • Each day highway transportation and stops
  • Limitless WiFi
  • Lodging
  • Each day breakfast
  • Native flight (as relevant to the route)

If you’re on the 21-day NZ Discovery tour like I did, you get some extra extras similar to the next…

  • Surf lesson in Raglan
  • Wai O Tapu geothermal park admittance
  • 3 free dinners

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» Packing Information

After all, it will rely on what month and what areas you’ll be visiting as per the highway journey circuit you select — however for a begin:

  • Convey snug strolling sneakers (for these metropolis strolls + mountain climbing sprees) and a rain jacket (simply in case).
  • In summer time, carry a towel, swimming wear, mild summer time garments, flip-flops, and a light-weight jacket.
  • In winter, make certain to pack a heat jacket and many layers for the reason that South Island can get actually chilly.
  • Don’t fear about bringing fancy attire as a result of New Zealand has a really informal costume code.
  • It’s finest to carry a day bag that may maintain a few of your necessities since it is going to be necessary for the stops you’ll be making.
  • Get a refillable bottle too. In any case, New Zealand faucet water tastes higher than bottled stuff (to not point out, it’s free, which saves you the price of shopping for costly bottled water).
  • Keep in mind to pack sunscreen or a hat as a result of the solar could be fairly robust in some locations.
  • Be at liberty to carry your personal snacks or alcoholic drinks through the highway journey.
  • Bringing insect repellant is a good suggestion as nicely as a result of there are little pests referred to as ‘sand flies’.
  • Lastly, it’s essential to purchase journey insurance coverage, particularly because you’ll be doing quite a lot of adrenaline-pumping actions. For this, I extremely suggest shopping for from World Nomads. I’ve been shopping for my journey insurance coverage with them for years and so they’re superb. They’ve broad protection, they service worldwide and so they have a quick and simple buy course of on-line. Most significantly, they cowl journey actions (which another journey insurance coverage don’t).

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» Useful Māori Phrases

English is the dominant language spoken by most Kiwis (New Zealanders) however the nation’s de jure official languages are Māori and New Zealand Signal Language (NZSL). Relaxation assured, Māori individuals are bilingual and might converse English too, however they’ll be joyful to listen to you try to converse the Māori language.

If you wish to study just a few useful phrases, just be sure you pronounce the next correctly!

Hi there (to 1 individual, formal): Tēnā koe (Te-na koy)
Hi there (to 1 individual, casual): Kia ora (Key-oar-rah)
Thanks: Kia ora (Key-oar-rah) ~ pronounced with a rising intonation
Sure: Āe (I)
No: Kāore (Kao-re)
Goodbye (stated by the individual leaving): E noho rā (E-noho ra)
Goodbye (stated by the individual staying): Haere rā (Hayre ra)
I’m sorry: Aroha mai (Ar-ro-ha-mai)
Assist!: Āwhina! (Af-fin-nuh!)
Cheers!: Kia ora! (Key-oar-rah!)

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New Zealand Highway Journey Itinerary

NOTE: The next sections are in a tabbed format; so, with a view to see the following day’s contents, simply click on the headings.

» Northern Voyager «

From Auckland to Raglan

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Our first day began off gray and wet — however nothing dampened our temper as we set off on our New Zealand highway journey itinerary to our first cease within the North Island: Raglan.

This small coastal city is legendary for its general surf tradition and its black sands in Ngarunui Seaside — that being stated, we did some browsing right here and it was a great deal of enjoyable (although the water was chilly for a tropical lady like now).

Now, one enjoyable trivia about this seaside is that it’s apparently one of many world’s longest left-hand surf breaks; that being stated, it was fairly a novel place in itself!

After our time right here, we huddled again to city to discover the charming cafes and outlets earlier than making a cease over to the breathtaking Bridal Veil “Waireinga” Falls in Waikato which was on the best way to our lodging for the night time. This primary day was fairly one thing and through dinner, we bought to know the remainder of the superb those who we have been going to spend the following days with.

TIP: Like I’ve beforehand talked about, it’s advisable to allot some days in Auckland earlier than beginning Day #1 as a result of there are some nice spots that it’s essential to see on this largest metropolis of New Zealand! For an inventory of superior FREE issues to do in Auckland, see my detailed submit right here.

Waitomo & Taupō

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The enjoyable continues on this New Zealand highway journey itinerary as we bought to find the next cities stuffed with distinctive actions!

  • Waitomo is a village that’s well-known for its intensive underground cave techniques, and as a customer, you’ll be able to both do the next…
    • Go to Waitomo Glowworm Cave(NZ$50~) Do you need to see stars up shut — or higher but, see a galaxy of ‘tiny dwelling lights’? With this tour, you’ll be gliding silently on a ship by way of Waitomo River as you undergo the “starry” wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto which has hundreds of tiny glowworms (Arachnocampa luminosa) that radiate a luminescent bluish mild at nighttime. Thoughts you, these creatures are distinctive to New Zealand solely!
    • Go to Ruakuri Cave(NZ$70~) Very similar to the principle Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Ruakuri Cave gives the magical expertise of sighting glowworms up shut; however greater than this, you’ll be winding your means by way of spectacular limestone formations and crystal tapestries.
    • Go black water rafting by way of glowworm caves = (NZ$140~) If you would like a extra adventurous expertise, that is your best option for you as you abseil, weave, soar, climb and float by way of the gorgeous underworld of Ruakuri Cave and some waterfalls too.
  • Taupo is a city that’s quite distinguished by its lakefront setting in addition to the next…
    • Do jet boating = (NZ$115~) That is an adrenaline-pumping exercise that was invented by New Zealand. So in the event you like pace, spins, and thrills mixed with marvelous water surroundings, occurring a jet boating exercise can be price your whereas! I’ve gone by way of this expertise myself and it was a great deal of enjoyable!
    • Sail on Lake Taupo = (NZ$50~) Numerous crusing corporations not solely take you to the unimaginable waters of Lake Taupo, however it additionally takes you to the ‘Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings’ which is also known as one of many nation’s most extraordinary artworks that towers 14 meters above deep water. Apparently, this has been sculpted over the course of 4 years and depicts the face of Ngatoroirangi, a ‘visionary Māori navigator who guided the Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa tribes to the Taupō space over a thousand years in the past’.
    • Huka Falls = (FREE admittance) This highly effective but astonishing set of bluish waterfalls on the Waikato River drains onwards to Lake Taupo. It’s stated that per second, the amount of water flowing by way of it usually approaches 220,000 liters!

Napier & Hawke’s Bay

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Earlier than leaving Taupo, we had the selection to go skydiving over Lake Taupo (NZ$270) — nonetheless, I used to be hell-bent on doing mine in Queenstown as an alternative (climate allowing, fingers crossed). However both means, doing a skydive right here can be one for the books as a result of the views excessive up overlooking the lake can be memorable!

I’m really terribly afraid of heights. Mix that with my worry of flying airplanes, then certainly, doing skydiving is a horrible thought for me, proper? Haha. However I’ve since determined to beat my fears!

As soon as everybody was prepared, we hit the highway once more to go to the charismatic metropolis of Napier which is fashionable for its beautifully-preserved Nineteen Thirties structure of art-deco buildings. It certainly made me really feel like I used to be transported to the filming set of Nice Gatsby!

Whereas we have been nonetheless basked within the afterglow of Napier throughout this New Zealand highway journey itinerary, we proceeded to go to some vineyards to do some wine tastings (prices round NZ$10~). And to cap our break day, we stopped by Te Mata Peak in Hawke’s Bay area to sight the sweeping summits that rise as much as 399m. This place is especially nice for driving, mountain climbing, and mountain biking because you’re positive to be showered with spectacular views in each course!

Rotorua’s Journey & Pure Sights

Backside photographs by: Shutterstock

From the second that we stepped into the geothermal city of Rotorua, I grew to become nostalgic for my first go to right here again in 2016 as I smelled the all-too-familiar scent of the sulfur-rich air. This can be a hotspot within the North Island of New Zealand and there are heaps to do right here:

  • Geothermal Parks: Naturally, Rotorua is filled with a number of geothermal parks; but when I’ll recommend, select from any of those high 3 locations (after which metal your sense of odor!)
    • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland = (NZ$32~ / FREE with Wild Kiwi Excursions) This showcases New Zealand’s most colourful and distinctive energetic geothermal components which have been sculpted by hundreds of years of volcanic exercise.
    • Te Puia = (NZ$54~) Aside from being a Maori cultural village, Te Puia is legendary for its geothermal exercise, particularly that of its Pōhutu Geyser which is alleged to be the biggest geyser within the southern hemisphere. It additionally erupts a couple of times each hour at heights that might attain 30 meters!
    • Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Spa = (Begins at NZ$20~) Aside from witnessing boiling swimming pools and erupting waters, you might additionally get pleasure from their scorching spring providers which are coupled with a therapeutic mud and sulfur spa.
  • Redwood Forest: (FREE admittance) Spend the day away mountain climbing or biking by way of this towering forest that’s simply on the sting of Rotorua. Relaxation assured, there’s an array of trails that you would be able to select from, irrespective of your stage of health or expertise.
  • Luge: (Begins at NZ$45~) Considerably of a combination between a go-kart (with out the engine) and a toboggan (with out the snow), Rotorua’s “Luge” is a enjoyable and fast-paced journey exercise that’s nice for folks of all ages! I loved this a lot and lots of people even say that this place is healthier than the Luge exercise present in South Island’s Queenstown, so go and provides this a strive!
  • Zorb: (Begins at NZ$39) Additionally referred to as ‘globe driving’, this includes a ‘ball of enjoyable’ the place you roll down a hill inside an enormous inflatable ball. Invented in 1994 in New Zealand, this has develop into one of many ‘must-do’ actions when within the nation and it usually provides you the possibility to decide on the form of path that you just’ll undergo — could or not it’s zigzag or straight!
  • White Water Rafting: This can be a great point to do with your loved ones or mates in Rotorua! This is among the issues I did along with my companion and it was a unprecedented expertise! We went by way of steep native bush canyons and over 14 rapids and three waterfalls, together with the world-renowned 7-meter Tutea Falls which is the ‘Highest Commercially Rafted Waterfall within the World’! Reality be advised, this was my first white water rafting exercise of all time and it was completely an awesome first.

Rotorua’s Film & Cultural Sights

For at the present time, there are 2 issues that we made positive we did NOT miss:

  • Go to the Hobbiton Film Set: (NZ$114~) For the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit‘ film followers like me, that is your once-in-a-lifetime likelihood to enterprise off into your personal Center-earth journey! In any case, that is the well-known 12-acre film set of the long-lasting village of the Shire. As a customer, you’ll be guided by way of a two-hour strolling tour to the completely different hobbit gap homes (e.g. Sam and Frodo’s home) and different quintessential landmarks just like the Mill and the Inexperienced Dragon Inn (the place you can even seize a complimentary drink that’s brewed solely in Hobbiton!).
    • TIP: One other place to think about for LOTR followers is a go to to the well-known Weta Workshop!
  • Go to a Maori Cultural Village: (Round NZ$100~) Rotorua and its surrounding cities arguably have the very best focus of Māori villages. With that in thoughts, it’s a should to go to at the least one with a view to immerse your self within the historical past and customs of the Maori folks in New Zealand — a tradition that the nation is extremely pleased with. We went to among the finest villages, Tamaki Maori Village, and a number of the many superb issues that you just’ll expertise and which I personally liked have been witnessing the highly effective haka (conventional warfare cry), studying concerning the Maori historical past, partaking in a hangi (conventional Maori feast), and extra.


Picture by: Shutterstock

We bid farewell to the wonders of Rotorua and stated hiya to the gorgeous Coromandel Peninsula whereas making stops and brief walks to scenic landscapes alongside the best way.

As soon as we arrived at Hahei, we donned our swimwear and headed to the favored Sizzling Water Seaside. It’d sound peculiar for a seaside’s waters to be associated to something ‘scorching‘ however it’s true as a result of this bay has underground scorching springs which everybody can get pleasure from by digging by way of the sand throughout low tide. With this, you’ll be able to simply alternate between cold and warm swimming pools instantly!

So armed with our shovels, we looked for a great spot by the seaside and lounged as we watched the sundown on the horizon. Evidently, this was actually one among a form!

From Coromandel to Auckland

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To mark our final day on the North Island for our New Zealand highway journey itinerary, we first went on a hike to Cathedral Cove (Te Whanganui-A-Hei) Marine Reserve which is one more spotlight of our go to to the Coromandel Peninsula.

With its stunning white sand, turquoise waters, and towering rock formations, this place was fairly a sight! To not point out, there’s a pathway right here that’s well-known for being the opening scene from the film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

As soon as we had our fill of the magical surroundings, we went to pack our luggage and journeyed again to Auckland in preparation for our flight to Christchurch in order to mark the beginning of our South Island journey.

NOTE: If you wish to keep again within the North Island, it’s advisable to fly over to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

» Southern Loop «

From Christchurch to Kaikoura

After an evening’s relaxation in Christchurch, we began our South Island journey by making a cease first within the seaside city of Kaikoura that’s stuffed with rugged cliffs and spectacular marine life. For an array of issues to do right here throughout your New Zealand highway journey itinerary, they’re as follows…

  • Whale watching: (NZ$150~) This can be a year-round expertise the place you may get actually near whales of various varieties similar to sperm whales that are the biggest toothed predators. The perfect factor about this tour is that there’s a 95% price of sighting success and that is primarily as a result of all of the locals cooperate in sharing info when sighting these large creatures within the water. If in case you don’t see any whales (which is extremely unlikely) they may gladly subject an 80% refund.
    • Fly choice = (NZ$180~) In the event you’re not good with boat rides or in the event you merely desire a chook’s eye view to actually see the magnitude of the world’s largest mammals, a flight expertise above Kaikoura’s waters is a superb selection! Now don’t fear as a result of everyone seems to be assured a window seat for unobstructed views.
  • Watch or Swim with Dolphins: (Begins at NZ$95~) Come face-to-face with quite a few dolphins of their pure atmosphere by swimming and enjoying with them — you’ll by no means get a greater likelihood than this! In the event you’re not keen on swimming, you might additionally choose to remain dry and go on the dolphin-watching tour.
  • Fishing Journey: (NZ$120~) Go together with a neighborhood and expertise an immersive fishing journey as you catch lobsters and crayfish within the waters — well-known delicacies in Kaikoura! Whether or not you’re a first-time fisher or not, you’re positive to have a lot enjoyable on this. On the finish of the journey, you’ll be able to select to launch your catch or have it cooked. My companions and I had quite a lot of enjoyable having fun with our catch so this is usually a enjoyable exercise for you too!
  • Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway: (FREE) This can be a 3-hour scenic hike filled with clifftop views and wild animals (actually, you’ll be able to sight seabirds and seals up shut!). as you cross the peninsula to South Bay. In the event you don’t have 3 hours, there are smaller hikes or detours alongside the best way so that you can do.


Picture by: Shutterstock

After an evening’s relaxation, we proceeded to drive down the Kaikoura coast the place we bought to see the harm from the earthquake that occurred in 2016. These roads have been solely lately opened so we may see how arduous the nation has labored to sort things; however amidst this, we have been enamored by the fantastic thing about the shoreline which regularly had dolphins and seals enjoying within the shallow waters.

Throughout this journey, we explored some fantastic seashores earlier than arriving on the port city of Picton which is lauded because the gateway to the Marlborough Sound (that is additionally the gateway to the South Island for ferries that come from the North).

We had a while left once we arrived on the town and one of many issues we did and which you might additionally do is hike the 3-hour return Snout Monitor for gorgeous views of the Marlborough Sounds.

From Picton to Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

Today was principally spent driving in order that we may attain one among New Zealand’s most stunning wilderness reserves, the Abel Tasman Nationwide Park!

We really arrived late within the afternoon, however we stuffed our day with stops to some breweries and wineries within the Marlborough area, in addition to to the enchanting inexperienced waters at Pelorus Bridge.

TRIVIA: You’ll discover a little bit of Center-earth on this spot as a result of that is really the filming location within the scene of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” when the dwarves have been floating in barrels down a river.

As soon as we checked in at The Barn close to Abel Tasman Nationwide Park, we marked our first night time with a delicious barbecue dinner as we frolicked by the hearth and exchanged tales as we put together for the following day’s adventures!

Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

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It’s time to benefit from this New Zealand nationwide park which is extremely famend for its golden seashores, sculptured granite cliffs, and world-famous coast observe referred to as the ‘Abel Tasman Coast Monitor’.

One of the simplest ways to do that? Go on a kayaking journey which can first depart from Kaiteriteri by way of a cruise boat that’s already included within the tour, after which upon arriving at Torrent Bay, you should have a fully-guided kayak tour for about 2.5 hours the place you’ll be able to encounter seals alongside the best way.

After this, you’ll be able to return to Kaiteriteri by way of a return cruise or a 2/3-hour unguided hike by way of the Abel Tasma Coast Monitor. I’d suggest doing the latter with the intention to make stops alongside the attractive bashes to do some sunbathing or whatnot (you’ll be able to even encounter a few of New Zealand’s native wildlife such because the Tui and the Tuatara!).


We bid goodbye to Abel Tasman at this level of our New Zealand highway journey itinerary and headed all the way down to the West Coast to the little coastal city of Punakaiki which is located on the sting of the Paparoa Nationwide Park. For at the present time, we made a number of stops on the highway after which ended the day with a go to to Punakaiki’s well-known ‘Pancake Rocks’.

  • Nelson Lake: (FREE) We had lunch with a view of this lake that’s inside Nelson Lakes Nationwide Park — a spot filled with enchanting alpines, forests, and glacial lakes.
  • Cape Foulwind Walkway: (FREE) This can be a spectacular 3.4km one-way coastal stroll that led us by way of a towering lighthouse, a fur seal breeding colony, and ultimately to Tauranga Bay.
  • Pancake Rocks: (FREE) Because the title suggests, these are limestones that appear to be stacked pancakes, the reason for which is tens of millions of years of abrasion by water, wind, and salt. On this space, additionally, you will discover spectacular blowholes that make thundering sounds. I like to recommend coming right here both throughout dawn or sundown with a view to get the most effective lighting and look at.


For at present’s New Zealand highway journey itinerary, it was solely for locating the hidden gems of Hokitika and its surrounding areas. As such, the spotlight of at the present time could be our go to to Hokitika Gorge which had astonishing blue-green waters and a picture-perfect swing bridge.

Strolling to this spot concerned not more than a 650-meter hike so it was a straightforward path to undergo. All of us wished to take a swim however sadly, since we have been right here in autumn, the waters have been already too chilly.

Earlier than the day ends, after we checked into our lodging, we constructed an enormous bonfire by the seaside in Hokitika. We had a lot enjoyable roasting marshmallows and exchanging tales (in spite of everything, this was technically the final tour day of this Southern Loop leg).

From Hokitika to Christchurch

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On our means again to Christchurch, we drove throughout the long-lasting Southern Alps which is one among New Zealand’s highest passes.

Upon arriving within the metropolis, we checked in to JUCY Snooze (which was a novel capsule hostel), and a few folks opted to discover Christchurch — whereas others opted to remain in and relaxation, in preparation for the adrenaline-filled journey for the following days below the ‘Southern Voyager’ leg of Wild Kiwi!

» Southern Voyager «

From Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier

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After assembly new further folks on our tour, we departed from Christchurch within the morning and headed for the dizzying heights of Arthurs Move and the gorgeous snow-capped Southern Alps.

Mid-way, we stopped by a lake (whereby a few of our companions have been loopy sufficient to leap into the icy waters) and Citadel Hill (which was named as such due to its imposing array of limestone boulders that have been paying homage to an previous run-down stone fortress).

After we had our enjoyable, we lastly arrived at our vacation spot which was Franz Josef Glacier Village.

Franz Josef Glacier

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Along with Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier is surrounded by the World Heritage Website park of Te Wahipounamu. As a lush space stuffed with unbelievable sights, there’s a numerous variety of issues that you are able to do right here to your New Zealand highway journey itinerary:

  • Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike: (NZ$459~) By this once-in-a-lifetime tour, you’ll go on an exhilarating helicopter trip and do a 3-hour hike by way of probably the most superior glacier ‘ice structure’. Evidently, it is a dear tour to make however it’s an expense that can be price your cash and whereas — assured. Although, in the event you solely have the finances for only one tour in your entire Franz Josef go to, that is the expertise it is best to put money into. Simply take word that that is climate dependent, so if the day seems bitter then no worries as a result of there are different issues so that you can do round city.
  • Franz Josef Glacier Valley Stroll: (NZ$78~ or FREE) That is an exercise that it’s essential to make if in case you have a decrease finances or if the climate turned out dangerous (and you may’t do a heli hike). You are able to do this with a information or by your self and it’ll take about 3 hours to go previous the Waiho river mattress with a view to see the grand terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier.
  • Franz Josef Glacier Sizzling Swimming pools: (NZ$25~) After a day of mountain climbing, reward your self with a soothing dip within the Franz Josef Glacier Sizzling Swimming pools. That is open till 9:00PM and you may select to soak in one of many 3 predominant out of doors swimming pools that vary from 36 to 41 levels Celsius (in order for you privateness, there are additionally non-public swimming pools obtainable).
  • Fox Glacier Heli Hike: (NZ$440~) In the event you quite need to witness the glacier to the south, this heli hike tour to Fox Glacier is an choice. Very similar to the Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike, it will take you on a trip on a helicopter over the Fox Glacier after which land in an space the place you are able to do a 4-hour guided hike.

From Franz Josef to Queenstown

For at the present time of our New Zealand highway journey itinerary, we’re lastly making our solution to the ‘adrenaline capital’ of New Zealand — Queenstown! It’s a little bit of a drive although, so earlier than we arrived within the metropolis, we handed by the next locations first.

  • Lake Matheson: This lake gives awe-inspiring mirror reflections of Mt. Cook dinner (the very best mountain in New Zealand) and Mt. Tasman. It mainly includes a brief circuit stroll, and if I’ll share a tip, it’s finest to hike right here throughout daybreak or nightfall with a view to see the most effective lake reflections of the encircling snowcapped mountains.
  • Haast Move: A mountain move discovered within the Southern Alps that’s brimming with stunning brief walks, rainforests, and waterfalls. A few of the breathtaking waterfalls now we have seen have been Fantail Falls and Thunder Creek Falls.
  • Wanaka: We stopped on this resort city to take a quick driving break, and it was such a serene place to lounge or have a picnic in! It was additionally an interesting expertise to see the ‘lately well-known’ Wanaka Tree (a fence submit that has now changed into a web based sensation — and it’s straightforward to see why as a result of this lone tree was completely backdropped by the alps and the encircling terrain).
    • NOTE: In the event you occur to have a full day to spare in Wanaka, I recommend doing the 16km return observe to Roy’s Peak that grants views over Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring/Tititea, and its surrounding peaks.

TIP: Once you arrive in Queenstown round night time time, drop by Fergburger for dinner. That is New Zealand’s most well-known burger joint and it helps to notice that it’s NOT a sequence — you’ll solely discover them in Queenstown, so it’s a should to offer them a strive. Certain sufficient, they do have great-tasting burgers. (However in order for you a much less crowded place, Satan Burger is a superb different!).

Milford Sound

A visit to the South Island throughout your New Zealand highway journey itinerary is just not full with out visiting the UNESCO-listed fiord of Milford Sound!

It takes 5 hours to drive right here from Queenstown, however I guarantee you: this can be price your whereas as a result of, for one factor, the highway that results in Milford Sound is scenic. And when you arrive, you’ll be indulging within the towering Mitre Peak, the plush rainforests and the excessive waterfalls like Stirling and Bowen falls that each plummet down its sheer sides. To not point out, this fjord is dwelling to fur seal colonies, penguins, and dolphins — so that you’re positive to have a enjoyable time general.

Now, one of the best ways to see this all could be by way of a boat cruise (NZ$80~), however if you wish to take it a step additional, you can even do a helicopter tour over Milford Sound!

NOTE: If you find yourself with some spare time, examine by the tab marked as ‘Day #19’ to see the opposite actions that you are able to do in and round Queenstown.


For our final day in Queenstown on our New Zealand highway journey itinerary, we made positive to fill it up with adrenaline-pumping actions! A few of my companions went bungee leaping and others did canyon swings. As for me…? Like I’ve already talked about earlier than, I made it my purpose to do sky diving in Queenstown in order that it may assist me overcome two of my high fears: heights and flying in a airplane…

…and so I did: I jumped out of a perfectly-functioning airplane at 15,000 toes and boy, it was probably the most superb factor that I’ve ever completed in my life!

For an entire checklist of motion actions, you are able to do, see under…

  • Sky Diving: (Begins at NZ$330~) Queenstown is alleged to be the birthplace of tandem skydiving; due to this fact, there’s no higher place to do it than right here! And in order for you the finest supplier potential, do it with NZONE Skydive. With their years of operation and highly-trained dive masters, you’re positive to be in good palms while you soar out of an plane at 12,000 or 15,000 toes (your selection). The joys of free falling for about 60 seconds as you plummet in the direction of the bottom at 200kph is a sensation that you just’ll without end bear in mind and cherish. I’ve completed this myself and I’m so glad that I did it with NZONE!

READ: My Skydiving Expertise

  • Bungy Leaping: (Begins at NZ$60~) That is New Zealand’s highest bungee soar at 134m above the Nevis River, and it gives 8.5 seconds of pure free fall! Although this seems harmful to your eyes, be assured that your security is wholly assured as a result of AJ Hackett has been working this since 1988 with over 1.5 million jumpers who now maintain the bragging rights. (NOTE: If in case you need some added ‘oomph’ to your journey, you can even package deal this with a roundtrip helicopter trip).
    • Combo = Mix this bungee leaping exercise with a Nevis canyon swing for the last word adrenaline rush!
  • Ledge Swing: (NZ$160~) One more daredevil affair, the Ledge Swing will set you flying 400m throughout and over Queenstown! Situated on the high of the Skyline Gondola, the Ledge Swing will first take you on a soothing panoramic trip up and after you’re strapped in, they may pull the ‘set off’ to ship you swinging over the mountain.
  • Jet Boating: (NZ$150~) That is an adrenaline-pumping exercise that can be invented by New Zealand. In the event you like pace, spins, and thrills mixed with marvelous water surroundings on the Shotover River, then occurring this Queenstown jet boating exercise can be price your whereas!
  • Quad Biking: (NZ$240~) That is the most effective enjoyable you’ll be able to have on 4 wheels! For this, you’ll be supplied with a full set of protecting tools and clothes gear as you go on a 2.5-hour trip by way of the panoramic vistas of Queenstown.
  • Luge: (Begins at NZ$45~) Considerably of a combination between a go-kart (with out the engine) and a toboggan (with out the snow), “Luge” is a enjoyable and fast-paced journey exercise that’s nice for folks of all ages!
    • NOTE: It additionally already features a gondola trip).
  • Lord of the Rings Tour: (Begins at NZ$185~) Journey by way of Center-earth and go to the ‘cinescapes’ from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies on this superb half-day tour. A few of the locations you’ll be visiting are “Isengard”, the 12-mile Delta, Misty Mountains, Pillars of the Kings — and extra! Definitely, this can be a deal with for the franchise followers (like me!).
  • Helicopter Tour: (Begins at NZ$800~) Soar excessive above Queenstown as you make your solution to the UNESCO-listed space of Te Wahipounamu which encompasses Mt. Cook dinner, all the best way to Milford Sound which has acres of dense forests, streams, lakes, and towering mountains. From this chook’s eye view, you’ll positively have a uncommon entry view of the landscapes you’ll be seeing — and that’s not all, as a result of additionally, you will expertise a snow touchdown within the secluded Southern Alps!
  • Skyline Gondola: (Begins at NZ$30~) Decelerate and get on the Skyline Gondola which provides you among the finest vantage factors within the metropolis. For the most effective views and photographs, go right here when the solar units, and if the sky occurs to be clear, it’s essential to seize the possibility to go on their stargazing tour.

Mt. Cook dinner

We stated our goodbyes to Queenstown at present for our New Zealand highway journey itinerary, however we shook away the blues as a result of we knew that we have been heading off to the long-lasting Mt. Cook dinner which is New Zealand’s highest peak (at 3,724 meters!).

As a lot as we’d have liked to climb the summit, we have been joyful sufficient to do a hike within the valley and one of many fashionable trails that results in Mt. Cook dinner was the Hooker Valley observe. This can be a 3-hour hike that goes by way of beautiful alpine sceneries and you are able to do it by your self or with a educated information.

Now… if I say so myself, this has bought to be one of the superb mountain climbing trails that I’ve ever completed in my travels, so don’t skip out on this!

As soon as the night time falls, don’t additionally overlook to exit and do some stargazing within the stunning Aoraki Mount Cook dinner Nationwide Park.

Again to Christchurch

Picture by: Shutterstock

Sadly, this was our final drive with our companions and Wild Kiwi — however in fact, we have been all smiles as we expect again to all of the memorable issues that we’ve completed or seen!

…And as if we have been nonetheless hungry for extra, we made positive to make some stops alongside the best way earlier than lastly arriving again in Christchurch, and a number of the spots we dropped in have been: Tasman Glacier, Lake Tekapo, and Church of the Good Shepherd.

• • •

Reserving Necessities

TIP: It’s a good suggestion to crosscheck the costs with different fashionable journey insurance coverage suppliers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!
Nevertheless, take word {that a} journey insurance coverage’s affordability usually means lesser protection; so please at all times make sure that you learn the high-quality print with a view to decipher which journey insurance coverage firm is the fitting match for you and your journey!

The Finest Issues to Do in New Zealand’s islands?

Come and take a look at this checklist of the highest issues to do in New Zealand’s North Island and South Island which options the most effective actions and excursions!

• • •


It’s plain to see that this New Zealand highway journey itinerary has been an final journey for me — and it’s all because of Wild Kiwi!

With that stated and completed, going for his or her 21-day NZ Discovery tour is a should in order for you an all-encompassing great-for-value journey of the nation North and South Island; nonetheless, in the event you’re pressed on time, any of their 7-day or 14-day excursions will already suit you nicely.

NOTE: A few of you might have been asking me which of the 7-day excursions is finest to take. Nicely… that is fairly a tough query to reply as a result of every of these excursions has its personal attraction.

However relying in your desire, it may be a straightforward choose; due to this fact, what I can say is that the ‘North Voyager’ gives the most effective of New Zealand’s tradition, the ‘Southern Loop’ takes you on a laid-back journey of types, and the ‘Southern Voyager’ supplies the most effective journey and adrenaline decisions.

Have you ever seen my newest vlog?


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