Plan Your Trip
New Zealand may look like a small country on the map (it’s 2050 km or 1274 miles long), but you could travel around for years and not see all this amazing country has to offer. Some tourists turn up expecting to see the whole country in just a week! The itinerary you plan for your campervan rental holiday will depend on which parts of New Zealand you’d like to visit, and how much time you have. Basically your options are:
- A one-way trip the length of New Zealand, starting in Auckland and ending in Christchurch or vice versa – allow at least 21 days for a whirlwind ‘greatest hits’ tour with a couple of long days – 28 days would be better! See our sample 21 day ‘greatest hits’ itinerary.
- A loop of the whole of New Zealand starting or ending in Auckland or Christchurch – this option is for the adventurers who want to spend six weeks or more exploring the country.
We strongly recommend you travel no more than 200km per day – less if you’re travelling with children. Make sure you include some places where you spend more than one night, just to truly relax, get the feel of a place and enjoy the holiday experience. Good spots where you should definitely spend more than one night (at least 3, if you can) include the Bay of Islands and Queenstown. Even with 3 nights you probably won’t see everything you want to!
Unless you’re planning to visit New Zealand during the busy Christmas holiday time (from around 24 December to 10 January), we recommend you start your trip in the South Island and finish in the North. The South Island is where you’ll find the most amazing scenery for which New Zealand is world-famous. Why wait to see it? Most of the “BIG, In Your Face” landscapes that will blow you away are in the South Island. If you start your trip in the North Island, where the natural beauty is not quite so jaw-droppingly magnificent, your expectations may not be met. More about when to travel
Another reason to finish your trip in the North Island is that it’s less hectic. Although the North Island is more populated than the South, the residents there mostly live in main centres and go to work every day, so lucky tourists get all the beautiful outdoor spots more or less to themselves. Conversely, the South Island attracts way more tourists, who are all trying to see the same views as you! So the attractions of the South Island can feel quite a lot more crowded.