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2-Week Itinerary for NZ opinions?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific 2-Week Itinerary for NZ opinions?

1. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!


I am going to tour NZ in a campervan with my girlfriend over 2 weeks.... this is my route.

Queenstown (2 nights)
Mt Cook Village (1 night)
Christchurch (2 nights)
Kaikoura (1 night)
Wellington (2 nights)
Martinborough (1 night)
Napier (1 night)
Taupo (1 night)
Rotorua (2 nights)
Hamilton (1 night)
Auckland (1 night) + 2 nights hotel stay

I know this is a very short space of time and there will be a lot of driving involved but I just wondered if anyone could advise me if it looks ok.

Currently we only have excursions booked for a Glacier boat trip in Mt Cook and Whale Watching in Kaikoura, are there any other 'must-see' things you can see along (or near) our route?



2. Posted by matchman (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Where are you starting from?

This looks like a perfectly decent route, but I would add this:

- you can get to Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park as a day trip from Queenstown, it's worth it
- places like Hamilton and Napier aren't particularly interesting (comparative to everything else), if you don't have much time then think about spending an extra day somewhere else, for example Napier is right over on the east and adds a lot of driving time for not much value (you can do wine tasting in the Marlborough Region before getting the ferry across)
- Abel Tasman National Park is worth a visit
- why Martinborough?
- 2 nights in Wellington sounds excessive given the short holiday time, it's okay there but not really that great
- most people recommend (and I would too) a ratio of either 3:1 or 2:1 in terms of time spent on south and north islands as the south is generally considered to be better, your route actually gives you more time on the north island

But with only 2 weeks you can't really lose, you'll certainly be busy and it'll be a blast.

3. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Sorry, we are starting from Queenstown.

Thanks for the advice.

We are spending a week in Nelson for a wedding before we head down to Queenstown so hopefully we could explore the Abel Tasman Park from there?

I'm quite keen to do the Milford Sound trip but a 600km coach trip doesn't really appeal to me especially as we're only there for 2 days, can you fly?

We might bypass Hamilton to be honest it looks unnappealing compared to the rest of the North Island, I used a lot planning the route but I may well change it up.



4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5107 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

How are you getting from Nelson to Queenstown? Flying? If so, I'd consider flying into Christchurch instead, cutting some days off the North Island, and using them to see the West Coast as well. The route would then become:
Christchurch - Mt. Cook - Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier - Kaikoura - onward... (Franz Josef to Kaikoura is a long drive, but it's totally worth it; the west coast is gorgeous, and the glaciers really should be seen (with only the scenery around Mt. Cook/Lake Tekapo being more beautiful, imnsho)).
And yeah, Abel Tasman can be done quite well from Nelson.

You could also toss things around even more. Might be impractical depending on how much you've booked already, but with Nelson as starting point (assuming you could pick up a campervan there (if not, you probably can in Picton)), I'd consider driving:
Nelson - Kaikoura (1n) - Franz Josef (2n) - Queenstown (2n) - Mt. Cook/Lake Tekapo (2n) - Christchurch (2n) - drop off campervan, fly to Auckland, pick up another campervan (1n) - Rotorua (2n) - Taupo (1n) - Tongariro National Park (2n) - Auckland (long day back from Tongariro, but doable, especially since you can relax in the hotel afterward) + 2 nights hotel. (On the South Island you could also rearrange things to: Kaikoura - Christchurch - Mt. Cook/Lake Tekapo - Queenstown - Franz Josef - Christchurch.)

That should be the same number of nights as your plan (if I counted right), taking a slightly more measured pace on the South Island (some driving days would be a bit longer, but you're staying longer, too), dropping the less interesting bits of the North Island (Wellington and Napier are "nice", but nothing more; just cities, really - Hamilton is barely that, and I've never even heard of Martinborough), and getting in another gorgeous National Park in return. (Tongariro has awesome hiking through volcanic landscapes; "Mt. Doom" from the Lord of the Rings is located here.) The flight north nearly finances itself by not having to take the campervan onto the ferry (which is pretty expensive, as I recall).

5. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Yes we are flying from Nelson to Queenstown, unfortunatley a lot of what we have is already booked but $30 NZD on a powered campsite is no great loss if we decide to change our route.

Thanks for the responses I will give your ideas a lof of thought.