3/4 weeks in New Zealand

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific 3/4 weeks in New Zealand

1. Posted by JetlagWarriors (Full Member 42 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone,

Ivana and I are looking to travel across the south island for 3/4 weeks by van.

We have some questions for you guys!

Do we need an international license to drive? We both have Canadian licences.
Do you think we have time to travel to the north island as well?
Does anyone know what something like that will cost?
Are we allowed to pull over and sleep on the side of the highway?

Also if you have done something like that before... tell us about it!
Thanks guys. I'm sure we will have more questions later on.


2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1784 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!


Good choice!

Your Canadian licence will be fine.
Yes you could include some of North Island in that timescale but if you try to see much of both it will be hurried. What are your priorities? Famous sights, hikes, culture and museums?
Freedom camping in a camper van is allowed nationally but increasingly forbidden in certain spots. Each time I go it seems more restricted.

Cost is hard to gauge. Not cheap. Camper van hire probably isn't the cheapest way - van hire is expensive then you end up with some campground fees. Hiring an ordinary cheap car and doing motels would be as cheap; hostelling in private rooms would be cheaper still, and for my taste preferable as you'd meet more people along the way.

Food prices are high, partly due to a supermarket duopoly. Look out for markets for fruits and veggies. Buy what's in season for bargains. Ridiculously cheap collection deals ate available from pizza hut and domino's. Pak & Save is the budget supermarket.

What time of year will you be there?

If geothermal stuff interests you then include some north island time around taupo / Rotorua as it's world class. Hot springs, fumaroles, geysers, volcanoes. That's a good place to see Maori culture too as there are fewer of them in South Island.

[ Edit: Edited on 03-Mar-2019, at 19:25 by AndyF ]

3. Posted by JetlagWarriors (Full Member 42 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

Thanks, Andy.

You seem to turn up with solid information in almost every post. We appreciate it!

Unfortunately, I spoke to soon. We were planning on being in New Zealand in about 2 weeks, although some other ideas have just presented themselves. We have a friend in Perth who just had a sudden schedule change, which makes it possible for us to go there. Also looking into a Nepal visit.

In the future I will make try to make sure my mind is set before I post. This is altogether pretty lame of me.

I don't think your time was completely wasted as we should in New Zealand one day, and then I will re-open this thread.

Sorry man.

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1784 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

Hi Steve. I think my solid information is just good luck as you seem to be following me to all the good spots.

No worries re the change of plan. :)

5. Posted by AStraveler (Inactive 4 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

Hi Steve,
That’s a wonderful decision! I had been to New Zealand for a holiday few months ago and would love to share my experiences with you. Let me start by answering your queries.

Your Canadian license would work. However, ensure that you carry the license at all times when driving. Moreover, you will be able to drive only the kind of vehicle that you have licensed for in your home country.

Yes, you can cover some parts of North Island too. My suggestions would be to visit Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, and Taupo.
Cost depends on several factors. There are many ways to reduce costs by staying in lodges and hostels. On my trip to New Zealand -snip-, I had booked a room in YMCA City Lodge, which is located in the heart of Auckland. It was an extremely pocket-friendly gatehouse and was popular among backpackers. If you want to save on conveyance then I would advise you to use the Link Bus Service as they operate on a regular basis and to the remotest part of Auckland. So, with a few amendments and research, you can have a wonderful holiday on a budget.

Yes, that should not be a problem! However, ensure that you park your van at a side of a wide road so that other vehicles do not face problems.
A few tips that I would like to share are that driving in New Zealand would be different than driving in your home town. You will come across several narrow roads, especially when you are traveling through rural areas, so drive carefully as there will be plenty of cattle on the roads. Also, you need to drive on left-hand side of the road and follow all traffic rules. With these tips, you should be fine and I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Moderator comment: please see Forum Rules

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