Monday, February 26, 2024

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

Loads of you’ll have identified 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 mentioned ‘sure‘ in a heartbeat.

Trying again, it has absolutely turned out to be one of the vital 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 will likely be value 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 along with them (regardless of the variety of different New Zealand tour firms who’ve prolonged their invites to me) by studying the submit beneath…
: My Huge 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. Which means that you shouldn’t usher in any form of recent meals corresponding to bananas, apples, honey, and many others. as you just be sure you eliminate them earlier than going by the bags declare space. Processed or packaged meals will be accepted however you’re speculated to declare them in your arrival card. For those who’re ever unsure, ask for clarification — in any other case, you’ll be charged with a hefty tremendous.

For those who’ve received out of doors gear like diving gear, mountaineering boots, and many others. it’s essential to clear them earlier than you journey to New Zealand to ensure that the inspection course of to go extra rapidly 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 objects.

» Finest Time to Go to

Technically, there’s NEVER a nasty time to go particularly if it’s for a New Zealand highway journey itinerary; but after all, since each the North and South Islands are lengthy and slender, the climate shouldn’t be uniform. In order an outline, beneath are New Zealand’s seasons:

  • Summer time: That is the preferred time; therefore, the busiest — however the seashores are nice throughout this time of the yr. Take be aware by the best way that January would be the warmest month. Excited about this, New Zealand is a superb escape for these months of the yr if you wish to get away from harsh winters.
  • Autumn: This time is beautiful because the leaves change colours and it’s additionally the most effective instances to plan a getaway or a mountaineering spree because the summer season crowds are principally gone. So as to add, charges are on an ‘off peak’ degree.
  • Winter: Queenstown as an illustration will likely be your winter wonderland, however there absolutely are a lot of ski areas across the nation. For those who are available in June you’ll be able to benefit from the Queenstown Winter Competition.
  • Spring: This is likely one of 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 simply wish to trade your cash for NZD, I extremely advise that you simply do NOT trade your cash on the airport because the charges there should not aggressive.

  • Learn how to greatest trade your foreign money? Both trade 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 together with your debit/bank card — nevertheless, it’s essential to do one massive withdrawal to attenuate charges together with your financial institution. Talking of playing cards, lots of the institutions settle for bank cards however it’s all the time advisable to have money available as a result of lots of smaller retailers do not settle for worldwide bank cards.

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» Value of Journey in New Zealand

To provide you an thought, you must anticipate to journey in New Zealand with a mean every day price of about USD $40~ per individual on a funds, or not less than $70~ if you wish to expertise extra consolation in actions, excursions, accommodations, and extra. (Values beneath 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: Not less than $10 for native transportation

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» Visa for New Zealand

You possibly can verify this record 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.

For those who’re a Philippine citizen like me, you’ll be able to learn my information on ‘Learn how to Apply for a New Zealand Visa‘.

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» The place to Keep (New Zealand Lodging)

There’s after all a variety of lodging in New Zealand so that you can select from. To seek for the perfect lodging at the perfect costs, I counsel testing Agoda and However in the event you’re somewhat all for renting comfy homes, verify AirBnB.

Anyhow, in the event you’re coming with Wild Kiwi, your lodging will likely be taken care of in the course of the tour (a mixture of inns and hostels); however it’s extremely advisable that you simply ebook your individual lodging for not less than 1 night time earlier than and after your Wild Kiwi highway journey journey to allot a while of leisure earlier than and after your flights. For an inventory of the highest lodging, see my posts beneath…

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» Wild Kiwi Routes

So far, Wild Kiwi has over 7 sorts of routes and mixtures that you may 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. Prepare 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. Prepare dinner > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $2,499 (topic to alter)
  • South Island: 14-day Huge South
    • Mixture of 7-day Southern Voyager + 7-day Southern Loop
    • Stops: Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Prepare 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. Prepare dinner > Christchurch
    • Worth: NZD $3,599 (topic to alter)

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

  • Professional native information/driver
  • Day by day highway transportation and stops
  • Limitless WiFi
  • Lodging
  • Day by 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 corresponding to the next…

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

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» Packing Information

In fact, this can rely on what month and what places you’ll be visiting as per the highway journey circuit you select — however for a begin:

  • Deliver comfy strolling sneakers (for these metropolis strolls + mountaineering sprees) and a rain jacket (simply in case).
  • In summer season, convey a towel, swimwear, gentle summer season garments, flip-flops, and a lightweight jacket.
  • In winter, ensure that to pack a heat jacket and plenty of layers because the South Island can get actually chilly.
  • Don’t fear about bringing fancy clothes as a result of New Zealand has a really informal gown code.
  • It’s greatest to convey a day bag that may maintain a few of your necessities since will probably be vital 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).
  • Bear in mind to pack sunscreen or a hat as a result of the solar will be fairly sturdy in some locations.
  • Be happy to convey your individual snacks or alcoholic drinks in the course of the highway journey.
  • Bringing insect repellant is a good suggestion as nicely as a result of there are little pests known as ‘sand flies’.
  • Lastly, it’s essential to purchase journey insurance coverage, particularly because you’ll be doing lots 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 wonderful. They’ve broad protection, they service worldwide and so they have a quick and straightforward 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 communicate English too, however they’ll be blissful to listen to you try to communicate the Māori language.

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

Hiya (to 1 individual, formal): Tēnā koe (Te-na koy)
Hiya (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 (mentioned by the individual leaving): E noho rā (E-noho ra)
Goodbye (mentioned 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!)

• • •

New Zealand Highway Journey Itinerary

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

» Northern Voyager «

From Auckland to Raglan

Photograph by: Shutterstock

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 mentioned, we did some browsing right here and it was a great deal of enjoyable (although the water was chilly for a tropical woman like now).

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

After our time right here, we huddled again to city to discover the charming cafes and retailers 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 received to know the remainder of the wonderful folks that we had been going to spend the subsequent 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

Photographs by: Shutterstock

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

  • Waitomo is a village that’s well-known for its in depth 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 wish 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 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 gentle at midnight. Thoughts you, these creatures are distinctive to New Zealand solely!
    • Go to Ruakuri Cave(NZ$70~) Very similar to the primary Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Ruakuri Cave presents the magical expertise of sighting glowworms up shut; however greater than this, you’ll be winding your manner by spectacular limestone formations and crystal tapestries.
    • Go black water rafting by glowworm caves = (NZ$140~) In order for you a extra adventurous expertise, that is your best option for you as you abseil, weave, leap, climb and float by the gorgeous underworld of Ruakuri Cave and some waterfalls too.
  • Taupo is a city that’s somewhat 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 velocity, spins, and thrills mixed with marvelous water surroundings, happening a jet boating exercise will likely be value your whereas! I’ve gone by this expertise myself and it was a great deal of enjoyable!
    • Sail on Lake Taupo = (NZ$50~) Loads of crusing firms not solely take you to the unbelievable waters of Lake Taupo, however it additionally takes you to the ‘Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings’ which is sometimes called 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 mentioned that per second, the amount of water flowing by it usually approaches 220,000 liters!

Napier & Hawke’s Bay

Photograph by: Shutterstock

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

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

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

Whereas we had 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, mountaineering, and mountain biking because you’re positive to be showered with spectacular views in each path!

Rotorua’s Journey & Pure Sights

Backside pictures by: Shutterstock

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

  • Geothermal Parks: Naturally, Rotorua is full of a number of geothermal parks; but when I’ll counsel, select from any of those high 3 locations (after which metal your sense of scent!)
    • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland = (NZ$32~ / FREE with Wild Kiwi Excursions) This showcases New Zealand’s most colourful and distinctive lively geothermal parts 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 mountaineering or biking by this towering forest that’s simply on the sting of Rotorua. Relaxation assured, there’s an array of trails that you may select from, regardless of your degree 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 attempt!
  • Zorb: (Begins at NZ$39) Additionally known as ‘globe driving’, this entails a ‘ball of enjoyable’ the place you roll down a hill inside an enormous inflatable ball. Invented in 1994 in New Zealand, this has grow to be 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 simply’ll undergo — might or not it’s zigzag or straight!
  • White Water Rafting: It is a great point to do with your loved ones or mates in Rotorua! This is likely one of the issues I did along with my companion and it was a rare expertise! We went by 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’! Fact be informed, this was my first white water rafting exercise of all time and it was completely an important first.

Rotorua’s Film & Cultural Sights

For this present day, 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 individual 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 a two-hour strolling tour to the totally 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 too can 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 best focus of Māori villages. With that in thoughts, it’s a should to go to not less than one in an effort to immerse your self within the historical past and customs of the Maori folks in New Zealand — a tradition that the nation is very happy with. We went to the most effective villages, Tamaki Maori Village, and among the many wonderful issues that you simply’ll expertise and which I personally cherished had been witnessing the highly effective haka (conventional warfare cry), studying in regards to the Maori historical past, partaking in a hangi (conventional Maori feast), and extra.


Photograph by: Shutterstock

We bid farewell to the wonders of Rotorua and mentioned good day 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 would sound peculiar for a seashore’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 the sand throughout low tide. With this, you’ll be able to simply alternate between cold and hot swimming pools right away!

So armed with our shovels, we looked for a great spot by the seashore and lounged as we watched the sundown on the horizon. Evidently, this was really certainly one of a sort!

From Coromandel to Auckland

Photograph by: Shutterstock

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 lovely 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 baggage 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 crammed 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~) It is a year-round expertise the place you may get actually near whales of various sorts corresponding to sperm whales that are the biggest toothed predators. One of the best factor about this tour is that there’s a 95% charge of sighting success and that is primarily as a result of all of the locals cooperate in sharing data when sighting these massive creatures within the water. If in case you don’t see any whales (which is very unlikely) they are going to gladly situation an 80% refund.
    • Fly possibility = (NZ$180~) For those who’re not good with boat rides or in the event you merely need a fowl’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 surroundings by swimming and taking part in with them — you’ll by no means get a greater likelihood than this! For those who’re not keen on swimming, you might additionally decide 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 lots of enjoyable having fun with our catch so this could be a enjoyable exercise for you too!
  • Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway: (FREE) It is a 3-hour scenic hike stuffed 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. For those who don’t have 3 hours, there are smaller hikes or detours alongside the best way so that you can do.


Photograph by: Shutterstock

After an evening’s relaxation, we proceeded to drive down the Kaikoura coast the place we received to see the harm from the earthquake that occurred in 2016. These roads had been solely lately opened so we may see how exhausting the nation has labored to sort things; however amidst this, we had been enamored by the fantastic thing about the shoreline which regularly had dolphins and seals taking part in 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 Observe for gorgeous views of the Marlborough Sounds.

From Picton to Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

This present day was principally spent driving in order that we may attain certainly one of New Zealand’s most lovely wilderness reserves, the Abel Tasman Nationwide Park!

We truly arrived late within the afternoon, however we crammed 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 truly the filming location within the scene of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” when the dwarves had 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 subsequent day’s adventures!

Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

Photograph by: Shutterstock

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

One of the best 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’ll 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 the Abel Tasma Coast Observe. I’d suggest doing the latter as a way to make stops alongside the gorgeous 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 this present day, 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 stuffed with enchanting alpines, forests, and glacial lakes.
  • Cape Foulwind Walkway: (FREE) It is a spectacular 3.4km one-way coastal stroll that led us by a towering lighthouse, a fur seal breeding colony, and ultimately to Tauranga Bay.
  • Pancake Rocks: (FREE) Because the title suggests, these are limestones that seem like stacked pancakes, the reason for which is thousands and thousands 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 in an effort to get the perfect lighting and think about.


For at this time’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 this present day 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 needed to take a swim however sadly, since we had been right here in autumn, the waters had been already too chilly.

Earlier than the day ends, after we checked into our lodging, we constructed an enormous bonfire by the seashore 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

Photograph by: Shutterstock

On our manner again to Christchurch, we drove throughout the long-lasting Southern Alps which is certainly one of 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 subsequent days below the ‘Southern Voyager’ leg of Wild Kiwi!

» Southern Voyager «

From Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier

Photograph by: Shutterstock

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 had 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 had been harking back to an outdated run-down stone fort).

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

Franz Josef Glacier

Photograph by: Shutterstock

Along with Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier is surrounded by the World Heritage Website park of Te Wahipounamu. As a lush space crammed 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 experience and do a 3-hour hike by probably the most superior glacier ‘ice structure’. Evidently, it is a dear tour to make however it’s an expense that will likely be value your cash and whereas — assured. Although, in the event you solely have the funds for only one tour in your complete Franz Josef go to, that is the expertise you must spend money on. Simply take be aware 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 when you’ve got a decrease funds or if the climate turned out unhealthy (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 in an effort to see the grand terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier.
  • Franz Josef Glacier Sizzling Swimming pools: (NZ$25~) After a day of mountaineering, 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 major out of doors swimming pools that vary from 36 to 41 levels Celsius (if you need privateness, there are additionally personal swimming pools accessible).
  • Fox Glacier Heli Hike: (NZ$440~) For those who somewhat wish to witness the glacier to the south, this heli hike tour to Fox Glacier is an possibility. Very similar to the Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike, this can take you on a experience 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 this present day of our New Zealand highway journey itinerary, we’re lastly making our strategy 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 presents awe-inspiring mirror reflections of Mt. Prepare dinner (the best mountain in New Zealand) and Mt. Tasman. It mainly entails a brief circuit stroll, and if I’ll share a tip, it’s greatest to hike right here throughout daybreak or nightfall in an effort to see the perfect lake reflections of the encompassing snowcapped mountains.
  • Haast Move: A mountain cross discovered within the Southern Alps that’s brimming with lovely brief walks, rainforests, and waterfalls. A few of the breathtaking waterfalls we’ve seen had been Fantail Falls and Thunder Creek Falls.
  • Wanaka: We stopped on this resort city to take a short driving break, and it was such a serene place to lounge or have a picnic in! It was additionally an enchanting expertise to see the ‘lately well-known’ Wanaka Tree (a fence submit that has now was 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 encompassing terrain).
    • NOTE: For those who occur to have a full day to spare in Wanaka, I counsel doing the 16km return monitor to Roy’s Peak that grants views over Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring/Tititea, and its surrounding peaks.

TIP: Whenever 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 series — you’ll solely discover them in Queenstown, so it’s a should to provide them a attempt. Positive sufficient, they do have great-tasting burgers. (However if you need a much less crowded place, Satan Burger is a superb various!).

Milford Sound

A visit to the South Island throughout your New Zealand highway journey itinerary shouldn’t be 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 will likely be value 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 simplest ways to see this all could be by a boat cruise (NZ$80~), however if you wish to take it a step additional, you too can do a helicopter tour over Milford Sound!

NOTE: If you find yourself with some spare time, verify 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 objective 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 ft and boy, it was probably the most wonderful factor that I’ve ever completed in my life!

For a whole record of motion actions, you are able to do, see beneath…

  • Sky Diving: (Begins at NZ$330~) Queenstown is alleged to be the birthplace of tandem skydiving; subsequently, there’s no higher place to do it than right here! And if you need the greatest supplier potential, do it with NZONE Skydive. With their years of operation and highly-trained dive masters, you’re positive to be in good arms if you leap out of an plane at 12,000 or 15,000 ft (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 simply’ll perpetually keep 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 leap at 134m above the Nevis River, and it presents 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 too can package deal this with a roundtrip helicopter experience).
    • Combo = Mix this bungee leaping exercise with a Nevis canyon swing for the final word adrenaline rush!
  • Ledge Swing: (NZ$160~) One more daredevil affair, the Ledge Swing will set you flying 400m throughout and over Queenstown! Positioned on the high of the Skyline Gondola, the Ledge Swing will first take you on a soothing panoramic experience up and after you’re strapped in, they are going to pull the ‘set off’ to ship you swinging over the mountain.
  • Jet Boating: (NZ$150~) That is an adrenaline-pumping exercise that can also be invented by New Zealand. For those who like velocity, spins, and thrills mixed with marvelous water surroundings on the Shotover River, then happening this Queenstown jet boating exercise will likely be value your whereas!
  • Quad Biking: (NZ$240~) That is the perfect enjoyable you’ll be able to have on 4 wheels! For this, you’ll be supplied with a full set of protecting gear and clothes gear as you go on a 2.5-hour experience by 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 experience).
  • Lord of the Rings Tour: (Begins at NZ$185~) Journey by Center-earth and go to the ‘cinescapes’ from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies on this wonderful 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! Undoubtedly, this will likely be a deal with for the franchise followers (like me!).
  • Helicopter Tour: (Begins at NZ$800~) Soar excessive above Queenstown as you make your strategy to the UNESCO-listed space of Te Wahipounamu which encompasses Mt. Prepare dinner, all the best way to Milford Sound which has acres of dense forests, streams, lakes, and towering mountains. From this fowl’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 the most effective vantage factors within the metropolis. For the perfect views and pictures, 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. Prepare dinner

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

As a lot as we’d have cherished to climb the summit, we had been blissful sufficient to do a hike within the valley and one of many standard trails that results in Mt. Prepare dinner was the Hooker Valley monitor. It is a 3-hour hike that goes by 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 received to be one of the vital wonderful mountaineering 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 neglect to exit and do some stargazing within the lovely Aoraki Mount Prepare dinner Nationwide Park.

Again to Christchurch

Photograph by: Shutterstock

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

…And as if we had been nonetheless hungry for extra, we made positive to make some stops alongside the best way earlier than lastly arriving again in Christchurch, and among the spots we dropped in had 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 standard journey insurance coverage suppliers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!
Nevertheless, take be aware {that a} journey insurance coverage’s affordability sometimes means lesser protection; so please all the time be sure that you learn the tremendous print in an effort to decipher which journey insurance coverage firm is the proper match for you and your journey!

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

Come and take a look at this record of the highest issues to do in New Zealand’s North Island and South Island which options the perfect 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 due to Wild Kiwi!

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

NOTE: A few of you’ve been asking me which of the 7-day excursions is greatest to take. Effectively… 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 decide; subsequently, what I can say is that the ‘North Voyager’ presents the perfect of New Zealand’s tradition, the ‘Southern Loop’ takes you on a laid-back journey of types, and the ‘Southern Voyager’ gives the perfect journey and adrenaline selections.

Have you ever seen my newest vlog?

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