New Zealand Road Trip

42 places · 12 days
Trang Xômali ·last year
New Zealand Road Trip Thumbnail

This country has so much to offer !!

Here’s a short 12-days initerary suitable for travellers who love doing a road trip of many beautiful stops and fun activities with a touch of adventure :)

We have managed to fit into our schedule as many lookouts and beautiful stopover spots as we can in this short amount of time.

Driving around only some parts of both the North and South Islands of NZ in 11 days took us approx. 3,000 km (around ~1,000 for North Island and double that for South Island)

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


“just a stopover” AirBnB

Just as the title suggests, we landed in Auckland at 2 AM local time, picked up a sim card, our rental car and definitely needed a good stopover sleep to feel pumped in the morning.

~ $50/cabin and YES there’s access to host’s house for kitchen and bathroom!

Oh and it’s very close to the airport !

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Auckland, New Zealand

Mt Eden

Ready for our first day in NZ.

Around 2 km walk to Mt Eden to see a good view of the city.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Mount Eden Summit

Puhi Huia Road, Mount Eden, Auckland 1024, Ne...
4.7 rating

Kuirau Park - Mud Pools and Government garden

3 hours drive down South to get sunk in a city with a very unique rotten egg-like smell . No kidding!! But it was impressive with what’s here to see and ofcourse smell . Your 5 senses are really working hard around here!

Kairau Park is a public park where natural thermal mud pools are active and noone comes here without having their feet dipped into the natural hot foothbath, pretty cool!

Not too far from the mud pools, 5’ drive to the Government gardens and wander around for some city treasures.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Kuirau Park - Mud Pools

Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
4.5 rating

Check in AirBnB

Conveniently 5 minutes away from the centre of Rotorua city

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Rotorua, New Zealand

Dinner at Eat Streat

A very delicious NZ dinner with local beer

Opps forgot to take photo of a glass of beer here

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Eat Streat

Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
4.3 rating

Check out the Redwoods Forest

Treewalk is available in this forest here, especially night treewalk session is quite popular. Unfortunately we had other exciting plans ;)

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Redwoods Treewalk

Long Mile Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua 3010, ...
4.6 rating

Twilight Paddleboarding with Glowworm

This was absolutely a fun and memorable twilight activity that we did! 🤩

Impressively, I was so damnn good for not falling into the lake at all, not even when we had to back down and got through the tiny tiny caves, not even when the Sun set off to bed and all we could look for was a shed of light to head back in. 🤭

Ohh and the magnificent glowworms, especially when it got soo dark , it was amazing to see them upclose to your face and right above your head , wow !!

And ofcourse these can only be seen with your 👀 because iPhone couldn’t really capture a thing in that darkness.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Rotorua, New Zealand

Geothermal Wonderland and Lady Knox Geyser

30’ drive to this wonderful and very well reserved wonderland.

Heaps of impressive information on the amazing creations of stinky, smoky and colorful craters, mudpools, geysers and volcanic zones.

$28/pp for both the park and geyser eruptions’ entries.

Note the Lady Knox Geyser eruption ONLY occurs at 10:30 am daily hence we decided to have an early start. This also gave us a chance to take great photos without crowds in the park :) Win win !!

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


201 Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua 3073, New Zea...
4.5 rating

Huka Falls

A lot of natural hydro power going on along Waikato River, this is one of them @HukaFalls

With 220,000 litres of water barreling per sec, YES its for everyone second Wow just woW !!

Love the rumbling sound of nature 💓

A short stopover break for on-the-go lunch at Lake Taupo - Tokaanu Wharf on the way to our next destination.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Taupo, New Zealand

Three sister and elephant Rocks

Got attracted to this black sand beach for its name - Three sisters and Elephant Rock

The black sand was amazingly formed due to the spreading of lava from the volcanoes, love it because my feet look so white compared to the contrast on white sand beaches 🤣

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Three Sisters and the Elephant Rock

Clifton Road, Tongaporutu 4378, New Zealand
4.9 rating

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge

3hr 30' drive to catch the sunset here with Mt Taranaki view (if you're lucky). We weren't due to the low clouds, yet still very beautiful !

You can have a very nice walk along the river here

New Plymouth

New Plymouth, New Zealand

Check in AirBnB

We headed to our accommodation located 30 minutes away from Te Rewa Rewa Bridge.

Here we met an awesome Aussie host with absolutely amazing views around every single corner of the house. More importantly, this is only 500 metres away from the start of our early morning hike track.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Mangorei 4371, New Zealand

Mt Taranaki - Mangorei Track to Pouakai Hut

You mustnot miss this incredibly gorgeous location in the North Island!

So we got up at 3 am for this spectacular track through the rugged range of rolling hills covered in sub-alpine forest. Crazy couples travel together 😂 It was for the sunrise view but with how unfit I am, we took longer than we thought !! It was advanced okkk..

And it was absolutely WORTH it !

Unfortunately , it was quite windy today we couldn’t get a perfect reflective photo of Mt Taranaki from the Tarn, still stunning though, so glad I added this into our itinerary.

Trust me! Dien knows how many times I wanted to give up along the way and return but I unbelievably made it!! A total of approximately 12km challenging track of basically stairs upwards to an elevation of 637 metres , 😮 we got back to our accomodation at 10am , so approx. 6-7 hours including breakfast and photo time 🙂

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Additional details:

Egmont National Park offers many beautiful, well established and maintained tracks. If you have time, it's definitely worthy to spend a few days here. This track is one of the shorter/easier tracks out of all.

There is a unique and cheap accommodation option at the Hut for adventurous travelers if you take Mongorei Track and decide to stay to explore many other tracks around. Refer to the link below:

Mount Taranaki

Mt. Taranaki, Taranaki 4391, New Zealand
4.8 rating

Wellington City and Check in AirBnB

4 and a half hours long drive down to Wellington and enjoy this busy city.

We wanted to experience public transport here in NZ so decided to hop on a bus after checking in our accommodation to the popular Cuba St for dinner. Public transport is quite expensive but I understand why after seeing the jam-packed traffic flows.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Wellington, New Zealand

Interislander Ferry Terminal - Heading to South Island

Up for a nice morning breakfast and coffee with a view for an 8 am check-in Interislander Ferry to Picton - South island.

A spectacular 3 hrs ferry cruise (quite fancy and high class I'd say) across the Cook Strait and spectacular Marlborough Sounds.

Here's a link to a short 3 minutes video of our highlights on the beautiful North Island of NZ (3 full-day trip, too short I know ..)

Interislander Wellington

1 Aotea Quay, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Z...
4.4 rating

Drive to Hokitika

Another 4 and a half hours drive from Picton to Hokitika, ended up being more than this.

Simply because I had to stop so many freaking times - it is so damn beautiful, everywhere.

- Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times -

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Picton, New Zealand

Hokitika Gorge

Magnificent granite gorge with milky blue-green pools 😍Another an hour and a half drive from Punakaiki blowholes, then a short 15 minutes walk for this view <3

Oh but the sandflies 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♂️😣 I couldn’t stand there for so long and so impatient for photos

So just a heads up, Bushman insect repellent and even the wrist band/ repellent stick-on pads don’t work with these stubborn ones and they do hurt like hell .. for a few days !!

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Hokitika, New Zealand

Check in AirBnB @Franz Josef Glacier

What a day full of driving but again, absolutely worth it! NZ is a country of road trips !

The last 2 hours drive of the day to check in our accommodation for the next 2 nights.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier 7886, New Zealand

Lake Matheson

A morning walk to Reflection Island was pleasant - just a perfect reflective mirror scenery , the silence and tranquility of nature was so surreal !

There are 4 pretty easy walks with fabulous views around the lake. Gotta love the beautiful smell and sound of nature around here. After the walk, we gave ourselves a treat of delightful cups of Cappucino :)

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

West Coast

West Coast, New Zealand

Quad Bike & Heli Hike

A new year with a new memorable adventure!

t’was a great fun, thrilled and exciting experience ! You’re in for 2 hours of bumbing, water and mud splashing, body twisting and cheeky turns so if you have motion sickness like I do, be a rider not a passenger!!

Riding this massive (compared to our sizes) through a variety of terrain including Jurassic like rainforest, ancient glacial riverbed and grassland.

And guess what, it was raining on the way out but rain just makes everything better! Get dirty and muddy to deserve absolutely spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the famous Franz Josef Glacier

"if you don't like the rain, don't come to the West Coast" - a local said

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier 7886, New Zealand

Weekend Mass

Franz Josef Glacier is a town of approximately 300 locals. Every Sunday Mass, there are about 8-10 people, less if it rains. The Priest was playing the keyboard, singing hymns

and ofcourse conducting a friendly mass knowing 8 out of 12 attendees were tourists (since he only knew 4 locals' faces).

Our Lady Of The Alps - Catholic Church

Franz Josef Glacier 7886, New Zealand
4.3 rating

Drive to Wanaka - Stop by Blue Pools Track

On the way down to Wanaka, we stopped for another short track (1 hour return) to Blue Pools - I know, not as blue as we expected (last photo is how it should be like most other days), apparently due to the covering of low clouds and yesterday’s heavy rainfall.

So these pools of flowing deep clear and pure glacier water should be really blue when the sky is clear 🙂

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Haast Pass

Haast Pass, Otago 9382, New Zealand
4.5 rating

Other stops along the way

As planned, I intended to have our time schedules planned sparingly just because I know we would stop and stop and stop every few kilometres along the way.

If you visit the South Island of NZ, Don’t miss out a road trip down South to Wanaka from the West Coast or vice versa !! It’s a beautiful drive past Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka with Mother Nature 😍

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Makarora 9382, New Zealand

Rippon Winery

We've booked in for a wine tasting session (prior booking required). It's a private winery that holds free tasting daily for a small group. Heightened ourselves up with some alcohol here !

Unfortunately, we were too into the history and winemaking stories from an attractive lady, we did not take any photos of the session, but only the views , again !

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Mount Aspiring National Park

South Island 9382, New Zealand
4.7 rating

Check in AirBnB

Such a unique experience! We wanted to see if I can travel in a campervan for our next time in NZ, so managed to book this accommodation style and it was just awesome OMG ! I mean, this is pretty fancy and comfortable.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Lake Hawea

Lake Hawea 9382, New Zealand


The famous and iconic7 #thatwanakatree !

It’s unbelievable to see what tourists do here just to get a photo, a couple even swam to the iconic tree & climbed on this lone-standing willow tree for photos.

Are you for real? 😮Please don't do that.

#wanakanz #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Wanaka, New Zealand

Church of the Good Shepherd - Night & Day

It was indescribably spectacular, honestly, it’s like showers of stars falling upon you! The vivid stars , the Milky Way, you name it all 😍😍😍 it’s something not to be missed !!! The best infinite night skies I’ve ever seen ! Obviously I cannot take photos of the dark night sky with my iPhone 🙂

Lake Tekapo is renowned for the best location

for stargazing in NZ as it is the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world, therefore expect many tourists, especially even at 12 midnight !!

Located right by side of Lake Tekapo and the ranges of mountains, the Church of the Good Shepherd was built in 1935 as a memorial to the early settlers of the Mackenzie Country.

It does bring you a strong sense of spirituality as you walk in the church.

“Somehow the setting and the church combine to speak of God to those who enter and pause in the midst of their busy lives.” – Peter Hurricks.

#throughmylens #iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Wanaka Lavender Farm

- If Rosemary is for the spirit, then Lavender is for the soul - #soothing #lavenderscent

What else can I say?! I am in heaven 💓

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Wanaka, New Zealand

Hook Wanaka - Lake to plate

An amazing experience, though I am not patient for fishing! Took us about an hour to catch this salmon (1.8kg)

Gotta admit it's the first time I are a raw piece of salmon, just because hubby caught it so I did him a favor, but definitely the best piece of raw fish I've ever tried.

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Wanaka, New Zealand

Clay Cliff

A true geological wonder! Too sunny and hot I couldn’t walk the track 😆

The amazing formations create deep ravines and pinnacles eroded into ancient river gravels and lake silts situated on the active Ostler Fault Line

Note that it's a private land but accesible with a donation box at the front gate, we were lucky to have met the owner, he's super nice!

#travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Clay Cliffs view point

Omarama 9412, New Zealand
4.8 rating

Drive to Lake Pukaki viewing point and Check in Air BnB

Just as you drive past Wanaka towards Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo, there's something about this area. The atmosphere changed suddenly and gave me a very strong spiritual sense and warmth at heart ! No lie, it's true!

Note that it's very difficult to find accommodation that is close to Lake Tekapo, so book in early.

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand
4.9 rating

Lake Tekapo

After checking in, we decided to check out what's so special about Lake Tekapo, you'd see much more tourists, especially Chinese tourists here.

Lake Tekapo offers turquoise blue glacier water with a picturesque backdrop of stunning landscapes. Really, you need to see the color of the lake with your own eyes to fully adore its beauty

Unfortunately, we just missed out the beautiful lupin flower season, only a few still standing strong 💪

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo7


Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Mt. John Summit Observatory

Admire the Earth’s beauty , photos can noway describe how picturesque this panoramic view is ...

Note: there's 10$ fee and there's a bit of a queue since there are only limited parking slots up at the Summit, so be sure to spare some time

Alternatively, there's a 3 hours average hike up the Summit

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking

High Country Horse trekking with beautiful Lake Tekapo view , definitely a great experience! Horses weeing, pooing and even farting along the way, we watched it all 🤣

It would have been better amongst a field of lupins and crossing the lake, damn it, we just missed the lupin flower blooms by 2 weeks and apparently the recent flood had caused the lake water to be a bit high for the horses to cross, though still great ! :)

Booking required:

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Lake Pukaki & Lake Tekapo Scenic Sightseeings

Lake Tekapo is definitely a location of heaven. We could easily spend another week here.

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Drive to Queenstown via Lindis Pass

Driving down South to Queenstown via Lindis Pass was an absolutely beautiful route. There are scattering signs of lupins though the season had passed. Then ofcourse , many lavender fields blooming in happiness towards the end of January.

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Lindis Pass

Lindis Pass, Otago 9382, New Zealand
4.6 rating

Cardrona Bra Fence and the popular hotel

If you take this route down to Queenstown, you'd never miss this favourite spot. Leave a bra if you feel like and ain't embarrassed about :)

Stop by at Cardrona hotel for lunch, it's got pretty good reviews .


Cardrona 9381, New Zealand

Other stops towards Arrowtown

Mother Earth is truly giving New Zealand her very best !! 😇

I cannot stress this advice enough! Leave plenty of time for midway breaks and stopovers, especially in the South Island.

Pay attention to street signs for lookout and photography spots.

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Arrowtown, New Zealand

Check in AirBnB

What a little gem !!! Honestly the BEST of the best airBnB stay I’ve ever experienced !!

About 20 minutes drive to Queenstown, this is located in Arrowtown - a charming and delighful gold rush village . If you come here, make sure you have a stay at this beautiful place !!

Every little thing at this place is handmade, from little thing like air freshener, lotion , ... decorations, to their amazingly warm and fresh breakfasts made everyday for us !!!

Lesleigh and Mark are not only dedicated into making their guests feel like home, they are knowledgeable , wise and give us heaps of local tips.

More than just that, its with a view of Coronet Peaks and The Remarkables from the windows ! Amazing!

Cannot thank enough for making our trip extra special and memorable ! Oh and Bundy - a 5 years old Toy Poodle 😍😍😍😍


Arrowtown, New Zealand


Have a bite of this giant burger in this cool and funky atmosphere and you’ll know why Fergburger is known as the world’s best burger , listed as a MUST DO in Queenstown

The wait of course, around 20 minutes for us but it was defs worth it!

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Queenstown, New Zealand

Milford Sound

You must NOT miss this during your South Island trip! You booked a premium small group coach-cruise-coach tour but other available options include: helicopter or coach-cruise-flight etc.

Coming up close to Stirling Falls and get wet, watching 🐬 dancing, and seals feeding was fun and all but it’s freezing cold !!

The magnificent creations of Milford Sound become the only one in two places on Earth that consists of temperate rainforest and glaciers, giving its unique and phenomenal landscapes and atmosphere, somewhat miserable in my own opinions.

We got carried away and miscounted how many waterfalls there are .. lol well, there are many many of them ..

Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in the world - located in Fiordland National Park towards Tasman Sea, occupied 10% of the entire NZ’s lands.

Its average rainfall is 9 metres annually (around 200 days a year) due to the mixed climates in such micro environment. The amount of rain is also partly due the hot air coming over from Australia .

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo

Milford Sound

Milford Sound, New Zealand
4.8 rating

Queenstown Skyline Gondola, Luge and Lunch Buffet

A nice treat for both of us as we come closer to the end of our short trip !

Beautiful buffet lunch and the luge was super fun 😆

Though we had other plans scheduled for earlier in the morning (listed below), we were too damn exhausted from yesterday's trip so had to pass, til next time.

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Queenstown, New Zealand


Jump on a Jetboat for 360 degrees spins and splash along Shotover River was awesome! Queenstown is a town of adventures, so you wouldn't want to miss this, for light adventure choices. And of course bungee jump or more for moderate to more :)


Queenstown, New Zealand


A short drive to Glenorchy, such a beautiful drive. It's just so peaceful to just take this drive around danw, photos don't do justice.

Here you find more glimpse of the iconic willow trees and sandbar if you're lucky or check for low tides.

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Glenorchy 9372, New Zealand

Check in AirBnB

Moved to another AirBnB, just because it looks quite cute, located right at the base of The Remarkables. Also, it's a bit closer to the airport for checkout the next day.


Queenstown, New Zealand


Another must-do unique experience in an outdoor cedar-lined hot tub with stunning views of the Shotover River (seeing many extreme Jetboat rides) and mountain ranges,

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Queenstown, New Zealand

The Remarkables Park Red Barn Market

To end our beautiful trip, we had a $12 Vietnamese pork roll 😛

This market opens every Saturday, lots of local goodies

#iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Queenstown, New Zealand

Goodbye NZ !

NZ is definitely a well worth country to visit, there, your soul’ll really be touched and soothed by the power of nature and it only boosts your motivation and perseverance in this diverse and at times difficult life

- It’s not the destination where you end up but the mishaps and memories you create along the way -

Check out my highlight video of South Island in the following link :

#farewellNZ #iphonegraphy #travelholic #wanderlust #purenewzealand #nzmustdo


Queenstown, New Zealand
Copy & Customize
Be the first to write a comment

Have A Story To Share?

Share and connect with the global travel community