(click on the map to enlarge it)
We started your tour on the South Island in Christchurch
and travelled across the country up to Auckland.
We would definitely also recommend to make a one way trip from Christchurch to Auckland because of a much better time and tour planning possibilites.
Day 1: Arrival in Christchurch.
A little bit excited because of the big Camper and driving
left, we first searched a Camping and rested for a while.
Then we took the bus to the city. The city centre is a really nice little old one with lots of bars and restaurant, all in walking distance.
We started our tour south to Oamaru, a little village but famous for the yellow eyed penguins. On the camping we were able to book a really nice tour with a little bus going to the 2 main spots for watching these little creatures. Be aware, that this can only be done in the late afternoon when the penguins come back from the sea.
Day 3: Dunedin / Otago Island
A short way down to Dunedin on the Otago Island side (there is a Holiday park camping directly at the the east entrance). (Make a short stop at the Moraki Boulders on the half way down to Dunedin)
Otago is a famous summer vacation spot with a Albatross
colony at the end of the
Island. But attention. - to drive there takes 2h because of the narrow roads.
Also be aware that the colony tours are closed in October-November because the
Albatrosses are nesting during this time. So it makes no sense in driving there during
this time of year.
Much more interesting is the Sand fly beach. The little walk takes 30min one way to the beach where you can find some Sea lions at the beach, which was really amazing to see these animals in free nature.
Dunedin itself is not really one of the most interesting places to be, but when you go there visit the Speight's Brewery for Dinner and good beer - ask for a tasting tray!
Day 4: trip to Te Anau
A long 5h trip directly to Te Anau. Everything in between
is not worth a stop. DON'T waste your time to visit Invercargill, like it is
written in all Tour guides also!
The trip to Te Anau is a really nice one, when you first start seeing the mountains. Te Anau itself is a small village with a lot of restaurants, and an excellent Indian one! From here you can make a lot of activities, which can all be booked at the camping.
Day 5: Te Anau - Doubtful Sound and Keplar Trek
We took the water plane and flew over Doubtful Sound and the whole area which was rally amazing. The offered Kanu trips are also quite nice but takes a whole day. We decided to make a little Hike along the famous Keplar trek. From Te Anau you can walk on various skill levels, always with the possibility to drive back with a bus. Ask for Bus schedules at the visitor centre first. Or take the Water Taxi and walk back to Te Anau which was a fantastic easy walk through the jungle like forest.
Day 6: Drive to Milford Sound
After some shopping and brunch we started our way to
Milford Sound. Streets are ok to drive with a big camper, but in the end it became
really narrow - but no problem.
Why to drive in the afternoon to Milford Sound? Well we decided to drive there and stay over night at the Parking there, what a lot of people do. You will be the first in the morning, when mostly the weather is nicer and there a much less people there.
Down at the parking you have a really cool bar with very good food and Billiard. Also Toilets for the night - and this for free.
Day 7: Milford Sound
9:30pm we took the smallest boat company which we would
recommend to take, because they also look after Penguins and seals. And with the
small boat they can approach them really close.
After a fantastic boat trip we drove back to Te Anau and then further to Queenstown. Don't drive the main road to Queenstown but the smaller one directly over the mountains. An amazing view is guaranteed.
In the evening we went up with the Gondola and had a fantastic view over the whole valley. In the back the Remarkables, a famous Lord of the Rings scenery.
Day 8: Queenstown
In Queenstown you can make every water sport or Bungee you
can image. Most famous one is the Rafting at the Shotover river, which is the
fastest one in NZ. That's what we decided to do, and it was really a cool fun.
Note: When you are in the city and you will visit the Bar Minus5 - don't do it. The entry fee is too high. BUT the bar beside has some windows you can have a look at the bar itself, which is fine enough.
After Rafting we drove further North, because one evening in Queenstown was enough for us. We headed to Wanaka, also over the Mountains. Wanaka is a really beautiful place to stay a night. but we decided to drive further to a free camping directly at the lake side. This place, nearly at the end of the sea was a fantastic spot to stay. With fireplaces directly at the water side.
Day 9: Fox Glacier
The next day we started early to the Fox Glacier over the
Haast pass. There we were still good in time to book a Glacier walking tour.
This was a nice experience and recommended to do. We also think that the tours
on the Fox Glacier are a little bit better than on the other glacier Franz-Josef
As Camping place we drove to another free spot at the beach side. The street is unsealed but good to drive. Down at the beach you can park your camper and have the night at the beach itself. In the morning, if you have good weather you will have an unbelievable view from the beach to the Glaciers and mountains.
Day 10: Franz-Josef + Punakaiki
In the morning we visited the Franz-Josef Glacier but we
didn't take a trip onto it. One glacier is enough.
After this we went on Punakaiki, which is a really long drive again. There you can watch the Pancake Rocks with it's blow holes.
Day 11: Buller Gorge + Abel Tasman
Another long trip but nice. It will lead you through the
Buller Gorge a very nice river valley.
But our goal was the Abel Tasman. One Highlight from our trip. We drove directly to Marahau where all the Kayak tours and Water taxis starts. We booked a whole day Kayak Tour with a local company for the next morning.
Day 12: Abel Tasman
In the morning the Kayak Tours started. This was
incredible. The water blue and clear, and the beaches with white sand. With the
Kayak you drove along the coast, with seals swimming around you. The whole day
In the evening we drove to the closest bigger village Motueka for Camping and Dinner. If we would have more time it really would be worth going to the Golden Beach in the Abel Tasman or do some hiking. This place is gorgeous.
Day 13: Nelson - Picton - Blenheim - Kaikura
Another long trip, but we got used to this. The small
cities Nelson - Picton - Blenheim are only worth driving through. but nothing
Kaikura is different. A small summer village with bars at the beach and one speciality: Swimming with Dolphins. This was one most exciting experience I ever made. Dolphins swimming so close around you - unbelievable. BUT you should book as early as possible. Best would be to book one day in advanced. (During summer time you have to book 1-2 month in advanced, because there is only one company allowed to offer this trips)
Day 14: Kaikura
Today we did swimming with seals and Dolphins. And as
mentioned an incredible experience.
The same day in the afternoon we had to go back to Picton, because we booked the Ferry the next morning.
Day 15: Picton Ferry
No problem to get onto the Ferry. Some relaxing ride over
to Wellington through the nice Marlborough Sounds