New Zealand was such a dream. Like truly one of our favorite family trips to date!!! When I was almost done with our itinerary I had asked followers to share recommendations so I compiled all the most recommended things to do and see below. Also in this post I will be sharing also my travel itinerary. The thing is, I adjusted the first half to what we would have done differently – so our time in the North island is altered a bit and I added on a couple days. The time on the South Island is our EXACT itinerary. You could of course adjust and spend an extra day here or there and take away time somewhere else or skip a spot all together. A couple things I really wish we had time for in South Island were Milford Sounds and Abel Tasman! Hope you enjoy! Have you visited New Zealand, what was your favorite part? Leave any additional tips for people reading this in the comments!
Below is the list of places I was recommended to visit by my instagram followers, including some delicious dining spots.. we didn’t eat out except for a couple meals so I didn’t get to experience any of them but they are there for any foodies out there! We just got groceries and cooked every night.
Here is my ideal travel itinerary for a trip to New Zealand. Keep in mind there is a lot of driving.. but the scenery is stunning and it gives the kiddos some time to be bored and ponder life lol .. but seriously, the driving was no big deal. So while it may sound like a lot, it won’t be too bad!
Fly into Auckland (depending what time of day you leave the states, you will arrive 1-2 days later with the time change). You can rent a car or RV, we did a car because we flew from Auckland to Queenstown and it felt like we weren’t in the North Island long enough to do an RV, but an RV would be amazing!
1. If you need a break after the flight you can drive up and eat at Odette’s Eatery and go to Cornwall Park.
2. Drive up to Coramandel (around a 2hr drive).
3. Spend the day driving the Coramandel Peninsula, stopping at lookouts and camp or airbnb near Cathedral Cove.
*we didn’t have time to do Coramandel and I was super bummed because it looks incredible! On my list for next time 😉
1. Spend the morning at Cathedral Cove.
2. Drive to Hobbiton and take a tour (2.5 hr drive).
3. Sleep somewhere in the area.
1. Visit Blue Spring Putaruru (about 30 min from Hobbiton).
2. Go Zorbing (about 30 min from Blue Spring Putaruru).
3. Explore Rotorua and walk through the redwoods near Hamurana Springs.
4. Drive to Waitomo and sleep there (about 2 hour drive).
1. Visit Waitomo Glow Worm Caves.
2. Go to Marokopa Falls.
3. Drive to Raglan (1.5 hours).
4. Go to Ngarunui Beach for sunset.
5. Grab dinner in town then drive to Auckland (just over 2 hours).
6. Sleep in Auckland.
1. Fly from Auckland to Queenstown.
2. Get RV
*we rented from Britz.. we loved our experience but I also saw a lot of Maui and Jucy campers if you would like to explore those options as well!
3. Get burgers from Fergberger.
4. Drive to Moke Lake.
*There is a dirt road and I was super startled by how aggressive the rattling around was in the RV haha .. I was seriously nervous that something was going to fly out of a cabinet and hit one of the kids in the head (the cabinets do have locks, but one of ours was broken so just double check before going on a dirt road and be prepared for major rattling around)
5. Explore Moke Lake, walk around the lake, visit the horses and go fishing.
6. Camp at the lake overnight (bring cash). You could totally spend two nights at this spot, so incredible.
Important Note : Most campsites in NZ are first come first serve and only accept NZD cash.
1. Explore Moke Lake.
2. Explore Queenstown
*here is an incredibly helpful blog that I got a ton of information from!
3. Drive to Lake Wanaka (so many beautiful lookouts along the way).
4. Sleep at Glendhu Bay Motor Camp, located right on the lake, it has a fun playground and kids can walk to by themselves.
1. Hike Roy’s Peak, we didn’t do the whole thing with kids, probably went up about a mile or so then came back down, but it was such a fun hike for the kids since there are bunnies and sheep along the way.
2. Drive to Mt. Cook.
3. Stay at the White Horse Hill Campground. I recommend at least two nights here , it is also the starting point for several incredible hikes! I like to use All Trails for looking up how long hikes are and I always read comments because previous hikers have great tips on that particular hike and whether it is kid friendly or not
1. Hiking day!
Hike Options :
Hooker Valley Track – 6.5 miles, it is about a 10 min walk, after you cross the second bridge, there is a lookout where you can see Mt. Cook, that is a good spot to turn around if hiking with littles. This one is a MUST DO!
Tasman Glacier Lookout – 15-20min walk.
Kea Point – 1.8 – 1 hr.
Sealy Tarns – Whitehorse hill campground – 2200 step, very difficult, I don’t recommend with kids.
1. Drive to Lake Tekapo it is an insanely beautiful drive!
2. Stay at Lake Tekapo motels and holiday park, there are tons of amazing little walks right from the campsite.
3. Go to Tekapo Springs for a swim (all heated pools and walking distance from camp ground).
1. Explore Tekapo!
2. Mount John Walkway – 5 miles there and back
3. White Bluffs of Tekapo walk – 3.3 miles
4. Visit Lake Takapi, it is 30 minutes away.
5. Cowans Walkway
1. Drive to Akaroa
2. Stop and do the Hikewai Reserve trail, it is so beautiful!
3. Stay at Akaroa TOP 10 Holiday Park it has an ocean view and a fun park for kids to play at.
1. Drive to Christchurch
2. Do the International Antarctic Center (right by airport)
3. Fly Home
Things I wanted to add to our itinerary but didn’t have time:
1. Abel Tasman National Park
2. Milford Sounds
So much more but those were the two main ones I was bummed to miss! So much to see the next time we go. What is the place you would most like to visit in New Zealand, or if you have visited what place would you most recommend?