Auckland to Christchurch - 14-18 Day Itinerary

So not sure where to visit in NZ!? You aren't alone!

There's so many areas of beauty, roads with magnificent scenery and places to visit it's a hard task working out how to string them all together. Fortunately we have a few options that might help guide you around this awesome country.

Auckland Base to Waihi Beach, 191kms, 2 hours 30mins

With 9 kms of sweeping white sand Waihi Beach is one of New Zealand’s safest surf beaches.


Waihi to Rotorua, 133 kms, 1 hour 47mins, via Tauranga

Rotorua is known for it’s Maori cultural activities, geothermal areas, mountain biking, all kinds of adrenaline style activities and it’s beautiful Blue & Green Lakes.


Rotorua to Taupo, 80kms, 1 hour 10 mins.

Rotorua > Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is a vast volcanic crater lake, the area boasts world-class mountain bike trails and one of the most famous one-day walks in the world – the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.


Taupo to Wellington, 372kms, 4 hours 30mins

Via the Desert Road, New Zealand’s capital and home of the Beehive, which houses our parliament. Also famous for a vibrant creative culture, great food, wine, craft beer and coffee.


Wellington to Picton (Ferry) Between 3 hours 10mins and 3 hours 30mins.

Stunning views from the Ferry.


Picton to Nelson, 134kms, 1 hour 47mins.


Nelson is the Oldest City in the South Island and 2nd Oldest settled city in NZ. Nelsons diverse geography takes in long golden beaches, untouched forest and rugged mountains.


Nelson to Greymouth, 309kms, 4 hours 20mins.

West Coast

Travel through the Scenic Buller Gorge followed by Westport to Greymouth which has magnificent coastal scenery, including the Pancake rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki. Greymouth itself has a gold mining and jade hunting past with Shantytown Heritage Park a re-created gold rush town.


Greymouth to Glacier Country via Hokitika Gorge, Franz Josef, 177km, 2 hours 30mins.

Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Westland National Park, area of outstanding beauty. Drive along this ruggedly beautiful coastline, look out for seals and the famous pounamu boulders.


Glacier Country to Wanaka, 286kms 3 hours 45 mins.

Travel through the Haast Pass and around Lakes Hawea and Wanaka. There are several short walks along this route, if you wish to get out and stretch your legs.


Wanaka to Queenstown, 117kms 1 hour 40 mins.


Tip – stop at Arrowtown on the way. There are many activities in the Wanaka/Queenstown area so make sure you check the links.                                                                                                                                               


Tip – Milford Sound: to maximize your time, a good option instead of self-driving is to take a day trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown through one of the tourism operators (e.g. Southern Discoveries).


Queenstown to Lake Tekapo, 256kms, 3 hours 5mins.

From Queenstown travel along the Lindis Pass, through Twizel and on to the Mount Cook National Park, Lake Pukaki followed by Lake Tekapo.


Lake Tekapo to Christchurch, 226kms, 2 hours 52 mins.


Travel through Geraldine to Christchurch.

Additional Info:

There are many beautiful and must-see locations along your route, where you may wish to stay an extra night, e.g. Rotorua or Queenstown etc.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Travelling in an unknown area can be daunting, especially when you are running low on petrol. Take the stress out of travelling by using CamperMate, the free New Zealand Travel app that shows you nearby locations of everything you’ll need when travelling in a campervan from petrol stations to dump stations.

ItinerariesRichard Pitt