Best New Zealand Road Trip Itineraries: Quirky’s Picks

With hundreds of NZ road trip itineraries available online, finding the perfect one for your campervan journey can take up a lot of precious planning time!

To save you from scanning lengthy itinerary blogs and comparing routes, we’ve handpicked our favourites, catering to different starting locations and trip lengths. Plus, we’ve created an interactive Google Map for each!

While we’re big believers in enjoying campervan travel at a leisurely pace to truly absorb your breathtaking surroundings, sometimes time constraints don’t allow for staying put for more than a day or two. After all, there’s so much to see! Whether you’re seeking a quick 10-day escape across one island, a two-week NZ tour, or a longer, comprehensive NZ van trip, read on!

New Zealand Road Trip Itineraries (North and South Island)

New Zealand in 2 weeks (Auckland – Christchurch)

Only have two weeks to explore the country? This itinerary is for you! From wine tasting on luxurious Waiheke Island to jet boating in New Zealand’s adventure capital, this route showcases the geographical diversity our country has on offer.

Note that this itinerary is one-way. To visit every destination and ultimately return to your starting point, you’ll want to leave aside an extra two or three days!

New Zealand in 4 weeks (Auckland loop)

With four weeks in a campervan, you can cover lots of ground while also enjoying some chilled out days to savour your surroundings!

This itinerary spans the central North Island, the rugged West Coast, the mountainous South, and loops back to Auckland via Kaikoura and Taranaki.

NZ in 4-8 weeks (Christchurch or Auckland loop)

Lucky you! With more than four weeks to spend in New Zealand, you’ll see a vast amount of the country, from touristy spots to more remote treasures. While this circular itinerary was designed to start in Auckland, it also works in reverse, so you can start in Christchurch or any point along the journey.

Once again, remember to keep a few days aside to retune to your starting point and drop off your van. It’s totally up to you whether you take the same route back, or take the East Coast route to check out the North Island’s gorgeous Bay of Plenty.

North Island Road Trip Itineraries

North Island in 10 days (Auckland – Wellington)

Explore some of the North Island’s top tourist attractions, such as Cathedral Cove, Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves, and the Tongariro Crossing in less than two weeks!

You can either continue on to the South Island or add two additional days to this itinerary for the round trip! Maybe you’d like to stop by the Bay of Plenty and the mighty Hawkes Bay on your way back, or maybe you’d like to take the same roads back for familiarity’s sake.

North Island in 10 days (Wellington loop)

This 10-day Wellington loop is route is the perfect little introduction to the North Island. Starting and finishing in the capital, it takes you from the cool, coffee-loving capital of Wellington through Napier, Rotorua, Waitomo, and Tongariro National Park. Don’t forget your swimsuit and hiking boots!

North Island in 2 weeks (Auckland loop)

Experience the (typically) warmer half of the North Island with this Auckland loop itinerary. Spend time exploring the sparkling white sandy beaches of the Coromandel and the striking volcanoes of Tongariro and Egmont National Parks.

North Island in 2 weeks (Wellington loop)

Start in windy Wellington and explore the volcanic landscapes of the central North Island before heading up to the stunning Bay of Islands. Then, return back to the capital via the Taranaki region.

South Island Road Trip Itineraries

South Island in 7 days (Christchurch loop)

Experience the awe-inspiring landscapes of the South Island, encompassing glaciers, fiords, turquoise lakes, braided rivers, and majestic peaks, on a circular route from Christchurch to Queenstown and back. This loop passes through the Mackenzie Basin in one direction and up the West Coast in the other.

Note: Be prepared for a LOT of driving. We only recommend doing this route if you don’t mind a fast pace and really want to see as much as possible.

South Island in 10 days (Christchurch loop)

With epic landscapes out the window every couple of hours and two stationary days, you won’t mind the few long days of driving on this route.

South Island in 2 weeks (Nelson or Christchurch loop)

Whether you fly in to Christchurch and start from there, or take the ferry over to Picton from Wellington and then start in Nelson, this loop is packed with insane views and almost takes you right to the bottom of the island! You’ll go down as far as the wild coastal corner of the Catlins and wind back up through the Southern Alps-surrounded adventure towns to the west.

Looking to rent a gorgeous campervan to complete your New Zealand itinerary in? Check out our fleet of self-contained campers here!

Related posts