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Auckland to Christchurch Road Trip Itinerary

Discovering New Zealand via road trip could be one of the best experiences you will have to date. New Zealand’s culture, nature and people add to your experience and can give you a whole new look to travel. Only located a 5-minute drive from Auckland airport, Travellers Autobarn has got you covered for your road trippin’ needs. We have made it easy for you and taken some of the highlights of your Auckland to Christchurch road trip itinerary and put them together so all you need to do is collect your campervan and get driving!

If you want to see New Zealand, and see it properly, you should plan a road trip exploring both the North Island and the South Island. Each island is vastly diverse from the other, but the thing they do have in common, is they are both perfect destinations for campervan travel. But with so many great landscapes to see, mountains to climb, and places to camp, it can be a little hard to choose where to prioritise, especially if you are short on time.

We have put together this 21-day Auckland to Queenstown road trip itinerary, highlighting our favourite must-see destinations along the way.

If you’re a lover of all things outdoors and nature, a campervan road trip in New Zealand’s South Island is the perfect holiday for you! And there’s no better way to explore the great outdoors of New Zealand than by hiring a campervan and hitting the open roads.

Although you could spend weeks here, a 10-day road trip in the South Island will be enough to have an incredible experience and visit the best of the island’s highlights. But with so much to see and do in this relatively small island, where should you plan to visit? We’ve put together a 10-day Christchurch to Christchurch road trip itinerary will all our favourite destinations, starting and ending the journey in Christchurch. As a bonus, we’ve also included our favourite campgrounds in each location.

The best way to truly experience the extent of New Zealand’s unique landscapes is via road trip. The New Zealand North Island has plenty to offer – beaches, mountains, lakes, most amazing food – you will not be disappointed with our Auckland to Auckland road trip itinerary.

This road trip itinerary will show you some of our favourite spots to include when you begin planning your road trip adventure.

If you are ready to embark on a trip around New Zealand, exploring by campervan is an amazing way to see the very best of the country. There’s no better way of immersing yourself in New Zealand’s incredible outdoors and nature than staying in some of the hundreds of incredible campgrounds the country has to offer. Many of these campgrounds can be found right at the foot of a famous landmark, or within a stunning national park under the starriest skies you’ve ever seen.

When it comes to choosing where to stay, your options are plentiful – so plentiful in fact, that it can become hard to choose! We have done the hard work for you and narrowed it down to some of our favourites. Here are a few of the very best campgrounds in New Zealand – whether you are exploring the North Island, the South Island, the popular cities of Auckland, Christchurch or Queenstown.

Best-Campgrounds-in-New-Zealand-1

Best Campgrounds in the North Island

Boasting beautiful untouched landscapes, ancient forests, and a diverse range of natural ecosystems; it’s no wonder North Island is on so many people’s bucket lists. If you’re making your way across the island, you’ll need somewhere to stay for a few nights.

We’ve combed through the good and bad to narrow down only the very best places to stay. This is your new go-to list for the best New Zealand’s North Island campsites:

  • Matauri Bay Holiday Park
  • Urupukapuka Bay Campsite
  • Matai Bay Campsite
  • Opoutere Coastal Camping
  • Camp Waipu Cove

Learn more about these 5 best North Island Campgrounds, including the amenities they offer and how you can book.

 Opoutere-Coastal-Camping

Best Campgrounds in the South Island

When you think about New Zealand’s South Island, there’s no doubt that stunning mountains, starry skies, and spectacular fjords are what come to mind. The South Island is a nature lover’s paradise – and that’s why camping or travelling in a campervan is the perfect way to explore the stunning outdoors here.

There is certainly no shortage of fantastic campgrounds on the South Island – almost so many it can be difficult to choose. We have narrowed it down for you, to five of the very best campgrounds listed below:

  • Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park
  • Lake Pukaki Freedom Camping
  • Purakaunui Bay Campsite
  • Queenstown Holiday Park & Motels Creeksyde
  • Orange Sheep Campervan Park (Franz Josef)

Learn more about these 5 Best Campgrounds in the South Island and reserve your site today.

 Purakaunui Bay Campsite

Best Campgrounds in Christchurch

The holiday parks in Christchurch cater to all forms of travellers with a generous mix of powered sites to plug up your campervan, along with campsites and hostels for those wanting some variety. Combine this with the perfect mix of hot summer days and sultry nights, you’ll be dashing off to Christchurch’s best camping spots in no time. Here are 7 of our favourite campgrounds in Christchurch:

  • Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park
  • North South Holiday Park
  • Awaroa/Godley Head Campsite
  • Spencer Beach Kiwi Holiday Park
  • Amber Kiwi Holiday Park
  • Woodend Beach Holiday Park
  • Rangiora Leigh Holiday Park

Want to weigh up your options and decide which campground will suit you best? Learn more about these Top 7 Campgrounds in Christchurch and book your site today.

 Christchurch New Zealand South Island

Best Campgrounds in Auckland

Auckland is a beautiful coastal city on New Zealand’s North Island. While the city itself is great and worth spending time in — it’s worth spending just as much time checking out the surrounding areas.

Auckland is surrounded by national parks, conservation areas, coastal town and mountain ranges, so if you want to explore these areas, one of the best options you have is to spend a few days staying in local campgrounds and exploring. We have tried and tested many campgrounds in Auckland, and here are 7 of the best:

  • Tāpapakanga Regional Park
  • Schischka campground, Wenderholm Regional Park
  • Tāwharanui Regional Park
  • Takapuna Beach Holiday Park
  • Waiheke Island
  • Whangateau Holiday Park
  • Piha Domain Motor Camp

Want to know more about these campgrounds? We have a lot more information on the 7 Best Campgrounds in Auckland: including what amenities they have and how you can book them.

POUKARAKA FLATS CAMPGROUND, WAIHEKE ISLAND 

Best Campgrounds in Queenstown

Being New Zealand’s adventure capital with a dose of fantastic nightlife and dining options, it’s no wonder Queenstown is a backpacker’s hotspot.

If you’re planning to visit this amazing location– choosing accommodation that offers the best value-for-money in an optimal spot can often seem difficult. No worries though, that’s why we’re here!

Let’s unearth Queenstown’s top 7 camping grounds for 2020, and explore the best facilities and activities along the way:

  • Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
  • Mrs Woolly’s Campground
  • Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park
  • Cameron Flat Campsite
  • Pleasant Flat Campsite
  • More Lake Campsite
  • Arrowtown Holiday Park

Learn more about Queenstown’s 7 Best Campgrounds including where to find them, what amenities they provide, and how you can book your site today.

Queenstown Lake

Freedom Campgrounds in New Zealand

Do you like the sounds of the above campgrounds, but your budget limits you to stay at the more affordable or free campgrounds? Well, New Zealand will not disappoint you in this way, with the choice of ‘freedom camping’ a viable option across both islands. Freedom camping literally means camping for free – so you can go right ahead and do that in many locations, as long as you are aware of the rules of how to do it and where it’s possible.

We have a lot of helpful information on where to find some of the best free campsites and the rules around staying at them. Learn more about freedom camping in the North Island or freedom camping in the South Island before you set out on your adventure.

Best Campgrounds in New Zealands South Island

How to find more campgrounds

If you want to further explore your options, make sure you download the free Travellers Autobarn road trip app. This technology is the best way of finding free, low cost, and paid campgrounds across the entire country. You can explore the map and find campgrounds along your route, find out what amenities they provide, and read reviews from other travellers. Don’t hit the road without downloading this trusty app first!

travellers-autobarn-app

Are you ready to start exploring? Travellers Autobarn has plenty of 2-5 berth self-contained campervans available out of Christchurch and Auckland. Get a quote on a campervan and begin your adventure!

Learn more about New Zealand’s best campgrounds so you can spend less time researching and more time exploring this beautiful country!

Kia ora! Welcome to New Zealand’s North Island.

Boasting beautiful untouched landscapes, ancient forests, and a diverse range of natural ecosystems; it’s no wonder North Island is on so many people’s bucket lists. If you’re making your way across the island, you’ll need somewhere to stay for a few nights — that’s where we come in!

We’ve pulled together a list of the ‘creme de la creme’ campsites in New Zealand’s North Island. If you’re looking for somewhere to pitch a tent, stay in a cabin or park your campervan — this list is for you! Save yourself time on research and avoid being disappointed by underwhelming campsites.

We’ve combed through the good and bad to narrow down only the very best places to stay. This is your new go-to list for the best New Zealand’s North Island campsites: 

CAMPGROUND #1: Matauri Bay Holiday Park

Located just north of New Zealand’s famous Bay of Islands, Matauri Bay is a popular getaway for anyone who loves where the land meets the sea. Surfers love the uncrowded and outstanding breaks; swimmers enjoy peaceful beaches and crystal clear waters, and sightseers are blown away by incredible views of the headland and nearby landmarks.

Literally a stone’s throw away from one of the bay’s beautiful beaches is Matauri Bay Holiday Park. The park sits under the watchful gaze of the Rainbow Warrior Memorial — a monument to a sunken Greenpeace ship — and is around half an hour north of Kerikeri, the largest town in Northland.

The campsite has a number of useful facilities, including: 

  • A communal kitchen (+ BBQ areas)
  • General store
  • A small takeaway shop (open in the peak season)
  • Petrol and diesel pumps
  • Washing machines and dryers
  • Toilet and shower blocks
  • Fish cleaning and filleting station

What’s more? The campground offers both powered and unpowered areas for you to park your car, caravan or campervan. Plus — with a little over 100 sites in total for you to choose from — many grounds have beachside views! Or, if camping isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you might be more well-accommodated in a unit, ‘chalet’ or permanent onsite caravan.

You can check out the campsite’s website for more detailed information about accommodation rates and contact information.

Matauri-Bay-Holiday-Park

CAMPGROUND #2: Urupukapuka Bay Campsite

Located in the Bay of Islands, Urupukapuka Island is a beautiful, secluded coastal island off the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island; famous for its incredible fishing, diving and hiking spots. It is only accessible by boat or water taxi, which means that it remains relatively uncrowded and pristine, even in peak season.

Urupukapuka Bay Campsite is in a protected area with clean, flat waters — this makes it popular with campers who want to camp as close to the water as possible (we are talking less than 25m from tent to shoreline) and particularly people who have their own boats.

It’s managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, so taking care to minimise your impact on the landscape is central to camping here. The campground has 60 sites in total, none of which have electricity or vehicle access — this is the type of campsite that you’ll have to leave your car or campervan behind, but boy is it worth it. The campsite is popular with loyal, returning campers for a reason.

Check out the Department of Conservation’s website to book your stay (you’ll want to book early).

Urupukapuka-Bay-Campsite

CAMPGROUND #3: Matai Bay Campsite

This place puts the ‘North’ in North Island. Situated at the end of Karikari Peninsula, Matai Bay is a gorgeous hidden gem. The bay’s incredible waters are surrounded by lush hills covered in pohutukawa trees — protecting the landscape from harsh coastal winds and making the area the perfect place to snorkel or take out a boat.

A lack of online booking systems means that Matai Bay Campsite remains quiet most of the year: getting the best spot means getting there before everyone else. While booking ahead isn’t an option, the campsite does have a fee to stay there which helps cover the Department of Conservation’s expenses. 

The campsite also has some old school amenities — so goodbye electricity, hello cold showers. More suited to campers who want an escape from modern life, there is still plenty to keep you occupied – including fishing, diving and bushwalks (just keep away from the elevated parts of the headland as this is of cultural significance to the local iwi people).

Check out the campsite’s page by the Department of Conservation for more information.

Matai-Bay-Campsite

CAMPGROUND #4: Opoutere Coastal Camping

Lush forests and white sands. That’s a pretty good summary of what you’ll find here.

Located around 2 hours from Auckland on the east coast of North Island, this campsite is located right on Opoutere Beach — a stretch of sand surrounded by the calm harbour waters and rock pools and walking tracks. The waters are popular with fishers who want to have a go out at catching some cockles and pipis in the harbour, as well as people who want to kayak on the calm harbour waters.

The campsite itself is very well equipped, with the following amenities available:

  • A communal kitchen, including fridges, microwaves, boiling water and toasters
  • Free gas barbeques
  • Communal dining areas, both open and covered
  • Communal toilets and showers (a hot shower costs $1 per 5 minutes)
  • Laundry facilities
  • Recreation spaces for reading, watching movies and playing table tennis.

The campsite offers both powered and unpowered sites, so you can pitch a tent or stay in your campervan or caravan. All powered sites are located at the beachside-half of the campground, so you’ll pay a small premium for the views but are unlikely to regret it. If camping isn’t your thing, the campground also offers cabins with accomodation for 3-5 people. You can check out the campsites website for more specific information on pricing and accommodation options

Opoutere-Coastal-Camping

CAMPGROUND #5: CAMP WAIPU COVE

At around 2 hours from Auckland, this campground sits snugly within the Northlands of New Zealand’s North Island. The area is well known for its pristine waters and unspoiled, lush landscapes — so during your stay you’ll want to make the most of it. The local area has a few popular landmarks which are worth exploring, including: 

  • Waipu Caves, which are famous for their glow worms and incredible rock formations
  • Piroa Falls, a beautiful set of waterfalls with a pool that you can swim in after the short hike
  • Waipu Museum, a small but awarded collection of artefacts about the history of Scottish migration to the area
  • Mangawhai Cliff Walk, an easy walk along tracks and rocky beaches at low tide

The campground itself is only a few minutes walk from the local beach and has accomodation options for all types of campers: from unpowered tent sites, to cabins for hire, and powered sites for your caravan or campervan. As far as amenities go, this campground is well equipped, with access to:

  • Large communal kitchens and free barbeque areas
  • Playgrounds for the kids and a multi-use tennis court
  • Community room with TV, internet and games
  • Laundry blocks with washing machines and dryers
  • Several blocks of toilets and hot showers.

Visit the campground’s website to find out prices and make a booking.

CAMP-WAIPU-COVE

We hope we’ve inspired you to give New Zealand’s North Island a visit! There are loads of great places to check out all over the island, but if you want to stick a little closer to the city, we have a list of the best campgrounds in Auckland. If you’ve seen all that North Island has to offer (we doubt it!), then we also have guides to the best places to stay in Queenstown and the top campgrounds in Christchurch as well. Happy camping!

Learn more about New Zealand’s best campgrounds so you can spend less time researching and more time exploring this beautiful country!

Auckland is a beautiful coastal city on New Zealand’s North Island. While the city itself is great and worth spending time in — it’s worth spending just as much time checking out the surrounding areas. 

Auckland is surrounded by national parks, conservation areas, coastal town and mountain ranges, so if you want to explore these areas, one of the best options you have is to spend a few days staying in local campgrounds and exploring. There are loads of options available: from pitching a tent, to staying in deluxe cabins, to parking and sleeping in a campervan.

We know that nobody wants to spend hours combing through accommodation options, so we have narrowed your search down to 7 camps. These can work as base camps that you can return to after a full day of exploring, but a few of them are worth staying at just for the views and experience.

 

TĀPAPAKANGA REGIONAL PARK

Popular with day trippers and campers alike, Tāpapakanga Regional Park sits right on the edge of the beautiful Firth of Thames — a large coastal bay south-east of Auckland surrounded by lush rolling hills. At around an hour and a half from Auckland’s CBD, the area is popular with campers, fishers, sightseers and people who come to enjoy the many walking trails.

The beachfront campground at Tāpapakanga Regional Park is a popular spot among campers who want to enjoy a few nights of old school camping. If you have a caravan or campervan, this isn’t the spot for you — unless you want to park somewhere else and pitch a tent for the night. 

While the park does have running water, gas barbeques and some pretty basic bathroom facilities; it doesn’t have electricity or anywhere to put your rubbish, so you’ll have to take all of your waste with you. The campground also has 40 sites in total (so it books out pretty quickly) and almost all of them have coastal views, so you won’t have to fight your neighbours for a prime position.

You can find out more about pricing and book your stay on Auckland Council’s website.

TĀPAPAKANGA-REGIONAL-PARK

SCHISCHKA CAMPGROUND, WENDERHOLM REGIONAL PARK

At around 1 hour north of Auckland, Wenderholm Regional Park is popular for its bushwalks, beaches and great picnic spots. The nearby Puhoi river is a great spot for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding, and hanging out on the shoreline.

The nearby Schischka Campground is in a great spot right near the water and isn’t far from the excellent Wenderholm Beach, with room for up to 160 people and accommodation for all sorts of campers — tents, cars, caravans and campervans all welcome.

This campsite is run by the local council and has a few basic amenities like access to drinking water, a toilet block and rubbish/recycling bins — but no access to electricity. Keep in mind, the park also has a few gas barbeques and great spots to have picnics.

You can get pricing information and make a booking on Auckland Council’s website.

SCHISCHKA-CAMPGROUND,-WENDERHOLM-REGIONAL-PARK

TĀWHARANUI REGIONAL PARK

Located around 1 hour and 20 minutes drive north of Auckland, this regional park is part of the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary which sits on the Tawharanui peninsula. The park is defined by its lush hilly landscapes, protected kauri tree forests, and gorgeous beach — right near the park’s campground.

If you’re interested in wildlife — and particularly birds — this is the campsite to visit! The Sanctuary is a protected area for monitoring rare and endangered bird species like the kiwi and dotterel, so if you’re lucky you might spot some during your travels. Since the regional park also sits on the edge of the Tāwharanui Marine Reserve, you cannot fish in the water. That said, you will probably be so busy exploring the park’s many trails that you might not even notice.

The campground can accommodate up to 290 people and has space for tents and a nearby area is available for caravans and campervans. As a protected area, you will be responsible for keeping your impact on the landscape to a minimum — there is nowhere to get rid of your rubbish, no electricity available onsite and you shouldn’t expect a lavish bathroom. While water will flow through the taps, you’ll want to boil it before you drink it.

Visit the Auckland Council website if you want to book your stay.

TĀPAPAKANGA-REGIONAL-PARK

TAKAPUNA BEACH HOLIDAY PARK

Just 20 minutes from Auckland’s CBD, this popular holiday park is in the heart of Auckland’s North Shore. The area is great for holiday goers who want to get out of the city, but don’t want to be too far from bars and restaurants.

The park has views of Rangitoto Island, the site of a dormant volcano formed just 600 years ago, and the tranquil waters of the Hauraki Gulf. The park is right next to Takapuna Beach, so it’s popular with swimmers, surfers and paddleboarders — or if you prefer to stay out of the water, you can sometimes watch dolphins and killer whales in the deeper water.

If camping outside isn’t your thing, the park offers some reasonably comfortable cabins that are suitable for two people. For everyone else, there are both powered and non-powered sites for you to pitch a tent or park your campervan. In terms of facilities, the park is pretty well equipped — with communal bathrooms, a kitchen with fridges and stoves, and a laundry.

Check out their website to compare accommodation options and make a booking.

TAKAPUNA BEACH HOLIDAY PARK

POUKARAKA FLATS CAMPGROUND, WAIHEKE ISLAND

Separated from the mainland by a 2 hour trip and ferry ride, getting to Waiheke Island from Auckland means putting in some extra effort. If you don’t have a vehicle, you can catch a ferry and bus across Half Moon Bay; or if you have a car or campervan with you, a Sealink car ferry can take you across the water, then you can drive the rest of the way.

Waiheke Island is a lifestyle destination. It has an incredible selection of beaches, vineyards and olive groves for you to visit — plus some of the most stunning coastal views you will ever see. While the island does have some premium accommodation options, the Poukaraka Flats Campground in the Whakanewha Regional Park is a popular destination for travellers on a budget.

The campground has room for up to 80 people and is mostly for campers who have their own vehicle, like a car, caravan or campervan. The campground is in the protected Whakanewha Regional Park and (since the island is so remote) there’s nowhere to get rid of your rubbish or electricity available onsite. There is fresh drinking water available, free gas barbeques and cold showers that you are free to use.

You can check availability and book a site on the Auckland Council website.

POUKARAKA FLATS CAMPGROUND, WAIHEKE ISLAND

 

Learn more about New Zealand’s best campgrounds so you can spend less time researching and more time exploring this beautiful country!

If you’re a backpacker looking for a South Island adventure, look no further than Christchurch. As the region’s major hub, it’s got all the opportunities you need to work and play. The holiday parks in Christchurch cater to all forms of travellers with a generous mix of powered sites to plug up your campervan, along with campsites and hostels for those wanting some variety. Combine this with the perfect mix of hot summer days and sultry nights, you’ll be dashing off to Christchurch’s best camping spots in no time. 

Quick Links

Christchurch’s top 7 campgrounds:

  1. Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park
  2. North South Holiday Park
  3. Awaroa/Godley Head Campsite
  4. Spencer Beach Kiwi Holiday Park
  5. Amber Kiwi Holiday Park
  6. Woodend Beach Holiday Park
  7. Rangiora Leigh Holiday Park

CHRISTCHURCH TOP 10 HOLIDAY PARK

Formerly known as Meadow Park, this family owned holiday park has a rich history for travellers. For more than ten years Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday park has been welcoming guests from all over New Zealand, Australia and the world so you can bet they know how to take care of you! With 12 acres of space, you might choose to enjoy the indoor heated pool, private spa or NZ’s only snookball table.

For ‘campervanners’ visiting this holiday park, there’s everything you need for an enjoyable stay. Shower and toilet blocks (as expected), kitchen and dining facilities with ovens, cook tops, microwaves, fridges, freezers, TV, and a communal dining area. There’s a laundry, dump station, late departure option and car washing facilities.

Kick your Christchurch camping trip off by visiting the Top 10 Holiday Park website here.

Christchurch Top 10 Holiday Park


NORTH SOUTH HOLIDAY PARK

Welcome to Christchurch’s closest Holiday Park to Christchurch International Airport! That’s the first thing you’ll see when you visit the North South Holiday Park website, so if you’re flying in or out of Christchurch, it’s the perfect base to set up camp.

There’s a great variety of accommodation onsite to cater to all types of travellers. At the more premium end you’ve got the Park Motel Units which are fully self contained and the Backpacker Units for those just wanting a bed for the night.

Due to being so centrally located, you have great access to all of Christchurch’s best activities and events. If you’re up for a round of golf, the Clearwater and Russley golf courses are just 5 minutes away. Perhaps something more breathtaking? How about a gondola ride over Christchurch.

If you’re planning a trip to Christchurch make sure you’re also checking in to North South.

North South Holiday Park


AWAROA/GODLEY HEAD CAMPSITE

Escape the city to enjoy the wilderness of Godley Head. Located just 50 minutes from Christchurch centre, this low-cost campground (also a DOC Campsite) provides breath-taking 360 views from the headlands. Ranked as one of the top ten New Zealand coastal defence heritage sites, this campground offers access to some of the top walking trails in the area, renowned beaches and historical buildings from WWII.

Note to travellers – amenities are basic including clean toilets & free drinking water. 25 non-powered sites are available and bookings are required.

If you’re looking to get off the grind and unwind, and take in all that mother nature offers, Awaroa/Godley Head Campsite is for you.

Godley Head Campsite


SPENCER BEACH KIWI HOLIDAY PARK

The ultimate holiday park for families, visitors and travelling tourists. Spencer Park is located within 20 minutes of the city and airport and has a stack of attractions including mini-golf, mountain biking, bushwalks, tennis, fishing and swimming.

The accommodation ranges from simple non-powered sites to two bedrooms self contained studios – and they can also cater for large family groups, school groups or sports teams.

They’ve got all your standard holiday park requirements like shower and toilet blocks, playgrounds and BBQ areas.

Spencer Park is perfect for travellers looking for a friendly place on a budget.

Spencer Beach Kiwi Holiday Park


AMBER KIWI HOLIDAY PARK

Another centrally located holiday park; sitting between the airport and downtown Christchurch, Amber Holiday Park offers low cost accommodation and camping choices. As the closest holiday park to downtown Christchurch, you’re a short bus trip to the city centre. 

This family owned park has a raft of different accommodation types to suit every travellers’ budget from ensuite cabins, motel rooms and campsites. It also won the Kiwi Holiday Park of the year back in 2015, so you’ll definitely be looked after. 

If you want to browse the park, you should watch this video or check out their accommodation options.


WOODEND BEACH HOLIDAY PARK

This quintessential beachside holiday park is your go-to for a summer escape. It’s a short 2 minute walk to the beach and set on 55 acres of parkland, so you’ll certainly certainly feel like you’re one with nature. They cater really well for families or groups of travellers with stacks of activities to keep you and the kids busy.

For the golfers out there, there’s two courses located just 10 minutes away – and for those with kids, Wee Dram Farm Park and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve are also close by to get up close with some local wildlife. Outside of that, you’re not too far from central Christchurch if you’re after more hustle and bustle.

Being located so close to the beach, we’d recommend Woodend Beach Holiday Park in the warmer months (Dec – Mar) as a great spot to escape with a group for a few days.

You can check the park in full here.

Woodend Beach Holiday Park


RANGIORA LEIGH HOLIDAY PARK

Located just a 20 minute drive from Christchurch International Airport, this idyllic holiday park is situated in a rural area with room to spread out and relax. Originally a church camp, the park has been restored to cater to all types of travellers.

Due to it’s rural setting, there’s several walking and biking tracks like Ashley Rakahuri, Mount Thomas, Glentui and Oxford Forest to explore throughout the day. At night, you can curl up next to a campfire to get ready for another day stacked with activities.

The camp itself is quite old, so be prepared for the basic amenities across powered and non-powered camping sites. For more, take a look at their site here.

Rangiora Leigh Holiday Park


If you’re travelling through Christchurch on a South Island adventure, there’s no shortage of holiday parks to stop off at or spend a few days with your feet up. With such variety located in and around Christchurch, there’s a place to stay for every type of traveller. 

Learn more about New Zealand’s best campgrounds so you can spend less time researching and more time exploring this beautiful country!

Being New Zealand’s adventure capital, it’s no secret that Queenstown is host to some incredible views.

If you’re planning to visit this amazing location– choosing accommodation that offers the best value-for-money in an optimal spot can often seem difficult. No worries though, that’s why we’re here!

Let’s unearth Queenstown’s top 7 camping grounds for 2020, and explore the best facilities and activities along the way:

  1. Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
  2. Mrs Woolly’s Campground
  3. Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park
  4. Cameron Flat Campsite
  5. Pleasant Flat Campsite
  6. More Lake Campsite
  7. Arrowtown Holiday Park

CAMPGROUND #1 : QUEENSTOWN LAKEVIEW HOLIDAY PARK

This first location is perfect if you don’t want to feel too remote  it’s close to shops, attractions and activities — and it’s only 400 metres from the centre of town.

The site offers a combination of powered and unpowered sites, and is designed to fit campervans and tents right beside the panoramic view of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables’ Mountain range.

If that hasn’t convinced you, Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park also provides an extensive range of facilities, so let’s run through a few options included in your stay:

  • Spacious Kitchens
  • Barbeque (coin-operated)
  • Showers and Toilets
  • Laundry
  • TV Room
  • Playground

Planning to visit Queenstown soon? Check out the campground’s accommodation for more information on availability and local attractions.

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park


CAMPGROUND #2 : MRS WOOLLY’S CAMPGROUND

A bit eccentric, but a top site nonetheless!

Mrs Woolly’s Campground is the perfect pitstop if you’re heading towards the ‘great divide’ of the Southern Alps — Mount Aspiring National Park.

Like you’ll find with most of the campsites on this list, this spot is host to some incredible backdrops, with a walk to the lakefront only minutes away.

With 33 unpowered sites, 5 powered and 7 tent-only spots available, the campground also provides access to clean modern facilities. What’s more? Each kitchen has access to extra pottery, utensils and fridges, so don’t worry if you can’t find that missing fork.

Given the range of activities available — both for kids and adults, don’t miss out on Mrs Woolly’s Campground on your way in or out of Queenstown.

Mrs Woollys Campground


CAMPGROUND #3 : QUEENSTOWN TOP 10 HOLIDAY PARK

Looking for something with a boutique feel?

Like most other campsites, you’ll find a communal kitchen, laundry, BBQ and free wifi available — but what sets the Queenstown Holiday Park apart is a range of luxury experiences (without being overpriced). 

Start with a cosy wood burner for that cold night, or indulge in the site’s hot tub and movie room. Located a little further away than Lakeview Holiday Park, this particular campground also offers a free shuttle bus into town — which is about a 10 minute drive.

With a range of self-contained cabins, motel rooms and campervan sites available, check out the Queenstown Holiday Park if you’re heading towards the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island.

Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park


CAMPGROUND #4 : CAMERON FLAT CAMPSITE

About 15 minutes north of the Makarora township, Cameron Flat is an ideal stop for your road trip adventure. Accommodating campervans, cars and caravans on site, it’s located right beside a river — offering a direct view of the Southern Alps.

Whilst facilities are quite basic, we’d recommend staying the night if you’re passing through the Western side of the South Island. You’ll have access to toilets, an undercover area and water — and for as little as $8 (NZD), you can pocket your savings for what matters most — the adventure!

Since this particular campground is part of the Department of Conservation, just bear in mind you’ll have to make a booking ahead of time.

Cameron Flat Campsite


CAMPGROUND #5 : PLEASANT FLAT CAMPSITE

Head about 16 minutes upstream and you’ll find Pleasant Flat Campsite!

Offering an incredible view of Mount Hooker, this campsite also offers facilities very similar to Cameron Flat, with 30 non-powered sites available for $8 (NZD) per night.

You’ll have access to toilets, shelter and water — and if you download the AllTrails app ahead of time — you’ll also be able to find some great tracks to take you along the Haast River down to Thunder Creek Falls.

Just like our fourth campground, you’ll have to make a booking ahead of time through the Department of Conservation.

Pleasant Flat Campsite


CAMPGROUND #6 : MOKE LAKE CAMPSITE

On the outskirts of town – about 20 minutes away – prepare for the breathtaking views of Moke Lake. Here you’ll not only have the freedom to park your campervan or pitch a tent just about anywhere along the shoreline, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of some nearby activities.

If you enjoy a brisk walk, you have the option of taking two tracks: the first one — a 2.5 hour loop around Moke Lake, and the other — also a 2.5 hour walk towards Lake Dispute.

But if that’s not your thing, don’t worry! Moke Lake also provides access to horse riding, kayaking, swimming, fishing and mountain biking — so be sure to enquire in advance if you’re up for it.

With a private campsite, water access, sinks, toilets and an undercover cooking area, it’s perfect for feeling remote, even though you’re only a short drive to the centre of Queenstown. Our only piece of advice? Some of these campsites — especially this one — are available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, so in peak season — plan ahead!

Moke Lake Campsite


CAMPGROUND #7 : ARROWTOWN HOLIDAY PARK

Alright sorry, we know — this last campground isn’t technically in Queenstown, but it’s only about 20 minutes away from the centre of town — perfectly situated for wine tasting, lookouts, or skiing at Coronet Peak.

With 140 powered sites available, in addition to self-contained cabins and lodges — it’s a great location to rest just outside of Queenstown, hosting shower and toilet facilities for those arriving by campervan, and a guest laundry and communal kitchen for all.

As we mentioned, skiing is one of the highlights! Arrowtown Holiday Park provides a direct shuttle bus to the ski club, but even if you’re not up for it, the view from the top is still spectacular. Closer to the park, the township also boasts some wineries, cafés and walking tracks to take up your day, plus some amazing eateries.

Looking for something a little more settled, but don’t want to miss out on the views? We recommend checking out the Arrowtown Holiday Park ahead of your next camping trip.

Arrowtown Holiday Park


Now that we’ve looked at the best camping grounds in Queenstown, which sites are you planning to visit in 2021?

Still unsure? Feel free to contact Travellers Autobarn Queenstown anytime — we’d love to help!

Need a touch more info? Learn more about New Zealand’s best campgrounds so you can spend less time researching and more time exploring this beautiful country!

Travelling New Zealand’s incredible South Island is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, there is literally nothing else in the world like its wild, rugged and picturesque terrain.

The real beauty of the South Island lies in its untouched, almost inaccessible and remote landscape. This beauty is apparent in the heart-stopping views, the lush flora and wild fauna, the ridiculous roadways, and a natural charm that surpasses any mere words of description.

You’ll have to go there yourself to truly understand what we mean, and so we’ve put together the perfect guide for your South Island campervan road trip. Because there’s simply no other way to see the South Island than surrendering to the freedom that is campervanning.

In this guide, you’ll learn about:

  •             Top tips to follow before you start your South Island adventure
  •             All the staples you need to bring — plus our list of 5 must-have ‘extras’
  •             Our pick of the 5 best campgrounds to stay at during your South Island trip
  •             The best national parks you simply cannot miss
  •             Truly breathtaking views on South Island you should plan to catch
  •             The most scenic routes to add to your South Island adventure itinerary
  •             Road Trip Itinerary: Christchurch to Kaikoura
  •             Road Trip Itinerary: South Island, from Westland Tai Poutini National Park to Lake Tekapo

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Top Tips Before You Start Your South Island Adventure

Your South Island adventure depends on how well you understand the journey ahead of you.

Putting the generic stuff to one side (like ‘make sure to have enough money for fuel’ or ‘plan most of your itinerary/routes beforehand’), here are seven important tips unique to making your South Island trek a whopping success. And to making a safe return, to boot.

Choose the right campervan in NZ

What’s the ‘right’ campervan? Well, it’s not really a ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of situation. The right campervan for you will depend on a variety of things, such as:

  •             the size of your party,
  •             the nature of your travels,
  •             whether you intend to go free camping or if you’ll be mostly keeping to holiday parks,
  •             your comfort levels when driving on the roads,
  •             whether you plan to cook a lot,
  •             how much space you’ll need
  •             whether you’ll have a roadside assistance program
  •             what you’re planning to pack
  •             if you’ll be doing your own biking or kayaking activities

…and more.

Whether you’re buying or renting your campervan, you want to take a look at what’s included. For example, is insurance covered? Are there cooking utensils and cutlery provided? Are bedding and towels included? Does the model have a GPS? Does the van include USB outlets for charging? 

Consider if you’ll need a self-contained vehicle

It’s very simple: ‘self-contained‘ vehicles have toilets while non-self-contained vans do not. If you have the former, you’re welcome to park anywhere and go ‘free camping’. Pick a spot, set up camp and do your business inside.

There are laws against freedom camping without a proper vehicle, however, and a hefty fine if you fail to adhere. Many places around New Zealand, such as Wanaka or Queenstown, are now protected under this major law.

Plan to have basic roadside assistance and maintenance skills

It’s a good idea to take a safety skills or survival course before you embark on your multi-week road trip. There’s nothing particularly treacherous on South Island, but you should consider these risks when going free camping anywhere in the world.

And, deciding on which vehicle or campervan you’ll be travelling with, familiarise yourself with basics like changing a tire and jump-starting the battery — or opt into a roadside assistance program. If you rent with Travellers Autobarn, for example, this program is built right into your rental.

 

What do I need to bring?

Your ‘list’ of things to bring should include staples and, of course, any creature comforts you can’t live without. An essentials list, for example, might look something like this:

  •             Sleeping bags
  •             Hiking shoes
  •             Gloves, socks, weather-appropriate clothing
  •             Any extra cooking implements
  •             Coolers
  •             Adapters and power bars
  •             Flashlights or hats/helmets with LEDs
  •             Sheets
  •             First Aid Kit
  •             Snack bars for hiking
  •             A camping water-purifier/cleaner

Depending on which models of campervans you rent, certain essentials will come with the vehicle. Traveller Autobarn’s HiTop model, for example, includes pillows, bedding, a gas stove, a sink, kitchenette, cutlery, utensils, cleaning equipment, dishes and more.

Along with these essentials, consider bringing the following:

  •             A quick-dry towel
  •             A Bluetooth speaker
  •             A swimsuit
  •             A sturdy but lightweight daypack

Now that you’re all packed up and ready to go, it’s time to hit the road. Where are you off to? We have your campgrounds, national parks, scenic drives and more.

5 Best Campgrounds to Stay at in the South Island

Whether you’re planning to go ‘glamping’ at a holiday park, or you’re planning to head entirely off the grid whenever the fancy strikes you, South Island is teeming with amazing campgrounds.

Moke Lake Campsite

Moke Lake Campsite

(Source: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/otago/places/queenstown-area/things-to-do/moke-lake-campsite/

The Moke Lake campsite is a popular spot for scenic treks, fishing, and swimming. You can also head on a horse riding adventure or simply set up camp and enjoy the view of the lake.

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

(Source: https://holidaypark.net.nz/

Like any great holiday park, the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park boasts a wonderful blend of creature comforts and outdoor adventures. It’s a mere 500-metre walk from the shores of Wakatipu and there are plenty of activities on offer, including hiking, swimming, fishing and kayaking.

Lake Mahinapua

Lake Mahinapua

(Source: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/west-coast/places/mahinapua-scenic-reserve/

Camping at Lake Mahinapua, you’ll find that you can enjoy a variety of water sports in beautiful forest surroundings. You can go paddle-boating, kayaking, swimming and more!

Picnic Bay

Picnic Bay

(Source: http://www.bestofmagnetic.com/accommodation/158

Stop for a day or two at Picnic Bay campgrounds and you’ll be greeted by a sweeping beach, a tranquil breeze and a picturesque jetty. Enjoy swimming, boating, hiking to Hawkings Point, or a romantic beachside dinner!

Momorangi Bay

Momorangi Bay

(Source: https://www.cruiseguide.co.nz/queen-charlotte-sound/momorangi-bay

The beautiful, sheltered Momorangi Bay is a stunning locale. A family-friendly campground surrounded by several bush-covered hills, Momorangi Bay is an ideal place for swimming, boating, fishing and hiking. In the evenings, take a trip to the magical glow-worm grotto.

Located at the very left hand tip of the North Island, 6 hours north of Auckland. Known to have the best beach breaks on a sandy beach. This is an isolated and remote camp spot, so if you’re looking for tranquility and to get away from the crowds, then come and explore. North Cape in general makes for a great fishing trip and there are some stunning drives that will take your breath away on every bend.

Best National Parks to visit on your South Island Road Trip

The luxury of a campervan is the ability to go wherever your fancy strikes you, with the option to keep to a planned itinerary if you wish. If you’re hoping to hit up national parks in South Island, these five create a great circuit!

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

There’s nothing quite like Abel Tasman National Park, with its golden beaches, hewn granite cliffs and world-famous coastal track. Plan for activities like hiking, kayaking, swimming and fishing.

Mount Aspiring National Park

Mount Aspiring National Park

The Great Coast Road
Does this sound familiar…sort of like Australia’s ‘Great Ocean Road’? Well, it is. This historic route does the West Coast shoreline full justice, giving you unforgettable views of the choppy Tasman Sea on one side and the dense, mysterious and alluring rainforest on the other side. Plan to hit Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks as well, you won’t be disappointed!

Mount Aspiring National Park is a wilderness unlike anything you’ve witnessed so far. With its high, spiralling mountains, gorgeous, deep-cut river valleys and varied wildlife, this national park is every hiker’s paradise.

Kahurangi National Park

Kahurangi National Park

(Source: http://www.earthseagallery.com/paintings/boulder-lake-kahurangi-national-park-e37ec2ee-3f97-495f-8b2e-b2252df6ed25

As the second largest national park in New Zealand, Kahurangi can get pretty remote. The name means ‘treasured possession’ in the Indigenous language, and. when you head in to experience its incredible shoreline, beautiful forests and fantastic activities (mountain biking, anyone?), you’ll see why.

Paparoa National Park

Paparoa National Park

(Source: https://www.backpackerguide.nz/paparoa-national-park-guide-backpackers/

Vast coastal forests, jagged limestone cliffs and naturally cut canyons are not just a feast for the eyes but a rigorous workout for the body too. Plan to head to Paparoa National Park if you’re looking for an adventurous challenge, and lots of caving opportunities.

Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park

(Source:https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/

Author Rudyard Kipling once described Fiordland National Park as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. And with the famous Milford Sound hiking trail, Doubtful Sound dolphins, waterfalls, seals and penguins, you’ll quickly believe the same.

Most Breathtaking Views on your South Island Road Trip

Okay, shutterbug, it’s time to get out your telescopic lens for the perfect shot. Whether you’re an Instagram-enthusiast or you’re planning on winning some serious photography prizes this year, here are our picks for the most breathtaking views on South Island.

The Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve

The Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve

(Source: https://mackenzienz.com/scenic-highlights/dark-sky-reserve/

Sounds promising, doesn’t? The reserve is remote and rests far away from any interfering light pollution. Nestled within the reserve is the research centre dedicated to astronomy, Mount John Observatory. It is the spot in New Zealand to go stargazing, catch incredible shots of the galaxies and even the Aurora Australis, or ‘Southern Lights’.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura

(Source: https://www.christchurchnz.com/destinations/kaikoura/

Kaikoura is like something out of Star Wars. It features towering, looming mountains, with incredible scenic points as well as a sprawling and epic coastline. Besides views of its geography, you’ll be able to go whale-watching and dolphin-spotting as well!

Mt. Roy, Wanaka

Mt. Roy, Wanaka

(Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/79317293/five-hikes-in-wanaka-that-arent-mt-roy

You’ve probably seen this spot on the screen before, but nothing beats actually witnessing it in person. Known as Roy’s Peak, this lookout point overlooks Wanaka, the Matukituki Valley and even provides an epic panorama of Mt Aspiring.

Punakaiki

Punakaiki

(Source: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/west-coast/places/paparoa-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/pancake-rocks-and-blowholes-walk/

Watch unstoppable waves crash against the craggy cliffs on the west coast of New Zealand when you visit Punakaiki. Wild and ancient, this is a view of a lifetime and you’re likely to get sprayed more than once, thanks to all the hidden blowholes.

Mitre Peak, Milford Sound

Mitre Peak, Milford Sound

(Source: https://www.backpackingmatt.com/climbing-mitre-peak-new-zealand/

If this isn’t already on your ‘bucket list’, well, it shouldbe! With its incredible, misty waterfalls, the mysterious Mitre Peak, its silent, untouched lakes and amazing wildlife, it’s easy to see why.

Most Scenic Routes to Take in the South Island

Looking for tips on which drives will prove the most fruitful? While we’re big believers in letting the road take you where it will, these five get our vote for the most scenic routes on the South Island.

The Lindis Pass

The Lindis Pass

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindis_Pass

Nestled between Mt Cook Village and Wanaka or Queenstown is the Lindis Pass crossing. This is a dramatic alpine pass, almost barren and certainly wild in a scrubby sort of way. In winter, thick snowfall makes you think of a breathtaking scene from Lord of the Rings. Plan to stop at the viewpoint located on the summit for a view of these vast, sloping hillsides.

Crown Range Road

Crown Range Road

(Source: https://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/the-crown-range/

Crown Range Road will reward you for your slow and steady efforts: The summit stands at sky-scraping 1121 metres and gives you some of New Zealand’s most iconic views of the valley below.

Haast Pass

Haast Pass

(Source: http://ultimatewanaka.com/news/franz-josef-wanaka-haast-pass/

Blanketed with dense, luscious green forests and beautiful scenery, the Haast Pass provides drivers with memorable views and diverse wildlife. But, if you choose to stop or go slowly, you’ll be twice rewarded: the whole region is packed with stunning hiking trails, waterfalls at every bend, guided walks like the Blue pools walk, and amazing water sports.

Glenorchy-Queenstown Road

Glenorchy-Queenstown Road

(Source: https://www.roamingdownunder.com/glenorchy-road

While the sweet hamlet of Glenorchy itself demands a visit, the nearby road is a whole other story. It’s 45 minutes of pure lookouts, providing panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.

Does this sound familiar…sort of like Australia’s ‘Great Ocean Road’? Well, it is. This historic route does the West Coast shoreline full justice, giving you unforgettable views of the choppy Tasman Sea on one side and the dense, mysterious and alluring rainforest on the other side. Plan to hit Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks as well, you won’t be disappointed!

The Great Coast Road

Great Coast Road New Zealand

Does this sound familiar…sort of like Australia’s ‘Great Ocean Road’? Well, it is. This historic route does the West Coast shoreline full justice, giving you unforgettable views of the choppy Tasman Sea on one side and the dense, mysterious and alluring rainforest on the other side. Plan to hit Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks as well, you won’t be disappointed!

Road Trip Itinerary 1

Two weeks on South Island, from Christchurch to Kaikoura

  •             Day 1 — Christchurch: Visit the Botanic Gardens, Cathedral Square and Re: Start Mall
  •             Day 2 & 3  — Lake Tekapo/Mt Cook: Drive three hours from Christchurch and arrive at the perfectly positioned and picturesque Lake Tekapo, and check out Aoraki Mt Cook village
  •             Day 4 & 5 — Fiordland: Once here, make sure to check out Milford Sound via a cruise booking, which will take you past towering peaks and cascading waterfalls, and don’t forget to visit the Te Anau glow worm caves
  •             Day 6 & 7 — Queenstown: Here, you can try a range of adventure sports, including bungy jumping, the canyon swing, jet boating, and white water rafting, or head for a relaxing wine tasting session at The Winery
  •             Day 8 — Wanaka: Enjoy Lake Wanaka via a kayak, or a guided boat tour, or visit the walks at Mt. Aspiring National Park. Don’t forget to make time to explore Mt Roy!
  •             Day 9 & 10 — Franz Josef: Explore the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, then take a dip in the warm waters of Glacier Hot Pools
  •             Day 11 & 12 — Nelson/Abel Tasman: Plan a day trip to Abel National Park but you’ll only be able to access the park via walking, kayak or cruise
  •             Day 13 & 14 — Kaikoura: Check out the Peninsula Lookout for stunning views of the bay and mountains, then head to Point Kean for a close-up on a colony of friendly seals!

Road Trip Itinerary 2

One week on South Island, from Westland Tai Poutini National Park to Lake Tekapo

  •             Day 1 — Fox Glacier: Start at Fox Glacier and experience both this and the Franz Josef through a ‘Heli Service’ ride, which takes you on a tour of the glaciers from a helicopter. Next, head to the Fox Glacier Lookout
  •             Day 2 — Wanaka: If it’s summertime, go jet-boating, kayaking and swimming, but if it’s winter, plan to hit the slopes! You can also visit wineries or check out Via Ferrata, the world’s highest waterfall climb
  •             Day 3 — Queenstown: Take a gondola up in Queenstown for a stunning view, get out on the water for some light kayaking, hit up Ferburger for a hearty lunch, then relax at Onsen Hot Pools
  •             Day 4 — On the road to Te Anau: The road to Te Anau is unbelievably beautiful so plan to incorporate plenty of stops for photos into your drive time
  •             Day 5 — Milford Sound: Don’t miss the traditional way to take in this region’s beauty, the Milford Sound Cruise
  •             Day 6 — Mount Cook: Also known as Aoraki, this is the highest mountain range in the country so plan to do a lot of hiking. But make sure to dress in plenty of layers as the weather changes from one moment to the next!
  •             Day 7 — Lake Tekapo: Hike around Lake Tekapo and capture its beauty via any of the trails and walks around the area.

Whatever road trip you decide on, you won’t be disappointed. New Zealand has the ability to take your breath away at every single moment. Here the journey really is the destination.

If you’ve been thinking about visiting New Zealand, make sure to visit the South Island, one of the most breathtaking places on earth. Speak with one of our team at Travellers Autobarn to see what deals are available.

For more articles on road trips and campervan adventures in New Zealand, come and check out our Guides.

For even more adventures and happy customer stories, come and explore our YouTube Channel!

 

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