Now you’ve got your campervan hire in New Zealand sorted, it’s time to embark on some of the mind-blowing road trips on offer. Prepare yourself for insane coastal views, rugged mountains and uninhibited nature. Here are five New Zealand road trips that will introduce you to the wonders this charm-packed country has to offer.
1. The Coromandel Peninsula
The coastal paths across this peninsula, within close proximity of Auckland, have days upon days worth of stunning views for you to revel in. Head from Thames to Opito Bay and stop off at standout beaches such as Matarangi and Waihi along the way. Prepare yourself for the sublime sunsets and take breaks for sustenance in quaint villages after swims at hidden bays below towering cliffs. While near New Zealand’s capital, the winding roads mean the road trip can be rather long, but that just keeps it from becoming too packed with locals.
Photo by @theamericanfieldtrip
2. Lake Tekapo to Mount Cook
From Lake Tekapo – where you can take in the bright blue waters of this natural wonder – you’ll traverse the rolling hills of the Southern Alps, backed by snow capped peaks, before arriving at the jaw-dropping natural scenery surrounding Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Although just an hour’s drive, this route packs in some of the best vistas in the country. Consider swinging by the hot pools near the lake for some much-needed respite after hiking the alpine paths.
To see everything from rivers to rainforests, the The Rugged West Coast is unmissable. Stop off along the drive to witness the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers – some of New Zealand’s best – and catch these before they disappear. Unfortunately, global warming hasn’t been kind to these iconic natural structures. Next, marvel at Punakaiki’s pancake rocks and blowholes, an awesome natural phenomenon where you’ll witness water shooting up towards the sky. This region is the old gold and coal country, so as well as having magnificent landscapes – from sweeping valleys to rugged coastal scenery – it’s also practically deserted.
The road between the township of Te Anau and one of New Zealand’s most popular sights – the waterfall-laden fjord of Milford Sound – is just stunning. It’s 240 kilometres packed with mountains that loom over you until you begin to head downhill, affording you with almost a bird’s-eye view of the alpine surroundings. The route to the destination is also punctuated by rivers and rainforests that will take your breath away. That’s before you even arrive at the majestic Milford Sound itself. Park up the campervan you hired in NZ and spend a few days kayaking and hiking around this tranquil spot.
5. Blenheim – Kaikoura
Some of the best opportunities to see New Zealand’s epic wildlife will be afforded to you on the stops on East Coast road: think seals, penguins and even whales and dolphins if you’re travelling in the right season. You’ll start in the impossibly green Marlborough wine region – where you can sample a tipple or two – before passing the myriad saltwater lakes on the journey. The drive just before reaching the plankton-rich shores of Kaikoura – the reason why whales are so easy to spot here – affords some of the best views on this side of the country. Once you reach Kaikoura, consider a sustainable, eco-friendly trip swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat, a once in a lifetime experience.
So there you have it: five adventurous road trips in this wonderful nation that will blow your mind. Which ones will you organise campervan hire New Zealand for?
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.