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Nelson & Marlborough

Craving artistic flair, golden beaches, and a taste of adventure? Look no further than the Nelson and Marlborough region. Sitting at the top of New Zealand's South Island, this area is packed full of natural beauty, culinary excellence, and cultural richness. It’s easy to see why it makes the perfect destination for a New Zealand campervan holiday. Nelson, often hailed as New Zealand’s ‘sunshine capital’, radiates a warm, inviting atmosphere complemented by its vibrant arts community, historic architecture, and bustling markets. Nearby, the tranquil Marlborough Sounds offers a playground for kayaking, fishing, and scenic cruises. Wine enthusiasts will relish visiting Marlborough's famed vineyards, where tasting world-class wines becomes a memorable part of the journey.

A road trip through Nelson and Marlborough in an Apollo campervan means every day is a new adventure, crafted just to your liking. With the flexibility to explore hidden gems, from the secluded coves of Golden Bay in Nelson to the enchanting Marlborough Sounds, your journey can be as laid-back or as action-packed as you desire. The convenience of travelling by campervan, complete with a kitchen, bed, and bathroom, means that the beauty of Nelson NZ and the Marlborough Sounds are yours to enjoy in your own time. Whether you're soaking up the sun on Nelson's beaches or sipping on exquisite sauvignon blanc in Marlborough, travelling by campervan offers a truly unforgettable experience. 

 

Why explore Nelson & Marlborough by campervan

Travelling in a campervan, especially through beautiful areas like Nelson and Marlborough, turns a simple holiday into a series of unforgettable experiences. It's your adventure, at your pace, surrounded by the comfort and convenience that only campervan travel can offer. With a campervan, you're not tied down. You can linger over a long lunch in a Nelson café or decide to spend an extra day tasting wines in Marlborough because you've fallen in love with the scenery.

The journey itself becomes part of the fun when you're in a campervan. It's about making spontaneous stops at breathtaking lookouts, enjoying your morning coffee in the middle of postcard-perfect views, and finding your own special spot to watch the stars. Stumbled upon a hidden gem in Golden Bay or found a hiking track in Marlborough you’d like to tackle? With a campervan, you have the freedom to explore it as much as you like.

 

Things to do in Nelson & Marlborough

Nelson and Marlborough are rich with activities and attractions, offering something special for every kind of traveller. For families on holiday, there are endless opportunities for fun, from exploring the sun-drenched beaches of Nelson to the interactive and educational experiences in the region's museums and galleries. Food enthusiasts will revel in the culinary journey through Nelson and Marlborough, from the fresh seafood of the coastal areas to the exquisite flavours of the region's renowned wineries. Whether you're indulging in a leisurely lunch at a vineyard in Marlborough or sampling local artisan produce at a Nelson market, your taste buds are in for a treat. Adventure seekers and nature lovers won't be left wanting either. With activities like kayaking through the Marlborough Sounds or hiking the trails of the Abel Tasman National Park, the great outdoors is your playground. And for those looking to unwind, the charming towns scattered throughout the region offer a peaceful retreat with their unique boutiques, cafes, and galleries.

15 Must Do's in New Zealand’s South Island 15 Must Do's in New Zealand’s South Island

15 Must Do's in New Zealand’s South Island

    An Apollo campervan offers you the freedom to create your own travel itinerary. From whale watching in Kaikoura to southern...
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Popular Nelson road trips & itineraries

Nestled at the top of New Zealand's South Island, Nelson and Marlborough are prime starting points for some of the most picturesque road trips in the country. Kicking off from Nelson, you can weave through the scenic drives that unveil the artistic townships, golden beaches, and lush national parks. Heading into Marlborough, the journey continues through rolling vineyards and along the majestic Marlborough Sounds. Whether you're venturing from the urban buzz of the North Island or the rugged landscapes of the South, these regions promise memorable campervan road trip adventures tailored to every interest. Here are a few worth checking out:

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Great savings on your New Zealand road trip

Apollo offers a fantastic selection of deals and specials for those looking to explore New Zealand by campervan. From hot deals and last-minute discounts to long-term hire benefits, you’re sure to find a deal designed to help you make the most of your campervan adventure. 

Long Hire Offer Long Hire Offer

Long Hire Offer

Do you love road trips across Australia & New Zealand as much as we do? You're in luck with our Long Hire Offer! If you are travelling for more than 21 days, you will receive 5% off daily vehicle...
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Apollo Campervan branches

Christchurch

The drive from Apollo Christchurch to Nelson takes you along some of the South Island’s most scenic coastline. There’s a fair bit to see and do along the way, so be sure to take your time and perhaps plan an overnight stay in Kaikoura. 

Queenstown

Keen to make the most of your road trip and explore more of the South Island? Book your camper with our Queenstown branch and spend a few days heading northward taking in some of the great southern highlights along the way. 

Auckland

The North Island is packed full of sights and experiences, so why not tick off a few with a road trip from Apollo Auckland to Nelson? This journey includes crossing the Cook Strait by ferry offering the opportunity to travel through the pristine Marlborough Sounds. 

Auckland City Skyline

Auckland

New Zealand’s multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture.

 

Christchurch City, New Zealand

Christchurch

 One of the world’s most unique destinations.

 

Queenstown

Breathtaking scenery and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.

 

Helpful tips for visiting Nelson & Marlborough

 

Climate and seasons in Nelson & Marlborough

Nelson and Marlborough are renowned for their inviting climates, making them year-round destinations for visitors. Nelson, often celebrated as the sunniest city in New Zealand, enjoys a mild maritime climate that complements its outdoor lifestyle and vibrant arts culture.

  • Summer (December to February) in Nelson are warm and sunny, with temperatures typically ranging from 20°C to 25°C, perfect for enjoying the region's stunning beaches and outdoor dining. In Marlborough, the warmth accentuates the beauty of the vineyards, making it an ideal time for wine tasting and scenic tours.

  • Autumn (March to May) in Nelson are warm and sunny, with temperatures typically ranging from 20°C to 25°C, perfect for enjoying the region's stunning beaches and outdoor dining. In Marlborough, the warmth accentuates the beauty of the vineyards, making it an ideal time for wine tasting and scenic tours.

  • Winter (June to August) brings cooler weather, with daytime temperatures hovering around 12°C to 15°C. It's a great time to enjoy the region's art galleries, museums, and cosy dining spots, with the occasional crisp, clear day perfect for outdoor adventures.

  • Spring (September to November) breathes new life into the regions, with blossoming gardens and warming temperatures. It's a beautiful time to witness the region's natural beauty, from the awakening vineyards in Marlborough to the blossoming landscapes in Nelson.

Both regions enjoy relatively low rainfall compared to other parts of New Zealand, though it's always wise to pack a light rain jacket just in case. The transitional seasons of autumn and spring offer a spectacular display of nature's beauty, making them particularly rewarding times to visit.

 

 

 

What to pack

Heading out for an adventure in Nelson and Marlborough with your campervan is an exciting prospect, and packing smart can enhance your experience. The region's welcoming climates and diverse outdoor activities mean you'll need a mix of gear to comfortably enjoy everything from sun-soaked beaches to leisurely vineyard tours. Here’s a rundown of what to bring along.

  • Outdoor gear: The stunning landscapes of Nelson and Marlborough are your playground, so come prepared with versatile outdoor gear. Lightweight, breathable clothing will keep you comfortable during the warm days, while a layer or two for the cooler evenings ensures you can enjoy those starlit nights by the campfire. Durable walking shoes are essential, whether you're hiking in Abel Tasman National Park or exploring the coastal trails.

  • Campervan add-ons: Enhance your campervan living with a few thoughtful extras. A portable barbecue can elevate your dining under the stars, while extra camping chairs and a table (these can be added to your campervan hire) can make your outdoor setup more comfortable.

  • Sun protection:The New Zealand sun, particularly in the Nelson region, known for its high sunshine hours, calls for diligent sun protection. Pack high-SPF sunscreen, a quality pair of sunglasses with UV protection, and a hat to shield you during those outdoor adventures. Remember, sun safety is key, even on overcast days.

For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip.

 

 

Nearby attractions and day trips from Nelson

 

Farewell Spit

Farewell Spit is a striking natural feature located at the northern tip of the South Island, renowned for its extensive sandbar and rich birdlife. This area serves as a bird sanctuary where visitors can observe a variety of migratory birds in their natural setting. The iconic lighthouse at the spit's end also provides a picturesque backdrop for visitors exploring this unique and protected landscape.

Takaka

In the heart of Golden Bay, Takaka is a vibrant town known for its artistic community, quirky cafes, and nearby natural wonders like Te Waikoropupū Springs. A day trip to Takaka can be as relaxing or adventurous as you like, with options ranging from exploring local art galleries to hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Rabbit Island

Just a short drive from Nelson, Rabbit Island offers vast sandy beaches, picnic spots, and cycling trails. It's an ideal place for a family day out, where you can enjoy swimming, beach games, or simply bask in the tranquil atmosphere of this coastal gem.

Lord of the Rings film locations

For fans of the Lord of the Rings series, the Nelson region offers the chance to visit some of the trilogy's filming locations. Take on a day trip to explore the diverse landscapes that were transformed into Middle-Earth, from the rolling hills to the lush forests, each offering a glimpse into the magical world of the films.

 

Where to stay in Nelson & Marlborough with a campervan

When it comes to finding the perfect spot to park and rest in Nelson and Marlborough, there's no shortage of picturesque, comfy campgrounds. Here are a few worth checking out:

Nelson

Marlborough

 

 

Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: NZ blog

The best family-friendly restaurants in Auckland.

Planning to book a campervan hire for a New Zealand road trip to the City of Sails? If you’re looking for some good family restaurants in Auckland to enjoy while you’re there, we’ve got you covered. 

In this handy guide, we’ve rounded up the best family restaurants in Auckland.  From the bustling Auckland Viaduct to quaint corners of the city, we've pinpointed places that cater to every palate, ensuring your campervan holiday is peppered with memorable dining experiences. Whether it's a quick bite or a special meal, these spots promise satisfaction for all ages.

 

Why you should explore Auckland with your family

Sitting near the top of the North Island, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city. It’s also a playground for families seeking a blend of urban excitement and natural wonders. With its stunning beaches, beautiful parks and reserves, world-class attractions, and excellent holiday parks, there’s something on offer for ages and stages. 

The city's family-friendly vibe also extends to its diverse range of eateries. From cosy cafes and tasty takeaways to ethnic cuisine and fine dining, you won’t have to go too far to find great family restaurants in Auckland.

 

What’s the best way to explore Auckland?

When it comes to discovering Auckland's treasures at your own pace, nothing beats the freedom of an Apollo campervan. In fact, our great range of campers are tailor-made for family adventures with spacious interiors, comfortable beds, and essential on-the-go facilities.

Whether you’re travelling with tots or teens, you’ll find the comfort and convenience of an Apollo campervan is hard to beat. Littlies can take a nap or use the bathroom whenever they need to – no worries about heading back to the motel or hunting out a public bathroom! And older kids will benefit from a change in routine, switching off devices, and enjoying some quality family time. There’s something about campervan travel that brings a family together in the best possible way! 

READ MORE: Check out our top 10 tips for campervan road trips with kids.

 

The best family-friendly restaurants in Auckland

Feeling peckish? Park up the campervan and tuck into one of these top family friendly restaurants in Auckland. 

 

Federal Delicatessen

For a slice of the Big Apple right in the heart of Auckland, Federal Delicatessen on Federal Street is your go-to. This spot brings the authentic deli experience down under, making it a fantastic option for families craving a taste of classic American cuisine with a Kiwi twist. The laid-back atmosphere, combined with a menu brimming with comfort food, makes it an inviting place for both adults and kids.

One of the standout dishes worth trying is the Salmon Latkes - crispy potato pancakes topped with lox, crème fraîche, and dill, perfect for sharing. And for the sweet-toothed, the NY cheesecake is a guaranteed hit. 


Mexico Britomart

Nestled in the heart of Auckland's bustling Britomart precinct, Mexico Britomart offers a lively and colourful dining experience perfect for families looking to spice up their meal times. Celebrating the fresh and vibrant side of Mexican cuisine, this restaurant is a feast for the senses, from its eclectic decor to its flavour-packed dishes.

Families will appreciate the welcoming atmosphere and the menu's variety – even the pickiest eaters find something to love! A must-try is their range of soft tacos, customisable with fillings to suit all tastes. With gluten-free and vegan options aplenty, Mexico Britomart caters to every dietary need, making it one of the best family restaurants in Auckland. 


Azabu

Tucked away on Ponsonby Road, Azabu Ponsonby is a gem that brings a slice of Tokyo to Auckland. Known for its award-winning Japanese cuisine, Azabu makes dining out with the family an adventure in culinary exploration. The restaurant's modern twist on traditional Japanese dishes, combined with a vibrant atmosphere, makes it an exciting choice for family meals.

Azabu's menu, rich with Nikkei-influenced dishes, offers something for everyone. A standout for families is the selection of sushi and sashimi, prepared with the freshest local ingredients. 


Non Solo Pizza

In the mood for pizza? You can’t beat Non Solo Pizza. This beloved spot, located in the historic suburb of Parnell, is renowned for its warm ambience and a menu that pays homage to the rich culinary traditions of Italy. 

The wood-fired pizzas, with their crispy bases and flavourful toppings, are a hit among kids, while adults can indulge in the array of pasta dishes, succulent steak, roasted pork belly, or chicken cotoletta. Yum! The inviting garden bar and the lively dining room provide the perfect backdrop for family meals.


Burger Burger

Who doesn’t love a good burger, right? Our top pick for mouthwatering, tummy-filling burgers the whole family will love is Burger Burger. With locations sprinkled across Auckland, this burger haven is known for its commitment to quality, serving up gourmet burgers that are sure to please. The casual, vibrant atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for a relaxed family dinner, where everyone can unwind.

Burger Burger's menu is a testament to their love for burgers, offering a variety of options from classic beef and cheese to more adventurous choices. One of the crowd-pleasers is the Lasagne Topper burger, packed with lasagna, pancetta, pesto mayo, and parmesan. Paired with their famous hand-cut fries and a side of homemade aioli, it's a meal that promises satisfaction in every bite. And you can add extras to any burger so that it’s made just the way you want it. 


Ortolana

Known for its commitment to fresh, local produce, Ortolana is a charming bistro that brings the essence of the garden to your table, making it a special spot for families who appreciate the farm-to-table concept.

Located in the heart of Britomart, Ortolana's inviting atmosphere and open kitchen design allow families to enjoy a meal in a setting that feels both intimate and inclusive. The menu, rich with dishes that highlight the season's best, offers something for every palate. From morning brunches with freshly baked scones to leisurely lunches featuring artisanal pasta, Ortolana definitely belongs on the list of top family restaurants in Auckland.  


Prego

Another Ponsonby Road family favourite, Prego is a cornerstone of Auckland's dining scene, offering a slice of Italy right in the heart of the city. Since 1986, this licensed Italian restaurant has been serving authentic Italian cuisine coupled with warm, award-winning service. 

Prego's menu offers a wide array of dishes that cater to various dietary needs, including halal meats and vegan options upon request. Families can dive into a range of pizzas and pastas, with gluten-free options available, ensuring a satisfying dining experience for all. 


Mekong Baby

Also located on Ponsonby Road, Mekong Baby offers a unique dining experience that transports families to the heart of Southeast Asia. This bustling restaurant and bar is celebrated for its innovative take on fusion cuisine, blending traditional flavours with a modern twist. 

The menu at Mekong Baby is simply mouthwatering, with flavoursome dishes designed to be shared and savoured. Families can enjoy a variety of offerings, from succulent meats to fresh, zesty salads. A standout dish that's sure to be a hit with all ages is the braised pork belly, perfectly balanced with tangy Asian slaw. 


Baduzzi

Situated in the bustling North Wharf area on Auckland’s waterfront, Baduzzi is known for its exceptional service and a menu that pays homage to the rich traditions of Italian cuisine, all while embracing the spirit of Aotearoa.

Baduzzi is a fantastic choice for families, thanks to its welcoming atmosphere and a menu that caters to all ages. The restaurant prides itself on its handmade meatballs – choose from crayfish, wild red deer, slow-cooked lamb, or vegetarian options. You’ll also find a tasty selection of handmade pasta, succulent seafood, and delicious desserts. 


Bao & Noodle

Located on Lorne Street, Bao & Noodle is a culinary gem serving up authentic Chinese cuisine. Bao & Noodle is particularly appealing to families due to its focus on traditional recipes and high-quality ingredients, like their Sichuan peppers sourced directly from Sichuan. 

The restaurant's open kitchen allows diners to watch as chefs skillfully prepare handmade dumplings, adding an element of entertainment to the dining experience. With menu highlights such as DanDan noodles and sauced pork buns, Bao & Noodle offers dishes that are sure to captivate the taste buds of both young and old, making every family meal a memorable one.

 

Where to stay with your family in Auckland

Finding the perfect Auckland holiday park or campground is key to a memorable campervan adventure. Whether you're after the simplicity of a council campsite or the full suite of amenities offered by holiday parks, Auckland has plenty of great options to suit every family. 

For a detailed look at the top picks, dive into our guide to the 10 best family-friendly campgrounds near Auckland. From beachfront retreats to chilled-out bush settings, discover the ideal base for your family's exploration of this vibrant city and its stunning surroundings.

 

Looking for things to do with your family in Auckland?

With your accommodation all set, it's time to fill your travel itinerary with exciting activities. The city is brimming with family-friendly attractions, from museums and galleries to lush parks and thrilling adventure activities. Whether you're looking to immerse in the local culture, enjoy the great outdoors, or simply have fun, Auckland has something for everyone. 

Get inspired and start planning your family's adventure with our guide on 15 family-friendly things to do in Auckland

 

Ready to book your Auckland family road trip?

From the vibrant flavours of Southeast Asia at Mekong Baby to the authentic Italian fare at Baduzzi, Auckland’s family friendly restaurants each offer a unique taste of the city’s diverse food culture. Ready to try a few out? Book your Apollo campervan online today, pick it up from our convenient Auckland branch and start planning your unforgettable, flavour-filled Auckland road trip now!

 

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