Christchurch to Auckland Road Trip | Apollo Campervans NZ
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27 Day Christchurch to Auckland Road Trip

On this 27 day road trip you will enjoy the wildlife, massive mountains, subtropical rainforest and golden beaches.


Welcome to the country known for its haka and preserved nature. On this 27 day road trip you will enjoy the wildlife, massive mountains, subtropical rainforest and golden beaches. You simply need to drive and you will be overwhelmed by the things this country has to offer. Visit the Island of tranquility where you can do various guided walks, fishing and cruises.

In Queenstown rent a bike and explore the beautiful nature or visit the Kiwi Wildlife Park where you can find the cutest birds. Ever wanted to know how the Maori live? In Marlborough Sounds you can spend a day with a local Maori family, who are storytellers & environmentalists and are more than happy to give you an insight into their way of life. Give your holiday a different twist and visit one of the ghost towns along the Forgotten World Highway. Visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley when you are in Rotorua or go to the Rotorua Museum. Ending your holiday in Auckland where you can do so much more, but you can also relax and visit one of the lovely restaurants.

Day 1: Christchurch Apollo Branch

Start your 27 day journey by picking up your selected campervan or motorhome from the Christchurch branch. Once you have picked up your camper, it’s time to explore Christchurch! Start by exploring the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, which is boasting the widest collection of both native and exotic plants in all of New Zealand.


Day 2: Christchurch to Dunedin

Distance: 360kms

Travel time: 4hrs 34min

Time to hit the road! On your first leg of the trip, don’t tire yourself out and stop at the pretty country town of Geraldine. Here you will find the local thriving business, Barker’s at Geraldine, famous for their chutneys and chocolate sauce. With a cafe attached, it’s a great place to stop and have a tea break before heading off on your final journey to Christchurch.


Day 3: Dunedin

Dunedin is a mix of heritage, wildlife and colourful nightlife. During your stay here explore some of the many popular museums as well as New Zealand’s only castle - Larnach Castle, which has been carefully restored to its original Victorian grandeur.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin Image via DunedinNZ

Day 4: Dunedin - Balclutha

Distance: 78kms

Travel time: 58mins

Balclutha is the ultimate gateway to explore The Catlins, a rugged coastline where you’ll find countless waterfalls, beaches, rare wildlife and lighthouses. If you’re keen to spend more time exploring The Catlins find a full itinerary here.


Day 5: Balclutha - Stewart Island (leave vehicle at Bluff)

Distance: 150kms

Travel time: 1hr 46min

Today you will be heading to Bluff, to take the ferry ride to Stewart Island. You will need to leave your campervan at Bluff as motorhomes are not permitted on the island. If you’re a seafood fan, make sure you try Bluff oysters before you hop on the ferry to Stewart Island.


Day 6: Stewart Island

Stewart Island has an area of 1,746 square kilometres and is the third-largest island of New Zealand. The island is heaven for bird watchers due to the absence of natural predators, birds have been able to form huge colonies including some special species.

Stewart Island, New Zealand Image via Miles Holden

Day 7: Stewart Island - Fiordland

Distance: 179kms

Travel time: 2hrs 7min

Head back on the ferry to Bluff to pick up your campervan and get back on the road heading east to Fiordland. On your way to Fiordland, stop in Winton and visit some of the best op-shops in the country and enjoy a tea or coffee at Magnolia Tree Cafe.


Day 8: Fiordland - Queenstown

Distance: 171kms

Travel time: 2hrs

Before heading north to Queenstown, spend the day exploring Milford Sound - one of New Zealand’s top visitor attractions. Rain or shine, it continues to captivate all types of travellers with its beautiful surroundings, ink-dark waters, gushing waterfalls and captivating views.


Day 9: Queenstown

Being the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown boasts a variety of activities for all sorts of people. Feeling adventurous? Give jet boating or bungy jumping a go! Not feeling that brave? A lake cruise enjoying the stunning mountain views might be more your speed.


jetboating in Queenstown Image via Miles Holden


Day 10: Queenstown - Lake Tekapo

Distance: 256kms

Travel time: 3hrs 3mins

While driving from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo, make a stop at Mt Cook - New Zealand’s highest mountain.To see the best view of the mountain and glacial scenery, book a helicopter ride. If you’d rather enjoy the view while enjoying a meal, there’s a number of restaurants at the top of the mountain with tasty food to enjoy the picturesque views from.


Day 11: Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo (a part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve), can be found in the heart of the Mackenzie Country. Here is the perfect place to unwind after 10 adventure-filled days to lie by the lake and admire the pristine blanket of sparkling stars where they burn brightly as though they were only close by.


Day 12: Lake Tekapo - Kaikoura

Distance: 400kms

Travel time: 5hrs 4mins

To break up the long 5 hour drive, stretch your legs at Rakaia Gorge Walkway. The whole track is 10.4 km return, however, if you just make your walk for 45 minutes you will find yourself at a good lookout point to enjoy the views from. Once arriving in Kaikoura, hire a surf board down at the beach to catch a few waves. 


Kaikoura Peketa Beach


Day 13: Kaikoura - Hanmer Springs

Distance: 130kms

Travel time: 1hr 52mins

Once arriving in Hanmer Springs, relax at the hot springs or one of the spas in town. If you’d rather not rest your feet, Hanmer Springs offers a range of outdoor activities like jet boating, horse trekking and bungy jumping.


Day 14: Hanmer Springs - Marlborough Sounds

Distance: 287kms

Travel time: 3hrs 56min

Ever wanted to know how the Maori live? In Marlborough Sounds you can spend a day with a local Maori family, who are storytellers & environmentalists and are more than happy to give you an insight into their way of life.


Day 15: Marlborough Sounds

There’s no point going to the South Island if you’re not spending a day or two in Marlborough Sounds. The sea-drowned valleys found in New Zealand’s north end in Picton are some of the most beautiful you’ll see in the island. Swim among friendly jellyfish, trek Queen Charlotte track or simply savour the majestic natural environment.


Marlborough Sounds


Day 16: Marlborough Sounds - Wellington

Distance: 99kms

Travel time: 4hrs 4min

It’s time to say goodbye to the South Island and hello to the North Island. Hop on the Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry at Picton - book your ferry now!


Day 17: Wellington

There is plenty to do in New Zealand’s capital - Wellington. Start your day with a coffee at Flight Coffee where you can taste a variety of coffees. Then spend your day at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa learning about the history of New Zealand and the Maori culture.


Day 18: Wellington - Whanganui

Distance: 191kms

Driving time: 2hrs 36min

While in Whanganui, visit New Zealand’s only public underground elevator (unique for the Southern Hemisphere) taking you to 66 metres to see amazing panoramic views of the Tasman Sea, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki.


Day 19: Whanganui - New Plymouth

Distance: 161kms

Travel time: 2hrs 5mins

New Plymouth is situated in the Taranaki region, which is full of incredible waterways. The best way to see them up close and personal is a kayaking tour! Book yourself on a kayaking tour on the open sea heading to the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Reserve. Make sure you have a waterproof camera as you’ll want to capture the seal colonies you come across.


Day 20: New Plymouth - Waitomo

Distance: 172kms

Travel time: 2hrs 29mins

On your way from New Plymouth to Waitomo, you’ll take the New Zealand State Highway 43 also called the Forgotten World Highway. This picturesque highway makes driving an absolute breeze. On your way you’ll also find a couple of ghost towns and the Moki Tunnel, better known as Hobbit’s Hole.


Forgotten World Highway, New Zealand


Day 21: Waitomo - Rotorua

Distance: 139kms

Travel time: 1hrs 48mins

Prior to heading off to Rotorua, spend the day exploring Waitomo. This area’s name comes from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole) as underneath the green hills of Waitomo lies a maze of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers.


Day 22: Rotorua

Admire the views of stunning clouds of geothermal steams from the Inferno Crater at the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. If you're feeling adventurous, there are also great activities like hikes, walks, cruises, or a combination of all within the relaxing area of Lake Rotomahana.


Waimangu Volcanic Valley


Day 23: Rotorua - Auckland

Distance: 229kms

Travel time: 2hrs 45mins

Are you a Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit fan? On the drive between Rotorua and Auckland step into the enchanting village of Hobbiton movie set.


Day 24: Auckland - Waipoua Forest

Distance: 231kms

Travel time: 3hrs 10mins

Get in touch with nature at the legendary Waipoua Forest, one of the three major Kauri forests in New Zealand. Here you will find Tane Mahuta, also known as the “King of the Forest”, and Te Matua Ngahere which are said to be approximately over 2,000 years old.


Day 25: Waipoua Forest - Bay of Islands

Diatance: 131kms

Driving time: 2hrs 30mins

Once you arrive in the Bay of Islands, head to the Paihia Wharf and hit the water. There are a number of ways to enjoy the water and see some of the 144 islands dotted across the bay. Whether you’d like to hire a speed boat, take it easy on a sailing trip or even jump on a dolphin watching cruise - the options are endless!


Dolphin watching at Bay Of Islands Image via Fraser Clements


Day 26: Bay of Islands - Auckland

Distance: 235kms

Travel time: 3hrs 49mins

While driving south to Auckland, break up the journey by stopping at Whangarei Heads. Known as a natural playground with its beautiful coastal and harbour beaching along with volcanic peaks and forests.


Day 27: Auckland Apollo Branch

It’s the time you have been dreading - time to pack up and drop your beloved campervan at the Apollo Auckland Branch. We hope you had a great journey and hope to see you again for another trip soon!


Places to Stay

Kaikoura Peketa Beach Holiday

Park Picton Campervan Park

New Plymouth TOP 10 Holiday Park

Otorohanga Kiwi Holiday Park

Ready to explore?

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