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  • Matthias Hansen
  • "21 days of November in a camper in New Zealand - where to go?"

Matthias Hansen

Copenhagen, Denmark

21 days of November in a camper in New Zealand - where to go?

Hi Trippy'ans

My girlfriend and I are going to NZ for 3-4 weeks in November and would love some advice.

We will rent a camper and drive both the North and South Island, but besides that we are very open to suggestions.

We love nature, great food, hiking, diving, mountainbiking, but are not really interested in extreme sports.

Thanks a ton, Matthias

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3 Answers

  • Nicole Bass

    top answer by

    New Zealand is a beautiful place and there is so much to see and do. Definitely spend 4 weeks there if you are planning on doing both islands. The South Island definitely has a great range of landscape as well - lakes, mountains, plains, glaciers etc.

    Being from Christchurch, I have spent a lot more time in the South Island. My recommendations would be to take your camper from Wellington to Picton (New Zealand) over the Cook Strait by ferry.

    From there you could look at going to Nelson and through Motueka to Abel Tasman National Park. There is some beautiful hiking here, but you would need about 4 days to do the full walk. Up around Golden Bay is also beautiful.

    If time is too tight, head from Wellington through Blenheim to Kaikoura. Spend a night here - it's a small town, but has some good food spots and you can also go dolphin and whale watching.

    From here, drive down to my home town, Christchurch. For all my personal tips, especially food, check out my blog post: http://www.alifelessbeige.com/article/what-to-do-in-christchurch-a-locals-guide/

    Spend a night here and perhaps consider a night away to Hanmer Springs (one of my favourite spots) and a night, or day trip to Akaroa. Both are just over an hours drive from Christchurch.

    From Christchurch drive down the East Coast to Queenstown (a 6 hour drive). Wanaka is also worth spending some time in - lots of mountain biking and outdoors options.

    Then head up the West Coast to Franz Josef for a walk on the glacier. There are great hot pools in the town to soak in afterwards as well. Spend a night, then check out other towns on the West Cost and the Punakaiki. You could then continue from here to finish in Nelson?

    So many recommendations. When you have more of an idea, I could help with more. New Zealand has so many options when it comes to the outdoors. Hope this helps as a starting point.

    Nicole

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    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      Amazing recommendations, Nicole! · (0 likelikes)

    • Noah V.

      Noah V.

      +1 to Wanaka - I could spend a couple of weeks there easy. We also loved Abel Tasman - if we had more time we would have loved to hike the whole park, but the day we spent on the Aqua Taxi up to Anchorage and the hike back (with a stop at Cleopatra's Pool) was amazing! · (0 likelikes)

    • Pip S.

      Pip S.

      I agree, great suggestions, would only add that Dunedin and the Catlins area south of Dunedin are also worth a visit. · (0 likelikes)

    • Matthias H.

      Matthias H.

      How about Doubtful Sound? Is that a must - that's what I've heard from a few friends · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Wellington (city)
    2. Picton (city)
    3. Cook Strait (attraction)
    4. Nelson (city)
    5. Motueka (city)
    6. Abel Tasman National Park (park)
    7. Golden Bay (city)
    8. Blenheim (city)
    9. Kaikoura (city)
    10. Christchurch (city)
    11. Hanmer Springs (city)
    12. Akaroa (attraction)
    13. Queenstown (city)
    14. Wanaka (city)
    15. Franz Josef (city)
    16. Punakaiki (city)
    17. Nelson (city)

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  • Lisa Taylor

    answered by

    Since Nicole so awesomely wrote about the South Island, I'll cover the North Island (kinda my speciality anyway, I'm not a pro on the South, haha).

    Okay, so Chances are you'll fly into either Auckland or Wellington if you're landing in the North Island.

    I live in Wellington so I'm pretty biased, but here goes. In Wellington you could easily spend a few days getting acquainted with the place and the people. There are a large number of cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs in the city area.
    There are a plethora of accommodation options as well - from 5 star hotels, to dorm rooms in backpackers. Every budget is covered.

    November is early SUMMER! (Excitement). So it'll be warm but not overly hot. You'll need to prepare for cooler weather the further south you are, so the south island may feel a lot colder in some areas than the north will.

    Wellington as a city has a lot of options from people watching while you're relaxing in a cafe, to visiting places like museums and art galleries (there are a number of them). Must see is Te Papa Museum it took me a full day to walk around and look at every single thing, but if you only want to see certain parts (visit the New Zealand area and the Awesome Forces space.) It is Free except for the Visa Platinum Gallery which has a "door charge" (entry fee). This fee varies depending on what is showing. (It can be anything from $5-$50 per person. *Enquire when you're there).

    The Botanical Gardens are lovely to walk through, there's a beautiful rose garden as well as Herb gardens... and lots of greenery! http://wellington.govt.nz/recreation/gardens/botanic-garden

    North of Wellington there are a few routes you could go to meander up the North Island, if you went the Eastern coastal side, you'd travel through Masterton Carterton and the Wairarapa area. It's beautiful. Stop off at the vineyards (Although I forget which time of year is best for that!) In Carterton you can also go Hot Air Ballooning, if that's your thing.


    If not continue up the road (for a few hours) to reach the Hastings St (that should be Hastings town) and Napier area. It's great to sit and people watch in the cafes there too, so much calmer than Wellington!
    You can travel inland to Taupo, Rotorua and the likes if you like. The scenery along here is breathtaking. You'll want to stop and take a bunch of photos.

    From there you'd go north to Gisborne which is a surf type area, and it's really laid back. Further north still you end up in the hustle and bustle of Tauranga (my birth place), where there's surfing, nightclubs, pubs, bars, loads of cafes and restaurants.
    Visit The Mount and go to the hot pools. (And climb the mount!)

    Alternatively, travel from Wellington north up to Palmerston North through to Bulls -- definitely stop here, it's remark-a-bull (see what I did there? they have lots of Bull puns everywhere; it's a great spot for a laugh).
    Travel further north up to New Plymouth (my hometown)... visit the mountain Mount Taranaki climb it. You'll need a guide to take you up. But it's a day hike easy. *You need a good level of fitness to climb it. Or visit the Information centre at the mountain house. Visit the cafe when you're there. The food (and view) is to die for!
    Stay in New Plymouth for at least a day, there's cafes, and museums and stuff to see and do. You won't be bored! Good to also be able to explore the town and relax. Belt Rd Motor camp is one of my favourite spots to stay. http://www.beltroad.co.nz/ it's relatively cheap too.

    **There's also surfing all along the coast between Bulls and New Plymouth along State Highway 45.

    North of New Plymouth is Mokau Rd (Mokau) another beautiful beach. Definitely stop here for a break, and sleep. The beach is great to walk along. Cellphone reception is patchy but you can climb to the top of the big hill (next to the motor camp/ camp grounds) to get mobile reception.

    From Mokau, I've travelled in a day to Hamilton and Huntly or Cambridge: http://cambridge.co.nz/
    All of these spots are sweet spots to stay for a day or so to explore.

    And from Tauranga, or Cambridge it's not far to get to Auckland.

    Auckland is a bustling metropolis, it feels a lot larger than Wellington (because it is). It is multi cultural and diverse. Lots of cafes and shops and little boutiques in nooks and around the city. I love to go there to explore. The city area is compact enough to walk around in, but past the University the suburbs do sprawl so be prepared to take public transport (the buses are good, they're cheap enough and run pretty well on time. *As far as I know anyway*) Or there's lots of taxis. Pretty much everything is within the city part so it's rare to need to go to the suburbs.

    And of course if you flew in from Auckland you could do it in reverse of how I've described it above.

    Contact the AA (Automobile Association, of NZ) http://www.aa.co.nz/ or the local Information centre (should be sign posted with an 'i' sign) for the area you are in, or travelling to for maps and information.








    Comments (2)

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    • Matthias H.

      Matthias H.

      Thanks! · (0 likelikes)

    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      Amazing recommendations as always, Lisa! :) · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Wellington (city)
    2. Te Papa Museum (attraction)
    3. Masterton (city)
    4. Carterton (city)
    5. Hastings St (unknown)
    6. Napier (city)
    7. Taupo (city)
    8. Rotorua (city)
    9. Gisborne (city)
    10. Tauranga (city)
    11. The Mount (attraction)
    12. Palmerston North (city)
    13. Bulls (city)
    14. New Plymouth (city)
    15. Mount Taranaki (attraction)
    16. Belt Rd (unknown)
    17. Mokau Rd (unknown)
    18. Hamilton (city)
    19. Huntly (city)
    20. Auckland (city)

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  • Erin Oldman

    answered by

    My advice is to check the cost of taking the camper by boat between the north and south islands (you can google inter island ferry nz) because I was planning to do this in September but it seems the van will cost about $250 each way minimum, which is way beyond my budget!

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