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New Zealand, Queenstown, Wellington, South Island

1 week road trip across the South Island?

In January, we're honeymooning in New Zealand. We only have about a week to spend on the South Island & want to make the most of it while not feeling like we need to cram in everything. Things we'd like to do:

  • Rent a campervan for the duration (though we'd like to spend 2-3 nights at a hotel/B&B)
  • Do something adventurous ie hang gliding, bungee, etc.
  • Wine, wine wine
  • Cool day hike

We're less into the guided group tour thing. As for accommodations, we don't need fancy but something that's nice. I mean, it's our honeymoon! Recs on best campervan companies, places to camp & suggested routes appreciated! We're currently thinking a one-way trip from Queenstown to Wellington, but haven't purchased the flights yet. Thanks!

6 Answers

top answer by
Justin from Phoenix

Do the full-day trip on Franz Josef Glacier. You won't believe how awesome it is! And if you spend some time in Queenstown, you can sample all the action/adventure stuff ... there's bungee jumping, street luge, parasailing, etc. Great food in Queenstown, too.

By the way, Wellington is really cool. You'll love Castro Street. Just one thing to keep in mind since you have seven days ... you will not be able to cover as much distance per day on the roads as you'd expect. They're twisty and turny, with lower speed limits than you're used to. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Franz Josef Glacier (attraction)
  2. Queenstown (city)
7 thanks

answered by
Nathaniel from Boston

I agree with everything said so far. I'll add Abel Tasman National Park is a good place to take a camper overnight and do a day hike by the oceanside. From there, take the west coast highway along the dramatic coastline, stopping at Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier, all the way down to WanakaArrowtown (go to Arrowtown Pies), and then Cromwell before landing in Queenstown. From there, you can take an overnight trip to Milford Sound.

The Marlborough region is where the wine is - and you could do the Queen Charlotte Track up there, instead of Abel Tasman. Kaikoura and Christchurch are lovely, but given everything else and your limited timeframe, I'd skip them on this trip.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Abel Tasman National Park (park)
  2. Fox Glacier (attraction)
  3. Franz Josef Glacier (attraction)
  4. Wanaka (attraction)
  5. Arrowtown (city)
  6. Cromwell (city)
  7. Queenstown (city)
  8. Milford Sound (attraction)
  9. Marlborough (region)
  10. Queen Charlotte Track (attraction)
  11. Kaikoura (city)
  12. Christchurch (city)
6 thanks

answered by
Pip from Matamata

Queenstown is the place to be for wine and adventures. If you book a campervan it would be redundant to stay at B & B's, wouldn't it? They would not be ideal on a honeymoon IMHO, because your hosts usually want to spend time with you! You could ditch your campervan in Picton before taking the ferry to Wellington, which is a great trip on a good day. (Horrendous if the weather is bad).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Queenstown (city)
  2. Picton (city)
  3. Wellington (city)
5 thanks

answered by
Natasha from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Queenstown is great for hikes, adventure activities (bungee, ziplining, paragliding, skydiving, rafting etc) & wine. For nature I also recommend hikes in Manapouri and Te Anau not very far from Queenstown. My husband and I also visited Fox Glacier on our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! Lake Matheson makes for a beautiful short trek and can be easily reached from Fox Glacier village.

We really loved Abel Tasman National Park but I have to admit that we had to take a couple of flights to make that happen. If you only have a week and plan to travel by campervan then I don't think that's possible with Queenstown and Glacier Country.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Queenstown (city)
  2. Manapouri (city)
  3. Te Anau (city)
  4. Fox Glacier (attraction)
  5. Lake Matheson (attraction)
  6. Abel Tasman National Park (park)
2 thanks

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

If you have the time, go to my page.  I posted a question very similar to this about 6 months ago and received some great answers!  I could have cut and pasted some of them onto a response, but I thought it would be better if you read them directly from those that wrote them.

1 thanks

answered by
Jae from Singapore

In the period you listed, most companies that offer campervans will require a minimum seven day rental, which means that you'd kinda run out of time trying to visit all the great places that other people have already listed here. 

In case you're obstinate and STILL want to go by campervan, a likely route would be to pick up at Queenstown and pick the route going through the center of the Island (via hwy 8) to pass through Lake Tekapo or to the west coast to hit highlights such as Franz Josef Glacier and perhaps Abel Tasman National Park. You'd still have time to pick one more stop, such as to the south to visit Dunedin.  Either way, you'll need to drop off the campervan at Christchurch. I believe a few campervan companies do allow you to cross via ferry to Wellington, but the extra expense and limited choices would probably not be worthwhile for most people.

From Christchurch, make your way up to Picton to cross by ferry to Wellington. Each day by campervan, I'd suggest you plan no more than 300 - 400 kilometers of driving- otherwise, you'll be doing nothing but driving...

As far as companies go, Maui offers almost brand new campervans to rent. I believe the same parent company manages a second company called Britz, which offer the same campervans that are just a few years old for a slightly cheaper cost. The rest of the campervan companies offer much older campervans at a greater discount. 

New Zealand is beautiful and you'll enjoy it by car, campervan, or bus!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Queenstown (city)
  2. Tekapo (attraction)
  3. Franz Josef Glacier (attraction)
  4. Abel Tasman National Park (park)
  5. Dunedin (city)
  6. Picton (city)

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