a VirtualTourist member asked on Dec 30, 2016
Comments welcomed and gratefully received on the following itinerary please. We are used to driving approx. 200 miles per day - interests culture & scenery - not into hiking or sports. Possibly plan to do this in March 2017
Day 1 spare in case of stop over
Day 2 Paihia include bay of islands 3.30 227 KM
Day 3 Auckland same return route 3.30 227 km
Day 4 Rotorau /bay of plenty/ wai o tapu thermal 3.13 259km
Day 4 Tongario NP/Whanganui 3.38 296km
Day 5 Wellington/Mt Victoria 3.13 232Km
Day 6 Abandon car Wellington / Picton ferry 3.3km
Ferry crossing 1.30 hrs Hotel Picton
Day 7 Picton in case of delay [Abel Tasman NP}
Day 8 Punakaiki 5.07 372 KM
Day 9 Franz Joseph Glacier 2.47 217 KM
Day 10 Queenstown 4.50 350KM
Day 11 Milford Sound NP 3.49 288KM
Day 12 Te Anou Wanaka area cardona pass 2.51 226 KM
Day 13 Mt Cook NP area 2.22 207 KM
Day 14 Christchurch 3.49 326 KM
Your itinerary is doable, we have been drove longer than that, wherever you drove in NZ is always so scenic that's why I always want to go back to that place. Be aware if the weather is bad in Picton there maybe a delay or might cancel the ferry.
Enjoy in NZ
I'd recommend you drive back down to Auckland via the waipoua forest to see the Tane Mahuta Kauri trees ....is all scenic from Paihia through to Kerikeri and the Hokianga ie Rawene, Opononi and Omapere and down to Dargaville. Rather than just going back the same way.
At Paihia you should go to Waitangi tho to see the essence of NZs foundations as a nation.
On the way to Rotorua is Matamata where the Lord of the Rings/the Hobbit movie set is for a tour if you're interested, and all around Taupo is scenic to Turangi and down the desert road to Wanganui.
With early morning starts you can fit in the kilometres but you can make the most of your time if you know what to see along the way
A good map that shows particularly scenic routes such as the Michelin series would be helpful and the AA (automobile association) website is good for route planning. When you get to NZ they have offices with their good maps and accommodation guides so you are not necessarily committed to pplaces if you find you make better time than you thought...i usually drive as far as I can go in a day and wait to much later in the day to see where i need to stay
In March being late Autumn it will be quiet enough to not need to worry about the bulk of places being booked out.
Many motorcamps/caravan parks are good places to stay with fully equipped cabins for rent and are set up for late check in.
There's an excellent one at Rawene is my favourite
if you can make time, take the Twin Coast discovery route for Bay of Islands...maybe go direct to Paihia then back down highway 12 so you get to see Tane Mahuta in the Waipoua forest...and other stuff
I should have read the previous answer...but here's a good link..[original link]