The Big One: New Zealand Roadtrip From North To South Island

The Big One: New Zealand Roadtrip From North To South Island

Written by mighway

Okay, here is a little preface to our suggestions for a road trip from North to South Island in New Zealand. There are literally thousands of itineraries and methods you can use to travel New Zealand. We’re going to recommend you hire a motorhome in New Zealand and let the journey begin!

Auckland, New Zealand

Cities make great starting points on road trips. They provide access to the resources for outfitting your vehicle and having all the right supplies and gear. There is also a lot to see and do in Auckland, so you may want to take some of that first day or two touring its sights.

First Stops: Waitomo and Lake Taupo

It’s about a four-hour drive from Auckland to Taupo. If you don’t mind a small detour to Waitomo on the way, you can experience the legendary glowworm caves found there before heading to see the natural wonders of Taupo.

After you arrive in Taupo, you will have plenty of activities to choose from. Tongariro Crossing is about an hour away from the city and is a popular day hike. There are three active volcanoes of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu. If you want to keep your hike to 7-8 hours, we recommend taking the shuttle back to the visitor centre.


A literal hotbed of volcanic activity, you should not pass on a visit to Rotorua. The town is also one of the best places to take in Maori culture on North Island. Enjoy a stroll through the Whakarewarewa Redwood forest while you’re there. It can take a couple of days to see everything in the area, especially Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

South Island

You’ll need to take one of the ferries over from North Island to visit South Island, but it’s a short trip and a comfortable one if you are travelling by motorhome hire in New Zealand.


This is one of the most vibrant cities in New Zealand. Queenstown has plenty to do for those who love the nightlife and those who want to spend their days enjoying activities and out in nature.

Fiordland & Milford Sound

Some of the most beautiful coast land in the world can be found here. Take the tours or drive yourself your motorhome hire across New Zealand. Discover these natural wonders for yourself.


The best hiking in the country can be had here, and there is plenty to do in town, too.

Mount Cook National Park

Home to New Zealand’s highest peaks. This is pristine, untouched mountain country, so be sure to stock up on supplies before leaving Wanaka.

Tekapo, Christchurch

The flowers and star gazing opportunities in this area are not to be missed. You can easily catch an inexpensive flight from Christchurch back to your starting point in Auckland, too.

These locations we’ve listed are just a few of the many wonderful places you can visit as you drive from the North Island and cross the water to South Island.