Weekend Road-Tripping in New Zealand
We've put together a helpful guide for making the most of your weekends in 2021! All of our tip-top advice, a few things to keep in mind and even some possible route ideas, all in one place!
1. Make a Plan
If you want it to be "one for the books" you need to start with a solid plan.
- Pick your key locations you'll stay in overnight Friday, Saturday
- You want to ensure the drive home Sunday isn't ridiculously long
- A few musts that you definitely want to see or do along the way
- Always estimate routes to take longer than expected to avoid rushing
- Let someone else know what your plan is and when you expect to be home
2. Book Ahead
Keep in mind that beds tend to sell out pretty quickly! It pays to be organised.
- Count the troops to see how many beds you'll need
- Decide if you are staying in either dorm or private rooms
- Finalise your destinations and book your hostels!
Private rooms: You can book your entire group into a dorm filling all the beds, making it private or there is the option when booking to privatise a whole room even if you don't fill all the beds.
3. Prep the Vehicle
Waiting for roadside assistance isn't where you want to be on a Friday night. Remember to:
- Clean out your car not forgetting the windscreen
- Check under the hood for oil and water levels
- Fill that tank!
- Pump up those tyres!
- Grab a spare key (you'll thank us later...)
4. Grab the Essentials
The most crucial list on here! We'll leave you to rank these in importance...
- Good friends
- Good playlist
- Good snacks
- Plenty of water
- Portable battery packs
- Updates on road conditions from NZTA
5. Go Forth and Explore!
This is the part where you put the key in the ignition and start your adventure!
- Grab a map and a pen to mark out your journey!
- Talk to other travellers in our hostels and share travel tips
- Ask hostel reception staff where to eat or what deals you score on local activities!
- Enjoy Aotearoa and remember to be a responsible traveller!
South Island ex Christchurch
City to Alps
Christchurch (3h) - Lake Tekapo (1.5h) - Aoraki Mt Cook (4.5h return)
Leave the city lights in the dust and head over to the serene Aoraki National Park for some of nature's eye-candy!
Christchurch (3h) - Lake Tekapo (3h) - Queenstown (6h return)
They don't call it the Adventure Capital of the world for nothing! You can squeeze a lot of thrills into a single weekend!
Christchurch (3h) - Lake Tekapo (2.5h) - Wanaka (5.5h return)
Remove those camera lenses and have those cheeky smiles ready for all the lakeside pictures you'll take for Instagram!
Christchurch (2h) - Arthur's Pass (3h) - Franz Josef (5h return)
On the road again! This time it's East to the wild West!
North Island ex Auckland
Auckland (2.5h) - Whangarei (1h) - Paihia (3.25h return)
Fancy an island holiday without having to leave on a jet plane?
Auckland (3h) - Rotorua (1h) - Taupo (3.5h return)
A tour of the two biggest lakes in the North Island, both formed thousands of years ago from geothermal powers.
Auckland (4h) - National Park (0.5h) - Ohakune (4h return)
What'd you do in the weekend? "Oh not too much just the Tongariro Crossing."
Auckland (2h) - Raglan (1.5h) - Waitomo (2.5h return)
Throw that surfboard on the roof for a weekend of natural wonders from the West Coast waves to the Waitomo glowworm caves.
YHA Bay of Islands, Paihia
We're 5 minutes' walk to the golden sands of Paihia, with a great outdoor seating area, friendly hosts, and comfortable backpacker accommodation.
Modernised, stylised and positive vibes; this backpacker hostel has what you need for a great stay in Taupo, providing views from the balcony of New Zealand's largest lake.
YHA National Park
A backpacker hostel for the volcano fanatics, YHA National Park is an ideal hub to explore the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing as well as skiing Mt Ruapehu.
12 Must-Do Things in Queenstown
From adrenaline-pumping experiences that give New Zealand’s adventure capital its reputation to budget-friendly activities, these are 12 must-do things in Queenstown outside the ski slopes.
Photos of Franz Josef
We rate Franz Josef pretty highly, but we also think its highly pretty! Take a look at just how glorious the Wild West Coast can be.
Northland Road Trip
Head to the Winterless North to catch some rays any time of year. This itinerary shows off some of Northland's highlights.
Central North Road Trip
We've put together the ultimate Central Plateau road trip to show just how much cool stuff is packed into the area!