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From South Island to the North

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say hello to the adventures

A group of friends had a great time on the road - travelling from Christchurch to Kaikoura, West coast, Wellington, Waitomo caves all the way to Auckland.

Travel

6 days


Route

Christchurch to Auckland

1600km


Best Time of the Year

spring or autumn

Highlights

Eating crayfish for dinner

Marborough Sounds

West Coast beaches

Delicious food and coffee in Wellington and Christchurch

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6

Day 1
Christchurch to Kaikoura

Distance 200km - Driving Time 3 hours

Early flight from Auckland means we had to stop for a cup of great coffee and some food before starting our journey. Local gem C1 never disappoints: located in the centre of Christchurch, it has a great selection of breakfast and lunch options, as well as teas and coffee. We left with full tummies and a few takeaway desserts. One of my favourite things about campervan travel is access to a cold fridge and a kitchen on the road.

Heavy rain in the evening did not dampen our spirits – with a few glasses of wine and a selection of DVDs to choose from, who said you can’t have a night in when you’re travelling in a camper? We were cosy and warm: what more can you wish for apart from good company?

Day 2
Greymouth

Distance 250km - Driving Time 3 hours

Kaikoura has never been on the top of my dream destinations but the visit was well worth it. Beautiful stone beaches, scenic views, crayfish for dinner… and an abundance of sea life right at your doorstep. Seals might just be my new favourite animals! We could watch them for hours!

After a chill morning we started to make our way to the West Coast with many stops on the way!

Day 3
Greymouth to Nelson

Distance 300km - Driving Time 4 hours 30 mins

West Coast of New Zealand is incredible! Huge waves slamming the coast with incredible force are like nowhere else in New Zealand. We took it slowly as there were too many interesting places to check out on the way, as always. Top highlight has to be Punakaiki Boulders (also known as pancake rocks).

 A very unusual formation unlike anything else with incredible views as far as your eye can see! Driving from Punakaiki to Westport was also rather memorable with a few rather sharp turns. Lucky our campervan handles turns well so the whole experience was nowhere near as scary as we first thought.

Day 4
Nelson to Picton/Wellington

Distance 150km - Driving Time 2 hours 20 mins

We spent a few hours exploring Nelson before heading to Picton and catching a ferry to the North Island. Nelson is a charming place, and the weather is great - no surprise it is called the sunshine capital of New Zealand. After passing numerous vineyards we made it to Picton. Quick lunch time stop (they make the best whitebait fritters there!) off we went to the ferry terminal.

 

Once again we were surprised how easy to manoeuvre our campervan was after parking on the basement of the Interislander ferry. You are not allowed to stay in the camper during the sailing for safety reasons, but there is plenty to do on board with cafes, rest areas and even a cinema on board. We opted for a meal at one of the cafes and spend the rest of the journey admiring the views of the Marlborough Sounds.

Day 5
Wellington to National Park

Distance 330km - Driving Time 4 hours 30 mins

Wellington has a great vibe – it is always such a treat visiting even if is a flying visit! There is so much to do in the windy city, top coffee, galleries, food markets, pretty good shopping and much more.

Te Papa, the biggest museum in the country, is a must stop every time!

Parking camper is a little tricky in the city centre with the new development around the waterfront, however self contained campers can park right next to Te Papa museum and lots of restaurants nearby.

Day 6
Auckland

Distance 200km - Driving Time 3 hours

On the last day of the trip we decided to check out Black Water Rafting in Waitomo on-route back to Auckland. Making booking before the first cup of coffee for the day backfired a little and I accidentally booked the crew for the most adventurous experience – The Black Abyss. After five hours of caving we’ve emerged feeling rather cold but it was a lot of fun!

The final stretch home was a little bitterseet – our short but eventful adventure came to an end, and with some of us moving overseas it was the last road trip for a while. Nevertheless we were so happy to spend a week together exploring our beautiful country.