What will you be able to see in 9 days in New Zealand? Can I see both the South and the North Island?
Here is our nine day itinerary in New Zealand.
1. We started with a flight from Auckland to Christchurch. We highly recommend that you don’t drive a full circle…even if you have to pay slightly more for an RV to do a one way only. However, actually you can save a lot if you chose the right direction for the RV rental – more on this on the RV rental topic.
The roads in New Zealand are not what you are used to in US, Canada or Germany, so just be aware that a 400km distance can be a day affair, especially if you are on the the West side of the South Island.
2. We rented our RV in Christchurch, and dropped it back in Auckland eight days later.
3. The first two nights were in the New Zealand Southern Alps, with a a beautiful view of the Lake Pukaki the first night, and then Mount Cook. We took our time and did quite a bit of trails. One highly recommended is the Hooker Valley Trail. We even had time for a long lunch at the Hermitage, overlooking Mt. Aoraki glaciers.
4. Queenstown was definitely worth another two nights. This is your entry into Te Anau and Milford Sound, with the most incredible scenery, and a cruise on what Ruydard Kipling described as “the eight wonder of the world”.
5. From Queesnstown we drove back on the West Coast to Greymouth, on a winding road between the Tasmanian Sea coast, and the Southern Alps, with stops at Lake Wanaka for lunch, Franz Joseph Glacier late afternoon.
6. Day six was Greymouth to Picton, crossing the Kathurangi National Park, taking a peak at the Abel Tasman National Park gold sand beaches next to Nelson, and then a late evening drive to Picton, ready for our ferry the next day.
7. Day seven was the ferry crossing from Picton to Wellington, and an absolutely incredible drive to Lake Taupo, with part of the drive dominated by the volcanic cones of Mt. Ruapehu (remember Mt. Doom in the “Lord of the Rings”?) .
9. Day 9 was an easy drive to Auckland, then RV return in the afternoon and airport time. With the international date Line crossing, this was actually an extremely long day, with the fligh back to LAX, and then Cincinnati, that got us home in the late evening.
That is the nine days of New Zealand travel. We greatly enjoyed it.
In the next posts will provide more details, day by day, of our itinerary.
Some of the things that we managed to see, in a format of “Top 10 things to see in New Zealand in Nine Days“.
Or you can skip directly to our first day, New Zealand in Nine Days – Day One, Part One: Auckland to Christchurch flight