Is a thrilling road journey through some of New Zealand’s most beautiful landscapes on your bucket list? Then, the Auckland to Queenstown drive is just what you’re looking for! Hundreds of miles are covered as you travel through breathtaking landscapes of towering peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and quaint villages. It’s hardly surprising that this path has become one of the most visited places in the country.
Come along as we discover the best of what this incredible drive has to offer, from where to stay to what activities you can expect to find along the way. No matter if you want to enjoy a family road trip or a luxury adventure, renting a camper in NZ is always a great choice!
How can I drive from Auckland to Queenstown?
There are several ways to get from Auckland to Queenstown, but renting a campervan is one of the most fun and entertaining. Hiring a campervan in NZ allows you to travel at your own pace, plan your own route, and make up your own stops as you go.
Looking for something bigger, with extra comfort and fully self-contained? Why not hire a motorhome in NZ, giving you the keys to a home on wheels that will enable you to focus on the breathtaking scenery as you discover the country’s spectacular landmarks? Experience a new magnificent vista every morning and conclude each day beneath a star-studded sky while you make unforgettable memories.
Other alternatives to driving include taking a bus or flying, but these will limit your opportunities for adventure and exploration along the way. You could also rent a car and stop at hotels along the way, although this option is not as budget-friendly and will require more planning in advance.
Complete Trip Guide: Stops Along the Way
The distance from Auckland to Queenstown is about 620 miles (1,000 km), and driving that distance can take two to three days. You will go through some of New Zealand’s most famous tourist spots. Check out some of the most interesting places on your campervan road trip!
Auckland, Where It All Begins
Your unforgettable trip begins in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, which is sandwiched between two picturesque harbors. The “City of Sails” is home to both urban delights and stunning natural scenery.
In Auckland, you can explore the bustling Viaduct Harbour, climb the Auckland Sky Tower for panoramic views, or visit the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Once you’ve had your fill of the city’s sights, it’s time to head south, where the real fun begins.
The Waitomo Caves, a must-visit location on your itinerary
The Waitomo Caves, located about 2.5 hours south of Auckland, are a popular tourist attraction due to the large number of glowworms that give the caves the appearance of a starry night sky.
The caves are like something out of another universe. The Glowworm Grotto offers a variety of cave exploration options, including black water rafting and abseiling. Remember to preserve the delicate ecosystem and follow the guides’ directions while exploring.
This is the first stop we recommend on your road trip from Auckland to Queenstown, and it’s a perfect place to stretch your legs and take some Instagram-worthy photos before continuing on.
Taking in the Scenery at Pureora Park
Down the road, in this hidden forest of towering trees and teeming with native birdlife, lies Pureora Forest Park.
Trails for walking and cycling lead through some of the nation’s finest specimens of podocarps in this expansive natural park. You’re likely to see exotic birds like the kaka and kako. Pureora Forest Park is the ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature during your unforgettable road trip.
Taupo: A Relaxing Pit Stop
If you want to see some truly astonishing nature, the next stop needs to be Taupo, which is located right next to New Zealand’s biggest lake. You may relax and enjoy the outdoors here in a wonderful fashion.
Lake Taupo offers angling and boating, and there are also the spectacular Huka Falls and soothing geothermal hot springs to enjoy. Skydiving, jet boating, and mountain biking are some other great options that you can explore while you’re there.
Experiencing Wellington on Your Way
If you keep heading south, you’ll eventually reach the nation’s capital, Wellington. Enjoy the city’s sights before catching a ferry to the South Island.
Wellington is well-known for its vibrant arts community, high-quality coffee, and the New Zealand National Museum, Te Papa. Take a ride on the iconic Wellington Cable Car for stunning panoramas of the city and harbor.
South Island, Here We Come!
The South Island of New Zealand is renowned for its magnificent landscapes and outdoor adventures. Nelson is a great place to start because of its thriving arts community and wineries. You can also go kayaking, hiking, or just relax on the golden sand beaches of Abel Tasman National Park.
On your way, you can visit Punakaiki to witness the West Coast’s spectacular Pancake Rocks and blowholes for yourself. And if you have the time and budget for it, don’t miss out on guided walks or exciting helicopter flights over the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.
Down to the Wire: Queenstown
Queenstown, our final stop in this journey, is a great place to go on an adventure, whether you want to bungee jump from Kawarau Bridge, ski in the Remarkables, or take a cruise on Lake Wakatipu. There are also wineries, spas, and golf courses for those wanting to take things more slowly.
As you can see, driving from Auckland to Queenstown is an experience in itself, not just a means to an end. With a campervan rental, you can go at your own pace and see more of New Zealand’s stunning landscapes than ever before.