Great NZ and Middle Earth Tour – 30 days

New Zealand map

This epic journey will guide you through all New Zealand has to offer in just over four weeks. Experience otherworldly landscapes and get to know the real Middle-earth.  Perfect for all the Lord of the Rings fans and anybody else looking for a fantastic holiday with amazing scenery and the opportunity to see some amazing natural attractions.  From the glaciers and fiords of the south to the beauty of the west and the geothermal activities in the north.  We have thrown in some adventure and action to give you an unforgettable holiday.

Day 1

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo (3.45h)

Today’s journey takes you to Aoraki/Mt Cook, the highest peak in Australasia. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo, and consider an overnight stay to take in the wonders of  theMt John observatory or your own views of this International Dark Sky Reserve. Then, stop for a photo opportunity at Lake Pukaki, whose waters are an otherworldly icy blue, caused by the fine particles that float in its cool glacier runoff. There are hiking and walking trails for all abilities on the slopes of Aoraki and plenty to do in Mt Cook village. The surrounding country provided some of the locations for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, including the Pellenor Fields, near Twizel. Grab a tour book from a local bookstore for highlights.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Glentanner Park Centre
SH80, Aoraki, Mount Cook
www.glentanner.co.nz
Lake Pukaki,
Pukaki
Lake Tekapo NZMCA Park
Lilybank Rd,
Tekapo
Church on the shores of lake tekapo

Day 2

Lake Tekapo to Wanaka  (3h)

Lake Wanaka lies nestled at the foot of the Southern Alps, otherwise known as the Misty Mountains and served as the area known as South of Rivendell. Spend a night here, any time of year, to enjoy the views of the mountains, water sports or biking by the lakes, or many of the activities available in and around the rivers.  

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park
263 Studholme Rd North, Wanaka
www.wanakakiwiholidaypark.nz
Wanaka Cardrona Rd
Cardrona Valley Rd,
Cardrona
Rotary Glen NZMCA Park
Partride Road,
Cromwell
Mountains - hooker valley

Day 3

A day in Wanaka

Wanaka caters to tourists of every interest. It’s a hot spot for NZ families year-round, as well as for adventurers, tour groups, and everything in between. The town itself is full of good food, wine and shopping, and the area around Wanaka offers tours and attractions galore. You’ll also find some unique attractions, like the 3D maze and the ‘warbird’ air show, which is held every two years. Wanaka’s lake is the main attraction in the warmer months, and is a boatie’s delight. In the winter, the local cafes and restaurants cater to the skiing set. You’re sure to find a warm welcome and lots to do in town at any time of year.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park
263 Studholme Rd North, Wanaka
www.wanakakiwiholidaypark.nz
Wanaka Cardrona Rd
Cardrona Valley Rd,
Cardrona
Rotary Glen NZMCA Park
Partride Road,
Cromwell
family picnic at lake wanaka

Day 4

Wanaka  to Queenstown (1.25h)

The road from Wanaka to Queenstown heads through the mountains by way of the Crown Range, and the famous Cardrona ski fields. Plan a slow trip to allow for plenty of photo stops.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
4 Cemetery Rd, Queenstown
www.holidaypark.net.nz
Shotover River
Shotover Delta Rd,
Queenstown
POP
Glenorchy Hotel and Backpackers Ltd
42 Mull St
Glenorchy
Rafting Queenstown

Day 5

Spend the day in Queenstown

The alpine resort of Queenstown is unlike anywhere else in New Zealand, as its tourist numbers in high seasons will attest. However, in your luxury accommodation on wheels, the town is yours to explore without the bother of advance bookings.  Tourists young and old flock to Queenstown to soak in its atmosphere, literally soak in luxury spas, partake of its many award-winning restaurants and cafes, and shop at upmarket boutiques. It’s also the place to be if adventure tourism is your thing: bungy jumping, jet boating, river rafting, river surfing, horse trekking, skiing, snowboarding, skydiving…all are available here, and all are provided to the highest standards.

Some quieter adventures also await, from high tea at the end of Lake Wakatipu after a leisurely ride on the SS Earnslaw, to world-class golf, to wine tastings – Queenstown has got you covered, and is a destination in itself. However, it is also an excellent base for many different day trips.  For LOTR fans, the area around Wanaka to Glenorchy includes locations such as the Pillars of Argonath, The Ford of Bruinen, Gladden Fields, Amon Hen and Ithilien Camp. Glenorchy and Queenstown area includes Isengard, Lothlorien, and Amon Hen.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
4 Cemetery Rd, Queenstown
www.holidaypark.net.nz
Shotover River
Shotover Delta Rd,
Queenstown
POP
Glenorchy Hotel and Backpackers Ltd
42 Mull St
Glenorchy
Ship sailing through water

Queenstown to Milford Sound to Queenstown

Visitors to Queenstown really should take advantage of the opportunity to see Milford Sound. There is a road route, but it’s a long drive. It’s worth flying in and out in a day on one of the many tours offered. It really isn’t to be missed, as the area of the Sounds affords once in a lifetime views of untouched natural splendour.

Another day trip is Arrowtown, only 30 minutes away. This small settlement is a contradiction of sorts, with humble old mining cottages hugging tree-lined roads which lead to a quaint town centre that boasts luxury spas, designer shops and gourmet restaurants. Visit the historic mining huts along the river, explore the tribute to New Zealand’s earliest Chinese settlers, sample local fudges, ice creams and confections and stop in at a local winery to make your day complete.

Other LOTR locations in the area are Deer Park Heights and Dimrill Dale.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
4 Cemetery Rd, Queenstown
www.holidaypark.net.nz
Shotover River
Shotover Delta Rd,
Queenstown
POP
Glenorchy Hotel and Backpackers Ltd
42 Mull St
Glenorchy
Spectacular view of Queenstown - Snowy mountains

Day 7

Queenstown to Fox Glacier (4.25h)

It’s a long road north, but an opportunity to stop at Lake Matheson for a glimpse of Aoraki, and a chance to stop in at Wanaka again for anything you may have missed. Head toward Haast, over the long bridge across the Haast River. The scenery is lush and green and full of rivers here as you make your way up the coast and through Mt Aspiring National Park, where there are day trips and short walks for all abilities. The settlement of Haast is a town with a touch of the wild west, and another good place to stretch the legs and have a look around. Just north of Haast is Lake Moeraki, a peaceful forest lake with good fishing. From here, a 40 minute walk takes you to the penguin colony at Monro Beach. Then, drive on to Fox Glacier. Plan to stay at Fox Glacier but explore its neighbour, the Franz Josef Glacier as well, the location for the Lighting of the Beacons scene from LOTR.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Fox Glacier Lodge & Caravan Park
41 Sullivan Rd, Fox Glacier
www.foxglacierlodge.com
Moeraki (Blue) River
Haast Hwy,
Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park & Motels
Kerr Rd,
Fox Glacier
girl doing skating on glacier

Day 8

Fox Glacier to Greymouth  (2.5h)

Fox Glacier, at 13km long, is fed by four alpine glaciers and makes its way downward 2, 600m on its way toward the coast. It is unusual in that is ends in rainforest, nearly at sea level, unlike most glaciers, which prefer to stay at higher altitudes. There are numerous walking tracks at different grades of difficulty, as well as professional tours, on foot and by helicopter, available for visitors.

Franz Josef glacier is just a short 45-minute drive north. You can walk to the terminal of the glacier in about 10 minutes; alternatively arrange a heli-hike to get on top of the glacier and explore its ice caves. Franz Josef township has a good range of accommodation and eating establishments, as well as hot pools filled with heated glacial water.

From Franz Josef, make your way up the rugged West Coast, through the old gold mining settlement of Hokitika. Stop here for supplies, a wander through town, and the highly recommended short and easy walk into the Hokitika Gorge for photo opportunities of this beautiful forest and the bright blue waters of the river.  Nearby at West Coast Treetops Walk, you can wander through the forest canopy on purpose-built boardwalks. In Greymouth, visit Shantytown for your own gold mining experience, walk the beautiful Pt Elizabeth walkway, by the coast or try some cave rafting.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Greymouth Kiwi Holiday Park
318 Main South Rd, Greymouth
www.greymouthkiwi.co.nz
Jellyman Park Beachfront Area
Hill Quay,
Greymouth
NZMCA Southside Park
80B Ruatapu Rd
SH6
Hokitika
high tide on punakaiki coast

Day 9

Greymouth  to St Arnaud (3.25h)

Before leaving the coast, make the time to head out to Punakaiki, otherwise known as The Pancake Rocks. These unusual rock formations on the beach are stunning, and the visitors’ centre and walkway are especially well done. Head north toward Buller Gorge and through Westport with its handsome period architecture, reminiscent of the gold mining era. Check out the gold mining museum, which is an excellent example of its type and will give visitors a real feel for the life of a miner.

St Arnaud is a lovely village on Lake Rotoiti within the Nelson Lakes National Park. Take some time to stock up here, and take advantage of the day hikes, rafting, fishing , and photo opportunities.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
The Clinker Café & Rangeview Gift Shop
15 Beechnest Dr,
St Arnaud
Howard Valley Rd,
Howard,
St Arnaud
Murchison NZMCA Park
Fairfax St,
Murchison
river rafting- Nelson Lake

Day 10

 St Arnaud to Nelson (1.5h)

Nelson prides itself on having the most sunshine hours in all of New Zealand, and this must make for happy, artsy, alternative people, which you’ll find plenty of in the community of Nelson. Nelson has an almost subtropical feel compared to the rest of the South Island, with its pretty white sand beaches, palm trees, and brightly coloured buildings. The streets of Nelson are full of cafes, interesting art and craft shops, restaurants, a large number of galleries, and historic attractions. It is also home to many a fine brewery to while away an afternoon in. Beyond town are beautiful forests and beaches to visit and get a taste of the beauty of this corner of the country.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Nelson City TOP 10 Holiday Park
230 Vanguard St, Nelson
www.nelsonholidaypark.co.nz
Collins Memorial Reserve
Cnr of SH1 & Freeths Rd, Koromiko
www.marlborough.govt.nz
POP
The Honest Lawyer Country Pub and Hotel
1 Point Road
Monaco Nelson

 

beach side

Day 11

Nelson to Picton (2h)

Plan to spend some time stopping along the bays between Anakiwa and Picton and appreciate the beauty of the Marlborough Sounds. Take a boat cruise, do a day walk within the Queen Charlotte Walkway, or have a picnic by a bay. Stop in Picton for supplies and a visit to one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area, and be sure to spend some time along the shore before catching your ferry to the north.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Parklands Marina Holiday Park
10 Beach Rd, Waikawa Marina, Picton
www.parktostay.co.nz
Collins Memorial Reserve
Cnr of SH1 & Freeths Rd, Koromiko
www.marlborough.govt.nz
POP
Crow Tavern
15 Nelson Square
Picton
Interislander ferry

Day 12

Wellington  to Whanganui (2.5h)

You’ll be spoiled for choice of short adventures to keep you entertained on your way from Wellington to Wanganui/Whanganui. Offshore from Waikanae is Kapiti Island, a nature reserve where visitors can book tours for close encounters with rare birds. In Paekakariki there’s an escarpment walkway and electric tramway, and in Waikanae you’ll find Mangaone Walkway. In other spots along the route are parks, walks, a car museum, bike tracks, and scenic outlooks galore.  Levin is a major clothing industry hub and has many factories. In Bulls, stop for lunch and check out the many antique shops.

There is plenty to keep you busy in the river town of Wanganui/Whanganui. For most of its history, the river was the heart of this town, and museums and river adventures attest to this. Take a cruise on the Steamer Waimarie, check out the museums and the River Market, or head up the hill to the war memorial tower and elevator.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Whanganui River Top 10 Holiday Park
460 Somme Pde, Aramoho,
Whanganui
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Blyth Street
Whanganui
NZMCA Park
23 Oxford St,
Marton
airplane view of the city having building on the side of water

Day 13

Whanganui to New Plymouth (2.25h)

Enjoy the dairy farms, scenic little towns, and views of Mt Taranaki along your route north.

At Hawera, if you prefer beach views and a stop at the town of Oakura, follow the ‘Surf Highway’ around Cape Egmont. Or you can take the inland route via Stratford and enjoy the green serenity of farmland. If you would like to get a closer view of the Mount, there are walking tracks on its lower reaches.

The city of New Plymouth has plenty to keep the traveller busy, well fed, and well informed about the area. Be sure to visit the world class Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre to experience one of New Zealand’s best-known artist’s kinetic sculptures, exhibited in an impressive and state of the art gallery.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Fitroy Beach Holiday Park
1D Beach St, Fitzroy,
New Plymouth
www.fitzroybeach.co.nz
Oakura
Greenwood Rd, Tataraimaka,
New Plymouth
NZMCA Park
Huatoki Domain Recreational Reserve, Huatoki St,
New Plymouth

The city of New Plymouth is known for its beautiful parks and gardens. It also has a strong arts focus, so check out the current exhibitions.

Snow covered Mountains

Day 14

New Plymouth to Waitomo Caves (2.5h)

Visitors will enjoy the drive along the sparkling Tasman Sea as they drive north through seaside villages. There are lots of picnic and walking spots along the way, especially at Awakino. Waitomo is famous for its caves and kiwi house. World class systems of limestone caves beneath the surface of this area provide adventure at every level, from serious spelunking to leisurely walking or boat tours. Try the black (a bit less hair-raising but still lots of fun) or white-water rafting adventures to fully appreciate the wonder of these underground grottos full of stalactites, stalagmites, and colonies of glow worms. Visit the Kiwi House for an up-close encounter with the national bird.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park
12 Waitomo Village Rd, Waitomo Village, Waitomo
www.waitomopark.co.nz
The Haggas Lookout
971 Te Anga Rd,
Waitomo
Otorohanga NZMCA Park
9 Waipa Esplanade,
Otorohanga
Group of people exploring the glowworm caves in waitomo

Day 15

Waitomo Caves to Auckland (2.5h)

The trip north from Waitomo heads right through the dairy heartland of New Zealand. Stop in at Hamilton to see the University, the mighty river, the beautiful public gardens, or some of its museums and galleries. Take a detour here and head out to Raglan, famous for its unique surf breaks. A community of surfers has grown up around the area and it is a great place to visit for a coffee, some interesting cafe food, the laid-back vibe, and a chance to watch (or ride) the exquisite waves. The landscape becomes even more hilly and lush as you head north and enter the environs of Auckland. Here, in New Zealand’s largest city of over a million people, spread across volcanic hills and hugging two harbours, you will find plenty to keep you entertained for a day or two.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Remuera Motor Lodge
16 Minto Rd, Remuera, Auckland
www.remueramotorlodge.co.nz
Waikato River
Riverbank Rd, Mercer
www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz
NZMCA Park
Harvard Ln, Ardmore,
Auckland
Auckland city view

Day 16

Spend the day in Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with over 1 million people spread across multiple centres. It is situated between two harbours, Waitemata (Auckland) and Manukau, and sits amongst dozens of volcanic cones. Auckland is a great place to visit museums, art galleries, war memorials, historic Maori sites, parks and gardens, and climb small volcanic hills. It hosts concerts, the ballet and opera, numerous theatre productions, and offers unlimited eating and drinking options, as well as vineyards.

Its Sky Tower holds a casino and sky walk, where visitors can view the expanse of the city. Take a ferry over to the Victorian charm of Devonport, or out to Waiheke Island, full of vineyards and craft shops, or venture further to Rangitoto, the volcano that watches over the harbour. St Heliers and Kohimarama are beach areas not far from the city along beautiful Tamaki Drive, and the newly developed Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, and Wynyard Quarter area is a pleasure to wander around or stop for a meal and a bit of people watching. Nature lovers can head out to hike the Waitakere Ranges or stroll the black sand beaches of Piha and Muriwai. The choice is yours.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Remuera Motor Lodge
16 Minto Rd, Remuera, Auckland
Waikato River
Riverbank Rd, Mercer
www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz
NZMCA Park
Harvard Ln, Ardmore,
Auckland
Exciting view of Auckland with glittering ships and buildings

Day 17

Auckland  to Hobbiton (2h) to Hamilton (1h)

From Auckland, head south again for a real Middle Earth experience. At the town of Matamata, visitors will delight in the village of Hobbiton, the Shire built for the Hobbits of the LOTR trilogy, and preserved for tourists to visit. They even have a pub, with local craft beer, where you can sit and enjoy this other worldly environment after your guided tour of the town.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Hamilton City Holiday Park
14 Ruakura Rd, Hamilton East,Hamilton
Porrit Stadium
Crosby Rd, Chartwell,Hamilton
POP

Brian And Frances Wilcock
765 River Rd, Chartwell,

Hamilton

Magnificent view of Middle Earth New Zealand

Day 18

Hamilton to Waitomo Caves (1h)

Head back to Waitomo again to catch any of the attractions you missed on the way north, or spend some time looking at LOTR attractions. Local tours will give you access to a number of LOTR filming locations in the area, including Staddles Farm, Trollshaw Forest, the Troll Hoarde Cave, the Gundabad Wargs and other scenes from the trilogy.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park
12 Waitomo Village Rd, Waitomo Village, Waitomo
www.waitomopark.co.nz
The Haggas Lookout
971 Te Anga Rd,
Waitomo
Otorohanga NZMCA Park
9 Waipa Esplanade,
Otorohanga
Water through Waitomo caves

Day 19

Waitomo Caves to Taupo (2h)

There’s so much to do in this area of the country that it’s worth spreading out your trip. On the way to Taupo, the scenery continues to be both other-worldly and volcanic and lush, as well as obviously managed by human hands, with its pine plantations and signs of forestry all over. If you haven’t had enough of the geothermal wonders of the area, it’s worth stopping at less well-known attractions such as Orakei Korako and Wairakei Power Station.

Further on is Huka Falls, and its luxury lodge nearby, New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction. Take a tour down the raging river, or walk in to see the falls on foot.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Taupo DeBreetts Spa Resort
76 Napier-Taupo Rd, SH5, Taupo
Taupo Marina
75 Redoubt St, Taupo
Taupo Airport NZMCA Park
Anzac Memorial Dr,
Taupo
Man holding fish in his hands

Day 20

A day exploring Taupo

Lake Taupo is actually a massive volcanic crater which formed New Zealand’s largest lake. It also hosts one of the country’s longest and most popular bike races, around its perimeter, and there is plenty to enjoy in the village. Head out to see the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, accessible only by water, for something really different.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Taupo DeBreetts Spa Resort
76 Napier-Taupo Rd, SH5, Taupo
Taupo Marina
75 Redoubt St, Taupo
Taupo Airport NZMCA Park
Anzac Memorial Dr,
Taupo
Lake Taupo

Day 21

Taupo to Wellington (5h)

The long drive to Wellington takes visitors through Tongariro National Park, home to three impressive volcanoes (Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe), as well as the famed Desert Road, ski fields, nature walks galore and scenery that is some of the best, and most representative, in New Zealand. Even better, it is the backdrop for LOTR’s Mordor.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Camp Elsdon
18 Raiha St, Elsdon, Porirua
www.campelsdon.co.nz
Evans Bay Marina Carpark
Cnr Evans Bay Pde & Cobham Dr, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Plimmerton NZMCA Park
7 Ulric St, Plimmerton,Porirua
Ferries New Zealand

Day 22

A day in Wellington

New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington is a great walking city, full of character, charm, history, and of course, politicians. It is home to Victoria University, and the presence of the students lends a hip, young, artistic air to the place. Its hills are legendary and will keep you on your toes, but the relaxing and foot friendly harbour area is never far away.

Wellington has shopping, restaurants, nightlife, street art and theatre, beautiful parks, and a gorgeous waterfront. Of particular note are Te Papa, the National Museum, and for fans of the Lord of the Rings movies, Weta Cave Workshops, where visitors can experience the art and science behind the creation of these award-winning films. Wellington hosts sport, music, theatre, dance and cultural performances year-round, and is proud home of WOW, NZ’s World of Wearable Arts extravaganza, held in early spring each year.

Head up the slopes of Mt Victoria and enjoy the beauty of the Botanic Gardens along the way and the view of the city from the top. Visit Zealandia and the Zoo for encounters with wildlife, or head out to Oriental Bay to enjoy the beaches and seabird colonies. At night, Courtenay Place has plenty of nightlife, and theatre opportunities abound in the city, to be enjoyed after a meal at one of the many world class restaurants.  LOTR fans can climb Mt Victoria, and enjoy the gardens and gallery on the way, to see where the scene Escape from the Nazgul was shot.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Camp Elsdon
18 Raiha St, Elsdon, Porirua
www.campelsdon.co.nz
Evans Bay Marina Carpark
Cnr Evans Bay Pde & Cobham Dr, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Plimmerton NZMCA Park
7 Ulric St, Plimmerton,Porirua
Museum New Zealand

Day 23

Wellington to Blenheim  (4.5h)

Catch the ferry from Wellington back to Picton. Enjoy the beauty of the Sounds again and consider a day hike through the historic and beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound Walkway before making your way to Blenheim.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park
78 Grove Rd, Mayfield, Blenheim
www.blenheimtop10.co.nz
Taylor Dam Reserve
Taylor Pass Rd,
Blenheim
POP
Blenheim Bowling Club
65E Weld St,
Blenheim
interislander ferry

Day 24

A day in Blenheim

Blenheim is in the middle of world famous wine country, and there are scores of vineyards and wineries to stop in for lunch and a sample of local wines. Alternatively, rent some bikes and meander through the vines. LOTR fans, and aviation enthusiasts, should visit Omaka and its war plane museum, owned by Sir Peter Jackson, director of the LOTR trilogy. It’s full of props from the movies as well as an impressive collection of planes.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park
78 Grove Rd, Mayfield, Blenheim
www.blenheimtop10.co.nz
Taylor Dam Reserve
Taylor Pass Rd,
Blenheim
POP
Blenheim Bowling Club
65E Weld St,
Blenheim
people taking a walk through the green fields

Day 25

Blenheim  to Nelson (2h)

Take your time today on the way to Nelson, and extend the short trip to include the beautiful bays and picnic spots of Pelorus Sounds.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Nelson City TOP 10 Holiday Park
230 Vanguard St, Nelson
www.nelsonholidaypark.co.nz
Collins Memorial Reserve
Cnr of SH1 & Freeths Rd, Koromiko
www.marlborough.govt.nz
POP
The Honest Lawyer Country Pub and Hotel
1 Point Road
Monaco Nelson
Couple riding bicycle

Day 26

A day exploring Nelson

On this trip to Nelson, explore all of the LOTR locations on offer, either on your own or with a guide. Some highlights are: Takaka Hill, which served as Chetwood Forest, Mt Olympus, which was South of Rivendell, Dimrell Dale at Mt Owen and the hobbit country around Kaihoka Station. Other places to explore in the area are all of the small towns, beaches and inlets along Golden Bay, all the way around the arm to Farewell Spit. Some of the first ships to NZ from England arrived around these lonely shores and there are many local museums and cemeteries where you can learn more.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Nelson City TOP 10 Holiday Park
230 Vanguard St, Nelson
www.nelsonholidaypark.co.nz
Collins Memorial Reserve
Cnr of SH1 & Freeths Rd, Koromiko
www.marlborough.govt.nz
POP
The Honest Lawyer Country Pub and Hotel
1 Point Road
Monaco Nelson
Ferris Wheel Nelson South Island New Zealand

Day 27

A Day in Abel Tasman National Park

Stay a while in the area and spend a day in Abel Tasman (the first European to sight, and name, New Zealand, though he never came ashore) National Park. There are easy day hikes, DOC huts to stay in, and some of the loveliest beaches in the South Island to walk and explore.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Bethany Park Christian Camp
88 Martin Farm Rd,
Kaiteriteri
Motueka Beach Reserve
Everett St
Motueka
Port Tarakohe NZMCA Park
Abel Tasman Dr,
Port Tarakohe,
Takaka
Boat sailing through clear water on beach

Day 28

Nelson to Kaikoura (3h)

Kaikoura experienced major earthquakes in 2016, which disrupted their roads and some attractions. Check http://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/11 for live updates to be sure your road trip will be a safe and enjoyable one.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Peketa Beach Holiday Park
665 Main South Rd/SH1, Kaikoura
www.kaikourapeketabeach.co.nz
Cribb Creek
Inland Kaikoura Rd, Kaikoura
www.kaikoura.govt.nz
NZMCA Park
Kaikoura Trotting Club
South Bay Pde,
Kaikoura
Whale Kaikoura

Day 29

A day in Kaikoura

Kaikoura translates into English as a good place to eat kai (crayfish) koura , and indeed it is! Don’t miss the chance to sample some of the freshest shellfish and crustaceans around. Venture onto the Coastal Walkway and you could see sperm whales, dusky dolphins, fur seals, and albatross play in the waters off shore. Alternatively, join them in their own environment and take one of the many oceanic tours on offer.  Kaikoura experienced major earthquakes in 2016, which disrupted their roads and some attractions. Check http://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/11 for live updates to be sure your road trip will be a safe and enjoyable one.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
Peketa Beach Holiday Park
665 Main South Rd/SH1, Kaikoura
www.kaikourapeketabeach.co.nz
Cribb Creek
Inland Kaikoura Rd, Kaikoura
www.kaikoura.govt.nz
NZMCA Park
Kaikoura Trotting Club
South Bay Pde,
Kaikoura
People having fun on the side of coast

Day 30

Kaikoura to Christchurch (3h)

Christchurch is traditionally New Zealand’s most English city – imagined, laid out, planned and even settled by decree over in England. It was built around its Christ Church Cathedral and Four Avenues, furnished with the University of Canterbury and Christ’s College, peopled by the first four ships, and fitted out with Neo Gothic architecture and glorious English gardens; a bit of old England in the South Pacific. Of course, now, it is as Kiwi as anywhere in New Zealand, and a vibrant, international place with its own flair and style. So, plan to spend the day enjoying this everchanging locale.

Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city, known for its beautiful public gardens, old world charm and architecture, and its quaint and very walkable city centre. Much of this changed in the 2011 earthquakes when so much of the city was lost. However, the city is rising to the challenges, quite literally, and it is now home to funky and unique pop up malls, dozens of new buildings, high street, designer and boutique shops, a world class art gallery and museum, and restaurants galore.

Many of its heritage buildings have been restored, the beautiful Botanic Gardens remain, and the trams have returned to its streets (some of which offer dinner-on-board tours in the evenings). Take a punt down the Avon, check out the new civic areas along the river, enjoy the unique facades of New Regent Street, or go for a run at Hagley Park. Make sure you check out the transitional cardboard cathedral in the city centre, and the Margaret Mahy playground, designed with the help of the children of New Zealand to be the biggest and best play space in the country.

Outside of the city, Orana Wildlife Park hosts New Zealand’s only gorilla encounter, and you may find a kiwi or two of the feathered kind both here and at Willowbank Nature  Reserve, where you can also take in a Maori Cultural performance. For a bit of history, head out to Ferrymead, a purpose built 19th century village, where you can experience what colonial life was like for early inhabitants. Once there, spend some time at the shore at Sumner and Redcliffs and enjoy some fish and chips on the beach.

Recommended accommodation options include:

Campground Option
Free Parking Option
NZMCA Option
North South
530 Sawyers Arms Rd,Christchurch Holiday Park
www.northsouth.co.nz
Waimakariri River West
Harrs Rd,
Kaiapoi
NZMCA Weedons Park
286 Jones Road,
Weedons
Christchurch South
boat sailing in lake - christchurch