Auckland to Christchurch Road Trip | Apollo NZ
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Auckland to Christchurch Road Trip


The New Zealand road trip from Auckland to Christchurch is a must-do drive for campervan travellers. Stretching over 1000 km from the City of Sails’ sparkling harbours to the Canterbury Plains, this camper cruise offers one unforgettable experience after another. 

There’s no better way to enjoy the Auckland to Christchurch road trip than with an Apollo campervan hire. Relax in the luxury, privacy, and convenience of travelling with all your home comforts on board. Create home-cooked meals in your own kitchen, use the bathroom anytime, and take a nap whenever you need to in your own comfy bed!

This awesome 8-day road trip starts with an exploration of Auckland’s must-see attractions before heading south through the heartland of Aotearoa. Take in views of spectacular landscapes, explore fascinating heritage sites, and discover some natural wonders. Ready to hit the road? Let’s get started!


Image: Tourism New Zealand


Day 1: Auckland

Your exciting Auckland to Christchurch road trip begins when you pick up your pre-booked Apollo campervan from our Auckland branch on Manu Tapu Drive. It’s just minutes from Auckland Airport which makes it super easy if you’re flying in. 

Spend your first day exploring the sights and sounds of New Zealand’s biggest city. For the best vantage point, head into the CBD and up the Sky Tower. Take in 360-degree views of the city below, and if you’re feeling brave, you can try the Skyjump or Skywalk.

If you’re a keen wildlife fan, be sure to visit the Auckland Zoo. The zoo is home to over 144 species of animals with the largest diversity of wildlife in the country.  

Take some time to stop and smell the roses at Auckland Botanic Gardens. Spanning over 64 hectares, the gardens are a haven of horticultural splendour with over 10,000 plants from around the world. 

Tonight, enjoy a beachside stay at the beautiful Takapuna Beach Holiday Park.


Day 2: Auckland to Rotorua

Travel time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Distance: 225 km

It’s day two and time to head to Rotorua, New Zealand’s geothermal capital. Be sure to plan your route to allow a stop at Hobbiton along the way. Even if you’ve never seen a single Lord of The Rings or Hobbit movie, a visit to Hobbiton is an unmissable attraction. Take a fully guided tour around the 12-acre set where these epic movies were made. 

When you arrive in Rotorua, enjoy a relaxing soak in the therapeutic thermal mud at Hell’s Gate. The healing properties of the geothermal mud and sulphur mineral water have been used by local Māori for over 800 years. 

To experience awesome geothermal activity combined with captivating Māori culture, head to Te Puia or Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. The two neighbouring attractions offer tours, concerts, and short walks around geysers, silica terraces, and steamy pools. 

Another must-do, while you’re in Rotorua, is a walk through the Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest. The forest is renowned for its extensive network of superb mountain biking and walking tracks among magnificent Californian redwoods. You may even like to see the forest from above with a Redwoods Treewalk. This award-winning eco-tourism walk spans 28 suspension bridges and 27 platforms across a 700-metre treetop walk. 

Make the most of your time in Rotorua with a stay at the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park.


Day 3: Rotorua to Taupo

Travel time: 1 hour
Distance: 79 km

Enjoy a sleep-in this morning, today you have a nice short drive to beautiful Lake Taupo. 

One of the top things to do in Taupō is a visit to the incredible Huka Falls. Witness the power and beauty of more than 220,000 litres of water per second crashing over an 11-metre-high waterfall! Stand on the footbridge overlooking the falls. If you’re keen on a closer look, try a jet boat ride or river cruise. 

While you’re in Taupō, discover the alien landscape of the Craters of the Moon. This geothermal attraction formed in the 1950s when a large area north of Taupō suddenly began to emit steam and create craters of boiling mud. 

Another top spot worth exploring is Wai-o-tapu. This colourful, diverse landscape offers up one incredible natural wonder after another. If possible, time your visit to watch the Lady Knox Geyser erupt at 10.15 am. 

Park your motorhome up for the night at the Taupo TOP 10 Holiday Park. Be sure to make use of the park’s thermal water plunge pool. 


Day 4: Taupo to Napier

Travel time: 2 hours 6 minutes
Distance: 143 km

Today you’ll be driving across to the North Island’s east coast to visit New Zealand’s Art Deco capital, Napier. There’s plenty to see and do in this picturesque coastal township. 

A great way to explore the city is with a Napier Art Deco Guided Walk. Hear the dramatic story of the 1931 earthquake and learn about the city’s Art Deco buildings. 

While you’re in town, make the most of the great food and wine on offer. We recommend booking yourself into a wine tour and tasting

For something just a little different, take a self-guided audio tour of the old Napier Prison. Hear the stories of the prison’s fascinating past as you wander the abandoned buildings and spooky corridors. 

Plan a night’s stay in the peaceful setting of the Napier Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park.


Day 5: Napier to Palmerston North

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Distance: 181 km

From one cool Kiwi city to another, today you’re off to Palmerston North. Along the way, make some time to explore Hastings. The city has some fun and fascinating public artworks worth a look including a collection of Māori carvings in Clive Square.

Once you reach Palmerston North, plan a visit to the New Zealand Rugby Museum. See some of rugby’s greatest treasures including a 1905 ‘Originals’ rugby jersey. You’ll also have the opportunity to test out your rugby skills in the Have-a-Go area. 

For history of a different kind, visit the Te Manawa museum and art gallery. Afterwards, take a wander through Victoria Esplanade. If you’ve got kids on board, they’ll love taking a ride on the mini railway. And if you visit in summer, they can cool off with a splash in the paddling pool.

Tonight, enjoy a stay at Palmerston North Holiday Park.


Image: Tourism New Zealand


Day 6: Palmerston North to Wellington

Travel time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Distance: 142 km

Day six of your travel itinerary takes you to the capital city, Wellington. One of the great things to do in Wellington is a visit to the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa. It’s easy to spend a day here checking out all the exhibitions and activities. 

For those with an interest in New Zealand’s parliamentary process, book into a guided tour of the Parliament Buildings, including the iconic ‘Beehive’. Wellington is also a great place to see some of New Zealand’s precious native wildlife. Located just minutes from the central city, Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is the world’s first fully fenced, predator-proof ecosanctuary.

Don’t leave Wellington before you’ve had a chance to visit the Weta Workshops. Learn about how some of New Zealand’s big movies such as Lord of the Rings were made. Create your own keepsake at a creative workshop and explore the Weta Cave retail store.  

You’ll be ready for a good sleep tonight at Wellington TOP 10 Holiday Park.


Day 7: Wellington to Picton

Travel time: 4 hours (including ferry crossing)

Distance: 100 km

It’s a big day today as you travel from the North Island to the South! Book your tickets aboard the InterIslander Ferry because you’ll be crossing the Cook Strait with your campervan. Relax on board and enjoy lunch as you take in the stunning scenery from Wellington Harbour to the Marlborough Sounds. 

Picton may be small, but there’s plenty to do on an overnight stay. We recommend a visit to the Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary. Here, you can meet many of New Zealand’s native birds including kererū (our huge and colourful wood pigeons!), tūī, New Zealand falcons, little blue penguins and more. You might also spot a native wētā or gecko. 

Another top spot is the Picton Heritage and Whaling Museum where you can see displays of Maori artefacts and learn about the history of whaling in Cook Strait. 

Treat yourself to some tasty fish and chips on the waterfront before settling in for the night at Picton Campervan Park


Image: Tourism New Zealand


Day 8: Picton to Christchurch

Travel time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Distance: 336 km

It’s the last day of your epic Auckland to Christchurch road trip. Today, you’ll be driving down the east coast through Kaikōura. You may like to plan a lunch stop to enjoy the stunning scenery and browse the artisan shops in the main street. 

The last item on your travel itinerary is to drop off your camper at Apollo’s Christchurch branch. But if you’ve got time, check out the highlights of the city. A great way to pack in lots of sights and activities in a short time is with a ride on the Christchurch Tram. Highlights include the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, the Riverside Market, Arts Centre, and New Regent Street. 


Ready to explore?

Feeling excited about booking an Auckland to Christchurch road trip to experience these must-see destinations for yourself? Make it happen and book your Apollo campervan today. Follow our great road trip itinerary planner or create your own. 

Choose from our great range of different campervans. You might even find a great bargain on a campervan hire so don’t forget to check out our current deals.




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