The Best Things to Do in Picton | Apollo NZ
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Apollo motorhome driving nearby Auckland, New Zealand

Motorhome and Campervan Hire Auckland

 

There is no better place to start your New Zealand road trip adventure than in Auckland, the country’s largest city and the gateway to the North Island. Though it’s known as the entrance to many of the North island’s destinations, this metropolis is a popular destination all on its own. Explore Auckland with visits to the museums for Māori cultural performances, to the Auckland Zoo to get in touch with the local wildlife, and to many other landmarks, all perfect for a day out with the family. Whether visiting Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf to bask in the scenic beauty, or venturing up to the Sky Tower for a heart-stopping bungee jump, there are many activities to enjoy on your Auckland campervan holiday.

Auckland Transfer Information via Aeroparks Shuttle

We offer transfers to/from our Auckland Branch as follows:

  • From Auckland airport, Domestic Terminal: Pick up is opposite the Jetstar end of the Terminal. Once guests have their luggage, exit through doors 7 or 8 and walk across to the big white control tower to the pick-up point. Phone number for Aeroparks is 0800 237 672 or +64 27 414 4712. Pick-up is between 8am and 4pm daily.
  • From Auckland airport, International Terminal: Once you clear customs, exit the terminal and make your way to the Transport Pick-Up Zone (Lane 5); just a short 5-7 minutes’ walk under the covered canopy walkway, north of the Transport hub and behind the Te Arikanui Pullman Hotel. Request a pickup on the shuttle by calling through to Aeroparks. Phone number for Aeroparks is 0800 237 672 or +64 27 414 4712.

Looking for campervan rental in Auckland?

 

For the campervans Auckland travellers love, choose Apollo! Leave Auckland from any direction in your campervan, and you will find more of what the North Island has to offer! Visiting Northland and the Bay of Islands will provide splendid opportunities to see dolphins up close. The relaxing beaches and spas of The Coromandel are truly worth the scenic road trip, as are Hamilton and Waikato, with stunning beaches, nature reserves and the famous Hobbiton; the movie set where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot. While you’re there, don't miss the thermal mud pools of Rotorua, and Lake Taupo, which offers beautiful clear waters and stunning stargazing by night.

Explore ethereal landscapes and majestic scenery, and be immersed in unique Māori and modern culture with a self-drive adventure in a campervan or motorhome hired from Apollo Motorhome Holidays. If you’re visiting from the South Island, we have a branch there too. Apollo has you covered for campervan hire from Auckland to Christchurch.

Campervan hire Auckland Airport: Guests will need to arrange their own way to and from the airport to our branches in Auckland and Christchurch.

Auckland Branch

  • Address:
    13 Manu Tapu Drive, Auckland Airport, Auckland 2022, New Zealand
  • Opening Hours:
    Monday - Sunday: 08:00 - 16:30
  • Telephone:
    0800 845 222
  • Distance from City:
    21 Kilometres / 13 Miles
  • Taxi Fare City:
    NZD $95 Approx
  • Distance from Airport:
    4.5 Kilometres / 2.8 Miles
  • Taxi Fare Airport:
    NZD $25 Approx
  • Closed Days:

    New Year's Day, Good Friday and Christmas Day

What to do on your campervan road trip?

 

The beautiful legends of New Zealand and the inception of its two main islands are told as part of the traditional Māori people, who settled in the country long before the Europeans first arrived. According to the Māori, the North Islands were formed after the brothers of Māui, a demigod, fought over a great fish that he pulled from the sea. The fish was chopped into pieces, creating what is now known to be Te Ika-a-Māui, the traditional name of the island group. Though the tales may only be myth, the breathtaking beauty of the North Island is definitely not.

Auckland City

The North Island of New Zealand has endless opportunities for adventure, beauty and wonder. However, we think the perfect place to start is Auckland, where you’ll be picking up your Apollo motorhome or campervan. Although surrounded by the natural beauty of the North Island, Auckland itself has an array of fantastic tourist activities sure to keep everyone entertained, from food and music to art and culture. So, after setting off from our Auckland branch location, why not stop in at a few of the city's best sites and attractions.

Sky Tower

Piercing Auckland’s skyline, the Sky Tower is known for its panoramic views of the city, bay area and surrounding landscape. Standing at 300 metres high, it is the highest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. As well as stunning views, the Sky Tower also offers gift shops, world-class restaurants and a heart-stopping bungee jump which starts at 192m above the streets below. 

Auckland Museum

Step back in time and discover the rich history of Maori and Pacific Islander culture. With extensive cultural, military and natural history collections, the Auckland Museum is the perfect place to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s story. Located within a historical building and surrounded by tranquil parkland, it’s the perfect day trip for the whole family. 

Mount Eden

Walk up Auckland’s highest volcanic peak for stunning views of the Auckland CBD and harbour. You can observe the crater in the centre of the mountain, which is now covered in grass. 

Tapapakanga Regional Park

Operated by the Auckland City Council, the Tapapakanga Regional Park is a scenic coastal farm park about an hour’s drive east of Auckland. Perfect for a relaxing start to your NZ road trip, park up at your beach-side campsite, and watch the sunset over the rolling landscape behind you. 

Touring the North Island

Travelling out of Auckland in your Apollo campervan, you are spoiled for choice. From forests, beaches, rolling hills, and wild rivers, which area of natural beauty should you visit first? 

The Northern Tip

Travelling north of the city, you will reach the world-renowned Bay of Islands. From there, drive as far as you can to arrive at Cape Reinga, the northernmost point on mainland New Zealand. Along the way you will encounter cute little towns, rural charm and gorgeous coastal scenes.

Heading South

South of Auckland, there are many different paths you can take. If you’re feeling in need of some sea air, make a beeline for the Bay of Plenty or Coromandel Peninsula. A trip inland will likely guide you to lakes and thermal environments of Taupo and Rotorua.

Wild West Coast

If dramatic, rugged scenes are what you crave, the west coast of the North Island is perfect for you. Let the wind whip through your hair as you stand over the craggy cliffs or paddle out on one of the many surf beaches. Dotted with national parks, limestone caves and even a volcanic mountain, let the west coast captivate you with its natural beauty.

East Coast Adventure

Known as the ‘Sunshine Capital’, Napier and surrounding regions are home to world-class vineyards and a wonderful collection of art-deco architecture. Get a bit of culture in you and stroll the streets of Napier on a self-guided ‘Art-Deco walk’, designed by the Art-Deco Trust. 

Things to do in Auckland

Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: NZ blog

The Best Things to Do in Picton.

Nestled at the heart of the Marlborough Sounds, Picton is best known for its bustling ferry terminal for travellers making their passage between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. While it is true, this is where the interislander ferry coughs out cars and campervans full of adventurers daily, to transit through Picton without a little Picton sightseeing is to miss out on a secret slice of Kiwi paradise – ripe with adventures, tastes, and sights. 

From stunning harbour vistas to wine tasting, there are plenty of great Picton activities and attractions worth checking out on a road trip through this region. So, if you are looking for the best things to do in Picton, let's dive in and unwrap this overlooked gem together.

 

Where is Picton?

Picton is located at the top of New Zealand's South Island. It serves as the main ferry terminal linking the South Island with Wellington on the North Island, making it a bustling hub of travellers and adventures. However, this quaint township is not just a waypoint but a gateway to some of the most breathtaking landscapes the South Island has to offer. 

 

Why visit Picton

But why, you might ask, should you visit Picton, especially if you’re just there for a pit stop? Well, beneath its transit hub facade lies outdoor adventures, foodie delights, and serene escapes. Picton is the unassuming gatekeeper of the stunning Marlborough Sounds, a vast network of sea-drowned valleys offering a maze of tranquil bays, lush islands, and serene beaches. Picton is full of surprises, including: 

  • Stunning Nature: Picton is surrounded by lush forests and the crystal-clear waters of the Sounds. 

  • Beachcombing: Picton’s beaches are serene, stunning, and perfect for a day under the sun. 

  • Wine Tasting: The surrounding vineyards are a perfect excuse to treat yourself to a winery tour in Picton, New Zealand.

  • Hiking and Nature: The Queen Charlotte Track offers an escape into nature, with views that seem to stretch on forever.

 

When to visit Picton

Choosing the perfect time to visit Picton is like trying to pick your favourite chocolate from a box – every season has its sweetness. The summer months of December to February are the town's high season, offering warm, sunny days perfect for everything from kayaking in the Sounds to lounging on sun-drenched beaches.

However, for those who prefer their adventures served with a side of tranquillity, the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) offer the same stunning scenery with fewer crowds. These months are a kaleidoscope of changing colours, from the fresh greens of spring to the rich golds of autumn, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your road trip adventures.

Regardless of when you decide to visit, remember to align your travel itinerary with the activities you're most excited about. Picton, with its myriad offerings, is sure to enchant, whether you're basking in the summer sun or enjoying the milder days of the shoulder seasons in your campervan.

 

Getting to Picton

Whether you're coming from the buzz of Wellington or the charm of Christchurch, Picton is an essential pin on the map of your South Island road trip. For those beginning their campervan adventure in Wellington, the ferry crossing is your introduction to the stunning Marlborough Sounds. And if you're coming from Christchurch (4 hours south), Kaikoura (2 hours south), or Nelson (2 hours west), the roads to Picton are a feast for the eyes, with each turn revealing vistas that resemble Middle-earth and fairy tales. For more information, check out the full guide to crossing the Cook Strait in a campervan. This is your go-to resource for making the ferry crossing a breeze. 

READ MORE: For more ideas on what to do on your campervan travel itinerary, check out the 7-day South Island itinerary and the popular Christchurch to Nelson itinerary

Image: Tourism New Zealand

 

Where to stay in Picton

Finding the perfect spot to park your campervan in Picton is like choosing the best seat in a movie theatre – location is everything. Here are a few of our top picks for where to stay in Picton in your campervan hire.


Tasman Holiday Parks – Picton

Tasman Holiday Parks – Picton is your home away from home in a campervan, just a 10-minute drive from Picton. Nestled within a scenic enclave, this park not only offers stunning views but also boasts top-notch facilities, including BBQ areas for that perfect evening feast to playgrounds that promise fun for the little adventurers.


Picton Campervan Park

Picton Campervan Park understands that the best road trips are those where you can kick back in comfort after a day of exploring. Conveniently located 2 minutes from the ferry terminal, this park offers easy access to Picton's treasures while providing all the amenities needed for a restful stay. With powered sites for your campervan, along with clean and modern facilities, it’s a no-brainer for travellers seeking a blend of convenience and cosiness. 


Parklands Marina Holiday Park

If waking up to the sound of lapping waves and the scent of salty air sounds like your kind of morning, then Parklands Marina Holiday Park is where you should be heading. A stone’s throw away from the marina, this holiday park not only offers a picturesque setting for your campervan but also serves as a perfect launchpad for your adventures. Whether kayaking in the Sounds or simply enjoying a leisurely day by the water, Parklands Marina Holiday Park offers a serene base for exploring the nearby Picton activities and attractions.


Alexanders Holiday Park Accommodation

For those who appreciate the charm of smaller, more intimate settings, Alexanders Holiday Park Accommodation is the holiday park for you—offering a mix of spacious powered and non-powered sites, as well as all the campervan essentials, including a dump station, play area and communal kitchens. From the solo wanderer in their campervan to families on a road trip, Alexanders provides a tranquil backdrop to your Picton adventure, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to explore.

Image: Greta Beutgen

 

10 of the best things to do in Picton

From serene walks and kayaking to unique culinary experiences and gourmet wine tours in Piction, New Zealand, this guide will lead you through 10 of the best things to do in Picton, ensuring your visit is packed with unforgettable moments. Let's dive in, shall we?

 

1. Walk the Queen Charlotte Track

One of New Zealand’s crown jewels, the Queen Charlotte Track, stretches with majesty through the heart of the Marlborough Sounds. This track takes you through lush forests, serene coves, and breathtaking ridgelines. Spanning around 70 kilometres, it offers various entry and exit points, making it ideal for day hikes for adventurous families and multi-day adventures for the ultimate outdoorsy travellers. For a deep dive into planning your trek, check out everything you need to know about hiking the Queen Charlotte Track, from must-see spots to practical tips. 

 

2. Jump on a Marlborough Wine Tour from Picton

The Marlborough region, with its sun-soaked hillsides and cool climate, produces some of the world’s most acclaimed Sauvignon Blancs. Joining a wine tour from Picton, New Zealand, is easily one of the best ways to sip and savour without care, thanks to your designated driver. Whether you join a group wine tour in Picton, New Zealand,  or chart your own course among the vineyards, these wineries are the perfect place to learn about the stories behind each bottle, the people who craft them, and the land that gives them life. However, if you are visiting in the off-season, be sure to check opening times before driving! 

 

3. Try a famous Toasty at Toasty Lords

If you are wondering what to eat in Picton for the whole family, look no further. No visit to Picton is complete without indulging in a local delicacy that has everyone talking – the famous toasties at Toasty Lords. These aren’t your average sandwiches; each toasty is a masterpiece of flavour, crafted with local ingredients and a dash of Kiwi innovation. Plus, with so many options to choose from, there is bound to be a toastie to please everyone in the family! Finding a spot for your campervan is easy, with street parking available along High Street, where Toasty Lords beckons with its irresistible aroma and quirky charm.

 

4. See the Marlborough Sounds via Kayak

Exploring the Marlborough Sounds by kayak is an adventure that brings you face-to-face with the serene beauty of this aquatic paradise. Companies like Marlborough Sounds Adventure Co. offer guided tours for the whole family that glide you through tranquil waters, hidden coves, and alongside lush coastal bush – perfect for those looking for a little outdoor adventure merged with Picton sightseeing. For those adventuring by campervan, the nearby Waterfront Carpark in Picton offers a convenient place to park before you set out on this must-do Picton attraction.

 

5. Check out the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum

Step aboard history at the Edwin Fox Museum in Picton, where you can explore the world's ninth-oldest ship. This floating museum not only tells the tale of New Zealand's rich maritime heritage but also offers a unique glimpse into the life of a sailor. This is perfect for getting a little dose of local history, all while entertaining the littlest adventurers in the group. Campervan visitors will find ample parking at the nearby Picton Foreshore Carpark, making it easy to visit the Edwin Fox Museum in Picton.

 

6. Visit the Picton Town Hall Farmer’s Markets

The Picton Town Hall Farmer’s Market is a celebration of local produce, artisan crafts, and the vibrant community spirit of Marlborough. Held every Sunday, it's the perfect family-friendly Picton attraction to sample the freshest local ingredients, pick up unique handmade items, and mingle with the locals. For those exploring Picton in a campervan, the nearby Coathanger Carpark offers convenient parking options, allowing you to stroll through the market at your leisure, soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of local Kiwi life.

 

7. Get Close to Nature at the Kaipūpū Sanctuary

The Kaipūpū Sanctuary is a haven for nature lovers and another essential Picton sightseeing stop, nestled within the heart of the Marlborough Sounds. This volunteer-run sanctuary is a testament to conservation efforts, offering families a chance to see New Zealand's native birds, flora, and fauna up close. The sanctuary’s walking tracks lead you through a regenerating forest, buzzing with the sounds of native birdlife, making it a perfect family-friendly spot for nature photography and bird watching on your travel itinerary. The magic of Kaipūpū is its accessibility and commitment to preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area.  

 

8. Check Out the Karaka Point Walk

The Karaka Point Walk is an inviting, family-friendly walking trail that offers stunning views of the Pelorus and Queen Charlotte Sounds. This brief yet beautiful walk is perfect for starting or ending your day of Picton sightseeing, taking you through native bush to a historic Māori pa site. Along the way, interpretive signage provides insights into the area’s cultural and natural history – a perfect family-friendly Picton activity to add to your travel itinerary.

 

9. Take a Cruise Around the Marlborough Sounds

Exploring the Marlborough Sounds from the water offers a perspective that simply can’t be matched by land. With a myriad of cruise options available, from leisurely half-day excursions to full-day luxury cruises complete with lunch, there’s something for all families. Joining a cruise in Picton is an unparalleled opportunity to soak in the majestic landscapes, wildlife, and tranquillity of the Sounds. Whether you’re interested in eco-tours, fishing, or just basking in the natural beauty, a cruise is a perfect Picton attraction and activity to experience this region as a family.  

 

10. Immerse Yourself in History at the Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum

The Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum offers a deep dive into the town’s past, from its Māori roots to its European settlement and whaling era. The museum is home to artifacts, photographs, and stories that paint a vivid picture of Picton’s historical significance and cultural heritage. Exploring its exhibits offers insights into the lives of those who shaped the region, making this one of the best things to do in Picton for history lovers.

 

See the best of Picton with Apollo

Ready to add these Picton activities and attractions to your road trip travel itinerary with Apollo? An Apollo campervan not only adds comfort and flexibility to your travels but also connects you with the stunning landscapes and unique attractions Picton has to offer. You can book your Apollo campervan online and pick it up from any Apollo branch, setting the stage for an unforgettable road trip through New Zealand’s Southern Island.

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Where to stay in Auckland with your campervan

 

The Auckland region and surrounding North Island are perfect for your motorhome or campervan journey. The area is packed full of motorhome-friendly holiday parks that can provide power and security while offering amazing views. There will often be a holiday park close to popular towns and tourist spots so you can enjoy everything Auckland has to offer.

Holiday parks can supply powered and non-powered sites for campervans and motorhomes, as well as tents and caravans. They may offer multiple recreational amenities like heated swimming pools, trampolines and barbeque facilities. 

For inspiration, check out these world-class tourist areas which cater to motorhomes and campervans:

The Shakespear Regional Park - Situated north of Auckland, this beautiful spot offers beautiful views of Te Haruhi Bay, with three main walking tracks for you to enjoy.

Whatuwhiwhi Holiday Park - Perfect for a beach-side getaway, this spot is great for accessing the pristine Perihepe Beach. Enjoy an array of activities in the area, like fishing, snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding. 

Kauri Coast Holiday Park - Located on two hectares of stunning native parkland, the Kauri Coast is a great launching point for seeing the natural wonders of the west coast. Visit the nearby Waipoua Forest, Kauri Park or stroll along the beaches at Maunganui Bluff.

New Zealand is also a free camping nation which means you can park and stay the night in designated areas, as long as you're respectful of others and the environment. Freedom camping is a great option for cheap campervan hire, but it is only allowed for certified self-contained vehicles. This means it must have an on-board toilet, shower and waste disposal facilities.

For more information about free camping in your campervan rental, Auckland City Council has provided detailed rules and regulations for staying in the city.

Why choose Apollo for campervan and motorhome hire in Auckland?

 

Apollo has been a leading brand for premium quality motorhome and campervan rentals since 1985. Our entire campervan fleet is designed and custom built by expert RV manufacturers, who understand New Zealand’s unique climate and terrain. Fitted with quality appliances and furnishings, we can ensure you all the comforts from home when you’re on the road.

Contact our Apollo Motorhomes Reservations team and speak to one of our dedicated team members today. You can also browse through our range of campervans and motorhomes online now and start planning your ultimate Auckland road trip.

New Zealand campervan site

Nearest Campsite

TAKAPUNA BEACH HOLIDAY PARK

22 The Promenade, Takapuna,
Auckland 0622

Apollo campervan filling up at petrol station

Nearest Fuel Station

WAITOMO MANGERE

33 Richard Pearse Drive, Mangere,
Auckland 2022

Family cooking in Apollo motorhome

Nearest Supermarket

PAK'N'SAVE

Corner of Bader Drive & Orly Avenue, Mangere, Auckland, 2022

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