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U.S.FTC GUIDELINES PLEASE NOTE: we act as an affiliate for several companies that feature on our website. In some cases we may earn a commission from referrals to those companies. For further information please refer to our Privacy and Disclaimer policies which can be found in the "US" tab.

Use our free New Zealand Itineraries to plan your perfect self drive holiday


Not sure where to go or what to see in New Zealand? No need to worry, we can help.

Magical Milford Sound - pic courtesy Tourism Holdings

If you are planning a trip, then our New Zealand Itineraries are the perfect place to start, and are based on the most popular routes through both the North and South Islands.

Just pick the one you like, hire your car or motorhome and off you go!

Or, take advantage of our free service, to help you plan your perfect New Zealand self-drive holiday.

Want to take a bit longer and see both islands?

If you want to visit both islands, no problem. Just combine one of our South Island itineraries with one of our North Island itineraries, and you are all ready to go.

For more information please see the individual itinerary pages, which you can view by clicking on the links below:

View South Island Itineraries

View North Island Itineraries


Important tips - please read on

By using our New Zealand itineraries in conjunction with our information pages for each region, you can get a feel for where to go and what to see in New Zealand.

Wellington's iconic cable car makes its way up Kelburn Hill - pic courtesy Ian Trafford

What Do I Do Next?

After you have decided roughly where you want to go, the next step is to decide if you are going to hire a car and drive yourself, booking accommodation and activities as you go.

Or, organise everything before you arrive in New Zealand (our preference).

With borders opening up after Covid, things are hotting up in New Zealand, and it's becoming difficult to book some of the more popular activities and places to stay.

Why not use our free service

With over 30 years experience traveling around New Zealand, we wanted to share our knowledge with you.

So we decided to offer you a free service to help you build your perfect New Zealand self-drive holiday.

We can help you to decide where to go, what to see & do, and even where to stay.

What does it cost to use our service?

Absolutely nothing.

We don't charge anything to help you build your perfect New Zealand itinerary.

And we don't take any money from you.

All we ask is that you use the links on our pages to make some of your bookings.

If you use our suppliers to book your accommodation, transport, or unique kiwi experiences through our website, we get paid a commission by the supplier, after you finish your holiday.

And we use some of the best companies in the industry, like Booking.com, Viator (a TripAdvisor company), and DriveNow.

How do I find out more about your free service?

If you need help deciding where to go, what to see & do, or where to stay, just fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and one of our local experts will get in touch with you.

Remember, this is an obligation free service, and we charge you nothing.


Should I just hire a car and head off without pre-booking anything?

Many people that visit our site use their chosen itinerary as a rough guide for their trip. If you don't mind taking a few risks and don't need to stick to a tight schedule, you might just book your car or campervan, and a few nights accommodation, and take your time to follow your chosen route.

If you stick to the schedules detailed in our New Zealand itineraries, you shouldn't have any problems.

Small group glacier walk at Franz Josef

But there are some risks

We have done this many times and can highly recommend it as a great way to see New Zealand, provided you have a good idea of where you want to go, what you want to see, and have a bit of flexibility with your budget.

It's amazing how a place like New Zealand "entices" you to spend a little more on that "special" activity (we had a helicopter flight and landing on Franz Josef Glacier a few years back. It cost a small fortune but was well worth it!).

Advantages

  • allows you freedom to travel at your own pace stopping for longer at spots that you like
  • just you and your travel partners, no pesky strangers!
  • less need to stick to an organised timetable
  • you can visit the attractions that you want to see, not those chosen by others (like on an organized tour)
  • you can view your accommodation before you book it

Disadvantages

  • unless you carefully plan your itinerary you can end up rushing or missing out on some places that you wanted to see
  • accommodation can be difficult to find in some locations at peak times so you may not always get what you had hoped for
  • it may be harder to budget because you don't know your accommodation, food, transport and activity costs up front
  • So, if you feel like just booking your car or campervan, we offer a booking service through DriveNow, at market leading rates. You can learn more HERE.

Need more help planning your trip?

We are happy to help. Just fill out the enquiry form at the bottom of the page, and we will be back in touch shortly.


How Long Should I Allow For My Holiday?

We recommend a minimum of three weeks to see the best of both islands (four if possible), or at least 9-10 days per island.

Queenstown viewed from Pepper's Beacon

Although New Zealand is a relatively small country (about the same size as Japan or the U.K.), you will find yourself spending more time than anticipated in many locations. Amazing scenery and an endless range of things to see and do often adds to the planned trip length, and New Zealand is one of those places where visitors often tell us "I could live here without hesitation".

And although driving distances may seem short when viewed on a map, travel times can sometimes be longer than expected due to the often hilly terrain, or winter weather conditions, particularly in parts of the South Island.

The best advice we can give is to plan your trip carefully, take your time and allow yourself at least a couple of multi day stays in selected locations.

If your time is limited to only a week or so, don't try and see both islands. Just visit one island. And save the other one up for your next visit, because we know you will want to return.


Read About Our Last South Island Trip

Would you like to read about where we went on our last New Zealand holiday? Check out our New Zealand Travel Journal.

You might also be interested in our ebook, "7 Must See South Island Attractions".

Check out our range of New Zealand Itineraries below


Grab a coffee, sit back and explore our great range of free New Zealand itineraries. And feel free to ask us any questions that you have (there is an enquiry form at the bottom of this page).

Happy planning!


View South Island Itineraries

View North Island Itineraries


The Inter Island Ferry


The Interislander transports passengers and vehicles between the North and South Island, and offers a spectacular alternative to flying between islands.

The ferry Kaitaki

There are currently three ferries in the fleet, and the ninety kilometer trip takes around three hours, traveling through the stunning Marlborough Sounds, and across Cook Straight.

On board there are various viewing decks, cafes, and ample lounge areas to sit back and relax, taking in the views.

If you are traveling between the islands, we highly recommend including a trip on the Interislander in your New Zealand itinerary.

To learn more about the Inter Island Ferry, check availability, and make bookings, just click here.


Self Drive Tours Set Itinerary Enquiry

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Thanks for visiting our New Zealand Itineraries page, We hope it has been helpful, and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all.



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