Now that you have a feel for where you want to go, it's time to plan your rough travel route.
At this point, it doesn't matter whether you plan to drive yourself or take an escorted tour. You just need to get a feel for where to go without backtracking, and how long it will take.
As mentioned before, travel distances and times can be deceiving in New Zealand, and our handy driving times and distances calculator can give you a feel for how long it will take to get from point "a" to point "b".
As part of our New Zealand Travel Planner, we have developed a series of free itineraries to help you plan your rough travel route.
They are broken into North and South Island itineraries and you can combine them if you want to visit both islands.
At this point, it might help to open a map of New Zealand so that you can get a feel for the location of each region. The State Highways map on our Maps page should assist you.
Click on the buttons to view itineraries
Please be aware that Wellington is normally the North Island departure
point for the South Island, so if you plan to start your trip in the
North Island, fly into Auckland (which is towards the top of the North
Island) then make your way South to Wellington before crossing to the
South Island. You can fly from Wellington to Christchurch on the South,
or better still, take the scenic Inter Island ferry from Wellington, to Picton (on the South Island).
If you plan to start your trip in the South Island, you would normally fly into Christchurch, then head South and circle the island in a clockwise direction before heading across to Wellington. The South Island departure point for the North Island is normally Picton (at the top of the South) where you will catch the Inter Island ferry, or you could fly out of Christchurch, and into either Wellington or Auckland.