Length of NZ Classic
4 weeks driving the length of NZ
Since you’ve come this far, and if you’ve got the time, this is your best way to see as much of NZ as you can. You’ll need to pick up a rental car in Auckland, drop it off in Queenstown and fly back out from there - rental car companies are used to such requests.
Days 1-4: Exploring the North
Follow our Exploring the North itinerary, allowing 3 or 4 days, depending on priorities and how much total time that you’ve got.
Days 5-7: Auckland to Rotorua
Drive from Auckland via either the Waitomo Caves or Hobbiton to Rotorua for a taste of Maori culture and a soak in the geothermal hot springs.
Days 8-10: Rotorua to Hawke’s Bay
From Rotorua, drive to Lake Taupo, then on to Napier in the Hawkes Bay. Napier is an attractive art-deco city and the Hawkes Bay is wine country.
Days 11-14: Hawke’s Bay to Wellington
It’s a 4hr drive to Wellington, but wine lovers may opt to spend a night or two in Martinborough on the way. You’ll want at least a couple of days to explore the capital.
Days 15-18: Wellington to Christchurch
Take the ferry (with your car) from Wellington to Picton, then drive through to Christchurch. Along the way, you may want to spend nights in Picton itself, Blenheim - this is the Marlborough wine region - and in Kaikoura for whale-watching.
Days 19-21: Christchurch to Dunedin
Drive down the east coast’s SH1 via Oamaru and the Moeraki Boulders to Dunedin. Wildlife watching opportunities out on the Otago Peninsula abound.
Days 22-24: Dunedin to Te Anau & Milford Sound
Drive through to Te Anau and spend a couple of days exploring Fiordland. A full day for the drive out to Milford Sound is a must.
Days 25-28: Te Anau to Queenstown
It’s a 2hr drive to spectacular Queenstown, where you could easily spend a week before dropping off your rental car and flying out - be that to Auckland or direct to Australia. Makes sure to visit Glenorchy & Paradise and allow a day for a trip over to Wanaka.