Comprehensive Camper Van Guide to Spending Winter in New Zealand

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

I have been neglecting my blog - got real busy with work (such a cliche, I know). Nevertheless, I am finally ready to write about the best trip we ever did as a couple (my solo trip to Iceland will be an all time favorite).

After 36 countries across 6 continents, I can honestly say that THIS road trip around Middle-Earth was a journey like no other.

Traveling in New Zealand was a humbling experience. The vast plains, zigzagging highways weaving their way past towering mountains is enough to impress even the most hardened traveler. It's not just the natural beauty that impressed me but also the people. Extra points for the kiwis who are some of the kindest people we have ever met.

I also loved how incredibly sustainable they are. From recyclable packaging on every single product to supporting locally owned stores to going that extra mile to preserve their beautiful country, they have pulled all the stops. Massive respect. Everyone should learn from this tiny island.

There is SO much to see in New Zealand. 2 or 3 months won't suffice - and that was the biggest issue while I was planning. I had to really resist trying to squeeze in every hike and every lake. Nevertheless, in 14 days we managed to cover a fair few stunning places with judicious planning and research while crafting our itinerary/route-map.

New Zealand was even more stunning than we thought it would be. Welcome to the Middle Earth: one of the most beautiful places on earth. This was our two week itinerary

Day 0 - Dubai to Auckland

Day 1 - Auckland city. Cathedral Cove.

Day 2 - Matamata. Hobbiton.

Day 3 - Christchurch to Hokitaka. Drive through Arthur's Pass. 

Day 4 - Hokitaka to Glacier Country

Day 5 - Glacier Country to Haast

Day 6 - Haast to Milford Sound

Day 7 - Fiordland to Queenstown

Day 8 - Queenstown - Moke Lake Hike Day 9 - Wanaka for the Roy's Peak Hike

Day 10 - Wanaka to Twizel for the Rob's Roy Peak Hike - Wanaka City and That Wanaka Tree

Day 11 - Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook

Day 12 - Lake Tekapo and Church of Good Shepherd

Day 13 - Tekapo to Christchurch Airport hotel

Day 14 - Auckland to Dubai


Best time to visit

I am sure it is wonderful to visit throughout the year with every season providing a different but memorable experience.

We decided to do this trip in winter to avoid the high prices and the massive crowds... while it wasn't easy living in a tiny van with the crazy weather, it definitely paid off while on the road. Fewer camper vans, empty campsite and on most days, there were hardly 4 or 5 people with us on the hike. Just what we like.


Flights and Visa

The visa process was straightforward. Applied online and got our passport verified with the local office. Got our visa in 5 days.


We flew with Singapore Airlines to Auckland and back. LOVED the service, the food and the entertainment. Beautiful experience on a 19 hour journey.


Language

Though they have their own native language, everyone speaks English.


Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency