A guide to road-tripping in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, boasting a great mixture of modern, vibrant cities, fascinating culture, and miles upon miles of untouched raw countryside.

These features and more make it the perfect destination for your next road trip, with well-maintained expressways and motorways running almost the full length of breadth of the nation’s two major islands.

In this article, we will help you plan your road trip to New Zealand, including the stops and sights to see along the way.

A guide to road-tripping in New Zealand
A guide to road-tripping in New Zealand

Source: Pexels


On the North Island, around 280 miles up from capital Wellington is where you’ll find Rotorua. With a population of 75,000 Rotorua isn’t the world’s biggest city, but it’s packed with excitement and would be the perfect starting point for your road trip.

The city features its own regional airport, allowing easy transfer from the country’s bigger conurbations, such as Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland. And believe us when we say that it’s well worth the trip.

Rotorua is a hub for mountain-biking, so if you’re as keen on two wheels as four, this place will be for you. Every year the city hosts Rotorua Crankworx, which is recognized as one of the world’s biggest celebrations of mountain biking culture and competition. You can read more information about Crankworx in this event guide by Ruby Fortune, including what to expect, who you can see, and what you can take part in, right here.


The ride from Rotorua to Wellington, the nation’s capital, will take you just over five hours. You’ll spend almost the entire journey on State Highway 1, which offers incredible views and landscapes throughout the journey.

And due to New Zealand’s low population density, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter much traffic. While rest stops, including hotels, bars, and restaurants are frequent along the way, so long-hauling is not necessary.

Once you arrive in Wellington you will discover one of the world’s most beautiful coastal cities. With a population of just over 200,000, it is one of the world’s smaller capitals, but its arts, culture, and architecture more than make up for any perceived shortcomings.

We recommend spending a couple of nights at least in Wellington before hitting the road. You can find plenty to occupy your time by reading WellingtonNZ’s top 10 must-dos.

A guide to road-tripping in New Zealand
A guide to road-tripping in New Zealand

Source: Pexels


Our third and final stop requires us to hop aboard a ferry to reach the South Island, before re-joining State Highway 1 and heading the 190 miles or so down to Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-biggest city (Auckland is the biggest).

Christchurch is another beautiful coastal city and boasts a typical mix of exciting urban life and untouched countryside. And it’s another great location for extreme sports, with bungee-jumping and sky-diving counted as popular activities for tourists. You can see a full list of the more extreme activities available to find using GetYourGuide, which also includes zip-lining and kayaking.

That wraps up our road-tripping guide to New Zealand, which we hope will be useful if you’re planning a trip. And we hope you’ll agree that the Australasian islands could be the perfect destination for your next four-wheeled adventure.

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