New Zealand | Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde

New Zealand Travel Guide

New Zealand was such a dream. Like truly one of our favorite family trips to date!!! When I was almost done with our itinerary I had asked followers to share recommendations so I compiled all the most recommended things to do and see below. Also in this post I will be sharing  also my travel itinerary. The thing is, I adjusted the first half to what we would have done differently – so our time in the North island is altered a bit and I added on a couple days. The time on the South Island is our EXACT itinerary. You could of course adjust and spend an extra day here or there and take away time somewhere else or skip a spot all together. A couple things I really wish we had time for in South Island were Milford Sounds and Abel Tasman! Hope you enjoy! Have you visited New Zealand, what was your favorite part? Leave any additional tips for people reading this in the comments!

Below is the list of places I was recommended to visit by my instagram followers, including some delicious dining spots.. we didn’t eat out except for a couple meals so I didn’t get to experience any of them but they are there for any foodies out there! We just got groceries and cooked every night.

New Zealand | Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde
New Zealand | Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde
New Zealand | Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde
New Zealand | Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde
New Zealand | Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde
New Zealand | Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde

Here is my ideal travel itinerary for a trip to New Zealand. Keep in mind there is a lot of driving.. but the scenery is stunning and it gives the kiddos some time to be bored and ponder life lol .. but seriously, the driving was no big deal. So while it may sound like a lot, it won’t be too bad!

TRAVEL DAY

Fly into Auckland (depending what time of day you leave the states, you will arrive 1-2 days later with the time change). You can rent a car or RV, we did a car because we flew from Auckland to Queenstown and it felt like we weren’t in the North Island long enough to do an RV, but an RV would be amazing!

DAY ONE

1. If you need a break after the flight you can drive up and eat at Odette’s Eatery and go to Cornwall Park.
2. Drive up to Coramandel (around a 2hr drive).
3. Spend the day driving the Coramandel Peninsula, stopping at lookouts and camp or airbnb near Cathedral Cove.

*we didn’t have time to do Coramandel and I was super bummed because it looks incredible! On my list for next time 😉

DAY TWO

1. Spend the morning at Cathedral Cove.
2. Drive to Hobbiton and take a tour (2.5 hr drive).
3. Sleep somewhere in the area.

DAY THREE

1. Visit Blue Spring Putaruru (about 30 min from Hobbiton).
2. Go Zorbing (about 30 min from Blue Spring Putaruru).
3. Explore Rotorua and walk through the redwoods near Hamurana Springs.
4. Drive to Waitomo and sleep there (about 2 hour drive).

DAY FOUR

1. Visit Waitomo Glow Worm Caves.
2. Go to Marokopa Falls.
3. Drive to Raglan (1.5 hours).
4. Go to Ngarunui Beach for sunset.
5. Grab dinner in town then drive to Auckland (just over 2 hours).
6. Sleep in Auckland.

DAY FIVE

1. Fly from Auckland to Queenstown.
2. Get RV 

*we rented from Britz.. we loved our experience but I also saw a lot of Maui and Jucy campers if you would like to explore those options as well!

3. Get burgers from Fergberger.
4. Drive to Moke Lake.

*There is a dirt road and I was super startled by how aggressive the rattling around was in the RV haha .. I was seriously nervous that something was going to fly out of a cabinet and hit one of the kids in the head (the cabinets do have locks, but one of ours was broken so just double check before going on a dirt road and be prepared for major rattling around)

5. Explore Moke Lake, walk around the lake, visit the horses and go fishing.
6. Camp at the lake overnight (bring cash). You could totally spend two nights at this spot, so incredible. 

Important Note : Most campsites in NZ are first come first serve and only accept NZD cash.

DAY SIX

1. Explore Moke Lake.
2. Explore Queenstown 

*here is an incredibly helpful blog that I got a ton of information from!

3. Drive to Lake Wanaka (so many beautiful lookouts along the way).
4. Sleep at Glendhu Bay Motor Camp, located right on the lake, it has a fun playground and kids can walk to by themselves.

DAY SEVEN 

1. Hike Roy’s Peak, we didn’t do the whole thing with kids, probably went up about a mile or so then came back down, but  it was such a fun hike for the kids since there are bunnies and sheep along the way.
2. Drive to Mt. Cook.
3. Stay at the White Horse Hill Campground. I recommend at least two nights here , it is also the starting point for several incredible hikes! I like to use All Trails for looking up how long hikes are and I always read comments because previous hikers have great tips on that particular hike and whether it is kid friendly or not

DAY EIGHT

1. Hiking day!

Hike Options : 

Hooker Valley Track – 6.5 miles, it is about a 10 min walk, after you cross the second bridge, there is a lookout where you can see Mt. Cook, that is a good spot to turn around if hiking with littles. This one is a MUST DO!

Tasman Glacier Lookout – 15-20min walk.

Kea Point – 1.8 – 1 hr.

Sealy Tarns – Whitehorse hill campground – 2200 step, very difficult, I don’t recommend with kids.

DAY NINE

1. Drive to Lake Tekapo it is an insanely beautiful drive!
2. Stay at Lake Tekapo motels and holiday park, there are tons of amazing little walks right from the campsite.
3. Go to Tekapo Springs for a swim (all heated pools and walking distance from camp ground).

DAY TEN

1. Explore Tekapo!
2. Mount John Walkway – 5 miles there and back
3. White Bluffs of Tekapo walk – 3.3 miles
4. Visit Lake Takapi, it is 30 minutes away.
5. Cowans Walkway

DAY ELEVEN

1. Drive to Akaroa
2. Stop and do the Hikewai Reserve trail, it is so beautiful!
3. Stay at Akaroa TOP 10 Holiday Park it has an ocean view and a fun park for kids to play at.

DAY TWELVE

1. Drive to Christchurch
2. Do the International Antarctic Center (right by airport)
3. Fly Home

Things I wanted to add to our itinerary but didn’t have time:

1. Abel Tasman National Park
2. Milford Sounds

So much more but those were the two main ones I was bummed to miss! So much to see the next time we go. What is the place you would most like to visit in New Zealand, or if you have visited what place would you most recommend?

THIS TIME LAST YEAR

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  1. This is SO awesome!!! And so detailed, thank you so much. As you were sharing on your Instagram stories what you were doing I screenshooting every place you mentioned because it looked so pretty but this is even better. Thank you so much! I’d love to do this with my family one day. Have a good one.

  2. Beautiful post! We went with our two small kiddos exactly a year ago… it was a dream. I want to go back soon but I need to figure out how to get my husband more internet access while we are there for his work. Would love to know what you guys did for internet access!? I couldn’t believe you had enough service to do an instagram live near Mt. Cook! 👍 Would love your tips!! Thanks!

  3. maybe not the best time to post this with all that is going on on that continent

    1. It is actually a great time to post it. Do you have any idea how many businesses survive on tourists? Many businesses will be hurt from lack of tourism. The economy will be hit with lack of tourism as well.

  4. What month did you travel to New Zealand? Any recommendations on the best month to travel there.

  5. Did a three week roadtrip in NZ, exactly a year ago! Went to almost all the places you have posted plus Milford Sound and Abel Tasman. It rains approximately 300 days a year in Milford Sound, so just be aware that it will most likely rain 🙂 we did a road trip from Auckland to Queenstown and flew back up to Auckland. Just have to check if you can bring the car over to the South Island (you most often can) or they just change it. Really easy! Also recommend going to Kaikoura! Just north of Christchurch. The landscape is beautiful, they have hikes, you can go whale watching and they have beautiful black beaches.

  6. How did David make a “pack n play” for Frankie? We have a camper with bunk beds and our little one just turned 6 months and figured we would need to do this this summer! Thanks in advance! P.S. You guys are awesome.

  7. What time of year would you recommend if spending a couple of weeks there in an RV? Looking for less crowds and pleasant weather for sightseeing!

  8. Any recommendations for a honeymoon? We are getting married in May and have been dreaming of Italy, thoughts? Any recommendations for traveling blogs that would help?! I’ve never been out of the country and this is my first time planning a trip so any advice would be great!!

  9. It was such a great plan Amber! I moved to NZ 13 years ago but still have not get to travel that much around NZ. Your Instagram and blog gave me so much motivation to travel with my baby ( he’s a month younger than Frankie). I’ve been showing your Instagram to my husband and we are gonan make the trip happen sometime soon!
    I can’t wait to go explore this beautiful country. 😍

  10. This looks awesome.. so helpful and informative.
    I did want to ask though, if you would recommend visiting the same time of year that you did? Or a different season.. maybe a bit warmer? Weather wise, was it cold during ur visit?

  11. Thank you for this compilation, one thing I would be really interested in are the logistics of travelling with kids in an RV, where do they sit while driving, especially Frankie? And how was sleeping in the same room honestly? 🙂 My husband really wants to take us on an RV trip (our kids are 4 and 1) but I can’t imagine it right now 🙈🙈

  12. I love this post you made! I live in New Zealand and your trip made me realise there are so many beautiful places we could go to but never been to 😂 Thank you for this!

  13. Te Anau was amazing too! We stayed there one night to do the doubtful sound cruise one day. Amazing! IMO, better than Milford!

  14. I’m in NZ at the moment! Milford sound is amazing and worth the 4-hr drive from Queenstown. We kayaked and hiked around and it was beautiful (though very rainy… I’m talking torrential downpours 😬😂). Abel Tasman was also phenomenal and very family friendly as most of it is quite flat.

    I’d have loved to do Hobbiton and Tongarriro Alpine Crossing, but didn’t have time 😭.