How to spend 5 weeks travelling around New Zealand in a camper van

escape rental campervan in new zelaland
alice in wonderlnad camperva in new zealand

How to spend 5 weeks travelling around New Zealand in a camper van

Today’s post which is a five week itinerary on how to spend your time travelling around the North and South island of New Zealand. I would say 5 weeks (we actually did five and a half) of travelling around New Zealand was just enough time. However, I wouldn’t want any less if you’re going to do both the North and South islands. 

In this blog post I have condensed all my previous blog posts on New Zealand to tell you how many days we spent in each place and what we did there. This is to give you an insanely quick and easy overview. However, if you are interested about reading more in-depth about each place you can find all my New Zealand blog posts here.

North Island of new zealand

Days 1-4: Auckland

  • 1 – Recovering from jet lag
  • 2 – Mount Eden, War Memorial Museum and Auckland Art Gallery
  • 3 – Waiheke Island
  • 4 – Picking up our escape rental van and driving to Piha

See my Auckland blog post here.

auckland skyline from ferry in new zealand
rock in sea in piha on black sand beach, new zealand
glow worm webs in waitomo caves in new zealand
melissa carne and sam gill in hobbit house door in hobbiton

Day 4: Piha

  • Surf on Piha beach

Day 5: KareKare

  • Visit the waterfalls
  • Drive to Coromandel

Day 6: Hahei

  • Visit Cathedral cove and Gemstone bay

Day 7: Hot water beach and Waitomo

  • Make your own hot tub
  • Drive to Waitomo
  • Explore the glow worm caves at night

See my Piha, Coromandel and Waitomo caves blog post here

Day 8: Hobbiton

  • Drive from Waitomo to Hobbiton
  • Explore Hobbiton
  • Drive to Rotorua

See my Hobbiton blog post here

Days 9-10: Rotorua

  • 9 – Spend the day at Te pui
  • 10 – Spend the day at Wai-O-Tapu and then drive to a campsite near Lake Taupo

See my Rotorua blog post here

Day 11: Lake Taupo

  • Visit Craters of the Moon
  • See Huka Falls
  • Visit Waireki Terraces

See my Lake Taupo blog post here

 Days 12-13: Tongarriro

  • 12 – Drive to Tongarriro
  • 13 – Hike the Tongarriro Alpine crossing

See my Tongarriro blog post here

Day 14: Marlborough

  • Drive to Marlborough and have some wine from the vine yards
steam coming off blue and orange lake in geothermal area in new zealand
long distance shot of mount tongariro with snow
putanguira pinnacles in cape palliser in new zealand
snow top mountains by sea in Kaikoura in New Zealand

Day 15: Cape Palliser

  • Drive to Cape Palliser. 
  • Visit the Putangirua Pinnacles, Lighthouse and seal colony

See my Cape Palliser blog post here

Days 16-17: Wellington

  • 16 – Drive to Wellington and visit Weta Caves
  • 17 – Visit Te Papa Museum

See my Wellington blog post here

Day 18: Ferry from Wellington to Picton

  • Take the ferry from Wellington to Picton

South Island of New Zealand

 Days 19-21: Kaikoura

  • 19 – Drive to Kaikoura
  • 20 – Go seal swimming and walk around the peninsula
  • 21 – Swim with dolphins and explore the shops
See my Kaikoura blog post here 

Day 22: Mount Sunday

  • Drive to Mount Sunday

Day 23: Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki

  • Walk up Mount Sunday
  • Drive to Lake Tekapo
  • Drive to Lake Pukaki
  • Get to a campsite near to Mount Cook

Day 24: Mount Cook and Moeraki boulders

  • Go on hiking trails around Mount Cook
  • Drive to Moeraki boulders and explore

See my Mount Sunday, Lake Takapo, Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook blog post here

Day 25: Nugget Point

  • Drive to Dunedin and visit the worlds steepest street
  • Drive to Nugget Point and explore

See my Moeraki boulders and Nugget point blog post here

bright blue lake in new zealand called lake tekapo
girl jumping on moeraki boulders in new zealand
girl kayaking in doubtful sound in new zealand
sheep in front of mountains in glenorchy in new zealand

Days 26-27: Doubtful Sound

  • 26 – Drive to Te Anu
  • 27 – Go kayaking at Doubtful Sound

See my Doubtful Sound blog post here

Days 28-29: Queenstown

  • 28 – Go to Milford sound (weather depending) we didn’t go
  • 28 – Play frisbee golf, have a fergburger and explore
  • 29 – Hike around Bob’s Cove, drive to Glenorchy and see Paradise and Laky Slyvan

Day 30: Glenorchy and Wanaka

  • Go horse riding in Glenorchy (weather depending) we didn’t go
  • Drive Wanaka
  • Hike up Rocky Mountain

See my Queenstown and Glenorchy blog post here

Day 31: Haast Pass

  • Drive the Haast Pass to Fox Glacier

Day 32: Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson

  • Vist Fox Glacier
  • Visit Lake Matheson

Day 33: Franz Josef Glacier

  • Drive to Franz Josef Glacier and explore

See my blog post on Wanaka, Haast Pass, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson and Franz Josef Glacier here

Day 34: Hokitika

  • Drive to Hokitika
  • Buy a Jade necklace
  • See the glow worms

Day 35: Punakaiki

  • Visit Hokitika Gorge
  • Drive to Punakaiki
  • Visit Pancake rocks
  • Hike the Pororari river
  • Explore Punakaiki Cavern 
franz josef glacier in new zealand
Pancake rocks in Punakaiki in New Zealand
akaroa bay in the south island on new zealand
sunset with reflection of mountains in duvauchelle in new zealand


  • Drive from Punakaiki through Arthur’s Pass to Akaroa
  • Visit the Devils Punchbowl and Castle Hill on the way

See my blog post on Hokitika, Punakaiki and Arthur’s Pass here

Days 36-38: Akaroa

  • 36 – Visit the beaches
  • 37 – Go swimming with Hector Dolphins
  • 38 – Visit Akaroa town and the Giant’s House

See my blog post on Akaroa here

Day 39: Christchurch

  • Explore Christchurch, we didn’t do this
  • Home time
I hope you enjoyed this blog post on how to spend 5 weeks travelling around the North and South island of New Zealand in a camper van. If you haven’t already I would recommend checking out my post on: tips for travelling around a camper van in New Zealand.

Lots of love, Melissa x


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