Between its vibrant, untouched landscapes and comfortable subtropical climate, New Zealand is any traveller’s dream. With Hobbit houses and spectacular hikes, there is a lot to see in the so-called Land of the Long White Cloud. There are heaps of well-marked, themed routes to follow, so the best way to take in New Zealand’s beauty is by car. Buckle up and pack your camera, because any New Zealand road trip is bound to be quite the view.
You can ship your car to New Zealand or rent a vehicle for the journey. Either way, the routes ahead are sure to leave you speechless. Before you head out on the open road, you’ll want to choose a route that features the best sites. A New Zealand road trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, so it’s important to do your research before mapping out the journey.
We’ve compiled our pick of the top five best road trips in New Zealand to help you plan your trip. Take a look at the options and choose between hikes on volcanic islands, kayaking through Milford Sound, and exploring the Lord of the Rings famed Hobbiton. Whichever route you choose is sure to impress!
The Volcanic Loop Highway
The Volcanic Loop Highway is a 465-mile loop in the North Island of New Zealand, making for one epic road trip. The route has everything from glowworm caves to tranquil vineyards, offering the chance to tick many items off your bucket list all in one journey. Hike through the volcanic island of Rangitoto, visit Pureora Forest and National Park, and end your trip in Hobbiton. With a route this spectacular, you’re guaranteed to have a great trip in New Zealand.
Ends: End in Auckland, passing through Taupo, Rotorua, and Hobbiton along the way.
Days you need: Take at least seven days to explore this unforgettable route.
The Pacific Coast Highway
As a collection of islands, New Zealand has plenty of seaside beauty to share. What better way to experience it than on the road? The Pacific Coast Highway is a 686-mile highway in the North Island of New Zealand. On this route, you’ll explore every type of ocean landscape, from peaceful lagoons to hot water beaches. You’ll also get the chance to cycle through the scenic Hauraki Rail Trail and spot an active volcano in the Bay of Plenty.
Days you need: Take a week to soak in everything this route has to offer.
The Great Alpine Highway
The Great Alpine Highway is a 152-mile highway in the South Island of New Zealand. This path will wind you through small, historic towns and the South Island’s biggest city of Christchurch. Along the way, you’ll encounter dazzling scenery, exciting hiking trails, and the lush rainforests of the West Coast. Become one with nature by taking a kayak tour, or soak up the local craft beer scene. Either way, this adventure is one you won’t want to miss.
Days you need: This route will take around three days to complete.
The Forgotten World Highway
The Forgotten World Highway is a 93-mile highway in the North Island of New Zealand. This short journey packs in quite a few sites, so you could easily stretch it out over a long weekend drive. On this path you’ll head through old colonial stomping grounds of the 19th century, exploring beautiful spots like Whangamomona, Tahora Saddle, and Mount Damper Falls. Between rivers, lakes, deserts, and snow-capped mountains, this short trip reveals the best New Zealand has to offer, all in one compact route. Go fishing, head out on the cycle trail, or stick to life behind the wheel for an unforgettable road trip in New Zealand.
Days you need: Take at least three days to fully enjoy this road trip experience.
Southern Scenic Route
The Southern Scenic Route is a 503-mile highway in the lower South Island of New Zealand. Nature-lovers will appreciate this journey off the beaten path, exploring wild coastlines, mystical fjords, and panoramic hikes that capture the essence of New Zealand’s outdoor lifestyle. Trek to Nugget Point lighthouse, see the Curio Bay sea lions and eat a few of Bluff’s famous oysters. Take a magnificent drive through Fiordland National Park to see one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. Kayak through Milford Sound, and end your travels in bustling Queenstown where you can enjoy a nice winery tour or trip to the golf course. This trip has something for every traveller, so grab the family and hit the road!
Days you need: This route offers at least four days of incredible adventure.
Fancy Taking Your Own Car?
At Autoshippers, we have extensive experience and expertise with shipping vehicles from the UK to New Zealand. In fact, we’ve been doing it for over 20 years. We provide door-to-door services and daily collections for your vehicles. We offer these services for classic cars, motorhomes, and motorbikes too, so you can bring it all along for the journey on your road trip in New Zealand.
Please take a look at our website for a list of the weekly departures. We offer both RoRo and R-Rak car shipping services. On our site, we cover everything from shipping costs to a complete guide for shipping your vehicle to New Zealand.
Head to our site for a free quote, or give us a call at 0800 389 0784 to discuss importing your car for one of the best road trips in New Zealand.