Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand

7th Dec 2017

Love at first Sight- Coromandel

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

If this is the first road trip you are going to take, let me stop you right here, avoid this country, it will spoil you for life. It will engulf you in its beautiful landscapes and picturesque beauty. Nature’s bashful indulgence in New Zealand makes it unmatched - consider warned.

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand 1/2 by Renegade Runaways

Best time to be there-

Whenever you can afford it :P, Peak Season is November to February.

Aman (my dearest husband) and I, visited it in December, starting of summers in New Zealand, when days are as long as 16 hours, perfect for taking in as much as you can. In winters, days are shorter, but worth the visit to Snowclad Mountains and breathtaking views of South Island- we heard.

Impact on our not so deep pockets

We planned to do it in 475K (INR), but ended up shedding 575K. Activities, yummy but expensive food, and nice stays will make it little heavy on your pocket, so keep a good buffer over air tickets and stays. WORTH every damn dime you spend, I’d still say!!

You can also check Must for a road trip to New Zealand

Let’s get it started:

The itinerary we chose varied from the popular ones you will find all over internet, customisation is the key here.

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand 2/2 by Renegade Runaways

*Picking Christchurch over the popular choice of Auckland to land was result of two priorities-cheaper travel tickets, and ending the trip on a relaxed note with pampered beach stays in North Island. Super happy we chose this!!

Day 1

Kickstart Day 1: Charming Christchurch to Tantalizing Tekapo

A 22 hour long flight from Delhi landed us in Christchurch at 7am, Cathay Pacific suited us well. We had pre booked with Apex car Rentals and had a hassle free experience with car and the service, right from picking up the car at Christchurch airport to dropping it at Auckland airport. We chose Altis Corolla Automatic for our journey of about 3700 km

Tip: When picking the car, pick GPS device (it won’t cost you much) since wifi is not ubiquitous but the GPS service is flawless. Also if you are anything like Aman and I, you would WANT to speed up your car in New Zealand and a GPS will help you stay within speed limits AND give you heads up on all speed cameras installed(there are a lot!)

Photo of Christchurch, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

First drive - to the closest supermarket to hog on our picnic knick knacks for the upcoming journey which proved to be a super saver. Another must visit- local Farmer’s Market where Aman’s super skeptical expressions changed into a big grin when he registered varied stalls of local food, fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, and the intoxicating smell of fresh coffee. As a bonus, it comes with swans swooping in the stream flowing along the stalls.

Photo of Lake Tekapo, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

On day one itself we chose to leave the city behind and zoomed to Lake Tekapo to sleep under the stars. The drive was one of our prettiest. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.

Stay: Recommended: Hotel Lake Tekapo

Day 2

Day 2: Exploring Tekapo on way to Queenstown

View of Lake Tekapo from room

Photo of Queenstown, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Waking up to one of the best scenic views in New Zealand (and that means a lot since the whole country is a selfie site!) we bumped up the thought of us retiring here post 30yr...20 yr….10 yr…..now

Must in Tekapo: Church of the Good Shepherd- old world charm, small stone church with mesmerising view, and Astro cafe which demands an extra drive but you are going to love us for the view of the lake and the meal.

The drive from Lake Tekapo to Queenstown demands a stop over at the iconic Lake Pukaki with its turquoise blue color. NZ has super convenient stops placed on the drive for you to fully absorb the impact.

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

If you like adventure sports, your adventurer streak will come to life in Queenstown with its world famous tandem bungee jumping and skydiving. We decided to stay away from city life and chose a house with a view.

Stay: Budget airbnb Option- QT Hill

Lake Wakatipu

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Explore local markets which give a good glance into cities’s working and have some nice dining options. We had beef burgers at the famous Fergburger after waiting in line to order and then waiting outside to receive! Honestly though, Aman and I didn’t get what the fuss was about. Sunset at Lake Wakatipu, was the highlight for our day at Queenstown.

Day 3: Fall in love with, and at, Milford Sound
Day 3

Milford Sound is a fiord towering Mitre Peak, rainforests and waterfalls which plummet down its sheer sides. It is also a home to fur seal colonies and penguins. Carry some water proof essentials to enjoy the water streams gushing on your boat. Keep a buffer in your drive time to Milford, believe us there are quite few stops you would want to make just because the drive is gorgeous! It’s common to drive back to Queenstown after visiting Milford but we decided to stay the night at Te Anau.

Photo of Te Anau, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways
Day 4
Day 4 & 5 : Traversing through Wanaka to Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson

We drove from Te Anau to Wanaka and tried some local cuisine suggested by our Airbnb hosts- and as with most places were thoroughly impressed with the quality of ingredients used by NZ kitchens. Day 5 we drove on to Fox Glacier and made a joyful little stop at Lake Hawaea.

Reflection Lake's click from a phone camera

Photo of Fox Glacier, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Stroll to Lake Matheson in the evening made us have a startling realisation- places in those alluring wallpapers are real! This most photographed mirror lake of New Zealand is a treat to eyes. It has an easy walkway designed around it for you to explore. Right beside the lake is the Matheson Cafe to treat you with a romantic tasteful meal.

Stay at Wanaka: Beautiful stay but honeymooners can use more privacy Mountain View Retreat

Stay at Fox Glacier: We chose it because of its proximity to Lake Matheson but you can do better. Clearwater B&B

Fox Glacier and Us

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Geared up for Heli ride and Glacier hike we left early next morning to Fox Glacier, in awe of the 500 km stretch of the Southern Alps that dominates the landscape. If the sky is clear you will get a peek of Mount Cook, highest mountain of NZ.

Tip: Fox Glacier is a major tourist attraction, book your guided hike in advance. It is expensive, but hey it’s NZ.

Day 6
Day 6: Punakaiki- Cottage in the middle of nowhere

The drive to Punakaiki,laden with beautiful forests and waterfalls, we wanted never to end! With a breathtaking West Coast running along the drive, it’s a sight to behold. The destination is an experience in itself too! Nestled with mountains on one side and ocean on the other, hidden from Tourist’s eyes is this small town Punakaiki..

In the middle of nowhere- Us and our ride

Photo of Punakaiki, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

The cottage we booked was the best stay decision we made on this trip, perfect for honeymooners. You can also stay here for two days (wish somebody had told us to) to enjoy your private beach with not a soul in sight.

Tip: Take a mosquito repellent for sandflies, will come handy on the beach

Stay: Highly recommend Waihaha Bach

Day 7

Day 7 & 8 : Wine..iiing in Marlborough

Wine.....ing our way

Photo of Marlborough, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Sauvignon Blanc is the name that resonates with Marlborough. Best way to explore the place- hire a bike , scout through cellar doors, relish some of the best wines and indulge in a leisurely lunch at a vineyard restaurant.

Fruit picking is also very famous activity here, you can give a try. We chose to get a taste of local culture and went for a local town car racing (recommend) and ended the day with a delicious dinner in a cozy restaurant.

Stay: Hillsfield House Recommend

Day 9
Day 9: Love for Taupo

Hop onto the ferry, park your car (yes, inside the ferry!) and in 4 hours you are at the North Island. Weather change is prominent; this part is hotter, cities are bigger, roads are crowded (by south island standards!), but views are not compromised :)

Taupo Lake

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

We decided to not rush and make a stop at Taupo, it did not disappoint us.

Rapids Jet boating, visit to Huka falls, and the dam at Aratiatia Rapids kept us hooked on for a full day. We even managed to get hold of some sheep wool souvenirs for folks back home, but a quiet dinner in a restaurant at a the Taupo Lake with a mesmerising sunset took the cake.

Day 10
Day 10 & 11: Rotorua

Rotorua pampers you with its natural Geysers, bike trails and the magical Redwood forests. The scent of natural geysers is everywhere and a dip should be on your bucket list. Hell’s Gate and Wai-o-tapu reserve are the two most popular geothermal reserves (paid of course). Or be cheap and take a free dip with locals in some not so famous but equally good thermal pools. If that is not your thing, a refreshing hour in an alkaline pool (recommending Deluxe Private Pool) at Polynesian Spa will rejuvenate you.

We also decided to walk amongst (read atop!) some of the tallest trees in southern hemisphere by taking a Redwoods Nightlights walk at 10 in the night. The lighting installations,the hanging walkways, Kiwi's love for nature will leave you amazed.

Stay: Room was nice but prefer something by the lake The Summer House Retreat

Day 12

Day 12: Off to Auckland through enthralling Coromandel

Photo of Coromandel, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Ever wondered where your wallpaper was photographed at……Cathedral Cove it is and mind you even wallpapers don't do justice. Spot me..:P

A three hour extra drive and an hour’s walk is all it takes to reach Coromandel Peninsula. The hypnotising views of the ocean during the drive makes it hard to keep your eyes on road.

Stay: Auckland- Can’t recommend as it lacked privacy. Georgian Grandeur

Day 13

Day 13 & 14: Bay of Islands

Hole in the rock

Photo of Paihia, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

One of the most honeymoonish location of New Zealand with stunning beaches and sunsets, we chose to spend our last two days lazing around in Paihia. On the second day, we took Hole in the Rock Cruise with Island Stopover, which gave us time to spend our day on beach at Russell island. There are many hikes you can choose from and explore the island to fullest.

Stay: Highly Recommend Chalet Romantica, best host we have had, tempting us with the lavish breakfast spread.

Breakfast at Chalet Romantica

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand by Renegade Runaways
Day 15
Day 15: Off to Auckland for snooze but the best drive was awaiting

On our host recommendation, we took an alternate route to reach Auckland through Waipoua Forest and Opononi…..with quite a few stops.

Honeymoonish Us!!

Photo of Auckland, New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Tane Mahuta- The Giant Kaura tree in Waipoua Forest, is the oldest tree in New Zealand, whose enormousness (14m girth) is realised only when seen. Make a stop if you have time for a peek.

The Giant- Tane Mahuta

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

We reached Auckland in the evening, checked into IBIS and before our last snooze in this country headed for a walk to supermarket to pick some solar lights for our garden. Next morning headed to airport,handed over our new found love Corolla and off we are to home.

Photo of Dreamy Honeymoon- Itinerary for a Road Trip to New Zealand by Renegade Runaways

Hey Guys…. This is my first writing, do share your views, would love to answer your question.Will soon pen down another article (way smaller) with some tips for this trip….. Stay hooked.

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