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britz campervans kids by lake

Best Places To Stop On A Family Roadtrip From Queenstown To Auckland

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A New Zealand campervan holiday from Queenstown to Auckland will take you through some of the most spectacular scenery and tourist hotspots New Zealand has to offer. If you want to ensure you see as much as possible, check out our awesome Queenstown and Auckland itineraries.

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Queenstown to Auckland is a fantastic campervan road trip to do as a family, given you get to see a large portion of New Zealand. There are fantastic family-friendly destinations along the way with great activities for kids and adults alike. And travelling by campervan means you can take your time, be spontaneous, and have everything you need with you as you travel. You can pick up your campervan at Britz Campervan Hire Queenstown and then drop it off at Britz Campervan Hire Auckland when you’re done. Easy!

1. See what the fuss is about in Queenstown

With its scenic backdrop of beautiful snow-capped mountains, stunning blue lakes, and beautiful nature walks, Queenstown is one of those magical destinations that has to be seen to be believed. And with endless options for adventure for every age, it’s an ideal holiday haven for families.

Have a ball up high on the Skyline Gondola

Treat the kids to an unforgettable day of activity and adventure on the Skyline Gondola. Take in the jaw-dropping views as you climb 480 metres above Queenstown in the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere. At the top, take a thrilling ride (or six!) on the luge, enjoy a buffet lunch, or take a guided walk.

Get your heart racing on the Shotover Jet

For the grown-ups wanting to experience more of an adrenaline rush, you can’t beat the thrill of the Shotover Jet – definitely the most exciting way to see Queenstown’s pristine landscape!

Enjoy a Queenstown must-do for families

And for families of all ages, a must-do is the Queenstown Hill Time Walk – a 500-metre climb through pine forest and past the Basket of Dreams sculpture. At the summit, enjoy a picnic as you take in the awesome views overlooking Queenstown.

Where to stay: Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

MIlford Road

 

2. Marvel at the waterfalls in Milford Sound

Around 3.5 hours drive from Queenstown on the west coast of the South Island, the remote destination of Milford Sound was once described by Rudyard Kipling as the “eighth wonder of the world”. Surrounded by ragged, waterfall-covered ranges, lush native bush echoing with bird song, and pristine waters, it’s easy to imagine you’ve been transported back in time.

Discover an underwater wonderland

Give the kids a new take on the world around them with a visit to the Milford Sound Observatory. It won’t be stars they’re seeing though, this amazing underwater observatory will take you 10 metres beneath the sea surface where you’ll be able to see coral, fish, anemones, and other sea life, and learn about the history and ecology of this unique destination.

Try your luck on a charter boat

For adults who prefer their fish on the end of a hook, why not get on board one of the sound’s excellent fishing charters? Anglers from around the world prize this area for its abundant species of fishing and spectacular scenery.

Pack a picnic for family fun in Milford Sound

Pack a picnic and take the family on one of the area’s many beautiful day walks. Choose from a short 30-minute loop to tracks that take a few hours. Be sure to keep an eye out for waterfalls! Remember to check the weather forecast, pack appropriately, and choose a walk that suits everyone’s fitness level.

Where to stay: Milford Lodge

Milford Sound

3. Witness Franz Josef Glacier

You simply can’t plan a drive from Queenstown to Auckland without adding in a stop at Franz Josef Glacier. This natural wonder originates 3000m above sea level in the Southern Alps, descending over a distance of 9km into the lush native rainforest of Westland’s National Park. <p

Have an unforgettable helicopter experience with kids

Give the kids their birthday and Christmas presents all at once with an unforgettable helicopter ride into the heart of the Southern Alps. Explore the ice with a snow landing (snowman building optional!).

Enjoy an adults only afternoon at Franz Joseph Luxury Spa

With the kids well and truly tuckered out, it’s time for the adults to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the Amaia Luxury Spa. Book ahead for a soothing massage, facial, or mani/pedi.

Take a Franz Joseph family walk

For an activity the whole family can enjoy, pop on your walking shoes, rug up with warm gear, and head to the base of the glacier to do the 30-minute Franz Josef Walk. Be sure to check the conditions before starting your walk.

Where to stayFranz Josef Campervan Park

Heli Franz Josef

3. Get up close with wildlife in Kaikōura

Known for its abundant sea life, the tiny township of Kaikōura is bursting at the seams with unforgettable experiences to enjoy on your New Zealand campervan holiday.

Take a llama trek with the kids

If you’ve got animal-loving kids in the family, they’ll be super excited to explore coastal Kaikoura on a llama trek! Spend three amazing hours discovering the highlights of this stunning region – in the most unique way possible!

Test your flying skills with a YouFly flight

Hey Mum and Dad… ever wondered what it’s like to fly a helicopter? Now you can find out with a YouFly flight – get behind the controls with a qualified instructor who will guide you from take-off to landing.

Dive into history at the Kaikoura museum

For something the whole family can enjoy, head to the Kaikōura Museum to learn about the region’s fascinating history. An absolute must-do for families while in Kaikōura is a whale watching tour where you can see sperm whales, humpbacks, orcas, seals, and dusky dolphins. Kaikōura is one of the few places in the world where sperm whales can be seen year-round and close to shore.

Where to stayAlpine Pacific Motels and Holiday Park

Kaikoura

5. Be blown away by Wellington

It may be our windiest city, but it’s also – according to Lonely Planet – the “coolest little capital in the world”. And we fully agree! Bursting with creative energy, culture, and natural wonders, our capital city really does have it all.

Take a tour of Te Papa

Take the kids along to The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa where they can see the gigantic Gallipoli exhibition created by Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop, spend time in the discovery centres, or see the beautiful Te Marae which embodies the museum’s spirit of bicultural partnership. There’s plenty of hands-on exhibitions and activities for kids too!

Discover Weta Workshop

For grown-ups and kids of all ages, Wētā Workshop is a must-see while you’re in the capital. This Academy Award-winning workshop contributed to movies including Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong, and more. Take a guided tour or join in on a creative workshop

Ride the famous Cable Car

Top the day off with a family ride up Wellington’s famous Cable Car. See the city from new heights and check out the botanic gardens and Space Place at the top of the hill.

Where to stay: Wellington TOP 10 Holiday Park

Te Papa museum

 

6. Take a dip at Lake Taupō

In the heart of the North Island, Taupō is packed full of natural beauty and opportunity for adventure!

Get wet and wild at DeBretts Hot Springs

The kids will love making a splash at DeBretts Hot Springs. The waterpark is open every day of the year with a water playground, hydro-slides, and spa pools for the adults to soak in too!

Get your heart racing with a jet boat ride

For the adults, plan a thrilling ride on the Hukafalls Jet Boat. Experience the adrenaline rush of getting up close to the majestic Huka Falls – unforgettable!

Cruise the great lake with the family

For a day on the water the whole family can enjoy, plan a relaxing cruise on Lake Taupō aboard the Ernest Kemp. Check out the world-famous Māori rock carvings which are only accessible by boat.

Where to stay: Great Lake Taupo Holiday Park

 

Huka Falls Jet

7. Experience culture in Rotorua

From bubbling hot pools to beautiful lakes, Rotorua is a fabulous stopover on your New Zealand campervan holiday.

Enjoy the adventure activities on offer in Rotorua

Keep the kids busy all day long at Skyline Rotorua. Head uphill on the gondola then spend the day on the luge, go ziplining, try the Skyswing, and have lunch at the café or restaurant.

For adults looking for a bit of adventure, head along to Rotorua’s Adventure Playground where you can head off on a 4x4 self-drive off-road tour, test your aim with claybird shooting, or saddle up for a horse trek.

Travel back in time at the Mitai Maori Village 

For some enjoyable family time, plan a visit to Mitai Māori Village and learn about the history and culture of Rotorua. You’ll be entertained with a Māori cultural concert and enjoy an authentic hangi dinner (a delicious meal cooked traditionally, underground!).

Where to stay: Rotorua Family Holiday Park

Rotorua Luge

8. Discover something new in Waitomo

Waitomo is home to an extensive network of underground cave systems, making for a unique and unforgettable family experience.

See the glow worms at Waitomo Caves

The whole family will delight in going underground at Waitomo Caves. Here, you’ll discover the best glow worm caves in New Zealand. Take a boat ride through the cave and into a magical glow worm grotto where thousands of these tiny creatures put on a dazzling display.

For adults (and kids over 12) with an adventurous spirit, there’s also the option of black water rafting through the caves – including a jump off a waterfall!

Where to stay: Waitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park

Waitomo Glowworms

9. Laze on the beach at Mount Maunganui 

This chilled-out beachy suburb of Tauranga is a haven for surfers, swimmers, and nature lovers.

Take to the top of Mount Maunganui 

Take the kids for a walk to the top of Mount Maunganui – the view is amazing, and you can guarantee they’ll sleep well afterwards! Don’t forget an ice cream reward at the bottom from the famous Copenhagen Cones.

Shop til you drop in Tauranga 

As a family, enjoy a stroll around the Tauranga Historic Village where you’ll find boutique shops, a vinyl store, cafes, and more. Explore Tauranga Crossing Mall for a a day of retail therapy, delicious eats and even movies - perfect for the rare rainy day!

Take a leap of faith with Skydive Tauranga

For the adults, if jumping out of a plane is on your bucket list, tick it off today with Skydive Tauranga. What a great way to see this beautiful part of the country!

Where to stay: Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park

Mount MaunganuiImage source: TNZ visual library - Camilla Rutherford

10. Hit the big time in Auckland

There’s lots more to do and see as you reach the bright lights of the big city on your amazing New Zealand campervan holiday. Home to the iconic Sky Tower, a beautiful harbour, 53 volcanos, and a vibrant café and restaurant scene, Auckland has something for everyone.

Head to Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium

The kids will love getting up close to sharks, stingrays, and other amazing sea life at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium. There’s even an opportunity to swim with the sharks for the truly adventurous!

Take a walk around the Sky Tower 

For the adults, see the city from the best vantage point possible with a walk around the Sky Tower! And if you’re really brave – you can even jump off the edge.

Get out of the city and out to Piha black sand beach 

Enjoy a great family day out by heading west to Piha Beach. Beautiful and rugged, this black-sand beach is popular with surfers and swimmers. Just remember to stay between the flags if you’re taking a dip over summer.

Where to stay: Takapuna Beach Holiday Park

Sky tower bungy

Ready to book your next family road trip? 

There really is an endless list of awesome things to see and do on a family road trip between Queenstown and Auckland. With a bit of forward planning, you can add in lots of family-friendly destinations on your travels that will keep everyone happy – and create some unforgettable memories. And that’s what travelling by campervan is all about – spending time together, travelling at a relaxed pace, and making the most of the amazing destinations New Zealand has to offer.

For more help planning your trip, download the free thl Roadtrip app – access handy tips for planning and preparing your trip, find out what to expect on pick up, and see a full show-through video of the camper you’ve booked.

Ready to get started? Book your campervan today – we’ve got branches in Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown. And you can pick up at one and drop off at another to help plan the perfect family campervan holiday. Book yours today!