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New Zealand travel planning tips and advices — trip guide

  • 1 minute

New Zealand


  • Question one: Where do you want to go and in which direction?

Check out Sydney to Melbourne classic road trip (one week). You can start in either Sydney or Melbourne. Perhaps the airlines are running specials to Melbourne, or you have family and friends in Sydney with a few extra days planned at the beginning of your road trip.

You are going to see the same places however in a different order. However rental cars can have a cheaper option on one way returns if you are travelling against the flow of tourist traffic. A call to a rental company will answer that question. This could influence your decision about direction.

  • Question two: How much time do you have to travel as this influences what you can see and do?

The first measure is the proposed distance to travel. It is recommended you shorten the distance (sigh you really wanted to see those…) to ensure you only drive 150km average per day. That’s plenty of time to get out of the car and see things. Even better if you have more than one night, in at least two places to make a destination a hub where you simply move from point A over a period of two or more days.

Plan a road trip with a maximum travelling distance, for each day between 100km to 200km. The exception being the last day when I had a plane to catch.

  • Question three: Have you key attractions or activities that are on your must do list.

If so,  your route is not linear, it is pivoted to swing around what you want to do.

  • Question four: Budget includes flights or travel to route origin and route destination places.

Then there are activities, entrance fees, averaged accommodation cost, food and beverage costs, insurance and rental vehicle cost, including fuel. This could influence your route.

  • Question five: Weather, are you ready for the low season weather forecasts of cool temperatures and rain.

The time of the year influences the cost of travel as well as your personal comfort zone.

Now you are ready to work out the details.

Whangamomona Hotel, New Zealand
Wangamomona Hotel


  1. Choose direction of travel, distance to be travelled in total and distance between major towns where you plan to stay.
  2. Choose key attractions and guided tours, calculate time required to participate in each activity.
  3. Work out the number of nights required in places where you will book accommodation.
  4. Work out the route and record the number of nights in each place where you plan to stop.
  5. Book accommodation and/or key activities.

Hotels remember to check their direct website as specials are usually not listed on third party providers. Check hotel websites for associated activities that can be simultaneously booked as well.

TIP AirBNB have activities associated with their websites. The choice is yours, what you feel most comfortable with. Tripadvisor continues to provide reviews and recommendations about the quality of the accommodation.

  1. Book activities, especially those that are instagram moment known or you are travelling in peak season and do not want to miss out. These do not need to be booked immediately as you might be denting the credit card. (part of the TripAdvisor group) is a good source of information as it the activity operator’s website. I always check both as you can easily view forward booking information to ascertain popularity.
  2. Purchase national park passes or multiple day passes, print paper copy and store copy on mobile.
  3. Do not book everything in advance as we are encouraging spur of the moment decision making as well. Freedom to choose is important.

Whew, you have a holiday booked, planned and ready to go.

Cardrona Hotel Wanaka winter snow, South Island, New Zealand
Cardrona Hotel Wanaka winter snow, South Island


Copy of NZtravel dog in his motor home
NZtravel dog
  1. Document travel times for each day, distances to be traveled, route maps to be downloaded.
  2. Route maps, purchase a paper copy, a real map. To write on, to compare with google maps and use if connectivity is an issue.
  3. Emergency contacts list to be ticked off and filed with family and friends.
  4. Entertainment while on the road, download your favourite music.
  5. Check when sunrise and sunset occurs for those photo moments
  6. Perhaps consider a roadside assist plan with rental car company
  7. Get inspired,  it’s a road trip.


  1. Avoid impulse buys in petrol stations, I know that doughnut looks delicious however those muesli bars are much better for us.
  2. Check road conditions on google maps
  3. Carry cash for local markets where the vendor is not in a position to offer electronic transactions.
  4. Have you checked if there are tolls on your route, if not prepare to stop and pay, perhaps with cash.
  5. Remember to consult with your sunset time as perhaps you do not wish to drive at night.
  6. Take breaks and enjoy the journey. It is not a race to the end.
  7. Enjoy the moments of windshield time with your travelling companions.
  8. Be spontaneous, stop where it is not planned. You are in charge of the itinerary.
  9. Chat to locals about the best way to get somewhere.
  10. Plan a maximum of 1 ½ hours continuous driving, get out, take a selfie and enjoy.
Lake Hawea scenic road trip from Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
Lake Hawea scenic road trip from Wanaka, Otago

The journey is worth it.


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