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5 Steps To Help Plan A Road Trip – New Zealand

Qantas - flying over New Zealand

I often get asked how I plan our family road trips.  With only a week to play with in late January, I decided we would head from Hong Kong to the ‘sunnier’ climes of New Zealand.  The last time we headed to this island nation in the South West Pacific was seven years ago on our honeymoon.  At that point we were two kids and quite a few kilos lighter!  Our South Island trip was phenomenal but I don’t like to revisit places when there’s so much of the world to see.  I was also desperate to pay a visit to a close friend in Wellington who had just had a baby so I decided a trip to the North Island it would be…

Step 1

Ask friends and family for referrals.  My Wellington friend was a fountain of knowledge, as were my parents who had done the road trip a few years ago.  A Kiwi mate from Auckland gave me some great tips on where to shop & eat (definitely pay a visit to Depot in Auckland)

Step 2

Ask your online communities from Facebook groups to Tripadvisor forums.  I received loads of restaurant/hotel recommendations and also itineraries this way.

Step 3

Consult the infinite world online.  These were my favourite:

Official New Zealand Tourist Guide

Kidz Go New Zealand

Tripadvisor New Zealand Guide

New Zealand Tourism & Travel Guide

Calculate your driving distances with Google Maps

Step 4

Check the ‘Whats’ On’ calendars for the towns/cities you are visiting (often found on the official town council home page).  Certain festivals will draw big crowds and drive up the prices of accommodation. We were in Rotorua for the start of the Ragamuffin Reggae & Rnb festival.  Apart from some awesome dreadlocks wandering around town, we weren’t too impacted by it but it did mean our accommodation options were more limited than usual.

Step 5

Go old school and read guide books, perfect for night time reading.  Luckily I had our old Lonely Planet from the honeymoon in ’07.

New Zealand guidebook

4 comments

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  1. 21st Mummy Mummy

    We’re doing a road trip from Sydney to The Gold Coast in March. Last time I did it was 18 years ago as a backpacker. This time it will be with my family, like you!

    1. Nicola

      sounds fantastic! looking forward to hearing about it

  2. afamilydayout

    We did a road trip to New Zealand 6 years ago, just before our daughter started school as we knew we wouldn’t get another chance to take such a long time off. Back then I’m pretty sure we still relied on our trusty Lonely Planet too!

    1. Nicola

      Great planning on your part! I love New Zealand, can’t wait to go back again…

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