I hadn’t thought about visiting New Zealand until I scored super cheap tickets. As soon as I started doing research on things to do, I knew that a road trip would be necessary, so I worked hard and created our New Zealand road trip itinerary. I wanted to do a lot of things and all the things I had in mind where scattered all over the North Island. That meant we would need to visit several cities a.k.a. road trip time. New Zealand is such an amazing country with so much to see and so much to do, and especially lots of outdoor activities. I was even more excited that our trip was going to fall during summer time, although it would be winter in the U.S. meaning that we would be able to enjoy lots of outdoor time.
If you know me and my style of travel, I am not a planner at all. I am more of a mellow, go with the flow type of traveler. This was the first trip that I had to plan a trip day by day. To be honest, I didn’t fancy it much. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed the planning of the trip, but having a day to day itinerary seemed to restrictive for me. When traveling with children, flexibility is key, and needing to plan out every day didn’t allow much room for that. But I had to remind myself that if I wanted us to experience New Zealand in all it glory, then we would absolutely need an itinerary and stick to it as much as possible. After tweaking several things, I was able to come up with an itinerary that included stops in Auckland, Waiheke Island, Goat Island, Rotorua and then finally Coromandel.
I can tell you right now that we did not do everything listed on the itinerary that I created. Due to the weather we had to move some things around and make accommodation for others. However, we did visit all the places on my itinerary except Goat Island. The reason being the kids didn’t fancy snorkeling much when we tried it in Waiheke Island, so instead of trying it again the next day, we opted to do something else.
As you can see from the map above, we only visited a small part of the North Island. We had 8 days total, and I had to plan wisely and strategically making sure that we exposed the kids to things they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to in the U.S. or other countries as well.
I was told by lots of people during out trip that the South Island of New Zealand is just as beautiful, but we did not have enough time to do both. Next time we visit New Zealand, we will definitely plan to road trip around the South Island.
Below are all the stops we made. Click each photo to read about how we got there, what the weather was like, where we stayed, what we did and where we ate.
Things to Keep In Mind:
- Create an itinerary that can be flexible, especially if you are traveling with kids
- Make sure to look for restaurants before hand. Honestly this saved us soooo much time. Instead of googling and yelping and reading reviews which is no fun when the kids are hungry, we just got in the car and drove straight to where we wanted to eat. I made sure to check each restaurant menu beforehand to ensure that we would all enjoy something on the menu.
- I purposely over packed our days because I wanted us to have several options. I knew we were not going to do all the things listed, however I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t searching for things to do last minute.
- Check the driving and traffic laws in the country you’ll be visiting. Some countries require you to have an international drivers license while others require special insurance. (New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, so keep that in mind)
- Make sure to download google maps to your phone. It is a life saver and is 99.99% accurate with directions
If you need assistance creating a detailed itinerary for your upcoming trip, simply head over to my CONSULTATION page and I can take the stress away by creating one specially made just for you.