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A Christmas Road Trip in New Zealand

Lake Pukaki, Southern Alps, NZ

Christmas is the perfect time to create wonderful memories with your friends and loved ones - and one of the best way to do that is by going on a road trip this coming holiday season. Since Christmas is also summer in New Zealand, the weather is perfect for driving and enjoying the outdoors. We at VroomVroomVroom are not only here to help you find the perfect vehicle for a holiday road trip, we also shared some routes you can take for a quick day trip or long road trip in North Island and South Island.

Top Road Trip Routes in New Zealand for The Holidays

Recommended Day Trip in North Island

Auckland CBD – Piha Beach – Hunua Ranges

Attend a service at the beautiful St.Matthew-in-the-City situated right in the CBD on Christmas Eve. Starting on Boxing day, a large proportion of the population leave town, to go camping on northern beaches, or visiting holiday homes on the Coromandel Peninsula. If you stay in Auckland, you'll be able to easily travel the length of the city without stress in your rental car. Take a picnic to Piha Beach in the west, go for a walk in the Hunua Ranges in the south, then be back in time for dinner in the Wynyard Quarter. Do not decide to follow the herd to the holiday hot spots in the North Island at that time, these gems are much more enjoyable once the crowds head back to work through the first week of January. 

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Recommended Day Trip in South Island

Christchurch – Waipara Valley – Hanmer Springs

Christchurch has the Cardboard Cathedral, the only cathedral in the world made substantially of cardboard. It is located in Latimer Square, just a short distance from the damaged Christchurch Cathedral, and Cathedral Square. After attending service, drive your rental car to Waipara Valley where you can enjoy wine tasting. It only takes approximately one hour to reach this picturesque valley. The best way to end your road trip is with a soothing soak in the sulphur pools or relaxing treatment at Hanmer Springs.

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Recommended 4-Day Road Trip in North Island

Crystal clear water of Lake Taupo, NZ

Rotorua – Waitomo – Taupo – Rotorua

Day 1: Immerse yourself in mud bath spa or try out the unique Miri Miri massage at Hells Gate. If you prefer outdoor fun, you can try zorbing at OGO Rotorua or the Shweeb or Swing at Agroventures Adventure Park.

Day 2: The travel time from Rotorua to Waitomo is approximately 2 hours by rental car. The village is famous for its amazing Glowworm Caves. Since it is best seen at night, you can bird watching at Pureora Forest Park or fishing at Lake Whakamaru.

Day 3: From Waitomo, drive around 2 hours to Taupo where you can get a glimpse of the magnificent Huka Falls. You can enjoy various water sport activities such as kayaking, water-skiing and sailing at Lake Taupo.

Day 4: Heading back to Rotorua is quick as it takes only an hour and a few minutes via Thermal Explorer Highway. Upon arrival at the city, you can check out its other wonderful attractions such as the Museum of Art & History, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Rainbow Springs Kiwi Park.

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Recommended 4-Day Road Trip in South Island

Arthur's Pass, New Zealand

Christchurch - Hokitika – Franz Josef – Christchurch

Day 1: Christchurch is the perfect base to begin a road trip adventure and there are many free attractions in the city that you can check out such as Container Malls, Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, and Museum of New Zealand.

Day 2: From Christchurch, the best route to take going to Hokitika is Arthur's Pass, which is considered as one of the most scenic drives in the world. The town of Hokitika is perfect for shopping souvenirs because it has heaps of shops that sell the famous New Zealand jade. You can also go kayaking at rough water further up the Hokitika Gorge.

Day 3: Driving from Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes via State Highway 6. The township is just 5 kms away from the world-famous Franz Josef Glacier and this can be accessed via 20-minute walk from the glacier road car park. If you still have time, you can take a 30-minute drive to the White Heron Sanctuary.

Day 4: It is a long drive from Franz Josef to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass, but there are interesting places you can make a quick stop, including the Okarito lagoon and gold mining town of Ross. Once back to Christchurch, reward yourself with a delectable meal and drink at The Beach in Sumner. 

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