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Best Road Trip Destinations to Celebrate Christmas

Christmas road trip

There is lots to see and do at Christmastime in New Zealand. Whether you’re wanting to enjoy an action-packed road trip discovering the Fiordlands, or sit back and relax in the Marlborough wine region, a rental car is a great option for getting around the country.

Visit the Top of the Key Summit

country track Fiordland National Park

For a truly magical Christmas experience, consider visiting Fiordland, a World Heritage listed location renowned for its stunning beauty. From hiking the Milford Sound track, to exploring the Fiords and the top of the Key Summit, your backdrops for Christmas will be sure to impress.

Fly into Queenstown Airport and pick up a rental car. From there, take Highway 6 and Blackmount-Redcliff Road, then proceed to Borland Road in Fiordland National Park.


  • Hike the Milford Sound track or go diving
  • See glowworms at Lake Te Anau
  • Visit Bowen Falls
  • Go for a cruise through the Fiords
  • Walk to the top of the Key Summit

Cruise the Marlborough Sound

Marlborough Sound at sunset

You can’t beat spending Christmas in Marlborough. Whether you’re on a romantic getaway or exploring the region with your family, you’ll be spoiled for choice with great food and otherworldly views.

Fly to Marlborough Airport and pick up a rental car in the region.


  • Enjoy Christmas lunch at one of the many wineries
  • Walk the Queen Charlotte Track
  • Go on a cruise of the Marlborough Sound
  • Visit Whites Bay
  • Visit the Abel Tasman National Park in Nelson
  • Road trip down to Kaikoura and watch dolphins and whales

Celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in Gisborne

crowd at the concert

Did you know Gisborne is the first place in the world to bring in the New Year? If you want to celebrate New Years Eve with a bang, check out the iconic Rhythm and Vines Festival and the array of Gisborne Christmas events.

Fly straight into Gisborne and collect a rental car. That way, you can get around to whichever events you wish. You can also explore the region beyond Gisborne.


  • Christmas Festival
  • Rhythm and Vines
  • Eastwoodhill Arboretum
  • Rock sliding at Rere Waterfall
  • Surf and watch the first sunrise in the world

Other Popular Celebrations