New Zealand: Road trip edition

Hailey Johnson/Blog Staff

A bit far removed from Europe, the South Pacific is an often-forgotten study abroad and vacation spot. Specifically, the stunning sights and adventurous activities of New Zealand tend to be overlooked. Oh, if those sangria lovers and Francophiles only knew what they were missing when planning their getaways.

As a small island country, New Zealand is easily accessible via road trip. Maybe you heard the phrase “road trip” and imagined belting out your favorite Disney soundtrack, eating fast food and trying to hold off on peeing as long as possible while someone is passed out in the back seat. It’s so much simpler than that, my friend.

Road tripping in New Zealand has three main features: renting a JUCY car (easiest car rental ever), staring at sheep and seeing some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet. This scenery also provides loads of room for nature pees, so there’s no stress of holding it for hours on end.

Although staring at fields of sheep and cows for hours is thrilling, there are some lakes, parks, towns and movie sets that provide a little more visual stimulation.

Beginning in Christchurch and driving to Queenstown is highly recommended and allows you to take in several beautiful sights. Although Christchurch has been the victim of some pretty damaging earthquakes in the past, much of the city has been restructured so it still offers a charming home for a night or two. From there, the best stop is Lake Tekapo.


You won’t need any filter for your pictures at Lake Tekapo. The water displays a beautiful mix of sky blue and turquoise stretching for miles.

Farther down State Highway 8 is the perfect spot to rest, Queenstown.


Queenstown offers awesome local hikes, gondolas rides and countless tour companies where you can schedule a skydive or fall from the largest bungee swing in the Southern Hemisphere. The Queenstown Gardens and gondola ride to the top of the mountain are also worth checking out.

From Queenstown, there are several options for your next stop, one of which is Mount Aspiring National Park.


Lake Tekapo isn’t the only place with magical waters. Mount Aspiring National Park offers more than 1,000 miles of streams, waterfalls and forest for its visitors’ nature needs.

The last must-see stop on the south island is Milford Sound.


Still water and towering mountains make up the beautiful entrance to Milford Sound. For a closer look, there are boat tours available that venture around the water and pass a vast waterfall. There is also a local lodge for overnight trips, offering the perfect opportunity for watching the sunrise over the hills.

Alternatively, many people chose to car camp during their adventures in the South Island until making their way up north. At the northernmost point of the South Island, there is a ferry that transports both passengers and cars to the North Island (so the road trip continues).

Once on the North Island, there is a magical little spot by the name of Hobbiton.



Hobbiton is a must-see for any “Lord of the Rings” or “Hobbit” fans. It was the set for both movie trilogies and offers tours. At the end of the tour, you even get to stop into the pub featured in the movie for a complimentary glass of cider.


As you continue to move north through New Zealand, there are more sheep and cows as well as the wonderful city of Auckland and its neighboring islands.

Auckland offers awesome nightlife and cute restaurants, while Waiheke Island and Chamberlin’s Island are great for a weekend getaway.

From the South Island to the North Island, New Zealand provides incredible views and awesome activities for everyone.

Contact Hailey Johnson at [email protected].