Sharing my Roadtrip itinerary with you guys!
Date: 20 March – 1 April 2017
8 Days Roadtrip by Campervan + 4 Days Airbnb & SUV
After much discussion with fiancée’ (now wife), we decided to go for a 12 days adventurous and laidback trip for our honeymoon. Where else than to experience kiwi (better known as New Zealand) life, up close and personal by campervan (equipped with queen bed, shower, a television, cooking utensils and stove) for 8 days and live a laidback life by living among the locals in an AIRBNB apartment for the last four days?
In hindsight, we know our first leg of the trip would be risky as we would have to drive hundreds and thousands of kilometers. But trust me, the trade-off is well worth it. Stunning landscapes and vistas are just two of many things that you can experience while driving. I’ll post pics along the way to show just how beautiful NZ is.
1. GETTING TO NZ
1.1 Singapore (SIA flight) > Sydney (ANZ transit flight) > Queenstown, NZ
2. GENERAL TIPS
2.1. Get a SIM card. I recommend SPARK NZ. They have the best coverage according to locals and from my experience. A 3 GB data plan cost around NZD 50. It is more than sufficient unless you are planning to upload videos on Instagram. Option to top up data is also available.
2.2 Use Google Maps. This is a no brainer, I live by Google maps to get me around anywhere. Locally and internationally.
2.3 Download and use campermate app. It gives you information on the nearest camp sites, diners and eateries as well as dumping stations.
3. TRIP BREAKDOWN
3.1 Queenstown > Twizel > Glentanner > Mount Cook > Lake Tekapo > Lake Wanaka > Queenstown > Kingston > Te Anau > Milford Sound > Queenstown
4. CAMPERVAN & DRIVING THERE
4.1 We booked a Campervan via an online platform called MightyCamper. (we did some research on trustworthy campervan companies before booking) We booked the campervan for a week as we had plans for a laidback segment for the last 4 days of our trip.
4.2 Our campervan is called Mighty Deuce. The campervan is equipped with a stove, cooking utensils, toilet and shower and a comfy bed cum dining area.
4.3 Coming from SG, our driving licence is internationally recognized and there was no problem for MightyCamper to process the rental agreement and I drove off as soon as it was approved. They have an in-built GPS with tutorials on how to operate the kitchen, electrical appliances and the shower. It is crucial to learn these as you will definitely use them on your roadtrip.
4.4. The roads are fairly easy to drive. If you are opting for a campervan, be sure to drive safely and defensively. The road limit is 100km/h. It might seem fast but in reality, its quite slow as the roads are long and winding. The winds are strong and you must have a strong grip on the steering wheel. Don’t be surprised if you see sheeps crossing, be sure to whip out your cameras to document that special moment. Oh and the roads are two way, so if you need to overtake, you have to cut through the opposing lane. And be sure to slow down when others are trying to overtake you.
4.5 Parking the campervan is quite hard in big towns such as Queenstown. There are pay & display parking areas where you pay a fee to park your campervan. Just display the receipt on your dashboard and you are good to go. I remembered paying NZD 2.50 for whole day parking. Oh and remember there are certain places where you can’t park the campervan as it is huge. Plus there are parking areas with 30, 60, 120 and 240mins free parking.
4.6. Parking the campervan in the open roadsides in the countryside is permissible. Be sure not to block the traffic. Just prep your camera or drones (if you have) to take scenic pictures and videos!
4.7 If you come across any powered camp sites along the journey, be sure to visit them! On average, they cost roughly 25-30 NZD per pax. They provide 240 volts’ power to your campervan so that it can provide power to appliances such as the radiator and the power sockets. They also provide hot showers, self-cook kitchen, laundries and BBQ pits. I made sure to visit them. It makes things much easier in terms of amenities.
4.8 You are also responsible for basic upkeep of the vehicle. If you shower or use the toilet in the vehicle, the excess water and waste will have to go somewhere. Fortunately, the campervan has a good sanitation outlet. Once in every few days, it is recommended for you to remove excess waste by dumping it in a dumping station. Use campermate app to find the nearest dumping station.
5. FOOD & BEVERAGE
5.1 Food is aplenty and I heard their beef steaks are to die for. As a Muslim, I cannot eat them unless they are halal. To satisfy our hunger we only ate fish(Salmon especially) and kebabs. At least they are halal!
5.2 Visit supermarkets such as Four Square and New World often to top up your groceries. If you are into Asian food, try out Asian Food Mart. You can cook them in your campervan!
5.3 You have to definitely try Patagonia Chocolates. Best of its kind!
6.1 We booked an Airbnb apartment in Kingston, about 30 mins drive away from Queenstown. We booked it months before our trip and we fell in love with the décor of the house. The hosts were warm and friendly and gave us a head’s up compendium of what to do i.e outdoor activities. Nothing much special about this 2nd leg of the honeymoon. The adventure was the campervan trip.
7.1 We booked our activities via a travel agent/consultant in Queenstown. We booked from Freedom Travel, located in the heart of Queenstown. Our agent, Sabine was nice enough to recommend us the best activities to do in Queenstown. She gave us a hardcopy scheduler to take note of our booked activities. We just have to make sure to be at location on time. The campervan/car really helped a lot in getting us around.
7.2 Here are the activities we booked during our honeymoon
• Glacier Explorer booked @ Mount Cook Activity Centre
• Skydive Wanaka
• Skippers JetBoat @ Queenstown
• Scenic Helicopter Ride @ Queenstown
• Skyline Gondola & Luge + Restaurant at Stratosfare @ Queenstown
• Puzzling World @ Wanaka
• Milford Sound Cruise @ Milford Sound
7.3 These are paid activities, the real gem came from the roadtrip itself. I will tell you more about the roadtrip in point 8.
8.1 The roadtrip started off in Queenstown on the first day and we headed off to buy and stock up our groceries at New World supermarket. We also bought our sim cards at Queenstown centre. Do take note to buy SPARK NZ sim cards. Vodafone’s signal strength was dodgy. Once we are done with admin stuff, we headed of to 12 Mile Delta near the Queenstown Centre. We overnighted there.
8.2 The next day we booked our activities through our travel agent at Queenstown Centre and paid cash upfront for all the activities. The activities will be done during the 2nd leg of our honeymoon. Once we booked the activities, we headed straight to Mount Cook.
8.3 The journey to Mount Cook was a very long one. Approx 4 hour + drive. We made sure there was enough diesel for the journey. We made a pitstop at Twizel to have dinner at Jasmine Thai Restaurant before continuing our journey.
8.4 From Twizel to Mount Cook highway was a short one if im not wrong. About 1 -2 hour drive left. Before my wife and I continued our final drive to Mount Cook, we booked two nights stay at Glentanner Holiday Park. About 25 NZD per pax for a night. They have a kitchen, shower facilities and a powered site for your campervan. Before setting off to our next destination, we emptied our waste tanks and topped up our water and diesel.
8.5 The next two days were spent at Mount Cook. We opted for a glacier explorer activity where both of us were in for a cold treat. We had to mini-hike our way to Tasman Glacier lake and a boat was waiting for us. The guide was knowledgeable and taught us a thing or two about icebergs and glaciers. The next day at Mount Cook had us photo-taking at the scenic sights in and around Mount Cook. The drive was the best over there. You can never go wrong with that.
8.6 Once we were done with Mount Cook, we headed to Lake Tekapo. It is one of the best sites for stargazing. It is even awarded the honorary title of being a “International Dark Sky Reserve”. Trust me I saw the milky way and literally thousands of stars painted the sky. The night never looked so beautiful. The next day had us having breakfast at the Lake Tekapo Village. Before setting off to our next destination, we emptied our waste tanks and topped up our water and diesel.
8.7 We headed off to Lake Wanaka on the same day and it was approximately a 2hr+ drive back towards Queenstown. That’s where we had our Skydiving Activity. My wife was against it even before our honeymoon but somehow, I managed to persuade her to jump along with me! Kudos to her! You wanna try skydiving, try skydive Wanaka. The aerial view is to die for!
8.8 We overnight at Wanaka Holiday park for another two days to explore the area and we made sure to visit the lonely tree @ lake Wanaka. It is also known as being the most photographed tree in the world. Such a surreal experience. Before setting off to our next destination, we emptied our waste tanks and topped up our water and diesel.
8.9 Once we were done with Lake Wanaka, we headed back to Queenstown to return our campervan (it was a sad day for us because we have been so used to being in the campervan) We booked a simple SUV as a replacement for our campervan because hey, we need a transport for getting to places! We had our scenic helicopter ride on the same day and checked in to our Airbnb apartment at Kingston (a 30-min drive from Queenstown)
8.9.1 The next few days was spent at our Airbnb and we had our remaining activities lined up for us. Mainly the jetboat, gondola ride and lunch at Stratosfare and Milford Sound. Fired up my Google Maps and we drove to the desired locations via SUV. Our Airbnb hosts were so friendly and warm! They even made popcorn and muffins for us! Wont dwell to much on this as the highlight was the roadtrip.
9. FINAL THOUGHTS
9.1 New Zealand is teeming with life and character. The life there is laidback and slow-pace. When driving, all you can see is endless plains and mountains and lakes. Life is meant to be lived in that environment, where nature is king and humans leave minimal carbon footprint behind. I can say I am truly impressed with the culture. Where everyone smiled at us and even greeted us saying how was our day. Such a stark difference from being here in SG. New Zealand has this aura where it unlocks your creativity and has an uplifting atmosphere that brings you to high spirits. I can truly appreciate god’s creation and wonders by admiring his work in nature.
You have to definitely visit NZ once in your life. Immerse yourself in the Kiwi life. Immerse yourself with nature.