Article Discover the most popular cities in New Zealand with the Campervan
Although New Zealand is especially known for its breathtaking nature, you can also discover great cities. If you want to get a taste of the big city, or if you would like to discover one of the cities before you travel, it is advisable to continue your journey with the motorhome and drive through some beautiful nature to the next town. But what is the best time to visit Auckland? And what can you discover in Christchurch? These and other questions will be answered here. In addition, we'll tell you where to stay in the city with the camper.
With about 1.4 million inhabitants, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city. The city is located on the North Island on an approximately 80 km wide land tounge. To the west you will find the Tasman Sea and to the east the Pacific Ocean. You can read the most interesting information about Auckland below.
Auckland belongs just like the rest of the North Island, to the warmer part of New Zealand. Thus, in the summer months from December to February, always average temperatures of up to 25°C can be expected. But even in spring (September to November) and in autumn (March to April), temperatures between 16-21°C can be reached. In the winter months, from June to August, the average high temperature is 16°C, which makes it warm compared to winter in some parts of europe. Unfortunately, there are relatively many rainy days in Auckland, especially the winter is very humid.
If you want to travel to New Zealand, you should not drive a motorhome long distance on the day of arrival. Because the flight from europe lasts at least 24 hours and you will also be tired because of the time difference. It is best to rest in New Zealand on the first day, or just drive a short distance to the nearest campsite.
If you want to see something on the first day despite jet lag, you can start with exploring Auckland. One highlight of the city is the Sky Tower. At an altitude of about 328 m you can see the entire city from above. If you want an adrenaline kick, you can even jump down from almost 200 m up the tower. But it is more comfortable in the Orbit Restaurant in the Sky Tower. You can enjoy the beautiful view with a delicious meal. You can also get a great view from the Auckland Harbor Bridge which you can climb up, like the harbour bridge in Sydney, Australia and experience a unique view. If you want to enjoy a nice view from the ground you can climb Mount Eden in the suburb that is called the same.
If you want to stay on the ground, we recommend you to visit one of the many museums. How about the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki? Or would you rather learn something about transportation and technology? Then visit the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). Also rather cozy is a walk in the Botanical Garden or Cornwall Park. Cornwall Park is also perfect for running or cycling.
If you would like to do something more athletic on the first day, you can climb Mount Victoria. With a height of about 87 m, this is the highest volcano in the area. Once at the top you have a great panoramic view over Waitemata Harbor and the inner Hauraki Gulf.
If you want to do a little hike you can take a ferry to Rangitoto Island and climb the old volcano summit. You will have a great view over the city and the other islands around.
You will experience even more nature in the next few days. For example, at the most northern point of the North Island at Cape Reinga or in Rotorua with many geysers and hot springs. From Auckland, you can also start a beautiful round trip across the island or explore parts of the North Island and take the ferry to the South Island from Wellington. The itinerary for a round trip over the North Island and the most beautiful routes over the southern part of New Zealand, can be found in our article..
Where to stay in Auckland
Right in Auckland you will find the Avondale Motor Park. In the immediate vicinity you will also find a train stop, if you do not want to drive in the city with the camper. You need about 10 minutes by car and about 40 minutes by train to reach the city center. It is about 3 km to the sea. Your children can have fun at the playground in the Motor Park. One night is about 50 NZD for 2 adults.
On Hauraki Gulf and next to Lake Pupuke, you find Takapuna Beach Holiday Park. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the city. The campsite offers flat grassy areas and facilities to wash your laundry. For a nice BBQ, a BBQ area is available on the campground. Right on the beachfront, your children can have fun at the playground. And if you have run out of books to read on holiday there is a campsite library where you can exchange your book for a new one.
On the South Island of New Zealand you will find Christchurch in the East right on the Pacific Ocean. The city is known as the “most english” city in New Zealand. You can see that in their architecture. Unfortunately, many buildings were damaged by the earthquake in 2011.
Because Christchurch is located on the South Island, the temperatures are usually a few degrees below the temperatures in the North Island. In summer, from December to February, the maximum temperatures are between about 21-23°C. Also in spring (September to November) and in autumn (March to May) the average temperatures are around 14-20°C. In the winter months from June to August, it gets much cooler. It can also rain more often in Christchurch or even start to snow.
As you stroll through the city, you will see that many of the buildings are damaged. After the earthquake in February 2011, many buildings were not rebuilt, or had to be completely demolished. So did the beautiful Christchurch Cathedral. The demolition has already been decided, but at the moment the ruins are still standing (as of 02/2018). It's worth taking a look.
Are you interested in culture? Then Christchurch has several interesting museums to offer. For example the Canterbury Museum, the Christchurch Art Gallery or the Air Force Museum of New Zealand. The Antarctic Center, where an Arctic landscape is simulated with penguins and huskies is also interesting to see. Even animal lovers will not be disappointed when visiting Christchurch. In addition to the Orana Wildlife Park, there is also the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. There you can feed the animals and children can even ride on a donkey.
If you want to go for a walk, the botanical garden is perfect. The Hagley Park, which is located around the Botanical Gardens is also beautiful. You can take a boat trip on the Avon River, or take a small train through the Botanic Gardens.
If you are ready for longer distances, you can drive to about 80 km away Akaroa. There are around 30 dolphins in the reserve with which you can swim. Nearby you will also find a penguin colony in Flea Bay, and with a bit of luck you might discover some.
Christchurch is also a good starting point for a tour of the South Island of New Zealand. On this itinerary, you can also visit Catlins Forest Park, Fox Glacier and Milford Sound. You can read more about the stunning South Island itinerary in our article..
Where to stay in Christchurch
South Brighton Holiday Park is just 350 m away from the beautiful sandy beach. You have the opportunity to try different water sport activities. At the Holiday Park itself, your children have enough possibilities to stay busy. So they can enjoy the playground or play basketball. The sites are surrounded by trees and plants and you have the choice whether you need connections for electricity or get along without electricity. It takes about 17 minutes to get to the city center.
For your first night in Christchurch, North South Holiday Parkis the perfect destination. Only about 5 minutes from the airport, you are also only about 10 km away from the city center. You can choose whether you need power connections or get along without any connections. One night costs at least 20 NZD. Within a few minutes walk you can reach Lake Roto Kohatu.
In the very south of the North Island of New Zealand, you will find the capital of the country Wellington. In Wellington you will also find the ferry to the South Island arriving in Picton. Read what else you can discover in Wellington.
In New Zealand summer (December to February), temperatures of about 19-21°C are expected in Wellington. The temperatures in spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are at least 14°C, but always below 20°C. Although it only gets around 6-12°C in winter (June-August), the sun shines more often and longer in Wellington than in Auckland. Especially in autumn and winter it is often very windy. As a result, there can be strong storms.
In the capital of New Zealand, you will find the Museum Te Papa Tongarewa near the sea. You can discover the history of New Zealand. Especially the first settlement and the development until today is illuminated. In addition there are always special exhibitions. The museum also includes an outdoor area with an artificial cave and a forest landscape. The entry to the museum is free. But there is a charge for the entertainment area with vending machines and a bungee jump simulation is chargeable.
Probably the most famous landmark in the city is the Wellington Cable Car. The cable car is about 610 m long and connects the suburb Kelburnwith the shopping street Lambton Quay. During the trip you can experience many beautiful views and at the end also explore the small part of town. A beautiful panoramic view of the city and the surrounding area can be found at Mount Victoria. The viewing platform is at an altitude of approximately 196 m. You can also enjoy the romantic sunset during a picnic. The vantage point can be reached by car, bus or after hike.
If you prefer to experience the nature around Wellington, you can visit for example Kapiti. Kapiti is the perfect place to take in the untouched nature and relax. You do not want to relax and prefer to do sports? Then Hutt Valley is suitable for you because there are the most beautiful hiking and biking trails and a wonderful view as well. In the Hutt Valley you can also visit the city Petone and Eastbourne.
To finish the day, make a stopover in Marlborough. You can easily reach Marlborough by ferry. You can taste wine and drink a glass with a wonderful view. If you want, you can also take a ride the next day and check out the Marlborough Sounds in the north of the South Island. Protected bays, secret beaches and calm waters can be found here. You can experience the breathtaking nature or make a boat trip in the romantic mountain and water world,
If you have some more time, Wellington is the perfect base from which to explore the North Island. You can find a nice itinerary in this article..
Where to stay in Wellington
Right on Shelly Bay you will find Camp Wellington. The campsite is surrounded by a pine forest and is the perfect starting point for cycling or hiking. Since you spend the night right on the coast, you can rest on the beach, especially on sunny days, or take beautiful walks. Within 15 minutes you can reach the city. The campsite has only 6 sites and is rather small and quiet.
Just 15 minutes from the center you find the Wellington Top 10 Holiday Park. The campsite is not directly in the city and especially popular with families. That's why there are many activity opportunities. There is a large playground, a trampoline and a games room with various vending machines. One night with the motorhome costs about 50 NZD.
On the South Island of New Zealand you will find Queenstown in the south west of the island. Northwest of the city you find the Richardson Mountains with a height of 2,300 m. The city is located close to the New Zealand Alps and is located directly on Lake Wakatipu. You can read about the climate and what you can experience in Queenstown below.
The nearby Alps protect Queenstown from the cool west winds. Therefore, the temperatures are considered mild there. But in winter (June to August), snow often falls due to its proximity to the Alps. The temperatures are then between about 1-10°C. In the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are then usually expected with temperatures of up to 16°C. In the summer (December to February) temperatures rarely rise above 22°C and ensure a mild summer.
Queenstown is often dubbed as the capital of adrenaline and adventure. Because you can experience a lot of fun and action. But even for cozy hours, the city has much to offer. Whether hiking, skiing or nature, in Queenstown everyone gets their money's worth.
If you want to experience adventure, you can do so in Queenstown. Test your limits and see how far you can go. Whether skydiving or paragliding is entirely up to you. Also water sports such as jet skiing or canoeing are possible there. During the winter months you can also ski in the Alps.
For the less adventurous, hikes may be better. In the direct vicinity of Queenstown you can enjoy unique views of the Alps, the city and Lake Wakatipu. Especially a hike to the summit of Ben Lomond should not be missed. If you spend your evening there, you can see a breathtaking sunset. In the nearby vineyards you can taste the best wines of New Zealand.
A well-known nearby tourist attraction is the Milford Sound. The 14 km long waterway is part of the Fiordland National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During a boat trip you can even discover dolphins and enjoy the impressive nature. There are, for example, the Stirling Falls with a drop height of about 151 m and the Bowen Falls with a drop height of about 162 m.
Also not to be missed is Wanaka and Lake Hawea. Many scenes for "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" were shot in this area. You'll also find a two-story labyrinth in Wanaka. Lake Hawea was formed by glaciers and is about 392 meters deep. You can relax, fish or practice water sports there.
Queenstown is included in the Southern Scenic Route. You can read about this itinerary here..
Stay overnight in Queenstown
Just outside Queenstown you find Queenstown's Top 10 Holiday Park. Nevertheless, you can reach the center in less than 10 minutes. In the immediate vicinity you will find the Shotover River. As the campsite is especially popular for families, there are plenty of opportunities for your kids to get their workout done. For example the spacious playground or the huge air cushion.
You also have the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park. It is less than 400 meters from Lake Wakatipu equipped with a large playground for the kids. There is free Wi-Fi. You can have a cosy BBQ evening with the well-equipped kitchen and barbecue area.