As somebody who absolutely loves road trips and has made many throughout the years, I can truly say New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world to make a road trip!Planning your New Zealand road trip itinerary can be quite daunting. New Zealand is an incredible country with numerous things to see and do.Choosing a realistic New Zealand self-drive itinerary can be a challenge, but don’t despair, this post will help you to make the absolute most of your road trip in New Zealand.New Zealand road trip itinerary1. New Zealand road trip itinerary2. New Zealand travel guide3. How to plan the perfect New Zealand roadtrip3.1. New Zealand travel budget3.2. The best way to travel New Zealand3.3. The best time to travel New Zealand3.4. Where to camp in New Zealand4. New Zealand itinerary: our 6 week road trip4.1. Road trip New Zealand itinerary5. Week 1: Canterbury and East-Otago5.1. Day 1: explore Christchurch5.1.1. Where to stay in Christchurch (on a budget)5.2. Day 2: the Banks Peninsula5.3. Day 3: Peel Forest and Lake Tekapo5.4. Day 4: Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook5.5. Day 5: Elephant Rocks and Oamaru5.6. Day 6: Mouraki Boulders and Dunedin5.7. Day 7: Sandfly Bay, Nugget Point and the Southern Scenic Route6. Week 2: the Catlins, Fjordlands and West-Otago6.1. Day 8: attractions along the Southern Scenic Route6.2. Day 9: more highlights along the Southern Scenic Route6.3. Day 10: venture into the Fjordlands…6.4. Day 11: the Milford Sound6.5. Day 12: Queenstown and Moke Lake7. Week 3: the West Coast, Canterbury and Marlborough7.1. Day 15: the Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson7.2. Day 16: the Franz Josef Glacier and Hokitika7.3. Day 17: the Great Coast Road7.4. Day 18: from the West Coast back to Canterbury7.5. Day 19: Hanmar Springs thermal pools and spa7.6. Day 20: hike around Kaikura7.7. Day 21: the Queen Charlotte Drive8. Week 4: Tasman and Wellington8.1. Day 22: explore Nelson8.2. Day 23: visit Abel Tasman park8.3. Day 24: Farewell Spit and the Te Waikoropupū Springs8.4. Day 25: exploring Picton8.5. Day 26: sail the Cook Strait8.6. Day 27 and 28: explore Wellington9. Week 5: Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua9.1. Day 29: go LOTR crazy9.2. Day 30: explore Napier and Hastings9.3. Day 31: Taupo and the Huka Falls9.4. Day 32: hike the Tongariro Crossing9.6. Day 34: visit Whakarewarewa thermal village in Rotorua9.7. Day 35: Goldmine Waihi10. Week 6: the Coromandel Peninsula, Auckland and the Northland10.1. Day 36: drive around the Coromandel Peninsula10.2. Day 37: explore Auckland10.3. Day 38: cruise the Bay of Islands10.4. Day 39: relax at the Karikari peninsula10.5. Day 40: spend a day on the beach10.6. Day 41: climb Mount Manaia10.7. Day 42: hike the Mangawhai Clifftop Walk10.8. Day 43: say goodbye to New Zealand…11. NZ road trip itinerary: in conclusionThis post contains affiliate links.Please read my disclosure policy for more information.New Zealand travel guideTo help you plan your NZ itinerary, I wrote this detailed post about the 6-week New Zealand trip I made around the North and South Island of New Zealand.For each day I list our New Zealand backpacking itinerary, campsites, and New Zealand highlights, you can find them in the map below as well.Even if you have less time available to explore Kiwi Country, I hope this self-drive New Zealand itinerary will inspire you, and help you plan your trip to New Zealand.You can customize this New Zealand travel itinerary, make it shorter or travel just the North or South Island.My advice?Don’t try to squeeze in too much, the last thing you want is to feel rushed! Because one of the best things about New Zealand is being able to stay a little bit longer at that perfect secluded spot you found…Anyway, I digress, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details of my 6 weeks in New Zealand!Have you always dreamed about doing a working holiday in New Zealand? Check out Global Work & Travel and get a €100 discount with the coupon code PHENOMENALGLOBE.How to plan the perfect New Zealand roadtripNew Zealand travel budgetAotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand, meaning land of the long white cloud) can be an expensive destination but it is definitely possible to travel New Zealand on a budget.Check out a detailed breakdown of our New Zealand travel budget and read how to save money on your NZ road trip.The best way to travel New ZealandI traveled together with my husband; we started our trip in Christchurch and ended it in Auckland.We hired a small van, enabling us to explore the country at our own pace and via our preferred New Zealand campervan itinerary.Check out my guide to campervanning in New Zealand to read about making the most of your NZ campervan holiday.The best time to travel New ZealandNew Zealand is beautiful any time of the year, however, when you want to go camping it’s best to travel between October and April.We traveled around New Zealand in January and February, which is the New Zealand summer. While temperatures are the highest during this period, so are the crowds and thus prices.Even though we never had any issues finding a camp spot and it was in no way busy anywhere, I would probably travel either in late Spring (October/November) or early Fall (March/April) if I were to visit New Zealand again.Keep in mind the climate of the North Island differs from the South Island. Plus it can be cold at night, even in summer.We woke up one morning to discover fresh snow on The Remarkables so make sure you are well prepared and pack properly (bring layers!).Where to camp in New ZealandCamping in New Zealand is great and there are lots of options (free and paid) available. The most important thing to do before parking your van somewhere for the night: check if it’s allowed!Because lots of tourists travel to New Zealand (and unfortunately not everybody behaves as they should) the government has put stricter camping regulations in place. If you don’t obey these regulations you risk a 200 NZD fine.Check all the New Zealand campsites we stayed at in this post.New Zealand itinerary: our 6 week road tripClick here for the interactive mapRoad trip New Zealand itineraryWeek 1: Canterbury and East-OtagoWeek 2: the Catlins, Fjordlands and West-OtagoWeek 3: the West Coast, Canterbury and MarlboroughWeek 4: Tasman and WellingtonWeek 5: Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and RotoruaWeek 6: the Coromandel Peninsula, Auckland and the NorthlandWeek 1: Canterbury and East-OtagoDay 1: explore ChristchurchItinerary: Christchurch International Airport – Christchurch city center – Jailhouse AccommodationPractical information: Bus number 29 – Airport to City via Fendalton costs 8NZD per person and departs every 30 minutes.Highlights:Botanic Gardens: Beautiful park, huge trees and a nice rose garden. Good place to sleep on a bench in the sun after two days of flying…Christchurch city center: it was nice to see that the city center was rebuilt (after the earthquake of 2011) in a very creative way. Because it was summer holiday the city center was completely empty!Botanic Garden in ChristchurchChristchurch city centerWhere to stay in Christchurch (on a budget)Stay at the Jailhouse Accommodation: how often do you get to spend a night in a former prison! Don’t worry, you have your own key to get out whenever you want…Check the latest prices on Agoda and Booking.Day 2: the Banks PeninsulaItinerary: Jailhouse Accommodation – Rental Car Village – Akaroa – Arundel Bridge ReserveHighlights:Scenic drive over Summit Road: a beautiful winding road offering great views of the bay.Akaroa: a cute historic village (founded by French settlers in 1840!) with beautiful colonial houses.Bay view Summit RoadColonial house in AkaroaDay 3: Peel Forest and Lake TekapoItinerary: Arundel Bridge Reserve – Peel Forest – Lake Tekapo – Camping Lake McGregorHighlights:Hiking in Peel Forest: lots of tracks to choose from, I did the ‘Big Tree Walk’ which lead to a huge Totara tree of 8,4 meter wide, the ‘Acland Falls track’ which took me to a mystic looking waterfall and the ‘Kahikatea walk’ leading me through swamp forest.Lake Tekapo: the drive to the lake (coming from Geraldine) is already stunning because of the snowy Southern Alps on the background. But Lake Tekapo is just out of this world. The beautiful blue color is something that you cannot catch on a photo and the surroundings are breathtaking. I loved this place, it was one of my favorite places of our entire trip.Church of the Good Shepherd: I don’t think there is a church anywhere in the world located on a spot more beautiful than this one. If you don’t believe in God, the view from the church might just persuade you.Stargazing at Lake McGregor: the area around Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve. I have never seen so many stars, it was incredible.Lake TekapoChurch of the Good ShepherdDay 4: Lake Pukaki and Mount CookItinerary: Camping Lake McGregor – Mount John Observatory – Lake Pukaki Lookout – Mount Cook – Twizel – Campsite next to SH8, south of TwizelHighlights:Hiking the Mt John track via lakeshore: three hour walk with a fantastic view over Lake Tekapo. There is a nice cafe at the top of Mt. John.Lake Pukaki and scenic road to Mount Cook: beautiful view over Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook, the tallest mountain of New Zealand, in the background. The 50km road to Mount Cook is a stunning drive, definitely worthwhile!Hiking the Tasman Glacier track: this was quite a steep track after already having hiked the entire morning! Nevertheless, it was worth the effort. The picture showing the difference in size of the glacier are impressive, it’s melting so fast…Mount CookTasman GlacierDay 5: Elephant Rocks and OamaruItinerary: Campsite next to SH8 south of Twizel – Elephant Rocks – Oamaru – All Day Bay recreation reserveHighlights:Elephant Rocks: such crazy rock formations in the middle of farmland. I can totally understand why this landscape is used in the Narnia movies!Oamaru city center:  I really liked this village with its steam punk art and historic buildings from 1860-1880.Elephant RocksAwesome penguins crossing signOamaru steam punkOamaru historic buildingsDay 6: Mouraki Boulders and DunedinItinerary: All Day Bay recreation reserve – Moeraki Boulders – Dunedin – Mosgiel Motor CampHighlights:Moeraki Boulders: crazy rocks, some of the boulders are up to 3 meters in diameter!Dunedin city center: Dunedin is the student city of New Zealand and is also known as ‘The Edinburgh of the South’. I visited Edinburgh and personally feel that might be pushing it, but it is a nice city nonetheless! I visited the Toitu Otago Settlers museum and learned a lot about the history of this part of New Zealand.Day 7: Sandfly Bay, Nugget Point and the Southern Scenic RouteItinerary: Mosgiel Motor Camp – Sandfly Bay – Nugget Point – DOC Purakaunui BayHighlights:Hiking at Sandfly Bay: a nice walk starting at the end of Seal Point Road and going down to the beach where lots of seals are chilling out. Sandfly bay is named after the fine sand being blown into the air by the hard wind, forming impressive dunes.Southern Scenic Route part 1: you have to drive this awesome road! Get the free ‘Southern Scenic Route Guide’’ and ‘Guide to the Catlins’ at an i-Site, these leaflets contain information about all the highlights in the region (there are a lot!).Nugget Point: impressive land tongue with a cute lighthouse at the end from where you have a stunning view over the rough ‘nuggets’ rising from the sea. I felt like I was at the end of the world.Watch for wildlife: when visiting the places mentioned above, we saw seals, baby fur seals, a sea lion, two yellow eyed penguins and a dolphin!Sandfly BayNugget PointWeek 2: the Catlins, Fjordlands and West-OtagoDay 8: attractions along the Southern Scenic RouteItinerary: DOC Purakaunui Bay – Jack’s blowhole – Surat Bay – Purakaunui Falls – Cathedral Cave – DOC PapatowaiHighlights:Hike to Jack’s Blowhole: a very strange 55 meter deep hole, 200 meters from the sea. Seawater flows to the hole through an underground tunnel and pounds against the sides with deep thundering sounds.Surat Bay: short hike, seen another seal chilling on the beach but unfortunately no sea lions for which this bay is famous.Purakaunui Falls: a beautiful waterfall, apparently one of the most photographed waterfalls of New Zealand.Cathedral Cave: these impressive caves located on Maori land can only be visited during low tide.Southern Scenic Route part 2: another day on the Southern Scenic route. And scenic it most definitely is. Winding its way through the dense forest while offering stunning ocean views every other corner, fantastic!Seal at Surat BayHike to Jacks BlowholeJacks BlowholePurakaunui FallsDay 9: more highlights along the Southern Scenic RouteItinerary: DOC Papatowai – McLean Falls – Curio Bay – Slope Point – Invercargill – Colac BayHighlights:Hike to McLean Falls: a half an hour hike to one of my favorite falls in New Zealand. I don’t know why exactly I loved McLean Falls so much, I guess I was just really happy that day (I was extremely happy the entire time I was in New Zealand;-). The sun was shining, there was no one around, nature was beautiful, life in general was pretty good.Curio Bay: in Curio Bay you can find the Petrified Forest, which are ancient fossilized trees. If you are lucky you can see any Hector dolphins, as they visit this bay often.Slope Point: a fun place for a picture as it’s the Southernmost post of New Zealand (not counting Steward Island).Southern Scenic Route part 3: the last part of the Southern Scenic route. There are so many beautiful roads in New Zealand, but this was definitely one of my favorites. It just feels so remote… And there are gorgeous and really varied sightseeing spots every couple of kilometers.Mc Lean FallsSlope PointCurio BayDay 10: venture into the Fjordlands…Itinerary: Colac Bay – Te Anau – Mirror Lakes – Milford Sound – DOC the DivideHighlights:Scenic drive on Milford Sound Road: the road from Te Anau to the Milford Sound is absolutely breathtaking… There are many stops along the way so be sure take your time!Mirror Lakes: the wind is too hard to be able to see the famous mirroring effect but still very pretty lakes!Milford Sound RoadDay 11: the Milford SoundItinerary: DOC The Divide – Milford Sound – The Chasm – Campsite near LumsdenHighlights:Cruise in the Milford Sound: the Milford Sound is one of the absolute highlights of New Zealand and should be included in any NZ trip. Milford Sound is about 15 kilometers long and one of the best ways to explore the Sound is by taking a cruise.The Chasm: it’s raining (like it does 182 days a year in the Milford Sound, so no surprises there) but that makes the Chasm all the more impressive because of the massive amount of water flowing below a natural bridge.Milford SoundThe ChasmDay 12: Queenstown and Moke LakeItinerary: Campsite near Lumsden – Queenstown – DOC Moke LakeHighlights:Drive over the Devil’s Staircase: excellent road with lots of twists and turns, hence the name. Drive carefully!Queenstown city center: I think Queenstown is probably the most enviable city in the world. Next to Lake Wakatipu, with the Remarkables in the backdrop. The city center has all the facilities you need but is small enough not to feel like a big city. There are lots of great things to do in Queenstown as well as countless day trip options around Queenstown if you have more time to spend here.Hike around Moke Lake: one of my favorite walks because the surroundings were stunning (as usual…New Zealand is so incredibly pretty) and we did not come across anyone else during the entire hike of 1,5hours.Lake WakatipuMoke LakeDay 13: ArrowtownItinerary: DOC Moke Lake – Arrowtown – Luggate Cricket ClubHighlights:Chinese settlement in Arrowtown: a historic gold mining town where the Chinese workers created a little settlement with tiny houses made of wood. A Spartan life these people had…Scenic drive over the Crown Range Road: from Arrowtown we took the Crown Range Road to Wanaka. A turning and twisting road leading to a 1076 meter high pass,crossing the Cardona river 11 times!Fun (Lonely Planet) fact: the Crown Range Road is the highest sealed road in New Zealand!Arrowtown Chinese SettlementLake WanakaDay 14: WanakaItinerary: Luggate Cricket Club – Wanaka – DOC Lake ParingaHighlights:Beer tasting and tour Wanaka Beerworks: Wanaka Beerworks is a small local brewery that makes craft beers. You can tour the brewery and sample some of the beers.Scenic drive over Haast Pass: another drive through the astonishing landscapes of New Zealand.Haast PassWeek 3: the West Coast, Canterbury and MarlboroughDay 15: the Fox Glacier and Lake MathesonItinerary: DOC Lake Paringa – Fox Glacier – Lake Matheson – DOC Otto/Mc DonaldHighlights:Hike to Fox Glacier: a 20 minute hike (and another 20 minutes to get back;-). I am again taken aback by the rapid shrinking of the glacier…Hike around Lake Matheson: a lovely short hike with beautiful views!Fox GlacierLake MathesonDay 16: the Franz Josef Glacier and HokitikaItinerary: DOC Otto/Mc Donald – Franz Josef Glacier – Hokitika – DOC Lake MahinãpuaHighlights:Hike to Franz Josef Glacier: a 40 minute hike. Though we couldn’t get as close to the glacier as to the Fox glacier, we constantly heard rocks falling and see ice chucks breaking off.Sunset point: the perfect place to catch the sunset. But I guest that was pretty obvious because it’s actually named Sunset Point;-).Glowworm dell: in a small, dark and most dell hundreds of lights come alive one by one. The glowworms are like tiny stars and it’s a truly magical experience!Franz Josef GlacierSunset PointDay 17: the Great Coast RoadItinerary: DOC Lake Mahinãpua – Hokitika Gorge – Pancake Rocks – Jack’s GasthofHighlights:Hokitika Gorge: another spectacular sight in stunning New Zealand. The glacier flour colors the water a vivid blue which contrasts with the bright white rocks, unbelievably pretty.Scenic drive over Great Coast Road: one of the most, if not the most, spectacular drives in New Zealand. Every bay is more beautiful than the last one.Pancake Rocks: there are so many phenomenal places to visit in New Zealand and the Pancake Rocks are definitely one of them. Strange layered rocks shaped and sculpted by wind and ocean below a perfect blue sky.Hokitika GorgeGreat Coast RoadDay 18: from the West Coast back to CanterburyItinerary: Jack’s Gasthof – Westport – Carters beach – Alpine Holiday Park Hanmar SpringsHighlights:Westport: a cute town worth a stroll.Carters beach: too cold to swim, but a nice place to spend a couple of hours.Day 19: Hanmar Springs thermal pools and spaItinerary: Alpine Holiday Park Hanmar Springs – Hanmar Springs thermal pools and spa – DOC Puhi Puhi Valley KaikouraHighlight:• Hanmar Springs thermal pools and spa: in this Thermal Spa there are various pools with different minerals and temperatures. A perfect way to spend a (very relaxed) day.Day 20: hike around KaikuraItinerary: DOC Puhi Puhi Valley Kaikoura – Kaikoura – Donovan House B&BHighlight:• Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway: nice three hour hike (the first hour is not that interesting, I suggest starting at the parking lot at Point Kean viewpoint instead of in the town itself) with beautiful views over the bay.Kaikura Bay ViewHiking around the Kaikura PeninsulaDay 21: the Queen Charlotte DriveItinerary: Donovan House B&B – Picton – Maitai Valley Motor CampHighlights:Picton Village Bakery: pick up some delicious baked goodies…Scenic Queen Charlotte Drive: another gorgeous drive, 35 kilometers of twists and turns and beautiful bay views between Picton and Havelock.Picton Village BakeryQueen Charlotte DriveWeek 4: Tasman and WellingtonDay 22: explore NelsonItinerary: Maitai Valley Motor Camp – Nelson – Kina Beach campHighlights:Nelson Farmers Market: eating our way around the farmers market, jummie.Nelson city center: I found Nelson a very relaxed city with a lively atmosphere and a couple of nice buildings.Day 23: visit Abel Tasman parkItinerary: Kina Beach camp – Abel Tasman park – Uruwhena BridgeHighlight:• Kayaking at the Abel Tasman park: kayaking at Abel Tasman park was another New Zealand highlight for me! It was a lot of fun and the scenery of this National Park is stunning.Day 24: Farewell Spit and the Te Waikoropupū SpringsItinerary: Uruwhena Bridge – Collingwood – Farewell Spit – Uruwhena BridgeHighlights:Hike around Farewell Spit: 12km hike over the beach and through the dunes. I have never seen so many different kinds of birds in a single day.Pupu Springs (or Te Waikoropupū Springs): this was such an unexpected highlight and the most beautiful pool I have ever seen in my life. 14.000 liter of water per second bubbles from underground vents which creates a unique underwater environment and crystal clear water.Farewell SpitPupu SpringsDay 25: exploring PictonItinerary: Uruwhena Bridge – Motueka – Waitohi domain PictonHighlight:Picton city center: I did not expect much of Picton; perhaps that is why it exceeded my expectations. There was a nice harbor, a boulevard and a park to relax in the sun.This was our last day on the South Island of New Zealand, we spent day 26-43 on the North Island. Also check out this 2 week South Island itinerary if you are short on time.Day 26: sail the Cook StraitItinerary: Waitohi domain Picton – Cook Strait – Camp Elson PoriruHighlight:Cook Strait: crossing the Cook Strait is as much a necessity if you want to get to the Northern Island, as an activity in itself. The ferry sails through the Marlborough Sounds, which are very beautiful. Unfortunately, the weather was not great so we stayed inside most of the journey.Day 27 and 28: explore WellingtonItinerary: Owhiro Bay, Te Kopahou reserve – Wellington – Owhiro Bay, Te Kopahou reserveHighlights:Te Papa museum: Te Papa means ‘container of treasures’ which is definitely true, I spent a day and a half in this museum and still hadn’t seen everything.Wellington Cable Car and Botanic Gardens: the famous red cable car takes us up to the top of a 120 meter high hill with beautiful views over the bay. We walk back down to the city through the Botanic Gardens.Old Saint Paul’s: a church completely made of all kinds of New Zealand woods and build in just 9 months!Old Wellington Cable CarOld Saint Paul’sWeek 5: Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and RotoruaDay 29: go LOTR crazyItinerary: Owhiro Bay, Te Kopahou reserve – Clifton Motor camp Te AwangaHighlight:Weta Cave: being LOTR and movie fans in general, we decide to visit Weta Cave where they make all the costumes and design complete virtual words for LOTR, the Hobbit, Avatar, King Kong and many other blockbusters.Gollum and me hanging out at the Weta CaveDay 30: explore Napier and HastingsItinerary: Clifton Motor camp Te Awanga – Napier – Hastings – Glenfalls campsiteHighlights:Napier city center: very pretty town rebuild completely in Art Deco style after being destroyed completely by an earthquake in the 30’s.Hasting evening market: dumplings, pizza and tortilla chicken wrap, delicious.Napier city centerDay 31: Taupo and the Huka FallsItinerary: Glenfalls campsite – Taupo – Huka Falls – Urchin campsiteHighlight:• Huka Falls: nice hike to the Huka Falls, which is more a giant rapid than a waterfall, pretty spectacular.View along the way to the Huka FallsHuka FallsDay 32: hike the Tongariro CrossingItinerary: Urchin campsite – the Tongariro Crossing – Reid’s Farm reserveHighlight:Tongariro Crossing: hiking the Tongariro Crossing was one of highlights of our trip around New Zealand, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking! While not part of the official Tongariro Crossing route (it is an official side trip), we made it to the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe, also known as Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings movies.Day 33: rest…Itinerary: Reid’s Farm reserve – Willowhaven Holiday ParkHighlight:Not moving a muscle after hiking the Tongariro Crossing the day before…Day 34: visit Whakarewarewa thermal village in RotoruaItinerary: Willowhaven Holiday Park – Whakarewarewa – DOC Dickey FlatHighlight:Whakarewarewa thermal village: a very interesting Maori village build around the hot pools and geysers and one of the highlights in Rotorua.Day 35: Goldmine WaihiItinerary: DOC Dickey Flat – Tairua Holiday parkHighlight:Goldmine Waihi: I was thoroughly impressed by the sheer size of this mine!Week 6: the Coromandel Peninsula, Auckland and the NorthlandDay 36: drive around the Coromandel PeninsulaItinerary: Tairua Holiday park – Cathedral Cove – Coromandel Town – Carpark Hauraki District Council, NgateaHighlights:Cathedral Cove: a 45 minute hike over the cliffs leads us to Cathedral Cove, an impressive natural bridge. The constant pounding of the ocean against the white rocks illustrates perfectly how this bridge was formed.Scenic drive road 309: a famous gravel road crossing from the West side of Coromandel Peninsula to the East side. 21 kilometers of driving slowly and carefully while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.Cathedral CoveCathedral Cove hikeDay 37: explore AucklandItinerary: Carpark Hauraki District Council, Ngatea – Auckland – i-site car park WhangareiHighlight:Auckland city center: we did the Lonely Planet city walk and see some nice buildings, parks and the revamped boulevard with quirky cafes and art.Auckland city centerAuckland ArtDay 38: cruise the Bay of IslandsItinerary: i-site car park Whangarei – Whangarei Falls – Paihia – Forest Pools campsiteHighlight:Dolphins cruise in the Bay of Islands: even though we don’t get to swim with the dolphins, it is still very impressive to see them swimming and jumping around the boat.Dolphins at Bay of IslandsBay of IslandsDay 39: relax at the Karikari peninsulaItinerary: Forest Pools campsite – Karikari peninsula – Utea ParkHighlight:Beach Karikari peninsula: we find our own private bay where we relax on the beach.Day 40: spend a day on the beachItinerary: Utea park (the first day we did not drive a single mile!)Highlight:Enjoying how simple life can be. Breakfast in the sun, a good cup of coffee, reading a book. What a wonderful life:-)Day 41: climb Mount ManaiaItinerary: Utea park – Whangarei Heads – Waipu HotelHighlight:Mount Manaia: steep climb (400 meters!) but with a rewarding view from the top.View of Mount Manaia from belowFrom from top of Mount ManaiaDay 42: hike the Mangawhai Clifftop WalkItinerary: Waipu Hotel – Mangawhai – Erin PoolsHighlight:Mangawhai Clifftop Walk: a brilliant hike with such varied landscapes: beach, hills, tropical looking forest and steeps cliffs. A good way to end our hiking adventures in New Zealand.Day 43: say goodbye to New Zealand…Itinerary: Erin Pools – Rental Car Village Auckland – Ibis Budget hotel Auckland AirportLow point:Handing in our beloved van and saying goodbye to New Zealand: I always have a hard time saying goodbye. And bidding farewell to the most beautiful country in the world was even harder… But no time to despair, because we went on to our next adventure in the Philippines!NZ road trip itinerary: in conclusionInspired by this itinerary to road trip NZ? Download it below!If you have any questions about this NZ itinerary, please leave a comment or contact me! Want to read more about traveling New Zealand? Also read these posts:This post was updated in April 2022.