5 South Island gems to explore on a New Zealand campervan holiday

18 September 2017

Blessed with wild beauty, the South Island of New Zealand is home to impressive glaciers, stunning beaches, magical lakes and huge numbers of native wildlife. There are many ways to explore New Zealand’s South Island, however hiring a campervan or motorhome and hitting the road is one of the ultimate ways to experience the epic landscapes this island is known for.

Representing freedom, independence and fun, hiring a campervan is a top trip idea whether travelling with friends, family or even solo. Here are some must-do places to put on your list when embarking on a campervan holiday around the South Island:


Embrace nature in The Catlins

Located on the picturesque Southern Scenic Route, this remote, sparsely populated region is a dream destination for nature and wildlife lovers. From viewing the spectacular Purakaunui Falls to watching a sunset at Nugget Point lighthouse and spotting rare penguins at Curio Bay, this is a top spot to stop for a few days while driving around New Zealand.

Scale great heights on the Crown Range

Best only tackled during the warmer months, this stunning road between Queenstown and Wanaka is New Zealand’s highest main road. Stopping often to take in the breathtaking views is a part of this journey, so if you’re keen to get from A to B quickly this isn’t the road to take! Surrounded by dramatic mountain ranges and emerald green pastures of farmland, driving the Crown Range will produce gasps of awe at every turn.

Cruise along the Milford Road

Located right at the bottom of the South Island, the dramatic vistas of Fiordland National Park enchant travellers of all ages, and the Milford Road is one of the most astounding of them all. Connecting Te Anau to Milford Sound, this four-hour journey has plenty of places worthy of a stop. Pull the van over at Eglinton Valley to pose for photos in front of scenery that looks like a watercolour painting, stop at Lake Gunn for a picnic and short walk along the easy track and rest up amid the intense beauty of Milford Sound. A winding road that should be taken slowly and carefully, Milford Road is one of those places that travellers of all ages and interests will revel in.

Meander Middle Earth

It’s well known that many scenes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed on New Zealand’s South Island and while you can always join an organised tour to see these places, there’s no reason why you can’t make up your own campervan tour of filming locations. Many landscapes around the South Island areas of Glenorchy, Arrowtown and the Cardrona Valley were used for filming pivotal scenes in this award-winning trilogy. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the films or not, these landscapes are showstoppers in their own right.

Explore the Marlborough region

New Zealand’s largest wine growing region may be home to many luxe, boutique hotels but it also has plenty of holiday parks to set up base camp in. The towns of Blenheim, Havelock, and Picton all have top rated holiday parks to park your campervan in, with many having pools, barbecues, gardens and recreation rooms also. From your holiday park, simply head out for day trips around the many trails located in this scenic region that is a mecca for food and wine lovers. Try some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc at local vineyards, sample a craft ale or two at a boutique brewery, and sample fresh mussels, salmon, oysters and scallops from a seaside restaurant or café. Driving around Marlborough will reveal farm gates, cellar doors, produce markets, fishmongers and more. With so much fresh fare at your fingertips, self-catering is a terrific option when driving around Marlborough.

With an abundance of natural wonders to behold, New Zealand is the perfect holiday place for the curious traveller. Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today to plan your tailor-made New Zealand holiday.

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