A Honeymoon in New Zealand – Top tips please!!

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  • A Honeymoon in New Zealand – Top tips please!!
  • faceplanter

    The future Mrs and myself, after looking again at various other destinations, are back looking at a motorhome Honeymoon around the north and south islands of New Zealand.
    We know we’d want to take our bikes, have maybe a stop over at a destination or two whilst on the flights and this being our special trip we want to make it as magic as possible.
    Whilst we are there we’d want to take in some of the usual tourist destinations and riding spots like Fjordlands national park and Rotorua, but we realise that a three week honeymoon including getting there and back, we cannot do everything in one trip.
    So what can you tell us? Best Motorhome hire, Best riding spots, Fine and not so fine dining, getting there, beauty spots….
    Many thanks.


    I spent a year there, myself id spend most time in the South, good skiing if winter, lovely beaches too.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Check out the implications for crossing on the ferry with a motorhome, might be better with 2 hires. Also have a look at wotif for accomodation prices as a backup.

    Would suggest hitting the shuttle in rotorua (anything from DH to XC uplifting) and worth it. But only runs weekends out side of the main holidays.

    Transfer driver I had in Auckland last time suggested on short trips skipping the north of auckland stuff as it takes a long time to get up and then come back.


    Don’t go for a guided MTB tour like the one I did in Queenstown. Rubbish. The bloke even told me to get off and push up a small incline (because he said it would be too hard). Of course I didn’t listen and proved him wrong 😀 Still, the views from the top of the hills and alongside the Shotover (?) canyon were amazing.

    Premier Icon John_Key

    Tip. 3 weeks is a pretty short amount of time and NZ is a big country. I’d suggest doing one or the other island and south island has more wilderness, but North Island more culture. Read about it on lonely planet and make your minds up. Personally 3 weeks in the south island is what I’d go for.


    And when is the Honeymoon?


    Tui beer is rubbish. speights gives me the trumps.

    Premier Icon postierich

    avoided the fish n chips!
    The only way to travel around NZ!

    Driving down the West Coast by Richard Munro, on Flickr


    “We know we’d want to take our bikes, have maybe a stop over at a destination or two whilst on the flights and this being our special trip we want to make it as magic as possible.”

    i wouldnt be doing stop overs with bikes – its not worth the grief and if you do really want a stop over go for singapore or somewhere in oz – dont bother with dubai its a fricking dump.

    Abel tasman national park – do a sea kayaking trip up the coast – youll never be in a more beautiful place imo.


    thanks to postierich for insisting we did it – was easily the best thing we did there (and we cycled round pretty much the whole place last trip)


    what he said about 3 weeks – we were there for 6 months – and could have spent much more time.

    we split it 4 in south 2 in north.

    wellington was my favorite city although chinese newyear in auckland was pretty special (huge chinese community there)


    If you’re willing to leave it to the last minute and be flexible, you can get good campervan deals on standbyrelocs


    first, for three weeks you will have to think about what you want to do, you will fail if you try and do too much.

    Places I would want to go to that I have been to, Coromandel, south of Taupo, Rotorua, Bay of Islands/90mile beach, Kaikoura, Abel Tasman, Controversial, but I like the Auckland Harbour area the islands etc.

    Remember the roads are no better than average UK A roads, there is very little motorway and very little dual carriage way.

    And if you see a rural petrol station DO NOT PASS IT WITHOUT FILLING UP!!!!!


    we used to ride for hours without seeing cars .

    the cars we did see without fail always stopped and asked if we needed a lift.

    agree on the petrol station statement – we usedto use them as food stops as you didnt know when the next chance would be.

    new zealand – the only place in the world a petrolstation pie is A edible and B doesnt give you the shits :d

    Premier Icon ransos

    We hired the same VW as postierich! Loved that van…

    Premier Icon scandal42

    If heading down to Milford Sound I would totally recommend doing an early morning kayak trip.

    It is totally amazing to be on that body of water when the big boats are not up and running, totally magic.

    We stayed at the motorhome park right on the edge of the sound to be able to make the early morning start.

    Premier Icon simon_g

    3 weeks is tough for both islands if you want to do much. My first trip was to Auckland, flew down to Queenstown then drove up to Bay of Islands and back to Auckland in just under 3 weeks – didn’t stay anywhere more than a night or two, mostly did half-day sightseeing or activities then 2-3 hours in the car. Had to miss out a load of great stuff because we just didn’t have time – it took another couple of weeks later on the south island to see some of what I’d missed first time round. Ferry across wipes out a good chunk of a day, the road distances aren’t huge but roads are pretty slow.

    Stop over in Singapore if you must, it’s a fun place to spend a day. I’d just head straight through though, the flights are arranged with only a short break so it’s not like you’d be stuck in the airport for hours otherwise.

    Queenstown – dart river jetboat out / kayak back trip was ace. Sea kayaking in Abel Tasman NP. Fox or Franz Josef glaciers (head to nearby Lake Matheson, ideally at sunrise, for the perfect mountain view reflected in a glass-smooth lake). Milford or Doubtful Sound.

    Unless you *really* want to do a MTB holiday, I’d probably just leave my bike behind. NZ is nice but not crime-free and leaving expensive bikes in a camper while you’re out and about would worry me. The popular MTB spots have good bikes to rent. Places like Fiordland NP have superb walking but very little in the way of MTB access, afaik. You’ll almost certainly fly into Auckland and there are plenty of internal flights so maybe fly to Queenstown or Christchurch, do a big loop in a camper (with the odd riding day where you can, like Queenstown) then fly to Rotorua and do a few days riding before heading back to Auckland for a day or two then home?

    Premier Icon simon_g

    Oh, and consider weather – typical summertime UK weddings will put you in NZ winter. Queenstown in July and August is barely above freezing – good snowboarding, not so good for MTB up in the hills.

    I had a 3 week honeymoon in NZ back in 2005. I would also suggest you reconsider leaving your bikes at home and flying around NZ – you can include a number of internal flights on a Round-The-World ticket pretty inexpensively and hire bikes when needed. We crammed in the following; beach break on the Coromandel, racing yacht trip from Auckland to Bay of Islands, kayaking/camping trip on the Abel Tasman, some tame MTB on the Otago rail trail, kayaking trip on Doubtful Sound, tramping (hiking!) the Hump Ridge Track and an adrenaline fix in Queenstown. It was all great but out of it all I would second trail_rat’s recommendation to do the kayak trip in Abel Tasman NP …the beaches are incredible!

    Premier Icon didgerman

    Not much to add, fireflies and river surfing were two highlights for me.

    Premier Icon muddy@rseguy

    Ditt everyone elses comments. Three weeks will be very full, you cant hope to see or do everything but you will have a lot of fun.

    Really want to go back (been twice, last went 10 years ago and didnt take the bike) and ride around Rotorua, Wanaka and also rather fancied riding the trail up to the top of Mount Fyffe near Kaikoura.

    Also we seemed to find really amazing restaurants right out in the sticks too, all in all a great place 8)

    Premier Icon mick_r

    We took bikes for a 1 month trip in a hired camper van (2001). We are both very very keen mtbers (have flown and driven with bikes all over europe) but wouldn’t take bikes to NZ if doing the same again. General flight and stopover faff, some transit damage, anal probe from customs for a few specks of sawdust on the tyres and generally getting in the way all the time in the camper – simply wasn’t worth the hassle for the amount of riding when there is sooooo much else to do.

    We would now just take shoes / pedals / maybe helmets etc. Research and plan a small number of quality rides and hire bikes (there will be decent bike hire at decent riding areas).

    The MTBing in the more remote areas wasn’t that great either – needs lots of research / local knowledge / maybe landowner permission / often either trackless wilderness or landrover double track. You need passage of bike tyres to make singletrack 🙂 so that often means areas closer to poulation (where there will also be bike hire).

    Doubtful Sound was nice (much quieter than Milford). Rotorua was fab. Abel Tasman sea kayak probably the best bit and wish we’d allowed more time in that area.

    We flew to Christchurch and did a 1 way hire to end in Auckland (was cheaper going south to north). Be choosy about the rental company and find the age / condition of the vans. We initially had an OK transit that snapped alternator bolts every 6 hours which then got replaced by a reliable but dog slow thing that had been to moon and back (Adventure Rentals) so can’t really recommend them…..


    Mountain bike holiday for your honeymoon??? You found yourself a good un there! Want to swap?

    Premier Icon ratadog

    Mrs Ratadog is a Kiwi. We were there in April.

    Agree not worth taking bikes as cost, dammage and need to pass ministry inspection and have them treated for potential bugs makes it too expensive/ a complete hassle. Hire over there either on a daily basis from bike shops/trail centres or for the duration with the camper van. United had a deal with Natural High that I should have taken. Camper companies vary in the newness of the vans but there has been quite a bit of consolidation so that we went with United but they ae the same company as Maui and Britz if I remember rightly. Difference is in how new the vans are. Apollo, Kea also fine. There are a load of campervan comparison sites.

    United do have a cheap deal with Natural High and will hire you bikes for the duration.

    Ssince I was last there a few years ago mountain bike trails have sprung up. I rode in Hanmer springs – recommended for its hot springs and has a good local hire store as well – and Blenheim, where the mountain bike trails are outside town but rideable from the in town bike shops. Good system of trails in Nelson as well.We were not on a biking holiuday but I would probably have got more riding if I had hired for the duration.

    Don’t know North Island, but agree you will struggle to do both. Top Ten camper sites are good and dependable quality. You can get a discount card and if you are there for 3 weeks wil save money.

    Take an unlocked mobile and get a PAYG SIM when you get there. 2 degrees were by far the best deal when we were there.

    Christchurch is a good place to go in and a base for campervans. I love the place but post earthquake it is sobering. Kaikoura is great, recommend the whale watching if the weather is right, the seal colony north of there is astonishing if at the right time of the year. The baby seals have a creshe at Oahu stream and it is an incredible sight. Blenheim/Marlborough is wine country. Lots of wineries with good restaurants – can recommend StClaire’s. Most of the trails are quite short and rideable on a hardtail/29er. You get a decent ride by joining up the segments. Nelson has some really good trails rideable from the city centre and some really good jewelers – cost me money every time I have been there.

    Abel Tasman and Motueka as a base just south of it well worth a look.

    Did the East Coast about 10 years ago. Much less populated. Queenstown in the south is the skiing centre and by repute has good trails but in winter is expensive – not been there myself.

    Crossing the Sounds with a van is expensive. Best to book it up ahead when you book the rental if you are going to want to do it. Can also explore the sounds by van/bike/post boat and walk from Picton.

    If passing can recommend the Two rivers cafe in Cheviot, or the store at Kekerengu for food and coffee when travelling between Christchurch and Blenheim.

    Premier Icon NZCol

    Morning !

    Great choice, you will have an excellent holiday. What sort of riding do you like to do ?

    My general advice, having travelled all over the country and lived here for 15 years, is stick to one island and don’t rush around. As said before expect a max average speed of probably sub 80kmh in a camper on all roads and use that to guide your driving times. My suggestion would be go to the S Island. Fly into ChCh or go Akl then direct to Nelson. Pick up a camper there and spend some time enjoying that areas – paddle on the Abel Tasman is a superb choice, if you like natural beautiful riding then nelson has it all – Dun Mountain, Coppermine, Peaking Ridge, then you can do the absolutely superb Flora Saddle (http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/nelson-tasman/motueka/flora-saddle-to-barron-flat-track/), then roll through Lewis Pass, have a hotpool and ride in Hanmer Springs. From there the cuontry is your oyster. You can’t beat Mt Cook/Glentanner if it is clear, head to Wanaka for some nice riding, then onto Queenstown for some gondola action and also some superb riding there.

    Contrary to this:

    Agree not worth taking bikes as cost, dammage and need to pass ministry inspection and have them treated for potential bugs makes it too expensive/ a complete hassle

    If you are keen on riding and are making that a focus then all you need to do is scrub your bike before you leave – really clean it and use disinfectant that smells. Ditto shoes. Absolutely no mud or visible dirt. Go through the red channel and declare it – if you have cleaned them you will have no problems. I travel with my bike often and have never had a problem. I use a Serfas hard case though. If you stay in ChCH and use that to arrive/leave from you can probably leave your hard case at the camper depot.
    There’s tons of good spots – please, please don’t follow blindly the Lonely Planet, don’t sh1t all over the freedom campsites and really enjoy the country.
    Any other specific questions sing out.

    Premier Icon Brainflex

    You can hire a car and stop in motels/cabins for less than hiring a motorhome. I suggest you stick to one island.

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