We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Motorhome itinerary help

posts: 22
reviews: 10
Motorhome itinerary help


I am flying into Quuenstown and out of Christchurch 8 days later, at the end of March. We have a motorhome booked with toilet and shower. I am very keen to see Milford Sound initially, but then am struggling to decide which route to go from there. Back to queenstown and up the west coast, up the middle via Lake Tekapo or down to the Caitlins and back up the east coast?

Which route will give us maximum variety and wow factor? Or is there a combination that we could do instead? We are more than happy to stay in remote locations overnight and don't mind driving 3 or so hours a day if required.

Also, we will probably do an helicopter journey at some point to get a different perspective of the landscape...perhaps over a glacier.

All advice is much appreciated.

I don't think we will going back for a while as my wife is pregnant, and want to get this right.



Nelson, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
posts: 22,239
reviews: 50
1. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

Hi Juan, you do have a number of good options :)

I'm assuming your flight home on day 8 is later in the day rather than early morning?

here's my preferred route;

1 arrive Queenstown

2 explore

3 bus/cruise/bus Milford Sound (it will take at least two days to do by campervan)

4 drive to Wanaka

5 explore

6 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

7 explore http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

8 drive to Chch, fly home

or with more driving;

1 arrive Queenstown

2 explore

3 bus/cruise/bus Milford Sound

4 drive to Wanaka

5 drive Haast Pass to Franz Josef

6 explore

7 drive to Arthur's Pass

8 drive to Chch, fly home

Helicopter options include -

- bus to Milford, cruise, helicopter back to Q'town

- helicopter over Wanaka's glaciers - simply brilliant tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g612500-d121…

- helicopter over Aoraki/Mt Cook

- helicopter over Franz Josef

hope this helps :)

Edited: 6:55 pm, February 14, 2013
posts: 22
reviews: 10
2. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

Thanks for the thoughts. I arrive mid afternoon on Sat and leave late Sunday a week later, so actually have 9 days.

I was thinking of driving exploring Queenstown on the Day we arrive (day 1) and driving to Te Anau the next day (day 2). I have the motorhome so thought it was best to use it to go to Milford. Visit Milfrod for the full day on day 3 (Monday). Then take the trip from there.

Still a bit confused where to go from there. Sounds like the two options you presented involve different amounts of driving. But is the extra driving along the west coast worth the effort?


posts: 6,213
reviews: 32
3. Re: Motorhome itinerary help


Is it too late to change your mode of travel plans?

For some time I have been replying to those seeking information on a motor home holiday in OZ and NZ. I’ve taken the time to prepare my thoughts, beliefs and feelings on the subject. So here goes.

Motor home “holidays” are for those who enjoy the experience, in the same vein as there are those who enjoy self flagellation, solo round the world yachting and competing in ultra marathons. To each their own I say so long as they don’t interfere with me. Unfortunately driving a motor home does interfere with me if I’m amongst the unfortunates stuck behind one on a narrow twisty road and obviously their increased carbon footprint affects us all. The saving grace is when you see one stuck in the entry to a multilevel car park, broken down at the side of the road, broken into by the local crims when parked in a “free parking area”, or filling up at the servo.

Motor homes are more expensive than a rental car holiday and accommodation in motels/B&Bs/Hotels/on site cabins/hotels and even some resorts in Australia and NZ once the true costs are taken into account.

These direct costs include but are not limited to:

1. Rental.

2. Insurance.

3. Fuel (remember this is a truck with the aerodynamics of a house brick).

4. Site Fees.

5. Possible divorce proceeding for married or de-facto couples.

The human cost include but are not limited to:

1. The joy of truck driving, often in a foreign land on the “wrong side of the road”.

2. The wonders of living, travelling and sleeping in a space smaller than most kitchens.

3. The amenity of carrying your excrement with you.

4. The challenge of emptying the cassette containing the excrement.

5. The lottery of renting a motor home where not only the mechanicals are working (the bits that let you go, stop and steer) but also the peripherals such as heating, toilets, showers, cookers, fridges etc. The probability of having all of these disparate bits working at the same time fly in the face of both Murphey’s and Sod’s laws.

6. Point 5. from above.

7. The triumph of measuring the success of your trip by the length of the caterpillar train of happy motorists held up behind the mobile chicane you are driving.


posts: 22
reviews: 10
4. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

That is quite a strange post. Each to their own I guess.

Nonetheless, this is not the first time I have motorhomed so I know what I am in for, and I am very excited. My two previous motorhome holidays were my favourite and they have been amongst my most affordable. I am sorry you don't see it the same, but my view is you are missing out.

posts: 3,164
reviews: 63
5. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

Juan, it's not strange. It's typical of Ozrcflyer. He now has it as a cut-n-paste so he can easily post on every campervan inquiry.

Enjoy your holiday. We certainly did ours in a campervan. And all the best to you, your wife, and little one!

Perth, Australia
posts: 6
reviews: 1
6. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

i've just done a 23 day trip in a motor home and it's the best thing we did. we were going to milford but he road was closed and we went to manapouri instead and did Doubtful Sound. it was spectacular. much better than the milford sound trip. we did the powerstation visit and the cruise. it was mindboggling and well worth it. i have been to milford before and it was fab. but i reckon doubtful is much much better. haast pass and arthors pass are quite spectacular. get your camera ready you'll have a ball. make sure you make a checklist when you pick up the van and take pics of any dents scratches etc. check to see if everything works. aircon front and back especially. have a good time. cheers

new zealand
posts: 3,452
reviews: 318
7. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

Campervan holiday in NZ is great. Weve done a few now and love the convenience. I can only assume OZRCLFYER has never done a campervan holiday, or did a bad one witha bad companion. Because our experience is so different. In fact, it is my dream that when I retire we will buy a campervan and travel around. No unpacking and packing each day. Great campsites to visit. I recommend staying at one of the DOC campsites between Te Anau and Milford Sound. If you are keen do some kayaking in Milford Sound

Edited: 10:27 pm, February 15, 2013
posts: 6,213
reviews: 32
8. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

Hi poppynz ,

You know what happens when you assume (a$$-u-me)! If you read my posts and sticky you will soon come to realise why the only thing I find worse than being stuck behind a Motor Home on a winding road is to be forced to become a "Grey Nomad". The thought of wandering Oz, NZ or anywhere else towing a van or driving a truck in ever decreasing circles until I rival the "woop woop" bird and disappear up my own fundamental orifice is my idea of hell.

Camping in isolated beautiful areas, where you carry everything in on your back and one is away from the "hoi polloi" is fantastic , "back in the day" I was paid to do it. Travelling in a motor home is not camping IMHO.

Now I’m retired as someone on one of these forums said. “The only stars I want to sleep under number five”.


new zealand
posts: 3,452
reviews: 318
9. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

Sorry this is getting a bit off the thread and I hope original post doesnt mind. But ozrcflyer from OZ is a bit negative with campervan holidays looking at previous forum posts. Fortunately he/she doesnt have too much to worry about campervans on Nz roads as they are based in OZ. I love tramping too. Our family keen trampers. It is wonderful to get out. I love travelling.I also enjoy cruises I enjoy basic bures on the beach. we go camping every year. And we go overseas holidays a couple of times a year., A forum is a great place to share constructive feedback. I am definitely not a five star holiday person. But I dont begrudge those that do enjoy it. And our experiences with campervans has been awesome. There are definitely pros and cons and its not for everyone. My highlights would include a night staying in Tongariro National Park and being surrounded by native bush and stream behind. Not a motel in sight. Curio bay campground and waking to sound of yellow eyed penguins. Not a motel in sight. campground at Hot water beach and walking across the road to dig in the sand early in the morning with the sunrise. milford Sound road beside the lake and having the perfect reflection to ourselves in the morning. Mt cook campground and listening to the rumbling of snow during the night. Backing the campervan into a pure beachfront sight and eating breakfast while the sun is rising.

Whatever you decide to do I would love to hear your thoughts after. And enjoy the trip and scenery. Have a great holiday

posts: 22
reviews: 10
10. Re: Motorhome itinerary help

We get your point. But you actually aren't helping any of us with your dribble.

It's amazing that being stuck behind another vehicle bothers you this much. And you obviously have too much time to trawl forums to provide your view on motorhoming.

Just accept some people think slightly different to you...thank god!