Wilderness NZ Must Do's - As Chosen by You

Looking for itinerary ideas for your next Wilderness road trip? Who better to ask than previous Wilderness explorers!  We asked our Wilderness Facebook community what the highlight of their road trip was and here are some of the responses (and their own pics) that stood out!

1. Franz Josef Glacier

Our 12km long glacier located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of the South Island was a winner for a lot of explorers! The glacier is unique that it descends from the Southern Alps to just 300 metres above sea level making it one of only three worldwide to come this close to the coastline.

Franz Josef Glacier & too many others to mention!  Sharon Penrose

Helicopter flight and walking on Franz Josef glacier. Anne Sherrard

Helicopter flight onto Franz Josef Glacier..fantastic!! Oh and hiring " Nessie" our Wilderness motor home lol  Tally Rees

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Franz Josef, Credit: Ben Hayes

2. Milford Sound

The stunning fiords of Milford Sound also seem to have captivated a lot of our travellers.  We certainly see lots of pictures of Mitre Peak coming through on our Facebook page! Sheer cliffs rise spectacularly from the ocean, and it is approximately 16km from the head of the fiord to the open sea, with some of the depths in the fiord reaching 450m. This means the underwater world below is just as spectacular.

Milford Sound and then the list goes on and on. We want to come back and do more of the South Island…it was just magical.  Nathalie Soussan

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Early Morning Milford Sound. Credit: Andrew King

3. Wildlife Up Close

One theme that seems to ring through in highlights from our Wilderness community is those life changing experiences of seeing NZ’s wildlife, in particular its marine mammals up close. In most of NZ’s tourism communities like the Bay Of Islands, Tauranga, Kaikoura, Dunedin and Doubtful Sound you will find unique chances to experience marine wildlife up close and personal.

Swimming in Doubtful sound with dolphins swimming around us. Nicola Fray

Curio Bay with the yellow eyed penguins and the petrified forest on the beach where they come in. Wonderful experience watching them at dusk as they came in.  Mary Swihart

Watch Hectors dolphins for an hour and a half during getting up and breakfast whilst parked on the Kaikoura Coast, absolute magic.......that's just the first experience which springs to mind...... Liz Parinson

There were so many wonderful places but one that stands out was watching the baby seals playing under the waterfall just out of Kaikoura Faye Couchman

4. A beach to yourself

There is nothing quite like having a pristine beach all to yourself! It is one of the joys of touring in a motorhome!  Head to Northland or the Coromandel and go hunting for one of the many magic camp spots!

Bland Bay in Northland. See p47 in the Frenzy book. The walk was amazing & the campervan site in warm November was so quiet. We were the only people there & stayed 2 nights overlooking the beach. John Burgis

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Bland Bay. Credit: John Burgis

5. Getting off the Beaten Track

Of course there is nothing like finding one of those gems that not many ‘tourists’ get to…our NZ Frenzy and Wildernesst guide books uncover many well kept secrets especially for Wilderness explorers!

Tongoporutu (Coastal Waikato) at low tide ... See Scott Cooks NZ Frenzy North Island for more details, obscure but awesome!  Kathleen Hart

6. A couple of quiets…

One of the best ways to discover the West Coast’s heritage and wet your whistle at the same time is a tour of the Monteith’s brewery - founded in 1868 to quench the thirst of the flourishing gold miners. (just make sure you park up for the night first if you’re going to have a couple!),

Monteiths brewery tour in Greymouth Jade Grice

7. Pure Adrenalin

Of course no road trip through New Zealand is complete without doing our quintessential adrenalin activity – the bungy jump!  A J Hackett pioneered this crazy adrenalin activity and now has bungy sites at Auckland Harbour Bridge (40 metres). Kawarau (43m) or the crazy high Nevis (134m) in Queenstown

Nevis Bungy Jump Phillip A Ellway

Of course you can always do one of the other multitude of New Zealand’s iconic adventure activities, skydiving, caving, black water rafting, jetboating, or ziplining.

White water rafting in Queenstown. Emma George

8. Lake Tekapo and Mackenzie Country

One region we see so many photos of is stunning MacKenzie country – a basin near the centre of the South Island, fringed by the Southern Alps, with turquoise coloured lakes of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki.  It is no surprise this area was one of the main locations for the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Waking up to Lake Tekapo on our first morning. Bliss. Carly Martin

Seeing snow capped Mt Cook on a beautiful sunny day  Louise Hitchcock

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Lake Pukaki. Credit: Gina Measures

9. Lake Wanaka

And another of the South Island’s lakes that seems to captivate travellers – Lake Wanaka!

Everything!! But Wanaka if I had to pick one! Sigh!!!!! Greg Ireland

If there is a part of your road trip that stood out, send us a photo or jump on Facebook or Instagram and let the community know – we’d love to see it!

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