I promised an itinerary, so an itinerary ye shall have, complete with interactive maps no less.  Huzzah!

I’d like to mention here at the outset though, it is not at all typical for me to have such a detailed plan.  I generally prefer to have more of a rough scaffolding around which to build as I go. My friends who have been living in New Zealand suggested my normal approach really wouldn’t work given I’d be in New Zealand during the busy summer holidays and things fill up fast and quite far in advance. Of course I ignored this advice for a while, but when they mentioned it firmly for about the third time, I decided to take notice and I’m glad I did because they were right. Even with months in advance planning, all campervans were sold out for the North Island, for example, and I was quite lucky to score a little “solo” camper for the South Island as all else was sold out. Also, I’m having to backtrack a bit to accommodate the Doubtful Sound trip because they were all sold out for my dates right after Queenstown. It occurs to me there will be lots of extra travelers as well as local families on holiday because I believe this is the first summer season NZ is open for tourism since they closed up shop for the Pandemic.

These same friends mentioned earlier were kind enough to share a list of their favorite spots on each island which helped inform my itinerary, so here we go and as you can see, I’m rockin’ it old school.

I don’t at all expect you to read my homemade “calendars”, I’m just showing them for fun and so you can see how I planned.  I had thought I’d transfer them to digital calendars for my trip, but I’ve come to love these pages, so they will accompany me as they are. The green Rs are where I have reservations, which reminds me I have yet to book several flights, the pink is for flights, and the yellow is rental cars/van. 

 Alright, let’s dive in, shall we?

It all begins on November 17th, when I will board an afternoon flight from Asheville to Dallas-Fort Worth and then a 15.5 hour flight to Auckland where I don’t arrive until 8am local time the morning of the 19th.  I’m not sure what happened to the 18th, but it’s likely time zones and maybe the international date line come into play.  I’ll taxi/Uber to my Hostel in the City Center, sightsee around Auckland for 2 days and then pick up my rental car on the morning of the 21st, where I will set off in a northerly direction doing my best to stay on the correct side of the road.  You can follow my route on the map below.  Please note you can zoom in on the map for a closer look.

I’ll be on the North Island until January 5th, which is when I fly to Christchurch from Wellington.  I had hoped to take the ferry, but the campervan pickup situation didn’t really allow for that.   

I’ll pick up a small campervan in Christchurch upon arrival and will drive all the way around the South Island until I fly back out of Christchurch to Melbourne, Australia on February 11.  I’m happy to say my time in New Zealand adds up to 12 weeks in total.  Lucky me!!!

Fun Fact:  Did you know New Zealand is only the same geographic size as Colorado?

North Island Itinerary

Auckland to KeriKeri to Coopers Beach to Cape Reinga to Ahipara/90 Mile Beach to Waipoua Forest to Piha to the Coromandel Peninsula to Mount Maunganui to Rotorua to Lake Taupo to Tongariro National Park to New Plymouth/Mt Taranaki to a 10 day pet sit in tiny Waikawa Beach to Wellington.

South Island Itinerary

Christchurch to Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park to Punakaiki and Franz Josef/Waiau to Wanaka to Queenstown to Invercargill/Bluff to ferry to Stewart Island to Manapouri to overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound to The Catlins to Oamaru to Aoraki/Mount Cook to Lake Tekapo to Arthurs Pass/Castle Hill to Christchurch.

I’ll be staying multiple nights per location, often 3-5, but very occasionally only 1.  And regarding accommodations, other than the South Island where I will be in my camper, I’ll be staying in a mix of hostels, hotels, and Airbnbs.

Now for Australia, which, at this point, is far less planned.  Given that Australia is about the same land size as the US, I’ve chosen 3 areas to visit.  I’ll fly into Melbourne and take a roadtrip south and west along the Great Ocean Road.  I had hoped to walk the 7 day Great Ocean Walk, but it’s going to be too hot for me, so I’m road tripping it instead.  From Melbourne, I’ll fly to Cairns in northern Queensland where I will enjoy The Great Barrier Reef, Mossman Gorge, and Daintree National Park etc., likely out of Port Douglas.  From Cairns, I will fly to Uluru where I will spend 5 days before driving north 1,220 miles through the Northern Territory Outback to Darwin where the crazy crocodiles live.  After Darwin it’s a long flight to Sydney for a couple of days before the long journey home begins sometime around the end of March.  I’ve told my pet sitters I’ll be home by April 4 at the very latest.

So that’s the deal as far as I know at the moment.  Quite the trip, eh?  Let the adventure begin!


Until next time.


A note about commenting, should you be so inclined, which I hope you will because I love hearing from folks following along!

If you type your name in the Name Box, your comments won’t show up as Anonymous and I’ll know it’s you.  Also, should you choose, you can fill in your email address in the provided box next to the Name box.  If you do this, you will get an email telling you I have replied to your comment and what I said.



  • Curt

    October 30, 2022

    Looking forward to following your adventures !

  • Gaelyn Olmsted

    October 30, 2022

    I sympathize with all this necessary planning instead of just flying by the seat of your pants. It will be an adventure none the less.

  • Jenny M

    October 30, 2022

    I am so excited for you and look forward to seeing your pictures and hearing your thoughts as you journey around Down Under! It is a wonderful thing to have so much time to really experience it!!

  • Mary

    October 30, 2022

    You are so lucky to have the time to see this beautiful part of the world in a proper fashion. Happy you planned ahead for NZ. It’s going to be a very busy holiday season!

  • Melissa Shuttleworth Lucas

    October 31, 2022

    Wow…I’m so excited for you and looking forward to “traveling” along with you through your wonderful blog posts and photos! Have a safe and fabulous time! Hugs…Melissa

  • Marcia Bronson

    October 31, 2022

    I’m so excited for you! And I’m so looking forward to following your journey through your posts!!

  • Wendy Cutting

    October 31, 2022

    Wendy Cutting.
    Great to hear you are finally visiting Australia.
    Chris and I have been to all the places you are going in Both NZ and Oz.. We are happy to advise, if needed.
    One tip,, the Northern Territory in the summer will be extremely hot!!!
    We live 2 hours south of Sydney in Gerringong if you can fit us in to the busy itinerary, we’d love to have you stay.

  • Tena

    November 8, 2022

    A fabulous plan. Really looking forward to your highlights along the way!


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