How to do the Ultimate New Zealand Campervan Trip

There is only one way to really experience the freedom of New Zealand and that’s cruising behind the wheel of your own campervan.

The popularity of campervan trips continues to increase and has left travellers spoilt for options. Travellers can pick from the most basic option for a solo traveller, right up to campervans that will rival many inner-city apartments. With so many travellers choosing campervans, the New Zealand government has brought in some rules to protect the environment from waste and rubbish that you need to be aware of. 

In New Zealand, you can freedom camp on DOC (Department of Conservation) and local council land. However, it’s very important that your campervan is self-contained. While the freedom campsites are amazing, you definitely don’t want to miss out on some incredible holiday parks especially at locations such as Milford Sound. One super handy app that we highly recommend is Campermate so you can easily find everything you need while on the road.

The next important considerations when planning your trip is your personal safety and ensuring you minimise your impact on communities and the environment. New Zealand has some incredible volcanic landscapes, and with that comes dangerous roads and variable weather conditions. When you’re planning your routes, it’s important you always leave plenty of time. We also encourage you to read the Tiaki Promise and what it means to care for New Zealand while you’re on your holiday.

With that said, now comes the fun part! Planning your holiday. Luckily we’ve spent months working with some of the most incredible photographers, filmmakers and adventurous to create bookable itineraries in both the South and North Islands. 

You can now follow Meghan Maloney’s recommended itinerary to the South Island or the North Island including all of her favourite places to take photos, best hikes and cafes and wineries.

Meghan is an internationally famous photographer who spends her life exploring New Zealand and knows where the lesser-known locations are. Best of all, most of the activities are free. While everyone else stands in a queue waiting to get a photo of Roys Peak, you’ll be standing on the equally impressive Iron Peak by yourself with a smirk on your face. 

It’s recommended to do either of Meghan’s trips in 21 days, but if you to make it longer or shorter, we can customise it for you.

If the thought of sitting on a tour bus isn’t your idea of a perfect holiday, and the freedom of a campervan sounds more like your style, let the Airguides team help plan your New Zealand dream holiday. We’ll take care of all your bookings and support you on your holiday, while we guarantee you’ll get access to the best recommendations from Meghan, or another one of our passionate storytellers.

If you’ve got any questions please shoot us an email: bookings@airguides.com.

We’d be happy to answer any questions you have. Or if you’d like to create your dream itinerary of New Zealand, we are here to help.

The Great Walks of New Zealand

New Zealand is world-famous for its stunning scenery and many hiking trails. All trails have something unique to offer, but did you know that Aotearoa has nine very special hikes?

Introducing the Great Walks of New Zealand.  

If you are after an epic journey and witness the country’s most iconic places from up close, don’t just go on any hike. Go on a Great Walk! 

Let’s quickly explore them, shall we? 

North Island

Lake Waikaremoana Track

With the largest area of native forest in the North Island, this track is pretty magical. Wander through prehistoric rainforests, watch picture-perfect sunsets and listen to all the different bird sounds.  

Duration: 3 – 4 days

Length: 46 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Lake Waikaremoana Track, click here

Whanganui Journey

Is paddling your thing? Then this wild river journey might be your perfect match. Canoe or kayak across one of the longest rivers in the country and go through a beautiful national park. This hike lets you enjoy native forests, many species of birds and ancient Maori heritage.  

Duration: 5 days

Length: 145 km

Grade: Canoe or kayak experience

Best time of the year: Late October – late April

For more information about the Whanganui Journey, click here

Tongariro Northern Circuit

What is most special about this Great Walk is that it goes around Mount Ngauruhoe, an active volcano! Not for the faint-hearted, this hike is spectacular and a once in a lifetime experience. For active volcanoes, green lakes, wildflowers and waterfalls, walk the Tongariro Northern Circuit. 

This is also the favourite Great Walk of one of our storytellers, nature photographer Meghan Maloney. You can find the hike in her North Island trip

Duration: 4 days

Length: 41 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April

For more information about the Tongariro Northern Circuit, click here

South Island

Abel Tasman Coast Track

You have a few options to explore the white sand beaches and crystal-clear water of the gorgeous Abel Tasman National park. Walk a bit of the trail, walk its entire length or take a kayak. Whatever you pick, you won’t be disappointed.   

As Kyle’s favourite, he has some great Abel Tasman recommendations for you in his trip.

Duration: 5 days

Length: 51 km

Grade: Easy – intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Abel Tasman Coast Track, click here

Heaphy Track

This Great Walk is the most diverse. Rainforest, grasslands, mountains and beaches, the Heaphy Track will take you through them all. If you like the sound of contrasting landscapes, Maori greenstone heritage and the largest cave system in New Zealand, this hike is for you. 

Duration: 4 – 6 days

Length: 78.4 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Heaphy Track, click here

Routeburn Track

If you combine Mount Aspiring National Park with Fiordland National Park, you are in for some stunning scenery. It gets pretty high too! Take in the views from 1,255 metres above sea level and wander past mountains, lakes and lush forests. If you are lucky, you might even spot a Kia, the world’s only alpine parrot.    

Duration: 3 days

Length: 32 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April 

For more information about the Routeburn Track, click here

Milford Track

The most famous of all Great Walks, this hike is truly magical. The 53 kilometre Walk guides you to incredible valley views, picturesque mountain peaks and even the country’s highest waterfall. It doesn’t get much better than this.   

Milford Track is the favourite of Bram and Manon.

Duration: 4 days

Length: 53.5 km

Grade: Easy – intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April 

For more information about the Milford Track, click here

Kepler Track

Opened in 1988, this Walk was custom-made to show off the best of Fiordland. You will come across all the highlights, including mountains, native forest, waterfalls and glacier-shaped valleys. 

Duration: 4 days

Length: 60 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April 

For more information about the Kepler Track, click here

Rakiura Track

Stewart Island is a place of peace and tranquility, pretty much the same as it was thousands of years ago. With its large native bird population, beautiful coastlines and rich Maori heritage, the Rakiura Track is a much loved Great Walk. 

Duration: 3 days

Length: 32 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Rakiura Track, click here

Those are the nine Great Walks of New Zealand. Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments!

If you are thinking of doing one of the Walks yourself, don’t forget to book DOC accommodation on the trails. We strongly recommend to book in advance. Please also pick up after yourself and leave the trails as you found them.  

Questions or interested in doing a walk with a guide? Contact us via the website and we would be happy to advice you! 

100% Pure New Zealand Summer Special

Save 10%* on any of our New Zealand trips if you book this summer!

To redeem this offer, simply email bookings@airguides.com with NZSUMMER19 in the subject line to receive 10%* off your total trip booking. 

Don’t forget to mention which New Zealand trip you would like to do! Have a browse here.

We strongly recommend booking as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. 

 *Terms and conditions

  • Offer is only available for New Zealand trips.
  • The booking needs to be made before 1 December 2019. 

New Zealand, the Ultimate Photography Destination

Ask travellers about their list of dream destinations and most of the time, New Zealand will be in there somewhere. For good reason! There’s something to suit any travel style, ranging from the most hard-core adventurers to travellers looking to experience the beauty of New Zealand more luxuriously by visiting famous wineries and restaurants.

While the South Island is known for its majestic landscapes and definitely the most popular for travellers who love nature and the outdoors, the North Island is increasingly becoming a target destination. This is backed up by the Waikato region recently being named number 17 on the Forbes top 50 bucket list destinations. It seems the only place capable of stealing some of the thunder away from the South Island, is actually its smaller sister. 

With so much to explore in both Islands, the biggest challenge you have is how to create your dream itinerary. This is why Airguides has searched the world for the best travel photographers, filmmakers and adventurers to make sure you don’t miss anything. I mean, what goes better together with dream landscapes, than photography? How many countries can you name where you can take a sunrise photo on the east coast, then drive through incredible mountain passes and catch an incredible sunset photo over the west coast? All in a single day! 

You can now create your dream New Zealand adventure from bookable itineraries created by photographers like Meghan Maloney. If you’re a passionate photographer or got inspired to travel to New Zealand because of photos on Instagram, chances are you have already seen many of Meghan’s photos.

Meghan is one of the most passionate landscape photographers in New Zealand and has spent years discovering the most incredible hikes and photography locations to make sure you don’t miss them. 

The North Island includes locations around Meghan’s backyard Waikato, including the Blue Spring, incredible beaches like Piha, Karekare, Cape Regina, Matapouri Bay, Cathedral Cove and the famous Hot Water Beach, as well as mountain hikes such as Mt Taranaki, Tongariro Alpine Crossing and Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Another highlight is the natural thermal hot springs around Rotorua and even a little-known place where you can see the famous cave worms for free. The North Island is famous for its green rolling hills landscape and some of New Zealand’s most stunning beaches.

For the South Island, you’ll be rewarded with mind-blowing landscapes in locations like Lake Matheson, Hokitika Gorge, Mt Cook, Nugget Point lighthouse, Lake Tekapo and some impressive locations around Queenstown that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Much of the South Island is so remote, you’ll feel like the last people left on Earth. You can set up your campervan up against incredible landscapes and be the only person for miles.

If you’re lucky and the timing works out, Meghan also offers one or two day photography masterclasses in areas surrounding Mt Cook, Queenstown and Waikato. Not only will you be guided by the master herself to the best photo locations, Meghan will also help you to recreate and take your own iconic images of New Zealand.

Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer, New Zealand is guaranteed to give you a year’s worth of editing when you get home. 

When should you go? New Zealand is most popular in the summer months (December, January and February). Sunny and beautiful, the prices can get higher in this season, you probably won’t have the hiking paths to yourself and we recommend you to book in advance to avoid missing out. Honestly, the best time to visit New Zealand is any time of the year. Each season has something special about it, especially for photographers, and it’s really up to you. Do you prefer fewer crowds? Enjoy colourful landscapes? See orcas and dolphins? Then Autumn might be your best season to go.

While planning your next holiday to New Zealand, please do take the time to read about the Tiaki Promise. Tiaki means to care for people and place in Te Reo, the language of the Māori people. By following the Tiaki Promise you act as a guardian for New Zealand and protect and preserve it.  

Are you inspired by Meghan’s trips and would like more information? Get in touch via the website. We would love to help you plan your dream holiday in New Zealand. 

Welcome to Airguides!

The story of Airguides begins in a remote jungle in Borneo. While on a trekking trip, hoping to see orangutans in the wild, the founders came upon a bat cave and stumbled across a creature rarely seen by tourists… Sir David Attenborough, the world’s greatest natural historian recording his latest documentary. 

Crazy story, but we were actually in Borneo because we got inspired by one of David’s (we’re basically friends now) documentaries! When you really think about it, storytellers have been inspiring people to travel since Marco Polo first wrote tales of the Silk Road.

This got us thinking. What if your travel heroes could plan a trip just for you? What if you could follow in their footsteps? 

That has become the Airguides mission ever since. 

First, we had to find out who the modern-day David Attenborough’s are. Who inspires people to travel further than they ever dreamed possible? We searched the world for the most talented and passionate storytellers who shared with us their greatest adventures and best kept secrets. We are very proud to be working with them. 

They are filmmakers, photographers and adventurers who are trusted by people because they are really good at something. You have probably come across some of them. Maybe on a blog, social media or in a travel magazine, where they share their greatest adventures. 

Interestingly, these storytellers have such massive audiences that they often reach more people than well-known travel companies. It’s a growing trend. People trust people over companies, especially when it comes to travel. 

Pretty much all our storytellers started out their craft because of an absolute passion for creating content. They do it because they love it. Nothing makes them happier than to inspire and help people travel through their content.  

Up until this point, this content has always been inspirational, but not very functional. As a traveller, you get inspired by these amazing photos and videos, but now you just want to book. After you’ve seen the most epic places on social media and blogs and said: “Yes! That’s where I want to go!”. Where do you go from there?

The journey from inspiration to booking is fragmented, making travel planning hard, time-consuming and often, it doesn’t meet expectations.  

That is where Airguides comes in. We’re the first online travel agency where travellers can book unique trips from trusted photographers, filmmakers and adventurers. 

All Airguides trips are made with a lot of ♥ by our storytellers, only using authentic content and handpicked recommendations. We tailor-make the trip to your dreams and take care of all your accommodation, transport and activity bookings. 

You are totally free to travel at your own pace, without being stuck on a tour bus.  

The best bit? You will get access to the storyteller’s interactive guide with lots of free activities to help you find your way to the most epic places. Packed with expert advice, this guide will be your trusted resource during your trip. 

The first Airguides trips are now ready to book in New Zealand and the Philippines with many more destinations on the way.

Airguides brings tourism away from machine learning algorithms telling you what you like, back to the glory days of Lonely Planet when authentic content ruled. We give the power back the storytellers so they can continue doing what they do best: inspiring people to travel and putting lesser-known destinations on the map.