Road trip New Zealand

Where to road trip these winter holidays (on a budget)

The days are short and the nights are cold. Lazy afternoons at the beach are a thing of the past, and a trip up the mountain might not take your fancy (or fit the budget). But neither winter or a tight budget need to keep you at home these holidays. Get on the road to one of our hand picked destinations.


Best known for it’s good surf and laid back approach to life, but Raglan has something for everyone. Other than the famous black sand beach, check out Bridal Veil Falls (a cruisy 10 minute walk) or hike up Mt Karioi for an extra challenge. If you prefer sticking lower to ground level, go caving underground at Mt Karioi and spot the glowworms. Take a walk in Wainui Bush Reserve followed by good coffee and alternative culture in town.

Raglan Holiday Park offers plenty of family accommodation options. Tenting might not be your cup of tea in winter (and we wouldn’t blame you), so be sure to book one of their cosy cabin options in advance.


Rotorua is the destination for thrill seekers, but such a tourist hot spot can come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, there’s also plenty of free and cheap things to do too. Walk or bike in Redwood Forest – there’s a whole range of trails to choose from. If you happen to be around on a Thursday, check out Rotorua Night Markets for cheap eats and local vibes.)

Hike Rainbow Mountain (26km out of Rotorua), Defrost in a thermal pool overlooking classic Kiwi scenery: visit Waikite Valley Thermal Pools ($15 entry) or find one of the free natural hot pools, such as by the bridge leading to Wai-O-Tapu.


Visitors to New Zealand’s largest lake are spoilt for choice with activities, especially adrenaline junkies. Checking out Huka Falls is a must do (and it’s free!) and you can soak your worries at one of the natural spa pools at Otumuheke Stream.

There’s plenty of bike trails in around the lake and along the Waikato River. If you prefer exploring by foot, walk through steaming craters at one of the cheapest geothermal parks in the country at Craters of the Moon ($8 entry). McDonald’s doesn’t usually feature in any must-do list, but in Taupo you can eat your Big Mac in an aeroplane.

Rangitoto Island

If you’re sticking around Auckland these holidays, but want to make the most of a clear crisp day, Rangitoto Island could be an ideal day trip. Travel via ferry for 30 minutes from either City Centre or Devonport. The Summit track takes around an hour through lava fields and native forest. At the top, you’re treated to impressive views across the Hauraki Gulf. Remember your torch – you can stop along the way to explore lava caves and tunnels.

If you’re after a new set of wheels for your holiday road trips, The Lending People might be able to help with a car loan! With flexible criteria, great rates and 60 second approvals, you’ll be hitting the road before your kids can say “are we there yet?”