Skip to Content

GTPP Episode 16 – Exploring New Zealand by Van: Insider Tips and Must-Visit Destinations with Abigail Hannah

In episode 16 of the Global Travel Planning Podcast, I chat with Abigail Hannah, the knowledgeable and passionate podcaster from Aotearoa Adventures. Together, we unravel the secrets of exploring New Zealand by van, from practical considerations and must-visit destinations to expert tips for a memorable journey.

Abigail shares her top month-long itinerary that spans both the North and South Islands, offering a comprehensive guide for travellers seeking a diverse and awe-inspiring experience.

Tune in for insider insights, trip highlights, and responsible travel tips from Abigail’s extensive travels in New Zealand.

So, buckle up and get ready to be inspired to plan your own New Zealand Aotearoa adventure!

s20220122 9359

Introduction to New Zealand Van Travel

  • Description of New Zealand as a country renowned for stunning landscapes, rich culture, and thrilling outdoor adventures
  • Abigail Hannah’s introduction as a knowledgeable and passionate podcaster from Aotearoa Adventures

Van Travel in New Zealand

  • Abigail’s preference for van life as the best way to explore New Zealand
  • The challenges of getting around without a car and the country’s orientation towards road driving
  • Abigail’s personal experience with van travel in New Zealand, including the purchase and conversion of vans

Practical Considerations for Van Travel

  • Discussion of travelling in different seasons: winter, summer, spring, and autumn
  • Tips for hiring a vehicle in New Zealand, including different options for price points and sizes
  • Discussion of the peak season in New Zealand, particularly around Christmas and New Year’s
  • Advice on booking ahead and being mindful of peak travel times

North Island vs. South Island

  • Abigail’s discussion on the choice between North Island and South Island, based on the traveler’s available time
  • Recommendations for must-visit destinations in both islands

Suggested Route for a Month-Long Van Trip

  • Detailed month-long itinerary covering Auckland, Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Tekapo, Wanaka, Queenstown, Milford Sound, West Coast, Abel Tasman, Nelson, Golden Bay, Wharariki Beach, Taranaki, Waitomo, and Keip Reina
  • Tips for booking scenic flights in New Zealand to accommodate weather contingencies

Accommodation and Camping in New Zealand

  • Discussion of the rules for free camping in New Zealand and the use of campermate and rankers apps
  • Advice on types of campsites, shower facilities, and camper van options based on size

Choosing the Right Van for the Trip

  • Abigail’s advice on considering the layout and space of the van, including personal preferences and priorities
  • Recommendations based on the season, like opting for a van with a heater in winter and an awning in summer

Safety and Responsibility While Driving

  • Abigail’s discussion on driving safety, including driving slowly, pulling over to let cars pass, and treading lightly

Commitment to Preservation

  • Overview of the Tiaki Promise, a commitment to caring for the land, sea, nature, and respecting the culture


  • Gratitude and closing remarks by Tracy Collins and Abigail Hannah
IMG 6946 28

Links to relevant articles and podcasts

Guest Bio – Abigail Hannah

Abigail Hannah.

Abigail is a photographer and podcaster who is passionate about showcasing the beauty of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

As a seasoned van-lifer, she has taken multiple trips around the country and shares helpful advice for anyone planning their New Zealand adventures.