31 October 2018

One Week South Island Jucy Road Trip

My latest trip to the South Island was all thanks to Jucy World as I was the winner of their ultimate #JUCYWINTER getaway! I was incredibly excited - I had never won anything before and had always wanted to experience road tripping around New Zealand in a campervan (I LOVE being a tourist in my own country!).

Here, I'll be sharing what we got up to for a week of fun in the South Island, top tips for your own Kiwi road trip and my honest experience using the Jucy campervan for the very first time.

Hang on, we? Who's we? As well as return flights to Queenstown, five day Jucy Chaser campervan hire, two nights in a Jucy Snooze hotel room, a $200 Miss Lucy's voucher, and a day trip to Milford Sound, the best part was I got to bring a +1, so my best friend Jess got to join me!

She had never been to the South Island before and it was such a pleasure being able to take her with me and show her so many of my favourite spots in the South Island. She had no idea it was so amazing and said it made her fall in love with New Zealand - mission accomplished!

Jucy Chaser - First Impressions

Our road trip began at Queenstown airport where we picked up our home and vehicle for the next four nights. The friendly lads at the Jucy Rental gave us a tour of the Jucy Chaser and told us all of the important stuff we needed to know.
If we had any problems we had a 24-hour number we could call and we also had roadside assistance included which was a feeling of great relief (not that we needed to use it!).

My first impressions was that I was very impressed with how much was packed into such a small space. We had a double bed each (one upstairs, one downstairs), a pullout table, seating and storage space, a shower and toilet, cooker, all the utensils, plates and cutlery you could need, even our towels, sheets and bedding were all included.

I was a tad nervous driving it at first because I had never driven anything bigger than a car before, but by the end of the week I was completely used to it and driving around like a pro. It fits very easily into a regular carpark, you just feel as though you are driving a truck because you are sitting up so high.

So where did we go, what did we do? Let me tell you about our adventure.

South Island Road Trip Itinerary

Day One: Queenstown - Glenorchy

Do bear in mind that we only had six nights away in total, so we had to pack in a lot in a short amount of time. Since we began in Queenstown and my bestie had never been before, we parked up in the town centre (only a 10-minute drive from the airport) and spent the afternoon walking around.

It was rainy and the pretty mountains were all clouded over but it's still a magical place no matter the weather. We had a pie from Fergbaker (the Ferburger lines were far too long and the pies there are the best), walked around the lakefront and browsed shops (including my fave - the Lord of the Rings store).

We stocked up at the local Four Square for groceries and supplies and headed off to our first overnight destination - Glenorchy. It's a scenic 45-minute drive from Queenstown and took an extra half an hour to then get to Glacier Burn Carpark, a Freedom Camping Site. It's the only place in Glenorchy where you can park your campervan overnight for free.

Funny Story #1

The reception out there is non-existent and we took a wrong turn on the way as our maps had stopped working. I ended up having to do a three-point turn off-road in a tight spot and because of the rainy weather, we ended up completely stuck in the mud!
We tried and tried, revved and failed to get out but luckily a car with two very nice tourist ladies drove past and asked if we needed help.

They kindly offered to help push us out, and one, two, three we were off!
Once out of the mud I turned back to see the two ladies were now covered in mud from head to toe! I felt SO bad! After many an apology we were on our way and we couldn't help but laugh! Oh, how terrible we were. (Laughing mostly at nerves from narrowly escaping disaster)...

We parked up for the night, set up the table, had a well-deserved beer and played some cards. After a little walk to explore the area we had our first camping cooking success with sausages in bread for dinner - Kiwi as!

It was a very cold night and without heating, we had to wear many layers and our beanies in bed (the downside to not parking in a powered site).

Night One: Glacier Burn Carpark
Cost: Free!
Our rating: 2.5/5

Day Two: Glenorchy - Wanaka

The upside to the chilly night was the clear blue-sky day the next morning, and we marvelled at the beautiful snow-capped mountains surrounding us.
After an excellent breakfast of a cup of noodles (highly recommend), we drove into Glenorchy town. We took some photos of the NZ-Famous Glenorchy Boat Shed before our morning activity began.

I surprised Jess with the Dart Stables Hobbit's Hack tour, which is an hour-long horse riding trek in literal Lord of the Rings locations. As a fellow Middle Earth and horse lover, needless to say, the tour was a hit!

After a great morning, our road trip continued to Wanaka with a quick side-stop in Arrowtown on the way. It's a cute historic gold mining town and definitely worth a stop if you get the chance.

After a pleasant stroll and an ice cream from Patagonia, we were off to Wanaka, via Crown Range and Cardrona Valley Road. This was pretty nerve-racking for me as the driver, as the roads are extremely steep and windy. Our poor camper that we had fondly named Clancy by now, did struggle a bit and held up many-a-car.

Why did we name it Clancy? Because we found it rather fun to shout, "COME ON, CLANCY!" when we were struggling 30 km an hour uphill.

I pulled over as often as I could, of course, to let others pass - one time we counted a total of nine cars! (Another crack-up moment).

Despite the winding road, the scenery is breath-taking and there's a fantastic lookout point over Queenstown that is worth stopping for. 

We were glad to arrive in Wanaka and this time we opted to pay for a powered site at a Holiday Park (yay, heating!). The first thing I did was, of course, take Jess to see the most famous tree in New Zealand #ThatWanakaTree (not that she had even heard of it before!).

The Holiday Park was only a ten-minute walk to the town centre, so that evening we splashed out and had dinner and a cheeky pint at the pub.

Night Two: Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park
Cost: $20 per adult for a Powered Site
Our rating: 3.5/5

Day Three: Wanaka - Mount Cook

Good morning, Wanaka! It was another beaut of a day and today we were heading north.
I couldn't wait to show Jess my absolute favourite area in the whole of New Zealand: Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook. The drive over Lindis Pass was fairly easy and again, the lookout point is worth stopping at.

On flat roads, I had no problem keeping up with other cars at 100 km an hour, (in some cases I was even passing them!).

We stopped at Twizel and Lake Pukaki to marvel at the bluest water we'd ever laid our eyes on, it really is the most incredible sight on a nice day. After marmite and cheese sammies, we continued on to Mount Cook, where we parked up at the beginning of the Hooker Valley Track.

I had done this three-hour hike a few months earlier and even though at that time when it was a grey, rainy day - it was still the best walk I had ever done in my life.
Imagine how I felt about it on a perfect, sunny day! Ecstatic.
The scenery is awe-inspiring and it's my number one #NZMustDo recommendation to visitors.

Funny Story #2

The picture one up on the left is a much-loved photography spot, as the boardwalk track opens up in a beautiful valley. Naturally, I asked Jess to take my photo here and after a few snaps walking with my back to the camera, I turned around to face it and began to walk backwards. 
Unbeknownst to me, the track suddenly curved and I fell right off it! It wasn't too far a fall or anything, and I did land in a nice cushy bush. 
It was very lucky, actually, that I landed there as only a metre away was a very large rock. 
It must have been a very comical sight and I definitely made the two Germans that had been walking behind us laugh their heads off.

The song Under The Boardwalk by The Drifters promptly became the theme song to our trip with the changed lyrics, "Fell of the boardwalk!"

After our hike, we refuelled at Mt Cook Lodge's upstairs restaurant which has a great view. We caught the pinkest sunset driving on to our overnight parking spot at Lake Pukaki.
It was another chilly one but we slept pretty soundly after all of that exercise!

Night Three: Lake Pukaki Overnight Campervan Parking
Cost: Free
Our rating: 3.5/5

Day Four: Lake Pukaki - Queenstown

We woke up to gorgeous lake views and another stunning morning. This was the life! 

We decided to head back to Queenstown today as Jess was keen to spend more time there, which I was happy with. We stopped for a nice break in Cromwell, where we amused ourselves taking photos with the giant fruit sculpture.

No trip to the South Island is complete without an adrenaline-pumping activity, so we also made a stop at the world home of bungy- the AJ Hackett Kawarau Bungy Centre.  

Now, I have already bungy jumped three times, and Jess was not keen, but ziplining was something she was open to. It was the first time for me too, so we did it! 

It was super fun but in my opinion, way too short, I wanted to keep going and going and going but it was over in less than six seconds!

Thanks to my Rankers App I had downloaded, I easily found a Queenstown Holiday Park in a great location. It was just around the corner from Jucy Snooze - where we would be staying for the following two nights. 

Included in our getaway, we received a $200 Miss Lucy's bar tab, which is a fantastic pizzeria and bar above Jucy Snooze. Once we freshened up at the campsite, we decided to head on over and start making use of our tab! We enjoyed their cocktail specials and a woodfired salami pizza - deelish.

That evening we did a little bar crawl and had a fun night out in Queenstown.

Night Four: Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
Cost: $27.50 per adult (includes Wifi)
Our rating: 4/5

Day Five - Queenstown

Today was our final day with Clancy the Camper. Checkout was at ten and we had sooo much fun cleaning and working out how to use the Dump Station (much sarcasm).

We then paid to park up nearby for an hour and we took our luggage to Jucy Snooze. They were happy to look after our bags until it was time to check in at 2 PM.
We grabbed a coffee-to-go upstairs and went to the sparkling waterfront to enjoy it.

We wandered around until our parking was up and headed off for the final time. We topped up with petrol and refilled the gas bottle before returning dear Clancy to the airport.
The handing over process was very quick and easy and soon we were on a public bus back to town ($10 cash each way).

By then, we could check in to our hotel room for the next two nights and it was very cosy and spacious with a great view. (I got the large bed - ha!).

After a decent rest (partied a bit too hard the night before), we ventured out for a nice lakefront stroll at sunset. We were meant to be doing a full day trip to Milford Sound the next day with Jucy but unfortunately, we got a call to say it had been cancelled due to the road being closed. 

I wasn't too bummed as I had already been twice before but it was a bit of a bummer for Jess who was really looking forward to it. Just more of an excuse to come back soon!

We had a nice rest of the evening and a very decent nights' sleep.

Nights Five & Six: Jucy Snooze Queenstown
Cost: Our Deluxe Double Room with Ensuite cost $90 per adult a night (but was included in the trip). For a cheaper alternative, you can stay in their ultra-cool private Pods from $34 a night.
Our rating: 4.5/5

Days Six & Seven - Queenstown

We had one full day left to enjoy Queenstown and began with a healthy muesli upstairs at Miss Lucy's. (The next day I had their bacon butty for breakfast - A-MA-ZING).

I was keen to take Jess up the gondola and go luging so we went and joined the massive line (it was a Saturday), and during so the weather, as promised, turned very bad. 
I decided for the price it was to get up there, it wasn't really worth it on a rainy day so we abandoned that idea.

We instead booked something else fun on Grabone for later that evening. On that site, you can find some great 2 for 1 and lower-price deals for many popular places. 
We booked in at Fear Factory and it happened to be a special once-off Asylum themed night which sounded very cool.

In the meantime, we spent our time wisely by lining up at Fergburger - a definite must-have in Queenstown (best burgers in NZ).

It only took forty minutes from lining up to eating, which wasn't too bad at all. I got my favourite, the Southern Swine. We then browsed around town, had a food-coma nap and chilled at Miss Lucy's until it was time for Fear Factory
I didn't find it scary at all but I still absolutely loved the experience - I was cracking up the whole time, especially at Jess trembling behind me. Even Ed Sheeran chickened out of it apparently.

I do recommend! We rounded off our night with a couple of bevvies at a cool rock music bar and reminisced on what an incredible week it had been in the South Island.

The next morning we headed back to the airport, full of great memories and hilarious stories (I only shared the tame ones here!).

We can't thank Jucy World enough for such an amazing getaway, we both had the best time and I certainly would love to hire a Jucy Campervan again - especially in the summer.

Map of where we went:

Jucy Chaser - What I loved

You know what I really loved? When you're on the road driving your Jucy Campervan, you instantly become apart of an exclusive club - like truck and bus drivers. It is absolutely mandatory to wave (and even better, toot) at your fellow Jucy mates. Way to make a road trip even more fun!
I swear I've never taken too much notice of those big bright green vehicles before, but now, even weeks later - I see them everywhere! (And still kind of want to wave at them).

The best way to see the most incredible scenery of New Zealand is definitely by road. The beauty of hiring a vehicle when you travel to new places is having the freedom to go where you like and stop whenever you want. With the Jucy Chaser being fully self-contained, I also loved not having any restrictions and having the choice to Freedom Camp.

I loved how much was included in our campervan, so we didn't need to pack too much. For example, I was initially expecting to have to bring my own towel, pay extra for a GPS and eat out of plastic bowls but was pleasantly surprised at how much came with the rental. 

What I didn't love

Truth be told, I did not love the expensive price of petrol and just how quickly the Camper chewed through it. That's hardly Jucy's fault that it costs so much but it is something to bear in mind and budget for.

It is a pretty small space if you're not used to it, so make sure to travel with someone you get along with quite well! I had no problems with this, but I couldn't have done it with just anybody.
Then again, it was on the back-end of winter when we travelled, so in summer I can imagine you would have a lot more space to hang outside in chairs or on picnic blankets.

As mentioned, it's a very heavy vehicle so it is super slow uphill. This could be frustrating to some, but learn to laugh at it like we did!
The positive side - now that I know what it's like to drive a campervan, it's given me so much more patience when I'm stuck behind one. It's not their fault!

This isn't really a bad point at all but - it wasn't long enough! We got such a great taster for the camper travel life and had such a blast that we didn't want it to end! I'd recommend hiring your camper for at least two weeks. Jucy summer road trip 2019 anybody?!

Camper Road Trip Tips

I'm sure you'll have a rough idea of where you would like to go on your New Zealand road trip, so do a bit of research first for options on where to stay.
Rankers is a great website where you can find information and reviews on the best Holiday Parks, Freedom Camping and DOC campsites. They also include the top activities like nature walks and have a free app you can download to use on the road.

Jucy has a handy map in collaboration with Rankers where you can see all of the options available from Freedom Camping spots to Premium Camping, all with price breakdowns and key information.

An important driving tip, especially to those not used to New Zealand roads is to drive to the conditions and always play on the safe side. Pay attention to recommended speed signs - especially when going around sharp corners, they're there for a reason.

Always let faster cars behind you pass when there's an opportunity - be a courteous driver!

Cook your own food to save money. Make use of the fridge and gas cooker that is very cheap to refill. We enjoyed barbecuing sausages, making pasta dishes and sandwiches.

Having good music on your road trip is essential! Don't rely on our radio stations which can often struggle in bad reception areas. Make use of the CD player in the van or if that's too old school for you, bring an AUX cord to connect your phone. You can find them at any petrol station if you don't have your own.

What to bring with you? I found Jucy's NZ Packing List on their website super helpful for what to pack. On that note, I would recommend packing it into a large backpack and not a suitcase - they take up far more room.

Jucy are a great option to choose as they are super affordable, offer fantastic services and support, and have a wide range of vehicles to suit everybody's needs. You can choose from compact cars to SUVs to differently sized campervans.

Jucy stands for everything that we travellers are: bright, fun, adventurous and young at heart! They are the perfect choice for your Kiwi road trip, without a doubt, it will be just as memorable as mine.

Thanks again, Jucy World!

If you would like to see a bit more, I have a YouTube vlog from Jess and I's fun week in the South Island:

Is hiring a Jucy Campervan and driving around New Zealand now on your bucket list?
Do you have any of your own road trip tips to share? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Travels,

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P.S Was the shot worth falling off the boardwalk for? I think so! :p



  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Krysti. It's something I've always wanted to do myself.

  2. OMG THIS IS THE BIG GREEN F BUS - lol! My husband took this kind of tour in the South Island about a year or two before he met me and he has told me stories about how it's the Big Green F (you know, haha) Bus! LOL! ;)

  3. Wow, this sounds like so much fun! I really miss going away in our camper van - I'm soooo jealous!

  4. This looks like one freaking awesome adventure! A camper fan, horseback riding, gorgeous views?! I love it! Glad you had fun!

    Alyssa // nine-threezero.com

  5. Looks like a great time! The pics turned out beautiful! Glad you enjoyed

  6. This looks like so much fun! We have lived in an RV for over 2 1/2 years and soundly change it for anything! Love the lifestyle on the road.


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