17 July 2019

Ultimate JUCY World South Island Getaway

Road tripping in a JUCY campervan and exploring new places in the South Island of New Zealand, cruising the majestic Milford Sound and living it up in Queenstown? YES, PLEASE.

Last year I was lucky enough to be the winner of JUCY World's #JUCYWinter getaway, where I was flown to Queenstown and got to experience campervanning around the South Island for the very first time. Read all about my experience, road trip itinerary with tips here: One Week South Island Jucy Road Trip.

I had such a fantastic time that I couldn't wait to do it all again! I definitely got the #VanLife bug - it's the ultimate way to explore New Zealand! The sense of adventure and freedom you get is unlike anything else.

This year I flew to Christchurch with my sister for another week of winter fun, with a brand new itinerary exploring places we had never been to before.

On this JUCY road trip, we explored the south-east coast of the South Island. Here is our road trip itinerary with all of the fun adventures we got up to along the way.

If you want to see a bit more, check out our travels in my YouTube video:

2019 South Island JUCY Road Trip

Day One: Christchurch - Oamaru

My sister Chloe and I arrived in Christchurch in the early afternoon. We hopped aboard the already waiting courtesy JUCY shuttle, which took us to the Christchurch JUCY branch five minutes drive away.

We went through the formalities of hiring a rental vehicle and were given a detailed tour of our JUCY Chaser - our home for the next four nights (which we fondly named Shrek).

The JUCY Chaser is fully self-contained, featuring two double beds, an equipped kitchen, a pull-out table, and a shower and toilet. It includes all bedding, towels, cooking equipment, roadside assistance, unlimited kilometres and more - it's perfect for any #RoadTrip adventure!

We set off on our first driving stint, which was 3.5 hours south to Oamaru. We had planned on passing by the Elephant Rocks in Duntroon (towering limestone rocks that were used as a location in one of the Narnia films) but we had to give it a miss. With traffic and the sun setting early in winter, it ended up taking longer than we thought and it would have been dark by the time we arrived.

We stopped for a grocery shop in Timaru along the way and cooked up some sausages in bread for dinner once we arrived at our holiday park in Oamaru.

It was a very cold night and unfortunately, at the JUCY branch, they forgot to ask if we wanted to hire a heater with the van (super essential in winter!). I thought it was already included (as it was on my last trip) so I forgot to ask too.

We bundled up in multiple layers and shivered through our first night.

Holiday Park: Oamaru Top 10 Holiday Park
Cost: $50 Powered Site for two people
Notes: Lost points for being so expensive and it's not even in a central location. It was also quite noisy being right next to the road and railway line. Good clean facilities though.
Our rating: 6/10

Day Two: Oamaru - Dunedin

After an excellent breakfast of cup-o-noodles, we drove straight to The Warehouse to buy a cheap fan heater and hot water bottles! This kept us toasty warm for the rest of our trip.

It was a stunning blue-sky day and we drove for an hour to our first stop, the Moeraki Boulders.

Set on the beautiful Koekohe beach in North Otago, they are large spherical boulders that first started forming sixty million years ago. We had a great time taking some fun shots and definitely recommend adding it to your road trip itinerary!

We were then off to the second-largest city in the South Island - Dunedin. Dunedin totally blew us away! It's such a lovely city with amazing architecture and gorgeous harbour views. I already can't wait to return again. We marvelled at the iconic railway station and wandered around the town centre before our booked wildlife tour started at 1 PM.

We joined Elm Wildlife Tours half-day Peninsula Encounter tour where we got to explore the stunning Otago Peninsula and spot wildlife in their natural habitat.

We saw Royal Albatross - the largest seabird in the world, playful New Zealand fur seals, a waddling Yellow Eyed penguin and New Zealand sea lions. The company does fantastic conservation efforts and it was a highly enjoyable afternoon out - very recommended tour!

We drove to our next holiday park and ventured out to a nearby takeaway shop with excellent reviews for dinner. They were some of the best fish and chips I've ever had - check out Takeaways on Marlow if you're in the area!

Holiday Park: Dunedin Holiday Park
Cost: $36 Powered Site for two
Notes: One of the best Holiday Parks I've ever stayed at. Great facilities, clean. Close to the beach.
Our rating: 9.5/10

Day Three: Dunedin - Catlins

We began our day checking out the nearby St Kilda Beach before driving to the Catlins, a place I was super keen to explore. Located in the most southeastern corner of the country, so many Kiwis haven't even heard of this area, let alone been to it.

We visited the stunning Nugget Point Lighthouse, which had long been on my NZ bucket list (I have a thing for lighthouses). The rugged coastline and 'nugget' rocks in the water are beautiful and unique.

We had a quick lunch in the van before driving to our next destination - Purakaunui Falls. In the heart of the Catlins, this magnificent waterfall cascades 20 metres over three distinct tiers. It's absolutely gorgeous and a new top favourite of mine.

We stocked up on supplies in the largest town in the Catlins, Owaka (population of 400), before heading to our holiday park in Pounawea. There's nothing like parking up with a water view! It was in a quaint location in front of Catlins River.

We set up our bedding and settled in for a relaxed and cosy evening. 

Holiday Park: Pounawea Motor Camp
Cost: $40 Powered Site two people
Our rating: 8/10
Notes: Awesome water view. Good clean facilities. Spa pool and free kayaks to use.

Day Four: Catlins - Queenstown

As my sister had never been to Queenstown before we were excited to finish up our epic trip with a few days in the adventure capital of New Zealand.

But first, a coffee and a view.

The scenery driving through the Catlins to Southland was like no other! The rolling green hills were mesmerising (see my YouTube video for some shots!). It's so remote down there a lot of the roads are still gravel.

We stopped in Gore to try some Southland cheese rolls (mmm cheesy) and then drove straight for Queenstown, nestled on Lake Wakatipu.

Holiday Park: Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
Cost: $55 Powered Site for two people
Notes: Great, clean facilities, friendly and helpful staff and the best central location.
Our rating: 8.5/10

The next day we said goodbye to dear Shrek and dropped it off at the JUCY branch at Queenstown Airport.

If you're looking at doing your own JUCY road trip here is a rough breakdown of our costs over five days. We opted to cook most nights to save money on food and saved most of our activities (with the exception of the wildlife tour) for our time staying at JUCY Snooze in Queenstown.
See what we got up to for the rest of our trip at the end of the post!

JUCY Road Trip Price Breakdown

  • JUCY Chaser rental 5 days: $250
  • Stress Free Excess Reduction: $150
  • Additional costs (GPS hire, extra driver): $60
  • Petrol: $300 (we drove 815 km in total)
  • Parking in town: $16
  • Holiday Parks 4 nights: $181
  • Food 5 days: $150

Total Road Trip cost: $1,107 NZD (for two people making it just over $100 a day each - a pretty amazing price for everything included!).

Checking in to JUCY Snooze

For our final three nights, we were excited to be staying at JUCY Snooze in central Queenstown.

They are my favourite place to stay in Queenstown on a budget, with awesome Japanese-style pod capsules downstairs (which I stayed in twice last year - best hostel idea ever) or you can splash out a bit more for a private ensuite room at still an amazing price for the very centre of town.

We had a Queen room on the fourth floor with an unbeatable view! The rooms still have that fresh, new feeling (they opened in April 2018) and are modernly designed with very comfortable beds. We also loved the excellent shower pressure and the strong free wifi all throughout the building. 

JUCY Pods from $35 ND a night
Double Room Ensuite from $135 NZD a night (depending on the season)

JUCY Snooze is also located at Christchurch Airport and downtown Auckland.

Miss Lucy's

Miss Lucy's Bar & Pizzeria is without a doubt, one of the coolest places to hang out in Queenstown. Situated on level four of JUCY Snooze, the vibe is friendly and welcoming, with super trendy decor and cosy spaces to chill and socialise. Oh, and the views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables are pretty sweet as well!

They have a delicious seasonal menu to order from including a large range of mouth-watering woodfired pizzas. Their creative cocktails, on-tap beers and coffees are dang good too. Highly recommended foodie spot even if you're not staying at JUCY Snooze - though it's pretty convenient if you are! #WhatWouldLucyDo

Milford Sound with JUCY Cruise

Milford Sound is something every visitor to New Zealand should experience and JUCY Cruise is a fantastic way to do just that. They offer different tours and transportation options to suit your needs. My sister and I joined the JUCY Vista 12-hour tour from Queenstown which was an incredible, memorable day-trip.

It's quite a long drive but the JUCY Vista coach is super spacious and comfortable. We had a morning break in Te Anau and were constantly hopping out at beautiful scenic spots in Fiordland along the way. There is even a glass roof for maximum viewing! We also had interesting and informative commentary all throughout the tour by our friendly driver Wayne.

Once we arrived at Milford Sound, we boarded the JUCY Cruise boat called the Maiden of Milford and we enjoyed our included lunch. I opted for an Asian-fusion pizza-pie which was filling and tasty.

We cruised on out and experienced the magical fiord for over an hour and a half. From the three different viewing decks, the scenery is astounding and we got right up close to waterfalls and wildlife (we even saw rare Fiordland Penguins!).

Milford Sound is one of the most incredible places in New Zealand and feels like another world, like there should be pterodactyls flying around! It's an absolute #NZMustDo and one to add to the bucket list if not already! 

JUCY Vista day-tour from Queenstown including lunch and cruise: $169 NZD
JUCY Classic Cruise price if self-driving: $55 NZD

Check out their range of day trips, cruises and transportation options here.

Queenstown Adventures

We had two full days to enjoy the delights of Queenstown and spent it strolling the lakefront, browsing cute shops, ice skating and soaking up all the #views.

We highly enjoyed going up the gondola for the best panoramic views over town and doing luging of course! We've grown up luging in Rotorua so we absolutely loved it. The faster the better.

We also ate some amazing food (hello Fergburger!) which inspired me to write a blog post on Where to Eat in Queenstown: 8 Foodie Hot Spots.

In all, we had an AMAZING week filled with so many fun memories and new experiences. I loved exploring new parts of New Zealand I hadn't been to before and I'm inspired to start planning more and more road trips.

Next time I'd love to drive right up north in the summertime when it's perfect to freedom camp, along the East Coast of Australia and even in the States where they have JUCY branches in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco - how amazing would that be? 2020 road trip goals!

So where are you planning your next road trip to?

Thank you so much to JUCY World for another epic adventure.

For more New Zealand campervanning and road trip tips and useful resources check out my previous JUCY post here.

Pin it! :)

Happy Travels,


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