Ground transportation is the way
Many people debate the best option to get around this gorgeous country. Whether you chose a camper like we did, or a rental car, we highly recommend some wheels of your own (book those campers early). The few cities with airports are great, but not necessarily close to the natural beauty to you vowed to encounter during your last Lord of the Rings viewing. Unfortunately, public transportation outside of the cities is minimal so grab some friends and hit the road for some one of a kind landscapes.
Give yourself time
New Zealand is a sizable country and if you're hoping to see much of it on your journey, allow plenty of time to traverse this beautiful land. We quickly realized that the timelines on Google Maps were nowhere near enough and that we had to add another 25% to their estimates (keep that gas tank full!). That said, the journey is half of the adventure in Kiwi country with majestic views and unique landforms around every turn. Take your time and enjoy the scenic drives as well as the quaint stops along the way. That said, we felt rushed allowing only three weeks to do both islands and didn't even get to see everything we wanted. We recommend giving yourself as much time as you can possibly afford.
Do your drinking elsewhere
While it's always fun to enjoy some local flavors of wine or spirits, know that this will put a massive dent in your New Zealand budget. Even with local wineries, bottles were expensive and don't get me started on liquor! We spent 3x what we would expect in the states for one bottle of regional vodka - ouch! Unless you are independently wealthy, don't expect regular libations to be part of this adventure.
Make a plan for your hikes
From the fjord lands to Mt. Doom, there are amazing treks all over but don't assume that the trail you've read about on multiple blogs has tons of signs leading your to your spot. We were surprised at how difficult it was to find some of the trail heads we had on our list. Do your homework and get specific about how to locate your most desired hikes. You can find details about our epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike here.