Road tripping in New Zealand with baby

It can’t be denied that road tripping is one of the best ways to travel. However, with visions of car seat diaper blow outs and non-stop tears its something that all too often gets thrown on the back burner when you have a baby.  But with Lord of the Rings level views around every hairpin turn, road tripping in New Zealand is nothing short of epic and, baby or not, should not be missed.

Learn from our experience with these 6 tips to ensure your New Zealand road trip is as smooth as that precious baby’s bottom.

1. Get comfortable wearing your baby. If you are anything like me, your New Zealand adventure is going to involve marveling at multiple natural wonders every day, many of which are not stroller friendly. In fact, be prepared to make multiple stops on the side of the road following a single file path towards the promise of a breathtaking view. And trust me, when it comes to breathtaking views, New Zealand never breaks a promise. It won’t always be the easiest path to take, but just think there might be a sleepy sea lion just waiting for you at the other end.


2. Say goodbye to your normal rainy day fashion. Fact: It rains a lot in New Zealand. Also fact: You aren’t going to let a little rain slow down your New Zealand adventure! Invest in one of those cheapo plastic ponchos. They pack away super small so they can tuck right into your purse or day pack and you can even rip a little peep hole for that baby forever strapped to your chest. Plus they make you look super cool, right?

3. Sandflies are no joke – bring your bug spray! Picture it: You pull off at a rest area to change a diaper blowout. The car is packed up pretty full so you use the front passenger seat for the change. You get the diaper off and wham! Attack of the sandflies! Your husband jumps into the drivers seat to finish the diaper change with the doors closed so he and baby don’t get eaten alive. You are defenseless as the little buggers have now focused all their efforts on you. You hop in the car and proceed to squat over your baby for a 10 minute thigh workout while simultaneously killing invading sandflies for the rest of the diaper change. Moral of the story: If you don’t want to win the ‘Most Awkward Diaper Change of the Year’ Award, bug spray is essential, especially on the South Island.

4. Prep a playlist. Not only does every road trip need a soundtrack but music is even more important when travelling with baby. I’m talking background noise so that your candy bar wrapper doesn’t wake them up from a nap and sing-along distractions for those inevitable last 30 minutes of the car ride meltdowns. Now I’m not sure if we were missing something, but radio reception seems to be nearly non-existent in New Zealand. You will get reception in major cities and in some smaller towns, but rest assured once you hit city limits…static. So pack that playlist.

5. Practice bottle (or breast) feeding on the fly! I can’t even begin to tell you how much this helped us not only on this trip but throughout all of our travels with our little lady. Being able to give bottles in the carrier, stroller and car seat gave us ultimate flexibility but it is something that requires practice – so start practicing before you leave home!

Mt. Victoria Lookout, Wellington

6. Pack your patience. You will see the signs everywhere: Your Trip May Take Longer Than You Expect. Allow extra time on New Zealand Roads.  The signs aren’t exaggerating. Between 2 lane highways, hairpin switchback turns across the mountains,  one lane bridges and the fact that it seems like almost everyone is a tourist learning to drive on the left hand side of the road, your trip will likely take you a little longer than google maps estimates. And that’s not even factoring in your baby (and we all know that can often double your travel time). So pack some patience because it may take you a bit (or even a lot) more time, but it will be so worth it when you get there.

The Remarkables, Queenstown