Nelson > Wanaka : Hitchhiking at its best !

  • From: Nelson, Nouvelle-Zélande
  • To: Wanaka, Nouvelle-Zélande
  • Distance: 744km

Today, we are leaving Nelson where we really had a great time. Our plan is to be in Queenstown in three days. It will be our base camp for the Milford Track, our last hike in NZ. We are planning on doing the trip in three days, with one step-over in Greymouth, and one step-over in Franz Joseph (on the west coast). The challenge is to hitchhike our way there. Let’s go!

At 10 am, we are ready to go, thumbs up, waiting for a car to pick us up. We don’t wait very long. In 5 minutes, someone takes us and drops us off at the edge of the city, where it should be better to catch a ride.

5-10 minutes later, we are waiting again, but not for a long time because someone drives us to Wakefield, 30 km from Nelson. Here, there is less traffic but it should be all right.

We wait another 15 minutes. A nice old man takes us ans drops us off a bit further. This was not such a good idea though because we are now in the middle of nowhere, along a 100km/h limited road where no car can park… The best spot to hitchhike ever!

It is now noon. Sun is shining (at least!). We wait 10 minutes. Nobody stop. We try to find a better spot but ther is nothing around us. Another 10 minutes. Still nothing. Now we really are getting a bit less confident…

And then, coming out of nowhere, an old car stops. “Where are you guys going?” “Greymouth” “Perfect it’s on my way, I’m going to Wanaka!”

And that’s how we met Emil, our savior! Emil is a swedish guy, really kind, and we get on well with him. The funny part is that we will finally go to Wanaka with him, more than 700 km from Nelson! Hitchhiking at its best!

Why didn’t we stop in Greymouth you should ask ? Because we are having a great time hitting the road with Emil, and because there is nothing to do in Greymouth (we stop there for lunch).

Homemade Chicken Couscous by Emil
Homemade Chicken Couscous by Emil

At the end of the day, we are still far from Wanaka, so we decide to camp near Franz Joseph glacier with Emil.

The next day, we are back on the road. We even take the time to take a short walk to see Fox Glacier with Emil.

At the end of the afternoon, we finally arrive in Wanaka where Emil helps us to find our hostel for the night (we told you he was a really nice guy!).


Wanaka is a pretty city surrounded by mountaine and boarding a lake. We are quite happy to be here, this is a nice surprise. We are now just 70 km away from Queenstown. It was really nice to meet Emil. Thanks again! Maybe we’ll see him again in Australia because he may go there after NZ!

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