Best of New Zealand Self Drive
14 Days: Auckland, Waitomo, Hobbiton, Rotorua, Naiper, Wellington, Cook Strait, Blenheim, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Glacier Region, Queenstown, Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo
While it is almost impossible to capture the beauty of this marvellous island nation in just a few days, we’ve tried our best to give you an essence of New Zealand with this itinerary. Explore all that New Zealand is famous for – the busting cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, the stunning thermal reserves & geysers of Rotorua, and the out-of-a-fairytale like Queenstown, also known as the adventure capital of the world.
DAY 1 – ARRIVE AUCKLAND
Upon arrival, collect your rental vehicle and self drive to your accommodation. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, set between two harbours with gentle sandy shores on the east coast and black sand, wild surf beaches on the west coast. Afternoon at leisure with optional excursions available.
DAY 2 – AUCKLAND / WAITOMO / HOBBITON / ROTORUA
Travel south through the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo. Enjoy a guided tour of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Continue to Matamata for a charming tour of unique, character Hobbit homes, gardens and the watering hole just as you see in the movies. Finishing off a visually fulfilling day, continue on to Rotorua, a bubbling and steaming destination like nowhere else. (B)
DAY 3 – ROTORUA
Rotorua is surrounded by a fascinating geothermal landscape with its unique steam vents, spouting geysers and bubbling mud pool set alongside freshwater lakes and majestic native forests. It is also a region immersed in fascinating Maori myths and legends. Morning at leisure for optional excursions. Late afternoon you’ll visit one of the local geothermal attractions for a guided tour through the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, the Kiwi Conservation Centre and the geothermal valley. Then enjoy a Hangi Dinner overlooking the valley and geyser, followed by a 40 minute cultural performance. The evening culminates with hot chocolate and pudding on the geyser terrace. (BD)
DAY 4 – ROTORUA / NAPIER
There’s a bit of everything on today’s drive past Great Lake Taupo to Napier. Your scenic journey includes volcanic geography, fresh forest plantations, rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas. Following an earthquake in 1931, a rebuild saw Napier completely redesigned in the style of the times. Buildings were constructed in the Art Deco style with Maori motifs to give the city a unique New Zealand character. Today, the delightful seaside city of Napier has the extra-ordinary feeling of a time capsule with its seamless line of some of the world’s finest 1930’s architecture. Enjoy a guided tour of Napier’s unique history and architecture. (B)
DAY 5 – NAPIER / WELLINGTON
Today’s travel south may be via the spectacular Manawatu Gorge or through the beautiful Tuki Tuki Valley and Wairarapa Wine region to reach Wellington. Set between a sparking harbour and rolling green hills the compact city of Wellington is best explored on foot. Great shopping, arts culture, cafes and restaurants are all within minutes of the city’s untouched nature spots. Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum offers free admission but you might like to include a guided tour for a greater insight into New Zealand’s rich history and culture. (B)
DAY 6 – WELLINGTON / COOK STRAIT / BLENHEIM
New Zealand’s North and South Islands are separated by three hours of sensational scenery and ocean fresh air. Departing Wellington, your ship will ferry you across the Cook Strait, past the beautiful beaches, bays and coves of the Marlborough Sounds to the historic port town of Picton. With its rugged mountain ranges and fertile pains, Marlborough has a lot to offer with its water, wilderness and wine. A short drive takes you to the compact town centre of Blenheim. (B)
DAY 7 – BLENHEIM / KAIKOURA / CHRISTCHURCH
The Pacific Coast Road to Christchurch presents one of New Zealand’s most dramatic drives with breath-taking mountains on one side and wild pounding ocean on the other. The seaside settlement of Kaikoura is set midway and overlooked by majestic mountains. The unique marine geography at this location provides the perfect environment for Sperm Whales and other marine life. On to Christchurch, a vibrant, ever-changing city with inner city parks and gardens delightfully interwoven by the meandering Avon River. (B)
DAY 8 – CHRISTCHURCH / GREYMOUTH
Depart across the Canterbury Plains, a fertile patchwork made with every shade of green, through the spectacular scenery of Arthurs Pass National Park and on to the West Coast. New Zealand’s rugged West Coast is a wild and untamed place known for its rivers, rainforests, glaciers and geological treasures. Here, mighty rivers of solid white ice, relics of the world’s last ice-age, tumble down the rocky valleys. (B)
DAY 9 – GREYMOUTH / GLACIER REGION
A temperate climate at a low altitude makes Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers among the most convenient to visit in the world. Steep valleys bear scars from where glaciers have retreated and advanced over millennia and here, the ice age is still underway. For an absolute bucket list experience, add a scenic flight with a glacier landing and a thrilling hike to your itinerary.
DAY 10 – GLACIER REGION / QUEENSTOWN
Travel through wilderness towns, waterfalls and river scenery on today’s scenic journey to Queenstown. We recommend stopping for a break, and to stretch the legs, at Makarora’s Blue Pools. After settling in at your Queenstown accommodation, make your way to the Skyline Base for a Gondola Ride to the top of Bob’s Peak and enjoy some spectacular panoramic views high above Queenstown. You might also like to add some Luge rides to your bucket list for some extra fun. (B)
DAY 11 – QUEENSTOWN
Day at leisure for optional excursions. Magnificent vistas and majestic mountains dominate this compact alpine resort town and with such an expansive natural physical environment it is not surprising that Queenstown has been described as the Adventure Capital of the World. (B)
DAY 12 – QUEENSTOWN / MT COOK-TEKAPO REGION
Today’s journey takes you to a scenic wonderland with golden tussocks, snow-capped mountains and turquoise lakes. Hug the shores of beautiful Lake Pukaki to a rugged land of ice and rock, home to Aoraki Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. (B)
DAY 13 – MT COOK-TEKAPO REGION / CHRISTCHURCH
Today you’ll enjoy admission to the Darky Sky Project for a greater understanding of the night sky. Be sure to stop for a while at Lake Tekapo where the ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ takes pride of place against the backdrop of a vivid blue glacier-fed lake. Then continue north east where braided rivers and familiar plains will signal your arrival back into Christchurch. Make a visit to the International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch either today or tomorrow for an icy insight into this astounding continent. (B)
DAY 14 – DEPART CHRISTCHURCH
Return rental car to the airport depot. (B)Send This Tour To A Friend
|Departs: Daily, minimum 2 passengers
|January to April
|May to September
|October to December
|* Pricing based on 2 passengers in Intermediate SUV
|* Please call for pricing based on 3 or more passengers
|* It is possible to depart on this program on any day.
|* Single travelling alone price is available upon request.
|* Supplements may apply for special events and holidays.
|* The accommodation will be provided in the below hotel or similar in case the priority hotel is unable to accommodate the booking.
|The Grand by Sky City, Sudima Auckalnd City or similar
|Millennium Hotel Rotorua, Novotel Rotorua Lakeside or similar
|Porters Boutique Hotel or similar
|Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental or similar
|Chateau Marlborough Hotel or similar
|Distinction Christchurch Hotel, Heritage Christchurch Hotel or similar
|Ashley Hotel Greymouth or similar
|Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier or similar
|Millennium Hotel Queenstown, Novotel Queenstown Hotel Lakeside or similar
- 13 nights accommodation in first class hotels
- 12 breakfasts
- 13 day rental car with insurance (Intermediate SUV)
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour
- Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
- Te Ra/Te Po Combo (Guided tour and evenign experience)
- Art Deco Walk
- Te Papa Museum of New Zealand
- North to South Isalnd Ferry Crossing
- Dark Sky Experience
- Antarctic Centre
We welcome hearing from you! Feel free to call or simply Email us with any questions you may have.