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New ZealandIslands North and South

  • Highlights
Get in the car and prepare to see the best of New Zealand on this independent self-drive adventure. Discover cosmopolitan Auckland, world-class wines on Waiheke Island, mesmerizing glowworm caves, captivating Maori culture, charming art-deco Napier, delightful Wellington and thrilling Queenstown. More than just a drive, you will also explore New Zealand's stunning surroundings from the decks of wo...

Get in the car and prepare to seethe best of New Zealand on this independent self-drive adventure. Discover cosmopolitan Auckland, world-class wines on Waiheke Island, mesmerizing glowworm caves, captivating Maori culture, charming art-deco Napier, delightful Wellington and thrilling Queenstown. More than just a drive, you will also explore New Zealand's stunning surroundings from the decks of world renowned nature cruises, go kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, traverse glaciers, strap in for an adrenaline pumping jetboat ride and experience one of the world’s great train journeys. Dust off that ol' bucket list and prepare to check some boxes!

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Tour itinerary includes
  • Seaside
  • City
  • Water sports
    Water sports
  • Nature escape
    Nature escape
  • Local cuisine
    Local cuisine

Customisable trip itinerary

This tour idea is fully customisable

The itinerary has been created by our local agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland!

Arrival in the ‘City of Sails’...

• This sophisticated cosmopolitan city has it all, from beautiful scenery to adrenaline pumping adventure and first-class food and wine

Transfer to your accommodation


Day 2: Wine and Waiheke

• Begin with a discovery of Waiheke Island

• Take a picturesque 40-minute boat trip followed by a deluxe vineyard experience

• Take advantage of the All Day Bus Pass and either return to a destination on the tour, or discover the island further


Day 3: Waitomo Caves and Maori cultural experience

Pick up the rental car and drive to Waitomo Caves

• Your guide will lead you through limestone chambers to the famous 'Cathedral'

• The highlight of a visit to the Glowworm Cave is a silent boat tripthrough the glowworm grotto

• Continue on to Rotorua for an authentic introduction to Maori culture

• Observe warriors in traditional dress, witness a cultural performance. Sit down to a traditionally cooked hangi meal

Day 4: Rotorua to Napier

• This morning drive to Napier

• Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure


Day 5: Art Deco tour and Wellington

• Begin with an art deco guided walk of Napier

Complimentary refreshments and a movie screening are available afterwards 

• Then, drive to Wellington, a compact village full of cosmopolitan flavor

​• Visit Zealandia, a unique, world-first eco-attraction, providing an excellent opportunity to experience New Zealand's natural environment

Napier, Wellington

Day 6: Te Papa

Te Papa is a gateway to an encounter with the essence of New Zealand's land and people

• Wonderful Maori cultural treasures and art are presented through fascinating stories and engaging interaction

Te Papa, Wellington

Day 7: Heading south

• Board the Interisland ferry from Wellington to Picton

• Catch the beautiful scenery from the deck!

• Once you arrive in Picton, you’ll pick up your rental car at the ferry terminal

• Enjoy a scenic drive to Nelson


Day 8: Abel Tasman National Park

• Discover the Abel Tasman National Park on a guided sea kayaking excursion!

• Paddle through forest-fringed bays and granite archways of the unique coastline, explore the wondrous headlands, coves and islands of the coast

• Stop at at a sheltered cove for lunch then relax on the beach, swim or explore the native forest

Day 9: Kaikoura

• Take a scenic drive to Kaikoura

• This area is famous for whale watching, dolphin swimming and spectacular scenery


Day 10: Whale watching

• Head off on a whale watching tour. You may encounter Giant Sperm Whales, Fur Seals, Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross

• Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales

• ​Proceed to Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island

• Discover exciting attractions, a lively café scene, lots of Victorian architecture and the beautiful parks

Day 11: TranzAlpine train

• Travel between Christchurch and Greymouth on the TranzAlpine scenic train

• Cross the Canterbury Plains and farmland, spectacular gorges and river valleys and the Southern Alps, before descending through lush rainforest to the West Coast town of Greymouth

Drive to Franz Josef

ChristchurchGreymouth, Franz Josef

Day 12: Franz Josef Glacier

• Today you will have a fantastic introduction to the world of ice

• Traverse the impressive terrain on the lower reaches of Franz Josef Glacier

• Continue along the glacier valley with your knowledgable guide

• This afternoon, drive to Queenstown

Franz Josef

Day 13: Welcome to Queenstown!

Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere's premiere four season alpine and lake resort

• Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables Range 


Day 14: Milford Sound nature cruise

Milford Sound is a world-renowned natural wonder where mountains stand tall, straight out of the sea

• Whatever the fiord’s mood – brooding and wet, or tranquil in the sunshine – it will inspire you

• The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife

Day 15: Dart River Funyak excursion

• Today's journey begins with an exciting jetboat ride up the Dart River

• Paddle downstream, taking in all the awe-inspiring sights in your Funyak - a unique inflatable canoe

• Stop for buffet lunch and explore hidden streams and rock pools

• Take a 4WD coach to Glenorchy, stopping to view the stunning scenery used in films like 'Lord of the Rings'

Day 16: Departure day!

Transfer from your hotel to Queenstown Airport

Safe travels! 


AucklandRotoruaNapierWellingtonTe PapaPictonAbel Tasman National ParkKaikouraChristchurchGreymouthFranz JosefQueenstownMilford Sound

Price details

This tour idea is fully customisable

The price reflects this specific tour itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Included in price:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • In-trip ground transportation
  • Activities according to your customized trip
  • Airport transfers
  • 24/7 local agency support
  • Trip creation with an expert local agent
  • Car rental

Not included in price:

  • Arrival and departure flights
  • Meals and beverages not indicated
  • Personal expenses
  • Service gratuities
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
Book your flights to New Zealand
International flights are not included in this trip. Thanks to our partnership with Option Way, you can take advantage of booking your flights directly with your local agent.
Check out the many benefits:
  • Competitive rates
  • All-inclusive prices with no hidden fees
  • Liz, in New Zealand will inform you of any changes to your flights
For more information or to book your flights directly, head to our partner site.

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