New Zealand In Depth
SELF DRIVE TOUR
AUCKLAND | BAY OF ISLANDS | HOKIANGA | ROTORUA | NAPIER | MARTINBOROUGH | WELLINGTON | NELSON | KAIKOURA | CHRISTCHURCH | WEST COAST GLACIERS | QUEENSTOWN MILFORD SOUND | TE ANAU | DUNEDIN | LAKE TEKAPO
This four week in-depth tour showcases all of the sights of both the North & South Islands and has several free days to allow you time to relax and explore. Included is one of New Zealand’s famed rail journeys, the TranzAlpine, which allows you to take a break from driving, so sit back and relax as you experience delightful rail travel through some of the most stunning scenery on earth
- Explore the Bay of Islands
- Visit Waipoua Kauri Forest, home to the largest Kauri Tree
New Zealand In Depth
Day 1 : Arrive Auckland
Arrive into Auckland and transfer independently to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free. Rated as the third most liveable city in the world, Auckland is a place where vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes go hand in hand. Perhaps head to one of the city’s many restaurants, cafés or bars or relax in the sunshine.
Day 2 : Auckland
Collect your rental vehicle this morning and explore Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, the largest and most diverse city in New Zealand.
Day 3 : Auckland - Bay of Islands (240 kms)
Drive north over Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, through the northern suburbs and past the beaches of the Hibiscus Coast to Paihia and the Bay of Islands.
Day 4 : Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands on a fantastic dolphin watching cruise to Cape Brett and the Hole in the Rock. The rest of the day is free.
Day 5 : Paihia - Hokianga (100 kms)
Depart Paihia and head towards the coastal town of Opononi and Omapere. This evening travel south to Waipoua Kauri Forest and enjoy a guided tour. This forest is the home of Tane Mahuta, the country’s largest kauri tree, which is approximately 2,000 years old and still growing. Nearly 18 metres to the first branch and 4.4 metres in diameter, Tane Mahuta is rightly called ‘The Lord of the Forest’.
Day 6 : Hokianga - Auckland (262 kms)
Travel south to the Hibiscus Coast resort of Orewa and continue back to Auckland.
Day 7 : Auckland - Rotorua (370 kms)
This morning travel south towards Rotorua. Included en route is a guided tour of the unique Waitomo Caves, world-renowned for it’s glowworms.Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves’ historical and geological significance. After this amazing experience, you’ll continue your journey on past Lake Karapiro to Rotorua.
Day 8 : Rotorua
Enjoy a day of sightseeing incorporating Rotorua’s best attractions. A guided tour of Te Puia and the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute to see roaring geysers and boiling mud pools, Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, the Agrodome Leisure Park famous for its entertaining sheep show, a gondola cable car to the Skyline complex and Polynesian Spa, New Zealand’s leading international day spa and hot mineral baths (mineral bath admission only included). This evening attend a traditional Maori Hangi meal and Cultural Show.
Day 9 : Rotorua - Napier (225 kms)
Head to Taupo then continue into the Kaimanawa Ranges, and on to the fertile Hawkes Bay Province and the city of Napier. Spend this afternoon in Hawke’s Bay. There are two words that best describe Hawke’s Bay and they are Wine Country. It is one of the warmest and driest regions of New Zealand and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines - cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah.
Day 10 : Napier
An earthquake resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world. Following the disaster the rebuilding began almost immediately, bringing with it the architectural style of the times. Napier’s city centre has the feel of a time capsule - the seamless line of 1930’s decor is quite extraordinary. Spend today exploring the region’s incredible buildings, stopping to relax at one of many excellent cafés and wineries.
Day 11 : Napier - Martinborough (280 kms)
Travel south to Martinborough, famed for its international award-winning Pinot Noir. En route visit historic Greytown
Day 12 : Martinborough - Wellington (90 kms)
This morning travel the short distance to Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital - a truly energetic, cosmopolitan city set around the shores of a pretty harbour.
Day 13 : Wellington - Nelson (3½ hour ferry and 110 kms drive)
Return your car this morning and cross the Cook Strait to Picton and collect your car. Journey through vineyards and farming countryside to Nelson.
Day 14 : Abel Tasman National Park
Drive to Kaiteriteri Beach this morning. Choose from a full day cruise giving you the opportunity to see beautiful stretches of coastline which are not always visible from the walking track or a shorter cruise with time for a leisurely walk along part of the walking track from Torrent Bay to Bark Bay. Lunch is included today.
Day 15 : Nelson - Kaikoura (243 kms)
Travel over the Richmond Range to the fertile Wairau Valley then on to Blenheim and Kaikoura.
Hotel: Value - Lobster Inn; Standard - White Morph Inn Superior; White Morph Inn (Premium room)
Day 16 : Kaikoura - Christchurch (190 kms)
This morning enjoy a whale-watch cruise, you may also see dolphins, albatross and New Zealand seals. Then head south to Christchurch.
Day 17 : Christchurch - Franz Josef (train + 190 kms)
Board the TranzAlpine, New Zealand’s premier alpine rail journey. Travel across the Canterbury Plains, following rivers and skirting lakes descend through lush beech forest to Greymouth. On arrival at Greymouth collect your car and make your way south through Hokitika to Franz Josef.
Day 18 : Franz Josef
Today is free for you to relax or explore. Optional activities include rainforest walks, guided glacier walks, scenic flights or relaxing in the Franz Josef Hot Pools.
Day 19 : Franz Josef - Queenstown (410kms)
Journey past the shores of Lake Wanaka and on through the spectacular Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown.
Day 20 : Queenstown
Today is free to explore this alpine resort. We have included a ride on the Skyline Gondola. Sit back and relax as you’re taken 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak, where you’ll enjoy the best views in the region unfolding before your eyes. When you get to the top, choose your own pace from the host of activities on offer (not included). Maybe you’ll have a relaxing evening with some of the best of New Zealand and international cuisine, or head back to the city centre to explore.
Day 21 : Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau
Travel south to Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park. Enjoy a cruise on Milford Sound and experience up close the uniqueness of sheer rock faces rising from the sea with numerous waterfalls and marine life. Return to Te Anau following your cruise.
Day 22 : Te Anau
Today you will enjoy an excursion to the secluded Doubtful Sound for a 3 hour cruise. Bottlenose dolphins are often seen alongside the vessel, fur seals on the rocks and at times rare penguins may be observed.
Day 23 : Te Anau - Dunedin (290 kms)
From Te Anau drive through farmland to Balclutha where you will cross the Clutha River, famous for its alluvial gold. Drive through Milton and cross the Taieri River to the city of Dunedin.
Day 24 : Dunedin
Today is free to explore Dunedin.
Day 25 : Dunedin - Lake Tekapo/Mount Cook (290kms)
Drive north though Oamaru and follow the Waitaki River inland to the aqua blue Lake Tekapo.
Day 26 : Lake Tekapo - Christchurch (320kms)
Travel over Burkes Pass to the small farming villages of Fairlie and Geraldine, then cross the Canterbury Plains to the city of Christchurch.
Day 27 : Depart Christchurch
Your tour ends today with the check out of your hotel and the return of your rental vehicle.