New Zealand Gems
SELF DRIVE TOUR
AUCKLAND | ROTORUA | TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK | NAPIER | CHRISTCHURCH | TRANZALPINE TRAIN | FOX GLACIER | WANAKA | QUEENSTOWN
This self-driving tour is for the discerning traveller, offers a selection of New Zealand’s finest small boutique and luxury properties. Marvel at New Zealand’s wonderful scenery as you experience a selection of the best sightseeing tours and accommodation that New Zealand has to offer, from an incredible heli-hike on the surface of Franz Josef Glacier, to a flightseeing tour across the mountains to Milford Sound and a cruise on its pristine waters. Luxury lodges to waterfont deluxe hotels, this holiday has it all.
- Boutique Accommodation
- Fly over Bay of Islands & 4 Wheel Drive Tour
- Cape Reinga
- Full Day Guided Tour of Rotorua
- Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike
- Martinborough Tour - sample wines in one of New Zealand’s boutique winery regions
New Zealand Gems
Day 1 : Arrive Auckland
On arrival in Auckland you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. The rest of the day you are free to relax or explore Auckland, City of Sails.
Day 2 : Auckland - Paihia (227 kms)
Collect your rental car this morning and make your way north to Paiha, located in the beautiful Bay of Islands. This afternoon take the short ferry across to the seaside town of Russell where you will have free time to explore the historic buildings and a seaside setting full of cafes, restaurants and art galleries. Head back to Paihia late this afternoon.
Day 3 : Paihia
Today join a half day tour and take a scenic flight to the far north, followed by a short 4WD drive to Cape Reinga Lighthouse where the Tasman Sea joins the Pacific Ocean. The return flight to the Bay of Islands includes some of the most spectacular coastal scenery the North Island has to offer. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 4 : Paihia - Matakana (192 kms)
Leave the Bay of Island’s behind today and travel south to the small settlement of Matakana. The picturesque Matakana wine region is home to over 30 boutique vineyards, olive groves, restaurants and the famous Matakana Village and Farmers’ Market featuring locally grown food and produce. Your accommodation is located on a working winery and is minutes from the white sandy beaches of the Matakana coast.
Day 5 : Matakana - Rotorua (300 kms)
Continue south today along the Hisbiscus Coast and through the Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua - a city with awesome geothermal activity and the heartland of Maori culture. From crystal-clear streams and magical forests, to epic biking trails and explosive geysers, Rotorua has it all.
Day 6 : Rotorua
Enjoy a full day guided tour today. Visit New Zealand’s largest boiling mud pool and a series of colourful hot springs at Wai-o-Tapu, then see the Lady Knox Geyser erupt. Visit the Waimangu Volcanic valley where your guide will explain the Mt Tarawera eruption which blew open this spectacular, bush covered, geothermal park. Spend the afternoon experiencing Rotorua’s Maori culture and thermal activity and see how they are intricately entwined. First a guided tour through Te Puia, Rotorua’s premier cultural attraction. This includes a visit to the wood carving school, art and craft gallery, Rotowhio Marae, weaving display, kiwi house and the Pohutu geyser. Visit the Lakefront area and Ohinemutu Point and this evening experience traditional Maori music and entertainment when you attend ‘Te Po’. The night includes a traditional Maori welcome, concert and ‘Hangi’ style buffet dinner.
Day 7 : Rotorua - Martinborough (460 kms)
Travel through the heart of the North Island today, past steaming geothermal power stations, around New Zealand’s largest lake and cross the barren central volcanic plateau on the ‘desert road’ to arrive in the boutique wine region of Martinborough. Packed with charm, Martinborough features over 20 wineries, most within cycling and walking distance of the quaint village square. Some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir comes from the town’s vineyards.
Day 8 : Martinborough
Today enjoy a personalised one-day tour of Martinborough, the Southern hemispheres only true wine village. Your tour is all-inclusive and unique, including activities and access not available to the general public. You will taste regional cuisine, sample local oils and wines, while being hosted by the winemakers, producers or growers. The tour is fully guided includes tastings/tours at wineries and a wine matched lunch.
Day 9 : Martinborough - Wellington (90 kms)
Today is just a short day’s drive across the rugged Rimutaka ranges to Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital - a truly energetic, cosmopolitan city set around the shores of a pretty harbour. This afternoon you are free to explore the city at your leisure. We recommend a visit to Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand. Explore the great treasures and stories of New Zealand – its unique natural environment, Maori culture, art heritage, and fascinating history.
Day 10 : Wellington - Nelson (Flight)
Return your rental car this morning and fly to Nelson (airfare is included). On arrival collect your car and make your way to your accommodation.
Day 11 : Nelson
The Nelson region combines the finest elements of the New Zealand experience and delivers them across stunning geography; beaches and lakes, spectacular national parks, vineyards, cafés, artists, and galleries that offer a uniquely Nelson way of life. Enjoy a free day exploring the region at your leisure.
Day 12 : Nelson - Greymouth (300 kms)
This morning travel south on New Zealand’s most scenic highway. Gaze in wonder at the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes, where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of hotcakes. Continue south to your beachside accommodation.
Day 13 : Greymouth - Franz Josef (175 kms)
Today you travel through large areas of land that have been worked over for alluvial gold by panning, sluicing and dredging, to arrive in Hokitika. From here, the road dips in and out of dense bush for many miles, crossing beautiful stretches of countryside scattered with farming settlements to Franz Josef, the first of the west coast’s two well known Glacier settlements.
Day 14 : Franz Josef Heli Hike
After an exciting scenic flight, you land high up on the glacier and undertake a two hour guided hike amongst some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery available. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier. You are at leisure this afternoon.
Day 15 : Franz Josef - Wanaka (290 kms)
Leave the lush temperate rainforests of the west coast behind today as you travel to Wanaka, a popular holiday resort town located on the shores of Lake Wanaka
Day 16 : Wanaka - Queenstown (120 kms)
Travel to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, and a year-round alpine resort that enjoys a magnificent setting amid steep mountain ranges and pockets of native bush with the jagged peaks of the Remarkables Range rising from the lake.
Day 17 : Milford Sound
Take the most spectacular scenic flight imaginable this morning as you fly to magnificent Milford Sound to enjoy a cruise travelling the full length of the Sound. Your return flight is equally enthralling as the wilderness of Fiordland National Park is spread out beneath you.
Day 18 : Queenstown
Today is at leisure in New Zealand’s premier resort. Perhaps you’ll ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak, where you’ll enjoy the best views in the region unfolding before your eyes.
Day 19 : Queenstown - Dunedin (310 kms)
Leaving Queenstown follow the Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell and Alexandra, a busy fruit producing town. Follow the Clutha River through Roxburgh, where there is a large hydro dam, journey through the historic gold mining town of Lawrence to the Taieri Plains. Pass Lake Waihola before arrival in Dunedin, the “Edinburgh of the South”.
Day 20 : Dunedin
Nestled in the hills that lie at the end of Otago Harbour, Dunedin has a rich and diverse history, with Maori explorers the first to settle in the region, followed from the mid 0s by whalers, Scottish immigrants and gold miners. The city is a gateway to Otago Peninsula, whose rugged rocks and sandy beaches are home to a wide range of rare wildlife. Enjoy Dunedin at your leisure today.
Day 21 : Dunedin - Christchurch (360 kms)
Travel across rolling plains to Christchurch, where your tour ends on return of your rental car. Please consider driving distances when arranging onward