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Itinerary Glimpse: With this 14 days / 13 Nights self-drive itinerary, you get to explore Auckland, South of Christchurch, and everything in between. Some top spots on this route are Waitomo, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Nelson, Greymouth, Franz Josef, and Queenstown.
You are the master of your journey, as it is a self-drive itinerary. You can explore Auckland Sightseeing, Rotorua warm attractions, Volcanic Lake Taupo, Franz Josef, and Queenstown. We’ve made pre-booking simpler for you; you just need to browse through our booking menu.
Our package includes Inter-Islander Ferry Crossing and Waitomo Caves admission and tour and the Milford Sounds Nature Cruise.
As soon as you arrive at the Auckland Airport, you can collect your rental car. From there, you can drive straight into Auckland City to check into a centrally located Auckland Hotel. We leave you to relax for the rest of the day and enjoying a leisure evening at the hotel.
If you are all pumped up, we can arrange a 3-hour City Sightseeing tour. You can even choose from the optional extras listed next to this itinerary.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Heritage Hotel Auckland or equivalent.
You head out on a road trip from Auckland to Rotorua, taking the southern route. Experience the soothing greenery as you pass by the lush Waikato farmland heading toward the first stop at Waitomo.
•We arrange a guided boat tour of the Waitomo Caves and take you to explore the famous Glowworm Grotto.
•Here you can explore the underground caverns and witness some towering yet beautiful limestone rock formations.
Drive from Waitomo through the Mamaku Hills, soaking in the beautiful Waikato Plains. Pass by the Fitzgerald Glade to reach the final stop of the day, Rotorua, by mid-afternoon. Check-in at the evening accommodation.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Millennium Hotel Rotorua or equivalent
We leave you for the whole day to explore the geothermal wonderland that is Rotorua! Natural hot springs, spas, and a day full of relaxation. You even get to explore the friendly community, the tranquil lake, and the beautiful Government Gardens.
•In and around Rotorua, you get to explore Te Puia, Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, Maori Arts and Craft Institute, Pohutu Geyser & the thermal Valley, and the simmering mud pools. Rainbow Springs and the famous New Zealand Kiwi are the highest footfall-garnering sites.
•You can even check out the farming and animal rearing techniques at the Agrodome. Witness sheep shearing, feed the animals, or enjoy a sheepdog competition.
Just an hour's drive away from Rotorua is Hobbiton, a popular attraction near Rotorua. Self-drive or upgrade to a half-day coach tour. Catch the 1.20 pm. train from Rotorua.
You can check out the Tamaki Maori Village in the evening to explore the Maori Culture and enjoy the lip-smacking Hangi dinner.
You can purchase the admissions to these attractions can at the time of booking. Choose from the optional extras listed next to this itinerary.
Hobbiton Pre-booking is available and advisable due to its high popularity
Evening Accommodation will be provided in Millennium Hotel Rotorua or equivalent
Drive from Rotorua to Napier. Along the route, you experience:
•Lake Taupo: an expansive volcanic crater lake,
•Exotic forests and geothermal areas.
•Huka Falls posing fantastic photo ops & offering Jet Boating at the Huka River (Check out the optional extras)
After a short en-route stop, continue to travel on the road toward Napier City. The city is situated on the North Island's East Coast. Surrounded by Hawkes Bay, Napier City is renowned across the globe for breath-taking Art Deco buildings in downtown.
Wine connoisseurs are in for a treat because Hawkes Bay is the oldest wine-growing region in NZ. Take a multi-winery tour and taste some authentic and delicious flavors.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Scenic Hotel Te Pania or equivalent
You have the morning to yourself. You can explore everything Napier is known for. Some unmissable in-city attractions are:
• The township and its Art Deco Buildings
• The peaceful sea-shore
Wine-lovers and others alike drive south on State Highway 2 toward Woodville. Enjoy the surrounding hills with wind turbines everywhere you look. Take a short detour to Martinborough, the best wine-growing region in Wairarapa.
After the wine-tasting, you can get back to the Masterton Highway and continue south along the Rimutaka Hills and the Hutt Valley to arrive at Wellington, New Zealand's capital.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in James Cook Hotel, Wellington, or equivalent
You get a leisurely morning to yourself to explore the beautiful Wellington on your own. We can also arrange a 3-hour Wellington City Sightseeing tour. Check out the optional extras.
Around mid-afternoon, you need to catch the Inter-Islander Ferry. It is an all-inclusive drive-on and drive-off ferry service. You will cruise through the Cooks Straight, through the scenic beauty of Marlborough Sounds, till you reach your next destination, Picton, the central city of Queen Charlotte Sound.
If the weather is on your side, this 3-hour ferry ride is a beautiful way to get your hands on those memorable and wonderful captures!
Once you arrive at the quaint township of Picton, you can drive off the ferry and check in to your evening accommodation. The best part of this township is that everything is within walking distance from your accommodation.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Picton Beachcomber Inn or equivalent
Picton is an outdoor recreational gem. You get fantastic mountain biking and hiking terrain. You can even go Kayaking or check out the Edwin fox Maritime Museum and learn about the city's sailing history.
After spending some time within Picton, drive south to Blenheim at the center of the Marlborough Region. Marlborough is a wine-lovers paradise. You get the best quality Sauvignon Blancs here. Take a winery tour or lunch at one of the numerous winery restaurants en-route.
Post-lunch, proceed west to Havelock township at the foot of the Pelorus Sound. Head further along the Rai Valley and the Whangamoa hills till you reach the Tasman Bay situated Nelson. It is a coastal wonderland.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Hotel Nelson or equivalent
The South Street in Nelson is the oldest yet the prettiest in the city. The colorful neighborhood of Victorian cottages will blow your mind away. You can check out some vintage cars at the CCM or visit the Pic's Peanut Butter Factory. Biking at the Great Taste Trail, Paddling at Waka, or paddleboarding at the Tahunanui Beach are the top attractions for outdoor lovers.
Once Nelson is explored, take the State Highway 6 toward the south of Nelson, away from the coast through Murchison in South Island.
From Murchison, follow the Buller River and Buller Gorge to Westport. You will be driving along the rugged West Coast of South Island till you reach Punakaiki. Stop here to click some memorable pictures posing along the Pancake Rocks. Then head towards Greymouth.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Ashley Hotel, Greymouth, or equivalent
Greymouth is an exciting town for adventure seekers and story buffs. It is a town with a long Jade Hunting and Gold Mining history. Wherever you go, you will find someone narrating an awe-inspiring version of the times gone by that will leave you wonder-struck thinking how much of it is true. You might even go for some fly fishing or sea fishing as an entertainment activity.
After exploring the within-city charms, follow the rugged West Coast till you reach Franz Josef Glacier. Pass by Hokitika en route to arrive at the narrow stretch of flatland where the Southern Alps meet the sea.
Admire the beautiful landscape with high mountain peaks on the right and stony beaches on the left. You will be amazed at the abundant fast-flowing rivers and one-way bridges that come your way.
Check in to your accommodation in Franz Josef township, just a short drive away from the crown jewel glacier. There is a moderate walk to the retreating glacier from the car parking region. Find out more about the helicopter ride to the snow-covered glacier in the optional extras menu.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Scenic Circle Hotel Franz Josef or equivalent
Head south for 30 minutes to reach the Fox township, home to the Fox Glacier, to reminiscence the winter wonderland you've left behind.
On a clear day, take the short detour to Lake Matheson to soak in the extraordinary views of Mount Cook. Capture the snow-capped Southern Alps reflection in the lake for memory's sake.
After this short stopover, continue south to encounter the World Heritage Westland National Park. You are bound to go open-mouthed, staring at the thick rainforest amidst the snowy Southern Alps and the Westland Coastline.
En route Queenstown, you will come across the picturesque Haast Pass, Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and Dunstan, the Cromwell fruit orchards, the Kawerau Gorge, the Otago Gold Rush site. You might want to stop at the Kawerau River Bridge for some bungee jumping! You can check out the optional extras for the experience.
If bungee jumping got your adrenaline high, you will love Queenstown, which is said to be the adventure capital of the world!
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Millennium Queenstown or equivalent
This beautiful township deserves a whole day of exploration. Imagine a township nestled among the Lake Wakatipu shores and perennially snow-covered mountains; the imagery is simply charming.
You can even indulge yourself in some of the thrilling adventure activities. Skyline Gondola offers the best views, but if you love the adventure of Jet boating, you must catch the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station.
Find out more about these adventurous extras on the booking menu. Also, to delve into the Gold Rush era, head to the nearby Arrowtown township.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Millennium Queenstown or equivalent
Queenstown is the center of several nearby attractions. So settle in the hotel and head out to one such attraction every day.
Take the stunningly scenic drive to Milford Sound. On this route, you will experience several lucrative stopovers such as Te Anau, Fiordland National Park, Homer Tunnel, and the Cleddau Valley.
Once you reach Milford Sound, go for the unforgettable and all-inclusive Nature Cruise. A glimpse of this majestic fiord is spellbinding. It will make this journey worth your while. Spend some time here before heading back to Queenstown.
You can even take the coach from Queenstown to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sounds for a day tour if you don't wish to drive yourself. To find out more, check out the extras on the booking menu.
Evening Accommodation will be provided in Millennium Queenstown or equivalent
Nature Cruise is included in the tour cost
Bid final adieu to Queenstown as you head towards Mt. Cook. On your way, you get a second go at some previously encountered attractions such as the Kawerau Gorge & the Cromwell Township.
You have to continue south along Lake Dunstan through Lindas Pass. Pass by Twizel, reach Lake Pukakiki, and turn off to Mount Cook. This scenic route offers magnificent photo opportunities.
After a glimpse of Mount Cook, reach the township near Lake Tekapo. Stargazing at Lake Tekapo is a top winter activity in this region. You can visit the Mount John Observatory this dazzling experience. Find out more in the optional extras section.
Note: Evening Accommodation will be provided in Pepper Hotel Lake Tekapo or equivalent
Finally, the road trip is nearing its end. Depart Lake Tekapo to drive to Christchurch. As you leave behind the South Islands high country, reminiscence the fantastic experiences you've had in the fortnight gone by.
Travel through the Southern Alps rolling foothills toward the Canterbury Plains to reach Christchurch. With some time on your hand, peek through the rebuilding of this beautiful down destroyed during the 2011 earthquake.
Conclude this memorable road trip as you return the rental car to Christchurch Airport or a downtown location, leaving with lifetime memories to cherish.
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