Arrive in Auckland the “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city and is bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your luxury centrally located accommodation.
Relax in Auckland this afternoon. Your options include visiting the Sky Tower, the Auckland Zoo, or Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World; venturing to one of Auckland’s stunning beaches or West Auckland
In the evening experience a unique dining experience aboard a yacht in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Savour a stunning three course dinner prepared by one of Auckland’s top restaurants.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Rotorua 219 km / 136 miles, 3 hours
Journey south and enjoy the fantastic and diverse scenery before arriving in Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity.
In the evening enjoy a delicious dinner at the top of the Skyline Gondola at the Stratosfare Restaurant. Feast on mouth watering local seafood, carvery roast meats, and a selection of fillet steak, prawns and Morten Bay bugs cooked to your liking on the grill.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua (4.5-star, option to upgrade to Luxury Lodge).
See bubbling mud pools, steaming craters, mineral pools, learn about New Zealand’s history and culture, and even try Maori weaving and wood carving! After this, sit back and relax with a soak in a private mud bath, followed by the geothermal waters of the Hell’s Gate Sulphur Spa which will rejuvenate and refresh you, as you relax and take in the surreal surroundings of the wondrous geothermal landscape.
Driving time Rotorua to Napier 218 km / 135 miles, 3 hours
Head to the East Coast and discover Napier, the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand. Set within the country’s oldest and second-largest wine
Relax in Napier for the afternoon. You might like to add on a fantastic wine tour! Alternatively, you have the option to visit the National Aquarium of New Zealand, home to the country’s most diverse range of sea life. You might also like to visit Otatara Pa (Maori Fortified Village) which was the largest Pa in the Hawkes Bay region, now a historical reserve showcasing many of the foundations of terraced dwelling sites and food pits.
Stay 1 night in Napier.
Driving time Napier to Wellington 319 km / 198 miles, 4.5 hours
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city and has so much to offer. Set on the edge of a stunning harbour, surrounded by rolling hills, it’s a city rich in culture waiting to be explored. From shopping and picturesque walks, live theatre, exhibitions, Te Papa Tongarewa the Museum of New Zealand and more – Wellington has something for everyone.
Wellington’s top attractions include Te Papa, Weta Workshop, Wellington Cable Car, Mt Victoria Lookout and Wellington Zoo.
Stay 1 night in Wellington.
Sailing time Wellington to Picton 70 km / 43 miles, 3 hours
Driving time Picton to Abel Tasman 181 km / 112 miles, 2.5 hours
It’s all about the journey today as you board the Interislander Cook Strait Ferry, which will transport you on a scenic cruise to Picton. Back on dry land drive through Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine region, to reach your destination. The Abel Tasman is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, rich unmodified estuaries, long sunshine hours and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Stay 2 nights in Abel Tasman.
Enjoy a boat cruise into the Abel Tasman National Park where you can relax on the hot golden sand, enjoy a day walk or simply enjoy a return boat cruise without having to leave the boat.
This trip allows you to explore sections of the Abel Tasman Coast Track; the boat will stop at scenic points along the way where you can get off and walk a section of the track, the boat will then collect you later in the day. Or you may just want to pack a picnic lunch, beach towels and laze on the beach for the day
Driving time Abel Tasman to Hokitika 377 km / 243 miles, 5 hours
Discover the rugged West Coast as you travel to Hokitika, famous for its arts and crafts. Watch a masterpiece being crafted from gold, silver, molten glass, bone, silk or greywacke or carve your own creation from wood or jade “pounamu.” Take in Hokitika’s natural beauty, enjoy its expansive beach or one of the many walking and mountain bike tracks.
While in Hokitika, you may wish to make the scenic drive to Hokitika Gorge, where an impressive turquoise river flows through a narrow canyon, or Lake Kaniere, a beautiful lake nestled beneath the mountains.
You could also visit the National Kiwi Centre, where you will be able to see a rare kiwi; view New Zealand’s living dinosaur, the Tuatara; and participate in feeding the giant eels. Or make a drive north to Shantytown, where you can explore the heritage village, ride the steam train, try your hand at panning for gold, and take old-time styled photos.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Driving time Hokitika to Franz Josef 136 km / 85 miles, 2 hours
Continue south, through dense rain forest towards New Zealand’s glaciers.
In the afternoon take a
While in Franz Josef you may wish to soak in the Glacier Hot Pools, nestled in lush rainforest in a haven of natural tranquility. You can walk to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier to take a look at the ice, or enjoy one of the local walks. In Franz Josef township you have the chance to see New Zealand’s rarest kiwi at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, a unique and interactive experience that brings together nature, conservation, and wildlife all under one roof.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Driving time Franz Josef to Wanaka 286 km / 177 miles, 4 hours
The change in landscape will amaze you as you travel down the West Coast with peeks of the Tasman Sea. Take the Haast Pass Highway and admire waterfalls and many viewing points and short walks along the way before reaching Wanaka, an alpine paradise with views so good it’s hard to put down your camera.
Wanaka has a reputation for great food and wine, with a wide variety of lakefront bars, cafés and restaurants serving exceptional local cuisine, plus a wealth of artisans producing award-winning wine, beer, spirits, bread, and ice cream. Be sure to visit the local farmers market to try some of the region’s best produce.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Wanaka has the buzz of a genuine alpine town and is the ultimate hub for outdoor adventures, and with Mount Aspiring National Park located close by it’s the perfect destination for exploring the Southern Alps.
Relax and explore Wanaka – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the National Toy and Transport Museum. Other options include strolling along one of Wanaka’s stunning walking tracks, relaxing on the lake’s edge or browsing through Wanaka’s boutique shops.
You could also visit Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room to sample local
Driving time Wanaka to Queenstown 70 km / 43 miles, 1 hour
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the vistas from fantastic viewing points. Be sure to stop at historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Enjoy a scenic coach journey through heartland New Zealand to reach Milford Sound. The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. The schedule includes plenty of time for short nature walks and photo opportunities along the way.
Upon reaching Milford Sound you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Stare in amazement as Milford Sound will impress! Sheer cliffs, towering snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, sub-tropical rain forests, marine life… words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself! After your cruise relax while you fly back over the stunning scenery delivering you back to Queenstown Airport.
Make the most of your last night in Queenstown with an enjoyable cruise on Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu to reach Walter Peak High Country Station for a stunning evening dinner. Make a toast to a fantastic holiday as you cruise back to Queenstown.
Drop your rental car off at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
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