Arrive in Auckland. The “City of Sails” and New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport, explore the city, then make your way to your accommodation.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Matamata 159 km / 98 miles, 2.5 hours
Experience the real Middle-Earth with a visit to the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire™ that featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies directed by Peter Jackson.
Your tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm, with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon™ Inn, Mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit can be viewed, and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-Earth.
Driving time Matamata to Rotorua 68 km / 42 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the scenic journey to Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity. This diverse city will put on a display as you encounter geysers, mud pools, steaming craters and 16 beautiful lakes.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Today, stroll through Hell’s Gate, a geothermal reserve. See bubbling mud pools, steaming craters, and mineral pools, and even try Maori weaving and woodcarving!
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner.
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 growing region, Hawke’s Bay, Napier is surrounded by picturesque vineyards and wineries. Relax and explore Napier in the afternoon.
Stay 1 night in Napier.
Driving time Napier to Wellington 319 km / 198 miles, 4.5 hours
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, 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 to live theatre, exhibitions, Te Papa Tongarewa: the Museum of New Zealand, and more – Wellington has something for everyone.
Stay 1 night in Wellington.
Sailing time Wellington to Picton 70 km / 43 miles, 3 hours
Driving time Picton to Nelson 134 km / 83 miles, 2 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 – Nelson.
Enjoying New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours, Nelson is a creative paradise, with artists, galleries, local markets and gourmet cafés.
Stay 2 nights in Nelson.
Driving time Nelson to Kaiteriteri 60 km / 37 miles, 1 hour (each way)
Today, enjoy a boat cruise into Abel Tasman National Park, where you can relax on the hot golden sand or take a day walk. Soak in the natural beauty and enjoy!
Driving time Nelson to Hokitika 325 km / 201 miles, 4.5 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 venture down one of the many walking and mountain biking tracks.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Driving time Hokitika to Franz Josef 136 km / 85 miles, 2.5 hours
Continue south through dense rainforest towards New Zealand’s most famous glaciers.
In the afternoon, take a scenic helicopter flight sweeping above Westland National Park as you explore Franz Josef Glacier before landing in the snow to enjoy amazing views of the majestic Southern Alps.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Driving time Franz Josef to Wanaka 285 km / 177 miles, 4 hours
The change in landscape will amaze you as you travel down the West Coast, with glimpses of the Tasman Sea showing beneath rugged cliffs. Take the Haast Pass Highway and admire the waterfalls, mountains, and rivers lining the road. There are many viewing points and short walks to help break up the journey to Wanaka, an alpine paradise with views so good it’s hard to put down your camera.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Enjoy Wanaka by visiting attractions such as Puzzling World, Rippon Vineyard, Cinema Paradiso, the Toy and Transport Museum and the Warbirds and Wheels Museum.
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 fantastic views along the way. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Embark on a scenic coach journey through heartland New Zealand to reach Milford Sound, where you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Milford Sound is sure to impress! Sheer cliffs, towering snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, hanging valleys, sub-tropical rainforest, marine life… words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself! After your cruise, relax while your coach delivers you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Make the most of your last night in Queenstown and add on an enjoyable cruise on Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu to reach Walter Peak High Country Station for a Gourmet Dinner. Make a toast to a fantastic holiday as you cruise back to Queenstown.
Drop off your rental car at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
© 2019 NZ Travel Organiser
Website by Webstudio