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, explore the city, then make your way to your accommodation.
This evening, if you would like to dine with a spectacular view, you might like to visit the Sky Tower. You are spoilt for choice with three restaurants and cafés up the Sky Tower, including the Orbit 360
Stay 2 nights in Auckland City.
Leave the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park – visited by a staggering one third of all the types of marine mammals found on earth. Departing directly from the Viaduct Harbour, be welcomed aboard the 20 metre, purpose-built vessel ‘Dolphin Explorer’ for an unforgettable marine mammal eco-safari out on the sparkling waters of the Hauraki Gulf. Be surrounded by some of the most abundant marine life in New Zealand, and discover what the beautiful Auckland area has to offer. Enjoy a 4.5 hour eco-cruise on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, including guaranteed whale and dolphin viewing – or you get a free trip! Friendly, knowledgeable guides. Commentary on the culture and history of the Hauraki Gulf. Fully licensed bar with snacks available for purchase.
Driving time Auckland to Rotorua 223 km / 144 miles, 3.5 hours
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.
Rotorua sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of this town’s past and present. Rotorua is the tribal home of the Te Arawa people, who settled in its lakeside geothermal area more than 600 years ago.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
In the morning get ready to hurtle down the Luge tracks in Rotorua. The Skyline Luge is fun and fast-paced, part go-cart, part toboggan. The Rotorua Luge offers a truly unique outdoor experience that should be on your list of things to do in Rotorua.
Found in the heart of New Zealand’s scenic volcanic wonderland, this is where the Luging adventure all began in 1985. Rotorua Luge has three tracks of differing skill levels winding through beautiful forest. Once you reach the Skyline Rotorua complex, select from one of the three exciting Luge trails. Take off downhill on your luge through twists and turns to a backdrop of dramatic scenery and down through our Redwood forest. Once at the bottom, ride the scenic chairlift back to the top of the track.
In the afternoon slip, slide and spin your way down the Zorb tracks. Jump inside one of their giant bouncy plastic Zorbs and experience the thrill ride down the track.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 82 km / 50 miles, 1 hour
Just north of Lake Taupo you’ll find New Zealand’s most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.
In the afternoon experience the thrill of a bungy jump and a 12,000 ft tandem skydive over Lake Taupo, one of the most scenic places to skydive in New Zealand!
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Driving time Taupo to Wellington 370 km / 229 miles, 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
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
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, discover the creative paradise that is Nelson, with galleries, boutique shopping, local markets and gourmet cafés, you will soon love the Nelson way of life.
Stay 1 night in Nelson.
Driving time Nelson to Greymouth 284 km / 176 miles, 4.5 hours
Enjoy your journey down the West Coast to Greymouth. Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast of the South Island with around 31,000 people calling it home. This hardy West Coast town has a history of jade hunting, gold mining and dramatic river floods. The West Coast is known for its rugged beaches and coast, and ‘coasters’ or the locals. They are an independent bunch, who are self-resilient but also friendly and hospitable.
Stay 1 night in Greymouth.
Driving time Greymouth to Franz Josef 170 km / 105 miles, 2.5 hours
Continue down the West Coast, with glimpses of the Tasman Sea showing beneath rugged cliffs, until you reach Franz Josef Glacier.
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 2 nights in Franz Josef.
Today experience a fantastic heli-hike on Franz Josef. Your journey starts at the glacier base building in Franz Josef Village where the friendly team will check you in, get you kitted out with the essential gear and give you a pre-trip briefing.
From here, your guide will lead you a on a short walk through native forest to the heli pad and get you ready to board your helicopter. Adrenaline levels start to spike as you board your helicopter and our highly trained pilot then whisks you away over the jaw dropping landscape – an opportunity to take in the full panoramic majesty of Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere nestled within the surrounding mountains.
Your pilot will land you high up on the glacier itself, where your guide will help you make the final preparations for your hike before you head off to explore the pristine features of this incredible icescape.
During your hike your guide will share with you the story of Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere, their knowledge of the glacier and surrounding area and insight on why Franz Josef is so unique. You’ll come away from your trip not only with a sense of awe at this majestic beauty, but a whole new understanding of why this precious landmark is so special.
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.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
Driving time Wanaka to Milford Sound 343 km / 213 miles, 5.5 hours
Journey alongside Queenstown’s stunning Lake Wakatipu and then through lush green farm land to reach Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
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. No other road in Fiordland offers such a diverse glimpse into New Zealand’s alpine zone.
Once in Milford Sound go on an overnight adventure for a truly immersive Milford Sound experience. Begin your overnight trip with a full length cruise of Milford Sound accompanied by a specialist nature guide. The atmosphere on board is friendly and relaxed, and you’ll quickly get to know your crew and fellow travellers.
As you explore the fiord, keep a lookout for wildlife, especially fur seals basking on the rocks. In the late afternoon, take a guided walk on a section of the world-famous Milford Track or explore the shoreline by tendercraft (small boat) with our nature guide. If you’re feeling brave, you can even go swimming in the fiord’s pure, but cold, waters.
As the shadows deepen, the Milford Wanderer will return under sail (weather permitting) to sheltered Harrison Cove for the night. Enjoy a three-course meal in the cosy saloon, order drinks from the fully licensed bar and relax in the company of like-minded travellers. After dinner you may want to check out the stars in the incredible inky blackness of the remote Fiordland night sky. When you’re ready, retire to a comfortable cabin.
Includes: Quad Share Male/Female cabin with shared facilities, three course dinner and breakfast.
*Option to upgrade to Private Double or Twin Cabin with shared facilities.
Stay 1 night aboard the Milford Wanderer.
Driving time Milford Sound to Queenstown 287 km / 178 miles, 4.5 hours
In the morning, fuel up for the day with a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea (depending on the weather of course) to explore the fiord further. Return to Milford mid-morning.
Drive through the Southland district, farm land, orchards and vineyards to reach Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world!
Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.
Today get ready for the world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride! It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red’, as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breath taking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world famous Shotover Jet full 360º spins!
If you are searching for information regarding the best New Zealand hikes to add to your holiday, check out our Comprehensive List of New Zealand’s Greatest Hikes.
Drop your rental car off at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
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