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Visit the top coastal and geothermal destinations in New Zealand with this 14-day self drive New Zealand tour. Travel from Auckland to Christchurch, exploring countless must-see sights along the way.
This self drive New Zealand itinerary takes travellers off the typical tour route, perfect for visitors who have already checked off some of the most popular South Island destinations.
With accommodation, activities, and a rental car included, this self drive New Zealand package offers convenient, stress-free travel. We plan an enjoyable schedule and make all the arrangements–all you need to do is enjoy your stay!
Read on for the full details of the 14 Day New Zealand Bays & Boiling Mud Package.
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
Relax in Auckland this afternoon and evening. 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 wineries; or doing a spot of shopping.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula 169 km / 105 miles, 2.5 hours
Renowned worldwide as a holiday destination, with white-sand beaches, misty rainforests and wilderness aplenty, Coromandel is the ideal place to unwind.
Whitianga is the main settlement of Mercury Bay, an attractive township with a deep-water harbour. Now a vibrant coastal town, Whitianga is evolving into a delightful place to visit. Whitianga has an excellent selection of restaurants and cafés, and the thriving retail community provides an interesting collection of outlets.
Stay 2 nights in Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula.
Today, join the Glass Bottom Boat for a unique boat cruise. Depart from the Whitianga Wharf to explore the breathtaking volcanic coastline, including the famous Cathedral Cove. See the stunning Champagne Bay, plus a range of blow holes and sea caves, including Orua’s Sea Cave, the second largest sea cave in New Zealand! See what lies above and below the surface in the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and be amazed by all the marine life to be seen. You can choose your own level of fun. Either sit back and enjoy the amazing marine life through the glass boat, or take the plunge and snorkel amongst the fish. All equipment supplied and no experience necessary. Blue penguins are a common sight year-round.
Driving time Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua 252 km / 157 miles, 3.5 hours
Rotorua is distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity!
The Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park is Rotorua’s most active geothermal area featuring a walkway lined with unique geothermal wonders and interactive opportunities. Experience the geothermal features with a self-guided map to show you around or join a guided tour of the reserve to learn more about the history, features and uniqueness of the geothermal area.
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, the geothermal waters of the Hell’s Gate Sulphur Spa will rejuvenate and refresh you, as you relax and take in the surreal surroundings of the wondrous geothermal landscape.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Relax and explore Rotorua today.
In the evening, enjoy dinner at Rotorua’s most spectacular location – Skyline Restaurant. Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold on your journey to the Skyline complex. The Skyline Restaurant will then serve you a mouthwatering taste of New Zealand, a buffet of legendary proportions. Feast on mouth-watering fresh soups, salads and seafood specialities such as mussels, queen scallops, sushi and sashimi. Enjoy carvery roasts of beef, lamb or pork with special
At the top of the gondola, you also have the option to add on a thrilling Luge Ride, enjoy nature walks, or visit the Jelly Belly Shop and Volcanic Hills winery and tasting room.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy a short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and filled with attractions such as the Huka Falls and bungy jumping.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Driving time Taupo to Napier 141 km / 87 miles, 2 hours
Head to the East Coast and discover Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. Set within the country’s oldest and
Stay 2 nights in Napier.
Relax and explore Napier today. If nature is of interest, add on the Safari Overland to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony – the world’s largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place.
You also 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.
Driving time Napier to Wellington 375 km / 233 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 concerts, live theatre, exhibitions, festivals, 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
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 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 Abel Tasman 47 km / 29 miles, 1 hour
Only a short drive away is the Abel Tasman, 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.
In the morning, 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 Hanmer Springs 304 km / 188 miles, 4.5 hours
Travel on to Hanmer Springs, a year round holiday destination offering a variety of outdoor activities and of course the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. Visitors have been travelling to bathe in the rejuvenating hot mineral pools for over 120 years! Relax in open-air thermal public and private pools and de-stress with spa therapies.
Stay 1 night in Hanmer Springs.
Driving time Hanmer Springs to Christchurch 133 km / 82 miles, 2 hours
At your leisure, travel to Christchurch today. Relax and explore New Zealand’s Garden City in the afternoon.
In the evening, enjoy a Maori Cultural Experience which includes a guided tour through the kiwi house to see kiwi and other New Zealand wildlife icons. Afterwards, you will be greeted with a traditional Maori welcome and challenge (wero), followed by a tour of the replica Maori village, where you will learn about their history, ancestors and traditions. Before dinner you will experience a traditional Maori performance including the haka and a waiata a ringa. To finish off your evening, enjoy a four course dinner with traditional hangi mains, where food is cooked underground long and slow from stones that are heated in a pit.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Drop your rental car off at Christchurch Airport and depart Christchurch.
Our New Zealand holiday packages are fully customisable. In other words, you can change the inclusions, schedule, or accommodation level to match your preferences.
As you begin planning your self drive New Zealand holiday, your personal travel consultant will work with you to tailor your itinerary. Once you are completely happy with your holiday package, we will book your full itinerary and make all necessary arrangements.
Not what you were looking for? We also offer a range of other 14 day New Zealand holiday packages.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your self drive New Zealand holiday.
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