This fantastic all-inclusive New Zealand Self Drive Holiday Package is the perfect family deal, and a great way for you and your family to explore New Zealand! Travel the length of New Zealand, starting in Auckland ending in Queenstown, and experience some great family activities and adventures on the way! Your kids will love the plethora of family-friendly attractions, including jet boating, helicopter flights and the gondola! Check out the itinerary below for this awesome family vacation.
Arrive in Auckland. The “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city, bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport, explore the city and its many family attractions, 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
Make your way to Matamata to discover the real Middle-Earth on the most picturesque private farmland. Near Matamata, visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings films in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in the films. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. You can relax and soak up the unique atmosphere with a great cup of coffee or a light meal in The Shires Rest Cafe.
Driving time Matamata to Rotorua 68 km / 42 miles, 1 hour
After your Hobbiton adventure, enjoy the scenic drive to Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity!
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Relax and explore Rotorua for the day.
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 specialties such as mussels, queen scallops, sushi and sashimi. Enjoy carvery roasts of beef, lamb or pork with specialty sauces to match, with live cooking from your friendly chefs. The legendary Art of the Grill menu will tempt your taste buds even further, with a selection of fillet steak, prawn and Morten Bay Bugs – all cooked on the grill to your liking. Add to that a range of sumptuous desserts, and you’ve got yourself a unique dining experience not to be missed. Tiered seating guarantees stunning views from every table! After dinner, enjoy the scenic ride back down on the gondola. At the top of the gondola you also have the option to add on a thrilling Luge Ride, enjoy nature walks, and visit the Jelly Belly Shop and Volcanic Hills winery and tasting room.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and filled with attractions such as the Huka Falls, Bungy Jumping, Sky Diving, Jet Boating and Boat Cruises. 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. You can visit the Huka Falls at your leisure.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Driving time Taupo to Wellington 375 km / 233 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 walks to exhibitions, festivals, Te Papa Tongarewa: the Museum of New Zealand, and more – Wellington has something for the whole family.
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 is a picturesque city offering beaches, wineries and boutique breweries. If you like food, wine and beer, you will love Nelson! The region also enjoys New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours, which makes it a mecca for fruit-growing, and its natural beauty has attracted a number of artists to the area. There are numerous art galleries to browse through, and be sure to visit the fantastic craft market if you’re in town on Saturday!
Stay 2 nights in Nelson.
Driving time Nelson to Abel Tasman 65 km /40 miles, 1 hour (each way)
Enjoy a boat cruise into the Abel Tasman National Park, where you can relax on the hot golden sand or enjoy a day walk within the park.
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 and make the most of your family vacation.
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, enjoy an unforgettable family experience – a scenic helicopter flight sweeping above Westland National Park. 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
Continue down the West Coast. Turn inland and discover the Haast Pass Highway, with many short walks and natural attractions to view along the way. Arrive in Wanaka, which boasts panoramic views and a relaxing atmosphere. Wanaka offers a host of family attractions such as Puzzling World, the Toy & Transport Museum and Crossfire.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Relax and enjoy the beauty of Wanaka. Explore one of the town’s myriad walking tracks, watch a film at the quirky Cinema Paradiso, or simply experience the attractive town centre.
A visit to the Lavender Farm never goes amiss. Wander through 10 acres of beautiful lavender fields, meet their friendly farm animals, play garden games and enjoy a hot or cold drink at the café; Wanaka Lavender farm is a great place to unwind!
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 historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital and top family destination.
In the evening, relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, the only coal-fired passenger vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Step aboard – watch the stokers fueling the fireboxes and hear the hiss of the steam engines working as the TSS Earnslaw takes you on a nostalgic cruise over beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you will enjoy a stunning gourmet BBQ dinner. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. Then on your return cruise, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Make the most of Queenstown with a trip down Shotover Canyon on the world’s most exciting jet boat ride! Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red,’ you’ll twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world-famous full 360º spins!
Explore Queenstown for the day. In the evening, relax in one of Queenstown’s restaurants and make a toast to a fantastic holiday!
Drop off your rental car at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
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