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, 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 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 warm white-sand beaches, misty rainforests and wilderness aplenty, the 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.
Relax in the Coromandel. You may wish to visit Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own hot pool, or relax in naturally heated mineral waters at The Lost Spring Geothermal Spa in Whitianga. Surrounded by tropical plants and soothing waterfalls, the thermal waters flow from a spring deep within the earth’s surface. For a real treat, indulge in a pampering session at the on-site day spa.
Driving time Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua 252 km / 157 miles, 3.5 hours
Rotorua is distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity.
In the evening, enjoy a Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner. Hear stories and learn how Maori traditions live on today. Experience an authentic Maori welcome. Watch a challenge by the Maori warriors, a karanga (call) from the Maori women welcoming you onto the marae, and a whaikorero (welcome speech). Relax and enjoy the beautiful waiata (songs), the world renowned haka (challenge), and the elegant poi dance. Learn Maori customs including Maori musical instruments, haka and poi. The dining experience is a culinary opportunity like no other. Following dessert, you will be transported down into the valley to conclude your evening beside the awe inspiring Pohutu geyser.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Today, visit Rotorua’s Skyline Gondola. The Skyline complex is situated just minutes from central Rotorua, high up Mt Ngongotaha. To begin your Skyline Rotorua adventure, take a leisurely uphill gondola ride and enjoy the extensive views over Rotorua and the surrounding lakes and geothermal areas. At the top, enjoy the famous Skyline Buffet and feast on delicious New Zealand fare for lunch, served up with the best views in town! 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.
Explore Rotorua in the afternoon. Option to add on a New Zealand RiverJet ride for a fantastic geothermal jet boat safari.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and providing attractions such as the Huka Falls and bungy jumping. The Huka Falls is New Zealand’s most visited attraction, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.
Experience a Taste of Taupo Scenic Floatplane Flight, filled with scenic highlights which include flying over the Craters of the Moon.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Driving time Taupo 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 exhibitions, festivals, 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 Kaikoura 156 km / 97 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. Enjoy the coastal drive along the South Island’s east coast to Kaikoura.
Kaikoura is a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population. The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway winds from the town centre to lookout points at Point Kean. Close by, the rock platforms are home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals. The 1800s Fyffe House is a cottage built on a foundation of whalebones, with displays on the town’s whaling past.
Option in the afternoon to add on a Whale Watch Scenic Flight for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view the majestic Sperm Whales off the Kaikoura Coast.
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Driving time Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs 134 km / 83 miles, 1.5 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 & Spa. Visitors have been travelling to bathe in the rejuvenating mineral pools for over 120 years! Relax in open-air thermal pools and de-stress with spa therapies.
You might like to add on a Jet Boat adventure this afternoon! Enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Waiau River and Jet the entire length of Hanmer’s spectacular Gorge
Stay 1 night in Hanmer Springs.
Driving time Hanmer Springs to Akaroa 225 km / 140 miles, 3 hours
Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of Banks Peninsula. The peninsula is noted for its unique wildlife and natural beauty, shaped by rolling volcanic peaks which give way to sandy beaches and two magnificent harbours.
Stay 1 night in Akaroa.
Driving time Akaroa to Lake Tekapo 302 km / 188 miles, 3.5 hours
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains before heading inland towards the Southern Alps to reach Lake Tekapo, an amazing turquoise lake. Tekapo presents many world-class attractions, from the famous Church of the Good Shepherd to the luxurious spa complex of Tekapo Springs. If you want unforgettable views of the area, option to add on a scenic flight over New Zealand’s highest mountains and largest glaciers.
At night, join Dark Sky Project on their famous observatory tour at the top of Mt John! See the wonders of the southern night sky, and experience the thrill of peering through powerful telescopes. When the stars are hidden from view, take a journey to discover the nocturnal world of an astronomer: see a range of research equipment that is out-of-bounds to the general public and experience the working environment of an astronomer.
*Please note this tour is not suitable for children under 8 years old. Families with younger children will be booked on a suitable tour.
Stay 1 night in Lake Tekapo.
Driving time Lake Tekapo to Wanaka 198 km / 123 miles, 3 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki, a stunning glacial lake, before you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass linking the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Wanaka awaits you, boasting panoramic views, a relaxing atmosphere and myriad walking tracks.
Relax and explore Wanaka this afternoon. 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.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
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 2 nights in Queenstown.
Enjoy 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 returns through stunning scenery before delivering you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Drop off your rental car at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
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