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 and make your way to your luxury centrally located accommodation.
Relax and explore Auckland this afternoon. The Auckland Museum is well worth a visit, with priceless Maori treasures and amazing natural history on display. You can experience daily Maori cultural performances which include a welcome dance, poi dance, stick game, weaponry display and haka, as well as an ever-changing feast of local and international exhibitions.
In the evening experience a unique dining experience aboard a yacht in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Savour a stunning three course dinner prepared by one of Auckland’s top restaurants.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Bay of Islands 219 km / 136 miles, 3 hours
Drive to the Bay of Islands, renowned for its 144 Islands and surreal maritime park where an abundance of marine life includes whales, penguins and dolphins. Relax on one of the many warm secluded beaches.
Paihia is the perfect base if you would like to discover the coves and beaches of the Bay of Islands! Paihia is also of historic importance to New Zealand, as this is where the historic Treaty House on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is located, which marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation. Just west of Paihia is Haruru, where you’ll find an impressive waterfall and a boardwalk.
Stay 2 nights in Paihia, Bay of Islands.
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.
In the afternoon, you have the option to experience Maori culture by visiting Waitangi’s treaty house and national marae (meeting house), stroll the boutique shops, or sit and relax with a glass of wine at one of the waterfront restaurants.
Driving time Bay of Islands to Auckland 219 km / 136 miles, 3 hours
Journey back to Auckland at your leisure.
Relax in Auckland this afternoon. 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
Auckland is a shopaholic’s paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open air street markets. Discover the diverse range of cafés and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe and check out the buzzing nightlife of the central city. Favourite spots include Wynyard Quarter, the Viaduct Harbour, the Britomart precinct and City Works Depot.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula 178 km / 110 miles, 2.5 hours
Renowned worldwide as a spectacular holiday destination, with warm white sandy beaches, misty rainforests and wilderness a-plenty, the Coromandel is the ideal place to relax and 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.
Discover the excitement and adventure of the Hahei Explorer boat tour to Cathedral Cove – the most photographed beach in New Zealand. Penguins, seals and dolphins are a big favourite when they take time out of their busy schedule to visit the boat. Visit places only accessible by boat including coastal islands in the marine reserve and spectacular sea caves. When the tide is right you will be taken inside an amazing blowhole 80 feet high – a truly magical place.
Relax in the Coromandel for the rest of the day. 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
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.
This afternoon you have the option to visit the Redwoods Treewalk, which features 23 suspension bridges through 115-year-old redwood trees, or explore the Government Gardens and Museum, located on the waterfront of Lake Rotorua.
In the evening enjoy a delicious 3
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua (4.5-star, option to upgrade to Luxury Lodge).
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.
After learning about the unique healing muds of Hell’s Gate during your walk of the geothermal area, experience this for yourself in the secluded New Zealand Spa Area of Hell’s Gate. This includes relaxing in the private geothermal mud bath for 20 minutes, followed by a cool shower which helps restore blood circulation before relaxing in the hot sulphur mineral spas.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy a short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty 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. Keeping with the water theme, Taupo is a great lake for trout fishing, boat cruises, water-skiing, sailing and kayaking. The Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, which can only be seen from the water, make for a great boat trip or kayaking excursion. The forests surrounding the lake offer hiking and mountain biking to suit all levels of experience.
Enjoy a Peak at the Lake Taupo Scenic Floatplane Flight with highlights including flying over the Craters of the Moon.
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 to live theatre, 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 2 nights in Wellington.
Relax and enjoy Wellington City for the day. You may like to visit Zealandia, located a 10- minute drive from downtown Wellington. Hidden in a suburban valley, this project aims to return a 225-hectare section of bush to its pre-human state. Take a walk and hear the songs of the flourishing native bird population.
This afternoon you may like to try the visually stunning Makara Peak track, as well as the City to Sea walk where you can experience the best of Wellington’s waterfront. Ride the cable car up the hill to Kelburn for amazing views over the city and enjoy an ice cream at the top.
You also have the option to add on a Lord of the Rings Tour.
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. 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.
As an important fishing port, Kaikoura is a mecca for seafood lovers. Local specialties include blue cod, paua (abalone) and of course crayfish (lobster).
In the afternoon, you have the option to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity with a Whale Watch Scenic Flight to view the majestic Sperm Whales off the Kaikoura Coast.
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Driving time Kaikoura to Christchurch 188 km / 117 miles, 2.5 hours
Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City awaits you. Discover the vibrant and picturesque garden city, renowned for its natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, and strong cultural heritage. With its stunning botanical gardens and tree-lined avenues, Christchurch is both a sophisticated city and beautiful place to relax.
Your options include visiting the Canterbury Museum where you can find rare Maori artefacts; the stories behind them will fascinate you. The museum has a frequent range of special exhibitions, a café and a gift shop for you to browse. Other recommended activities include the Christchurch Gondola, Tramway, Punting on the Avon River and the Botanical Gardens Tour.
In the evening experience the luxury of a 36 seater colonial style dining tram. Enjoy fabulous dining at your private table with a sightseeing tour showcasing Christchurch’s inner city vibrancy and heritage.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Driving time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo 227 km / 141 miles, 3.5 hours
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and inland towards the majestic Southern Alps. Cross the barren MacKenzie Country to reach the glacial lakes at the foot of the Alps.
Relax in Lake Tekapo this afternoon, with the option to soak in the Tekapo Springs thermal pools, drive or walk up to the Mount John Observatory for panoramic views over Lake Tekapo and the Mackenzie Basin (you could even stop for a coffee or lunch at the Astro Café), stroll
Stay 1 night in Lake Tekapo.
Driving time Lake Tekapo to Wanaka 200 km / 124 miles, 3 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki a picturesque turquoise glacial lake, before you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Wanaka awaits you boasting panoramic views, a relaxing atmosphere and a myriad of walking tracks.
Wanaka has the buzz of a genuine alpine town and is the ultimate hub for outdoor adventures, and with Mount Aspiring National Park located close by it’s the perfect destination for exploring the Southern Alps.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Relax and explore Wanaka – 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.
You could also visit Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room to sample local
Driving time Wanaka to Te Anau 226 km / 140 miles, 2.5 hours
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the vistas from fantastic viewing points. Continue on as you relax and take in the views of heartland New Zealand while you travel through to Te Anau.
In the afternoon, explore a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. Your Te Anau Glowworm Cave adventure begins with a cruise across beautiful Lake Te Anau on board the catamaran Luminosa to the western side of the lake. On arrival, there is time to view the interesting displays at Cavern House before your friendly guides accompany you underground in small groups. As you explore by path and small boat, your senses will be overwhelmed. In this mysterious underground world, discover fossils and rock formations, and view rushing waterfalls and whirlpools. Learn how the caves are still being carved out by the incredible and relentless power of nature before gliding through silent darkness to the glowworm grotto. The delicate incandescence of thousands of tiny glowworms is a magical sight!
Stay 1 night in Te Anau.
Driving time Te Anau to Manapouri 21 km / 13 miles, 20 minutes
Located deep in the heart of a World Heritage Area, Doubtful Sound is an overwhelming place. Start your fantastic overnight cruise with a boat ride across Lake Manapouri to the West Arm, from here journey by vehicle over the mighty Wilmot Pass before arriving at Deep Cove. Board the ‘Seafinn’ and sit back and relax as your skipper and crew provide you with an enjoyable and unforgettable experience. Wind your way around Doubtful Sound on your way out into the open Tasman Sea while you sightsee, relax or fish. Catch you evening meal form the sea and try filleting it too! During your cruise there is also the opportunity to kayak. In the evening enjoy a hearty meal with fellow guest before sitting back and enjoying the spectacular southern sunset that Doubtful Sound is renowned for.
Note: This particular cruise is not suitable for children under 10 years of age. Please enquire for options for younger children.
Stay onboard 1 night the Seafinn.
Driving time Manapouri to Queenstown 172 km / 106 miles, 2.5 hours
In the morning enjoy a delicious breakfast before heading back to Deep Cove and onwards to Manapouri. Drive through historic Otago,
You may also like to ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for panoramic views over the Wakatipu Basin. At the top, you have the option to take a thrilling ride on the Skyline Luge or feast on delicious New Zealand cuisine for lunch or dinner, served up with the best views in town at Stratosfare Restaurant.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Relax and explore Queenstown for the morning or take the short drive to the historic gold mining township of Arrowtown. You’ll be enchanted by historic Arrowtown, a New Zealand treasure located 20 minutes from Queenstown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a procession of heritage buildings that stretches into a tree-lined avenue of tiny miner’s cottages. The buildings in this lovely precinct house shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants – many classy, most individual, and not one from an international chain.
Enjoy a Private Boutique Wine Tour in the afternoon, this tour takes your through the stunning scenery of the Wakatipu Basin, Gibbston Valley, Cromwell and Bannockburn. Taste wines from 4 boutique wineries in the area. Complimented by a delightful platter lunch at Carrick Winery Restaurant with a premium glass of wine. Visit Old Cromwell Town, Kawarau Gorge and the historic Kawarua Bridge and bungy. Before returning to Queenstown.
Explore Queenstown today, with the option to take a day trip to Glenorchy. At the Head of Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy is nestled between the Richardson (east) and Humboldt (west) Mountain Ranges and overlooked by the mighty snow-capped Mount Earnslaw in the north. From Glenorchy you can travel on to a number of fantastic valleys, including Rees Valley, Paradise Valley, Dart Valley, and Routeburn Valley. These valleys border both Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park, and they are ringed by some of the most dramatic mountains in New Zealand
Drop your rental car off at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
© 2020 NZ Travel Organiser
Website by Webstudio