Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your Queenstown accommodation.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Today, enjoy the TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Gourmet Lunch. Your experience starts with a cruise across Lake Wakatipu in the 100 year old steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm to enjoy a gourmet BBQ lunch. An entertaining after-lunch farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. On your return cruise to Queenstown, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist.
Driving time Queenstown to Te Anau 171 km / 106 miles, 2.5 hours
Journey alongside Queenstown’s stunning Lake Wakatipu and then through lush green farmland to reach Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Driving time Te Anau to Milford Sound 116 km / 72 miles, 1.5 hours
Today, enjoy the stunning Milford Sound Nature Cruise! 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.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. With specialist nature guides on board, Real Journeys Nature Cruises offer a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, and wildlife. Throughout the cruise, the guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions.
Relax and explore Te Anau for the afternoon.
Driving time Te Anau to Wanaka 230 km / 143 miles, 3 hours
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the vistas from fantastic viewing points. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views, a relaxing atmosphere and myriad walking tracks.
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 wines, or catch a film at Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka’s quirky local theatre.
Driving time Wanaka to Franz Josef 285 km / 177 miles, 4 hours
Discover the Haast Pass Highway, where there are many short walks and natural attractions to view along the way. Continue north, through dense rainforest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards New Zealand’s most famous glaciers.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Driving time Franz Josef to Hokitika 136 km / 85 miles, 1.5 hours
Enjoy your journey north along the West Coast 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.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Driving time Hokitika to Abel Tasman 377 km / 243 miles, 5 hours
Continue north to 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.
Take a boat cruise into Abel Tasman National Park today, where you can relax on the hot golden sand, enjoy a day walk, or simply remain aboard for the return cruise. Soak in the natural beauty and enjoy! 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. You could also just pack a picnic lunch and beach towels and laze on the beach for the day.
Driving time Abel Tasman to Picton 181 km / 112 miles, 2.5
Make your way to Picton to board the Interislander Ferry for a scenic cruise to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. 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 2 nights in Wellington.
Relax and enjoy Wellington City for the day. Options include visiting top Wellington attractions such as Te Papa, Weta Workshop, Wellington Cable Car, Mt Victoria Lookout and Wellington Zoo. You may also 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.
You also have the option to add on a Lord of the Rings Tour.
Driving time Wellington to Taupo 375 km / 233 miles, 4.5 hours
Travel north to Taupo today. Lake Taupo is a great lake for 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. 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.
Stay 2 nights in Taupo.
Option to add on a Scenic Floatplane Flight over Lake Taupo with highlights that include flying over the Craters of the Moon.
Driving time Taupo to Rotorua 81 km / 50 miles, 1 hours
Enjoy the short drive north 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.
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.
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 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. 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 Matamata 68 km / 42 miles, 1 hour
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 Shire’s Rest Cafe.
Driving time Matamata to Auckland 161 km / 100 miles, 2.5 hours
Travel to Auckland at your leisure in the afternoon.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Bay of Islands 226 km / 136 miles, 3.5 hours
Drive to the Bay of Islands, renowned for its 144 islands and surreal maritime park where you can see an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins and dolphins.
Stay 2 nights in Paihia, Bay of Islands.
Today, board the premium Discover the Bay Cruise and see for yourself the best of what the Bay of Islands has to offer. Journey to the Hole in the Rock and if weather permits, sail through it. See marine wildlife including Dolphins and stop off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island to have a swim, go for a walk and relax. This cruise includes a delicious BBQ lunch.
In the afternoon, you have the option to experience Maori culture by visiting Waitangi’s treaty house, gardens and national marae (meeting house).
Driving time Bay of Islands to Auckland 226 km / 136 miles, 3.5 hours
At your leisure, make your way to Auckland. Relax in Auckland for the afternoon or join the crew and enjoy an America’s Cup Sailing experience, a must-do experience where you get a chance to spend 2 hours out on the harbour on an actual America’s Cup yacht!
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Drop your rental car off at Auckland Airport and depart Auckland.
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