Fantastic value all-inclusive New Zealand Self Drive Holidays …
Arrive in Auckland. The “City of Sails” and New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport, explore the city, then make your way to your accommodation.
Stay 1 night in Auckland.
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 its surreal maritime park, where you can see an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins and dolphins.
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. Relax on one of the many warm secluded beaches.
Stay 3 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.
Relax in the Bay of Islands for the rest of the day.
You may also like to experience Maori culture by visiting Waitangi’s treaty house and national marae (meeting house).
Driving time Bay of Islands to Auckland 219 km / 136 miles, 3 hours
Return to Auckland and spend the afternoon exploring the city. You have the option to see what it’s like crewing an actual America’s Cup yacht, or explore the city and surrounding countryside on an immersive Fine Wine and Food tour.
Stay 1 night in Auckland.
Driving time Auckland to Matamata 159 km / 98 miles, 2 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 Hamilton 62 km / 39 miles, 1 hour
After your adventure, continue to Hamilton, a vibrant town in the heart of the North Island.
Stay 1 night in Hamilton.
Driving time Hamilton to Waitomo Caves 71 km / 44 miles, 1 hour
Venture to the Waitomo Caves, where you will enjoy the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Caves Combo! Deep underground in the heart of the Waikato are a series of unique caves that will take your breath away. Ruakuri Cave is home to an innovative spiral entrance, echoing waterfalls, and limestone that flows into delicate shawl-like formations. Nearby, at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, thousands of tiny glowworms cling to the cave ceiling, creating a starry sky within the underground night. You’ll also see a deep limestone shaft and a soaring subterranean cathedral that will leave you speechless.
Driving time Waitomo Caves to Rotorua 148 km / 91 miles, 2.5 hours
After your cave adventure, enjoy the scenic journey to Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity.
Stay 3 nights in Rotorua.
Explore Rotorua. Add on a New Zealand RiverJet ride for a fantastic geothermal jet boat safari.
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. 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.
Relax and explore Rotorua today, with the option to take a trip to one of the surrounding towns. One destination you may want to visit is Hamurana—this small township with 900 dwellings is located 15 kms (20 mins drive) northeast of Rotorua, and is renowned for the stunning Hamurana Springs. A stream-side walk runs through a redwood grove with beautiful views of the crystal clear water that runs into Lake Rotorua.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner.
Driving time Rotorua to Napier 219 km / 136 miles, 3 hours
Discover Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand situated within the oldest and second largest wine growing region, Hawkes Bay.
Stay 2 nights in Napier.
If nature is of interest, a Safari to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony – the world’s largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place – is a must.
Otherwise, add on a Napier Wine Tour and taste the world-class wines of the region!
Driving time Napier to Wellington 319 km / 198 miles, 4 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 2 nights 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.
In the afternoon, 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 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 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 134 km / 83 miles, 2 hours
Make your way to Christchurch, New Zealand’s garden city. Explore the city, with the option to add on a gondola ride, punting trip, or tramway tour.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Driving time Christchurch to Akaroa 81 km / 50 miles, 1.5 hours
Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of Banks Peninsula. Banks Peninsula is noted for its beauty and unique wildlife – the land is shaped by rugged volcanic peaks that give way to sandy beaches and two magnificent harbours.
Stay 2 nights in Akaroa.
Explore the village of Akaroa, with its colonial architecture, galleries, cafés, cheese factory and museum. Relax or take part in the many activities including Pohatu Penguins Nature and Sea Kayak Tours – Pohatu is home to the largest Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand.
Driving time Akaroa to Lake Tekapo 302 km / 188 miles, 3.5 hours
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and inland towards the Southern Alps to reach Lake Tekapo, a stunning turquoise lake. Tekapo presents many world class attractions, from the famous Church of the Good Shepherd to scenic flights exploring NZ’s highest mountains and largest glaciers, including Mt Cook, Tasman Glacier, and Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.
Stay 2 nights in Lake Tekapo.
Relax and explore Lake Tekapo today. Wander along the stunning lakefront, soak in the spa pools at Tekapo Springs, or visit the historic Church of the Good Shepherd.
In the evening, option to add on a nighttime tour at Mt John Observatory.
Driving time Lake Tekapo to Wanaka 220 km / 137 miles, 3 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki, a picturesque turquoise glacial lake, and continue your journey through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Stop in Cromwell if you wish, where you can visit orchards and fruit farms to buy some delicious fresh fruit, fruit ice creams, juices and ciders. Continue on to reach Wanaka, an alpine paradise with views so good it’s hard to put down your camera.
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 Te Anau 230 km / 143 miles, 3 hours
Drive over the Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest State Highway, and admire the fantastic views along the way to Queenstown. Past Queenstown, you will venture into the heart of New Zealand as you travel to Te Anau.
Stay 3 nights in Te Anau.
Driving time Te Anau to Milford Sound 116 km / 72 miles, 1.5 hours
Embark on a scenic journey along the Milford Road, one of the finest alpine drives in the world.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, a boat will take you on a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Make sure you keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins! Enjoy a new perspective of the Milford Highway as you travel back to Te Anau.
Driving time Te Anau to Manapouri 21 km / 13 miles, 20 minutes
Sailing/Driving time Manapouri to Doubtful Sound (return trip) 8 hours
Located deep in the heart of a World Heritage Area, Doubtful Sound is an overwhelming place. You can feel the power of nature here – the remoteness, the wilderness and the peace. Enjoy a full-day Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise including a boat cruise on Lake Manapouri, a scenic coach over Wilmot Pass, and a full three-hour Doubtful Sound Cruise. Keep a look out for bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.
Driving time Te Anau to Dunedin 289 km / 179 miles, 4 hours
Make your way to Dunedin, one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the southern hemisphere. Dunedin offers a diverse range of experiences including the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, the Speight’s Brewery, Larnach Castle and of course the stunning Otago Peninsula.
Stay 2 nights in Dunedin.
Today, join the Taieri Gorge Railway for one of the world’s great train trips, an experience not to be missed. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station, the Taieri Gorge Railway will take you on a scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most rugged, ever-changing scenery.
Driving time Dunedin to Queenstown 286 km / 178 miles, 3.5 hours
Drive through historic Central Otago – past farmland, orchards, and vineyards – to reach Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Explore downtown or even take a ride on the gondola to get a great perspective of Queenstown and it’s stunning views.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Get ready for the world’s most exciting jet boat ride! You’ll twist and turn through the narrow canyons of the Shotover River at breathtaking speeds on your Shotover Jet.
Relax and enjoy Queenstown for the afternoon.
Finish your day with an evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw, followed by dining at the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak – the perfect way to celebrate a fantastic holiday!
Drop off your rental car at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
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