With these tours we present some of our most popular and compelling self-drive itineraries. Experience the benefits of self driving but enjoy the convenience and security of us pre-booking your chosen type of accommodation and rental car. Just enjoy the travelling without having to worry about where you are going to stay.
Any of our itineraries can be modified as well as adding extra days in any of the locations. If you require something completely different, please advise and we will be happy to put something together.
During your trip you can call us anytime to make amendments to your tour, book extra activity or simply ask for some advice. We will be happy to help you anytime of the day or night.
Plan and Book Ahead
Preplanning and pre-booking your New Zealand vacation before you depart is essential. Limited accommodation in certain areas during the high season could mean that a town’s accommodation can be booked out well in advance. Without pre-booking, you may find that the you pay a higher rate upon check-in or waste a lot of time travelling between accommodation providers trying to find a suitable option.
We know the best places and with our discounted rates you are guaranteed of receiving well chosen accommodation options at the best possible price. Pre-planning will ensure you make the most of your valuable holiday time. Acrossnz is well-versed with all areas of New Zealand and is totally experienced at arranging well planned self drive itineraries. Feel free to ask the advice of Acrossnz when planning your self drive adventure to make sure you maximize your holiday experience.
Book early: New Zealand has very limited availability in the summer months and often books out well in advance. It is recommended to book early to avoid disappointment.
Create Your Own Self Drive Holiday
Along with choosing one of our prearranged itineraries you can construct your own ‘a la carte’ holiday by booking the rental vehicle from this link and selecting your accommodation from our accommodation link. If you choose to book your accommodation through our link we will happily assist with knowledge on your accommodation choices or amendment your itinerary to ensure your holiday is just what you want.
Camper Vans & Motor Homes
Perhaps you prefer to follow one of the itineraries we have created in a Motor Home? Just book the Motor Home with us and we will be happy to provide you for the full itinerary as well as assisting you with camping ground bookings. Click here to choose some of the cheapest options in NZ.
Arrive Auckland - Full Day Auckland - Rotorua via Waitomo Caves - Full Day Rotorua - Travel to Lake Taupo - Travel to Tongariro National Park - Ful Day Tongariro National Park - Travel to Wellington - Full Day Wellington - Depart Wellington
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest, busiest and most diverse city. Home to almost one third of the country’s population, and the business centre of the nation, it’s not surprising this vibrant metropolis is often mistaken for the country’s capital. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland is magnificently framed by the stunning waterways, the Hauraki Gulf and Manukau Harbour. Easily highlights of the city, the harbour and marina are in walking distance of your accommodation. Distinct in its pace, opportunities and multi-cultural influences, Auckland offers many diverse events, attractions and experiences. Auckland is a popular arrival destination for starting your New Zealand holiday, a fantastic place for a city break or a perfect venue for an unforgettable surfing holiday.
Auckland, the “City of Sails”, lies on an extinct volcanic bed and is magnificently framed by geographic wonders – the stunning waterways of the Hauraki Gulf and Manukau Harbour and by native forests. From boats and boutiques, to surfing and socialising, Auckland is a marvellous multi-cultural city that offers so very many diverse events, attractions and experiences and is thus a great place for a city break.
Distinguished by former volcanic activity, Auckland’s landscape is made up of cones, lakes, lagoons, depressions and islands. Take in the city’s incredible scenery at Viaduct Basin, a marina home to hundreds of yachts and many nautical events including the high profile America’s Cup; at the volcanic peak, One Tree Hill, a memorial place of social importance; or at the cinder cone, Mt Eden.
Piercing the skyline and intrinsic to Auckland’s identity are the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the Sky Tower, an imposing 328m structure which is the tallest of its kind in the southern hemisphere; jump off it if you dare (‘Sky Jump’!) or simply take the elevator up to the ‘deck’ on the 62nd floor. Scrumptious sea-food buffet is available on the 58th floor (Observation restaurant) and seats should be booked in advance.
A less arduous but equally beautiful walk is through the restored and trendy Victorian-era suburbs – the views from Ponsonby are spectacular; whilst in Parnell are: the Gothic Revival Cathedral of St Mary, the Kinder House complete with a resident ghost and the quaint Ewelme Cottage built in 1863 by the fantastically named Reverend Vicesimus Lush!
Cutting through an old volcanic valley floor runs Auckland’s commercial yet classy Queen Street where great shopping can be followed by fine dining. Halfway down is the inner city hub, Aotea Square (Old Town Hall, Aotea Centre Cultural Complex), and nearby is the Auckland Art Gallery where some of New Zealand’s best works are displayed – some dating back to the time of Captain Cook. Art appreciation continues at The Heritage Gallery and New Gallery, whilst New Zealand’s history is recorded at the Auckland War Memorial Musuem (the Maori and South Pacific collection of art and treasures is of national significance), Museum of Transport and Technology and the New Zealand National Maritime Museum.
Upmarket shopping continues on Ponsonby Road, High Street, Karangahape Road and Newmarket. If your style is less boutique, more bargain, then try the fleamarkets at Otara and Avondale.
Entertainment of outstanding quality is never far away – superlative dining, night-clubs, theatre, cinema and opera venues are dotted around the city. Families with children are also well catered for: Howick Historical Village is a living museum on a mid C19th compound, Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World, Auckland Zoo and Rainbow’s End – New Zealand’s largest theme park. Proud of its pretty parks and gardens, Auckland offers us great choices: Albert park, the Auckland Domain (winter gardens, tropical plant house) and Cornwall Park.
And of course, there are the wonderlands of nature, picture-perfect swimming and surfing beaches are plentiful and local – the popular Mission Bay, Devonport, Piha and KareKare which was made famous in the opening scenes of the New Zealand film, ‘The Piano’.
Auckland to Rotorua
Driving distance: 235 km / 146 miles
Driving: Approx 3h21m
Travelling south on SH1, the buzz of the city gives way to the more bucolic sights and sounds of the country – farms, market gardens and rivers such as the Waikato. Interests en route include vineyards at Te Kauwhata, the historic battle site at Rangiriri, the coal-mining town (and museum) at Huntly and the thermal springs at Waingaro.
If time is plentiful, the Mormon temple at Temple View is open to visitors and Hamilton offers city delights: fine dining, great shopping, museums and impressive 50+ hectare gardens. SH3 leads towards Te Kuiti where the magnificent Tokanganui-a-noho Marae is worth a peek from the street.
However, easily the big attraction of this area is Waitomo and its series of spectacular limestone caves – let millions of luminescent dots light your way in the glow-worm caves, visit the Aranui caves for their huge multi-coloured stalactites or Ruakuri caves for the intriguing labyrinth of waterfalls and alcoves. Guided tours, cruises and black-water activities are available. The fabulous Ruakuri walkway (next to Aranui cave) follows the Waitomo River for 30 minutes revealing wonderful limestone formations and lush bush life.
Onto SH5, the route travels through the volcanic terrain of the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park and leads to Rotorua.
Famed for its geothermal activity, Rotorua is utterly unique – peer into an active volcano and watch the belly of the earth bubble and roar as it leeches sulphurous steam trying to find its way out through thermal pools and geysers. Steeped in Maori history and culture, and picturesque to boot, Rotorua offers a profusion of opportunities for the long or short-term visitor.
The thermal activity in Rotorua is fascinating – as is the local constant companion, the smell of sulphur! There are many geysers to view although the Pohutu Geyser in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley at Te Puia is arguably Rotorua’s favourite geyser known for its 30 metre high steam spurts! Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is where the rich Maori history and culture of the region is detailed through song, dance and storytelling.
However there is more to Rotorua than hiss and steam. A visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing a few of the 16 magnificent lakes in this region – such as Lake Rotorua, Lake Tarawera or the beautiful Green (Rotokakahi) and Blue (Tikitapu) Lakes – perhaps even catch a trout for dinner? Popular water sports are kayaking, jet boating, water skiing, fishing (note that Green Lake is closed to public) and white water rafting (especially at the Kaituna River).
Nearby Mount Tarawera is known for its devastating volcanic eruption of 1886 which, in destroying three whole villages, also buried The Pink and White Terraces, a geological phenomenon considered to be the eighth wonder of the world.
Opportunities for families – attractions and actions – abound. For the adrenaline junkies why not try hurtling downhill in a plastic bubble, racing through space, body flying or bungy jumping 43 metres! But worry not, there’s always horse riding, orienteering and walks through the lovely Whakarewarewa (Redwood) Forest.
Rotorua to Taupo
Driving distance: 76 km / 47 miles
Driving: Approx 1h5m
Whether you drive on SH30, then SH1 or follow SH5 south towards Taupo, a riveting journey is guaranteed and our recommended route is via SH5 so can visit Waimangu Geotherrmal Valley and/or Wai O Tapu. Traversing this active geothermal area, the volcanic terrain is fascinating and has huge geological appeal. En route look out for the tremendous and unique thermal valleys. Wai-O-Tapu has been active for over 150,000 years and has some remarkable features such as the deep cauldron-like craters bubbling frantically with mud and the coloured pools.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s newest geothermal system and features both a scenic reserve and a wildlife refuge – walks, cruises and bus trips are available. The more secluded Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are equally worth a diversion. Other interesting places to visit include the hydro power station at Atiamuri and the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station further south. For a natural, perhaps ‘raw’, experience of the pure energy of water, make time to see the stunning Aratiatia rapids and the Huka Falls where water hurtles down at a rate of more than 220, 000 litres per second.
Finally, the glistening harbour announces your arrival at the largest lake in New Zealand, Lake Taupo.
Taupo to Tongariro National Park
Driving distance: 133 km / 83 miles
Driving: Approx 1h56m
You’ll follow the eastern edge of Lake Taupo to reach Turangi. The drive is very scenic and there are many picnic opportunities along the way. Where streams run into the lake, you’ll often see trout fisherman trying their luck.
The town of Turangi is the trout fishing capital of New Zealand. There are famous fishing spots in almost every direction, including ‘The Delta’, ‘The Hole’, ‘Little Big O’ and ‘Tailrace’ (believed to contain the world’s fattest trout). The nearby hot springs of Tokaanu are another attraction, or you can try rafting the Tongariro River. The walks and skifields of the Tongariro National Park are also close by.
Your drive to National Park Village follows the edge of the Tongariro National Park. The road to the historic Grand Chateau hotel and Whakapapa skifield turns off to the left. The chateau makes an excellent refreshment stop.
National Park Village is well positioned for those who want to explore the Tongariro National Park. The volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro can be seen from here. The park was gifted to the New Zealand people in 1887 by the Ngati Tuwaretoa tribe and is now a World Heritage area. The Tongariro Crossing is regarded as one of the best one-day walks in the world.
Three active volcanoes define the Tongariro National Park and deservedly elicit gasps of awe at the incredible sight of these huge geological beasts expelling lava. The three volcanic peaks are Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. The National Park is so naturally spectacular and culturally significant that it has been awarded the rare accolade of dual World Heritage Site status.
Covering almost 80 000 hectares, the national park’s scenery is sublime and varied – dry deserts and barren tussocks morph into mountain beech forest and wetlands, it is no wonder this became a favourite filming location for “The Lord of the Rings.” Tracks and huts are available for fit trampers/walkers especially on the popular walks – the ‘Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk’, the ‘Round the Mountain (i.e. Mount Ruapehu) Track’ and the famous one day track – the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track’.
Tongariro National Park to Wellington
Driving distance: 293 km / 182 miles
Driving: Approx 4h14m
Heading south from Tongariro National Park on SH4 past the Makatote viaduct and then SH49, there’s a picnic opportunity in the Karioi State Forest before Waiouru which is in the heart of army territory – if the military is of interest, the museum is worth a visit.
Heading south through broken country past Taihape there is now a choice of directions. SH54, SH3 to SH2 travels south through a gorge, past antique-filled Woodville, Masterton and Victorian Greytown – a great place to take refreshment break and browse haute couture made by New Zealand’s top fashion designer, Trelise Cooper – before the route leads to Wellington, 1 & ½ hours away.
Alternatively, SH1 southbound reveals some unusual gems at Foxton such as the full-sized windmill in the main street or its wonderful Flax stripping museum. The glorious Kapiti Coast has many lovely beaches en route for a quick splash or snack, there are potteries at Te Horo and Waikanae, a superb lookout over Kapiti Island’s rare bird sanctuary; and two great vintage museums: the Southward (Motor) museum at Paraparaumu and the Tramway museum at Paekakariki. SH1 becomes more urban as it finally leads to the country’s capital.
Whichever way you look, Wellington is sure to please. Vibrant and dynamic yet steeped in history, Wellington offers its visitors many diverse opportunities to explore the city’s political, cultural and creative heritage. Large enough to be the Capital City, small enough to be captivating, Wellington truly lives up to its slogan: “Absolutely Positively Wellington”.
Seat of the New Zealand Government, take a free guided tour around the halls of power (Parliament Buildings and the Beehive, named for its shape); or perhaps clarify your political thoughts over a drink at the Backbencher bar!
Occupying a stunning waterfront location is the National Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, where state-of-the-art presentations and exhibits chronicle New Zealand’s art, history and Maori culture. For a different focus, there’s the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, Zealandia (Wildlife Centre) and even the Cricket Museum.
Despite being nick-named ‘windy Wellington’ due to its proximity to the Cook Strait, Wellington is a beautiful and compact city well worth walking around. Beach (Kapiti Coast), bush and mountain views (Kaikoura Ranges due south, Rimutaka Ranges due east), all compete with the glistening seafront and busy harbour for the visitors attention; whilst historic buildings (Old St Paul’s, Saint Mary of the Angels, Colonial Cottage, 1858, author Katherine Mansfield’s home), gardens (the Botanical Gardens, Otari Wilton’s bush) and further explorations await (Cable car, two Observatories).
Blending old-world charm of a European city with contemporary cosmopolitan ideas, Wellington offers Lambton Quay for quality shopping (showcasing some of New Zealand’s top designers), the Cuba Quarter for a taste of bohemia and Courtenay Place for the buzz of inner city entertainment, world-class performances, superlative dining, night-clubs, theatre, cinema and opera. Home to numerous national and international festivals, Wellington always has something for everyone. Absolutely Positive!
Drop your rental car off at the airport and catch your domestic flight to connect with you international flight.
|Bed & Breakfast
|12 Seater Van
|Full Size 4WD
|8 Seater People Mover
|12 Seater Van
Pricing is based on 2 people. Option of Double Room (1 bed) or Twin Room (2 beds) For single travellers or larger groups vacationing together please contact us for a customized quation to ensure you receive the best price. For different rooming configurations (eg triple share or special needs) please contact us.
Children under 5 travel for free (max 2 excluding certain activities) Children aged 5-14 at time of travel are an added extra (max 2)
4 nights accommodation; 5 days rental vehicle of choice; All Inclusive rate hire including unlimited kilometres, loss damage waiver (LDW, provides Accident Damages Cover which is subject to excesses that can be reduced); airport concession fee recovery; accident excess reduction insurance; local sales tax (GST); Guided tour of Waitomo Glowworm caves + Aranui Cave; Te Puia daytime experience
Flights to New Zealand and airport taxes
Prices are in New Zealand dollars and include 15% GST (local sales tax) Click here for an online currency converter to convert prices to your own currency (approximate only)
All prices are based on travel between October 1st through to March 31st. For prices outside these dates, please contact us directly