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16 Day North + South Islands

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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.


  • 16 nights accommodation in 3.5 to 5 star B&Bs / motels / hotels 
  • Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges, unlimited kms & additional driver fees 
  • Rental car insurance included – Excess reduced to zero 
  • Comprehensive travel itinerary, maps and vouchers 
  • 24/7 nationwide roadside accident assistance 
  • Interislander ferry crossing
  • Te Puia daytime geothermal experience, come face to face with Pohutu Geyser, jumping mudpools, and live kiwi birds
  • Elm wildlife encounter tour, encounter penguins, Fur Seals, Sea Lions and the Royal Albatross
  • Free after hours assistance for amendments or additional bookings with you assigned consultant. 
  • 15% Goods and Services Tax

Other Information


  • These tours depart daily. Please click on the “Prices and Dates” tab for accommodation and rental car options.


  • Daily departures / 365 days of the year 
  • Tours can start and finish on any day of the week 
  • Mix, match and join individual tours together to create a tailor made itinerary

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.

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand - Rotorua - Day in Rotorua - Fly to Wellington - Wellington - Picton - Kaikoura - Kaikoura - Christchurch - Christchurch - Mount Cook - Mount Cook - Dunedin - Dunedin - Te Anau - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau - Queenstown - Day in Queenstown - Queenstown - Glaciers - Travel through to Punakaiki - Punakaiki - Christchurch - Depart New Zealand


Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand

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.



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. There are many interests en route, both urban and rural, 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 and you’re looking for a diversion, there’s the beach at Raglan, known for its perfect surfing conditions, Maungatautari Ecological Island is 15kms from pretty Cambridge, the Mormon temple at Temple View is open to visitors. Taking SH5 at Tirau – known for its fascinating animal-shaped corrugated iron buildings and antique shops – the route travels through the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park, over interesting volcanic terrain and leads to Rotorua. 

Stay 2 nights in Rotoura


Day in 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.



Geothermal Experiece | Te Puia

Fly to Wellington

Catch an early morning flight to Wellington. The flight is around an hour, but driving will take you over 6 hours, so it is a great way to save time and hassle.

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!


Wellington - Picton - Kaikoura

Wellington to Kaikoura 
Driving distance: 226 km / 140 miles 
Driving: Approx 2h15m 
Sailing: Approx 3h20m 

When travelling between islands a ferry journey is required. 

Cross Cook Strait by ferry, through the Marlborough Sounds and onto Picton. 
You would have dropped your car off at Wellington ferry terminal and you’ll collect your next vehicle in Picton terminal.

The road south hugs the coastline between the Kaikoura Ranges and the Pacific. Enter Kaikoura in the afternoon and you may take a Whale watch cruise this afternoon or tomorrow morning (if you prefer only driving through Kaikoura and staying tonight in Christchurch – this is possible)



Interislander Ferry Crossing

Kaikoura - Christchurch

Kaikoura to Christchurch 
Driving distance: 188 km / 117 miles 
Driving: Approx 2h46m 

Heading north along SH1 towards to small coastal town of Kaikoura is a glorious trip, perfect for a day outing. This route follows the South Island’s east coast and there are many opportunities to pop into a beach en route: take in the sublime estuary and coastal views at Waikuku beach, the rugged atmospheric beach at Amberley or the cliffs and bay at the small holiday township, Gore Bay. 

If it’s lunchtime then Waipara, sun soaked and grape-filled, has excellent wineries (with cafés and restaurants) just off the main road – and if it’s Sunday, look out for the Weka Pass Steam Train. The Hurunui river is significant to North Canterbury, yet it’s the incredible tandem views of mountains and sea – and the real possibility of spotting a whale – that herald your arrival into Kaikoura.


Christchurch - Mount Cook

Christchurch to Mt Cook Village 
Driving distance: 332 km / 206 miles 
Driving: Approx 4h50m 

Leaving behind the plains of Canterbury; scenic route 72 heads inland offering gentle views of farmlands and shadows the foothills. Glentunnel is a reminder of New Zealand’s mining history and be impressed as the route crosses the magnificent Rakaia river. Geraldine is delightful small town with some unusual museums and the Mackenzie Country, vast and barren, is majestically scenic. However it is nearby Lake Tekapo (88 km; 1 and ¼ hours) with its tiny stone Church of the Good Shepherd and distant snow capped mountains that makes a magical stopping place. Heading around Lake Pukaki, Mount Cook is irresistibly close – please note that the last stretch of road off the main highway into Mount Cook village is partly gravel, an average of 50kms and 1 hour drive.


Mount Cook - Dunedin

Mt Cook Village to Dunedin 
Driving distance: 327 km / 203 miles 
Driving: Approx 4h44m 

Heading away from Mount Cook National Park, SH8 leads you through the beautiful, bare Mackenzie country past Twizel, a popular Lord of the Rings filming location, and onto Omarama – small yet world renowned for its perfect gliding conditions. Taking SH83 towards Pukeuri Junction unveils some visual delights including the Benmore Dam and the Maori rock art at Duntroon. Southward bound on SH1 lies historic Oamaru, a beguiling small town famed for ‘Oamaru stone’ and home to the smallest penguin in the world. Next stop has to be Moreaki and the enormous boulders on the beach; and Karitane, a pretty coastal village with its cliff edge Māori pā, whilst ‘Edinburgh of the South’, Dunedin, lies just ahead. From Dunedin visit Otago Peninsula – home to the Royal Albatross, the yellow eyed penguin, NZ fur seal, and sea lions. We will make the reservation for the wildlife tour. 



Elm Wildlife Tour | Dunedin

Dunedin - Te Anau

Dunedin to Te Anau 
Driving distance: 298 km / 185 miles 
Driving: Approx 4h19m 

Heading south away from Dunedin on SH1 and joining the SH92 at Balclutha, this route, also known as the Southern Scenic route, simply sparkles! Known for its rugged and natural beauty, the Catlins Coast has a great many highlights from spotting penguins, seals, and dolphins frolicking in the sea; hearing the distinctive call of native birds; to historic lighthouses, superlative horizon views and the 180 million year old fossilized forest at Curio Bay. 

Heading south away from Dunedin on SH1 and joining the SH92 at Balclutha, this route, also known as the Southern Scenic route, simply sparkles! Known for its rugged and natural beauty, the Catlins Coast has a great many highlights from spotting penguins, seals, and dolphins frolicking in the sea; hearing the distinctive call of native birds; to historic lighthouses, superlative horizon views and the 180 million year old fossilized forest at Curio Bay.


Te Anau - Milford Sound

Te Anau -Milford Sound 
Driving distance: 120 KM    
Travelling time: 2.5 hrs

They say that life is about the journey not just the destination and where better to reflect upon this than on the magnificent Milford Road? One of New Zealand’s stunning scenic highways, the beauty of this route is utterly breath-taking and sure to wet your appetite for the unforgettable experience of visiting the Milford Sound. 

Departing Te Anau and its glorious lake, the route takes you inland through beech forests and expansive flats before opening up to mountain vistas. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park.  Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. Mirror Lakes provide a great resting spot and at Knobs Flat there is a small shelter with an information board and toilet facilities. The route climbs steadily towards ‘The Divide’, travels through the Homer Tunnel and leads you into the Cleddau Canyon ripe and ready for the Milford Sound experience – an amazing 22km-ling fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. 
A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your day, or you can get up close and personal in a sea kayak. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you’ll remember. The underwater observatory is an option with most cruises.Of note is that the Milford Road has no fuel stops/petrol stations and in places can be narrow and winding. 
We highly recommend to purchase the NZ$1 map of the Milford Road (from Te Anau info centre) for specific roads notes of the magnificent rivers, observation points, water falls and picnic areas to follow. 

Even though the road is 120KM – DO allow yourself 4 hrs for the drive there.


Te Anau - Queenstown

Te Anau to Queenstown 
Driving distance: 174 km / 108 miles 
Driving: Approx 2h32m 

An impressive journey, both SH94/ SH6 and the gravel track (via Mavora Lakes) promise unparalleled scenery and endless photo opportunities. Make time to wave at the deer at Mossburn and at your own reflection in Lake Wakatipu before approaching the Remarkables mountains and entering Queenstown. 


Day in Queenstown

An adventure playground extraordinaire, Queenstown is both beautiful and bountiful: even the mountain range framing the town is called “The Remarkables”. Add to this Lake Wakatipu and lush forestation, its no wonder Hollywood film-makers frequently visit. Home to the first commercial bungy jumping enterprise, Queenstown is known for its many adrenaline-filled activities. Nearby Skipper’s Canyon and Arthur’s point commemorate the discovery of gold in the area. 

A stunningly beautiful and compact town, walking around Queenstown from eatery to entertainment, from parties to performances is all too easy – and being the unofficial adrenaline capital of New Zealand, you might want to pace out your days! Mountain skiing is immensely popular at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone; with cross country skiing at the Waiorau Snow Farm (near Cardrona). Other adventure possibilities include jet boating, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, skateboarding, tramping, paragliding, canyon-swinging, sky diving, river surfing and fly fishing!
If a calmer pace suits you, Queenstown has a great shopping and commercial scene and there is an equally vibrant night-life.

Take in Queenstown’s incredible scenery over a leisurely lunch and a locally produced Pinot noir from, apparently, the world’s southernmost wine region! Bars are a-plenty, whilst there is a constant buzz of street (and indoor) entertainment and live music. Queenstown is home to the coal fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw; hosts an annual International Jazz  Festival and a Winter Festival and also makes a great base for exploring the inland lakes (Lake Hawea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka).


Queenstown - Glaciers

Queenstown to Franz Josef 
Driving distance: 355 km / 221 miles 
Driving: Approx 5h8m 

This route heads south on the rugged and sparsely populated West Coast Road (SH6) before turning inland through the scenic and historic  Haast Pass. Mount Aspiring National Park beckons, Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea vie for attention and Wanaka is simply beautiful. Your visit to Queenstown is imminent: SH6 for the cautious or through the Crown Range for the adventurous.


Travel through to Punakaiki

Franz Josef to Punakaiki 
Driving distance: 224 km / 139 miles 
Driving: Approx 3h14m 

Following the coastline north towards Punakaiki, SH6 is not only breath-takingly beautiful and utterly unique, it is also dotted with glorious lakes, beaches, lagoons and small interesting towns. Try glass-blowing at Hokitika, knife-making at Barrytown and gold-panning at Shantytown, the restored town from the gold-rush era, before arriving at the blowholes of Punakaiki.


Punakaiki - Christchurch

Punakaiki to Christchurch 
Driving distance: 296 km / 184 miles 
Driving: Approx 3h59m 

Travelling north on SH6, this route first meanders along the coastline, turns inland and then links the notoriously wet West Coast with the dry plains of Canterbury via the dramatic and formidable Arthur’s Pass. A beautiful, satisfying yet long drive, this Pass effectively traverses mountain ranges and passes Otira Gorge, Arthur’s Pass village (with a DOC information centre), Cragieburn and Cave Stream before the gentle entry into Canterbury and Christchurch.


Depart New Zealand

All good things (must) come to an end…. Drop your car off at Christchurch airport before your flight back home.

Vehicle Quality Hotels Bed & Breakfast Superior Hotels Exclusive
NZ $4,424.00NZ $6,074.00NZ $5,624.00NZ $8,624.00
NZ $4,472.00NZ $6,122.00NZ $5,672.00NZ $8,672.00
NZ $4,664.00NZ $6,314.00NZ $5,864.00NZ $8,864.00
Full Size
NZ $4,712.00NZ $6,362.00NZ $5,912.00NZ $8,912.00
Permium Wagon AWD
NZ $4,936.00NZ $6,586.00NZ $6,136.00NZ $9,136.00
Intermediate 4WD
NZ $4,904.00NZ $6,554.00NZ $6,104.00NZ $9,104.00
Full Size 4WD
NZ $5,368.00NZ $7,018.00NZ $6,568.00NZ $9,568.00
8 Seater People Mover
NZ $5,160.00NZ $6,810.00NZ $6,360.00NZ $9,360.00
12 Seater Van
NZ $5,352.00NZ $7,002.00NZ $6,552.00NZ $9,552.00

Pricing Details
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 Costs
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)

Price Includes 
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),ferry terminal fee recovery; Te Puia Geothermal Experience; Interislander Ferry crossing; Elm Wildlife Encounter 

Price Excludes
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

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