Spend twenty four awesome days in New Zealand, beginning in cosmopolitan Auckland, and travelling extensively throughout the North Island’s thermal wonderland, stunning beaches and picturesque countryside. In the South Island, you will be awestruck by the magnificent scenery, entertained by the vast choice of activities and soothed by the opportunities for pampering and unwinding. The opportunity to sample so much of the best New Zealand has to offer is unsurpassable.
Tours can start on any day of the week and have the flexibility to be shortened, lengthened or be customised to your requirements.
Arrive Christchurch - Christchurch - Dunedin - Dunedin - Fiordland - Te-Anau - Te-Anau - Queenstown - Queenstown - Queenstown - Queenstown - Glaciers - Glaciers - Punakaiki Rocks - Punakaiki Rocks - Nelson - Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Abel Tasman - Abel Tasman - Marlborough Sounds - Marlborough - Marlborough - Wellington - Wellington - Tongariro National Park - Tongariro National Park - Tongariro - Taupo - Rotorua - Rotorua - Rotorua - Fly to Bay of Islands - Bay of Islands - Bay of Islands - Bay of Islands - Auckland - Depart New Zealand
Christchurch, the heart of the Canterbury plains is fondly dubbed “The Garden City” and sparkles all year round. A lively blend of English tradition and contemporary New Zealand culminate in Christchurch offering a vast array of unique attractions and experiences which are sure to charm its many visitors. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens showcase some of the flora of New Zealand and other parts of the world. Founded in 1863 with the planting of an English Oak tree, the Gardens now feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand. Towering majestic trees – many over 120 years old – dominate the Gardens, forming a striking backdrop to the extensive themed plant collections and sweeping lawns. Attractions and experiences: This popular city offers us: the Botanical Gardens, the Arts Centre, Art Gallery, Canterbury Museum, Skyline Gondola, City Tram, Hot Air Balloon rides, Port Hills, Antarctic Centre, Jet boating and rafting and much more.
Travelling Distance: 363 kms
Travelling Time: 4.5 – 5 hours
SH 1 from Christchurch to Dunedin reveals a great many gems for the traveller from urban interests to natural wonders, from farmlands and mighty rivers to seaside towns and historic Oamaru. On the ‘not to be missed’ list are the enormous boulders at Moreaki and the cliff edge Māori pā at Karitane; whilst the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, Dunedin, lies just ahead.
From Dunedin travel to the wonderland of the Fiordland.
The largest national park in New Zealand, Fiordland glistens and enchants. A photographer’s dream, mountains meet water, fiords deceive the eye, native bush clings to the hillside, magnificent lakes sparkle (Manapouri and Te Anau) and well-known tracks beckon walkers (Hollyford, Kepler, Routeburn, the famous Milford, and more). Cruise on the Milford or Doubtful Sound and watch carefully as Fiordland comes alive with the sights and sounds of the kakapo, the takahe, seals, dolphins, bellbirds, kea and kiwi.
Travel Distance: 186 KM
Travel Time: 2 ½ hours
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.
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).
Travel Distance: 355 KM
Travel Time: Approx 5 hours
Heading towards Wanaka is the SH6 via Cromwell for the cautious; or through the Crown Range for the adventurous. Rejoining SH6, Wanaka, Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea all make great places to stop for refreshments and photographs, whilst the allure of Mount Aspiring National Park beckons.
The route through the Haast Pass is superb before the rugged West Coast Road (SH6) leads to the stunning Glaciers.
Travelling Distance: 224 KM
Travelling Time: 3.5 hours
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.
Travel Distance: 275 KM
Travel Time: Approx 4.5 hours
Heading north along the coast on SH6 is Cape Foulwind Seal Colony – a short and immensely worthwhile diversion – and Westport has all amenities. Turning inland this route follows the magnificent Buller River, travels through the beautiful Golden Downs State Forest before bearing east towards Nelson.
Today make your way to one of the most scenic National Parks in NZ – the Abel Tasman, which is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and its world-famous coastal track. From the entrance to the park catch a water taxi that will take you to your luxurious lodge in the heart of the Park – Awaroa lodge which won the prestigious NZ Award for ‘innovation in Eco Tourism’. From here you can enjoy a short walks in the park and a paddle in a kayak.
Despite being the country’s smallest national park (23 000 hectares), the Abel Tasman can boast a very bright claim: it is bathed in the most sunshine hours in New Zealand! The Abel Tasman is a real treasure: beaches, coves, bays and inlets define this stunning area that can be accessed by water taxi from Kaiteriteri or Marahau.
Choose your mode of transport to take in the glorious scenery: cruise, kayak, hike, cycle or horse ride around the national park but make sure you take time to relax at one of the beautiful sandy beaches to get your share of that sunshine! Scenic flights are available, some activities can be guided such as kayaking and walking (selected parts of the track can be walked) or unguided.
Exiting the Park, make your way east to the Marlborough region – staying in the outskirts of Blenheim or at the Marlborough Sounds.
An enticing length of coastline along the north of the South Island, the Marlborough Sounds – the Queen Charlotte, Pelorus, Kenepuru and Mahau Sound – are simply captivating. Weaving along the coastline are sheltered coves, inlets, bays and beaches which are accompanied by long tracks through lush coastal forest where native trees and wildlife thrive and historic sites are preserved for your discovery.
Cross the ferry from the south island to the north island – arriving at the Capital city.
Travel Distance: 340KM
Travel Time: 5 hours, via SH2, approx 6 hours
Heading north out of Wellington, there is a choice of routes. On SH1, urban scenes give way to coastal views and the glorious Kapiti Coast with superb vistas over Kapiti Island, a rare bird sanctuary. En route are two great vintage museums – the Southward (Motor) museum at Paraparaumu and the Tramway museum at Paekakariki – there are potteries at Te Horo and Waikanae and many lovely beaches along the way for a quick splash or snack.
Foxton is a small town with some unusual attractions such as the full-sized windmill in its main street or the wonderful Flax stripping museum. Another option is to take SH2 through the Hutt Valley to Victorian Greytown – a great place to take refreshment break and browse haute couture made by New Zealand’s top fashion designer, Trelise Cooper.
This route continues north past Masterton and past antique-filled Woodville, via SH3, through a gorge before SH54 connects north past Taihape and heads into the army restricted area around Waiouru – if the military is of interest, the museum is worth a visit. Taking SH49, then SH4, the route passes the bottom of the Karioi State Forest to the wondrous, volcanic and utterly unique Tongariro National Park.
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’.
Travel Distance: 185KM
Travel Time: approx 2 & ½ hours
Taking SH47 then SH1 from Tongariro National Park is sure to be a riveting journey as the route travels around Lake Taupo and past Turangi – known as the trout capital of the world. Traversing this active geothermal area, the volcanic terrain is fascinating and has huge geological appeal. En route make time to marvel at the power of water – experience its pure energy at both the stunning Aratiatia rapids and the Huka Falls where water hurtles down at a rate of more than 220, 000 litres per second. Interesting places to visit include the hydro power station at Atiamuri and the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station further south. However, the ‘must-sees’ of this area are 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 before arriving – via SH1 then SH30 or SH5 – at captivating 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.
Fly from Rotorua to the Bay of Islands (1 hr flight)
At the Bay of Islands – featuring 144 small islands, NZ’s finest maritime park and secluded bays. The Bay of Islands offers many cruises to its many bays and isalnds including a trip to swim with the dolphins.
The Bay of Islands lies in the heart of the Northland, 4 hrs north of Auckland, on the coast line; warm, friendly and relentlessly beautiful, the Bay cradles 144 islands ready for exploration.
Cruise around the bay and weigh up your options: swim with the dolphins, big game fishing, exploring the Maritime and Historic Park, relaxing in the resort towns of Paihia or Russell, or learning about New Zealand’s early identity at Waitangi. Paihia is the main township of the bay of Islands (BOI) and demands relaxation – rolling green hills meet sparkling blue waters which in turn lead you to the beautiful beaches. If sun-bathing and café hopping is just too slow, then there’s always sky diving, paragliding, fly trapezing, water or jet skiing and of course – swimming with dolphins (- this is the warmest water in NZ to swim with the dolphins).
Another interesting historic town is Russell, the location of the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand and the one-time capital city (in 1840). Nearby Kerikeri has a similar very early history and historic sites which include Mission House, the oldest wooden structure still standing in New Zealand, and The Stone Store whose construction began 19 April 1832 making it the oldest stone building in the country.
Waitangi is an extremely important place in New Zealand’s history and the Waitangi Meeting House commemorates this. In 1840 a treaty was signed between Maori and the British Crown and the resulting ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ became the founding document of modern day Aotearoa/New Zealand. The Waitangi Meeting House has displays, demonstrations and performances at regular intervals, be sure not to miss the striking waka – a carved wooden Maori war canoe.
After a relaxed morning, leave Paihia for Auckland, 4 hrs drive; Travel via the coast – Whangarei, or via the Kauri coast where the lassive trees of Kauri are awaiting to be displayed.
Arrive Auckland in afternoon. Your accommodation is in the city centre and you are a walking distance from the hastle and bustle of Auckland – something you hadn’t have seen since arrival in NZ…
Make your way to the airport on time for your flight. Check in time requirement is 2 hrs before flight. Please check time for American Airlines – 3 hrs may be required in this case.
Return your car rental at the internatioanl terminal.
Please note that the itinerary can be reversed – starting in Auckland, and we can make any amendments to the suggested above to suit with your own personal expectations and requirements.
|3.5 Star Low Season||4 - 4.5 Star Low Season||5 Star Low Season||3.5 Star High Season||4 - 4.5 Star High Season||5 Star High Season|
|Economy El Cheapo||$3,830||$4,290||$5,440||$4,530||$4,990||$6,830|
|Economy 8 Seater||$4,910||$5,370||$6,520||$4,530||$4,990||$6,830|
|New Full Size||$4,070||$4,530||$5,680||$4,530||$4,990||$6,830|
|New Small 4x4||$5,390||$5,850||$7,000||$4,530||$4,990||$6,830|
|New People Mover||$4,070||$4,530||$5,680||$6,930||$7,390||$9,230|
|New Large 4x4||$4,070||$4,530||$5,680||$4,530||$4,990||$6,830|