Explore the wonderful wildlife of Kaikoura and the aqua waters of Abel Tasman National Park, before crossing Cook Strait to the North Island and the quirky capital city of Wellington. Travel through the central plateau to Rotorua and its bubbling mud pools and unique Maori culture before arriving into Auckland, the 'City of Sails'. Continue north to the tropical Bay of Islands for a relaxing end to your New Zealand experience.
Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch
On arrival you will be met by a private driver who will hand your tour documentation and deliver you to your city accommodation.
Day 2: At Christchurch
Collect your rental car and explore the "garden city". After the devastating earthquake, Christchurch is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, whale-watch, bungy jump or take the winding Port Hills road to the French settlement of Akaroa.
Day 3: Christchurch - Kaikoura
The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools. Enjoy 15 open-air thermal pools, heated freshwater pools with lazy river, as well as a large family activity pool and children's AquaPlay area, and three waterslides including the new SuperBowl.
Day 4: Kaikoura - Abel Tasman National Park
Travel to this idyllic area with white sand and brilliant sea-blue water. Your accommodation for two nights is Ocean View Chalets, situated on a 50-acre farmlet, slightly elevated and nestled along the bush line with panoramic sea views. From here you have great access to the National Park and close to the friendly Marahau village.
Day 5: Explore Abel Tasman National Park
The National Park is known for its coastal hiking track and has an abundance of golden beaches, inlets and private lagoons. The park has a mild climate and is a special place to visit at any time of the year. Take a scenic cruise or day tour to Cape Farewell at the northernmost tip of the South Island.
Day 6: National Park - Picton - Wellington
The drive takes you through the city of Nelson and along the coast of Tasman Bay. Picton, the busy port town, is where the Interislander ferries arrive and depart. The three hour ferry crossing to the North Island has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds. From Cook Strait, spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and often dolphins and sea birds are seen.
Day 7: At Wellington
Uncover the charms of Wellington City, including the quirky cafes and fascinating museums. Or join a tour of the WETA Workshop, the Oscar Award Winning design studio behind Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Avatar. For an educational day out, learn about New Zealand's native species at Zealandia - the world's first fully fenced eco-sanctuary and home to over 40 types of endangered and native birds.
Day 8: Wellington - Rotorua
Today is filled with fantastic scenery including Lake Taupo, the Desert Road and the Kapiti Coastline as you depart Wellington. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand's three world heritage sites, you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the volcanically active Mt Ruapehu. Stop on the side of the road for photos with a magnificent backdrop! You might also recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt Ngauruhoe as this was used as the scenery of Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Day 9: Explore Rotorua
Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the world's most active volcanic regions. Visit the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs, board a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand's most active volcano, or head up the Gondola for soaring lake views and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill.
Day 10: Rotorua - Auckland
The drive from Rotorua to Auckland takes you through the heart of the Waikato and its rich agricultural land. Take a detour through Matamata to join a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. This is an interesting and entertaining experience incorporating the famous film set and a special insight into rural life.
Day 11: Auckland - Paihia
The trip from Auckland to the Bay of Islands takes around 3.5 hours, but give yourself some leeway for stops and sightseeing. Stop for a breath of fresh salty air in Whangarei and take another break at Kawakawa - home to the world famous Hundertwasser toilets. Enjoy the native bush and marvel at endless golden beaches as you arrive into Paihia.
Day 12: Explore the Bay of Islands
Commonly known as the 'winterless north' the Bay of Islands is made up of over 140 subtropical atolls. Spend some time on a remote stretch of beach, or cool off during a 'swim with the dolphins' ocean safari. Take a travel day to Cape Reinga, the very top of the North Island.
Day 13: Bay of Islands to Auckland via Waipoua Forest
Today you will leave the Bay of Islands for a scenic return trip to Auckland. As you make your way back down the country you'll pass the Matakohe Kauri Museum with extensive displays on the region's logging, farming and social history. Continuing on, go through Warkworth and the bohemian settlement of Puhoi before crossing the harbour bridge to arrive in Auckland city.
Day 14: Depart Auckland today
Explore more of vibrant Auckland city before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey
This itinerary can be customised to suit you perfectly. We can add more days, remove days, change accommodation, mix it up, add activities to suit your interests or simply design and create something from scratch.
|Christchurch||Hop on Hop off City Tour - 24 hour pass|
|Akaroa Nature Cruise|
|Kaikoura||Whale Watch by Sea or Air|
|Hanmer Springs||Pools and Spa|
|Abel Tasman||Seals and Beach Walk|
|Wellington||Martinborough Wine Tour|
|Capital City Sightseeing Tour|
|WETA Workshop Tour|
|Te Papa Museum|
|Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve|
|Maori Culture Evening|
|Gondola & Luge|
|Matamata||Hobbiton Movie Set Tour|
|Auckland||Hop on Hop off Explorer Bus|
|Paihia||Waitangi Treaty Grounds Day Pass|
|Cape Reinga Tour via 90 Mile Beach|
|Ferry to Russell|