North & South Island Self-Drive Tour
Duration: 21 nights self-drive tour
Price from: £3399pp
Auckland 2 nights
Bay of Islands 2 nights
South Auckland 1 night
Rotorua 2 nights
Tongariro 1 night
Wellington 2 nights
Nelson 2 nights
Greymouth 1 night
Franz Josef 1 night
Queenstown 2 nights
Te Anau 2 nights
Dunedin 1 night
Christchurch 2 nights
Day 1: Fly to Auckland.
Day 3 Auckland: On arrival pick up your hire car and make your way to your hotel.
Day 4 Auckland: Explore the harbour, browse the shops or take a day trip to Waiheke Island to sample wines.
Day 5 Auckland/Bay of Islands: Enjoy a scenic drive to Paihia in the Bay of Islands. En route visit Waipoua Kauri Forest and Hokianga Harbour (approx 3½ hours).
Day 6 Bay of Islands: At leisure to explore the area with its natural beauty, amazing beaches and 150 mostly uninhabited islands. There are also the historic sites of Waitangi and Russell, New Zealand’s first capital.
Day 7 Bay of Islands/South Auckland: Maybe take a morning cruise to Cape Brett, watching for dolphins. After lunch drive back to Auckland (approx 4 hours).
Day 8 South Auckland/Rotorua: Perhaps visit the Waitomo Caves for a guided tour of the glowworm caverns and boat trip through the underground grottos. Continue to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua (approx 3 hours).
Day 9 Rotorua: Explore the town’s spouting geysers and bubbling mud pools. Discover also the Maori culture.
Day 10 Rotorua/Tongariro: Drive south to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, and on to World Heritage listed Tongariro National Park. There are three volcanoes here plus some of the locations where Lord of the Rings was filmed (approx 4 hours).
Day 11 Tongariro/Wellington: Drive south to the capital, Wellington (approx 5 hours).
Day 12 Wellington: Explore the city. Travel up Mount Victoria for a fantastic view of the harbour, visit the botanical gardens by cable car or go to Te Papa Museum.
Day 13 Wellington/Nelson: Sail by ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton, then drive on to Nelson taking in the beautiful views (approx 2 hours drive Picton to Nelson).
Day 14 Nelson: Explore picturesque Abel Tasman National Park where you can explore coastal tracks; try a sea kayak tour; or perhaps try sky diving.
Day 15 Nelson/Greymouth: Drive via Punakaiki to see the aptly named Pancake Rocks, and Paparoa National Park which has many natural attractions and wilderness areas. Travel on to Greymouth. (approx 4 hours).
Day 16 Greymouth/Franz Josef: Travel to Franz Josef and view the mighty glaciers. Optional glacier walks and heli-hikes available at additional expense (approx 2 hours).
Day 17 Franz Josef/Queenstown: Head to Queenstown on the shore of Lake Wakatipu (approx 4½ hours).
Day 18 Queenstown: Options today include the Skyline Gondola for great city views then, if you like adventure, you can zoom down on a three wheeled cart or try bungee jumping, take a jet boat ride on the lake, go white water rafting and even skiing in our summer!
Day 19 Queenstown/Te Anau: Travel to Te Anau for a cruise on Lake Te Anau or explore the glowworm caves (approx 2 hours).
Day 20 Te Anau: Depart on a coach excursion, taking in the scenic views en route to Milford Sound before a nature cruise to see the fiords. Return to Te Anau by coach.
Day 21 Te Anau/Dunedin: Drive to Dunedin, which has a very Scottish feel and plenty of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. On arrival visit Larnach Castle, Speights Brewery or view the penguin colonies (approx 4 hours).
Day 22 Dunedin/Christchurch: Travel to Christchurch pausing in Oamaru or Timaru. Alternatively, you may wish to overnight in Oamaru or Mount Cook. Please ask for details (approx 5 hours).
Day 23 Christchurch: At leisure to explore the city with its English feel and gardens. Alternatively, extend your stay and venture up to Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs for picture postcard views, whale and dolphin watching boat trips and thermal hot pools.
Day 24 Christchurch: Return your car at the airport.
Accommodation: 3* Copthorne Auckland; 3* Scenic Circle Bay of Islands; 5* Castaways Resort, South Auckland; 4* Sudima Rotorua; 4* Chateau Tongariro; 4* Copthorne Oriental Bay, Wellington; 4* Saxon Lodge, Nelson; 3* Kingsgate Greymouth; 3* Glenfern Villas, Franz Josef; 3* Copthorne Lakefront Queenstown; 4* Distinction Luxmore Te Anau; 3* Scenic Hotel Dunedin; 3* plus Rydges Latimer, Christchurch
Meals: Room only.
Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes international flights, accommodation, ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton, Milford Sound Nature Cruise from Te Anau on day 20 and 22 days group C compact car hire.