North & South Island Self-Drive Tour
Duration: 21 nights self-drive tour
Price from: £1999pp
Auckland 2 nights
Bay of Islands 2 nights
Auckland 1 night
Rotorua 2 nights
Tongariro 1 night
Wellington 2 nights
Nelson 2 nights
Greymouth 1 night
Fox Glacier 1 night
Queenstown 2 nights
Te Anau 2 nights
Dunedin 1 night
Christchurch 2 nights
Day 1 Auckland: On arrival pick up your hire car and make your way to your hotel.
Day 2 Auckland: Explore the harbour, browse the shops or take a day trip to Waiheke Island and sample wines.
Day 3 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 4 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 where New Zealand's treaty was signed and Russell which was the first capital of New Zealand.
Day 5 Bay of Islands/Auckland: Maybe take a morning cruise to Cape Brett, watching for dolphins and schools of fish. After lunch, drive back to Auckland, known as the City of Sails (approx 3½ hours).
Day 6 Auckland/Rotorua: Perhaps visit the Waitoma Caves for a guided tour of the limestone caverns and boat trip through the underground grottos which are lit by thousands of glowworms. Continue to Rotorua and you will know when you've arrived thanks to the smell of sulphur from the geothermal pools (approx 4-5 hours).
Day 7 Rotorua: Explore the town's spouting geysers and bubbling mud pools. Discover also the Maori culture.
Day 8 Rotorua/Tongariro: Drive south to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand and a good place to stop for lunch. Travelling on, enter Tongariro National Park, one of only twenty places in the world awarded dual World Heritage status for its nature and culture. There are three volcanoes here plus some of the locations where Lord of the Rings was filmed (approx 4 hours).
Day 9 Tongariro/Wellington: Drive south to the capital, Wellington, known as the Windy City (approx 5 hours).
Day 10 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 11 Wellington/Nelson: Sail by ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton, then drive to Nelson taking in the beautiful views (approx 2 hours drive Picton to Nelson).
Day 12 Nelson: Explore picturesque Abel Tasman National Park, take a ferry up the coast, then walk back along the coastal tracks, try a sea kayak tour; or if feeling adventurous perhaps try sky diving.
Day 13 Nelson/Greymouth: Drive via Punakaiki to see the aptly named Pancake Rocks and Paparoa National Park, which has many natural attractions including mountains, limestone formations and wilderness areas. Travel on to Greymouth. (approx 4 hours).
Day 14 Greymouth/Fox Glacier: Travel to Fox Glacier via Franz Josef stopping to view the mighty glaciers. You can also take a guided glacier walk or go on a heli-hike (approx 2½ hours).
Day 15 Fox Glacier/Queenstown: Travel south on to Queenstown, the adrenalin capital on the shore of Lake Wakatipu (approx 4½ hours).
Day 16 Queenstown: Options today include the Skyline gondola for great views of the city, then if you are feeling energetic, you can zoom down on a three wheeled cart or try bungee jumping. Take a jet boat on the lake, go white water rafting and even skiing in our summer!
Day 17 Queenstown/Te Anau: Travel to Te Anau for a cruise on Lake Te Anau or explore the glowworm caves (approx 2 hours).
Day 18 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 19 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 20 Dunedin/Christchurch: Travel to Christchurch pausing in Oamaru or Timaru for lunch. Alternatively, you may wish to overnight in Oamaru or Mount Cook. Please ask for details (approx 5 hours).
Day 21 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 22 Christchurch: Return your car at the airport.
Accommodation: 3* Copthorne Auckland; 3* Scenic Circle Bay of Islands; 4* Sudima Rotorua; 4* Chateau Tongariro; 4* James Cook Grand Chancellor, Wellington; 4* Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco, Nelson; 3* Kingsgate Greymouth; 4* Distinction Fox Glacier; 3* Copthorne Lakefront Queenstown; 4* Distinction Te Anau; 4* Quest 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 accommodation, ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton, Milford Sound Nature Cruise from TeAnau on day 18 and 22 days group C compact car hire. International flights are not included.