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4×4 Hike and Drive

from £3390 excluding flights

  • 24 nights
  • Year round
Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

4×4 Hike and Drive

from £3390 excluding flights

  • 24 nights
  • Year round

Customers rate Discover the World

Average score 4.9/5

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Highlights

In pictures
new zealand jetty on queen charlotte sound istk

Hike the iconic Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds

Routeburn Track

Take a cruise and scenic hike at beautiful Milford Sound

new zealand abel tasman gold sand beach istk

Explore native forest and golden beaches on the Abel Tasman track

new zealand tongariro national park hikers tnz

Discover the volcanic landscapes of Tongariro National Park

Roy's Peak, overlooking Lake Wanaka

Immerse yourself in Mt Aspiring National Park

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula

Experience the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula

Why this trip...

iceland road to lone ingjaldsholl church istk off the beaten track white

Off-the-beaten-track

This holiday showcases places and experiences away from the usual tourist routes

chile 4wd tyre tracks on beach istk transport used 01 white

Transport used

This holiday includes transport that is ideally suited to the area you are visiting

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park tailor made white

Tailor made

This itinerary can be tailor made to suit you and is intended to give you a guideline of what is possible in a given timeframe

Overview

This imaginative itinerary offers the very best of New Zealand, incorporating well-known sights, national parks and renowned hiking trails. With your own 4x4 vehicle you’ll discover New Zealand’s exciting back country and at the end of each day return to comfortable accommodation.

The 25-day itinerary has been specially designed to include hikes in selected national parks and we even arrange transportation for you to and from the start and end of the walks so you don’t have to backtrack. To enjoy all the walks fully, you should be fit and ideally have previous mountain walking experience. However, the shorter walks can be enjoyed by most hikers.

Even though some of the walking may be rough underfoot, at the end of each day you’ll return to a comfortable bed for the night, staying in a mix of hotels, motels, lodges, guesthouses and homestay.

Exclusive to Discover the World clients

Book this 4x4 self-drive holiday and receive a free pre-programmed GPS unit and personalised holiday itinerary. Available on arrival this will be included as part of a comprehensive tour documentation pack which includes maps, off-road driving routes and descriptions and regional maps. This offer applies to this tour as well as our 22-day Real New Zealand and any tailor made 4x4 itineraries.

Itinerary

The itinerary shown is an example of this self-drive holiday. We have many other route recommendations which can be tailored to your requirements. Please discuss with our Travel Specialists who can put together a bespoke itinerary for you.

Day 1 arrive Auckland

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation in downtown Auckland. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city, or relaxing in one of Viaduct Harbour's many bars and restaurants overlooking the Hauraki Gulf.

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation in downtown Auckland. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city, or relaxing in one of Viaduct Harbour's many bars and restaurants overlooking the Hauraki Gulf.

Days 2-3 Auckland - West Coast - Coromandel

Collect your 4x4 vehicle and head out of the city. You may wish to explore Auckland’s fascinating west coast scenery, including the black sand beach at Piha and the Muriwai Gannet Colony, before making your way to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. Spend the afternoon exploring the peninsula's west coast at your leisure before continuing to charming Coromandel Town for a 2-night stay.

On day 3 you'll be collected from your accommodation and taken to the starting point of the Coromandel Coastal Walkway. From Fletcher Bay begin your leisurely 3-4 hour self-guided trek. Afterwards enjoy a well-deserved swim in the ocean or a crystal clear creek.

(Average driving time: 3 hours I Coromandel Coastal Walkway, grade 2, 3-4 hours)

Collect your 4x4 vehicle and head out of the city. You may wish to explore Auckland’s fascinating west coast scenery, including the black sand beach at Piha and the Muriwai Gannet Colony, before making your way to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. Spend the afternoon exploring the peninsula's west coast at your leisure before continuing to charming Coromandel Town for a 2-night stay.

On day 3 you'll be collected from your accommodation and taken to the starting point of the Coromandel Coastal Walkway. From Fletcher Bay begin your leisurely 3-4 hour self-guided trek. Afterwards enjoy a well-deserved swim in the ocean or a crystal clear creek.

(Average driving time: 3 hours I Coromandel Coastal Walkway, grade 2, 3-4 hours)

Cathedral Cove
Hahei Beach
Coromandel coastline

Day 4 Coromandel - Whangamata

Today you can explore the Coromandel Peninsula's popular east coast - don't miss Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own thermal pool at low tide, or take the short walk from Hahei Beach to the spectacular Cathedral Cove. Hike the scenic Wentworth Valley to the waterfalls, and beyond if you are feeling energetic. Tonight stay in a lovely B&B near Whangamata.

(Average driving time: 2 hours | Wentworth Falls Track, grade 2, 2.5 hours)

Today you can explore the Coromandel Peninsula's popular east coast - don't miss Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own thermal pool at low tide, or take the short walk from Hahei Beach to the spectacular Cathedral Cove. Hike the scenic Wentworth Valley to the waterfalls, and beyond if you are feeling energetic. Tonight stay in a lovely B&B near Whangamata.

(Average driving time: 2 hours | Wentworth Falls Track, grade 2, 2.5 hours)

Day 5 Whangamata - Rotorua

Travel south to Rotorua, passing through the kiwi growing area of Te Puke. You may like to make a stop at the visitor centre to learn all about the national fruit of New Zealand. On arrival in Rotorua discover sparkling lakes, native and exotic forests, geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and the very best of New Zealand's Maori culture. You may wish to attend a 'hangi', and Maori cultural show this evening (optional).

(Average driving time: 3.5 hours)

Travel south to Rotorua, passing through the kiwi growing area of Te Puke. You may like to make a stop at the visitor centre to learn all about the national fruit of New Zealand. On arrival in Rotorua discover sparkling lakes, native and exotic forests, geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and the very best of New Zealand's Maori culture. You may wish to attend a 'hangi', and Maori cultural show this evening (optional).

(Average driving time: 3.5 hours)

Wai O Tapu thermal area, Rotorua
Pohutu Geyser
Maori Marae at Ohinemutu

Day 6 Te Urewera National Park

Today's walk takes you through the Whirinaki Forest, an area of 60,000 hectares and one of the best preserved rainforests on the North Island. Rare birds like the kaka (parrot) and karearea (falcon) may be seen during today’s hike. After your walk you may like to relax in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua.

(Whirinaki Waterfall Track grade 2, 3-4 hours, pre-booked walk)

Today's walk takes you through the Whirinaki Forest, an area of 60,000 hectares and one of the best preserved rainforests on the North Island. Rare birds like the kaka (parrot) and karearea (falcon) may be seen during today’s hike. After your walk you may like to relax in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua.

(Whirinaki Waterfall Track grade 2, 3-4 hours, pre-booked walk)

new zealand waterfall in te urewera national park istk
Te Urewera National Park
Lake Waikaremoana, Te Urewera National Park

Days 7-8 Rotorua - Taupo - Tongariro

Drive through the heart of the North Island and stop en route at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley before arriving in Tongariro National Park, renowned for its dramatic volcanic landscapes.

On Day 8 you will tackle the famous Tongariro Crossing, acknowledged as one of the best day hikes in the world and taking in colourful craters, lakes and bubbling hot pools. The track takes you through various vegetation zones, from alpine bush to tussock grass, on to barren highlands and down again to lush podocarp forest. Alternatively, for an easier walking option, you can choose to take part in a guided sunrise walk on Mt Ruapehu.

(Average driving time: 4 hours I Tongariro Alpine Crossing, grade 4, 7-9 hours, pre-booked walk)

Drive through the heart of the North Island and stop en route at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley before arriving in Tongariro National Park, renowned for its dramatic volcanic landscapes.

On Day 8 you will tackle the famous Tongariro Crossing, acknowledged as one of the best day hikes in the world and taking in colourful craters, lakes and bubbling hot pools. The track takes you through various vegetation zones, from alpine bush to tussock grass, on to barren highlands and down again to lush podocarp forest. Alternatively, for an easier walking option, you can choose to take part in a guided sunrise walk on Mt Ruapehu.

(Average driving time: 4 hours I Tongariro Alpine Crossing, grade 4, 7-9 hours, pre-booked walk)

new zealand tongariro national park emerald lakes hikers istk

Day 9 Tongariro - Wanganui - Wellington

Travelling via Raetihi your journey continues to Pipiriki and along the Whanganui River, the most beautiful river on the North Island. Follow the course of the river along the Old Whanganui River Road to Wanganui and on to Wellington, where a visit to the National Museum, Te Papa, is highly recommended.

(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

Travelling via Raetihi your journey continues to Pipiriki and along the Whanganui River, the most beautiful river on the North Island. Follow the course of the river along the Old Whanganui River Road to Wanganui and on to Wellington, where a visit to the National Museum, Te Papa, is highly recommended.

(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

Day 10 Wellington - Marlborough Sounds - Queen Charlotte Sound

Drop off your vehicle and board the ferry to Picton. On arrival you will be transferred by water taxi to your accommodation in Queen Charlotte Sound. You may like to do an afternoon walk in this stunning part of the South Island.

Drop off your vehicle and board the ferry to Picton. On arrival you will be transferred by water taxi to your accommodation in Queen Charlotte Sound. You may like to do an afternoon walk in this stunning part of the South Island.

Day 11 Queen Charlotte Sound

Explore the Marlborough Sounds by boat and on foot today. Your excursion includes water taxi transfers as well as a self-guided hike on the famous Queen Charlotte Track. Enjoy the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds coastline - a magical place for exploring.

(Queen Charlotte Walk, grade 2, 2-3 hours, pre-booked walk)

Explore the Marlborough Sounds by boat and on foot today. Your excursion includes water taxi transfers as well as a self-guided hike on the famous Queen Charlotte Track. Enjoy the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds coastline - a magical place for exploring.

(Queen Charlotte Walk, grade 2, 2-3 hours, pre-booked walk)

Marlborough Sounds
View from the Queen Charlotte Track
Marlborough Sounds

Days 12-13 Queen Charlotte Sound - Abel Tasman

Transfer back to Picton by boat and then pick up your rental car before driving the scenic route along Queen Charlotte Drive and the bays and beaches of the Marlborough Sound. Arrive close to Abel Tasman National Park for a 2-night stay.

The following day a boat takes you into Abel Tasman National Park to a sandy beach for the start of your walk. The trail meanders through lush coastal rainforest, native bush and across golden beaches, ending in a scenic bay from where your boat transfer will collect you.

(Average driving time: 3 hours I Abel Tasman Coast Track, grade 1-3, 4 hours, pre-booked walk)

Transfer back to Picton by boat and then pick up your rental car before driving the scenic route along Queen Charlotte Drive and the bays and beaches of the Marlborough Sound. Arrive close to Abel Tasman National Park for a 2-night stay.

The following day a boat takes you into Abel Tasman National Park to a sandy beach for the start of your walk. The trail meanders through lush coastal rainforest, native bush and across golden beaches, ending in a scenic bay from where your boat transfer will collect you.

(Average driving time: 3 hours I Abel Tasman Coast Track, grade 1-3, 4 hours, pre-booked walk)

Abel Tasman swing bridge
Hiking the Abel Tasman Track
Abel Tasman National Park

Day 14 Abel Tasman - Paparoa National Park/Punakaiki

(Average driving time is 6 hours) The drive along the winding Buller Gorge takes you to the wild West Coast. A side trip to Westport and Cape Foulwind's seal colony is worthwhile and the curious blowholes and pancake rocks of Punakaiki are fascinating.

(Average driving time is 6 hours) The drive along the winding Buller Gorge takes you to the wild West Coast. A side trip to Westport and Cape Foulwind's seal colony is worthwhile and the curious blowholes and pancake rocks of Punakaiki are fascinating.

Day 15 Punakaiki

(Pororari River Track, grade 2, 3 hours) Enjoy a wonderful walk today through a river valley and gorge with dramatic cliffs and dense subtropical forest with rare birds. There is a good picnic area and swimming spot along the way. Bizarre rock formations at the coast and the subtropical climate with plenty of sun and rain are responsible for the diverse flora. Insiders consider Paparoa to be the best National Park in New Zealand.

(Pororari River Track, grade 2, 3 hours) Enjoy a wonderful walk today through a river valley and gorge with dramatic cliffs and dense subtropical forest with rare birds. There is a good picnic area and swimming spot along the way. Bizarre rock formations at the coast and the subtropical climate with plenty of sun and rain are responsible for the diverse flora. Insiders consider Paparoa to be the best National Park in New Zealand.

Day 16 Punakaiki - Westland National Park/Franz Josef

Continue south to Franz Josef, where you stay overnight. Glaciers, rainforest and coast are close together in Westland National Park. The many different shades of green of the dense rainforest will amaze you. There is a lot to see and do in this region. Perhaps take a jet boat tour in Whataroa to the White Heron Colony or visit Okarito on the coast and enjoy a kayaking trip through this quiet lagoon. Helicopter flights with glacier landings are possible from Fox or Franz Josef Glacier.

(Average driving time: 4 hours)

Continue south to Franz Josef, where you stay overnight. Glaciers, rainforest and coast are close together in Westland National Park. The many different shades of green of the dense rainforest will amaze you. There is a lot to see and do in this region. Perhaps take a jet boat tour in Whataroa to the White Heron Colony or visit Okarito on the coast and enjoy a kayaking trip through this quiet lagoon. Helicopter flights with glacier landings are possible from Fox or Franz Josef Glacier.

(Average driving time: 4 hours)

Lake Matheson
Franz Josef Glacier
Okarito Lagoon

Day 17 Westland National Park - Haast Pass - Lake Wanaka

We recommend a stop at Ship Creek Walk and a side trip from here to Munro Beach. During the months of October to December you may be lucky enough to see penguins and hector's dolphins playing in the sea. Drive over the Haast Pass, a scenic drive with many opportunities to stop and explore, and onto Lake Wanaka. After the long drive the easy walk to the top of Mount Iron will reward you with a 360 degree view to the Southern Alps.

(Average driving time: 4.5 hours) | Mount Iron, Wanaka, grade 1, 1.5 hours)

We recommend a stop at Ship Creek Walk and a side trip from here to Munro Beach. During the months of October to December you may be lucky enough to see penguins and hector's dolphins playing in the sea. Drive over the Haast Pass, a scenic drive with many opportunities to stop and explore, and onto Lake Wanaka. After the long drive the easy walk to the top of Mount Iron will reward you with a 360 degree view to the Southern Alps.

(Average driving time: 4.5 hours) | Mount Iron, Wanaka, grade 1, 1.5 hours)

Day 18 Wanaka and Mt Aspiring National Park

This great track starts in beautiful Matukituki Valley at a swing bridge. The walk enables easy access to a spectacular alpine region with snowfields, glaciers, steep cliffs and waterfalls.

(Rob Roy Glacier Track, grade 2-3, 4-5 hours)

This great track starts in beautiful Matukituki Valley at a swing bridge. The walk enables easy access to a spectacular alpine region with snowfields, glaciers, steep cliffs and waterfalls.

(Rob Roy Glacier Track, grade 2-3, 4-5 hours)

new zealand hiking in mt aspiring national park astk
Lake Wanaka
new zealand aerial view of mt aspiring national park istk

Day 19 Wanaka - Fiordland National Park/Te Anau

Travel across the Crown Range to Lake Wakatipu and then through rural countryside onto Te Anau. This little town is known as the gateway to Fiordland and its glowworm caves are another local attraction.

(Average driving time: 3.5 hours)

Travel across the Crown Range to Lake Wakatipu and then through rural countryside onto Te Anau. This little town is known as the gateway to Fiordland and its glowworm caves are another local attraction.

(Average driving time: 3.5 hours)

Day 20 Te Anau and Milford Sound

Enjoy a leisurely, small group day trip to Milford Sound, including a boat cruise along the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. Choose from either a series of short walks and exploration with a friendly, local nature guide or 2.5 hours hiking (unguided) on the renowned Routeburn Great Walk to Key Summit.

(Milford Coach, Cruise and Walk Day Tour, grade 2-3, 5-6 hours, pre-booked walk, operates Nov-Mar)

Enjoy a leisurely, small group day trip to Milford Sound, including a boat cruise along the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. Choose from either a series of short walks and exploration with a friendly, local nature guide or 2.5 hours hiking (unguided) on the renowned Routeburn Great Walk to Key Summit.

(Milford Coach, Cruise and Walk Day Tour, grade 2-3, 5-6 hours, pre-booked walk, operates Nov-Mar)

Milford Sound
Hiking to Key Summit on the Routeburn Track
Milford Sound

Days 21-22 Te Anau - Queenstown

The relatively short drive back to Queenstown gives plenty of time to further explore Fiordland National Park, then drive along Lake Wakitipu to Queenstown where you will stay for the next two nights.

With time at leisure, enjoy a range of adrenalin-focused activities or, alternatively, relax with a walk in the Remarkables mountains, cruise on the lake or visit the gold-mining town of Arrowtown.

(Average driving time: 2.5 hours)

The relatively short drive back to Queenstown gives plenty of time to further explore Fiordland National Park, then drive along Lake Wakitipu to Queenstown where you will stay for the next two nights.

With time at leisure, enjoy a range of adrenalin-focused activities or, alternatively, relax with a walk in the Remarkables mountains, cruise on the lake or visit the gold-mining town of Arrowtown.

(Average driving time: 2.5 hours)

new zealand lake wakatipu queenstown to glenorchy istk
Shotover Canyon
Gibbston Valley

Day 23 Queenstown - Mount Cook

Via the wilderness of Central Otago and across the Lindis Pass you reach the foot of Aoraki, Mt Cook. Your walk here starts from Mount Cook Village and takes you over two swing bridges to a viewing point with amazing views to Mount Cook and the glaciers. No less interesting is the side trip from Omarama to the Clay Cliffs. The bizarre rock formations change colour depending on the time of day. Overnight is spent in Mount Cook Village.

(Average driving time: 4 hours | Hooker Valley Track, grade 2-3, 2-4 hours)

Via the wilderness of Central Otago and across the Lindis Pass you reach the foot of Aoraki, Mt Cook. Your walk here starts from Mount Cook Village and takes you over two swing bridges to a viewing point with amazing views to Mount Cook and the glaciers. No less interesting is the side trip from Omarama to the Clay Cliffs. The bizarre rock formations change colour depending on the time of day. Overnight is spent in Mount Cook Village.

(Average driving time: 4 hours | Hooker Valley Track, grade 2-3, 2-4 hours)

Omarama Clay Cliffs

Days 24-25 Mount Cook National Park - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch

At the end of your holiday you might like to enjoy a scenic flight over lakes and alps or drive to the top of Mount John near Lake Tekapo to enjoy the amazing views. Your final drive takes you along the foothills and over the endless wide Canterbury Plains to the city of Christchurch. Take a walk through Hagley Park and along the Avon River. Enjoy the many cafes and restaurants and take advantage of a last opportunity to purchase some souvenirs. The following day, return your rental vehicle to the airport and depart.

(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

At the end of your holiday you might like to enjoy a scenic flight over lakes and alps or drive to the top of Mount John near Lake Tekapo to enjoy the amazing views. Your final drive takes you along the foothills and over the endless wide Canterbury Plains to the city of Christchurch. Take a walk through Hagley Park and along the Avon River. Enjoy the many cafes and restaurants and take advantage of a last opportunity to purchase some souvenirs. The following day, return your rental vehicle to the airport and depart.

(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

Accommodation Options

With a wide choice of accommodation in New Zealand, we can mix and match different grades and styles to suit your personal preference - from hotels, farmstays and self-catering apartments to boutique B&Bs and idyllic lodges in stunning locations.

Discuss your options with our Travel Specialists.

Prices and Departures

Price from £3390 excluding flights

Airfares start from around £825 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom (mix of hotels, B&Bs and homestays)
  • Car rental throughout (subject to insurance excess)
  • Interislander ferry crossing
  • Transfer to/from Coromandel Coastal Walkway
  • Transfer to/from Tongariro Alpine Crossing or Guided 2 hour Sunset Walk
  • Boat transfer to the Queen Charlotte Track
  • Boat transfer to the Abel Tasman National Park
  • Milford Track Day Cruise & Walk from Te Anau
  • Meet and greet on arrival
  • Comprehensive travel documentation
  • Eco pack (on arrival in New Zealand) containing a reusable aluminium drink bottle and coffee cup, a reusable shopping bag and a contribution to a carbon neutral tree planting programme
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

From prices per person

Based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire. Prices for other combinations of passengers and rooms available on request. Other vehicle types also available.

Departure Duration Accomodation Car Category Twin Price (pp)
16 Sep 2020 - 31 Mar 2021 24 nights Simple Intermediate SUV £3,390
16 Sep 2020 - 31 Mar 2021 24 nights Standard Intermediate SUV £3,809

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As independent destination specialists, we are able to tailor make holidays to suit you, be that customising the itineraries shown on this website or creating something bespoke.

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We believe travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment and broadening minds through new experiences and cultural interaction.

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