Discover Aotearoa

from £3175
excluding flights *
20 nights Year round

Overview

Our most popular self drive, this classic 21-day itinerary offers a complete overview of New Zealand in a timescale that suits. Including iconic cultural experiences, 'must do' attractions and of course, stunning and varied scenery, you'll cover a lot of ground and still have time to relax and savour the experience.

Highlights

  • Experience the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula
  • Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori Experience in Rotorua
  • Explore golden sand bays and forested coves in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Glacier Valley guided walk at Franz Josef Glacier
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise in magnificent Fiordland

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 13 breakfasts, 6 dinners
  • Car rental throughout
  • Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori experience
  • Orakei Korako admission (Rotorua)
  • Guided Glacier Valley Walk (Franz Josef)
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise (Fiordland)
  • Meet and Greet on arrival

Full description

Other North Island highlights include the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua's geothermal wonderland, the snow-capped volcanoes of Tongariro National Park and the vibrant cultural capital of Wellington.

Nip across magnificent Cook Strait and the adventure continues on South Island with West Coast glaciers, mighty Mount Cook, the adventure capital Queenstown, stunning Lake Wanaka and the mesmerising landscapes of Fiordland.

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Authentic holidays for passionate travellers
Tailor Made NZ

This itinerary is intended as a starting point for planning your New Zealand holiday. Get in touch with our accredited Kiwi Specialists and together we'll tailor an itinerary exactly to your preferences.

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Prices & Dates *

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.

From prices per person based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire

Departure Duration Car Category Twin Price (pp)
Year round 20 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £3,175

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom (mix of B&Bs, hotels and lodges)
  • 13 breakfasts, 6 dinners
  • Car rental throughout (Toyota Corolla Hatch or similar)
  • Unlimited kilometres
  • Vehicle insurance subject to an insurance excess
  • Interislander ferry crossing (Premium Plus cabin)
  • Meet and Greet and airport transfer on arrival
  • Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori experience
  • Orakei Korako admission (Rotorua)
  • Guided Glacier Valley Walk (Franz Josef)
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise (Fiordland)
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

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Day 1: Auckland

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the City of Sails.
Overnight: Hotel De Brett

Day 2: Auckland - Coromandel (158 km)

Collect your Budget rental car from the city depot and drive to the seaside township of Whangamata, nestled at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula, a region filled with rainforest-clad gorges and Pohutukawa-fringed beaches, such as Cathedral Cove.
Overnight: Breakers Motel (2 nights). Breakfast included.

Day 3: Whangamata

Explore at your leisure today, perhaps enjoying a soak in the thermal springs on Hot Water Beach, or a kayaking adventure at Cathedral Cove. Whitianga and Coromandel Town, at the northernmost part of the peninsula, are well worth a visit, with wonderful restaurants, bars and local craft shops on offer.

Day 4: Whangamata - Rotorua (145 km)

Drive south today, either following the coast road via Tauranga or inland via the interesting towns of Paeroa and Te Aroha, towards the active geo-thermal heartland of Rotorua. Enjoy a personal guided tour of Ohinemutu Village including the iconic St Faith's Church. Your guide will share the legends and history of the village which will give you an insight into Maori culture.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel (2 nights).

Day 5: Rotorua

Enjoy a visit to Orakei Korako geothermal area today (also known as "The Hidden Valley"), situated on the Waikato River at Lake Ohakuri. Even with two thirds of the original geothermal area covered by an artificial lake, Orakei Korako is still New Zealand's largest geyser field and one of the country's must-see natural attractions.

Day 6: Rotorua - Turangi (131 km)

Enjoy a wonderful drive today, via wonderful Lake Taupo, Australasia's largest freshwater lake, to the village of Turangi, gateway to Tongariro National Park. Famous for its trio of volcanoes this is New Zealand's oldest national park and has dual World Heritage status.
Overnight: Tongariro Lodge. Dinner and breakfast included.

Day 7: Turangi - Wellington (270 km)

Drive the Desert Road south to New Zealand's vibrant capital city, Wellington. If you have time en route stop at Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre, home to 3 extraordinary white kiwi. As you near Wellington you will experience the wide diversity of vegetation visible on the Tararua and Rimutaka Ranges. The neighbouring Wairarapa region is famous for its wine and numerous vineyards.
Overnight: Museum Art Hotel

Day 8: Wellington - Picton - Nelson/Motueka (153 km)

Today drop off your rental car and travel in the Premium Plus cabin on the Interislander Ferry across the magnificent Cook Strait to Picton. Here you can collect your new vehicle and make your way to the charming township of Motueka, gateway to Abel Tasman National Park.
Overnight: The Resurgence (3 nights). Dinner and breakfast included.

Days 9-10: Abel Tasman National Park

Days at your leisure to explore the bays and coves of this wonderful park. Accessible only by water taxi, here you can go sea kayaking and see seals, birdlife, dolphins and possibly visiting Orca. Enjoy a walk during your time here on the stunning Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Dinner and breakfast included.

Day 11: Motueka - Punakaiki (267 km)

From the tranquil golden sand beaches head out west to this rugged wild region, and its astonishing variety of landscapes, rich history and abundant wildlife. Stop at Punakaiki to view the fantastic blow holes and rock formations.
Overnight: Punakaiki Resort.

Day 12: Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier (217 km)

Make your way to Glacier country today and to the world's most accessible temperate-zone glaciers, nestled in valleys lined with rainforest.
Overnight: 58 on Cron Motel (2 nights).

Day 13: Franz Josef Glacier

Today enjoy an interpretive walk to the glacier. After a short walk through the regenerating rainforest, the trip continues along the glacier valley with your guide calling stops to explain the unique features of the glacier and its surroundings.

Day 14: Franz Josef Glacier - Queenstown (333 km)

Drive through World Heritage rainforests and cross the Haast Pass to reach the stunning alpine resort town of Queenstown, which lies at the heart of the spectacular Southern Lakes region.
Overnight: Heritage Hotel.

Day 15: Queenstown - Te Anau (171 km)

Enjoy mountain views and farm country on the drive to Te Anau. Situated beside a lake, this town is the gateway to Fiordland National Park, part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The round trip to spectacular Milford Sound, where you can take an afternoon cruise on the fiord, is 119 km.
Overnight: Dunluce B&B (2 nights). Breakfast included.

Day 16: Te Anau

Travel by coach today from Te Anau to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri. Here you will board your vessel and cruise across the lake to West Arm before travelling by coach through dense rainforest across Wilmot Pass. Once at Deep Cove board a catamaran for your 3 hour cruise of Doubtful Sound. Enjoy spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforest and majestic mountains and watch out for fur seals or resident pods of bottlenose dolphins.

Day 17: Te Anau - Lake Wanaka (226 km)

This beautiful lakeside town has an abundance of outdoor activities in a stunning natural setting. It is a slightly quieter alternative to Queenstown and is in close proximity to Mt Aspiring National Park. The ideal location for keen hikers and those wanting to explore pristine landscapes.
Overnight: Te Wanaka Lodge (2 nights). Breakfast included.

Day 18: Lake Wanaka

Enjoy today at your leisure.
Breakfast included.

Day 19: Lake Wanaka - Mount Cook (199 km)

Head north today through magnificent rural landscapes en route to Mount Cook National Park which lies at the heart of the Southern Alps. The scenery here is literally breathtaking as you take in mesmerising blue glacial lakes and tussock-clad hills as well as clear skies, perfect for stargazing, before arriving at Aoraki/Mount Cook.
Overnight: The Hermitage Hotel.

Day 20: Mt Cook - Christchurch (331 km)

Drive via scenic Lake Tekapo and the town of Geraldine across the Canterbury Plains to the city of Christchurch.
Overnight: The George Hotel.

Day 21: Christchurch

Drop off your rental vehicle at the airport today and depart.

ACCOMMODATION
A variety of accommodation options are included in this holiday, some of which are listed above. For further details, please contact us.

Breakers Motel, Whangamata

New Zealand

Grade: Simple

Type: Motel

Located in Whangamata on the Coromandel, this 21-room hotel is just a short walk to the area's shops and Ocean Beach.

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The Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua

Grade: Deluxe

Type: Unique And Boutique

Escape ordinary in Regent of Rotorua, a designer Boutique Hotel offering stylish luxury accommodation, restaurant,…

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Tongariro Lodge, Turangi

Grade: Superior

Type: Luxury Lodge

Resting in 22 acres of expansive grounds on the banks of the legendary Tongariro River,…

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QT Museum Hotel, Wellington

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

This elegant, 160-room hotel is only a short walk to the city's vibrant Courtenay Quarter.

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The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge, Nelson

Grade: Superior

Type: Luxury Lodge

A superb boutique property, set in 50 acres of native bush, the Resurgence Luxury Eco…

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Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

A stunning eco-tourism hotel with spectacular views of wild West Coast beaches, the Punakaiki Resort…

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The Heritage Queenstown

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Set within easy walking distance of central Queenstown, this superbly-placed hotel is found in a…

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Dunluce B&B, Te Anau

New Zealand

Grade: Standard

Type: Guesthouse B&B

A contemporary home in 1.5 acres of landscaped gardens of New Zealand's remarkable local flora,…

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The Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook

New Zealand

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Superbly situated in Mt Cook National Park, the Hermitage offers 164 guestrooms with fabulous mountain…

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The George

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Located in the heart of Christchurch, overlooking picturesque Hagley Park and the Avon River, The…

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Hotel De Brett, Auckland

New Zealand

Grade: Deluxe

Type: Unique And Boutique

This iconic building in Auckland's central fashion precinct has been stylishly reinterpreted into a 25-room boutique hotel.

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Excursions

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