Discover Aotearoa

from £3426
excluding flights *
20 nights Year round


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.


  • Experience the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula
  • Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori experience
  • Explore golden sand bays and forested coves in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Okarito Wetlands Boat Tour
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise in magnificent Fiordland

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Car rental throughout including GPS
  • Interislander ferry crossing (premium plus cabin)
  • Private airport transfer on arrival
  • Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori experience in Rotorua
  • Waimangu Valley self guided walk and boat cruise
  • Orakei Korako admission in Rotorua
  • Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk Open Day Pass
  • Okarito Wetlands Boat Tour
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Full description

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

Nip across magnificent Cook Strait and the adventure continues on the 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. Prices for other combinations of passengers and rooms available on request. Other vehicle types also available.

Departure Duration Car Category Twin Price (pp)
01 Oct 2019 - 31 Mar 2020 20 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £3,553
01 Apr - 30 Sep 2020 20 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) Price on request
01 Oct - 31 Dec 2020 20 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £3,426
01 Jan - 31 Mar 2021 20 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £3,450

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom (mix of hotels, motels, B&B's and lodges)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Car rental throughout (Toyota Corolla Hatch or similar) including GPS
  • Interislander ferry crossing (premium plus cabin)
  • Private airport transfer on arrival
  • Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori experience
  • Waimangu Valley self guided walk and boat cruise
  • Orakei Korako admission
  • Abel Tasman cruise & walk open day pass
  • Okarito Wetlands boat tour
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection »

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation


The itinerary shown is an example of this self-drive holiday. We have many other hotels and 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: Auckland

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

Day 2: Auckland - Coromandel (190 km)

Collect your rental car and make your way to Whitianga, nestled on the Coromandel Peninsula, a region filled with rainforest-clad gorges and Pohutukawa-fringed beaches, such as Cathedral Cove.
Overnight: Beachfront Resort (2 nights).

Day 3: Coromandel

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

Day 4: Coromandel - Rotorua (230 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

Today discover the Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Lake Rotomahana on a self guided walk and boat cruise. You can explore the world's youngest geothermal valley at your own pace along the beautiful walking trails, woven through a natural geothermal ecosystem. Walks vary in length from 1.5kms - 4.5kms, covering a range of geothermal activity, hot springs, volcanic craters, nature and wildlife. The trail leads you down to the lake, where you can complete the experience with a relaxing 45 minute boat cruise around Lake Rotomahana, the final resting place of the Pink & White Terraces.

Day 6: Rotorua - Napier (219 km)

Enjoy a wonderful drive today, via Lake Taupo, Australasia's largest freshwater lake. En route to Napier 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. Continue on to Napier, New Zealand's Art Deco capital, set in the heart of Hawke's Bay Wine Country. With a feast of Art Deco architecture, the city was rebuilt in the early 1930's following a massive earthquake and by the end of the decade, Napier was the newest city on the globe and nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930's - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco - in such a concentrated area.
Overnight: The Crown Hotel.

Day 7: Napier - Wellington (322 km)

Drive 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: QT Museum Wellington.

Day 8: Wellington - Picton - Motueka (179 km)

Today travel in the Premium Plus cabin on the interislander Ferry across the magnificent Cook Strait. On arrival in Picton make your way to the charming township of Motueka, gateway to Abel Tasman National Park.
Overnight: Kaiteriteri Apartments (3 nights).

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.

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. Be sure to view the fantastic blow holes and rock formations in Punakaiki.
Overnight: Punakaiki Resort.

Day 12: Punakaiki - Franz Josef (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. Optional activities here include guided glacier walks and scenic flights. This afternoon enjoy a guided Okarito Wetlands tour into the rainforest waterways where you will see birds, plants, trees and the incredible landscape that make Okarito one of the West Coast's most accessible, yet pristine and tranquil areas. The open-air boat moves slowly, allowing you to enjoy 360-degree views and a wealth of birdlife including the graceful Kotuku- Great White heron, Royal Spoonbills, the intrepid godwits from Siberia and Alaska, the leggy Pied Stilts, and many others.
Overnight: 58 on Cron Motel (2 nights).

Day 13: Franz Josef - 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: Scenic Suites Queenstown.

Day 14: 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 Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Site.
Overnight: Dunluce B&B (2 nights). Breakfast included.

Day 15: 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 16: 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: Wanaka Springs Lodge (2 nights). Breakfast included.

Day 17: Lake Wanaka

Explore at your leisure today, perhaps join a half day Mou Waho Island Lake Cruise including a guided nature walk or alternatively enjoy time at leisure exploring the wilderness trails by bike, foot or on horseback. There are also more adventurous activities such as canyon swinging, boat cruises, kayaking and jeep safaris.

Day 18: Lake Wanaka - Twizel (144 km)

Head north through magnificent rural landscape to Twizel. The scenery here is literally breathtaking as you take in mesmerising blue glacier lakes and tussock-clad hills as well as clear skies, perfect for stargazing.
Overnight: Matuka Lodge (2 nights). Breakfast included.

Day 19: Twizel

Spend today at leisure, perhaps enjoying one of the nearby hiking trails, or for those that wish to explore the area further perhaps opt for a guided hike in Mount Cook National Park. Glacier kayaking is also available in Mount Cook National Park or why not enjoy the impressive views on scenic flight, to really appreciate the grandeur of the area.

Day 20: Twizel - Christchurch (285 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.

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

New Zealand

Grade: Deluxe

Type: Unique And Boutique

Escape the ordinary in Regent of Rotorua, a designer boutique hotel offering stylish luxury accommodation, restaurant, wine & cocktail bar, all with a touch of glamour.

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QT Wellington

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

The quirky QT Wellington offers a uniquely creative approach to hotel design, with modern art, sophisticated technology and a personalised friendly service.

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The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge, Nelson

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Luxury Lodge

A superb boutique property, set in 50 acres of native bush, the Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge offers only 4 lodge rooms and 2 self-contained cottage suites.

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Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

West Coast

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

A stunning eco-tourism hotel with spectacular views of wild West Coast beaches, the Punakaiki Resort offers 26 hotel rooms alongside 37 self-contained suites.

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The Heritage Queenstown

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Set within easy walking distance of central Queenstown, this superbly-placed hotel is found in a wooded area that overlooks the stunning Lake Wakatipu.

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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, the 4 rooms of Dunluce B&B are imbued with a comfort and warmth only found in the countryside.

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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 views from the impressive foyer and lounge.

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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 George is just a step away from key attractions including the arts market, restaurants and Botanical Gardens.

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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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