Franz Josef Glacier

Discover Aotearoa

from £3351 excluding flights

  • 20 nights
  • Year round

Highlights

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula

Experience the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula

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Enjoy a cruise on magnificent Doubtful Sound

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Explore Abel Tasman's lush coastal forest and turquoise sea

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Learn about Maori culture and history

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Explore the rainforest and glaciers at Franz Josef

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Walk around Napier and marvel at its Art Deco architecture

Why this trip...

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Explore at leisure

With the route, transport and accommodation sorted, each day offers the freedom to explore

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Well-researched route

We've put our years of experience into creating this well-paced itinerary that includes the places we know you'll enjoy

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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

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.

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.

Itinerary

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the City of Sails.

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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.

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.

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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. This evening make your way to the Mitai Maori Village to join an evening of traditional culture and food. Witness a haka, enjoy a hangi feast and watch out for the glow worms that sparkle in this natural bush setting.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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Enjoy time to explore the pristine bays and coves of this beautiful corner of New Zealand. Accessible only by water taxi, here you can hike the stunning Abel Tasman Coast Track, go sea kayaking on clear turquoise waters, and see seals, birdlife, dolphins and possibly visiting orca. An open day pass is included to enable you to explore the national park at your leisure.

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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.

Make your way to glacier country today and to the world’s most accessible temperate-zone glaciers, nestled in valleys lined with rainforest. The rugged West Coast beaches provide a contrast to the soaring peaks of the mountainous backdrop. Optional activities here include guided glacier walks and scenic flights.

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Lake Matheson

Take a guided Okarito Wetlands tour this morning, heading into the rainforest waterways where you will see birds, plants, trees and the incredible landscape that make Okarito Lagoon 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, intrepid godwits from Siberia and Alaska, the leggy pied stilts, and many others. The rest of the day is at leisure – a visit to nearby Lake Matheson, the mirror lake, is highly recommended.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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Head north through magnificent rural landscape to Mt Cook. The scenery will take your breath away as you take in mesmerising blue glacier lakes and tussock-clad hills, which give way to the soaring peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Mt Cook National Park, perhaps enjoying one of the numerous hiking trails, try glacier kayaking or perhaps take a scenic flight to really appreciate the grandeur of the area. This evening don’t forget to look up, as the clear night skies in this region make for fantastic stargazing.

Continue to enjoy the alpine scenery as you drive via scenic Lake Tekapo and the much-photographed Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue east across the Canterbury Plains to the city of Christchurch.

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Hiking in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
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Drop off your rental vehicle at the airport today and depart.

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.

  • copthorne oriental bay wellington superior double room
  • copthorne hokianga exterior
  • nelson awaroa lodge standard plus room
  • wharekauhau lodge exterior

Prices and Departures

Price from £3351 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.
Note: Airfares tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.

What's Included

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

This itinerary starts from £3,351 per person, based on 2 sharing a room in standard accommodation, and vehicle rental with GPS.

Prices may vary depending on departure date, or should you prefer alternative categories of accommodation or vehicle size. Please contact us for a detailed quote based on your preferred travel dates, vehicle category and style of accommodation, or to tailor this itinerary.

How To Book BG Large

HOW TO BOOK

Browse the website

Find a holiday idea or suggested itinerary that inspires you, then send an enquiry or call us

Personalised Quote

Your dedicated travel specialist will create a quote based on your preferences

Refine & Book

Together we’ll refine your itinerary until you’re happy and ready to book

You’re in safe hands

From the moment you book until you return home we’re here for you no matter what

Tailor made trips

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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Travelling sustainably

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.