Pohutu Geyser

Essential New Zealand

from £1858 excluding flights

  • 13 nights
  • Year round
Home Destinations Australasia New Zealand Essential New Zealand


new zealand coromandel aerial view hot water beach istk

Experience the beaches and lush forest of the Coromandel Peninsula

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Discover Rotorua's geo-thermal wonders and Maori culture

Franz Josef Glacier

Visit the West Coast glaciers, nestled on the edge of the rainforest

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Explore Abel Tasman National Park on foot or by kayak

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Visit Art Deco Napier in the heart of Hawke's Bay wine country

Shotover Canyon

Choose from a wealth of activities in adventurous Queenstown

Why this trip...

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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

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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


This self drive 14-day itinerary is especially designed for the budget-conscious traveller wanting to experience the very best of New Zealand at an affordable cost. Savour the spectacular scenery and highlights of this amazing country as you start your journey in Auckland, the City of Sails, and travel far south to the magnificent alpine resort town of Queenstown.

Starting in Auckland, drive to the lush and tranquil Coromandel, travel south via Napier, New Zealand’s famous Art Deco city, before heading to the capital city of Wellington.

Journey across the Marlborough Sounds to the South Island where you can enjoy the arts and crafts of charming Nelson, the dramatic west coast and its superb glaciers, before travelling south to the Southern Lakes region, blessed with an abundance of stunning scenery. Spend time here and enjoy the exceptional wealth of adventurous or relaxing activities on offer.


On arrival at Auckland airport make your way to the Super Shuttle for transfer to your hotel in the city. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure. It is well worth getting out on the water to enjoy the maritime flavour of the City of Sails. You may like to take a wildlife harbour cruise and enjoy the informative commentary on the sights of Auckland. The Auckland War Memorial Museum is also well worth a visit. It tells the story of New Zealand, from its unique flora and fauna and its history at war, to its priceless collection of Maori and Pacific treasures.

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Collect your rental vehicle and journey south to Whitianga on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps enjoying one of many nearby coastal tracks on foot or by bike. Short walking trails lead to picture-perfect isolated beaches away from civilisation. You may like to take a guided walking tour with local experts, Kiwi Dundee Adventures, to properly discover this enchanting region.

Spend a full day at leisure on the Coromandel Peninsula. 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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Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula

Make your way to Rotorua in central North Island. Rotorua is the spiritual home to the Maori tribe of Te Arawa and is set amongst a myriad of crystal clear crater lakes. Here you can experience nature’s awesome earth forces – bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and silica terraces.

Enjoy a full day of leisure today in Rotorua and explore this fascinating geothermal region. Relax in pools of natural mineral water, wrap yourself in healing mud or treat yourself to a massage under warm thermal waters. Rotorua provides many opportunities to come face to face with the spirit of Maori culture. Experience the living Maori village of Whakarewarewa, visit the New Zealand Maori Arts and Craft Institute where you will see traditional carving techniques in action or take an extraordinary journey through Maori culture and mythology with The Realm of Tane.

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Head further south today to Lake Taupo and then on to Napier, an Art Deco inspired town set in the heart of Hawke’s Bay Wine Country. Supported by a Mediterranean climate and over 2,200 hours of sunshine a year this popular year-round destination boasts a vibrant cafe culture amongst the splendour of its Art Deco buildings. After a long day taking in the sights, revitalize yourself by sampling some of Hawke’s Bay’s award winning wines and fresh Bay produce from one of the many restaurant, café and winery menus.

Head to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city offering an unforgettable urban experience in a stunning natural setting. Set between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills, this compact city has great shopping, professional theatre, memorable arts, culture and heritage and great cafes and restaurants all close to untouched nature spots. Central Wellington itself is only 2 kilometres in diameter and you can walk from one side to the other in under 20 minutes.

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Head to the Wellington Ferry Terminal for your scenic journey on the Interislander across the Cook Strait. You will take your vehicle with you on the ferry. On arrival make your way to Motueka, perhaps stopping en route in Nelson. The Nelson region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, boutique wineries, micro breweries and a large creative community of artists. Continue onto Motueka, the gateway town to Abel Tasman National Park, and your home for the next two nights.

Spend a full day at leisure in Abel Tasman National Park. 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.

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Abel Tasman swing bridge
Hiking the Abel Tasman Track

From Motueka drive to the dramatic West Coast. The Great Coast Road stretching from Westport to Greymouth has been featured as one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world in Lonely Planet. Historic Hokitika is a place to appreciate the fascinating history of the West Coast. Here you can visit galleries specialising in pounamu jewellery and art works. The Arahura River, which enters the sea just north of Hokitika, is a traditional source of pounamu (greenstone). Gold jewellers, wood turners and potters provide other souvenir opportunities.

The hospitable town of Franz Josef serves the glacier of the same name. Stay here while you explore this spectacular World Heritage Area. Franz Josef Glacier is five kilometres from the town and a 20 minute walk will take you to its terminal face. From the glacier car park, you can hike to a choice of lookout points for a bigger view of this awesome river of ice. If you want to actually make contact with the glacier, take a guided ice walk or a heli-hike. Aerial sightseeing is highly recommended.

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Your longest travelling day takes you down one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline on the West Coast. Head south via Haast Pass towards the alpine town of Queenstown, which sits on the shore of Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges. With a smorgasbord of outdoor activities, Queenstown is renowned as the adventure capital of the world.

Enjoy a full day at leisure today in this wonderful alpine town. You can choose to be adventurous and enjoy activities such as sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting or simply relax with a gentle lakeside walk, a vineyard wine tasting or just simply relax and admire the views.

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Make your way to Queenstown airport and drop off your rental vehicle before your departure.

Accommodation Options

We have selected properties for this holiday in a mix of hotels and motels. However, with a wide choice of accommodation in New Zealand, we can change to suit your personal preference mixing different grades and styles.

  • copthorne hotel auckland 1
  • distinction wellington bedroom

Prices and Departures

Price from £1858 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
  • Car rental throughout
  • Interislander ferry crossing for passengers and vehicle
  • Shuttle transfer on arrival
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

This itinerary starts from around £1,858 per person, based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom in simple accommodation, and rental of a compact SUV vehicle.

Prices may vary depending on departure date and booking date, as well as any changes to the included components. The final cost of a tailored holiday will be based on the level of accommodation, size of vehicle, included activities, travel season, and how far in advance it is booked. We will confirm the exact price for your holiday in your individual quotation, based on your chosen travel dates and inclusions.

As Standard, Complete Piece of Mind

We’re listening. We always care what our fellow travellers think and love building strong customer relationships so we continuously focus on improving future experiences based on feedback. How incredible for the last three years we have received the Feefo Platinum Award.


The World's Great. Pass it On

To mark our 40th anniversary, we've launched our Education Bursary Fund to help disadvantaged school children experience the wonders of travel. A percentage of revenue from every holiday booked will go into the bursary fund to pay for at least 40 students to join one of our school trips abroad.