Essential New Zealand

from £1,227
excluding flights *
13, 20 nights Year round


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.


  • The superb beaches and lush forest of the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Rotorua 's geo-thermal wonderland and Maori culture
  • The picturesque wine regions of Napier and Nelson
  • Explore Abel Tasman National Park on foot or by kayak
  • Visit spectacular glaciers in Franz Josef, nestled on the edge of the rainforest
  • Choose from Queenstown's wealth of optional activities

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Car rental throughout
  • Interislander ferry crossing
  • Shuttle transfer on arrival in Auckland
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Full description

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.

We also offer an extended version of this itinerary to include time in the Bay of Islands, Dunedin, Tekapo and Christchurch, where the itinerary ends. Contact us for full itinerary details and prices.

Contact our New Zealand specialists now
nordic team doug kington bw
Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

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 May - 30 Sep 2020 13 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £1,227
01 Oct - 31 Dec 2020 13 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £1,337
01 Jan - 31 Mar 2021 13 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £1,372
01 Nov 2019 - 31 Mar 2020 21 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £2,140
01 Apr - 30 Apr 2020 21 nights* Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £1,974
01 May - 30 Sep 2020 21 nights* Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £1,811
01 Oct - 31 Dec 2020 21 nights* Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £2,056
01 Jan - 31 Mar 2021 21 nights* Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £2,265

*The extended 22 day version of this itinerary includes time in the Bay of Islands, Dunedin, Tekapo and Christchurch, where the itinerary ends. Contact us for full itinerary details.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom (mix of hotels and motels)
  • Car rental throughout (Toyota Corolla Hatch or similar) - All inclusive basis including GPS
  • 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 »

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 arrive Auckland

On arrival at Auckland airport please make your way to the Super Shuttle transfer where you will pick up the transfer to your city hotel. 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.
Overnight: Copthorne Hotel, Auckland City

Day 2 Auckland - Whitianga

Collect your rental vehicle this morning 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.
Overnight: Beachside Resort (2 nights)

Day 3 Whitianga

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.

Day 4 Whitianga - Rotorua

Today make your way to Rotorua in the 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 will experience nature's awesome earth forces - bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and hot water beaches. 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.
Overnight: Ibis Rotorua (2 nights)

Day 5 Rotorua

Enjoy a full day of leisure today in Rotorua and explore this fascinating geothermal region.

Day 6 Rotorua - Napier

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.
Overnight: Bella Tuscany on Kennedy

Day 7 Napier - Wellington

Head to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Wellington, offers 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.
Overnight: Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

Day 8 Wellington - Picton - Nelson - Motueka

Please make your way to the Wellington Ferry Terminal this morning 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 working artists. Continue onto Motueka, the gateway town to Abel Tasman National Park, and your home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets (2 nights)

Day 9 Motueka

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.

Day 10 Motueka - Hokitika

From Motueka drive to the dramatic West Coast. The Great Coast Road stretching from Westport to Greymouth was recently voted one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by 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.
Overnight: Beachfront Hotel

Day 11 Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier

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.
Overnight: Glacier View Motel

Day 12 Franz Josef Glacier - Queenstown

Today is a long travel day along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline on the West Coast. Head south via Haast Pass towards the alpine town of Queenstown. Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges. With a smorgasbord of outdoor activities, Queenstown is renowned as the adventure capital of the world. 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 or a vineyard wine tasting.
Overnight: Blue Peaks Lodge (2 nights)

Day 13 Queenstown

Enjoy a full day at leisure today in this wonderful alpine town. You may like to take a jet-boating adventure, enjoy a guided walk, winery visit or just simply relax and admire the views!

Day 14 Queenstown

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

Copthorne Hotel Auckland City

New Zealand

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Located in central Auckland, this modern hotel has 110 spacious guest rooms in close proximity to the city's key attractions.

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Hotel Ibis, Rotorua

New Zealand

Grade: Simple

Type: Hotel

The Hotel Ibis is found on the picturesque shores of Lake Rotorua, providing 145 guestrooms within a 5-minute walk of the town centre.

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Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

New Zealand

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Located in the cultural centre of New Zealand’s vibrant capital city, Distinction Wellington offers 89 comfortable apartments from studio rooms to two bedroom apartments, each boasting stylish, modern design and superior amenities.

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