Hidden Gems of New Zealand

from £2508
excluding flights *
19 nights Year round


This tour has been designed to showcase the real heart and soul of New Zealand - 'an insiders tour', through and through. Whilst visiting key places and classic attractions, this tour also allows you to visit the lesser known regions of both the North and South Island, allowing you to gain an insight into New Zealand from a completely different perspective.


  • Visiting Chums Beach - voted one of the world's top 10 beaches
  • Digging your own thermal pool at Hot Water Beach
  • Enjoying a traditional Hangi meal in Rotorua
  • Visiting the remarkable Pancake Rocks
  • Watch for iconic kiwis in Stewart Island

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner
  • Cultural tour and Hangi dinner at Kohutapu Lodge
  • At Blue Duck Lodge inclusions are breakfast and a bush tucker dinner, bush safari or kayak/jet boat
  • Milford Sound boat cruise and coach transfers ex Te Anau
  • Meet and Greet on arrival
  • Car rental throughout
  • Unlimited kilometres
  • Ferry crossings
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Full description

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 Apr - 15 Sep 2020 19 nights Compact vehicle rental £2,508
16 Sep - 31 Mar 2021 19 nights Compact vehicle rental £2,907

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom (mix of motels, hotels, B&B's and homestays)
  • 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner
  • Car rental throughout
  • Interislander ferry
  • Cultural tour and Hangi dinner at Kohutapu Lodge
  • At Blue Duck Lodge inclusions are breakfast and a bush tucker dinner, bush safari or kayak/jet boat
  • Milford Sound boat cruise and coach transfers ex Te Anau
  • Stewart Island return ferry
  • Meet and greet on arrival
  • Comprehensive tour manual
  • Eco pack (on arrival in New Zealand) containing a reusable aluminium drink bottle and coffee cup, a reusable shopping bag and a contribution to a carbon neutral tree planting programme
  • 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 in Auckland

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation in the City of Sails.
Overnight at The Heritage Auckland

Day 2 Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula (280 km - Average driving time is 4.5 hours)

Travel along the western shores of the Coromandel Peninsula to Coromandel Town. A visit to New Chums Beach is a must, voted one of the world's top 10 beaches but rarely explored by Kiwis' or tourists alike. With no buildings, no cars, no infrastructure and no camping allowed, this beach really is the jewel in New Zealand's coastal crown.
Overnight at Ohuka Place Homestay Whitianga (B)

Day 3 Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua (250 km - Average driving time is 4 hours)

Travel along the East Coast and explore the magic of this beautiful region. Visit Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own thermal pool at low tide. Take a short walk to the famous Cathedral Cove, one of the most interesting bays in the country. Continue to Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty and visit a kiwi fruit orchard where you will learn everything about New Zealand's iconic fruit. Continue to Rotorua, the heartland of Maori culture and geothermal activity.
Overnight at Robertson House (B)

Day 4 Rotorua - Murupara (60 km - Average driving time is 1 hour)

Travel along the "Geothermal Highway" alongside boiling mud, sulphur pools and erupting geysers before you head towards Kohutapu Lodge, owned by a local Maori family. Hear stories from your hosts and learn more about Maori culture and traditions before enjoying a traditional Hangi family dinner and cultural tour of this Maori village.
Overnight at Kohutapu Lodge (D,B)

Day 5 Murupara - Taupo - Tongariro National Park - Blue Duck Station (215 km - Average driving time is 2.5 hours)

Stop and marvel at the stunning expanse of Lake Taupo with spectacular views to the volcanoes. Travel through Tongariro National Park, the majestic volcanic plateau and on to Whanganui National Park. Your base tonight will be Blue Duck Lodge, situated high above the banks of the Retaruke River with breathtaking views of the native bush. This locally run lodge is part of Blue Duck Station which has one of the highest concentrations of whio (blue duck) and Kiwi in New Zealand.
Overnight Blue Duck Lodge (B)

Day 6 Whanganui National Park

Spend the day in Whanganui National park, a little-known secret part of the North Island and enjoy the plethora of experiences on offer. Enjoy a locally guided bush safari, learn all about the history of Blue Duck Lodge and witness the everyday workings of this sheep and beef farming station. Blue Duck Station is also home to over 5000 acres of tracked land, perfect for horse-riding, trekking or mountain biking. Alternatively, enjoy the many water-based activities available from kayaking to jet-boating. For an experience like no other, take to the skies and admire Blue Duck Station and Whangaui National Park from above on a scenic helicopter ride…the options here are endless!
Overnight at Blue Duck Lodge (B)

Day 7 Whanganui National Park - Wellington (360 km - Average driving time is 6 hours)

Drive to Whanganui, one of the oldest settlements in the country. Surrounded by mountains, New Zealand's largest navigable waterway and unspoilt native bush, Whanganui is the ideal place for a quiet spot of lunch before continuing along the Kapiti Coast to Wellington, the vibrant capital of New Zealand. Explore the capital by taking a guided sightseeing tour or walk along the waterfront to the National Museum of Te Papa.
Overnight at Distinction Wellington

Day 8 Wellington - Picton - Abel Tasman National Park (190 km - Average driving time is 3 hours plus the ferry crossing of 3.5 hours)

Take the ferry through picturesque Marlborough Sound and arrive in Picton. Drive along the Queen Charlotte Drive with its many secluded and hidden bays and beaches. Head to Nelson and explore this sunny city with its local arts and crafts scene, before continuing on to Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest but nonetheless spectacular national parks.
Overnight at Kimi Ora Eco Resort (B)

Day 9 Abel Tasman National Park

Spend the day in this stunning national park which has attractions to meet any wishes or budgets. Take a water taxi to Tonga Bay and walk or kayak along the coast passing many scenic isolated bays. Alternatively spend the day relaxing on the golden sand of Kaiteriteri Beach or kayak through the many inlets and bays, admiring the fascinating wildlife and landscapes you will encounter along the way.
Overnight at Kimi Ora Eco Resort (B)

Day 10 Abel Tasman National Park - Carters Beach (240 km - Average Driving time is 3.5 hours)

Continue along the winding Buller Gorge that heads along the wild West Coast. Along the way pass through local villages and settlements rarely visited by tourists before arriving at Carter’s Beach. Relax here and listen to the rolling breakers as you stroll along the glorious sandy beaches before watching the sun set across the Tasman Sea.
Overnight at Carters by the Sea

Day 11 Carters Beach - Punakaiki - Westland National Park/ Franz Josef (275 km - Average driving time is 4 hours)

Visit the famous rock formations of Punakaiki, known as the Pancake Rocks before heading south through Greymouth and Hokitika, the jade centres of the country. Visit a jade workshop and see the local carvers at work before continuing on to Westland National Park where glaciers, rainforests and the coast meet. Optional activities include taking a jet boat tour in Whataroa to a White Heron Colony or visit the isolated Okarito, New Zealand’s largest unmodified esuarine lagoon. Here you can kayak along the sheltered waterways looking out for the wading birds that feed here. Alternatively, take to the skies and admire this spectacular region including neighbouring Franz Josef and Fox Glacier from above.
Overnight at Rainforest Retreat

Day 12 Franz Josef - Wanaka - Cardrona Valley (310 km - Average driving time is 4 hours)

Rise early and visit Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier in the morning. Walk around the lake and when it is at its most still you can see the neighbouring mountains reflected in the water – truly a sight to behold. Continue along the coast before heading inland and taking a walk at Ship Creek. After stretching your legs, continue along the famously scenic Haast Pass with its multitude of scenic vistas and viewpoints. See ancient Kahikatea trees which date from prehistoric time before traversing the highest road in the country - the Crown Range Road. Spend the night in Cardrona Valley at Cardrona Hotel, one of New Zealand's oldest and most iconic hotels.
Overnight at Cardrona Hotel (B)

Day 13 Cardrona Valley - Queenstown - Fiordland National Park/ Te Anau (220 km - Average driving time is 3 hours)

Enjoy Queenstown's stunning scenery and plethora of activities before continuing down to Fiordland National Park. Home to plenty of hiking and biking trails, guided tours and family excursions, there is something in this region for everybody.
Overnight at Te Anau Lodge (B)

Day 14 Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau

This morning let someone else take over the driving as you journey by coach through Eglington and Hollyford Valley to the base of the towering Mitre Peak in Milford Sound. Cruise through the fiord and learn about the history of the region from your specialist nature guide. Enjoy the sound of silence as you cruise along to the base of waterfalls, watching out for fur seals (in season), dolphins and the rare Fiordland Crested Penguins that reside here before enjoying a moment of quiet reflection when the crew turn off the engines and the sound of silence fills the air (included).
Overnight at Te Anau Lodge (B)

Day 15 Te Anau - Stewart Island (190 km - Average driving time is 3 hours plus the ferry journey of 1 hour)

Follow the Southern Scenic route through Fiordland National Park past Lake Manapouri. Visit the suspension bridge at Clifton, the oldest in the country before watching dolphins and whales (in season) from the cliffs at Te Waewae Bay. Leave your car at Bluff, the southernmost point of the South Island and take the ferry across to Stewart Island known as “the land of the glowing sun” and a place rarely visited by locals and tourists alike.
Overnight at Stewart Island Lodge (B)

Day 16 Stewart Island/ Rakuira National Park

Spend the day exploring Rakiura National Park, a rarely visited network of former nature reserves and remote native forested areas. Take part in an excursion to a secluded beach, or take a water taxi along the coat to search for sea-lions. If you are interested in birds a trip to Ulva Island is a must, from here you can see a huge variety of local and protected birdlife. Spend the evening admiring the southern night sky, looking out for the 'Aurora Australis’ – the Southern Lights.
Overnight at Stewart Island Lodge (B)

Day 17 Stewart Island - The Catlins - Dunedin (282 km - Average driving time is 5 hours)

Take the ferry back to Bluff where you can collect your car. Continue along the Catlins Coast, a remote and wild coastal region full of beautiful bays, coves, forests and waterfalls. From here you can visit the world’s oldest Petrified Forest (160 million years old) and Nugget Point, one of the Otago coast’s most iconic landmarks before continuing on to Dunedin.
Overnight at 858 George Street Motel

Day 18 Dunedin

Basing yourself in the Scottish influenced city of Dunedin you will have plenty of time to explore the Otago Peninsula and its wildlife. The Peninsula contains several fine beaches and is home to a number of rare species such as the yellow-eyed and little blue penguins, seals and shags. It is also home to the world's only mainland colony of royal albatross at Taiaroa Head on the peninsula's north-eastern point.
Overnight at 858 George Street Motel

Day 19 Dunedin - Moeraki Boulders- Oamaru - Christchurch (360 km - Average driving time is 5 hours)

Drive north to the famous Moeraki Boulders on the coast before continuing to Oamaru, famous for its blue penguin colony. Continue on to Christchurch your final destination.
Overnight at Eliza's Manor on Bealey (B)

Day 20 Christchurch

Drop of your car at the rental office before heading to the airport for your flight home.

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