Spectacular North and South

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Spectacular North and South

from £3,900 excluding flights

  • 27 nights
  • Year round

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Highlights

In pictures
Milford Sound

Spot wildlife on a Milford Sound nature cruise

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Delve into Maori culture in Rotorua

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View the glaciers and rock formations on the West Coast

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Experience history and heritage at Waitangi and Te Papa Museum

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Explore the beaches of Abel Tasman and the Coromondel

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Marvel at Mt Cook and the Southern Alps

Why this trip...

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park tailor made white

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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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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Explore at leisure

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

Overview

This 28-day self-drive itinerary is designed for those who have a little longer to spend in the land of the long white cloud. Enjoy the glorious beaches, lush and fertile farmland, rugged volcanic scenery of the North Island before heading to the truly spectacular South Island where you can explore majestic mountain ranges, glacial valleys, alpine lakes and encounter unique wildlife in an extraordinarily diverse landscape.

Starting in Auckland, drive to the sub-tropical Bay of Islands, take in the beauty of the Coromandel, before travelling south via the dramatic scenery of Tongaririo National Park to Napier, New Zealand's famous art deco city, and on to the vibrant capital city of Wellington.

Relax on your Interislander ferry journey across the majestic Marlborough Sounds to the South Island where the you'll have time to explore Abel Tasman National Park, before travelling to the rugged and dramatic west coast and its stunning glaciers. Head further south to the Southern Lakes region, blessed with an abundance of stunning scenery. Spend time here before exploring breathtaking Fiordland National Park, home to Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Your holiday ends with 2 nights in the garden city of Christchurch.

Itinerary

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

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the city for an overnight stay. Overnight at Hotel Grand Windsor.

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the city for an overnight stay. Overnight at Hotel Grand Windsor.

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Days 2-3 Auckland - Paihia, Bay of Islands

Collect your rental car today and travel north. Stretching 350km north from Auckland, Northland is New Zealand's only sub-tropical region and with its above average sunshine record and glorious beaches, it is popular with locals as well as visitors. From your base in Paihia, visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds New Zealand's pre-eminent historic site, where on 6 February 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and the British Crown. Explore the bay at leisure, perhaps taking a boat trip out to explore the many islands that make this beautiful region so special. Spend two nights at Blue Pacific Apartments.

Collect your rental car today and travel north. Stretching 350km north from Auckland, Northland is New Zealand's only sub-tropical region and with its above average sunshine record and glorious beaches, it is popular with locals as well as visitors. From your base in Paihia, visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds New Zealand's pre-eminent historic site, where on 6 February 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and the British Crown. Explore the bay at leisure, perhaps taking a boat trip out to explore the many islands that make this beautiful region so special. Spend two nights at Blue Pacific Apartments.

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Day 4 Paihia - Orewa

Leave Paihia at your leisure today and travel to Orewa, lying on the Hibiscus Coast, just north of the base of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and 40 kms north of central Auckland for an overnight stay at Waves Motel.

Leave Paihia at your leisure today and travel to Orewa, lying on the Hibiscus Coast, just north of the base of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and 40 kms north of central Auckland for an overnight stay at Waves Motel.

Days 5-6 Orewa - Pauanui, Coromandel

Travel to the verdant Coromandel Peninsula, separated from Auckland by the broad Firth of Thames and comprising a forested backbone of mountains separating the precipitous west coast from the coves and white sand beaches of the east. Explore at leisure to experience the very best this wonderful region has to offer. Renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and lush flora, the Coromandel is blessed with hundreds of natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to slow down, relax and unwind. Spend two nights at Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge.

Travel to the verdant Coromandel Peninsula, separated from Auckland by the broad Firth of Thames and comprising a forested backbone of mountains separating the precipitous west coast from the coves and white sand beaches of the east. Explore at leisure to experience the very best this wonderful region has to offer. Renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and lush flora, the Coromandel is blessed with hundreds of natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to slow down, relax and unwind. Spend two nights at Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge.

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Cathedral Cove

Day 7 Pauanui - Rotorua

Drive south 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 Faiths Church. Your guide will share the legends and history of the village which will give you an insight into Maori culture. Spend two nights at The Springs with breakfast included.

Drive south 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 Faiths Church. Your guide will share the legends and history of the village which will give you an insight into Maori culture. Spend two nights at The Springs with breakfast included.

Day 8 Rotorua

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, known as the final resting place of the Pink and White Terraces.

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, known as the final resting place of the Pink and White Terraces.

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Days 9-10 Rotorua - Tongariro National Park

Witness the superb and dramatic scenery of North Island's heartland. En route 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. Make your way on to Ruapehu, a snow-capped volcano surrounded by desert like lava and ash. Perhaps hike the famous 1-day Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of New Zealand's 9 Great Walks or alternatively spend time at leisure and explore the striking volcanic landscapes. Spend two nights at Powderhorn Chateau.

Witness the superb and dramatic scenery of North Island's heartland. En route 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. Make your way on to Ruapehu, a snow-capped volcano surrounded by desert like lava and ash. Perhaps hike the famous 1-day Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of New Zealand's 9 Great Walks or alternatively spend time at leisure and explore the striking volcanic landscapes. Spend two nights at Powderhorn Chateau.

Days 11-12 Tongariro National Park - Napier

Continue your journey to Napier, New Zealand's Art Deco capital. Located in the heart of Hawke's Bay wine country, the city was rebuilt in the early 1930s following a massive earthquake and nowhere else can you see such a variety of art-deco architecture in such a concentrated area. On your day at leisure, perhaps take a guided walking tour, visit the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers on an overland safari or alternatively spend time exploring the wineries the region is renowned for. Two nights at The Crown Hotel.

Continue your journey to Napier, New Zealand's Art Deco capital. Located in the heart of Hawke's Bay wine country, the city was rebuilt in the early 1930s following a massive earthquake and nowhere else can you see such a variety of art-deco architecture in such a concentrated area. On your day at leisure, perhaps take a guided walking tour, visit the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers on an overland safari or alternatively spend time exploring the wineries the region is renowned for. Two nights at The Crown Hotel.

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Days 13-14 Napier - Wellington

Depart Napier and make your way 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. Enjoy a 60-minute 'Introducing Te Papa' tour at the iconic Te Papa Museum. The name broadly translate to 'the place of treasures of this land', this tour includes notes and observations on many of the treasures housed here. Spend two nights at Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay.

Depart Napier and make your way 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. Enjoy a 60-minute 'Introducing Te Papa' tour at the iconic Te Papa Museum. The name broadly translate to 'the place of treasures of this land', this tour includes notes and observations on many of the treasures housed here. Spend two nights at Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay.

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Day 15 Wellington - Picton - Kaiteriteri

Drop off your rental car and travel in the Premium Plus cabin on the InterIslander ferry across the magnificent Cook Strait to Picton. Collect another vehicle and make your way via Nelson to Kaiteriteri. This region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, national parks, boutique wineries, micro breweries and a large creative community of working artists. Spend two nights at Kaiteriteri Reserve Apartments.

Drop off your rental car and travel in the Premium Plus cabin on the InterIslander ferry across the magnificent Cook Strait to Picton. Collect another vehicle and make your way via Nelson to Kaiteriteri. This region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, national parks, boutique wineries, micro breweries and a large creative community of working artists. Spend two nights at Kaiteriteri Reserve Apartments.

Day 16 Abel Tasman National Park

Enjoy a day in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park with your Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk Open Day Pass.

Enjoy a day in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park with your Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk Open Day Pass.

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Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman swing bridge

Day 17 Kaiteriteri - Punakaiki

Depart Kaiteriteri and make your way to Punakaiki, which is best known for its dramatic pancake rocks and blowholes but is also the gateway to Paparoa National Park. Overnight at Punakaiki Resort.

Depart Kaiteriteri and make your way to Punakaiki, which is best known for its dramatic pancake rocks and blowholes but is also the gateway to Paparoa National Park. Overnight at Punakaiki Resort.

Day 18 Punakaiki - Franz Josef

Make your way down the wild and very striking West Coast past the mining town of Hokitika to Franz Josef where optional activities include guided glacier walks and scenic flights. In the 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 more. Overnight 58 On Cron Motel.

Make your way down the wild and very striking West Coast past the mining town of Hokitika to Franz Josef where optional activities include guided glacier walks and scenic flights. In the 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 more. Overnight 58 On Cron Motel.

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Lake Matheson

Day 19 Franz Josef - Queenstown

Drive through World Heritage rainforests and cross Haast Pass to reach the stunning alpine resort town of Queenstown, which lies at the heart of the spectacular Southern Lakes region. Spend the rest of the day at leisure or drive to neighbouring Arrowtown, a traditional gold panning town that in Autumn is awash with hues of red and gold - a photographers dream. Overnight at Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown MGallery.

Drive through World Heritage rainforests and cross Haast Pass to reach the stunning alpine resort town of Queenstown, which lies at the heart of the spectacular Southern Lakes region. Spend the rest of the day at leisure or drive to neighbouring Arrowtown, a traditional gold panning town that in Autumn is awash with hues of red and gold - a photographers dream. Overnight at Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown MGallery.

Day 20 Queenstown - Te Anau

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 South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Spend two nights at Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas.

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 South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Spend two nights at Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas.

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Gibbston Valley
Milford Sound

Day 21 Milford Sound

Depart Te Anau for a fascinating drive to Milford Sound along the Milford Road where you board your launch for a nature cruise on this magnificent fiord. See the spectacular Bowen Falls and towering Mitre Peak. In the afternoon return to Te Anau with time at leisure.

Depart Te Anau for a fascinating drive to Milford Sound along the Milford Road where you board your launch for a nature cruise on this magnificent fiord. See the spectacular Bowen Falls and towering Mitre Peak. In the afternoon return to Te Anau with time at leisure.

Days 22-23 Te Anau - Lake Wanaka

Make your way to Wanaka. With all the charm but less attention, Lake Wanaka rivals Queenstown for scenery and adventure. It is more laid-back and enjoys a certain tranquillity that is favoured by many visitors. Mirrored in the lake's placid waters is the incredibly scenic backdrop of Mt. Aspiring and the Southern Alps and within easy access to Mt Cook. Explore at leisure, perhaps join a half day Mou Waho Island Lake Cruise including a guided nature walk or enjoy the wilderness trails by bike, on foot or by horseback or alternatively take a scenic helicopter flight. Spend two nights at Wanaka Springs Lodge with breakfast included.

Make your way to Wanaka. With all the charm but less attention, Lake Wanaka rivals Queenstown for scenery and adventure. It is more laid-back and enjoys a certain tranquillity that is favoured by many visitors. Mirrored in the lake's placid waters is the incredibly scenic backdrop of Mt. Aspiring and the Southern Alps and within easy access to Mt Cook. Explore at leisure, perhaps join a half day Mou Waho Island Lake Cruise including a guided nature walk or enjoy the wilderness trails by bike, on foot or by horseback or alternatively take a scenic helicopter flight. Spend two nights at Wanaka Springs Lodge with breakfast included.

Lake Wanaka

Days 24-25 Lake Wanaka - Twizel

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 at Matuka Lodge with breakfast included.

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 at Matuka Lodge with breakfast included.

Day 26 Twizel - Christchurch

Drive to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo and the town of Geraldine across the Canterbury Plains. Overnight at Peppers Clearwater Resort.

Drive to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo and the town of Geraldine across the Canterbury Plains. Overnight at Peppers Clearwater Resort.

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Days 27-28 Christchurch

Enjoy time at leisure exploring this compact, yet vibrant city centered around the River Avon. Punt down the river and enjoy the delightful botanical gardens or visit the numerous street performers, lively markets, bars and cafes that line the city streets. On your final day drop off your rental vehicle at the airport and depart.

Enjoy time at leisure exploring this compact, yet vibrant city centered around the River Avon. Punt down the river and enjoy the delightful botanical gardens or visit the numerous street performers, lively markets, bars and cafes that line the city streets. On your final day drop off your rental vehicle at the airport and depart.

Accommodation Options

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

Discuss your options with our Travel Specialists.

Included Activities

The activities and experiences below are included in this trip as well as a Waimangu Valley self guided walking tour and boat cruise and Okarito Wetlands Boat Tour during November to April.

You can also speak to our Travel Specialists about pre-booking other excursions during your stay.

Prices and Departures

Price from £3,900 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.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Car rental throughout
  • Interislander (premium plus cabin)
  • Private airport transfer on arrival
  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds admission
  • Ohinemutu Village Guided Tour
  • Waimangu Valley self guided walking tour and boat cruise
  • Orakei Korako geothermal valley admission
  • Introducing Te Papa Tour
  • Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk open day pass
  • Okarito Wetlands Boat Tour (Nov-Apr)
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

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 Prices (pp)
01 May - 30 Sep 2020 27 nights Toyota Corolla (or similar) Price on request
01 Oct - 31 Dec 2020 27 nights Toyota Corolla (or similar) £3,900
01 Jan - 31 Mar 2021 27 nights Toyota Corolla (or similar) £4,055

Meet our expert

worldwide team jo cooper bw
One of our specialists
Meet Jo C

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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.

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