The Real New Zealand 4×4

The Real New Zealand 4×4

from £2,343 excluding flights

  • 21 nights
  • Year round
01737 214 250
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Enquire Now nordic team doug kington bw

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new zealand mt cook road istk

The Real New Zealand 4×4

from £2,343 excluding flights

  • 21 nights
  • Year round

Customers rate Discover the World

Average score 4.8/5

Based on 978 reviews. Powered by

Highlights

In pictures
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Find hidden beaches and coves in the Bay of Islands

new zealand waterfall in te urewera national park istk

Discover forests and lakes in Te Urewera National Park

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Hike in rugged Nelson Lakes National Park

new zealand kaikoura mountains whale diving istk

Encounter whales and dolphins in Kaikoura and the Bay of Islands

Shotover Canyon

Enjoy New Zealand's 'Adventure Capital' Queenstown

new zealand west coast fox glacier valley twc

Explore the West Coast's rainforest, mountains and glaciers

Why this trip...

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Off-the-beaten-track

This holiday showcases places and experiences away from the usual tourist routes

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Transport used

This holiday includes transport that is ideally suited to the area you are visiting

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Explore at leisure

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

Overview

In just three weeks you will see and experience the very best of what New Zealand has to offer, driving through the most remote and fascinating areas of this spectacular country. This exciting 4x4 self-drive itinerary includes a balanced mix of driving on sealed roads and gravel, which with your four wheel drive vehicle can be both fun and challenging.

Taking in many highlights of North and South Island, you'll also go off the beaten track and visit lesser known places like Urewera National Park, Nelson Lakes National Park and the backcountry of Central Otago.

Starting in Auckland, head north to the Bay of Islands before returning through the 'City of Sails' and continuing your exploration of North Island visiting the Coromandel, Rotorua and Wellington as well as Tongariro and Napier.

Crossing to South Island drive through epic scenery as you visiting Hanmer Springs, Mt Hutt and Lake Tekapo as well as Queenstown, Christchurch and the West Coast Glaciers.

Exclusive to Discover the World clients

Book this 4x4 self-drive holiday and receive a free pre-programmed GPS unit and personalised holiday itinerary. Available on arrival this will be included as part of a comprehensive tour documentation pack which includes maps, off-road driving routes and descriptions and regional maps. This offer applies to this tour as well as our 25-day Hike & Drive and any tailor made 4x4 itineraries.

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

Fly to Auckland where you will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation in New Zealand's largest city, known as the City of Sails.

Fly to Auckland where you will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation in New Zealand's largest city, known as the City of Sails.

Day 2 Auckland - Waipoua Forest - Omapere

In the morning collect your 4x4 rental vehicle from the city depot and head north from Auckland to Muriwai beach, famed for its volcanic black sand beaches and gannet colony. Continue to Matakohe and (optional) visit to the Kauri Museum. Stop to admire the kauri forests of Waipoua before reaching Omapere, at the entrance to Hokianga Harbour, where you stay overnight. In the evening we recommend a guided Maori tour from Omapere to see the magnificent kauri trees.
(Average driving time: 4 hours)

In the morning collect your 4x4 rental vehicle from the city depot and head north from Auckland to Muriwai beach, famed for its volcanic black sand beaches and gannet colony. Continue to Matakohe and (optional) visit to the Kauri Museum. Stop to admire the kauri forests of Waipoua before reaching Omapere, at the entrance to Hokianga Harbour, where you stay overnight. In the evening we recommend a guided Maori tour from Omapere to see the magnificent kauri trees.
(Average driving time: 4 hours)

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Day 3 Omapere - Bay of Islands

Cross Hokianga Harbour and travel to the subtropical north. Continue to the Bay of Islands, famous for its historical importance as well as its stunning scenery of beaches and islands. If you have time take a detour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand's most northerly point. Spend two nights in the Bay of Islands
(Average driving time: 3 hours)

Cross Hokianga Harbour and travel to the subtropical north. Continue to the Bay of Islands, famous for its historical importance as well as its stunning scenery of beaches and islands. If you have time take a detour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand's most northerly point. Spend two nights in the Bay of Islands
(Average driving time: 3 hours)

Day 4 Bay of Islands

Explore the bay and its myriad attractions. We recommend a boat trip (optional) to the Hole in the Rock, a day trip to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach, or a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Explore the bay and its myriad attractions. We recommend a boat trip (optional) to the Hole in the Rock, a day trip to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach, or a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

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Day 5 Bay of Islands - Whangarei - Auckland

Head south on the east coast road, taking advantage of your four wheel drive to explore some of the lovely coves and beaches that lie off the main route and are accessed by unsealed roads. Explore Auckland's interesting multi-cultural restaurant scene, stroll through the Viaduct Harbour at the waterfront, or admire the skyline from Bastion Point at Tamaki Drive or from Mount Eden.
(Average driving time: 4.5 hours)

Head south on the east coast road, taking advantage of your four wheel drive to explore some of the lovely coves and beaches that lie off the main route and are accessed by unsealed roads. Explore Auckland's interesting multi-cultural restaurant scene, stroll through the Viaduct Harbour at the waterfront, or admire the skyline from Bastion Point at Tamaki Drive or from Mount Eden.
(Average driving time: 4.5 hours)

Day 6 Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula/Tairua

Travel along the western shores of the Coromandel Peninsula to delightful Coromandel Town. Cafes and small shops tempt you to stop here. At Hot Water Beach you can dig yourself a natural hot pool in the sand at low tide. A short walk from Hahei Beach takes you to famous Cathedral Cove, one of the most picturesque bays in the country. Overnight is spent in Tairua where you can play golf, go kayaking or simply relax. The short walk to the top of Mount Paku will reward you with wonderful views.
(Average driving time: 4 hours)

Travel along the western shores of the Coromandel Peninsula to delightful Coromandel Town. Cafes and small shops tempt you to stop here. At Hot Water Beach you can dig yourself a natural hot pool in the sand at low tide. A short walk from Hahei Beach takes you to famous Cathedral Cove, one of the most picturesque bays in the country. Overnight is spent in Tairua where you can play golf, go kayaking or simply relax. The short walk to the top of Mount Paku will reward you with wonderful views.
(Average driving time: 4 hours)

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Day 7 Tairua - Rotorua

Drive through the main kiwi fruit growing region of New Zealand to Rotorua in the volcanic heart of North Island. We recommend a Maori cultural show with a traditional Hangi this evening and visiting historical sites. Also take the opportunity to relax in the thermal pools for which the area is renowned. Spend two nights in the area.
(Average driving time: 3.5 hours)

Drive through the main kiwi fruit growing region of New Zealand to Rotorua in the volcanic heart of North Island. We recommend a Maori cultural show with a traditional Hangi this evening and visiting historical sites. Also take the opportunity to relax in the thermal pools for which the area is renowned. Spend two nights in the area.
(Average driving time: 3.5 hours)

Day 8 Rotorua

Explore the Central Plateau perhaps visiting Whakarewarewa Village, Maori Arts and Crafts Centre and Thermal Reserve or take a stroll among the giant redwood forests.

Explore the Central Plateau perhaps visiting Whakarewarewa Village, Maori Arts and Crafts Centre and Thermal Reserve or take a stroll among the giant redwood forests.

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Pohutu Geyser
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Day 9 Rotorua - Te Urewera National Park - Lake Waikaremoana - Napier

Set off from Rotorua on a route suited to your 4WD traversing the heart of Te Urewera National Park and partly gravel road. This is a sparsely inhabited region of extensive native forest and pretty lakes. Once you reach the coast, you are back on the main road and it is a short drive to Napier. This coastal town is situated in an important wine producing area and is famous for its Art Deco architecture, dating from when the city was rebuilt following an earthquake.
(Average driving time: 6.5 hours)

Set off from Rotorua on a route suited to your 4WD traversing the heart of Te Urewera National Park and partly gravel road. This is a sparsely inhabited region of extensive native forest and pretty lakes. Once you reach the coast, you are back on the main road and it is a short drive to Napier. This coastal town is situated in an important wine producing area and is famous for its Art Deco architecture, dating from when the city was rebuilt following an earthquake.
(Average driving time: 6.5 hours)

Day 10 Napier - Tongariro National Park

Drive the historic and less travelled Gentle Annie Road, which used to link the inland farms and the harbour of Napier. Horse drawn carriages used to struggle on the route, which remains a challenging reminder of the past. Once you reach the Desert Road, you are almost in sight of Mt. Ruapehu, a splendid snow-capped volcano and the highest peak on the North Island.
(Average driving time: 5 hours)

Drive the historic and less travelled Gentle Annie Road, which used to link the inland farms and the harbour of Napier. Horse drawn carriages used to struggle on the route, which remains a challenging reminder of the past. Once you reach the Desert Road, you are almost in sight of Mt. Ruapehu, a splendid snow-capped volcano and the highest peak on the North Island.
(Average driving time: 5 hours)

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Day 11 Tongariro - Whanganui National Park - Wellington

Take the Old Post Road, which follows the scenic valley of the Whanganui River through superb scenery. At the coastal town of Whanganui, a welcome stretch of sealed road brings you to Wellington, New Zealand's capital and a cultured city of museums, performing arts and lively cafes and pubs. We recommend an (optional) visit to Te Papa, the National Museum.
(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

Take the Old Post Road, which follows the scenic valley of the Whanganui River through superb scenery. At the coastal town of Whanganui, a welcome stretch of sealed road brings you to Wellington, New Zealand's capital and a cultured city of museums, performing arts and lively cafes and pubs. We recommend an (optional) visit to Te Papa, the National Museum.
(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

Day 12 Wellington - Picton - St. Arnaud

Drop off your rental vehicle at the ferry depot and take the early ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton on South Island. Pick up your second rental vehicle and follow the Queen Charlotte Drive for some stunning views of the sound. Then head inland to St. Arnaud, where you stay overnight by Lake Rotoiti in the rugged Nelson Lakes National Park.
(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

Drop off your rental vehicle at the ferry depot and take the early ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton on South Island. Pick up your second rental vehicle and follow the Queen Charlotte Drive for some stunning views of the sound. Then head inland to St. Arnaud, where you stay overnight by Lake Rotoiti in the rugged Nelson Lakes National Park.
(Average driving time: 5.5 hours)

Marlborough Sounds

Day 13 St Arnaud - Murchison - Lewis Pass - Hanmer Springs

Take the Maruia Saddle Road, a splendid four wheel drive route which winds among sparkling streams and rainforest. Join the main road at Lewis Pass and head east to Hanmer Springs, famous for its thermal pools.
(Average driving time 5.5 hours)

Take the Maruia Saddle Road, a splendid four wheel drive route which winds among sparkling streams and rainforest. Join the main road at Lewis Pass and head east to Hanmer Springs, famous for its thermal pools.
(Average driving time 5.5 hours)

Day 14 Hanmer Springs - Kaikoura

Take the inland road to Kaikoura, beautifully located by the sea with the snow-capped mountains of the Kaikoura Ranges in the background. Here you can enjoy the freshest of seafood and take a whale watching trip to see sperm whales or swim with seals or dusky dolphins.
(Average driving time: 2 hours)

Take the inland road to Kaikoura, beautifully located by the sea with the snow-capped mountains of the Kaikoura Ranges in the background. Here you can enjoy the freshest of seafood and take a whale watching trip to see sperm whales or swim with seals or dusky dolphins.
(Average driving time: 2 hours)

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Day 15 Kaikoura - Christchurch - Mt Hutt

Drive along the coast to New Zealand's garden city, Christchurch, situated at the foot of the Southern Alps. Take a walk through Hagley Park and along the Avon River before driving across the broad Canterbury Plains for your overnight stay. Overnight on a working sheep farm, a great way to find out about the 'Kiwi' way of life.
(Average driving time: 4.5 hours)

Drive along the coast to New Zealand's garden city, Christchurch, situated at the foot of the Southern Alps. Take a walk through Hagley Park and along the Avon River before driving across the broad Canterbury Plains for your overnight stay. Overnight on a working sheep farm, a great way to find out about the 'Kiwi' way of life.
(Average driving time: 4.5 hours)

Day 16 Mt Hutt - Lake Tekapo - Waitaki Valley

Leaving the Canterbury Plains, you will be captivated by the glacial turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo. Take an optional scenic flight to the glaciers or Mt Cook before continuing the drive along a rarely used mountain pass to reach your overnight destination amidst the Waitaki Valley.
(Average driving time: 5 hours)

Leaving the Canterbury Plains, you will be captivated by the glacial turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo. Take an optional scenic flight to the glaciers or Mt Cook before continuing the drive along a rarely used mountain pass to reach your overnight destination amidst the Waitaki Valley.
(Average driving time: 5 hours)

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Day 17 Waitaki Valley - Queenstown

This region of the South Island was home to a great gold rush in the 19th century and people flocked here from all over the world. Though the gold and the people are long gone, the area is strewn with relics of the era. Drive via Clyde, Naseby and Cromwell to Queenstown, famed for its stunning location overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range. Spend two nights in Queenstown.
(Average driving time: 6 hours)

This region of the South Island was home to a great gold rush in the 19th century and people flocked here from all over the world. Though the gold and the people are long gone, the area is strewn with relics of the era. Drive via Clyde, Naseby and Cromwell to Queenstown, famed for its stunning location overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range. Spend two nights in Queenstown.
(Average driving time: 6 hours)

Day 18 Queenstown

Spend the day relaxing or try out one of the many activities on offer in New Zealand's 'Adventure Capital' - rafting, jet boating, bungy jumping or perhaps a quiet lake cruise or gondola ride. It is also possible to take a day trip to the incredibly scenic Milford or Doubtful Sounds, either by car or on a scenic flight.

Spend the day relaxing or try out one of the many activities on offer in New Zealand's 'Adventure Capital' - rafting, jet boating, bungy jumping or perhaps a quiet lake cruise or gondola ride. It is also possible to take a day trip to the incredibly scenic Milford or Doubtful Sounds, either by car or on a scenic flight.

new zealand queenstown lake wakatipu tss earnslaw gpt

Day 19 Queenstown - Lake Wanaka - Franz Josef

Take the track across the challenging Crown Range Pass, New Zealand's highest, to reach Lake Wanaka, a mesmerising lakeside town. Then head over the Haast Pass with views of Mt. Aspiring National Park, en route to Franz Josef Glacier for an overnight stay.
(Average driving time: 6 hours)

Take the track across the challenging Crown Range Pass, New Zealand's highest, to reach Lake Wanaka, a mesmerising lakeside town. Then head over the Haast Pass with views of Mt. Aspiring National Park, en route to Franz Josef Glacier for an overnight stay.
(Average driving time: 6 hours)

Day 20 Franz Josef - Greymouth

This is the wildest part of New Zealand, offering an irresistible combination of rainforest, mountains, glaciers and pounding sea. Hike to the Fox or Franz Josef Glacier, take a helicopter sightseeing flight or stroll around idyllic Lake Matheson, with the summits of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman reflected on its water. Drive to the mining town of Greymouth for an overnight stay.
(Average driving time: 2.5 hours)

This is the wildest part of New Zealand, offering an irresistible combination of rainforest, mountains, glaciers and pounding sea. Hike to the Fox or Franz Josef Glacier, take a helicopter sightseeing flight or stroll around idyllic Lake Matheson, with the summits of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman reflected on its water. Drive to the mining town of Greymouth for an overnight stay.
(Average driving time: 2.5 hours)

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Day 21 Greymouth - Arthur's Pass - Christchurch

You have the option to drive north to the Pancake Rocks and blowholes of Punakaiki, before heading over Arthur's Pass towards Christchurch, following the route of the TranzAlpine Railway.
(Average riving time: 4 hours)

You have the option to drive north to the Pancake Rocks and blowholes of Punakaiki, before heading over Arthur's Pass towards Christchurch, following the route of the TranzAlpine Railway.
(Average riving time: 4 hours)

Day 22 depart Christchurch

Drop off your rental vehicle at the airport and depart.

Drop off your rental vehicle at the airport and depart.

Accommodation Options

We have carefully selected accommodation to suit this holiday based on a mix of motels, hotels, B&Bs and homestays. However, with a wide choice of accommodation in New Zealand, we can adapt and mix different grades and styles to suit your personal preference.

Discuss your options with our Travel Specialists.

Prices and Departures

Price from £2,343 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
  • 4x4 vehicle rental throughout (subject to an insurance excess)
  • Interislander ferry crossing (deluxe category includes Premium Plus cabin)
  • 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

This itinerary starts from £2,343 per person, based on 2 sharing a room in a mix of simple motels, hotels, B&Bs and homestays, and an intermediate 4WD.

  • We can also arrange the same itinerary with standard or superior hotels, and a larger vehicle.
  • Contact us for a detailed quote based on your preferred travel dates, vehicle category and style of accommodation, or to tailor this itinerary.

Meet our expert

nordic team doug kington bw
One of our specialists
Meet Doug

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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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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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