The Real New Zealand 4×4

The Real New Zealand 4×4

from £2,036
excluding flights *
21 nights Year round


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.


  • Find hidden beaches and coves in the Bay of Islands
  • Experience a Maori hangi and cultural show in Rotorua
  • Discover forests and lakes in Te Urewera National Park
  • Go whale watching in Kaikoura
  • Enjoy New Zealand's 'Adventure Capital' - Queenstown
  • Explore the West Coast's rainforest, mountains and glaciers

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 4x4 vehicle rental throughout
  • Interislander ferry
  • Meet and greet on arrival
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Full description

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.

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.

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 Accommodation Car Category Twin Price (pp)
01 Apr - 15 Sep 2020 21 nights Simple Intermediate SUV £2,036
01 Apr - 15 Sep 2020 21 nights Standard Intermediate SUV £2,414
01 Apr - 15 Sep 2020 21 nights Deluxe Intermediate SUV £3,479
16 Sep 2020 - 31 Mar 2021 21 nights Simple Intermediate SUV £2,343
16 Sep 2020 - 31 Mar 2021 21 nights Standard Intermediate SUV £2,745
16 Sep 2020 - 31 Mar 2021 21 nights Deluxe Intermediate SUV £3,962

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom (mix of motels, hotels, B&Bs and homestays)
  • 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 »

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.

Day 2 Auckland-Waipoua Forest-Omapere

(Average driving time: 4 hours)
This 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. This evening we recommend a guided Maori tour from Omapere to see the magnificent Kauri trees.

Days 3-4 Omapere - Doubtless Bay - Kerikeri - 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. 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.

Day 5 Bay of Islands - Whangarei - Auckland

(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.

Day 6 Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula/Tairua

(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.

Days 7-8 Tairua - Rotorua

(Average driving time: 3.5 hours)
Drive through the main kiwi fruit growing region of New Zealand to Rotorua, and enjoy the Whakarewarewa Village, Maori Arts and Crafts Centre and Thermal Reserve. 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. Two nights in the Rotorua area.

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

(Average driving time: 6.5 hours)
For today's drive you will appreciate the four-wheel drive on your vehicle. The route traverses the heart of Te Urewera National Park, on 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.

Day 10 Napier - Tongariro National Park

(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.

Day 11 Tongariro - Whanganui National Park - Wellington

(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.

Day 12 Wellington - Picton - Nelson Lakes National Park/St. Arnaud

(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 the South Island. Pick up your second rental vehicle and take the Queen Charlotte Drive for some stunning views of the Sound. Then head inland to St. Arnaud, where you stay overnight by Lake Rotoiti and the rugged Nelson Lakes National Park.

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

(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.

Day 14 Hanmer Springs - Kaikoura

(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.

Day 15 Kaikoura - Christchurch - Mt Hutt

(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.

Day 16 Mt Hutt - Lake Tekapo - 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.

Day 17 Waitaki Valley - Cromwell - 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 and Naseby to Queenstown, famed for its stunning location overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range.

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.

Day 19 Queenstown - Lake Wanaka - Franz Josef Glacier

(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.

Day 20 Franz Josef Glacier - Hokitika/Greymouth

(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 your overnight stay.

Day 21 Hokitika/Greymouth - Arthur's Pass - Canterbury region

(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.

Day 22 depart Christchurch

Drop off your rental vehicle at the airport and depart.

Heritage Auckland

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

This historic building has been transformed into a luxury 467-suite hotel with views over the city to the sparkling harbour beyond.

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Hotel De Brett, Auckland

Grade: Deluxe

Type: Unique And Boutique

This iconic building in Auckland's central fashion precinct has been stylishly reinterpreted into a 25-room boutique hotel.

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Copthorne Hotel & Resort, Hokianga

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Found in a breathtaking setting of charm and grandeur, the hotel's character is a quaint throwback to New Zealand's colonial times.

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The Sanctuary at The Bay of Islands, Paihia


Grade: Deluxe

Type: Luxury Lodge

Situated in a private, native bush reserve, this cedar-clad lodge overlooking the idyllic Bay of Islands offers four guestrooms.

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Hotel Ibis, Rotorua

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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124 on Brunswick, Rotorua

Grade: Superior

Type: Guesthouse B&B

This traditional Kiwi Homestead is located in rural Brunswick Park just a short drive from the centre of Rotorua.

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The Springs, Rotorua

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Built in 1998 and modelled in the style of a 1930's home, this boutique property in Rotorua offers 4 rooms within easy access of the city's attractions.

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Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

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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QT Wellington

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

The quirky QT Wellington offers a uniquely creative approach to hotel design, with modern art, sophisticated technology and a personalised friendly service.

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How to Book
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