New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Great New Zealand
DAY 1 - Arrive Christchurch
Welcome to Christchurch. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Stay: Christchurch (1 night)
DAY 2 - Christchurch to Greymouth to Franz Josef
A transfer is provided to the railway station. The TranzAlpine is world renowned as The Great New Zealand Rail Adventure. Crossing the huge and fertile patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, the Tranzalpine winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular gorges and river valleys to the settlement of Arthur's Pass. Then you enter the tunnel that takes you through the Southern Alps and on through the lush beech forest to the town of Greymouth. Here you will collect your rental car at the railway station and self drive to Franz Josef passing through farmlands and rainforests.
Stay: Franz Josef (1 night)
DAY 3 - Franz Josef to Lake Wanaka
There is time this morning to explore the glacier before departing for Wanaka. You will drive through the Haast Pass and spectacular native bush until reaching Otago and the head of Lake Wanaka. Follow the lake edge to the township.
Stay: Wanaka (2 nights)
DAY 4 - Wanaka
Today is free to enjoy Wanaka. Many activities are available including walks, the Warbirds Museum and Puzzelworld.
DAY 5 - Wanaka to Dunedin
Drive along the shores of Lake Dunstan to Cromwell and continue on through the region which is dotted with vineyards and fruit orchards. The terrain will then change to rich farmlands as you approach Dunedin.
Stay: Dunedin (1 night)
DAY 6 - Dunedin to Te Anau
This morning is free to explore this city, with its taste of Scottish heritage. A great option is to drive out to the Otago Peninsula where the Royal Albatross Colony is located. In the afternoon, make your way to Te Anau.
Stay: Te Anau (2 nights)
DAY 7 - Doubtful Sound Day Tour
Today you will enjoy an excursion to this secluded sound which is an unspoilt and remote wilderness of many moods. Your day's adventure begins as you cruise across Lake Manapouri. Here you will board a coach and travel over Wilmot pass before arriving at Deep Cove where you join the catamaran for a three-hour cruise. Bottlenose dolphins are often seen alongside the vessel, fur seals on the rocks and at times rare penguins may be observed.
DAY 8 - Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown
Today's drive brings you to Milford Sound. A cruise on the sound provides an opportunity to view sheer rock walls and waterfalls, rising over 5,000 ft above the seal level. Return via Te Anau to Queenstown.
Stay: Queenstown (3 nights)
DAY 9 - Queenstown
Today is free to explore this alpine resort, considered New Zealand's adventure capital! The choice of activities are endless including bungy jumps, jet boating, parapunting, white water rafting, golf, lake cruises, shopping and much more.
DAY 10 - Queenstown
Another free day in Queenstown.
DAY 11 - Queenstown to Lake Tekapo
Depart Queenstown via the Kawarau Gorge and traverse the Lindis Pass before reaching the Mackenzie Country with its vast expanses of tussock, bordered by the snow capped Southern Alps. We recommend you take a side trip to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park en route today.
Stay: Lake Tekapo (1 night)
DAY 12 - Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Time allows for a leisurely morning before driving through Burke's Pass and out on to the Canterbury Plains enroute to Christchurch.
Stay: Christchurch (1 night)
DAY 13 - Christchurch to Kaikoura
Self drive to Kaikoura. This afternoon we recommend that you take the whale watch cruise or flight (own expense) or perhaps a 'Swim with the Dolphins' excursion. We recommend you prebook any of these activities with us however if you wish to take one of the options.
DAY 14 - Kaikoura to Wellington
Drive through Marlborough and to Blenheim, one of New Zealand's leading wine growing regions. Arrive at the Picton ferry terminal where you will drop off your South Island rental car. Board the interisland ferry for your crossing to Wellington were your North Island hire vehicle will be waiting for you at the ferry terminal.
Stay: Wellington (2 nights)
DAY 15 - Wellington
Today is free to explore New Zealand's capital city. We recommend a visit to Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum. Guided tours are also available through Parliament Buildings.
DAY 16 - Wellington to Napier
Today's journey takes you north over the Rimutaka Ranges to the Wairarapa. Continue north to Hawkes Bay and the city of Napier, New Zealand's art deco capital.
Stay: Napier (2 nights)
DAY 17 - Napier
Today is free to explore Napier. Art Deco tours are available as well as opportunities to visit local wineries or the local Gannet Colony. A visit to the Napier Museum is recommended to learn more about the city and the huge earthquake that changed the face of the region in 1931.
DAY 18 - Napier to Rotorua
Driver inland to Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, then head north through the world's largest man-made forest to the thermal city of Rotorua. A stop at Huka Falls is recommended en route.
Stay: Rotorua (2 nights)
DAY 19 - Rotorua
A free day. Rotorua's attractions include the Agrodome – an amusing and informative sheep show, Rainbow Nature Park and Te Puia Thermal Reserve.
DAY 20 - Rotorua to Auckland
Today you drive to Auckland. We recommend an alternative route via Waitomo where guided tours of the Glow Worm Caves are available or you may chose to drive through Matamata where tours are available to the Hobbiton, the location for Hobbit's village in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.
Stay: Auckland (1 night)
DAY 21 - Auckland to Bay of Islands
Drive north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge before reaching the beautiful beaches of the Hibiscus Coast. Continue onto Paihia in the Bay of Islands.
Stay: Paihia (2 nights)
DAY 22 - Bay of Islands
Today is free of organised activities. There are many excellent optional activities including guided walks, cruises around the bays, daily tours to Cape Reinga, and more.
DAY 23 - Bay of Islands to Auckland
Today enjoy a leisurely drive back to Auckland.
Stay: Auckland (1 night)
DAY 24 - Depart Auckland
Return your rental car to the city or airport depot where your tour ends.
Great New Zealand Self-Drive Holiday Package Prices
01 May 2015 - 30 September 2015 - Tour prices start from NZ$2,932.00 per person, share twin.
01 October 2015 - 30 April 2016 - Tour prices start from NZ$3,413.00 per person, share twin.
- Prices based on budget accommodation and two persons travelling together
- Prices based on 1.4 litre manual rental car
- Costs do not include international or domestic airfares
Popular (mid range) and superior accommodation options available on request. Different car categories available on request (see self-drive intro details).
Booking Code: SD-24