New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Spirit of New Zealand
DAY 1 - Arrive Christchurch
Welcome to Christchurch. On arrival into Christchurch we will transfer you to your hotel.
Stay: Christchurch (1 night)
DAY 2 - Christchurch – Greymouth – Franz Josef
A transfer is provided to the Christchurch 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. The pass, built by pick and shovel and completed in 1866, is named after Arthur Dudley who discovered it in 1864. Then track slowly under the country's greatest mountain range, the Southern Alps. Following rivers and skirting lakes, it descends through lush beech forest to the Tasman Sea and the town of Greymouth. Collect your rental car at Greymouth railway station and drive to Franz Josef passing through farmlands and the rainforest.
Stay: Franz Josef (1 night)
DAY 3 - Franz Josef – Queenstown
Not far from Franz Josef you will arrive at Fox Glacier township. We recommend you drive up the access road to view the terminal face of the glacier. Then continue on through the forests of red and white pine to Bruce Bay, an old gold mining settlement. Drive over Haast Pass with possible views of Mt Brewster Glacier. There is a long descent of 82 kilometres to Wanaka, passing Lake Hawea Dam, water storage for the Roxburgh Hydro-Electric Station. From Wanaka, continue over the undulating countryside and skirt Lake Hayes to descend via the Lower Shotover Bridge to Queenstown. Today drive south past tranquil lakes, past towering mountains with cascading waterfalls. Arrive at the alpine village - Queenstown.
Stay: Queenstown (3 nights)
DAY 4 - Queenstown
Today is free to explore this alpine resort. Known as the 'adventure capital' of New Zealand and possibly the world, Queenstown has so much to offer including jet boat rides, parapunting, hot air ballooning, river rafting, and much more.
DAY 5 - Milford Sound Excursion
Today's drive brings you to Milford Sound. A cruise on the Sound is included and provides an opportunity to view sheer rock walls and waterfalls, rising over 5,000 ft above the sea level.
DAY 6 - Queenstown – Dunedin
Today drive east through the Kawarau Gorge and on past the Clyde Dam before following the Clutha River towards the coast of Dunedin.
Stay: Dunedin (1 night)
DAY 7 - Dunedin – Lake Tekapo
Depart Dunedin and travel to Palmerston situated between the Pleasant and Shag Rivers close to the coast. Travel on to Oamaru, a town noted for the predominance of white stone buildings. The stone is Oamaru Stone - a white granular limestone for which the area is known. From here, turn inland and follow the Waitaki River past Lake Benmore to Omarama and then Twizel which was brought into existence for the construction of the Waitaki power scheme. We recommend a visit to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park en route before crossing the MacKenzie Country to Lake Tekapo.
Stay: Lake Tekapo (1 night)
DAY 8 - Lake Tekapo – Christchurch
Today drive over Burkes Pass to the small farming villages of Fairlie and Geraldine before crossing the Canterbury Plains, to Christchurch.
Stay: Christchurch (1 night)
DAY 9 - Christchurch – Picton – Wellington
From Christchurch, travel into the rolling countryside of North Canterbury, noted for sheep and cattle farming. After crossing the Hundalee Hills, enter the Marlborough Province where there are panoramic sea views along the Kaikoura Coast before turning inland to the hilly sheep country around the provincial capital of Blenheim. From here it is just 28 kilometres to the town of Picton.
Return your rental car to the ferry terminal depot and board the Interislander ferry to Wellington. On arrival into Wellington you will collect your North Island rental car.
Stay: Wellington (2 nights)
DAY 10 - Wellington
Today is free to explore New Zealand's capital city with its harbour, Parliament buildings and the Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa.
DAY 11 - Wellington – Mount Ruapehu
Journey north to the Volcanic Plateau in the centre of the island, and skirt Mt Ruapehu to Whakapapa village located at its western foot. We recommend a visit to the Army Museum at Waiourui en route.
Stay: National Park (1 night)
DAY 12 - Mount Ruapehu – Rotorua
Today's travel takes you to Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, and we recommend a visit to Huka Falls located just north of Taupo Village. Then continue through man-made pine forests that line the road to Rotorua.
Stay: Rotorua (2 nights)
DAY 13 - Rotorua
Rotorua is one of the best-known thermal regions in the world. In addition to the thermal activity that is visible throughout the city, there are countless other attractions including Rainbow Springs Nature Park, the Agrodome Farm Show, trout fishing, lake cruises and much more.
DAY 14 - Rotorua – Auckland
Today you drive to Auckland. We recommend an alternative route to Waitomo where guided tours of the Glow Worm Caves are available or you may chose to drive through matamata where tours are available to Hobbiton, the location for the Hobbit's village in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.
Stay: Auckland (1 night)
DAY 15 - Depart Auckland
Today you return your rental car to the Auckland Airport or City depot where your tour ends.
Spirit of New Zealand Self-Drive Holiday Package Prices
01 May 2015 - 30 September 2015 - Tour prices start from NZ$1,858.00 per person, share twin.
01 October 2015 - 30 April 2016 - Tour prices start from NZ$2,056.00 per person, share twin.
- Prices based on budget accommodation and two persons travelling together
- Prices based on 1.3 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-15