16 Day Discovery Trail

16 Day Discovery Trail

A complete New Zealand tour including 5 days in the North Island and 11 days in the South Island. Visit all the top tourist sites. Features almost a complete circuit of the Southern Alps.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2019 - March 2020
Price: From (NZD) $2487 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 16 Days
Tour Code: GNDT

Inclusions

15 nights self-catering and/or motel accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges
Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi
Interislander Ferry
Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Conditions

Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2019 – March 2020. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at time of booking.

Click here for our full terms and conditions.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland! After clearing customs and collecting your luggage – it’s time to start your holiday. Your rental car is ready to whisk you away to your centrally located accommodation. After checking in and getting yourself settled, turn your roving eye outside and enjoy a free afternoon in the City of Sails.

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with plenty of sights, shopping and street appeal for even the pickiest of travellers.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland - Rotorua

Travel south through lush Waikato farmland, perhaps via Waitomo Caves, on your way to Rotorua, a region steeped in Maori culture and history. This evening experience Te Po, Te Puia’s cultural experience. It is a feast of cultural storytelling, entertainment and Maori kai (indigenous food).

After a formal Maori welcome, relax and enjoy a performance including the beautiful songs, haka and poi dance. After dinner you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and hot chocolate. (2 nights) (D)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Rotorua

You have a day free to explore this exciting thermal region – there are many activities to enjoy. Perhaps visit the Agrodome to see a display featuring New Zealand’s various sheep breeds and sheep shearing.

Other options include the Buried Village, Polynesian Spa or the Skyline Gondola which offers superb views over city, lake and mountains and for a little excitement why not try a Luge ride while you are there?

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Rotorua - Napier

Drive south through to Hawke’s Bay which is one of New Zealand’s largest and longest established wine growing regions to Napier. In 1931 a devastating earthquake nearly levelled this city. It was rebuilt in the style of the times, and is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world.

It is also a region where local produce reigns supreme, from its award-winning wines to the freshest range of quality primary produce you will find anywhere. Overnight in Napier.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Napier - Wellington

Pass the many vineyards and orchards of the Hawkes Bay, as you make your way south to our capital city, sprawled over the hills surrounding Wellington Harbour. Overnight in Wellington.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Wellington - Picton - Nelson

Cross the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand on the Interislander Ferry, to the Marlborough Sounds and Picton. The 92 km journey takes 3 hours & is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist experiences.

Once on terra firma, continue past vineyards built on rich alluvial plains, which produce world class wines, to Nelson. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Nelson

A full day to explore the Nelson area. The nearby Abel Tasman National Park offers opportunities to walk or cruise its beautiful coastline. Water taxi companies can provide a personalised mix of sightseeing by boat and track walking. A number of kayaking companies run guided tours from Marahau and Kaiteriteri.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Nelson - Greymouth - Glaciers

Travel through the Buller Gorge to Westport, and down the coast to the famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Continue past Greymouth to the glaciers. We recommend a guided walk to the terminal face of a glacier. Overnight at either Fox Glacier or Franz Joesf township. You may wish to add an extra day here if you wish to hike on the glacier.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Glaciers - Queenstown

Continue south into dense rain forest broken by rugged coastal vistas. Reach Lake Wanaka in the early afternoon. Pass through the rugged Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Queenstown

A day free for you to enjoy this fabulous Alpine resort. There are dozens of optional activities as well, from thrilling jet boat rides to leisurely lake cruises, 4WD safaris, bungy jumping. We recommend the world famous Shotover Jet boat ride, take a Gondola to the Skyline high above, a tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon or for the adventurous – white water rafting. Alternatively browse in the many shops and galleries.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau

Drive south following the dramatic southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to reach Te Anau, then travel through pristine beech forests and the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. We have included a cruise to enable you to appreciate the majesty of Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls. Return to Te Anau.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Te Anau - Dunedin

Drive across the Waimea plains towards the farming community of Gore, then travel through the rolling hill country of South Otago to Dunedin. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Dunedin

Known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, take time to enjoy the rich historical architecture and abundance of wildlife to be found in this fascinating area. Perhaps you’d like to join a cruise of the beautiful Otago Harbour and Taiaroa Head, along with a scenic bus tour of the Otago Peninsula with Monarch Harbour Cruises.

You can also include a guided tour of the award-winning Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve or Royal Albatross Centre. Enjoy the historic and scenic Taieri Gorge Train excursion or explore the city only a few minutes walk away.

Let us know if you’d like any of these activities included in your quote.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Dunedin - Twizel

Drive north to historic Oamaru and turn inland. Cross the barren MacKenzie Country to reach the glacial lakes at the foot of the Southern Alps. Visit Mt Cook National Park, with time to enjoy the scenic majesty of New Zealand’s highest snow capped peaks before travelling around Lake Pukaki to Twizel.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Twizel - Christchurch

Travel north across through Fairlie and Geraldine, and on to view the Church of the Good Shepherd dedicated to the early pioneers of the region. Then across the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch. Overnight in Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your holiday comes to an end today. Return your car at the airport in time to catch your onward flight.

Your choice of accommodation

4.7/5.0

There are 34 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

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Value For Money
Accommodation
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

5
27/05/2019
From the extremely helpful staff and quick replies by email to the easy to read itinerary the trip was an amazing success. We had enough things to do without having to book many more beyond what the tour offered even the long car trips were fun and relaxing with some of the most scenic views in valleys and on mountains.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
4
11/02/2019
We really enjoyed the 16 day Discovery tour. It was a well planned itinerary and all the staff of Relaxing Journeys were extremely helpful throughout the whole process of booking and organising our holiday. Particularly Georgina Clarke, nothing was too much trouble. Thank you.
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4
05/12/2018
Best way to see North and South Islands of New Zealand at your own leisure.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
31/10/2018
This is one of the best self drive trips I have ever experienced. The car is great, the motels are good and comfy, and the itinerary is perfect. Couldn't ask for any better. In just 16 days we have covered almost all must visits in NZ. Relaxing Journeys really is a professional agency that provides the best for their clients. Next time I'm touring in NZ, it will also be with Relaxing Journeys.
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5
25/10/2018
Our tour was very well organised and everything worked perfectly. All the accommodation was good, though we were disappointed with the Wellington Hotel. Our room was described as a "courtyard" double but in fact looked out at a wall of windows a few feet away. Also there was no room for a bedside table or lamp on one side of the bed. However we loved the Kimi Ora resort at Kaiteriteri and would recommend this very highly. Thank you Chelsea!
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5
03/03/2018
We had a great time. Such a beautiful country with so much to see and do. Having a night in Auckland, then a short drive to Rotorua with two nights was a nice way to ease into the trip, with longer drives later on. The voucher system worked flawlessly. You might want to add a sentence on the itinerary about the pancake rocks and blow holes in Punakaiki. Well worth a stop along the way.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
4
26/02/2018
Tour overall was very good and covered everything which we wanted/expected to see. With regards to the accommodation, overall this was also good, however the Kings Gate Motel in Nelson was not as well appointed as most of the other accommodation (although the owners were very friendly and made us most welcome). Also the Mt Cook Lodge and Motels at Mt Cook did not provide 2 bedrooms in the "2 bedroom apartment" instead having only 1 bedroom, with the 2nd bed being part of the living area. With only one bathroom, it was necessary to actually go past the bed in the living area to gain access to the bathroom. We would suggest that the accommodation options in both Nelson and Mt Cook be revisited for future tours.
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5
05/02/2018
This self drive trip and all the places my 83 year old mom visited in New Zealand exceeded our expectations. With a very late request from me for this trip, Mani helped us organize our 16 + day driving tour of the North and South Islands in early January. Not all the original places on this tour were available but we were very happy with the alternates. Each motel or hotel was different but all were spacious and included kitchen facilities. We added some optional tours during the trip and Mani helped us with that. He and another Relaxing Tours representative also helped us with up to date travel info when the road washed out just south of Franz Josef Glacier. The Kruz GPS worked well and helped keep the trip interesting with history, cultural, and other info. I look forward to a return visit with my husband.
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4
09/01/2018
Had and excellent tour of NZ. The country is a definite must do on one's bucket list! We thoroughly enjoyed it. For us one night in Rotorua would have been good swapped with 2 nights in Wellington. The only other change we would make is the hotel in Christchurch is really really difficult to get to because of the construction there. Maybe a hotel in a little different area would be better until the roads/ buildings are repaired. But we had a fantastic time! We will recommend you to all our friends!
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5
25/02/2017
Amazing!!! Tour was spectacular. Everything went well and above expectations, from itinerary to car rentals, to lodging, it all was great. Accommodations were great and excellent locations. We packed a lot of activities in 2 weeks and it all went very smooth and without hassles at all. Cannot say enough words to express our gratitude to the staff in Relaxing Journeys. Special thanks to Christine and Toni. Amazing service!
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money

Accommodation

Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience

Optionals

New Zealand has a great deal of things to see and do, why not add one of our optional sightseeing activities to your trip. Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children).

Enquire about our 16 Day Discovery Trail

16 Day Discovery Trail
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNDT
From (NZD) $2487 per person
Save (NZD) $249 per person
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Rating:
34 reviews (4.7/5)

A complete New Zealand tour including 5 days in the North Island and 11 days in the South Island. Visit all the top tourist sites. Features almost a c... Read More

Itinerary Map

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16 Day Discovery Trail
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