18 Day Naturally New Zealand

18 Day Naturally New Zealand

Step outside your comfort zone and experience a New Zealand that is magnificent, wild and authentic. From the thermal springs of Rotorua, to the cool blue splendour of glacial towers, there's not much left to plan on this walking lover's getaway, besides where you'll eat and what to wear.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Christchurch to Auckland
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $5509 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 18 Days
Tour Code: GWNNZ


17 nights accommodation
Rental Vehicle of your choice
Kiwi Dundee wilderness walk
Mt Tarawera 4WD guided walk
Tongariro Crossing guided walk
Scenic ferry crossing
Abel Tasman cruise and walk
Guided Milford Track walk
Franz Josef Heli-hike
Admission to Franz Josef hot pools


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 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.

Click here for our full terms and conditions.

Click on the prices below to enquire.

* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.

Chat Request Callback

Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Christchurch – the Garden City! Disembark, pass through customs and collect your luggage – it’s time to start your holiday. Your rental car is ready to whisk you away to your centrally located accommodation. What should you do with the rest of the day? Take it slow, sit back and relax, we suggest punting down the River Avon through the stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Christchurch - Franz Josef

This morning, you will be met again and transferred to Christchurch Railway Station where you board the TranzAlpine Train. Described as “The Great New Zealand Rail Adventure,” it is rated one of the top six scenic train journeys in the world. After crossing the huge and fertile patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, the TranzAlpine winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular river gorges and the stunning Waimakariri River valley.

It tracks its way up and across the spectacular Southern Alps via the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass situated 737 metres above sea level. On arrival in Greymouth, collect your chosen rental car and drive down the dramatic West Coast, steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800’s, to the glacier township of Franz Josef. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Franz Josef Heli-Hike

Thrills and chills abound, as we combine a scenic helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier, with a guided walk amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and crevices – this is alpine country as you’ve never seen it. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains with plenty of snap-happy opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.

Your guide chooses the route, ensuring you see only the most spectacular ice formations, leading you into icefall terrain that is usually seen only by experienced mountaineers. With a spotless safety record, rigid assessments, and using exclusive quality equipment, your safety and enjoyment is taken seriously by the folks at Heli-Hike.

After your trek is complete, bathe under a rainforest canopy and climb into the Franz Josef Glacier hot pools for some warm R&R.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Franz Josef - Queenstown

Farewell Franz Josef and travel down the West Coast, alongside braided riverbeds, native forests and roadside waterfalls before climbing up over the Haast Pass and through Mount Aspiring National Park. Stop the car, stretch your legs and drink in the scenery, as impressive mountains touch the sky, remnants of the Ice Age glacial valley. Take your time and drive along the shores of Lakes Hawea, arriving at the action-packed city of Queenstown. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Queenstown - Milford Track Day Walk - Queenstown

Famously described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘finest walk in the world’, the Milford Track is internationally acclaimed for its spectacular scenery – expect dramatic alpine views, busy rivers and ancient beech forests to steal your breath and your camera battery.

The guided tour begins with a one-hour lake cruise to the head of Lake Te Anau and the start of the Milford Track. The 11km return walk from Glade Wharf, follows the Clinton River to Glade House for lunch. Enjoy a 4 – 5 hour leisurely wander on a gentle gradient through forest, grassy flats and wetlands.

Included Meals: Lunch

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Queenstown - Mount Cook

Depart Queenstown and drive through Omarama before heading up over the Lindis Pass – this is the area where gold was first discovered in the Central Otago region in 1861. Central Otago has a harsh but beautiful landscape due to its summer heat and winter cold. A lot of gold was discovered in the area in the late 1800’s. More recently in the late 1900’s it’s been discovered as a great place for growing grapes – perfect for wine and food fanatics.

The afternoon is free to explore the area and take one of the many short walks starting from Mt Cook Village.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Mount Cook - Christchurch

Depart Mt Cook and make your way to Christchurch. Travel along the western side of Lake Pukaki as you head north towards Christchurch. Along the way, stop at the stunning glacial-fed Lake Tekapo to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd which stands on the lake foreshore. Then travel through diverse farmland and across the Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Christchurch - Nelson

Make your way to Nelson. There are a couple of routes you can take, one of which is to head towards Cheviot and then travel up the East Coast via Kaikoura. Alternatively head for the Alpine Village of Hanmer Springs and then continue on to Nelson. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Nelson - Abel Tasman Cruise and Walk - Nelson

Drive through Motueka to Kaiteriteri, boarding your boat and waiting in anticipation. Once you’re on the water, you’ll be free to relax in style as you cruise the stunning golden inlets of the Abel Tasman coast. Laze on an idyllic beach or choose a walk exploring the beaches and forests. There are various walks available from 2 to 6 hours in length. Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon.

Included Meals: Lunch

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Nelson - Picton - Wellington

From Nelson, head towards the Rai Valley. Nearby Canvastown is rich in old gold mining history – thousands tried to make their wealth here in the 1860s. Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve is a great starting point for easy walks through forest glades. For something a little more adventurous, choose the track that leads to a waterfall and rock pool, or walk up along a ridge to a 417 metre peak.

The drive will then take you to the town of Havelock, widely known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. From Havelock carry on to Picton where you will drop off your rental car and board the ferry. The journey takes you from Picton, through the majestic Marlborough Sounds and into Wellington. You’ll have a great view of Wellington and the harbour. Here, you pick up your new rental car.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Wellington - Ohakune

Take a northern road to Ohakune and wind your way through a river-sprung landscape. Break up the drive with a few strategic stops, including Shannon for a short hoot at the owl sanctuary; followed by the majestic Mangaweka Gorge and finally Kapiti Island, ideal for bird enthusiasts and those who love to explore something off the beaten track. (2 nights)

Special Interest Stops:
Bulls – antique shopping
Palmerston North – regional history
Levin – factory shopping
Waikanae – car museum and gourmet cheese factory

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Guided Tongariro Crossing Track

A real and rare treat, the Tongariro Crossing Track is your own mini-journey into the reaches of volcano country, as a guided tour takes you on a one-day adventure across active terrain. Get your camera ready, as you’ll soon be getting up close and personal with lava flows, mountain springs, emerald lakes, volcanos and stunning views.

Meals Included: Lunch

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Ohakune - Taupo - Rotorua

Depart the Tongariro National Park this morning and make your way to Taupo on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake. If you’re feeling energetic you can walk from town along the riverbank to Huka Falls enjoying lovely views on the way (2 hours return).

It’s a short drive from Taupo to Rotorua. Take a side road to a geothermal park, where you’ll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud. Towards the beginning of your journey you’ll encounter the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14

Today, you’ll discover just how volatile this region used to be, when Rotorua fell victim to an expected pyroclastic event. On June 10th, 1886, Mt Tarawera erupted, putting the world’s youngest geothermal valley of Waimangu on the global radar, destroying the legendary Pink and White Terraces in a devastating surge of lava. You’ll be guided through this historic entry moment by moment, as Rotorua’s landscape comes to life through stories and commentary. With unmatched scenic vistas and 360 panoramic views this experience is ideal for all ages and includes an optional run in to the heart of the volcanic crater.

As the evening settles in and the stars brighten the sky, you’ll be treated to a Maori feast, as Te Po’s cultural experience promises hours of fun, thought and Maori kai (indigenous food). After a formal Maori welcome, relax and enjoy a captivating performance by the local people, including traditional songs and the renowned haka. Following a truly delectable dinner, you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.

Meals Included: Dinner

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Rotorua - Coromandel

Drive north through the Bay of Plenty to Tauranga and the Coromandel Peninsula. It’s worth taking a break at the beachside resort of Mt Maunganui for a walk around the base of the mountain or along the long, sandy beach. Continue along the East Coast to Tairua; this centrally located seaside town is a great place from which to explore the Peninsula. Walk to the top of Paku Hill for spectacular 360 degree views. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Kiwi Dundee Adventure Walk

Take a moderately challenging guided walk with Kiwi Dundee and explore a pristine rainforest surrounded by giant rock faces, rugged volcanic peaks, ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees. Wonder at the world’s largest tree ferns and capture crystal clear rivers on camera. Visit old historic gold caves, home to hundreds of glittering glowworms and learn more about forest biodiversity. Enjoy your picnic lunch by the rock pools or in the mountains, letting the world go by, one bird call at a time.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Coromandel - Auckland

Today’s journey takes you over the divide and on down the Thames Coast to Auckland. As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is located in an idyllic setting overlooking the forested Waitakere Ranges, the sheltered Manukau Harbour and the island-studded Hauraki Gulf to the north. No wonder over a million people choose to live here! Beautiful beaches and dreamy offshore islands are just half an hour from the city. In fact, the sea is so much a part of the place that an unusually high number of people own their own boats giving the city its moniker of the ‘City of Sails’.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 18
Depart Auckland

Sadly, your holiday has come to an end and you will be transferred to Auckland airport today for your onward flight.

Your choice of accommodation

Enquire about our 18 Day Naturally New Zealand

18 Day Naturally New Zealand
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GWNNZ
From (NZD) $5509 per person
Save (NZD) $550 per person
Enquire Now

Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

Step outside your comfort zone and experience a New Zealand that is magnificent, wild and authentic. From the thermal springs of Rotorua, to the cool ... Read More

Itinerary Map

Click to view a larger image.

18 Day Naturally New Zealand
Regions Visited

Click on each area to view more information.

Like this tour?

Upgrade this tour by adding one of our carefully selected optional tours & activities or go ahead and request a quote to guarantee your spot.

Custom Itinerary

You can also create your dream holiday by using our custom itinerary planner.
Create your Custom Itinerary