18 Day Northward Bound

18 Day Northward Bound

You’re on the edge of your next adventure. Experience the beauty of New Zealand as you wind your way northwards from Christchurch. Along the way you will visit the West Coast Glaciers, New Zealand's adrenaline capitol Queenstown, magnificent Milford Sound, Mt Cook and Kaikoura. A truly once in a lifetime holiday!

Book and pay your deposit by 30 November 2018 to receive a 5% discount off your tour price for this month

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Christchurch to Auckland
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $3130 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 18 Days
Tour Code: GNNB

Inclusions

17 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges
Milford Sound Scenic Coach & Cruise
Scenic Interislander Ferry Cruise
Admission to the Te Puia geothermal region
Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi
Entry to Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

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 May 2018 – March 2019. 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.

Book and pay your deposit by 30 November 2018 to receive a 5% discount off your tour price for this month

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.

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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, punting down the River Avon through the stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The city centre is small enough to be negotiated on foot, with the advantage of being perfectly flat.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Christchurch - Punakaiki - Greymouth

This morning you’ll drive from Christchurch to Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other! You’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River.

You then climb into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth. A short drive north of Greymouth takes you to the famous Punakaiki Rocks and Blowholes – make some time to see these spectacular sights.

Return to Greymouth for your overnight stay.

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
TranzAlpine Train Upgrade Package

Upgrade your itinerary to include a trip on the world renowned TranzAlpine train to Greymouth.

Instead of driving to Greymouth, you will be 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 continue the rest of your journey.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Greymouth - The Glaciers Region

Today make your way from Greymouth down the coast to Franz Josef. The road to Hokitika provides great views of the wild west coast. Detour to the beach and breathe the salt spray air. Driftwood is the ornamentation of choice for west coast beaches – every shape, size and colour.

Shantytown, just south of Greymouth, is a reconstructed 1880s gold rush town – great family entertainment. You may like to take a detour off the main road to the Treetop Walk and café. The walkway, high in the ancient rainforest tree canopy, and a 40m spiral tower, offering views of Lake Mahinapua, the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps.

The road continues through farmland that is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval. A visit to the White Heron colony near Whataroa is a rare experience. You could also enjoy a picnic by the shores of Lake Ianthe or discover the goldfield walkway at Ross. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
The Glaciers Region at Leisure

The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are, without doubt, the natural superstars of this region. Nestled on the edge of the rainforest, these immense frozen rivers are only 6kms from the Tasman Sea – this makes them extremely unique.

Today you are free to explore this region. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight over the glaciers including a snow landing, or enjoy a half day guided walk on the glaciers.

After your exploration 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 5
The Glaciers Region - Queenstown

Depart 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, with its impressive mountains sculpted by glaciers during the Ice Ages.

Then follow the shores of Lakes Hawea and Wanaka to the alpine resort town of Queenstown. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Queenstown at Leisure

Today is at leisure to relax or explore Queenstown. Whether it’s bungy jumping, white-water rafting, heli-skiing, fly-fishing, hang gliding, horse riding or scenic flights, you will find thrills and excitement in every way imaginable.

Meanwhile, other activities such as exploring historic Arrowtown, scenic walks, eco-tours, shopping, galleries, cafes and an exciting nightlife provide something for everyone all year round.

Queenstown is unique in comparison to other international resort towns by virtue of its distinct four seasons giving pleasant temperatures with plentiful sunshine, accompanied by abundant activities and sports to match the season.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Queenstown - Milford Sound Cruise - Queenstown

This morning depart by coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound as you journey along the edge of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau. The road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives.

The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak.

Upon arrival, board either the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer – our specifically designed fiord explorers – and settle in for a 2.5-hour cruise. Milford Sound is nothing short of heart-stopping, inducing subconscious smiles in the hard to please and easily bored almost instantly; it’s simply magnificent. Keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and penguins!

After your cruise, join your coach back to Queenstown.

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
Milford Sound Return Flight Upgrade Package (NZ $395 PP)

Upgrade your itinerary to return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking in the magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park – a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35mins)

The flight shaves off approximately 4 hours off a return by coach. It is however very weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Queenstown - Mt Cook

Today, travel through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country to arrive at Mt Cook National Park a World Heritage listed site. Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764 metres.

The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier, the longest in the Southern hemisphere. 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 9
Mt Cook - Christchurch

This morning you can experience the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest, in the most unique way possible. An experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the Tasman Glacier.

Watch and listen to the ice melting before your eyes and stop, to touch and taste 500 year old ice. Upgrade your itinerary to include a walk on an iceberg that provides a new and exciting experience for all.

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 10
Christchurch - Kaikoura

Depart Christchurch today travelling past the popular surf beaches of Woodend, Waikuku, Leithfield and Amberly. The landscape becomes more gentle as you approach Waipara – a region known for its vineyards and olive groves as well as a great place to stop for refreshments.

Continuing North you may like to take a detour to Gore Bay to see the fascinating cliff formations before arriving in Kaikoura, world renowned as the whale watching centre of New Zealand.

Optional excursions include the opportunity to view giant sperm whales by boat or air, see dolphins, fur seals and Royal Albatross at close range in their natural habitat or swim with pools of Dusky Dolphins … wetsuits provided!

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Kaikoura - Blenheim

Today you travel from Kaikoura to Blenheim. The road north is dominated by the awesome beauty of the Pacific Coast. Quinnat salmon are known to run in the Clarence River and just north of the Ure River is a road that leads to the walking trails of the Sawcut Gorge.

After the small town of Ward you’ll come to the Lake Grassmere saltworks – an interesting stop, particularly in late summer when the ponds turn coral pink. While in the township of Seddon you’ll find authentic New Zealand crafts.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Blenheim - Interislander Ferry Crossing - Wellington

This morning is free to explore some of the many vineyards and wineries in the Marlborough area.

This afternoon a short drive brings you to Picton where you return your rental car to the depot at the ferry terminal prior to boarding the Interislander ferry for your journey across the Cook Strait to Wellington.

On arrival in Wellington collect a new rental car and make your way to your accommodation, the rest of the day is at your leisure. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Wellington at Leisure

Today is at leisure to explore what Wellington has to offer. Downtown Wellington on Lambton Quay is popular with shoppers. Perhaps take a trip on the Cable Car which takes you from Lambton Quay to Kelburn or enjoy a visit to the Botanic Gardens.

For a different perspective of the city, take a harbour cruise or a ferry trip to Eastbourne, where there are craft shops, galleries and cafes. We highly recommend a visit to Te Papa Museum.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Wellington - Rotorua

As you travel north towards Taihape the landscape is dominated by rivers and valleys. In Waiouru, the QE2 Memorial Museum is worth a look before continuing on the long straight Desert Road where you’ll enjoy amazing views of Tongariro National Park’s volcanoes before arriving in the lakeside town of Taupo.

Continue north before travelling through the Kaingaroa forest, one of the largest man made forests in the Southern Hemisphere. Pass the thermal reserves of Wai-o-tapu and Whakarewarewa to reach the geothermal city of Rotorua. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Rotorua at Leisure

Free time to explore Rotorua this today. You may like to visit the Agrodome or take a gondola ride to the top of Mt Ngongotaha for spectacular views of Rotorua. Later this afternoon visit Te Puia geothermal area to view the boiling mudpools and cascading Pohutu geyser that make Rotorua famous as New Zealand’s thermal city.

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 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. (D)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Rotorua - Waitomo Caves - Auckland

Today you depart Rotorua and travel over the forested Mamaku Ranges to reach the Waitomo region. Here you enjoy a guided tour of the world famous Waitomo glowworm caves including an underground boat ride (weather permitting) on a subterranean river. Overhead thousands of tiny glowworms light up the cave walls and roof.

Then travel on to reach Hamilton, a city carved in two by the mighty Waikato River. From here the Waikato River will accompany you for much of your journey north. You’ll know you’re getting close to Auckland when you reach the motorway at the base of the Bombay Hills. The scenery will change gradually from market gardens to bloodstock farms to suburbia before you arrive in Auckland. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Auckland at Leisure

Today is at leisure to relax or explore what Auckland has to offer. Perhaps visit Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter, take a cruise on Auckland Harbour or make your way to the top of the Sky Tower for spectacular views of Auckland city.

New Zealand’s largest city, an idyllic setting overlooking the forested Waitakere Ranges, the sheltered Manukau Harbour and the island-studded Hauraki Gulf to the north.

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

Today your holiday comes to an end, please return your rental car to the depot at Auckland airport prior to your departure flight.

Your choice of accommodation

4.5/5.0

There are 8 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.5 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
15/01/2018
Just completed a wonderful two week self drive tour of the South and North Islands arranged by Toni. Everything was arranged perfectly to begin with. I was experiencing some severe back problems during my two weeks and as a result I had to cancel a few of the more strenuous excursions and fly back home earlier than expected. Throughout all the changes, Toni and Relaxing Journeys, became my advocate and were able to make a number of adjustments to my itinerary and actually obtained refunds for a number of the changes. All the directions for lodging, car rentals, flights and excursions were made very clear and really allowed me to enjoy their beautiful county. I hope to use their services in the future and would highly recommend them to others!
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5
02/03/2017
Hi Toni, thank you for a well organised and interesting tour programme. Everything went like clockwork from collecting the holiday pack with the car hire pick-up to dropping the car back at Auckland airport. We were wowed by the scenery, particularly in South Island, and your suggested routes for travelling around both islands really showed this off. Considering we booked so late we found all the hotels were comfortable and welcoming, with one even commenting on how efficient Relaxing Journeys were on paying them in advance. If we return to New Zealand we would have no hesitation in using your company. Many thanks.
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3
07/04/2016
Had an enjoyable holiday in NZ except for a few hiccups on the first 2 days. We were trying to get use to the Kruse/GPS provided and had to make quite a number of detours. Many thanks to Relaxing Journey for making this a memorable trip. Will definitely recommend to our friends
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4
18/12/2015
Relaxing Journeys is an extremely professional company which delivered exactly what was offered. The voucher system worked perfectly and all accommodation and activity venues accepted them without question. The 18 day northward bound self drive experience was filled with 'WOW' moments and photographic opportunities.The roads are all sealed and well maintained. The day trip to Milford Sounds was excellent. We were blessed with fantastic weather and a bus with a full length sunroof which enabled us to see the tops of mountains and forests as we traveled. The driver's commentary added depth (and amusement) to the journey. The boat trip was windy but with amazing views of high waterfalls, seals and gigantic mountains. The Te Puia experience in Rotorua was worth every single cent and moment spent there. We felt so privileged to be able to experience the Maori culture in this way, culminating with the Hangi. Be warned though, the smell from thermal activity in Rotorua takes a bit of getting used to. The addition of the Kruse navigation system was a definite plus. We learned so much about each area we travelled through and also enjoyed the music which played between commentaries. There are too many special moments to share here but suffice it to say, there were many. On a practical note, WiFi is offered free at most motels/apartments. All our motel/apartment accommodation was clean and comfortable. Thanks to Relaxing Journeys for organising a wonderful holiday for us.
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5
04/09/2015
Not knowing much about New Zealand we were pleased to use the services of Relaxing Journeys to ensure our first trip was memorable. The ease of dealing with Toni via email to organise our itinerary and make amendments as necessary was great. Toni's tips and advice assisted us to ensure the days were relaxing and not too much driving was required with plenty of stops in spectacular places. The accommodation arrangements were very comfortable with great staff and facilities provided. I can't wait to go back and see more of your spectacular country. Thank you.
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4
06/12/2013
We were disappointed in the weather (rained almost the whole time) but there isn't anything you could do about that. Even the websites we checked didn't prepare us, and yet whenever we commented on it, especially on the South Island, people said that that weather was pretty standard. Perhaps, if we were warned, we would have packed differently. That said, we had a wonderful time. The country is gorgeous and there's so much to do. Your directions and suggestions were very, very helpful. Thanks.
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5
17/10/2010
We had an absolutely amazing time. From glaciers to wilderness to icebergs to volcanos, New Zealand had it all and we saw it all on this trip. Everything went exactly as planned. All our hotel check in's went smoothly, we were picked up right on time, as arranged, and the supplied itinerary gave us heaps of great ideas for every stop we made. The little bonuses like the occasional luxury of a spa bath, beachfront hotels, great eating places within close walk all helped to make the trip even more memorable. The people of New Zealand deserve the biggest thanks, every motel manager was a willing source of information about their local area, giving great tips about food and sights. Everyone we spoke to was lovely, including our fellow tourists. The night at the Mitai village in Rotorua was particularly memorable for wonderful people making us feel most welcome, plus putting us in touch with the spiritual side of New Zealand. We could not recommend Relaxing Journeys, and particularly Jarrod, any more highly. We will be booking through them again without any hesitation. If you want to see the best of New Zealand and are a bit hesitant about trying to book things for yourself, definitely go through Relaxing Journeys. They do the hard stuff and leave you to enjoy your holiday.
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5
02/11/2009
Overall the trip was fantastic we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The accomodation on the whole was good, clean & simple motels with friendly and attentive staff. The only exception was the motel in Taupo (Karaka tree I think). The staff were nice however the cleanliness was below standard. The trips pre booked by yourselves were excellent, we both thoroughly enjoyed them. The car hire was great, quick and simple on both islands. The communication between us and Relaxing Journeys prior, during and after the trip has been excellent. Before we went, regular emails kept us up to date with travel itinerys etc so we were well prepared for our trip. During the trip the we were unexpectedly contacted to see if everything was going OK which was nice and a problem with a missing voucher during the trip was quickly resolved. Then upon our return we have been contacted to see if we enjoyed ourselves, simply 1st class. The length of time allocated in each place was ideal but we both felt that we didn't need to stay the night in Greymouth. Looking back we would have preferred to pick up the car, visit the Shantytown and then head towards Frans Josef (possibly stopping somewhere else), however the weather could have played a part as it was miserable. In conclusion the holiday was superb, New Zealand is a stunning country especially the South Island and we would have no hesitation in recommending Relaxing Journeys and returning to NZ in the future.
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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 18 Day Northward Bound

18 Day Northward Bound
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNNB
From (NZD) $3130 per person
Save (NZD) $253 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

Rating:
8 reviews (4.5/5)

You’re on the edge of your next adventure. Experience the beauty of New Zealand as you wind your way northwards from Christchurch. Along the way you... Read More

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18 Day Northward Bound
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