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!
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Christchurch to Auckland|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $2450 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|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|
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.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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’.
Today your holiday comes to an end, please return your rental car to the depot at Auckland airport prior to your departure flight.
There are 10 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.
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).
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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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