23 Day Once Around New Zealand
23 Day Once Around New Zealand
A huge tour of New Zealand featuring a complete circuit of the South Island including Christchurch, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Queenstown, the West Coast Glaciers, Nelson and 8 days in the North Island including the Bay of Islands. Prepare your senses and camera memory for an unforgettable getaway.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Christchurch to Auckland|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $2650 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|22 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges|
|Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi|
|Milford Sound Nature Cruise|
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.
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.
Cross the broad Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps to the west. Enter the foothills near Geraldine to the barren MacKenzie Country. View the Church of the Good Shepherd dedicated to the early pioneers of the region.
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 and Omarama.
Drive south to historic Oamaru and on to Dunedin – “the Edinburgh of the South.” An early arrival allows the choice of excellent optional activities. Perhaps a Monarch Harbour Cruise to see the albatross, penguins and seals.
Enjoy the historic and scenic Taieri Gorge Train excursion or explore the city only a few minutes walk away. Staying in Dunedin. (2 nights)
Dunedin is widely regarded as the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian heritage city in the southern hemisphere. It is also home to some of New Zealand’s top fashion designers and vibrant cafes and bars.
Take time to enjoy the rich historical architecture and abundance of wildlife to be found in this fascinating area.
Drive through the rolling hill country of South Otago and Southland. After the farming centre of Gore, cross the Waimea plains towards Fiordland. Visit Lake Manapouri with its rugged bushclad mountains before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau. (2 nights)
Drive through pristine beech forests and the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. One of the most incredible and frequently overlooked features of Milford Sound is the journey to get there. The Milford Road is a stunning alpine drive.
You’ll need to allow plenty of time to stop at the numerous viewing points or short walking opportunities en route, just to get out of the car. Drink in the spectacular scenery and the sheer scale of the landscape. We have included a cruise on the Sound to enable you to appreciate the majesty of Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls.
After the cruise, return to Te Anau.
A free morning to explore the region surrounding Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. Perhaps take in a cruise across Lake Te Anau to explore the Te Anau Glowworm Caves.
Explore a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. This afternoon it’s north, following the dramatic southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to reach Queenstown. (2 nights)
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.
Pass picturesque Lake Hayes on the way to an area steeped in fascinating history relating to early settlement and the goldmining era, then on to Lake Wanaka, a picture postcard resort town on the lake’s edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop. Overnight in Wanaka.
Continue north, through dense rain forest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards the glaciers. A short side trip will take you to view one of these massive rivers of ice. (2 nights)
A full day to explore this remote and beautiful area. You can take your own time walking up to the glacier, going to the Okarito Lagoon or join a guided walk on the glacier, take a heli-hike adventure, or a scenic flight over both glaciers.
We also recommend a visit to the colony of the beautiful white heron (Kotuku).
Continue past Greymouth and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful.
Travel through the Buller Gorge to Nelson, known for it’s gourmet wine and seafood, and the abundance of local artisans and craft people. (2 nights)
A full day to explore the Nelson area. The nearby Abel Tasman National Park offers opportunities to walk or cruise its beautiful coastline. Walking and hiking are the primary reasons to visit Nelson Lakes National Park.
Day walkers can follow a network of short tracks, to enjoy lake views, birdsong and native beech forest. A number of kayaking companies run guided tours from Marahau and Kaiteriteri.
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. Continue on to Blenheim.
From Blenheim 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.
Cross the Cook Strait between the South and North Islands of New Zealand on the Interislander Ferry, to our capital city, sprawled over the hills surrounding Wellington Harbour. The 92 km journey takes 3 hours and is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist experiences. You’ll have a great view of Wellington and the harbour.
Here, you pick up your new rental car. Overnight in Wellington.
Drive north along the rugged Kapiti coastline then over the Manawatu plains. Cross the volcanic plateau past the cones of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu to skirt Lake Taupo, then continue through steam clad Wairakei to Rotorua, steeped in Maori culture and history. (2 nights)
Free time to explore Rotorua today. You may like to visit the Agrodome or take a gondola ride to the top of Mt Ngongotaha for spectacular views of Rotorua.
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. (D)
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)
Explore this region, known for its beautiful beaches and coastline, or relax and enjoy the local cafes and shops displaying the wares of local crafts people. This is where New Zealanders hang out during their holidays!
Drive across the Hauraki Plains towards Auckland and then to the Bay of Islands. In the Bay of Islands you can find thrilling adventure or perfect peace. The unbelievable natural beauty, amazing beaches and a host of islands make for an idyllic aquatic playground and ultimate retreat.
The townships of this historic bay are infused with both Maori and European history. (2 nights)
Today is at your leisure for optional activities, such as a visit to quaint Russell or the Waitangi National Reserve. Or you may prefer to join a full day coach tour to Cape Reinga or board a cruise to the intriguing Hole in the Rock.
Take the alternative route south to Auckland via the Waipoua Forest. You’ll find a stop at the Matakohe Kauri Museum gives you some great insight to the area you are traveling through.
Reach the sprawling suburbs of Auckland, then cross the Waitemata Harbour. Overnight in Auckland.
Sadly your holiday comes to end. Return your car at the airport in time to catch your onward flight.
There are 31 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 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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A huge tour of New Zealand featuring a complete circuit of the South Island including Christchurch, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Queenstown, the West Coast... Read More
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