23 Day Scenic New Zealand

23 Day Scenic New Zealand

What would you do if you had 23 days dedicated to pursuing the wonderful, beautiful and unmissable? The Land of the Long White Cloud is a spectacular destination, from coast to coast and island to island, prepare your senses and camera memory for an unforgettable getaway.

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: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $3962 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 23 Days
Tour Code: GNSNZ

Inclusions

22 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges
Scenic Interislander Ferry
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Coast to coast TranzAlpine Train journey through the Southern Alps
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

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland! Pass through customs, collect any baggage and join your shuttle transfer to your inner city 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. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland at Leisure

Take delivery of your rental car this morning. The day is free to relax and 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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Auckland - Bay of Islands

After a day of exploration in Auckland, it’s time to depart the city and head north to the Bay of Islands. If you’re something of an arts, crafts or history buff, a visit to Kerikeri is certainly worth it, as one of the oldest buildings in the country still stands solid – aptly named the stone store. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Bay of Islands at Leisure

Today is at leisure to enjoy the many activities the Bay of Islands has to offer. With the most scenic coastal scenery in New Zealand, the Bay of Islands provides the setting for activities including sailing, big game fishing and swimming with wild dolphins.

It is also one of New Zealand’s most historically significant areas, most notably for the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 between the Maori chiefs and the British. The reserve also houses the Whare Runanga, a Maori meeting house and the 100ft long war canoe or waka.

You may like to take a trip to Cape Reinga – the northernmost point of New Zealand, where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet; take a cruise to Cape Brett and the famous “Hole in the Rock” or explore the historic areas of Russell.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Bay of Islands - Matakana

Today head south where you’ll be staying in Snells Beach near Matakana. You will be close to many stunning surf beaches and fabulous regional parks, secluded bays, vineyards, the Matakana Farmers’ Markets, the famous Kawau Island ferry and Goat Island Marine Reserve. New Zealand’s first with prolific fish life – so close you can reach out and touch them… almost!

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Matakana - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

Today make your way south through the lush Waikato farmlands to Rotorua. On the way you may wish to stop at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. For over 100 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves have attracted millions of people from all over the world.

We recommend that you include a stop here. The moment you enter this subterranean wonderland, you’ll discover an ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos. Experience a boat trip like no other, journeying through the starry expanse of the Glowworm cave while your way is lit by a multitude of tiny glow worm lights.

Continue over the forested Mamaku Ranges to reach the “thermal city” of Rotorua. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Rotorua at Leisure

Enjoy a full day exploring some of Rotorua’s natural wonders and scenic highlights on a day trek through the internationally renowned Whirinaki Forest, fringing the Te Urewera National Park. Or you may like to visit Te Puia, where you can experience the raw power of Rotorua’s main geothermal valley including bubbling mud pools, steaming vents and the world famous Pohutu Geyser.

Perhaps visit the Agrodome to see a display featuring New Zealand’s various sheep breeds and sheep shearing. Or Rainbow Springs to see rainbow and brown trout as well as native birds including the Kiwi. Another option is the spectacular Skyline Gondola offering superb views over the city, Lake Rotorua and the surrounding mountains.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Rotorua - Wellington

Drive south through steam clad Wairakei, to Taupo. Skirt Lake Taupo, across the volcanic plateau past the cones of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu. Cross the Manawatu plains then along the rugged Kapiti coastline to New Zealand’s capital city, sprawled over the hills surrounding Wellington Harbour. Overnight in Wellington.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Wellington - Interislander Ferry Crossing - Blenheim

You’ll have very little time behind the wheel this morning, as you drop the car at the Interislander Ferry Terminal, ready to cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. Where will you sit? Inside or outside? Try to vary your experience if you can, as some of the sights are better seen without the barrier of a window – watch as boats bob on Wellington harbour, disappearing in the distance as you head into the majestic Marlborough Sounds, chugging away to Picton.

On arrival collect your new rental car and make your way to Blenheim. Blenheim is the main town in the Marlborough region. Its lovely sunny climate makes Blenheim an ideal wine growing region.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Blenheim - Kaikoura

Today you travel from Blenheim to Kaikoura. The road is dominated by the awesome beauty of the Pacific Coast. In the township of Seddon you’ll find authentic New Zealand crafts. Before 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.

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. Kaikoura, located in a narrow strip of stunning coastline between mountain peaks and the Pacific Ocean, is a place of unparalleled wildlife experiences.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Kaikoura - Christchurch

This morning is your chance to go on a Whale Watch Cruise to see the giant sperm whales, dolphins, fur seals and depending on the season, you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales.

From Kaikoura it’s two hours direct to Christchurch or you may like to take a more scenic inland route via Hanmer Springs to bathe in the mineral pools in their alpine setting. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Christchurch at Leisure

Following the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city. Today, relax and explore this most English of New Zealand cities. We suggest punting down the River Avon through the stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Alternatively you could take a day tour and visit the beautiful unspoilt old French whaling depot of Akaroa.

Lunch in the naturally picturesque setting of Akaroa Village at the popular Bully Hayes. The day’s activities can include your choice of the Akaroa Harbour Cruise, swimming with the dolphins, a game of golf on the picturesque Akaroa Golf Course with beautiful sea views, or simply explore and enjoy the charm and serenity of Akaroa.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Christchurch - Mt Cook

Head south today across the Canterbury Plains, through the picturesque town of Geraldine. Be sure you make a photo stop at Lake Tekapo, a beautiful turquoise coloured lake and visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores. This is one of the most photographed churches in the world made of stone and sand from around the lake.

You are now in Mackenzie Country and the scenery is fantastic as you drive to Lake Pukaki. Turn towards the Southern Alps and Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Follow the glacier-fed Lake Tekapo and the Tasman River all the way up to the alpine village of Aoraki-Mt Cook.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Mt Cook - Dunedin

Time to enjoy some of the nearby bush walks in the park before heading west to the coastal town of Oamaru, famous for its white limestone buildings. Be sure to stop at Moeraki Beach with its mysterious, spherical, 60 million year old boulders. Continue on to Dunedin, the ‘Edinburgh of the South’. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Dunedin at Leisure

Take the opportunity to enjoy the city’s cultural riches and its abundant nature and wildlife. If you wish, visit New Zealand’s oldest brewery for an entertaining and enlightening heritage tour. Enjoy guided tours of Larnach Castle and the stately home of Olveston House. Play a round of golf at Balmacewan, the oldest course in New Zealand and enjoyed by many of the sport’s greats, both past and present. You could also make the short journey to Portobello Peninsula to enjoy seals, the Albatross Colony and visit the Yellow-eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Dunedin - Te Anau

Drive through the rolling hill country of South Otago and Southland. After the farming community of Gore, cross the Waimea plains towards Fiordland. Overnight in Te Anau. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Te Anau - Milford Sound Cruise - Te Anau

The road from Te Anau 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. Look for the ‘Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain’ and the Mirror Lakes. Then the rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak.

Make sure you allow for plenty of time to stop at the numerous viewing points or short walking opportunities en route. At Milford Sound, board your boat for a spectacular cruise on New Zealand’s most famous waterway, carved by glaciers during the last ice age.

After your cruise make your way back to Te Anau.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 18
Te Anau - Queenstown

Trout fishing rivers and high country scenery are features of the drive to Queenstown. The small towns of Mossburn and Lumsden can be explored for unique shopping opportunities – a farm tour is another possibility.

Leave time to take a break in Kingston, the home of a remarkable vintage steam train. From here, the rest of your journey clings scenically to the edge of Lake Wakatipu. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 19
Queenstown at Leisure

Today is at your leisure to explore Queenstown and the surrounding areas. It has a well earned reputation for offering adrenaline fuelled activities and will not disappoint even the most fearless visitor, from bungy jumping to white water surfing, jet-boating, canyoning and luging.

Added to that the more traditional pursuits of rafting, wind-surfing, horse riding, mountain biking and skiing in winter and the only problem is finding the time to fit it all in.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 20
Queenstown - Franz Josef

Put Queenstown in your rearview mirror and travel along the banks of the Hawea and Wanaka lakes, before stopping in Makarora for an essential, short walk along the Blue Pools Track nearby. Refreshed by the brisk mountain weather, continue your climb over the Haast Pass, reaching the West Coast – where ancient rainforests tower above you. Continue north to the village of Franz Josef Glacier. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 21
Franz Josef at Leisure

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).

Make sue your last stop is at the Franz Josef Glacier hot pools where you will be able to enjoy a hot bathe amongst the rainforest.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 22
Franz Josef - Christchurch

Travel north along the narrow, bush clad, coastal plain past Hokitika, to Greymouth and return your rental car to the depot at the rail station. Join the famous TranzAlpine train to journey through the Southern Alps to Christchurch, where on arrival you will be transferred to your accommodation.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 23
Depart Christchurch

Today is at your leisure until your departure when you will be transferred from your accommodation to Christchurch airport for 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.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Accommodation
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

5
09/11/2017
A truly excellent holiday, very well planned and fulfilled all our requirements.
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Value For Money

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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
15/08/2017
We were were very happy with our itinerary and the amount of information and attention to detail in the instructions. It saved us a good deal of time and was so much less stressful than our last overseas trip booked by a travel agent. Just a couple of comments, though: Our room at Quest Auckland had a terrible smell, which we have reported to Quest in our review form. As you are aware, the road from Blenheim to Kaikoura via the coast is closed until at least November due to last year's earthquake. The drive via the alternative route took us over 8 hours, not 6 1/2 hours (per itinerary). This was due to numerous roadworks where we had to stop for up to 5 mins each time and speed limits of 30 kmh in those areas. The road was pretty bad in a lot of places, especially between Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura, where there were constant detours and areas of rough road. Kaikoura is pretty much still in disarray e.g. the whale watching tours are only going on average once or maybe twice a day, depending on tides due to damage to the marina. The road south to Christchurch was only open 3 days a week at the time, so we were lucky that our travel day was one of those. A caution in the itinerary about the roads wouldn't go astray. In our opinion, it would be better to spend a day at Wellington and skip Kaikoura altogether until the coast road is open again. We got to Wellington too late to do anything on our day of arrival and had to depart the next morning so another day would have been handy. Overall, we had a wonderful time. The weather was fantastic and we got to do the helihike to the Franz Josef Glacier, which was the one thing I was worried about being cancelled. Thank you for your assistance and planning. We would have no hesitation in booking with you again.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
19/03/2017
We probably should have had extra days at a few places. Overall it was a trip of a lifetime. We learned so much about the ecology, birds, and history of New Zealand. Several motels gave us upgrades which was great. I didn't realize every room has a kitchen. That was a pleasant surprise. I would suggest giving the option to skip Kaikoura and maybe stay at Hanmer Springs.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
03/01/2017
Only positive thoughts: fantastic organisation, no hassle, voucher system for accommodation, rental cars, extra excursions etc worked seamlessly. Motels/hotels were excellent quality and just what we wanted. My only wish would have been to spend more time in Wellington as the itinerary only allowed us one short evening there. Fantastic trip.
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5
10/02/2016
Our self-drive tour was fabulous. Because of the thorough preparation and organisation by Relaxing Journeys, the trip went according to plan without a hitch. The trip was so well organised - I couldn't believe how detailed our itinerary was (with lots of information and suggestions). The Kruse was marvellous (although 'she' go confused sometimes!) but following the detailed map, that was provided for us, ensured we didn't get lost! The commentary on the Kruse on New Zealand's history, vegetation, native animals, exports, imports, Maori culture and folklore, volcanic activity, earthquakes, as well as information about towns that are passed through or stopped at along the way. It was like having our own personal guide. What a great idea! My only change to the itinerary would be to allow another night at Mt Cook or delete it completely. We found that we got there late afternoon and had to leave early the next morning, with long drives on both days. We were lucky that we could see Mt Cook in the distance as it wasn't covered in cloud. But we had a better view when we took the helicopter ride at Franz Josef. Thank you so much for our wonderful trip. Loved New Zealand!
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4
09/02/2016
This was our first visit to New Zealand, undertaking a circa 25-day Budget self drive tour of both the North & South Islands, and one which we will remember for many years to come.The stunning views/spectacular scenery around every corner of the road, nice weather, bright sun shine, snow/ice on the top of the mountains and lakes/water falls of stunning turquois blue. The complete ease of getting around the islands. Our accommodation was generally of a very acceptable standard, some even being considered as excellent, with only a couple of motels that could be considered below par, i.e. in some need of attention/refurbishment; namely Casa Bella Motel Paihia & the Union Victoria Motel In Rotorua, perhaps alternatives should be considered for visitors in the future. The Quest managed apartments particularly stood out, given the facilities that they include within the serviced apartments; washing machines/dryers. Our full sized hire vehicle (Toyota Prado) was definitely the correct choice for our family, capable of accepting four/five adults and a considerable amount of luggage, plus being diesel fuelled with the big price differential between diesel & unleaded petrol. We covered almost 4000km over both islands, and were not constantly re-fuelling. The only issue we had was in collecting the car in Auckland city instead of the airport, as I had to chase the rental company on several occasions, as they advised that a taxi had been sent to collect us from the hotel and indeed had actually arrived at the hotel. This was completely untrue. Eventually I had to arrange our own taxi to their office. It was then very evident that this was a common occurrence, with numerous other people complaining to the reception/sales staff of similar issues. I would recommend Relaxing Journeys, with the exception of collecting the car, everything ran very smoothly. Many Thanks.
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5
07/02/2016
What an amazing journey we have just experienced. We cannot thank Relaxing Journeys enough for all their organisation in our 23 day Holiday of both the North and South Island of New Zealand. From day 1 our holiday went like clockwork from scenic spots to pure adventure all was experienced. Taking the option of a self drive tour and have all the arrangements made for us took all the hassle away from the holiday and let us sit back and enjoy our time in New Zealand. Once again thank you and the people and places of New Zealand for giving us the holiday of a lifetime.
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5
16/01/2016
From the planning stage to the very end of our fantastic holiday everything went extremely well. We are recommending Relaxing Journeys and a holiday to New Zealand to all our friends and family. A beautiful country with amazing people, especially in Christchurch. Thank you.
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5
01/01/2016
For many years I have researched and booked my holidays independently. However, having read reviews of relaxingjourneys.co.nz I thought I'd give them a try. Well I must say they were brilliant. From the very start of my enquiry it was a very pleasant experience and I would recommend them to everyone who is intending to have a break in New Zealand. There were no issues whatsoever. If I could rate them higher than 5 star then I would.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
30/11/2015
Thanks Relaxing Journeys - our trip to NZ was fantastic! Everything arranged by yourselves went smoothly and I did not have to worry about transport and accommodations at all. As I was travelling with my three (non-driving) teenagers, this took the stress right out of managing where we were going and where we were going to stay when we got there. It also gave us the freedom to do what we wanted when we reached a new destination. The highlight for the kids and myself were definitely Mount Cook/Aoraki and the Glaicer excursion, as well as Milford Sound. Will definitely need to plan a return trip to see some more!! Thanks again.
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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).

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23 Day Scenic New Zealand
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNSNZ
From (NZD) $3962 per person
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Rating:
34 reviews (4.7/5)

What would you do if you had 23 days dedicated to pursuing the wonderful, beautiful and unmissable? The Land of the Long White Cloud is a spectacular ... Read More

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23 Day Scenic New Zealand
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