21 Day Two Islands

21 Day Two Islands

This is a superb 21 day journey throughout the whole of the country taking in both iconic destinations as well as beautiful out-of-the-way places and giving you a unique insight into everything New Zealand has to offer.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Queenstown
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $10760 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 21 Days
Tour Code: GJTI


20 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice
2 night stays at Waiheke, Taupo, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Abel Tasman, Franz Josef, Wanaka and Te Anau
3 night stay at Queenstown
Return ferry transfers from Auckland to Waiheke Island
Wine and gourmet tour of Waiheke Island
Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park
Mt Ruapehu Floatplane Excursion
4 hour Maori Tour of Hawkes Bay
Scenic Interislander Ferry Cruise Wellington to Picton
Full day Abel Tasman Kayak Tour
Glacier heli-hike and hot pools at Franz Josef
Lake Wanaka Cruise and Nature Walk
Milford Sound day tour including nature cruise
Guided Routeburn track day walk


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.

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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 Auckland - Waiheke Island

Welcome to Auckland! Pass through customs, collect any baggage and make your way to the downtown ferry terminal. There you will board the ferry for a 40 minute scenic cruise to Waiheke Island. Begin your holiday with a relaxing 2 night stay at the luxury Boatshed, sitting just above the sun-drenched beach of Oneroa. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Waiheke Island

Enjoy a gourmet wine and food tour of Waiheke Island today. A natural complement to the fine wines you will taste is a range of hand-made specialty foods and locally-grown produce.

A visit to a local olive oil mill is followed by two boutique vineyards, each offering a range of gourmet tastes to accompany their wines, such as succulent oysters straight from Te Matuku Bay, wild honey, vincotta, the famous local green herb spread and a small cheese board. On Saturdays, your tour may also include a visit to the Waiheke Market.

Today’s most arduous task will be selecting one of the great cafes for dinner or you can dine at The Boatshed.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Waiheke Island - Auckland - Taupo

Return to Auckland by ferry, collect your rental car and head south to Taupo. Discover Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park between Rotorua and Taupo. Up to 23 active natural geysers play freely through the area, with variable and interesting changes. View the vast number of boiling hot springs and mud pools or take a native bush walk through this untouched geothermal paradise.

Acacia Cliffs Lodge is perched high on a ridge above Lake Taupo and offers spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding area. Dinner at the lodge is a special experience (make sure that you book your dinner reservation in advance). (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4

So many things to do… a spectacular scenic flight over Lake Taupo, the Huka Falls and the towering volcanoes, fly fishing in secluded rivers, golf at Wairakei international golf course or the Kinloch Club, sail to the Maori Rock Carvings or explore the world heritage Tongariro National Park……there’s so much more.

Catch a float plane from Lake Taupo to the summit of Mt Ruapehu. A circuit of the summit allows you to view into the Crater Lake and the ski fields on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. Travel onto Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) to view in the centre of this classic volcano, then over Mt Tongariro viewing the craters before returning to descend over Lake Taupo and land on the lakefront.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Taupo - Napier

From here you have quite a variety of scenery as you ascend to the volcanic plateau then across mountains and valleys to Hawke’s Bay. Make your way to Napier city which was destroyed by an earthquake and fire in 1931. Napier was rebuilt in the Art Deco style and is known as one of the best Art Deco cities of the world. Art Deco tours are available, and you can also take a walk along Marine Parade or up Bluff Hill to enjoy the fabulous vista from there. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6

Led by a Maori elder from Waimarama who tells the stories, tales and legends of this area your tour today is a unique opportunity to gain insight into modern day Maori lives, culture and their local history.

From atop Te Mata Peak enjoy the panoramic views across the plains to the summits of the five pillars that hold up the heavens. It is the story of creation, ancient gods and rebellious offspring. Leaving the majestic Pillars of Heaven we travel to Civic Square, Hastings to the Pillars of the Plains. These carved totems represent all of the 18 tribes of this area. Unique ancestors, each with their own tale and individual carving style, provide a fascinating link to their descendants.

The next part of our story starts with the arrival of the great migration canoe Takitimu upon the pristine beach at Waimarama, rises to the heights of the surrounding hills to Hakikino, the ancient fortress and returns almost to where it began: to the Marae reservation where the cultural heartbeat of the people still beats strongly today.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Napier - Wellington

Drive south today to the Wairarapa, a rural retreat in the very heart of New Zealand. Stop in at Martinborough, a unique wine village with over 20 boutique vineyards – a nice area to pause for coffee or late lunch before continuing onto Wellington, the nation’s capital. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8

Good views of the city and harbour are available from the lookout at the top of Mt Victoria, or from the top cable car terminal. Very much part of the character of the city, the cable car is a must do attraction and links nicely with the Botanic Gardens and the Carter Observatory. The interactive museum, Te Papa is a major feature of the city and is located on the waterfront – itself pleasant to stroll along whilst pondering any number of dining experiences. The museum is a testament to the country’s very proud heritage, both Maori and European.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Wellington - Picton - Abel Tasman National Park

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

Once you’re on dry land again, pick up a new rental car and journey to Havelock, a small town famed for its Green Shell Mussels. Between bites to eat, explore the forest glades of Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve; or for something a little more adventurous, ascend via ridgeline to a 417m peak.

Continue on to your accommodation near Motueka. An eco-lodge on 50 acres, there are 5 km of bush tracks rich in native bird life to explore. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Abel Tasman National Park

Your day starts with a fast water-taxi to the northern beach of Onetahuti. From there paddle to Tonga Island and its flourishing seal colony. Enjoy the beauty of these sleek black mammals, experience being within their natural environment. Tides permitting, explore the spectacular Tonga Arches, or enchanting Shag Harbour, head south to Bark Bay followed by a lazy drift up Falls River. Find that dreamed of golden sand beach, for a yummy picnic lunch and a freshly brewed coffee.

As the Sea Breeze builds, sail back to Anchorage, to be met by your water taxi captain for the ride back to Marahau.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Abel Tasman National Park - Charleston

A lovely drive today as you wind through the Motueka Valley and the Buller Gorge. Stop for lunch at the Bay House café at Cape Foulwind with its walkway among the seal colony.

Your accommodation for the next two nights is a private oasis. No live television, no landline, no clocks, but with many small luxuries and a commitment to the environment, it’s the perfect retreat for indulgent relaxation.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Charleston - Franz Josef

Head south today down the West Coast. The West Coast is home to towering rainforests, mountains and glaciers, tranquil lakes and rushing rivers. It is steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1860’s.

Tonight you stay at Franz Josef – unique in the fact that the glacier descends from the Southern Alps to just 240 metres above sea level amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
West Coast Glaciers

Combine the thrills of a scenic helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier with a unique guided walk amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and crevices of this pristine, alpine environment. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.

Your guide chooses the route as you go for the most spectacular ice formations and will lead 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 care of.

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 14
Franz Josef - Wanaka

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, stopping in Makarora for an essential, short walk along the Blue Pools Track nearby. After getting back to your car it is a short drive to arrive at the water-side playground destination of Wanaka.

Your hosts will be happy to make a reservation at one of Wanaka’s great restaurants for dinner tonight. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15

Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Wanaka followed by a unique nature walk on Mou Waho Island lying close to the centre of Lake Wanaka. A unique glacial remnant of the last ice age, the island is also the historic site of early shipbuilding and used to be a stopping place for the steamers and log rafts that once plied the lake.

A well-formed track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native bush to near the top of Tyrwhitt Peak. Just before the top we see Arethusa Pool, a small lake on the island with small islands in it – very intriguing! From the top we have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and below Arethusa Pool. The perfect spot to stop for a tea or coffee.

Going back down the track gives us more time to take in our surroundings, listening to and watching the lively bird-life, and just enjoying this unique wildlife reserve.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Wanaka - Te Anau

Today, you will make your way to Te Anau via Queenstown, over the Crown Range Road. It’s a challenging drive, but the views are amazing and you’ll probably encounter friendly keas (mountain parrots) along the way. Too much to handle? Cautious drivers can take the route that runs beside the Clutha River, Lake Dunstan and the Shotover River. From Queenstown drive through the Devils Staircase on route to Te Anau. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Te Anau - Milford Sound Cruise - Te Anau

Travel by luxury coach on an unforgettable journey into Milford Sound. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board your vessels, the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer which are designed along the lines of traditional trading scows; purpose built to operate in the fiords and offering a laid back, extended, 2.5 hour cruise.

Explore dramatic, moody Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most famous waterway. Throughout your cruise, our nature guide provides an engaging commentary about the magnificent scenery and wildlife. Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins. Return by coach to Te Anau. (L)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 18
Te Anau - Queenstown

Retrace your steps back to Queenstown. The alpine resort town of Queenstown is sophisticated and fantastically scenic. Its lake and mountain landscape is suited to almost any kind of adventure; but Queenstown is just as well-known for indulgence. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 19

Experience spectacular snow-capped mountain and lake views, a variety of bird life, beautiful natural ancient native beech forest – mosses, lichens and ferns – waterfalls and river gorge.

This full day walk in the ancient beech forest of the Mount Aspiring National Park starts with a scenic drive to the northern end of Lake Wakatipu and into the Routeburn Valley. Your walk begins among a towering ancient beech forest, climbing gradually through a 130 million year old magical world, blanketed by forest mosses and ferns and skirting the thundering Routeburn through the gorge it has carved over the millennia.

Enjoy your well-earned lunch surrounded by the grandeur of alpine meadows, meandering streams and majestic snow-capped mountains. On your return explore the old forgotten paths of the Maori, as you travel along the original Greenstone trails, finding new enchantment around each corner, where native birds abound. (L)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 20

It’s time to make memories in Queenstown. Pick and choose from a long list of adventures – from thrilling funyak tours along the Dart River and horse-riding in Glenorchy, to panning for gold in Arrowtown or taking a tour of Lake Wakatipu via the TSS Earnslaw, there is certainly something for every speed.

Or, if you’re not ready to break the spell of the last few days a scenic walk may do the trick, exploring the diverse range of stunning trails the region delivers in troves.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 21
Depart Queenstown

Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you will be returning your car to the airport today for your onward flight.

Your choice of accommodation


There are 1 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 5 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

Great organisation and lots of tips on what to see and do both between each town / city where we had reservations at hotels and at each location too.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience

Enquire about our 21 Day Two Islands

21 Day Two Islands
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GJTI
From (NZD) $10760 per person
Save (NZD) $1076 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

1 reviews (5/5)

This is a superb 21 day journey throughout the whole of the country taking in both iconic destinations as well as beautiful out-of-the-way places and ... Read More

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