24 Day New Zealand Tourer

24 Day New Zealand Tourer

One of our most popular self-drive tours, there’s no better way to explore New Zealand. Covering both islands, you will visit the beautiful Bay of Islands, geothermal Rotorua and the wine region of Hawke's Bay in the North. Exploring the South, you will see the whale-watching capitol of Kaikoura, Mt Cook - New Zealand’s highest mountain as well as the spectacular Milford Sound.

Book your self drive tour this month and receive a discount of 7.5%. If you pay by 30 September 2018.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $4027 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 24 Days
Tour Code: GNNZT

Inclusions

23 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges
Hole in the Rock & Cape Brett cruise, in the Bay of Islands
Guided tour of Waitomo Caves
Maori Mitai Cultural Evening with traditional Feast
Admission to Te Puia's Geothermal Valley
Admission to Skyline Skyrides
Relax at the Polynesian Spa
Grape Escape Wine Tour in Napier
Pukaha Mount Bruce Nature and Wildlife Reserve
Interislander Ferry Crossing
Milford Sound Day Tour - Coach & Nature Cruise
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

Book your self drive tour this month and receive a discount of 7.5%. If you pay by 30 September 2018.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland! Once you’ve moved through customs and collected your baggage, it’s time to sign for your rental car and check-in at your accommodation.

After 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.

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 2
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.

Strap back in for the easy drive to Paihia, the idyllic seaside gateway to the whole Bay of Islands region. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Cape Brett and the Bay of Islands

You can relax today and enjoy the Bay of Islands in a number of ways. We’ve included a cruise to the famous Hole in the Rock and Cape Brett for you this morning.

Board the luxury catamaran which will whisk you on a comfortable journey out through game fishing waters to the Cape Brett Lighthouse. Next is Motukokako Island and the famous “Hole in the Rock” where we make a passage through the Hole and on to the Grand Cathedral Cave. On the return journey the cruise takes its time and meanders through the inner islands.

View sandy beaches, beautiful bays and marine wildlife as your skipper gives an informative commentary. Included is an island stopover on beautiful Urupukapuka Island. As your catamaran docks at the Historic Otehei Bay, enjoy the white sandy beach, picturesque views and its rich archaeological landscape.

On the way back you might like to stop off at Russell (New Zealand’s first capital) which was also known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific” It’s now a quaint seaside village where you can take some time to wander around and enjoy.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Bay of Islands - Auckland

It’s a good day for exploring today as there are many possibilities for stops on the way down south. At Waipu turn left to Waipu Cove and follow that road down through Langs Bach and Mangawhai.

Waipu Cove is the local surf beach in the area. Further on, at the old Bohemian settlement of Puhoi have a drink and sample some local cheese. A little further south is Waiwera where there are mineral hot pools to bathe and have fun in.

Stay in Auckland tonight.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua

Continue south through Hamilton today to Rotorua. On the way stop off at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves (included in the tour price). For over 100 years Waitomo Glowworm Caves have attracted millions of people from all over the world. This evening you will be picked up and taken to the Mitai Village for a unique and unforgettable cultural experience.

\Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream and see glow worms in their natural habitat. See your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During the cultural performance, you’ll learn about our past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). (D) (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Rotorua

Rotorua has been known for its geothermal activity for over 150 years now and today you are able to see, feel, smell and hear some of this wonder of nature. At Te Puia, experience the raw power of Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley with bubbling mud pools, steaming vents and the world famous Pohutu Geyser.

Take a journey into the heart of Maori culture, arts and crafts. Then take a ride on the 8 seater gondola which climbs up the side of Mt Ngongotaha and experience Rotorua’s most spectacular views with Skyline Skyrides. This is a fun, all age, all weather attraction with views of the City and Lake Rotorua.

You can have lunch here at the café or restaurant, and enjoy the fresh air a little more if you decide to ride a cart down the Luge. At the end of the day you can relax at the Polynesian Spa where you have the choice of 7 hot mineral spring pools – or upgrade to some wonderful treatments from the Spa such as the Aix Massage.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Rotorua - Hawke's Bay

Today you head east to 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.

Alternatively you can leave Rotorua early and get to Napier in time to go on one of the tours to the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Hawke's Bay

You have the morning to relax or explore Napier at your leisure. Hawke’s Bay has also become well known as a leading food and wine region in New Zealand, so we have booked you in for a wine tour this afternoon.

Meet like- minded people and share an appreciation of Hawke’s Bay’s fantastic wines. Travel through New Zealand’s most prestigious wine growing district from which we taste award winning wines throughout the day. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Hawke's Bay - Wairarapa

Today’s route has you driving through some of New Zealand’s rural heartland with a mixture of sheep, dairy and crop farming. Make your way south to Pukaha Mount Bruce Nature and Wildlife Reserve. Experience some of New Zealand’s endangered wildlife up close and in the wild.

Learn about what is being done to save kiwi, tuatara, kokako, kaka and return them to New Zealand’s forests. Make your way down the Wairarapa through the farming towns of Masterton, Carterton and Greytown before staying in Martinborough for the night.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Wairarapa - Wellington

You may like to have a wander around the village which has become well known for its wineries before heading over the Rimutaka Ranges in to New Zealand’s Capital – the harbour city of Wellington.

Take a drive up Mount Victoria or a ride up the Cable Car to get some magnificent views of this pretty city. You may also like to have a walk around Oriental Bay, visit Te Papa the Museum of New Zealand, or spend some time shopping or dining in one of the many fine restaurants down town.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Wellington - Picton - Blenheim

Today you will travel across Cook Strait, the stretch of water that separates the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The journey across Cook Strait has a dramatic beauty all of its own.

Both islands can be viewed, including the magnificent Kaikoura ranges and there is often the chance to see wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, seals, whales and orca. On arrival in Picton, collect your rental car and make your way past vineyards and wineries to Blenheim. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Marlborough

Today is at leisure to explore Blenheim and the wine area of Marlborough. There are more than 20 wineries within driving distance of the town – explore them with a guided tour or bike tour.

Visit the Marlborough Sounds, take a wine tour or a Greenshell Mussel cruise or experience all three with the Icons of Marlborough tour. A visit to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is highly recommended.

A magnificent collection of World War planes set in scenes put together by Weta Workshops with the assistance of Peter Jackson who owns a majority of what you see on exhibit.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Blenheim - Kaikoura

Today is another day of dramatic scenery as you drive through vineyards, rolling hillsides and along the Kaikoura Coast. Take some time to stop along the coast where you can see seals and other wildlife before heading into the whale watching capital of New Zealand – Kaikoura.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Kaikoura - Christchurch

This morning is your chance to go on a Whale Watch Cruise or a Wings Over Whales flight 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. Make your way south to Christchurch – the Garden City, and the largest in the South Island. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Christchurch

Today you can choose to relax and explore this most English of New Zealand cities. Take a punt on the Avon River, a ride on the tram, or drive up the Port Hills for a great vista over the Canterbury Plains.

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 16
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. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of the lake. 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 and turn towards the Southern Alps and Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Follow this glacier-fed lake and the Tasman River all the way up to the alpine village of Aoraki-Mt Cook. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Mt Cook

There are many tracks for walking and tramping in this area – you can find the most suitable for you by going to the Visitor Centre. There are scenic flights available by helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, and if you wish to have a glacial adventure there is the Glacier Explorers excursion on Lake Tasman at the base of the Tasman Glacier.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 18
Mt Cook - Queenstown

Leave New Zealand’s highest mountain behind today as you drive through Twizel and Omarama before heading up over the Lindis Pass – this is the area where gold was first discovered in the Central Otago region in 1861. Central Otago has a harsh but beautiful landscape due to its summer heat and winter cold.

A lot of gold was discovered in the area in the late 1800’s. More recently in the late 1900’s it’s been discovered as a great place for growing grapes so there are some good reasons for exploring this area.

Continue on through the Kawarau gorge to get to the alpine town of Queenstown where you are staying for three nights. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 19
Queenstown

There are a huge number of activities to choose from here in Queenstown – for the adventurous there is bungy jumping, jet boating, skiing, 4WD Safaris snow boarding, rafting and skydiving to name a few.

There are also some less adrenaline producing activities such as a cruise on Lake Wakatipu, a ride up the Skyline Gondola, or even a great day out on the Dart River Wilderness Safari.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 20
Milford Sound Day Tour

Your day tour coach follows the southern arm of Lake Wakitipu to Lumsden, and onward to Lake Te Anau. The scenery changes dramatically from tussock covered grasslands to glacier hewn valleys as you enter the Eglington Valley and travel through the breathtaking man made Homer Tunnel to reach Milford Sound.

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, dominated by Mitre Peak and the cascading Bowen Falls. This famous fiord will induce 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!

On completion you will return to Queenstown by coach. (L)

Your choice of accommodation

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

Upgrade your itinerary to include a return scenic flight to Queenstown. The flight takes 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 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 21
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 22
Franz Josef Glacier

Witness the puzzle of huge valleys of ice that extend well below the snowline, almost to the sea. While glaciers around the world are retreating, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers still flow almost to sea level.

There’s lots to explore in this 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.

 

Your choice of accommodation

Day 23
Franz Josef Glacier - Christchurch

Travel north along the bush clad, coastal plain past Hokitika to Greymouth. Turn inland towards the Southern Alps and stop at Arthur’s Pass, the waypoint for a short walk you shouldn’t miss, terminating at the Devil’s Punchbowl, a 100m high waterfall.

Along the way you’ll see the awesome engineering feats of the Otira Viaduct and Tunnel. When you’ve taken all of the pictures your camera can handle, continue across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
TranzAlpine Train Upgrade Package

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

On arrival in Greymouth, return your rental car to the Greymouth depot before checking in for your train journey to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine is described as “The Great New Zealand Rail Adventure” and is rated as one of the top six scenic train journeys in the world – with accolades like those, you know it will be good.

Ascend through lush beech forests past the beautiful Lake Brunner via the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass situated 737 metres above sea level, before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps. The TranzAlpine then winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular river gorges and the stunning Waimakariri River valley before arriving in Christchurch.

On arrival in Christchurch we’ll arrange transfers to your accommodation and transfers the next day to the airport for your onward flight.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 24
Depart Christchurch

After breakfast this morning, please make your way to the airport where you will return your car in time for your onward flight.

Your choice of accommodation

4.8/5.0

There are 33 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

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Value For Money
Accommodation
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

5
17/02/2018
Well paced and great overview of the beautiful country of New Zealand! We loved the two night stays in most locations as it gave us time to tour the area and not feel hurried. The accommodations were all very good and we liked the fact that a buffet breakfast was included each morning (the only change I'd suggest here is to avoid box breakfasts...going to a coffee shop would have suited us). We liked all the excursions that were included: the wine tours, whale watching, geothermal sight, glow worm cave, Milford Sound tour, and cultural dinner were all excellent. The suggested stops along the way were helpful. The car rental went very smoothly and a GPS navigator was helpful. We especially liked our stay at the Breckenridge Lodge in Napier (a beautiful setting in a top notch lodge near a vineyard with meals that we will long remember! The owners/hosts couldn't have been nicer!) Only changes or inclusions that I'd suggest would be: (a) two nights at Te Anau so as not to have to drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound in the morning for an early afternoon boat tour. It was doable, but made for an early departure from Queenstown. (b) perhaps include the Tranz Alpine Railway (would necessitate another car exchange). All in all we couldn't have been more pleased with the Relaxing Journeys experience! Dealing with the company via email worked extremely well. We have excellent weather, which contributed to our overall travel as we drove 4,000km in 4 weeks! We loved our Routeburn Track trip and our stay at the Bay of Many Coves which we added to our itinerary. Thank you for helping us plan a trip of a lifetime!
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5
03/02/2018
Our trip to your country was truly wonderful and one that we will remember forever. Marianne and I both enjoyed the great hospitality of your fellow New Zealanders, travelling over 3500 km to enjoy the magnificent scenery and ever changing vistas, the itinerary of activities that we chose to participate in so as to learn about your country and the daily experience of being a part of New Zealand for the past month. The organization and attention to detail demonstrated by you and your company gave us the opportunity to make our experience in New Zealand the memorable adventure that it was. The pick up by shuttle services, accommodation reservations, use of vouchers for specific activities or services and car rental arrangements was seamless. It was like everyone was waiting for us to show up. It is without hesitation that I would recommend the services of Relaxing Journeys to anyone travelling to New Zealand.
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5
02/01/2018
Joanie and I wanted to take the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand, and being the independent souls that we are, planned to rent a car and drive the country. I figured we could identify what we wanted to see and book our own, but that quickly became overwhelming. So I began searching the internet for sample itineraries, and came across those provided by Relaxing Journeys. Bingo! We chose an itinerary that made sense for us, asked the wonderful Toni to adapt it to our interests, and she created a good one. A few tweaks and we were there. All of the hotels were well-located, friendly, quiet, clean, and comfortable. The recommended sights were spot on. I highly recommend engaging Relaxing Journeys to help guide you in the complex and sometimes time-consuming task of creating your own trip of a lifetime.
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3
15/01/2017
Too much driving. We didn't need a car in Auckland, just had to pay for parking. What wonderful scenery. I really enjoyed the variety of places to stay. Some of the breakfasts were outstanding and some were pitiful. The vouchers were great.
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4
13/01/2017
Our 30 days self drive tour was very well organized and the itinerary was very detailed and easy to follow. Unfortunately, highway 1 between Blenheim and Kaikoura was closed and we had to drive many hours and then the route took us north on Hwy 70 to Kaikoura which was an extremely hard drive with many stops for road works. This day should have been broken up or directed right to Christchurch.... it took us nearly 11 hrs with a stop in the lovely Hanmer hot springs but, drive time was 8 hrs. Also we were disappointed that the TranzAlpine train was cancelled and would have changed our route and not bothered with Franz Joseph Glacier. The tour from Queenstown to Milford Sound was absolutely stunning. We did have a very good overview of your wonderful country, so clean and welcoming to visitors. Thank you Mani, we appreciate your hard work.
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5
17/12/2016
We had an amazing time in New Zealand for our honeymoon with the help of Relaxing Journeys! (and Marie in particular!) They helped us customise our trip until it was exactly how we wanted and then planned it all for us based on our feedback. It was completely stress free and they were happy to make any changes we requested. I highly recommend choosing the Kruse Commentary GPS for your journey too, as you learn a lot on your travels with it and could miss some great sights along the way! It was an unforgettable honeymoon and experience. I hope we get to tour New Zealand again, and if we do, we will definitely use Relaxing Journeys to help us plan our next trip there. Thank you Marie!
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5
26/02/2016
Both my wife and I had a fabulous trip and want to thank your and Relaxing Journeys for doing an excellent job. Everything went smooth without one problem the entire trip. Having drivers meeting us to and from the Airports as well as the train trip was a great touch. I have several friends who I will encourage to call you for their anticipated trips. Thanks again.
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5
22/02/2016
We were more than pleased with the four week tour of both the North and South Islands that you set up for us in New Zealand. The pace was perfect, and you did an excellent job of selecting hotels and activities. We even talked with some other Relaxing Journeys tourists from California while we were there. They were likewise pleased with their tour from Relaxing Journeys. Your ability to tailor travel plans to suit your customers is perfect to make the most of a New Zealand travel experience. New Zealand kept surprising us with frequent dramatic changes in scenery. There was not an area we did not enjoy of your clean and green country. Thank you for taking good care of us Toni! You did a great job.
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5
08/12/2015
What can we say. This was the holiday/honeymoon of a lifetime we loved New Zealand and cannot believe how quickly it all went. We had so many highlights. from Wineries on Waiheke Island, to learning about all the wonders of Rotorua, biking around stunning Napier, Kayaking on the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, Whale watching in Kaikoura, the history and beautiful gardens in Christchurch, the most beautiful meal after hiking in Mount Cook on Christmas Day, our new favourite place on earth is Queenstown, we would move there if we could, it has so much to offer and of course the hubby had to jump off a bridge in the adventure capital. We had New year Helihikes on Franz Josef and then finishing with a breath taking journey on the tranzalphine train from Greymouth to Christchurch. We would do it all again (after a rest)!

Some tips for your travels, in Auckland, its $28 each to get up the Skytower but if you go for a cocktail in the Sugar Club its $20 for a bellini and then you get a free walk around the tower when you leave. We wish we had added extra nights in the Marlborough wine region to do a wine bike tour, we also wish we had seen Nelson as everyone said it was amazing. A small bit of advice when visiting Martinborough, although all the wineries are a walk from town they close at 4-5pm so that needs to factored on your trip, if you want to see visit them you need to get there early, we arrived at 4pm and there wasn't much else to do and we felt a bit let down but it was made up by the friendly locals in the pub. As we said we could have stayed in Queenstown forever but book trips early in busy periods. If you want to do a lot of the adventure activities its worth booking before you get there as we couldn't do all that we wanted as Christmas and New Year are very busy and the main attractions get booked in advance. (RJ. Good tip!) The accommodations were fine our favourite was the Hermitage at Mount Cook.

I would recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone - the hassle free booking and support were fantastic. I also recommend booking all your trips with them if your sure what you want to do, they are the same price when you get there and the voucher book was the best, you know what you were doing next and just hand the voucher over and have no worries. Thank you Relaxing Journeys and New Zealand for such a wonderful time.
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5
08/12/2015
Toni, great job! Thank you. Arrangements were perfect. Lots of fun especially Mitai Maori event. Agrodome sheep show in Rotorua a hoot as well. Raetihi Lodge a welcome respite upon arriving in South Island. Great masseuse there, as well as awesome chef. Recommend Te Papa museum in Wellington. Enjoyed the wine tasting in Napier and walking along marine parade. Pretty city. Despite Christchurch being in tough shape from the earthquakes five years ago, it is coming back and we enjoyed our time there - botanic gardens, Cambridge museum, art gallery, re-store, Quake City exhibit. Good hiking at Aoraki Mount Cook and Franz Josef, airplane ride there over the mountains and glaciers was great and highly recommended. Queenstown was lively and full of daring things to do. Gondola ride and observation is spectacular. Driving takes forever and you have to keep telling yourself \"drive left, look right.\" We didn't use the Kruse, finding our iphone GPS worked well for directions. Tour documents were first rate, with good map book and brochures for everything. Hotels were as expected with one exception, the Scenic in Auckland, lobby run-down, food awful, first room had sofa so dirty and saggy, I had to cover it with a blanket to use it. Second time we were there, room was okay. Suggest you use another hotel, especially as that one was our introduction to the tour! Overall, though, this was an awesome trip and we truly appreciated all your help, clear correspondence, and warm attitude.
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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 24 Day New Zealand Tourer

24 Day New Zealand Tourer
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNNZT
From (NZD) $4027 per person
Save (NZD) $403 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Rating:
33 reviews (4.8/5)

One of our most popular self-drive tours, there’s no better way to explore New Zealand. Covering both islands, you will visit the beautiful Bay of I... Read More

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24 Day New Zealand Tourer
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