16 Day Visions of New Zealand
16 Day Visions of New Zealand
Tour both islands of New Zealand on this excellent self-drive tour, incorporating all the main regions of New Zealand such as a visit to Rotorua and the Franz Josef Glacier, a cruise on Milford Sound, and a stop to see Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Auckland to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $3949 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|15 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges|
|Maori Mitai Cultural Evening with traditional Feast|
|Guided tour of Waitomo Caves|
|Admission to Te Puia's Geothermal Valley|
|Admission to Skyline Skyrides|
|Relax at the Polynesian Spa|
|Interislander Ferry Crossing|
|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.
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
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.
You’ve landed on the doorstep of 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. No wonder over a million people choose to live here!
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’.
Get the engine running and carry yourself away from Auckland and along the Southern Motorway to reach the market garden area of Pukekohe. Continue through Hamilton – New Zealand’s fourth largest city and the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo. For over 100 years the Waitomo Glowworm Caves have attracted millions of people from all over the world.
After you’ve explored Waitomo, continue over the glorious Mamaku Ranges to reach the thermal capital of Rotorua.
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 New Zealand’s past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). (2 nights)
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.
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.
Today’s route has you driving through some of New Zealand’s rural heartland with a mixture of sheep, dairy and crop farming. A good place to stop is the Pukaha Mt 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 the forest.
Make your way down the ancient river valley of the Wairarapa through the farming towns of Masterton, Carterton and Greytown before staying in Martinborough for the night.
You may like to have a wander around the village which has become well known for its wineries before heading over the Rimutaka Ranges into New Zealand’s Capital – the harbour city of Wellington.
Take a drive up Mt 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 downtown.
You have very little driving this morning as you drop your car at the Interislander Ferry Terminal ready to cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. You’ll have a great view of Wellington and the harbour – you can choose to be inside or outside on the ferry.
Now you will be crossing Cook Strait, named in honour of Captain Cook in 1770 when he discovered that New Zealand was in fact two islands. The journey then takes you into the majestic Marlborough Sounds, all the way into Picton.
Here, you pick up a new rental car. The drive to Nelson via the Queen Charlotte Sound is very picturesque and peaceful, so we recommend this route. You’ll join back on to the main road to Nelson, SH 6, at Havelock. The journey then takes you on to Nelson – the sunniest location in New Zealand and gateway to the famous Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)
Today is yours for relaxing or exploring this lovely area. There are the arts and crafts of the Motueka and Takaka areas, or you may like to choose one of the activities available in the Abel Tasman National Park.
There are guided or independent kayak trips available which can include a mix of kayaking and walking.
Head south down State Highway 6 through Murchison, making your way to the West Coast. The Murchison Skyline Walkway zigzags through mixed beech and podocarp forest, native ferns, bracken and broom covered slopes on the outskirts of Murchison – it’s worth breaking your journey here for the 90 minute walk before you navigate the awesome Buller Gorge.
At Hawks Crag, the road has been hacked out of solid rock – be ready for the dramatic overhang, lending shade and character to the route. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea.
The town of Punakaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. A loop track takes you on a gentle walk from the main road, through rainforest to the coast. At the coastline the track has many lookouts and areas for fantastic photos to be taken of the Pancake Rocks, Blowholes and beautiful views of the coast and mountains.
The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful. Allow 45 minutes for the loop walk. The Truman Track is another short walk worth doing while you’re here – nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast flax flats before emerging onto a coastal headland with stunning views up and down the local coastline.
After a morning of sightseeing head south today down the West Coast. There are some neat old towns to visit on the way as well as some great places to photograph the scenery and take a look at the dramatic coastline, you have time to enjoy this area at a leisurely pace.
Continue south through to Franz Josef Glacier. The terminal face is a mere 19 kilometres from the sea and just 5 kilometres from the township.
Today, view incredible scenery as you travel past the untouched native forests and pristine lakes of the World Heritage Westland National Park and Haast Pass to Wanaka. (You may wish to add an extra day here to break up your trip and to take advantage of the scenery and available activities like the Siberia Experience.)
There’s time to wander around the popular lakeside township of Wanaka before travelling over the spectacular Crown Range to the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown and then on to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort destination regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. (3 nights)
The capital of adrenaline, beauty and local foodie culture, you can 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.
Today is the day for your Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Drive the unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound, located within the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. This region is rich with dense rainforest, lakes and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks.
Travel through the Southern Alps via the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km tunnel drilled through a solid mountain of rock. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board the Milford Mariner or Wanderer vessel for a spectacular and leisurely cruise in New Zealand’s most famous waterway.
Throughout your cruise, a nature guide provides an engaging commentary about the magnificent scenery and wildlife. Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins. Return to the Milford Visitor Centre where you can then drive back to Queenstown. (L)
Take a break from driving and as an alternative enjoy a guided coach trip to Milford and an included cruise on the Sound. Return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park.
This is a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35mins) The flight shaves off approximately 4 hours of the 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 flight portion.
Depart Queenstown and travel through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Central Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country to arrive in Mt Cook National Park where you will find New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki / Mt Cook which stands at 3754 metres.
But just before you get to Twizel be sure to stop off at High Country Salmon which is on your right – it’s an interesting stop in the middle of the country. Drive up the western side of Lake Pukaki to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site.
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. A total scenic highlight, you may wish to see Mt Cook from above by taking an optional scenic flight.
After a relaxing morning, leave New Zealand’s highest mountain behind today as you head north through the picturesque town of Geraldine and across the Canterbury Plains, through to Christchurch.
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 of the lake. This is one of the most photographed churches in the world made of stone and sand from around the lake.
Sadly your holiday is at an end. After breakfast this morning, please make your way to the airport where you will return your car in time for your onward flight.
There are 39 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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Tour both islands of New Zealand on this excellent self-drive tour, incorporating all the main regions of New Zealand such as a visit to Rotorua and t... Read More
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