24 Day Hidden Gems

24 Day Hidden Gems

The Land of the Long White Cloud is teeming with precious jewels, from coast to coast and island to island, prepare your senses and camera memory for an unforgettable getaway.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $10352 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 24 Days
Tour Code: GWHG


23 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice
Guided tour of Ruakuri Cave
Entry into Te Puia, Skyline Gondola, Polynesian Spa
Maori Hangi (feast) and Concert
4 day guided Coromandel Explorer walk
Guided Tongariro Crossing
Scenic Interislander cruise
Abel Tasman walk & cruise
Franz Josef glacier heli-hike
Admission to Franz Josef hot pools
Siberia Experience excursion
Guided one day Routeburn Track walk
Milford Sound 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.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland! Pass through customs, collect any baggage and be met by one of our friendly representatives, ready to whisk you away to your city accommodation via an executive sedan. 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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland - Ruakuri Cave - Rotorua

Take delivery of your rental car this morning, ready to sweep you 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.

Enjoy a guided tour of the world famous Ruakuri Cave where you’ll experience a captivating blend of Waitomo’s most compelling subterranean delights. In any one sightseeing tour, your guide will bring you up close to shimmering glow-worms, elaborate cave formations, underground rivers, myths, legends and sacred Maori sites. After you’ve finished your tour, continue over the glorious Mamaku Ranges to reach the thermal capital of Rotorua. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Rotorua Sightseeing

Rotorua has been known for its geothermal activity for over 150 years. At Te Puia, experience the raw power of the 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, developing an authentic understanding of the original peoples. After you’ve finished here, scale the side of Mt Ngongotaha via a new 8-seat gondola, and give yourself a moment with Rotorua’s most spectacular views.

When you’ve dined and dazzled your senses enough, take a luge ride down to the bottom where you can relax at the Polynesian Spa – you have the choice of 7 hot mineral spring pools. Return your rental car this afternoon as you won’t need it for a few days. Tonight, you’ll enjoy a Maori Hangi (feast) and Concert, a quintessential New Zealand experience.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Rotorua - Coromandel Explorer Day 1

You’ll be collected from your accommodation this morning. First stop is a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, the highest waterfall in the North Island. Enjoy the drive along the Coromandel west coast and explore the Waiomu Kauri Grove, a little-known trail that heads deep into a protected ecological reserve.

Here, you’ll see mighty Kauri, one of the most ancient trees in the world. Arrive at your accommodation further up the Coromandel Peninsula and relax. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Coromandel Explorer Day 2

After a sumptuous breakfast, head further north to the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula and hike one of the best coastal tracks in the country. You’ll walk for around 6 hours today, traversing native bush and coastal cliffs, and enjoying fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Back at the lodge, enjoy another relaxing evening.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Coromandel Explorer Day 3

Enjoy an alfresco breakfast before driving to the stunning Kauaeranga Valley, one of New Zealand’s true hidden treasures and home to the majestic Pinnacles Range. The Pinnacles track follows original steps constructed in the early 1900s for packhorses transporting natural resources through the forest.

The track remains rich with history from the days of Kauri loggers, gum diggers and gold miners. Climbing through kauri forest you’ll eventually reach the Pinnacles Hut on the top of the range and from here you’ll climb to the very top of the Pinnacles. You’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of both coasts of the Coromandel, the Bay of Plenty and the Hauraki Gulf.

It’s 5-7 hours of walking today but if you prefer you can relax and explore Coromandel Town. Dinner tonight is at one of Coromandel town’s award-winning restaurants (own cost).

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Coromandel Explorer Day 4 - Rotorua

Travel east around the Coromandel Peninsula and hike to New Chum Beach, voted as one of the world’s top 10 beaches. This stunning stretch of golden sand is fringed by Pohutukawa and native forest.

A short ferry ride across Whitigna harbour brings you to Shakespeare Cliff where you can walk to the top for views over the bay and the beach where Captain Cook first set foot. After lunch, take the track down to Cathedral Cove, arguably one of the most scenic spots in New Zealand and accessible only by foot or boat.

A swim here is the perfect way to finish your Coromandel experience, before returning to Rotorua.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Rotorua - Taupo - Tongariro National Park

Pack a lunch and strap yourself in for a short drive to Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake and popular hotspot for sight-seeing, picnicking and camera-snapping moments. Begin your trip at the Aratiatia Rapids, pausing to learn more about the unique power generation system, and continue onwards to the mighty Huka Falls on the Waikato River, before reaching the banks of Lake Taupo.

Have a nibble and take a walk before continuing onto Tongariro National Park, centred around the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. The park is only one of a handful of sites in the world that has dual World Heritage status in recognition of both its natural and cultural values. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Guided Tongariro Crossing Walk

A real and rare treat, the Tongariro Crossing Track is your own mini-journey into the reaches of volcano country, as a guided tour takes you on a one-day adventure across active terrain. Get your camera ready, as you’ll soon be getting up close and personal with lava flows, mountain springs, emerald lakes, volcanos and stunning views.

This is a once in a lifetime trek, so don’t forget a battery pack to keep your phone charged.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Tongariro National Park - Wellington

Take a southern road to Wellington and wind your way through a river-sprung landscape. Break up the drive with a few strategic stops, the first in Shannon for a short hoot at the owl sanctuary; followed by the majestic Mangaweka Gorge and finally Kapiti Island, ideal for bird enthusiasts and those who love to something off the beaten track.

Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafés, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Wellington - Picton - Nelson

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. You will stop in Nelson for two nights, the gateway to the famous Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson

Drive through Motueka to Kaiteriteri and board your boat. Relax in style, as you cruise the stunning golden inlets of the Abel Tasman coast. Laze on an idyllic beach or choose a walk exploring the beaches and forests. There are various trails available, ranging from 2 to 6 hours long. Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Nelson - Punakaiki

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, and 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.

Punikaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The track has many lookouts and areas for fantastic photos to be taken of the Pancake Rocks, Blowholes and the beautiful mountain views. The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful. The Truman Track is a short walk worth doing while you’re here – nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast flax flats before emerging onto a sprawling headland with stunning views up and down the local shoreline.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Punakaiki - Franz Josef

Enjoy a walk along the beach this morning before heading down the West Coast. Home to towering rainforests, mountains and glaciers, tranquil lakes and rushing rivers, this coastal paradise 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 15
Franz Josef Heli-Hike

Thrills and chills abound, as we combine a scenic helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier, with a guided walk amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and crevices – this is alpine country as you’ve never seen it. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains with plenty of snap-happy opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.

Your guide chooses the route, ensuring you see only the most spectacular ice formations, leading 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 seriously by the folks at Heli-Hike.

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 16
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 of destination of Wanaka. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Wanaka - Siberia Experience - Wanaka

Begin your 4 hour Siberia Experience in Makarora, on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park. You’ll be airborne for the first 25 minutes, flying over the stunning Southern Alps, vast rainforests, hanging valleys and unspoiled beauty.

Land in the Siberia Valley to immerse yourself in nature on this unguided journey amongst natural New Zealand World Heritage wilderness, before meeting up with your jetboat for a thrilling 30-minute trip back to Makarora.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 18
Wanaka - Queenstown

Just a short drive today through the historic goldfields of Central Otago to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort and regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier holiday destinations.

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. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 19
Queenstown - Routeburn Day Walk - Queenstown

Your 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. Walk among towering ancient beech forest, climbing gradually through a 130-million-year-old magical world, blanketed by forest moss and ferns, skirting the thundering Routeburn as it tumbles through the gorge.

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 20
Queenstown - Milford Sound Cruise - Queenstown

Travel by luxury coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into 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, inducing 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!

After your cruise, retrace your journey to Queenstown.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 21
Queenstown - Mt Cook

Today, travel through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country to arrive at Mt Cook National Park a World Heritage listed site. Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764 metres.

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. The afternoon is free to explore the area and take one of the many short walks starting from Mt Cook Village. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 22
Mt Cook

Prepare yourself for some of the most breath-taking views that you’ve ever witnessed, as your Hooker Valley tour begins. From your hotel, walk to the terminal lake of the Hooker Glacier (13.5 kms return) taking in the solemn Alpine Memorial and crossing over the Hooker River by swing bridge on the way.

Enjoy wonderful views of Aoraki, Mt Cook’s southern face, sparing a gasp or two for the surrounding glaciers and mountains.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 23
Mt Cook - Christchurch

Before leaving Mt Cook National Park, be sure to stop and view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo, built on the lake’s edge of local stone and oak in 1935. Leaving the High Country, cross the vast Canterbury Plains to the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 24
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your journey ends today. We hope you enjoyed your New Zealand adventure!

Your choice of accommodation

Enquire about our 24 Day Hidden Gems

24 Day Hidden Gems
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GWHG
From (NZD) $10352 per person
Save (NZD) $1035 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

The Land of the Long White Cloud is teeming with precious jewels, from coast to coast and island to island, prepare your senses and camera memory for ... Read More

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