19 Day Tasman Odyssey

19 Day Tasman Odyssey

A wonderfully varied itinerary with tour inclusions you won't find anywhere else. Covering the best features of both islands you will visit the Bay of Islands, The Coromandel and Rotorua on the North Island, then fly to the South Island to explore Akaroa, Mt Cook, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown and the Glaciers.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $3350 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 19 Days
Tour Code: GNTO


18 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice
2 night stopovers in Bay of Islands, Coromandel, Rotorua, Akaroa & Haast
3 nights in majestic Queenstown
Waitangi Treaty Grounds day pass including guided tour & cultural experience
Matakohe Kauri Museum
Hole in the Rock & Cape Brett cruise
Admission to the Te Puia geothermal region
Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi
Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
Lake Tekapo & Church of the Good Shepherd
Mt Cook National Park
See icebergs & glaciers up close on Glacier Explorer excursion
Shotover Jet boat ride
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Excursion
World-heritage Westland National Park
Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
Award-winning TranzAlpine Train journey through the Southern Alps
Admissions outlined in the Itinerary
Airport transfers to/from your accommodation


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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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Auckland – the City of Sails. On arrival at Auckland airport, you will be personally met by our representative and transferred in an executive sedan to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore what Auckland has to offer.

Built on an isthmus of 48 volcanoes, Auckland’s fertile valleys and islands are home to award-winning wineries. Family attractions abound and the city has plenty of adrenaline for adventure lovers. Indulge in Auckland’s shopping, nightlife and unrivalled cuisine.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland - Bay of Islands

Take delivery of your rental car this morning. Travel north over the Harbour Bridge and along the Hibiscus Coast to arrive in Paihia, a seaside town nestled on the shores of this National Maritime Park in the Bay of Islands.

On arrival visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand’s most historic site where the Treaty was signed between the Maori Chiefs and the British Crown. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Cape Brett and the Bay of Islands

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 you’ll 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. On the way back you might like to stop off at the quaint seaside village of Russell (New Zealand’s first capital) where you can take some time to wander around and enjoy.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Bay of Islands - North Auckland

Head south from Paihia and at Whangarei, take the turn-off to Dargaville. Home to the original Dalmatian gum diggers and kauri loggers who made the area their own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and whose lives are charted in the local museum. Approximately 40 kms south of Dargaville is Matakohe, home to the Kauri Museum (admission included).

This amazing museum tells the fascinating story of the pioneering days through the use of kauri timber and kauri gum. Explore the many exceptional displays and galleries inside the museum from the magnificent collection of antique kauri furniture and the largest collection of kauri gum in the world to restored machinery including New Zealand’s earliest tractor, a 1929 Cat 60, and a turning steam sawmill.

Leaving Matakohe, rejoin the main highway and make your way towards Auckland.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
North Auckland - Coromandel

This morning you continue your journey to the Coromandel through Auckland and along the Pacific Coast Highway – one of the great touring routes in the world, you will be traversing the spectacular east coast of the North Island.

The Pacific Coast Highway is well signposted along the entire route, giving a safe and easy way to navigate through some of the most spectacular coastal scenery New Zealand has to offer. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6

There are many beautiful places in the world and the Coromandel Peninsula is an unspoilt haven. Today you have a full day of leisure. You may choose to enjoy stunning Cathedral Cove. Accessible only on foot or by boat, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” sites on the Coromandel Peninsula.

The track begins at the northern end of Hahei. You can also choose to dig your own spa pool using the thermal waters in the sand at Hot Water Beach. There are other hot water springs nearby but the location of these two springs on the beach make them unique. You can only dig your own spa pool 1 hour either side of low tide.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Coromandel - Rotorua

Depart today and travel along the Bay of Plenty coastline through the subtropical orchards of kiwi fruit and citrus. Head inland through massive pine forests, passing many of the regions crystal clear lakes en route to Rotorua. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8

Free time to explore Rotorua today. You may like to visit the Agrodome or take a gondola ride to the top of Mt Ngongotaha for spectacular views of Rotorua. Later this afternoon visit Te Puia geothermal area to view the boiling mudpools and cascading Pohutu geyser that make Rotorua famous as New Zealand’s thermal city.

This evening experience Te Po, Te Puia’s cultural experience. It is a feast of cultural storytelling, entertainment and Maori kai (indigenous food). After a formal Maori welcome, relax and enjoy a performance including the beautiful songs, haka and poi dance. After dinner you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and hot chocolate. (D)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Fly Rotorua - Christchurch, overnight Akaroa

This morning, board your flight to Christchurch. On arrival, collect your car and drive to Akaroa, a quaint seaside village on the Banks Peninsula with a strong French Heritage just 90 minutes drive away. Settled in the early 1860’s, it retains its French flavour with its street names and architecture. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Wildlife Harbour Cruise

Your wildlife harbour cruise today will be fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and history of the harbour. The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector’s or New Zealand Dolphin.

These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March. Also on the trip you may catch glimpses of the White Flippered Blue Penguin, the smallest penguin in the world.

There are many different bird species in the Harbour, including five different cormorant species and there is the chance of sighting the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Akaroa - Tekapo - Mt Cook

Travel through the MacKenzie Country to Lake Tekapo where you can stop to view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built of local stone and oak in 1935. Then it’s on to the 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 (optional Ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions).

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Mt Cook - Tasman Glacier - Queenstown

This morning, you get to experience the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest, in the most unique way possible. An experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the melting ice-face of the Tasman Glacier where you will also get to touch and taste 400-year old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake.

This afternoon, travel on to Queenstown, a spectacular alpine resort town regarded as New Zealand’s premier destination. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13

Nothing you have experienced will have prepared you for the excitement of a Shotover Jet ride as you speed through the towering, rocky canyons of the South Island’s river of gold. The major highlight is the famous Shotover Turn, where your boat spins through a full 360 degrees in its own length.

On completion, the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or explore Queenstown. Optional activities available include bungy jumping, white water rafting, four wheel driving, cruising on Lake Wakatipu, riding a gondola to the summit of Bob’s Peak for panoramic views or simply enjoying the excellent shopping and dining available.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Excursion

Queenstown is also a great base from which to explore the Fiordland National Park. Today, leave your car behind and board a luxury glass-roofed coach to the Doubtful Sound. Travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Manapouri.

Then cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm before boarding a coach and crossing the alpine route of Wilmot Pass through some of Fiordland and Doubtful Sound’s most dense rainforest.

On reaching Deep Cove, board a modern catamaran vessel, the Patea Explorer for a three hour cruise exploring the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and mountains all the way out to the Tasman Sea.

It is home to bottlenose dolphins and fur seals and when in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguin. An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region’s history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone.

On the return cruise, the vessel’s engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘sound of silence’. (L)

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
Doubtful Sound Overnight Upgrade Package

To experience the best of Doubtful Sound, upgrade your itinerary to include an overnight cruise and instead of returning to Queenstown, stay onboard the Fiordland Navigator. Return to Queenstown the following day by coach. This upgrade to your package adds an extra day to your itinerary.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Queenstown - Wanaka - Haast

Depart Queenstown this morning and travel along the shores of Lakes Wanaka as well as Lake Hawea to the Haast Pass. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16

Spectacular beaches, pristine lakes and untouched, ancient rainforests provide a paradise for nature lovers. Enjoy the many activities available including guided and self-guided bush walks.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Haast - Glaciers - Punakaiki

This morning, journey up the coast to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. You may also wish to add an extra day to your itinerary at this point if you are interested in a guided glacier walk or heli-hike on either of the glaciers.

Continue north along the dramatic West Coast, steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800’s, to the famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowhole – 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 18
Punakaiki - Christchurch

Depart Punakaiki this morning and travel along the rugged West Coast to Christchurch. Your journey features some spectacular countryside with the rugged Tasman Sea to the west and the stunning Southern Alps to the east.

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. From there wind over massive viaducts, through spectacular river gorges and the stunning Waimakariri River valley before arriving in Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
TranzAlpine Train Upgrade Package

For a small cost we can amend your itinerary so that you drop your vehicle off in Greymouth and then join the TranzAlpine Train for your journey across the Alps. 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 19
Depart Christchurch

Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you will return your car and depart Christchurch airport today for your onward flight. Here, we bid you a fond farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Your choice of accommodation


There are 2 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 5 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

Excellent program and services: B&Bs, car rentals and attractions. Quality of B&Bs was better from Rotorua onwards; the very best at the end of our journey.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Hi Michelle. Just to let you know that we are safely back in France after a wonderful holiday in New Zealand. First and foremost let me compliment you and Relaxing Journeys for a perfectly organised trip from the very first enquiry. Your personal and friendly approach made choosing an itinerary a pleasure and the organisation was superb. Everything worked like clockwork without any hitch whatever! In fact we thought of 'Michelle' a lot during the trip because everything worked so well. The hotels you chose for us in general were very good. The best ones were:
  • Peppers Clearwater in Christchurch ( no surprises there I think )
  • Heritage hotels ( both of them)
  • Rutherford in Nelson
  • Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki ( Anne and Gerry are superb hosts, you really feel at home)
  • St Moritz in Queenstown
  • Hermitage in Mount Cook although I would recommend going to the a la carte restaurant and not the one that serves a standard buffet. ( We upgraded ourselves! )
  • The Grand Mercure in Pauanui has a superb location and the accomodation is excellent. Unfortunately although the restaurant menu is very good ( reminiscent of a 2 or 3 star Michelin restaurant) the chef on duty was clearly cooking way above his capabilities. We got a far better meal for half the price in a small restaurant in town.
The worst hotels were the Mercure in Picton and the Holiday Inn Rotorua. Neither had a restaurant that attracted us to eat there so we ate in town in these places. Accomodation in these hotels was acceptable but the Mercure in Picton was the only place we encountered staff who were not welcoming. We added a few things to the itinerary you planned for us:
  • extended the drive from Auckland to Bay of Islands to include the Kauri forest
  • Visited the wineries around Nelson and had lunch at the oldest pub in New Zealand. Excellent food!!
  • Drove dirt road from Picton around the coast to Blenheim (great scenery)
  • Walk through Waimangu volcanic valley near Rotorua (well worth while)
  • Walk thro the volcanic village behind the Holiday Inn Rotorua (not worth while, the same trip is included in the Maori Cultural Experience). We did get the impression that the cultural experience in Waitangi might be better and less kitchy although it would not include the thermal geysers etc or the banquet.
  • took a tour of Akoroa near Christchurch, also great scenery
  • Flight through Milford Sound from Queenstown (fantastic experience)
  • Enjoyed a lot of wineries in Marlboro and near Queenstown. Nice that in general you have to pay for the tasting because that reduces the feeling of obligation to buy their wine. Always tricky if you are flying home!
  • Collected a speeding ticket leaving Kaikoura (our son driving). The officer was very polite and friendly. Discussed where we came from etc but still charged us 80 dollars!
All in all we had a full and very enjoyable trip. So full that when our friends ask who organised the trip and we tell them a company called 'Relaxing Journeys' they inevitably respond with 'they are called What!!' Thanks again and we will certainly recommend you to anyone we know planning a journey to your beautiful country. My wife already says she would like to return.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience


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 19 Day Tasman Odyssey

19 Day Tasman Odyssey
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNTO
From (NZD) $3350 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

2 reviews (5/5)

A wonderfully varied itinerary with tour inclusions you won't find anywhere else. Covering the best features of both islands you will visit the Bay of... Read More

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