Itinerary Highlights

  • Discover the diversity of New Zealand's North Island; drive through the rolling farmlands of the Bay of Islands to the volcanic landscapes of Rotorua
  • Join a guided walk through the Franz Josef valley right up to the glacier terminus
  • Take an exhilarating jet boat ride along the spectacular Dart River in Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Discover the outstanding natural beauty of Milford Sound on an overnight cruise around this pristine fjord
  • Best time to travel November - April

What's Included

  • Accommodation Throughout
  • Car Hire
  • GPS Device
  • International Flights
21 nights from £9,500 per person

Mari

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect Australasia holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Our action-packed, 21-night 'Grand New Zealand' fly-drive tour takes you on a journey around both the North and South Island's of New Zealand.

Start in the cosmopolitan harbour city of Auckland, renowned as the sailing capital of the world. Drive through the rolling farmlands of the Bay of Islands, where the Waitangi Treaty was first signed, then up to Cape Reinga  the most north westerly point of New Zealand.

Explore the outstanding natural beauty of Coromandel Peninsula with its secluded bays, hot water beach and abundance of bird life. Rotorua is one of New Zealand's most active geothermal areas and offers several cultural experiences, from Maori exhibits and shows to sheep shearing displays at Agrodome. It also offers plenty of geothermal pools, geysers and volcanic landscapes to discover. 

Embark on a hike to Franz Josef Valley, where you can take an optional helicopter flight with snow landing high above the glacier. Drive along the dramatic Haast Highway down to Lake Wanaka — an adventurer's playground where you can hike, mountain-bike, kayak, sky-dive or just relax lakeside, taking in the stunning views that surround you.

Queenstown is renowned as the adventure capital of New Zealand, offering a host of activities such as jet boating, bungee jumping, white water rafting, as well as skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling in the winter months. Continue to Fiordland, where you'll cruise on Milford Sound, past towering waterfalls and Mitre-Peak.

Dunedin is known for its unique Scottish and Maori heritage. Visit its historic railway station, Lanarch Castle and Otago Peninsula, where you can spot incredible marine and bird life, including rare yellow-eyed penguins. 

 

Itinerary

Bay of Islands
After clearing customs at Auckland International Airport, transfer for the short flight to Keri Keri in the Bay of Islands. Collect your rental car and enjoy the short picturesque drive to your hotel. Take in the breathtaking views from your private deck and enjoy the hospitality of property owners.
Bay of Islands
Enjoy a full day at leisure in this beautiful part of the world. We suggest packing a picnic and taking the road further north, discovering quaint towns like Kerikeri and exploring the outstandingly beautiful coastline. Visit beautiful bays - such as Matauri Bay, Whangaroa and Doubtless Bay – before continuing to the north-western tip of the Aupouri Peninsula at Cape Reinga.
Bay of Islands
There are a whole host of activities available in and around the Bay Islands. Take to the skies in a helicopter and land on top of Hole in the Rock, spend the day on the water on a boat tour or private yacht charter. Cultural experiences including a day at Waitangi Treaty Grounds followed by a traditional Hangi & Concert.
There is a choice of routes south today - you can travel down State Highway 1 straight into Auckland stopping at some of the incredible surf beaches along the way, or over to the west coast through Opononi and along the beautiful coast. Further south on this route is the Waipoua Forest, which holds a reserve of 2639 hectares of Kauri, the largest surviving stand of these magnificent trees.
Coromandel Peninsula
Leaving the City of Sails, cross the Bombay Hills and head East around the base of the Hauraki Gulf - the Firth of Thames. Travelling over the historical Kopu bridge, you will now be taking on some true New Zealand country roads. Wind your way around the Kopu-Hukuai road whilst taking in the breath-taking forest scenery of the Coromandel to the East Coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. The final leg takes you around hilly, windy roads surrounded by beautiful New Zealand native bush. Stop off at some of the many lookout points that offer breath-taking ocean views. Overnight at 970 Lonely Bay
Coromandel Peninsula
Take a bushwalk, a walk on the beach, dangle a fishing line, or do nothing at all. Enjoy Coromandel’s stunning scenery and pristine golden beaches, or visit Hot Water Beach, where an underground river of hot water flows from the earth’s interior to the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the tide, you can paddle your feet in the natural hot water pools dug into the sand. Staying at 970 Lonely Bay
Today you continue your road-trip south via Tauranga and through rolling farmland and scenic forests to the geothermal area of Rotorua. Enjoy free time exploring the town or visit the Polynesian Hot Springs for a soak.
Today you will experience Maori culture and the natural geothermal wonders at Te Puia; here you will find bubbling lakes and erupting geysers, Maori architecture and art, and cultural displays and performances. Gain an insight into the incredible conservation work that takes place at the National Kiwi Hatchery, or book an exclusive behind the scenes tour.
Staying at   On the Point
Tongariro
Travel to the township of Taupo, right on the edge of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. Taupo is a trout fisherman’s paradise. There are also all sorts of water-based activities available – para-sailing, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, white-water rafting (on the Tongariro River) as well as horse-riding, sky-diving and bungy jumping. Just north of Taupo is Huka Falls, a very dramatic area. Drive along the east shore of Lake Taupo to Turangi, then onto State Highway 47 into Tongariro National Park. Staying at Tongariro Suites at the Rocks
Leaving Tongariro National Park journey south via Palmerston North and Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. Wellington sits on a beautiful harbour, with Mount Victoria overlooking the city and surrounds.
This morning board the Inter-islander ferry across the Cook Strait and through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds to Picton to continue the Great New Zealand Touring Route on New Zealand’s South Island. Drive via Havelock along the picturesque Queen Charlotte Drive to Nelson, a pretty city flanked by the sea, golden beaches, and hills. Continue to Abel Tasman National Park. Staying at Ratanui Lodge
Explore Abel Tasman National Park's pristine Explore Abel Tasman National Park's pristine Explore Abel Tasman National Park's pristine beaches and lush coastal forests. Kayak crystal-clear waters, hike scenic trails with stunning ocean views, and relax on golden sands. Encounter diverse wildlife, including seals and birds. Staying at Ratanui Lodge
Hokitika
From Nelson you will head out past the Abel Tasman National Park region to the “wild west coast” of the South Island, through the small town of Westport and on to Greymouth and Hokitika. Staying at Rimu Lodge
Franz Josef
Hokitika is the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast and it is possible to watch pounamu carvers and gold craftsmen at work. Glass blowing and glass lace creation can be seen in the town’s glass blowing studio. Ruby rock is New Zealand’s very own gemstone and found only in Hokitika. Just a short drive further south will bring you down into the famous Westland National Park, home to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. You will have time today to experience a walk up to the Glacier face or even out onto the ice itself.
Wake early and visit Lake Matheson where you can enjoy mirror-like reflections of the glacier in the lake. Drive over the stunning Haast Pass, an area of outstanding natural beauty, or see even more on a Haast River Safari. Then, continue through Wanaka and the Mount Aspiring National Park to Queenstown. Staying at QT Queenstown
Today’s adventure starts with a scenic drive along the edge of Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy, where you will board a Dart River jet boat for an exhilarating journey deep into the wilderness of Mount Aspiring National Park. Speed along the braided, glacier-fed rivers by jet boat, surrounded by stunning scenery - you may recognise the landscape from scenes in Lord of the Rings! Staying at QT Queenstown
Milford Sound
Enjoy a leisurely drive towards Milford Sound, taking the opportunity to stop at Te Anau and the various view points en-route. On arrival at Milford Sound you have time to take in the spectacular views before boarding the Fiordland Discovery for your Milford Sound cruise and overnight onboard.
Dunedin
Take a leisurely drive east from Milford Sound towards Dunedin, past deep rivers and through lush farmland; stop at the beautiful rural town of Lumsden and the Hokonui Moonshine Museum in Gore. Dunedin was first settled by the Scottish and is often referred to as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’. Staying at Fable Dunedin
Dunedin
Spend a full day in and around Dunedin. Drive out to Otago Peninsula, home to an abundance of marine and birdlife - such as the royal albatross and the endangered yellow eyed penguin. Combine this with a visit to the only castle in Australasia, the beautiful Lanarch Castle, where you can take a guided tour through the property and spend time in the award-winning gardens. Staying at Fable Dunedin
Mount Cook
Drive up the coast on State Highway 1 through Palmerston to Moeraki, where you can see the intriguing boulders on the beach at low tide. Just past Oamaru, the main town of the Wataki area, at Pukeuri turn left onto State Highway 83. This route will take you through Kurow, Otematata and onto Omarama. Omarama is the centre for trout fishing on the Ahuriri River and bush walking in the Ohau State Forest. It is also a very popular spot for gliding. Travel on to Twizel.
Your drive to Christchurch will take you via Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, a spectacular turquoise coloured glacial lake. Stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Tekapo for one of New Zealand’s most picturesque picnic spots. Enter the Canterbury Plains, the widest area of flat land in New Zealand and onto Christchurch. Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s historic cities with a distinctly “English” feel to it.
Return your rental vehicle to the airport depot in time for your flight back to the UK.

Mari

Travel Specialist

Not sure where to stay in Australasia? I'm here to help. Give me a call and I'll share my first-hand insights to find your perfect spot.

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21 nights from £9,500 per person

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