Wairakei terraces warrior, Taupo

Discover Aotearoa

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  • Price

    from £1562

  • Duration

    20 nights

  • Departures

    Year round

  • Introduction

  • Itinerary

  • Prices & Dates

Our most popular self drive, this classic 21-day itinerary offers a complete overview of New Zealand in a timescale that suits. Including iconic cultural experiences, 'must do' attractions and of course, stunning and varied scenery, you'll cover a lot of ground and still have time to relax and savour the experience.


  • picturesque Bay of Islands - option to swim with dolphins
  • Maori feast 'hangi' and guided tour in Rotorua
  • Franz Josef Glacier with optional scenic flights and glacier walks
  • Queenstown's Skyline Gondola for superb views
  • nature cruise on beautiful Milford Sound
  • Otago Peninsula - home to penguins and seals

Other North Island highlights include the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua's thermal wonderland, the snow-capped volcano of Ruapehu and the buzzing capital of Wellington.

Nip across Cook Strait and the adventure continues on South Island with West Coast glaciers, mighty Mount Cook, adventure capital Queenstown, scenic Fiordlandand the Otago Peninsula with its wildlife viewing.

Day 1 arrive Auckland You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the city for an overnight stay.

Day 2 Auckland-Bay of Islands (260 km) Collect your Hertz rental car from the city depot and drive to the beautiful Bay of Islands, in Northland.

Day 3 Bay of Islands Spend the day at leisure in this historic and incredibly picturesque area. Explore the villages of Russell and Kerikeri, visit the Treaty House at Waitangi or take a boat trip among the islands of the bay, where it is also possible to swim with dolphins.

Day 4 Bay of Islands-Coromandel (405 km) Drive through farming country and through the meandering coastal roads of the Coromandel for a two-night stay on the Peninsula at Pauanui.

Day 5 Coromandel Enjoy a full day exploring the native bush and superb coastal landscapes of the peninsula or take the chance to simply relax on the beach.

Day 6 Coromandel-Rotorua (218 km) Follow the coast road to the lively port of Tauranga before heading inland to Rotorua, New Zealand's premier geothermal area and a centre for Maori culture. This evening attend a traditional Maori feast 'hangi' and cultural performance.

Day 7 Rotorua Spend the day sightseeing with the following attractions included - a guided tour through Te Puia Thermal Reserve, Rainbow Springs, the Agrodome Leisure Park, a gondola cable car ride to the Skyline Skyride Complex and the Polynesian Spa.

Day 8 Rotorua-Tongariro National Park (180 km) Witness the superb and dramatic scenery of North Island's heartland. Visit the Wairakei geothermal area and Lake Taupo en route to Ruapehu, a snow-capped volcano surrounded by desert like lava and ash.

Day 9 Tongariro-Wellington (332 km) Drive to Wellington for an overnight stay. New Zealand's vibrant capital city has a superb location on a sheltered bay and is easy to explore on foot. Ride the cable car to the botanic gardens, visit the acclaimed national museum Te Papa and enjoy a meal on the waterfront.

Day 10 Wellington-Picton-Nelson (110 km) Return your car to the ferry terminal depot and board the Interislander Ferry, cross Cook Strait and head into Queen Charlotte Sound. On arrival in Picton, collect a second rental vehicle and drive the scenic road to sunny Nelson, famed for its arts and crafts.

Day 11 Nelson-Greymouth (290 km) Drive through forested hills and make your way down the West Coast, stopping at Punakaiki to view the fantastic blow holes and rock formations. Nearby Paparoa National Park is renowned for its Nikau Palms and offers good walking trails.

Day 12 Greymouth-Franz Josef (179 km) Continue down the wild and very striking West Coast past the mining town of Hokitika to Franz Josef where optional activities include guided glacier walks and scenic flights.

Day 13 Franz Josef-Lake Wanaka (287 km) Drive through World Heritage rainforests and cross the Haast Pass into Mt Aspiring National Park. Continue to the captivating lakeside town of Wanaka for an overnight stay.

Day 14 Lake Wanaka-Queenstown (117 km) Take a leisurely drive to Queenstown via the historic village of Arrowtown. Two nights in Queenstown.

Day 15 Queenstown Spend a day at leisure enjoying Queenstownís many activities that include jet boating, bungee jumping, white water rafting as well as walking trails and leisurely lake cruises. Included is a Skyline Gondola ticket so you can enjoy spectacular views over this beautiful lakeside town.

Day 16 Queenstown-Te Anau (170 km) Enjoy mountain views rolling farm country on the drive to Te Anau. Situated beside a lake, this town is the gateway to Fiordland National Park, thus is an ideal base for exploration. The round trip to Milford Sound, where you can take an afternoon cruise on the fiord, is 238 km. Spend two nights in Te Anau.

Day 17 Te Anau Relax in this tranquil town, take an optional cruise to the glow worm caves or a day trip to Doubtful Sound.

Day 18 Te Anau-Dunedin (290 km) Travel through the heart of Southland to the historic city of Dunedin, with its distinctly Scottish flavour. From here you can explore the nearby Otago Peninsula famed for viewing wildlife such as albatross, penguins, sea-lions and fur seals. Overnight in Dunedin.

Day 19 Dunedin-Mt Cook (331 km) Follow the coast road to the charming town of Oamaru, perhaps stopping at the Moeraki boulders en route. Continue inland through the vast rolling landscapes of Mackenzie Country to Mt Cook National Park.

Day 20 Mt Cook Spend a full day at leisure at Mount Cook.

Day 21 Mt Cook-Christchurch Drive via scenic Lake Tekapo and the town of Geraldine across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch airport. Drop off your rental vehicle and depart.

Prices valid from 01 May - 30 September 2014

from £1,562 per person (twin share)
from £2,849 per person (single traveller)

Prices include

  • meet and greet and airport transfer on arrival
  • accommodation (room only, with private bathroom, tea & coffee making facilities, TV, telephone & restaurant)
  • Interislander ferry crossing (Premium Plus cabin)
  • excursions:  Maori feast 'Hangi' and concert, full day of sightseeing in Rotorua; Skyline Gondola ticket (Queenstown)
  • 20 days mid-range vehicle rental (including unlimited kilometres, & vehicle insurance subject to an insurance excess). For 1-3 persons a Hertz group CDAR (Toyota Corolla Hatch 1.6-2.0 litre 4/5 door automatic with air conditioning, or similar. Other car types are available - please contact us for further details). For 4 persons a Hertz group FDAR (Ford Falcon XT 4.0 litre 4 door automatic with air conditioning, or similar)

Prices exclude

  • international and domestic flights and airport taxes
  • travel insurance
  • fuel and vehicle insurance excess waiver fee
  • personal expenses
  • tips and gratuities

Flights and Stopovers

We quote flight prices based on individual requirements to allow for the extensive choice of routes and fares available. Our team will be happy to provide a tailor made quotation.

For further information on flight options, please click here »

For further information on stopover options, please click here »

We pride ourselves on our ability to tailor make holidays for our clients. Please let us know if you have any specific requests.

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