Absolute New Zealand

Lake Matheson, West Coast New Zealand
from £9737 26 nights | Year round Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Year round


Discover New Zealand's iconic landscapes and unforgettable experiences in ultimate style on this comprehensive self-drive holiday. Stay in some of the country's most luxurious properties in majestic locations from the stunning Coromandel Peninsula to magnificent Fiordland. With a number of quintessential activities also included, this itinerary delivers a truly indulgent New Zealand holiday.


  • Experience the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula
  • Discover Martinborough renowned for its world-class Pinot Noir
  • Enjoy whale watching in Kaikoura
  • Cruise Doubtful Sound in magnificent Fiordland
  • Try a range of thrilling activities in Queenstown

At the end of each spectacular day you'll escape to absolute luxury staying in some of New Zealand's most luxurious and exclusive accommodations. From The Boatshed, a small, hip luxury hotel located on Waiheke Island, to the boutique 970 Lonely Bay Lodge, nestled in native New Zealand bushland. Each property has been chosen for its truly unique style and excellent location allowing you to fully appreciate your spectacular surrounds.

In the North Island you'll experience 'island life' on Waiheke Island, famed for its superb vineyards and arts and crafts. You'll travel via the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and onto the less visited Hawkes Bay, one of New Zealand's top wine producing regions.

Further south  stay in the heart of the Marlborough Sounds at Bay of Many Coves Resort offering perfect seclusion in a pristine environment. Enjoy spectacular views of Kaikoura's dramatic mountains and surf-washed Pacific coastline and sleep 30 feet (10 metres) above the ground in the canopy of a native Manuka grove at Hapuku Lodge.

You'll also have the chance to experience adventure in Queenstown, the serenity of Doubtful Sound on an overnight cruise and the wild beauty of the West Coast staying at a wilderness lodge.

Travelling over 27 extraordinary days, this itinerary has it all!

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1 arrive Auckland - Waiheke Island
You will be met on arrival and transferred to the downtown ferry terminal to connect with the ferry across to Waiheke Island.
Overnight stay: The Boatshed including breakfast
Day 2 Waiheke Island
Explore this wonderful offshore island, famed for its superb vineyards, arts and sculpture trails.
Overnight stay: The Boatshed including breakfast
Days 3-4 Waiheke Island - Whitianga, Coromandel
Catch the ferry back to Auckland, collect your rental car and drive to Cooks Beach, Whitianga on the Coromandel, known for its sublime natural beauty. Explore at leisure and enjoy a half-day guided walk through beautiful regenerating kauri forest.
Overnight: 970 Lonely Bay including breakfast
Days 5-6 Whitianga - Hastings
Drive to Hawke's Bay, New Zealand's second largest wine region where fine chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines can be enjoyed at the numerous cafés lining the streets of Hastings. Those looking for nature should head to Cape Kidnappers - the world's largest onshore gannet colony, which comes to life between late October and late April or visit the impressive Te Mata Peak, steeped in Maori legend.
Overnight: Greenhill Lodge including breakfast
Days 7-8 Hastings - Martinborough
An hour's drive north of the capital, Wellington sits the Wairarapa region, bound by the picturesque Rimutaka and Tararua ranges to the south and west and a spectacular Pacific Ocean coastline to the east.
Explore at leisure discoveing the world-class Pinot Noir in the Martinborough vineyards or visit the acclaimed Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre.
Overnight: Peppers Parehua Martinborough breakfast included
Day 9 Martinborough - Wellington - Marlborough Sounds
Drop off your vehicle at the Wellington Airport depot and board the Sounds Air flight to Picton. On arrival into Picton connect with your water taxi across to Bay of Many Coves in the magical Marlborough Sounds.
Overnight: Bay of Many Coves including breakfast
Day 10 Marlborough Sounds
Enjoy a full day at leisure. This is an area worth exploring, offering a delightful coastline comprising bays, coves and waterways. Choose from a variety of activities including kayaking, boat trips, dolphin watching and even diving.
Overnight: Bay of Many Coves including breakfast
Days 11-12 Marlborough Sounds - Kaikoura
Take a water taxi back to Picton. On arrival collect your second rental vehicle and follow the coast road to Kaikoura. Known for its diversity of easily accessible marine mammals and bird-life, take a whale watching tour in search of sperm whales as well as humpback whales, Hector's and dusky dolphins, orcas and New Zealand fur seals, as well as plenty of bird species.
Overnight: Hapuku Lodge breakfast and dinner included (2 nights)
Days 13-14 Kaikoura - Arthurs Pass
Head to Arthurs Pass, located mid way between Christchurch and Greymouth. Arthur's Pass National Park offers a true alpine wilderness environment.
Join a complimentary short guided nature trips or consider a longer full and half day guided small group tour.
Overnight: Wilderness Lodge Arthurs Pass including breakfast and dinner (2 nights).
Day 15 Arthurs Pass-Lake Moeraki
Visit the craft stores in Hokitika and enjoy lunch at the glaciers. Walk up the Glacier Valley to view the ice or perhaps take a helicopter flight. Arrive at Lake Moeraki and settle in to your room. Stretch your legs on one of their rainforest trails or visit spectacular Monro Beach.
Overnight: Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki including breakfast and dinner
Day 16 Lake Moeraki
Join a complimentary guided nature trips (twice daily, each 1 to 1.5 hours duration). With daily changes, guests will be given a copy of the programme on arrival at the lodge. There is an additional charge for the small group trips which covers your guide, refreshments, Conservation Department guiding licence, equipment and any transportation required. A minimum of 2-4 people are generally required for these to depart and they are booked directly with the lodge on arrival. The longer guided tour programme also changes daily. Exclusive and privately guided day tours are also available on request and must be pre-booked.
Overnight: Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki including breakfast and dinner
Day 17 Lake Moeraki - Wanaka
This beautiful lakeside town has an abundance of outdoor activities in a stunning natural setting. It is a slightly quieter alternative to Queenstown and is in close proximity to Mt Aspiring National Park. The ideal location for keen hikers and those wanting to explore pristine landscapes.
Overnight: Tin Tub Luxury Lodge including breakfast
Day 18 Wanaka
Enjoy today at your leisure. For those looking to get out and about, there is a choice of easy day walks and boat cruises on the lake as well as a host of more adventurous activities such as canyoning, kayaking, mountain biking, horse riding and jeep safaris. There are also several museums in town, including the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum, which is quite appropriate in a town that offers a range of aerial activities ranging from paragliding to sightseeing by Tiger Moth.
Overnight: Tin Tub Luxury Lodge including breakfast
Day 19 Wanaka - Te Anau
Enjoy mountain views and farm country on the drive to Te Anau. Situated beside a lake, this town is the gateway to Fiordland National Park, part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage.
Overnight: Fiordland Lodge including breakfast and dinner
Day 20 Doubtful Sound
Travel to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri from Te Anau. Here you will board your vessel and cruise across the lake to West Arm before travelling by coach through dense rainforest across Wilmot Pass. Once at Deep Cove board a catamaran for your 3 hour cruise of Doubtful Sound. Enjoy spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforest and majestic mountains and watch out for fur seals or resident pods of bottlenose dolphins. On the return journey the engines are turned off and you are witness to the incredible "Sound of Silence".
Overnight: Fiordland Lodge including breakfast and dinner
Days 21-22 Te Anau - Queenstown
Make your way to Queenstown, a stunning alpine resort town, which lies at the heart of the spectacular Southern Lakes region. Boasting an incredible location on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, in front of the impressive Remarkables mountain range, nature has purpose built this area for adventure. However, you don't have to be an adrenaline junkie to appreciate Queenstown's scenic appeal.
Overnight: Azur Lodge including breakfast (2 nights).
Day 23 Queenstown - Mount Cook
Head north through magnificent rural landscapes en route to Mount Cook National Park which lies at the heart of the Southern Alps. The scenery here is literally breathtaking as you take in mesmerising blue glacial lakes and tussock-clad hills as well as clear skies, perfect for stargazing, before arriving at Aoraki/Mount Cook.
Overnight: The Hermitage
Day 24 Mount Cook
Enjoy a scenic ski plane flight with fantastic close up views of Mount Cook, Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps. Fly the length of the Tasman Glacier before landing on the glacial snow and ice for 10 minutes.
Overnight: The Hermitage
Day 25 Mount Cook - Christchurch
Make your way to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo and the town of Geraldine across the Canterbury Plains.
Overnight: Otahuna Lodge including breakfast and dinner
Days 26-27 Christchurch
Enjoy today at your leisure exploring this compact city with a refreshingly friendly buzz. But far from being a quiet backwater, this is a vibrant city where there are numerous street performers, lively markets, music venues and theatres, as well as more cafes, bars and restaurants than any other New Zealand town, not to mention at least a dozen annual festivals. The following day, drop off your rental vehicle at the airport and depart.
Overnight: Otahuna Lodge including breakfast and dinner

Accommodation Options

The Boatshed, Waiheke Island

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Offering luxury accommodation in the relaxed setting of …

Greenhill Lodge, Hawke's Bay

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Located in Hawke's Bay wine country, this lavish retreat…

Bay of Many Coves Resort, Marlborough

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Located on the hills on the southern side of the Bay of …

Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses, Kaikoura

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

This contemporary lodge lying to the north of Kaikoura h…

Arthurs Pass Wilderness Lodgeᅠ

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

A 24-unit lodge on a spectacular 2,400 hectare nature re…

Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Constructed with native timbers and local stone fireplac…

The Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Superbly situated in Mt Cook National Park, the Hermitag…

Otahuna Lodge, Canterbury

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

This elegant, historic country estate with only 7 elegan…

970 Lonely Bay Lodge, Coromandel Peninsula

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

970 Lonely Bay Lodge offers boutique luxury accommodatio…

Peppers Parehua, Martinborough

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

A contemporary lodge situated on a luxurious garden with…

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge, Hokitika

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

An eco-friendly lodge that offers 28 suites in the vast …

Tin Tub Lodge

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Tin Tub Lodge, located in the picturesque town of Lake W…

Azur Lodge, Queenstown

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Set a mere 20 minutes from Queenstown, upon a hilltop wi…


A variety of accommodation options are included in this holiday, some of which are listed above. For further details, please contact us.



A number of excursions are included in this itinerary, some of which are listed in more detail below. Your Travel Specialist will be able to advise on additional or upgraded excursion options to suit your interests.

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise, Te Anau

Travel deep into the untouched world of Fiordland National …

Kiwi Dundee Nature & Coast Adventure, Coromandel

A personalised guided walk on the insurpassable Coromandel …

Whale Watch, Kaikoura

A marvellous place to see a range of cetaceans.

Prices & Dates

Price from £ per person

Twin Share

Price Includes
Meet and greet and airport transfer on arrival ● Accommodation and meals as specified ● Waiheke Island return ferry transfers ● Sounds Air transfer from Wellington to Picton ● Bay of Many Coves return water taxi transfers from Picton ● Excursions: Half day guided walk in the Coromandel Peninsula, Whale Watch, Mt Cook Ski Plane flight (Glacier Highlights 40 mins), Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise ● 24 days mid-range vehicle rental (including unlimited kilometres, & vehicle insurance subject to an insurance excess). For 1-2 persons a Budget CDAR (Ford Focus, 1.8-2.0 litre, 5 door automatic with air conditioning, or similar. Other car types are available - please contact us for further details).

Price Excludes
International and domestic flights and airport taxes ● Travel insurance ● Fuel and vehicle insurance excess waiver fee ● Personal expenses ● Tips and gratuities

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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