Discover Aotearoa

Wairakei terraces warrior, Taupo
from £2,878 20 nights | Year round Exc. flights See price details
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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.


  • Experience the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula
  • Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori Experience in Rotorua (included)
  • Explore golden sand bays and forested coves in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Glacier Valley guided walk at Franz Josef Glacier (included)
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise in magnificent Fiordland (included)

Other North Island highlights include the forest-fringed Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua's geo-thermal wonderland, the snow-capped volcanoes of Tongariro National Park and the vibrant cultural capital of Wellington.

Nip across magnificent Cook Strait and the adventure continues on South Island with West Coast glaciers, mighty Mount Cook, the adventure capital Queenstown, stunning Lake Wanaka and the mesmerising landscapes of Fiordland.

The views and scenery never disappointed and many of the wildlife experiences were exceptional.

Mr Bates, New Zealand Nature Tour

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Auckland
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the City of Sails.
Overnight: Hotel De Brett
Day 2: Auckland - Coromandel (158 km)
Collect your Budget rental car from the city depot and drive to the seaside township of Whangamata, nestled at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula, a region filled with rainforest-clad gorges and Pohutukawa-fringed beaches, such as Cathedral Cove.
Overnight: Breakers Motel (2 nights). Breakfast included.
Day 3: Whangamata
Explore at your leisure today, perhaps enjoying a soak in the thermal springs on Hot Water Beach, or a kayaking adventure at Cathedral Cove. Whitianga and Coromandel Town, at the northernmost part of the Peninsula, are well worth a visit, with wonderful restaurants, bars and local craft shops on offer.
Day 4: Whangamata - Rotorua (145 km)
Drive south today, either following the coast road via Tauranga or inland via the interesting towns of Paeroa and Te Aroha, towards the active geo-thermal heartland of Rotorua. Enjoy a personal guided tour of Ohinemutu Village including the iconic St Faith's Church. Your guide will share the legends and history of the village which will give you an insight into Maori culture.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel (2 nights).
Day 5: Rotorua
Enjoy a visit to Orakei Korako geothermal area today (also known as "The Hidden Valley"), situated on the Waikato River at Lake Ohakuri. Even with two thirds of the original geothermal area covered by an artificial lake, Orakei Korako is still New Zealand's largest geyser field and one of the country's must-see natural attractions.
Day 6: Rotorua - Turangi (131 km)
Enjoy a wonderful drive today, via wonderful Lake Taupo, Australasia's largest freshwater lake, to the village of Turangi, gateway to Tongariro National Park. Famous for its trio of volcanoes this is New Zealand's oldest national park and has dual World Heritage status.
Overnight: Tongariro Lodge. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 7: Turangi - Wellington (270 km)
Drive the Desert Road south to New Zealand's vibrant capital city, Wellington. If you have time en route stop at Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre, home to 3 extraordinary white kiwi. As you near Wellington you will experience the wide diversity of vegetation visible on the Tararua and Rimutaka Ranges. The neighbouring Wairarapa region is famous for its wine and numerous vineyards.
Overnight: Museum Art Hotel
Day 8: Wellington - Picton - Nelson/Motueka (153 km)
Today drop off your rental car and travel in the Premium Plus cabin on the Interislander Ferry across the magnificent Cook Strait to Picton. Here you can collect your new vehicle and make your way to the charming township of Motueka, gateway to Abel Tasman National Park.
Overnight: The Resurgence (3 nights). Dinner and breakfast included.
Days 9-10: Abel Tasman National Park
Days at your leisure to explore the bays and coves of this wonderful park. Accessible only by water taxi, here you can go sea kayaking and see seals, birdlife, dolphins and possibly visiting Orca. Enjoy a walk during your time here on the stunning Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 11: Motueka - Punakaiki (267 km)
From the tranquil golden sand beaches head out west to this rugged wild region, and its astonishing variety of landscapes, rich history and abundant wildlife. Stop at Punakaiki to view the fantastic blow holes and rock formations.
Overnight: Punakaiki Resort.
Day 12: Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier (217 km)
Make your way to Glacier country today and to the world's most accessible temperate-zone glaciers, nestled in valleys lined with rainforest.
Overnight: 58 on Cron Motel (2 nights).
Day 13: Franz Josef Glacier
Today enjoy an interpretive walk to the glacier. After a short walk through the regenerating rainforest, the trip continues along the glacier valley with your guide calling stops to explain the unique features of the glacier and its surroundings.
Day 14: Franz Josef Glacier - Queenstown (333 km)
Drive through World Heritage rainforests and cross the Haast Pass to reach the stunning alpine resort town of Queenstown, which lies at the heart of the spectacular Southern Lakes region.
Overnight: Heritage Hotel.
Day 15: Queenstown - Te Anau (171 km)
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 Area. The round trip to spectacular Milford Sound, where you can take an afternoon cruise on the fiord, is 119 km.
Overnight: Dunluce B&B (2 nights). Breakfast included.
Day 16: Te Anau
Travel by coach today from Te Anau to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri. 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.
Day 17: Te Anau - Lake Wanaka (226 km)
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: Te Wanaka Lodge (2 nights). Breakfast included.
Day 18: Lake Wanaka
Enjoy today at your leisure.
Breakfast included.
Day 19: Lake Wanaka - Mount Cook (199 km)
Head north today 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 Hotel.
Day 20: Mt Cook - Christchurch (331 km)
Drive via scenic Lake Tekapo and the town of Geraldine across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch airport.
Overnight: The George Hotel.
Day 21: Christchurch
Drop off your rental vehicle at the airport today and depart.

Accommodation Options

Hotel De Brett, Auckland

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

An iconic building in Auckland's central fashion precinc…

Breakers Motel, Whangamata

  • Grade: Simple
  • Type: Motel

Located in Whangamata on the Coromandel, this 21-room ho…

The Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

A designer boutique hotel and spa, the Regent of Rotorua…

Tongariro Lodge, Turangi

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Resting in 22 acres of expansive grounds on the banks of…

QT Museum Hotel, Wellington

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

Superbly situated opposite the national Te Papa Museum a…

The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge, Nelson

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

A superb boutique property, set in 50 acres of native bu…

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

A stunning eco-tourism hotel with spectacular views of w…

The Heritage Queenstown

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

Set within easy walking distance of central Queenstown, …

Dunluce B&B, Te Anau

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Guesthouse / B&B

A contemporary home in 1.5 acres of landscaped gardens o…

The Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Superbly situated in Mt Cook National Park, the Hermitag…

The George

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

Located about 20 minutes from Christchurch International…


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.

America's Cup Sailing Experience, Auckland

This is an appropriate excursion while spending time in New…

Carino Sailing & Dolphin Adventures, Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands form a sparkling tropical crown to the n…

Dart River Wilderness Safari, Queenstown

The Dart River is the perfect waterway to show off the thri…

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, Te Anau

One of our most popular excursions on the South Island.

Farewell Spit Eco Tour, Golden Bay

Departing from Collingwood, this tour takes in many of the …

Glacier Valley Walk, Franz Josef

One of our planet's most intriguing phenomena.

Great Tastes of Matakana Tour, Auckland

A tour that is all about the flavours of New Zealand's Nort…

Guided Multi-Day Hikes, Nelson and Marlbourgh

A region that boasts two of the most renowned walking track…

Hot Air Ballooning, Canterbury Plains

One of the most pristine ways to travel and experience a ma…

Hump Ridge Track Guided Walk, Invercargill

This 4-day trek follows a 53 km circuit that winds its way …

Introducing Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington

A tour of Wellington's cultural highlight at the Te Papa Mu…

Kiwi Dundee Nature & Coast Adventure, Coromandel

A personalised guided walk on the insurpassable Coromandel …

Milford Sound Nature Cruise, Queenstown

Travel by luxury coach on an unforgettable journey from Que…

Mitai Maori Hangi & Concert, Rotorua

An evening at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction…

Mt John Night Tour Dark Sky Stargazing, Lake Tekapo

Dedicated to keeping the skies light-pollution free, the Ao…

Ohinemutu Maori village guided walk, Rotorua

Ohinemutu is a living Maori village set on the picturesque …

Peninsula Encounters Tour, Dunedin

This memorable half-day wildilfe experience combines a trek…

Remarkables Discovery Flight, Queenstown

You will be introduced to the flight crew before boarding y…

Roaring Sea Tour Pancake Rocks Tour, Greymouth

One of the South Island's popular tourist destinations.

Rotorua Diamond Sightseeing Pass

This is a special sightseeing pass which allows admission t…

Safari of The Scenes - Glenorchy, Queenstown

This tour is dedicated to re-visiting the captivating scene…

Seals 'n' Beach, Abel Tasman

This is a full-day catamaran journey aboard the Abel Tasman…

Siberia Experience, Lake Wanaka

This tour is a thrilling combination tour by air, land and …

Taieri Gorge Railway, Dunedin

Taking passengers from the heart of historic Dunedin to the…

Tasman Glacier Boat Cruise, Mt Cook

A memorable encounter with New Zealand's largest glacier.

The Grand Traverse of Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo

An incredible stretch of land that incompasses towering mou…

Tiritiri Matangi Island Full Day Tour, Auckland

This tour gives guests the opportunity to get up close and …

Tongariro Full Day Guided Walk, Taupo

Tongariro National Park takes in the twin peaks of Tongarir…

Twin Glacier Flight, Franz Josef

A journey by plane over two of New Zealand's most famous gl…

Waitangi Sound & Light Show

A renowned evening show that combines the tapestry of Maori…

Waitomo Glow Worm Cave & Ruakuri Cave, Waitomo

This is a guided walk that leads visitors through the amazi…

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 (mix of B&B's, hotels and Lodges) ● Dinner & Breakfast as per the itinerary ● 20 days mid-range vehicle rental (including unlimited kilometres, & vehicle insurance subject to an insurance excess). For 1-3 persons a Budget Group B CDAR (Ford Focus 1.6-2.0 litre 4/5 door automatic with air conditioning, or similar. For 4 persons a Budget Group E FDAR (Ford Falcon XT 4.0 litre 4 door automatic with air conditioning, or similar). Other car types are available - please contact us for further details ● Interislander ferry crossing (Premium Plus cabin) ● Excursions: Ohinemutu Village guided walk and Maori experience & Orakei Korako admission (Rotorua); Guided Glacier Valley Walk (Franz Josef); Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise (Fiordland)

Price Excludes
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.


FREE Vehicle Upgrade on Self-drive Holidays

Book by 31 Oct 2016
For travel between April and October 2017

How to book

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