Wairakei terraces warrior, Taupo

Discover Aotearoa

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  • Price

    from £2,304

  • 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.


  • 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, stuninng Lake Wanaka and the mesmerising landscapes of Fiordland.

Day 1 arrive 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 (B). Overnight: Breakers Motel (2 nights)

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 (D,B&B).

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) (D,B&B).

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 (D,B&B).

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) (B).

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 (226km) 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). (B).

Day 18 Lake Wanaka enjoy today at your leisure (B).

Day 19 Lake Wanaka-Mount Cook (199km) 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 (331km) 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.

Price from £2,304 per person, based on twin share

Prices include

  • 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)

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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