Romantic New Zealand

Hiking in the Southern Lakes
from £3958 20 nights | Year round Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Year round


Combine thrilling adventure with romantic bush hideaways as you explore New Zealand's magnificent landscapes on a spectacular three week self-drive. Staying in magical locations discover the immense beauty of both islands from tranquil golden beaches to the dramatic fjords and still have plenty of time to relax and indulge. Staying in unforgettable properties, you can travel at your own pace as well as enjoy a number of iconic experiences included in the itinerary.


  • Enjoy a Doubtful Sound wilderness cruise in magnificent Fiordland (included)
  • Experience the white sand beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Marvel at Punakaiki's fascinating rock formations and blow holes
  • Spend time at leisure in the spectacular alpine town of Lake Wanaka

In the North Island explore the rugged heartland including geothermal Rotorua and volcanic Tongariro National Park as well as the idyllic scenery of the Coromandel with glorious beaches and verdant bush adorned with vibrant red pohutukawa trees.

Heading to the South Island you'll discover the tranquil coves and stunning beaches of Abel Tasman National Park before journeying down the wild West Coast and onwards to the epic mountains and fiords of Fiordland National Park and the Southern Alps.

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: arrive Auckland
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the city for an overnight stay.
Overnight: Hotel de Brett including continental breakfast.
Day 2: Auckland-Whangamata, Coromandel
Collect your 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: Brenton Lodge including breakfast
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.
Overnight: Brenton Lodge including breakfast
Day 4: Whangamata - Rotorua
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.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel
Day 5: Rotorua
Experience the romance of landing and taking off in a floatplane and enjoy panoramic views of Rotorua on a Volcanic Air floatplane experience. Spend this afternoon relaxing at the Polynesian Spa in your own private deluxe pool.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel
Day 6: Rotoura - Tongariro National Park
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 including breakfast and dinner.
Day 7: Tongariro National Park - Wellington
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: The Museum Hotel.
Day 8: Wellington - Picton - Nelson/Motueka
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 including breakfast and dinner
Days 9: Abel Tasman National Park
Enjoy a day in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park with your Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk Open Day Pass. Lush forest coastal paths lead to delightful bays with gold sand beaches and clear blue water.
Overnight: The Resurgence including breakfast and dinner
Day 10: Motueka
Explore at your leisure today. You may like to visit nearby Nelson, with its above average sunshine record, beautiful sandy beaches and reputation for fine foods and arts and crafts.
Overnight: The Resurgence including breakfast and dinner
Day 11: Motueka - Punakaiki
From the tranquil golden 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-Lake Moeraki
Visit the craft stores in Hokitika and enjoy lunch at the glaciers (not included). You may like to walk along the glacier valley to view the glacier terminal face or perhaps take a helicopter flight to see the glacier from the air. 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 13: 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 14: Lake Moeraki - Wanaka
Continue south along the West Coast over Haast Pass to 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: Te Wanaka Lodge including breakfast
Day 15: Wanaka
Explore at your leisure today, perhaps join a half day Mou Waho Island Lake Cruise including a guided nature walk or alternatively enjoy time at leisure the wilderness trails by bike, on foot or by horseback or alternatively take a scenic helicopter flight.
Overnight: Te Wanaka Lodge including breakfast
Day 16: Wanaka - Te Anau
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.
Overnight: Dock Bay Lodge including breakfast
Day 17: 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: Dock Bay Lodge including breakfast
Day 18: Te Anau - Queenstown
Make your way to Queenstown, a stunning alpine resort town, which lies at the heart of the spectacular Southern Lakes region.
Overnight: Heritage Hotel Queenstown.
Day 19: Queenstown - Mount Cook
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
Days 20-21: Mount Cook - Christchurch
Make your way to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo and the town of Geraldine across the Canterbury Plains.
Overnight: The George Hotel.
On the following day depart Christchurch drop off your rental vehicle at the airport depot today and depart.

Accommodation Options

Hotel De Brett, Auckland

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

An iconic building in Auckland's central fashion precinc…

Brenton Lodge, Whangamata

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

Found in an acre of lovely gardens which invite guests t…

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…

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge, Hokitika

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

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

The Heritage Queenstown

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

Set within easy walking distance of central Queenstown, …

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…

Dock Bay Lodge, Te Anau

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Dock Bay Lodge is a lux…


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.

Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk Open Day Pass, Abel Tasman

Explore Abel Tasman National Park at your own pace with thi…

Dart River Wilderness Safari, Queenstown

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

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise, Te Anau

Travel deep into the untouched world of Fiordland National …

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 …

Safari of The Scenes - Glenorchy, Queenstown

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

Prices & Dates

Price from £ per person

Twin Share

Price Includes
Meet and greet and airport transfer on arrival ● Accommodation and meals as specified ● Interislander ferry (premium plus cabin) ● Excursions: Volcanic Air Floatplane Experience, Polynesian Spa - Private Deluxe Pool (half an hour), Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk Open Day Pass, Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise ● 19 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.

How to book

Book this trip

So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

travel guaranteeWe will always offer the best price available at the time of booking and guarantee no surcharges - see our 100% Guarantee for full details.

View booking conditions

Speak to a specialist: 01737 214 250

Book this trip
iceland birdlife arctic tern rth

Tailor Made

If you can't find exactly what you are looking for, let us find it for you.

Our team of Travel Specialists have extensive first-hand knowledge of our destinations and are passionate about travel.

Meet the team

Speak to a specialist: