Auckland to Christchurch Self Drive Holiday
Travel from Auckland, New Zealand’s major international airport gateway on an Auckland to Christchurch self-drive holiday through the North Island to Wellington. If you have time head north to the beautiful Bay of Islands. On the way discover the geothermal wonderland and Maori culture of Rotorua. Visit Hobbiton made famous by the Lord of the Rings films, take a trip into the mysterious glowworm caves at Waitomo, or explore the coast, beaches and bays of the Coromandel Peninsula. Catch a rainbow trout at Taupo, from there a superb scenic drive takes you round Lake Taupo to Tongariro National Park, popular for hiking, skiing and snowboarding; or canoeing on the nearby Whanganui River.
An alternate route to Wellington takes you across to art deco Napier and Hawkes Bay, NZ’s oldest wine growing region with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grapes. If you arrive on a weekend, make sure you visit a Sunday Food Market. Further south stop at Martinborough, with its premium vineyards producing Pinot Noir wine, as well as browsing the arts and crafts of the nearby villages, including Carterton, Greytown, Featherston and Masterton. From here it is a short drive to Wellington, the nation’s capital.
From Wellington crossover on the Interislander ferry to Picton, for the start of your South Island. From Picton you can either head south through Blenheim and the Marlborough wine growing region and along the coast to Kaikoura, popular for whale watching. Don’t forget to try the Crayfish hire…..simply magnificent! Just inland from Kaikoura are the hot springs at Hanmer Springs. It is then just a short drive to Christchurch.
The alternate route from Picton takes you west to Nelson. Take time out to explore the arts and crafts markets, visit the World of Wearable Art, cycle the Great Taste Trail or go hiking or kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. Follow the scenic West Coast drive past Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks to historic Hokitika, and Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Take a helicopter trip to one of the glaciers, and see the spectacular reflections in Lake Matheson. After driving through Haast Pass you come to Wanaka, one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, and Queenstown, both very popular for adventure and outdoor activities from skiing to hiking.
From Christchurch or Queenstown you can connect through Fiordland National Park with Milford and Doubtful Sounds, the Scottish city of Dunedin with its nature attractions on Otago Peninsula, as well as towering Mt Cook, idyllic Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd to make a circle trip.
Our Auckland to Christchurch self-drive itineraries are fully flexible, so they can be amended or combined with other itineraries. All one way itineraries can also be done in reverse. So if you have any changes or special requests, just put a note in the booking/enquiry form.
International flights can be included from Australia for all Australian residents.