Overview

Experience what each island is all about in this 14-day itinerary. Leaving the City of Sails, enjoy the golden sand beaches of the Coromandel before jumping into the adventures and cultural encounter that await in Rotorua. Admire the wine regions of Napier and explore the quirky capital, Wellington.

Head over to the South Island and prepare to be overwhelmed by its majestic rocky mountains, vast glaciers and glimmering alpine lakes. In this unforgettable journey, enjoy a real driving tour you can customise to the kind of holiday you want.

Itineraries

All itineraries can be amended or combined with other itineraries. Please advise amendments when requesting a quote.

Auckland - Whangamata/Coromandel - Rotorua - Napier - Wellington - Nelson - Hokitika - Franz Josef - Queenstown - Dunedin - Christchurch

Map of 14 Day New Zealand Grand Self Drive
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Welcome to Auckland City
Auckland to Whitianga to Whangamata
Whangamata to Rotorua
Rotorua to Napier
Napier to Wellington City via Masterton
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Nelson to Hokitika
Hokitika to Franz Josef
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Queenstown to Te Anau
Te Anau to Dunedin
Dunedin to Christchurch
Depart Christchurch today

Day 1

Welcome to Auckland City

Day 2

Auckland to Whitianga to Whangamata

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 278 kms

Day 3

Whangamata to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 138 kms

Day 4

Rotorua to Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 210 kms

Day 5

Napier to Wellington City via Masterton

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 322 km

Day 6

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Travel Time: 1 hr 35 mins

Distance: 104 kms

Day 7

Nelson to Hokitika

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 333 kms

Day 8

Hokitika to Franz Josef

Travel Time: 1 hr 36 mins

Distance: 133 kms

Day 9

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 344 kms

Day 10

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 11

Queenstown to Te Anau

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 164 kms

Day 12

Te Anau to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 285 kms

Day 13

Dunedin to Christchurch

Travel Time: 4 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 346 kms

Day 14

Depart Christchurch today

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.
Stay 1 night Auckland

Collect your rental car

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll cross the fertile Hauraki Plains and pass the Thames Estuary. Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Directly over the Coromandel Ranges will deliver you to the coast in a snappy 45 minutes or if you're after more leisurely route, head North to the Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). This is one of the most spectacular drives in the region and not to be missed. Continue down the coast to arrive in the picturesque town of Whitianga.

Whitianga to Whangamata
Just south of Whitianga is probably one of the best known locations on the Coromandel Peninsula; the famous Hot Water Beach and the holiday town of Hahei. Also worthy of a detour is Cathedral Cove. Tairua is just a hop down the coast and first stop should be Paku Hill (the extinct volcanic cone) which offers spectacular views over the natural harbour and the Pacific Ocean. Just a short drive from Tairua you reach the holiday destination of Whangamata, popular with locals for the great conditions for water sports, particularly surfing.
Stay 1 night Whangamata

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through old mining town of Waihi, which still has an operating open cast gold mine and you can view the workings of the Martha Mine from a vantage point signposted from the town centre. For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. Continue along the rich fruit growing coastline towards the port town of Tauranga and the surf beaches of Mt Maunganui and Papamoa before you head inland along the scenic Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. For Lord of the Rings fans a detour to Matamata is recommended as this is the location of Hobbiton. Arriving into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed with some great views of the lake.
Stay 1 night Rotorua

This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. Home to a plethora of unique geothermal attractions including boiling mud pits, natural hot springs and steaming geysers, this area is a must do before you move on to Napier. Notable attractions are Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Craters of the Moon.

Continue on to Taupo and marvel at the lake - a giant crater formed following a volcanic eruption in the year 180 CE. As you approach the city, be sure to stop at Huka Falls to view the spectacular sight of 222,000 litres of water spilling down the narrow 11 metre drop.

For an extra thrill take a jet-boat ride to the base of the falls. Leaving Taupo, follow the road as it climbs the rugged Ahimanawa Range before descending back down the Pacific Coast to art deco Napier.
Stay 1 night Napier

The rolling countryside of the Hawke's Bay leads you into some of New Zealand’s richest farmland, located around the Manawatu region. Passing along the Manawatu Gorge the Wairarapa welcomes you. Masterton is home to the golden shears sheep shearing competition while just further south Greytown boasts the largest concentration of historic wooden buildings in the country.

Nearby Martinborough is home to dozens of boutique wineries. The route takes you over the Rimutaka Range and along the magnificent natural harbour that the capital city of Wellington sits upon.
Stay 1 night Wellington

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'.

Collect your rental car

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock.

The small port town of Havelock has a great variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from so plan your journey to arrive in time for lunch. The highway between Nelson and Picton also crosses the Pelorus River and just at this junction is the famous and historic Pelorus Bridge.

Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.
Stay 1 night Nelson

Leaving Nelson City you will pass through the suburb of Richmond. Moving on you will pass through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head towards the town of Murchison.

Heading South towards Westport you will drive along the Buller Gorge, enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river.

Continuing on your journey the first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua. Continuing south on the road to Punakaiki you will pass through Paparoa National Park. On arrival to Punakaiki you may want to visit Pancake rocks.

Just a little further south is Greymouth, the administrative centre of the West Coast and a great attraction here is Shantytown, a replica gold mining village.

The township of Hokitika was built on the pioneering spirit of the West Coast settlers. Here you will find many shops selling intricately carved pieces as well as other fine arts and souvenirs. The town itself has some great old buildings and you will also find some fine restaurants and cafes.

Stay 1 night Hokitika

Leaving Hokitika you’ll go through the old gold mining town of Ross where some of the original buildings and workings remain. Ross is also home to one of the few working mines left in New Zealand. Continuing South you’ll pass through Harihari, the township Guy Menzies crash landed in after he became the first person to fly solo across the Tasman. Continue on through Whataroa, a small township, home to some of the world's rarest birds - the New Zealand White Heron and the Kotuku. Arriving into the glacier region you’ll catch your first glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier before coming into the township - a lively place with a great atmosphere.
Stay 1 night Franz Josef

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. Crossing the massive Haast River you turn inland and head into the valley climbing through mountains littered with waterfalls.

The Blue Pools near Makarora are a great 30 minute walk. Lakes Wanaka and Hawea guide you into the township of Wanaka before you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.
Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. rive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Following the shores of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables mountain range towers over you as you approach township of Kingston. You'll venture into Southland before crossing the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Stay 1 night Te Anau

The drive from Te Anau to Dunedin takes you through classic Southland farmland scenery but if you want to spend the whole day exploring a little off the beaten path than taking the Southern Scenic Route through The Catlins is highly recommended. Following the incredible Otago coastline to Invercargill the route passes through Manapouri and onto Tuatapere before Colac Bay and the fishing town of Riverton. From Invercargill the route hugs the coastline and there are many side-trips to secluded and deserted beaches and bays to explore before you arrive into the remarkable Edwardian City of Dunedin.
Stay 1 night Dunedin

Heading north from Dunedin your first stop should be Moeraki to explore the famous and unique Moeraki Boulders strewn on the beach.

The town of Oamaru is most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. The port town of Timaru is next and then the vast Canterbury Plains. Crossing New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia you can view some great examples of the South Island's famous braided rivers.

Arriving into Christchurch City puts you close to the airport and the International Antarctic Centre, a visit is highly recommended. Here you can get as close to experiencing life on the frozen continent without actually visiting plus see New Zealand little blue penguins and ride in a Haaglund Tracked vehicle.
Stay 1 night Christchurch

Explore more of Christchurch before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Day 1, Welcome to Auckland City

Welcome to Auckland City

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.
Stay 1 night Auckland

Day 2, Auckland to Whitianga to Whangamata

Auckland to Whitianga to Whangamata

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 278 kms

Collect your rental car

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll cross the fertile Hauraki Plains and pass the Thames Estuary. Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Directly over the Coromandel Ranges will deliver you to the coast in a snappy 45 minutes or if you're after more leisurely route, head North to the Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). This is one of the most spectacular drives in the region and not to be missed. Continue down the coast to arrive in the picturesque town of Whitianga.

Whitianga to Whangamata
Just south of Whitianga is probably one of the best known locations on the Coromandel Peninsula; the famous Hot Water Beach and the holiday town of Hahei. Also worthy of a detour is Cathedral Cove. Tairua is just a hop down the coast and first stop should be Paku Hill (the extinct volcanic cone) which offers spectacular views over the natural harbour and the Pacific Ocean. Just a short drive from Tairua you reach the holiday destination of Whangamata, popular with locals for the great conditions for water sports, particularly surfing.
Stay 1 night Whangamata

Day 3, Whangamata to Rotorua

Whangamata to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 138 kms

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through old mining town of Waihi, which still has an operating open cast gold mine and you can view the workings of the Martha Mine from a vantage point signposted from the town centre. For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. Continue along the rich fruit growing coastline towards the port town of Tauranga and the surf beaches of Mt Maunganui and Papamoa before you head inland along the scenic Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. For Lord of the Rings fans a detour to Matamata is recommended as this is the location of Hobbiton. Arriving into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed with some great views of the lake.
Stay 1 night Rotorua

Day 4, Rotorua to Napier

Rotorua to Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 210 kms

This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. Home to a plethora of unique geothermal attractions including boiling mud pits, natural hot springs and steaming geysers, this area is a must do before you move on to Napier. Notable attractions are Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Craters of the Moon.

Continue on to Taupo and marvel at the lake - a giant crater formed following a volcanic eruption in the year 180 CE. As you approach the city, be sure to stop at Huka Falls to view the spectacular sight of 222,000 litres of water spilling down the narrow 11 metre drop.

For an extra thrill take a jet-boat ride to the base of the falls. Leaving Taupo, follow the road as it climbs the rugged Ahimanawa Range before descending back down the Pacific Coast to art deco Napier.
Stay 1 night Napier

Day 5, Napier to Wellington City via Masterton

Napier to Wellington City via Masterton

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 322 km

The rolling countryside of the Hawke's Bay leads you into some of New Zealand’s richest farmland, located around the Manawatu region. Passing along the Manawatu Gorge the Wairarapa welcomes you. Masterton is home to the golden shears sheep shearing competition while just further south Greytown boasts the largest concentration of historic wooden buildings in the country.

Nearby Martinborough is home to dozens of boutique wineries. The route takes you over the Rimutaka Range and along the magnificent natural harbour that the capital city of Wellington sits upon.
Stay 1 night Wellington

Day 6, Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Travel Time: 1 hr 35 mins

Distance: 104 kms

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'.

Collect your rental car

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock.

The small port town of Havelock has a great variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from so plan your journey to arrive in time for lunch. The highway between Nelson and Picton also crosses the Pelorus River and just at this junction is the famous and historic Pelorus Bridge.

Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.
Stay 1 night Nelson

Day 7, Nelson to Hokitika

Nelson to Hokitika

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 333 kms

Leaving Nelson City you will pass through the suburb of Richmond. Moving on you will pass through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head towards the town of Murchison.

Heading South towards Westport you will drive along the Buller Gorge, enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river.

Continuing on your journey the first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua. Continuing south on the road to Punakaiki you will pass through Paparoa National Park. On arrival to Punakaiki you may want to visit Pancake rocks.

Just a little further south is Greymouth, the administrative centre of the West Coast and a great attraction here is Shantytown, a replica gold mining village.

The township of Hokitika was built on the pioneering spirit of the West Coast settlers. Here you will find many shops selling intricately carved pieces as well as other fine arts and souvenirs. The town itself has some great old buildings and you will also find some fine restaurants and cafes.

Stay 1 night Hokitika

Day 8, Hokitika to Franz Josef

Hokitika to Franz Josef

Travel Time: 1 hr 36 mins

Distance: 133 kms

Leaving Hokitika you’ll go through the old gold mining town of Ross where some of the original buildings and workings remain. Ross is also home to one of the few working mines left in New Zealand. Continuing South you’ll pass through Harihari, the township Guy Menzies crash landed in after he became the first person to fly solo across the Tasman. Continue on through Whataroa, a small township, home to some of the world's rarest birds - the New Zealand White Heron and the Kotuku. Arriving into the glacier region you’ll catch your first glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier before coming into the township - a lively place with a great atmosphere.
Stay 1 night Franz Josef

Day 9, Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 344 kms

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. Crossing the massive Haast River you turn inland and head into the valley climbing through mountains littered with waterfalls.

The Blue Pools near Makarora are a great 30 minute walk. Lakes Wanaka and Hawea guide you into the township of Wanaka before you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.
Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Day 10, Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. rive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Day 11, Queenstown to Te Anau

Queenstown to Te Anau

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 164 kms

Following the shores of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables mountain range towers over you as you approach township of Kingston. You'll venture into Southland before crossing the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Stay 1 night Te Anau

Day 12, Te Anau to Dunedin

Te Anau to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 285 kms

The drive from Te Anau to Dunedin takes you through classic Southland farmland scenery but if you want to spend the whole day exploring a little off the beaten path than taking the Southern Scenic Route through The Catlins is highly recommended. Following the incredible Otago coastline to Invercargill the route passes through Manapouri and onto Tuatapere before Colac Bay and the fishing town of Riverton. From Invercargill the route hugs the coastline and there are many side-trips to secluded and deserted beaches and bays to explore before you arrive into the remarkable Edwardian City of Dunedin.
Stay 1 night Dunedin

Day 13, Dunedin to Christchurch

Dunedin to Christchurch

Travel Time: 4 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 346 kms

Heading north from Dunedin your first stop should be Moeraki to explore the famous and unique Moeraki Boulders strewn on the beach.

The town of Oamaru is most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. The port town of Timaru is next and then the vast Canterbury Plains. Crossing New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia you can view some great examples of the South Island's famous braided rivers.

Arriving into Christchurch City puts you close to the airport and the International Antarctic Centre, a visit is highly recommended. Here you can get as close to experiencing life on the frozen continent without actually visiting plus see New Zealand little blue penguins and ride in a Haaglund Tracked vehicle.
Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 14, Depart Christchurch today

Depart Christchurch today

Explore more of Christchurch before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/Double
Motel Accommodation from NZ$3,026* per person
Boutique Lodges and Hotels from NZ$4,550* per person

 * PLEASE NOTE

Price is based on two adults sharing a rental car and accommodation (twin/double-share).

Prices are estimates only, and are subject to availability and exchange rates when booking, seasonal or holiday price surcharges (such as Christmas/New Year and Easter); as well as special events that may be on. Please forward a request and we will be happy to forward a quote.

Payment

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 45 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full at the time of booking

Cancellation Charges

  • Cancellation Fees up to 100% can apply after booking. Extra deposits or full payment may be requested to cover these charges prior to booking
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Includes

Includes:

13 nights accommodation

  • 1 night Auckland
  • 1 night Whangamata/Coromandel
  • 1 night Rotorua
  • 1 night Napier
  • 1 night Wellington
  • 1 night Nelson
  • 1 night Hokitika
  • 1 night Franz Josef
  • 2 nights Queenstown
  • 1 night Te Anau
  • 1 night Dunedin
  • 1 night Christchurch

Rental Car Hire

  • Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible.
  • Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation. unlimited kms,airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers.

Private airport transfers

All breakfasts (Boutique only)

Interislander Ferry Crossing

Options

Travel Insurance

If you are going overseas, then travel insurance is a necssity. Compare rates and polices online and get a free travel insurance quote.

Accommodation

There is a choice of accommodation available on all packages, which depending on locations, includes motels, 3 star hotels, 4 star hotels, boutique lodges & hotels and luxury lodges and hotels. We are happy to quote on alternate accommodation requests.

Airfares

International flights can be included from Australia for all Australian residents.

Highlights

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Picton and Wellington takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds. This region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities.

From the Cook Strait, spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and often dolphins and sea birds are seen. After crossing the strait you approach Wellington Harbour and pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country’s highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

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14 Day New Zealand Grand Self Drive

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