Overview

Start your New Zealand self drive itinerary in Auckland before driving to Rotorua, home to geothermal activity & Maori culture. Visit the Art Deco capital of Napier before travelling to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Cross Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry and visit Kaikoura, Lake Tekapo & Mt Cook before arriving in Dunedin. See wildlife & heritage on the Otago Peninsula before taking a cruise on spectacular Milford Sound. Visit Queenstown & the glaciers of the West Coast, then take the famous Tranz Alpine train over Arthurs Pass to Christchurch.

Itineraries

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

Auckland - Rotorua - Napier - Wellington - Kaikoura - Lake Tekapo - Dunedin - Te Anau - Queenstown - Franz Josef - Christchurch

Map of 16 Day New Zealand Icons Self Drive
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Arrive Auckland
Auckland to Rotorua
Rotorua
Rotorua - Napier
Napier - Wellington via Martinborough
Wellington to Kaikoura
Kaikoura to Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo to Dunedin
Dunedin
Dunedin to Te Anau
Te Anau to Milford Sound and Queenstown
Queenstown
Queenstown
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch via TranzAlpine Train
Depart Christchurch

Day 1

Arrive Auckland

Day 2

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 346 kms

Day 3

Rotorua

Day 4

Rotorua - Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 219 kms

Day 5

Napier - Wellington via Martinborough

Travel Time: 4 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 353 kms

Day 6

Wellington to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 1 hr 50 mins

Distance: 156 kms

Day 7

Kaikoura to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 400 kms

Distance: 4 hr 45 mins

Day 8

Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 310 kms

Day 9

Dunedin

Day 10

Dunedin to Te Anau

Travel Time: 3 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 289 kms

Day 11

Te Anau to Milford Sound and Queenstown

Travel Time: 5 hrs 5 mins

Distance: 405 kms

Day 12

Queenstown

Day 13

Queenstown

Day 14

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 min

Distance: 352 kms

Day 15

Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch via TranzAlpine Train

Travel Time: 2 hrs 5 mins

Distance: 173 kms

Day 16

Depart Christchurch

Welcome to New Zealand's North Island! Collect your car rental on arrival from the Hertz rental car office, located at the airport terminal. Make your way to the city and check into your accommodation for tonight. This evening is at your leisure to explore the city of Auckland. Take a trip up Auckland's Skytower, and afterwards you could do some shopping in Queen Street, or dine in one of the many restaurants and cafes on the Auckland Harbour.

Travel south to Rotorua, perhaps via Waitomo Caves, where a highlight of the day is a tour through the magical grotto lit by thousands of tiny glowworms. Alternatively drive through Matamata and take a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. Then it is on to Rotorua, steeped in Maori culture and history. 

Today you are free to explore some of Rotorua's many attractions. Visit the Agrodome this morning and see a fun, informative sheep show and shearing demonstration. Afterwards you could visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and see the brilliant colours of the Champagne Pool, and Artist's Palette, as well as the once a day eruption of Lady Knox Geyser; before travelling back to town to relax at the Polynesian Spa. 

Tonight enjoy a night of traditional culture and entertainment, before experiencing a Maori hangi (feast), with a selection of foods cooked the traditional Maori way underground, amongst the surroundings of an authentic village.

Travel across the central plateau via Lake Taupo, stopping at the Huka Falls along the way. Then, continue on to the Hawkes Bay region. Explore Napier, New Zealand's Art Deco capital, with options to join an Art Deco guided walking tour or vintage car tour.

Spend the morning exploring Napier, before traveling through Hastings and the rural landscape of Hawke's Bay. Just south of Masterton is the township of Martinborough, where you can taste and purchase exquisite Pinot Noir before continuing on to Wellington, compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums, theatre and all kinds of shops.

Drop your car off in Picton, then sit back, relax and soak in the scenery as you cruise across Cook Strait and the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds on your Interislander Ferry journey to Picton, the gateway to the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds.

Pick up your rental vehicle and then continue along the coastal road to reach the coastal town of Kaikoura.  Join an optional tour to view the whales, or go swimming with the dolphins.

This morning drive south along the coast and crossing the Canterbury Plains past Christchurch to Lake Tekapo. This afternoon is at leisure - visit the Earth & Sky Observatory, take a scenic flight over Mt Cook, or visit the Church Of The Good Shepherd & Collie Dog Memorial. 

Depart Lake Tekapo this morning and drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook. Take a short walk in the area or join one of the sightseeing activities at the Hermitage Hotel. Choose from boat cruises on the Tasman Lake to see the Tasman Glacier, ski plane flights, helicopter flights, or spend some time exploring the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. Afterwards travel south to Omarama and historic Oamaru, home of the Little Blue Penguins. Be sure to check out the unique geological formations known as the Moeraki Boulders located 70km's north of Dunedin "the Edinburgh of the South". Dunedin is memorable for its historical architecture. 

Today you have a full day to explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula, famous for it's eco tourism and wildlife and there are a variety of tours and cruises showing all the best of the Dunedin region. Start your morning with a tour of Cadbury World and discover how Cadbury chocolates are made in their Dunedin factory. Then drive out to the Otago Peninsula and visit the Royal Albatross Centre, enjoy an argo adventure at Natures Wonders or go on a guided tour of the Yellow Eyed Penguin reserve

Take time to explore Larnach Castle and learn about its scandalous history. You might also want to visit Baldwin Street, the world's steepest residential address. End the day with a tour of the 125 year old Speights Brewery, finishing with a tasting of their range of world class beers. Dunedin is memorable for its historical architecture. 

Travel across the lush green farmlands of South Otago and Southland, at Balclutha cross the mighty Clutha River and on to Gore. From here you travel across river plains, and onto Te Anau located on the shores of beautiful Lake Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Experience the beauty of the Fiordland Region at the Shadowlands Cinema for a 35 minute breath taking journey. This evening you could take an evening cruise across the lake to visit the incredible limestone caves that shimmer with thousands of glow worms.

You have the morning to enjoy in Te Anau and maybe take a drive down to view Lake Manapouri. This morning drive one of New Zealand’s most scenic routes to Milford Sound. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, check in for your 11.00 am cruise Depart on your cruise of the full length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea.  The vessel stops at various points and plenty of time is available to view waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife.  The cruise is leisurely and is accompanied by comprehensive commentaries.  A choice of lunch menus and a well stocked bar are available.

Tea and coffee are supplied complimentary.  Duration is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.

After your cruise, drive back out from Milford Sound to Te Anau and on to Kingston. The rest of your journey clings scenically to the edge of Lake Wakatipu as you make your way to Queenstown.

This evening, for a night to remember you could take a ride up the Skyline Gondola to a view that will take your breath away before sitting down a sumptuous buffet dinner.

Option:

Reduce the amount of driving today, by adding in an extra night in Te Anau; and driving through to Queenstown the following morning.

Today is at your leisure to explore the adventure capital of New Zealand. It's the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy, taking a Shotover Jet ride, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. It's also a destination for luxury experiences - gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf. Nearby is the former gold mining town of Arrowtown is a living, historic holiday destination, nestled beside the Arrow River.

Enjoy a second day at leisure to explore the Queenstown region. If you are travelling between late June & early October, be sure to check out the ski fields within the region - there are 5 ski fields within an hour of Queenstown. This evening, for a night to remember take a ride up the Skyline Gondola to a view that will take your breath away before sitting down a sumptuous buffet dinner.

The shortest route to Wanaka is over the Crown Range Road. It's a challenging drive, but the views are amazing and you'll probably encounter friendly keas (mountain parrots). More conservative drivers can take the route that runs beside the Shotover River, Lake Dunstan and the Clutha River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way. Leaving Wanaka, Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. The famous ‘bra fence' is impossible to miss - it started as a joke, but it's become a local legend.

At the wilderness town of Makarora you can fuel up and refresh before you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass  to the wild West Coast. At pretty Lake Paringa you can enjoy a delicious meal of salmon at the salmon farm.

Options: Take a half day helihike to Fox Glacier, or see the glaciers from the air onboard a helicopter flight. Fox and Franz Josef Glacier are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Afterwards you could relax at the Glacier Hot Pools in Franz Josef.

This morning you drive north passing Hokitika, which is the centre for fine greenstone jewellery. Drop your rental car off at Greymouth, where you board the world famous TranzAlpine train for your journey through Arthurs Pass, the highest of the three passes through the Southern Alps, back to Christchurch.

Today you are free to explore Christchurch before being transferred to Christchurch Airport for your flight home.

Day 1, Arrive Auckland

Arrive Auckland

Welcome to New Zealand's North Island! Collect your car rental on arrival from the Hertz rental car office, located at the airport terminal. Make your way to the city and check into your accommodation for tonight. This evening is at your leisure to explore the city of Auckland. Take a trip up Auckland's Skytower, and afterwards you could do some shopping in Queen Street, or dine in one of the many restaurants and cafes on the Auckland Harbour.

Day 2, Auckland to Rotorua

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 346 kms

Travel south to Rotorua, perhaps via Waitomo Caves, where a highlight of the day is a tour through the magical grotto lit by thousands of tiny glowworms. Alternatively drive through Matamata and take a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. Then it is on to Rotorua, steeped in Maori culture and history. 

Day 3, Rotorua

Rotorua

Today you are free to explore some of Rotorua's many attractions. Visit the Agrodome this morning and see a fun, informative sheep show and shearing demonstration. Afterwards you could visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and see the brilliant colours of the Champagne Pool, and Artist's Palette, as well as the once a day eruption of Lady Knox Geyser; before travelling back to town to relax at the Polynesian Spa. 

Tonight enjoy a night of traditional culture and entertainment, before experiencing a Maori hangi (feast), with a selection of foods cooked the traditional Maori way underground, amongst the surroundings of an authentic village.

Day 4, Rotorua - Napier

Rotorua - Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 219 kms

Travel across the central plateau via Lake Taupo, stopping at the Huka Falls along the way. Then, continue on to the Hawkes Bay region. Explore Napier, New Zealand's Art Deco capital, with options to join an Art Deco guided walking tour or vintage car tour.

Day 5, Napier - Wellington via Martinborough

Napier - Wellington via Martinborough

Travel Time: 4 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 353 kms

Spend the morning exploring Napier, before traveling through Hastings and the rural landscape of Hawke's Bay. Just south of Masterton is the township of Martinborough, where you can taste and purchase exquisite Pinot Noir before continuing on to Wellington, compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums, theatre and all kinds of shops.

Day 6, Wellington to Kaikoura

Wellington to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 1 hr 50 mins

Distance: 156 kms

Drop your car off in Picton, then sit back, relax and soak in the scenery as you cruise across Cook Strait and the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds on your Interislander Ferry journey to Picton, the gateway to the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds.

Pick up your rental vehicle and then continue along the coastal road to reach the coastal town of Kaikoura.  Join an optional tour to view the whales, or go swimming with the dolphins.

Day 7, Kaikoura to Lake Tekapo

Kaikoura to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 400 kms

Distance: 4 hr 45 mins

This morning drive south along the coast and crossing the Canterbury Plains past Christchurch to Lake Tekapo. This afternoon is at leisure - visit the Earth & Sky Observatory, take a scenic flight over Mt Cook, or visit the Church Of The Good Shepherd & Collie Dog Memorial. 

Day 8, Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 310 kms

Depart Lake Tekapo this morning and drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook. Take a short walk in the area or join one of the sightseeing activities at the Hermitage Hotel. Choose from boat cruises on the Tasman Lake to see the Tasman Glacier, ski plane flights, helicopter flights, or spend some time exploring the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. Afterwards travel south to Omarama and historic Oamaru, home of the Little Blue Penguins. Be sure to check out the unique geological formations known as the Moeraki Boulders located 70km's north of Dunedin "the Edinburgh of the South". Dunedin is memorable for its historical architecture. 

Day 9, Dunedin

Dunedin

Today you have a full day to explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula, famous for it's eco tourism and wildlife and there are a variety of tours and cruises showing all the best of the Dunedin region. Start your morning with a tour of Cadbury World and discover how Cadbury chocolates are made in their Dunedin factory. Then drive out to the Otago Peninsula and visit the Royal Albatross Centre, enjoy an argo adventure at Natures Wonders or go on a guided tour of the Yellow Eyed Penguin reserve

Take time to explore Larnach Castle and learn about its scandalous history. You might also want to visit Baldwin Street, the world's steepest residential address. End the day with a tour of the 125 year old Speights Brewery, finishing with a tasting of their range of world class beers. Dunedin is memorable for its historical architecture. 

Day 10, Dunedin to Te Anau

Dunedin to Te Anau

Travel Time: 3 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 289 kms

Travel across the lush green farmlands of South Otago and Southland, at Balclutha cross the mighty Clutha River and on to Gore. From here you travel across river plains, and onto Te Anau located on the shores of beautiful Lake Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Experience the beauty of the Fiordland Region at the Shadowlands Cinema for a 35 minute breath taking journey. This evening you could take an evening cruise across the lake to visit the incredible limestone caves that shimmer with thousands of glow worms.

Day 11, Te Anau to Milford Sound and Queenstown

Te Anau to Milford Sound and Queenstown

Travel Time: 5 hrs 5 mins

Distance: 405 kms

You have the morning to enjoy in Te Anau and maybe take a drive down to view Lake Manapouri. This morning drive one of New Zealand’s most scenic routes to Milford Sound. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, check in for your 11.00 am cruise Depart on your cruise of the full length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea.  The vessel stops at various points and plenty of time is available to view waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife.  The cruise is leisurely and is accompanied by comprehensive commentaries.  A choice of lunch menus and a well stocked bar are available.

Tea and coffee are supplied complimentary.  Duration is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.

After your cruise, drive back out from Milford Sound to Te Anau and on to Kingston. The rest of your journey clings scenically to the edge of Lake Wakatipu as you make your way to Queenstown.

This evening, for a night to remember you could take a ride up the Skyline Gondola to a view that will take your breath away before sitting down a sumptuous buffet dinner.

Option:

Reduce the amount of driving today, by adding in an extra night in Te Anau; and driving through to Queenstown the following morning.

Day 12, Queenstown

Queenstown

Today is at your leisure to explore the adventure capital of New Zealand. It's the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy, taking a Shotover Jet ride, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. It's also a destination for luxury experiences - gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf. Nearby is the former gold mining town of Arrowtown is a living, historic holiday destination, nestled beside the Arrow River.

Day 13, Queenstown

Queenstown

Enjoy a second day at leisure to explore the Queenstown region. If you are travelling between late June & early October, be sure to check out the ski fields within the region - there are 5 ski fields within an hour of Queenstown. This evening, for a night to remember take a ride up the Skyline Gondola to a view that will take your breath away before sitting down a sumptuous buffet dinner.

Day 14, Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 min

Distance: 352 kms

The shortest route to Wanaka is over the Crown Range Road. It's a challenging drive, but the views are amazing and you'll probably encounter friendly keas (mountain parrots). More conservative drivers can take the route that runs beside the Shotover River, Lake Dunstan and the Clutha River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way. Leaving Wanaka, Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. The famous ‘bra fence' is impossible to miss - it started as a joke, but it's become a local legend.

At the wilderness town of Makarora you can fuel up and refresh before you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass  to the wild West Coast. At pretty Lake Paringa you can enjoy a delicious meal of salmon at the salmon farm.

Options: Take a half day helihike to Fox Glacier, or see the glaciers from the air onboard a helicopter flight. Fox and Franz Josef Glacier are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Afterwards you could relax at the Glacier Hot Pools in Franz Josef.

Day 15, Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch via TranzAlpine Train

Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch via TranzAlpine Train

Travel Time: 2 hrs 5 mins

Distance: 173 kms

This morning you drive north passing Hokitika, which is the centre for fine greenstone jewellery. Drop your rental car off at Greymouth, where you board the world famous TranzAlpine train for your journey through Arthurs Pass, the highest of the three passes through the Southern Alps, back to Christchurch.

Day 16, Depart Christchurch

Depart Christchurch

Today you are free to explore Christchurch before being transferred to Christchurch Airport for your flight home.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per person

May to September 2019

 Twin/Double

Standard 3-3.5 Star Accommodation

Superior 4 Star Accommodation

From AU$5,556* per person

From AU$6,517* per person

* Please Note

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.

Car Rental

  • Car hire excess fees of up to NZ$3500 + GST applies. This will be imprinted on a credit card upon collecting the vehicle. Excess reduction options are available at an additional cost per day. 
  • Airport/Ferry pick up fee applies in some locations. This must be paid direct in New Zealand. 
  • Car parking fees may apply in some locations.

Payment

  • Deposit: $200 per person within 7 days of booking
  • Full Payment: 60 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full no more than 6 days after 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:

15 nights accommodation in your chosen category:

  • 1 Night Auckland
  • 2 Nights Rotorua
  • 1 Night Napier
  • 1 Night Wellington
  • 1 Night Kaikoura
  • 1 Night Lake Tekapo
  • 2 Nights Dunedin
  • 1 Night Te Anau
  • 3 Nights Queenstown
  • 1 Night Franz Josef
  • 1 Night Christchurch

14 days car hire (C/CDAR Toyota Corolla or Similar)

Christchurch airport and rail station transfers

Sky Tower admission with Sky Deck

Entry into Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Entry to Auckland Sky Tower

Tamaki cultural hangi & concert

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Skyline Gondola and Buffet Dinner

TranzAlpine Train Journey

Interislander Ferry

Options

Travel Insurance

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

Airfares

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

Highlights

Auckland Sky Tower

Towering over Auckland and standing at 328m tall, the Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Travel up in glass-fronted lifts to one of the 3 spectacular viewing platforms, where you can take in views of Auckland City & its twin harbours.

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Skyline Gondola Ride & Buffet Dinner

A great night out is to enjoy a dinner up the top of the Skyline Gondola at the Stratosfare, which serves up a mouth-watering buffet of legendary proportions. After dinner, set back & relax with a drink or cocktail fron the bar and take in the spectacular scenery before returning to Queenstown on the Gondola.

TranzAlpine Train Journey

Your TranzAlpine train journey begins in Greymouth. Travel through lush beech forest from the West Coast, then descend into the Southern Alps. Cross the spectacular gorges & river valleys of the Waimakariri River before crossing the Canterbury Plains.

Book now, pay later No credit card required

16 Day New Zealand Icons Self Drive

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