Overview

Leaving the cosmopolitan harbour city of Auckland on a 11 Day Auckland to Queenstown Highlights Self Drive holiday, drive south to Queenstown with its’ adrenalin charged activities, suitable for all the family, surrounded by the magnificent Southern Alps. On the way see the geothermal and maori cultural attractions of Rotorua. Stop at Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, and sip a latte, see a show, browse the boutique shops or visit one of the museums. 

Get a chance to experience wildlife encounters in Kaikoura once in South Island, where you will also enjoy plenty of time to soak up the captivating alpine landscape of Queenstown.

Itineraries

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

Auckland - Rotorua - Wellington - Marlborough Sounds - Kaikoura - Christchurch - Mount Cook - Queenstown

Map of 11 Day Auckland to Queenstown Highlights Self Drive
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View itinerary for day 11
Welcome to Auckland City
Auckland to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Wellington
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Blenheim to Kaikoura
Kaikoura to Christchurch
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook to Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Welcome to Auckland City

Day 2

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 220 kms

Day 3

Explore Rotorua

Day 4

Rotorua to Wellington

Travel Time: 5 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 452 kms

Day 5

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Travel Time: 20 mins

Distance: 25 kms

Day 6

Blenheim to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 1 hr 20 mins

Distance: 110 kms

Day 7

Kaikoura to Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

Day 8

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Day 9

Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Day 10

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 11

Depart Queenstown

Welcome to Auckland City 

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Auckland Harbour Cruise 

Stay 1 night Auckland

Auckland to Rotorua 

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour 

Stay 2 nights Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mitai Maori Village 

The drive from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupo home to New Zealand’s largest lake. Following the lakeshore South you’ll pass Turani and then ascend the central plateau onto the high country Rangipo Desert. Skirting the edge of Tongariro National Park, you’ll reach the military town of Waiouru before descending through rich farmland and the rural towns of Taihape And Mangaweka. Follow the coast through Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton to arrive at your destination, Wellington.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour 

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'. 

Picton to Blenheim
Only short 30 minute drive, you’ll follow the valley south to arrive in Blenheim, located in the heart of Marlborough - New Zealand’s largest wine producing region. Go through acres of leafy green vines and marvel at the magnificent ‘dry hills’ of Marlborough in the distance.

Stay 1 night Marlborough

Cross the 'dry hills' of Marlborough and head towards one of the most spectacular coastlines of the South Island, the Kaikoura Coast. The road hugs the shore for around 50 kilometres and offers many chances to view native wildlife. To the east is the South Pacific Ocean and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Kaikoura Township is a bustling little place with many cafes, restaurants and shops - but the main reason for visiting here is the wildlife - and it's one of the only places in New Zealand you can see whales year round.

Stay 1 night Kaikoura

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Kaikoura to Christchurch
Today you continue down the coast before heading inland through the North Canterbury wine region - the Waipara Valley. As you drive through this area you’ll be greeted by one of New Zealand's most notorious animals, the sheep. If you’ve time on your hands we recommend taking a detour to Hanmer Springs for relaxing dip in its thermal pools. Arriving into Christchurch you'll see a new and improved city, steadily rising from the ruins of the 2011 earthquake.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Gondola

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - International Antarctic Centre General Admission 

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Today you’ll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.

Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Tasman Valley 4WD & Argo Tours 

Stay 1 night Mt. Cook

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama. Continue on over the Lindis Pass and arrive in the quaint village of Tarras.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour 

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Day 1, Welcome to Auckland City

Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City 

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Auckland Harbour Cruise 

Stay 1 night Auckland

Day 2, Auckland to Rotorua

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 220 kms

Auckland to Rotorua 

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour 

Stay 2 nights Rotorua

Day 3, Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mitai Maori Village 

Day 4, Rotorua to Wellington

Rotorua to Wellington

Travel Time: 5 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 452 kms

The drive from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupo home to New Zealand’s largest lake. Following the lakeshore South you’ll pass Turani and then ascend the central plateau onto the high country Rangipo Desert. Skirting the edge of Tongariro National Park, you’ll reach the military town of Waiouru before descending through rich farmland and the rural towns of Taihape And Mangaweka. Follow the coast through Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton to arrive at your destination, Wellington.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour 

Stay 1 night Wellington

Day 5, Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Travel Time: 20 mins

Distance: 25 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'. 

Picton to Blenheim
Only short 30 minute drive, you’ll follow the valley south to arrive in Blenheim, located in the heart of Marlborough - New Zealand’s largest wine producing region. Go through acres of leafy green vines and marvel at the magnificent ‘dry hills’ of Marlborough in the distance.

Stay 1 night Marlborough

Day 6, Blenheim to Kaikoura

Blenheim to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 1 hr 20 mins

Distance: 110 kms

Cross the 'dry hills' of Marlborough and head towards one of the most spectacular coastlines of the South Island, the Kaikoura Coast. The road hugs the shore for around 50 kilometres and offers many chances to view native wildlife. To the east is the South Pacific Ocean and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Kaikoura Township is a bustling little place with many cafes, restaurants and shops - but the main reason for visiting here is the wildlife - and it's one of the only places in New Zealand you can see whales year round.

Stay 1 night Kaikoura

Day 7, Kaikoura to Christchurch

Kaikoura to Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Kaikoura to Christchurch
Today you continue down the coast before heading inland through the North Canterbury wine region - the Waipara Valley. As you drive through this area you’ll be greeted by one of New Zealand's most notorious animals, the sheep. If you’ve time on your hands we recommend taking a detour to Hanmer Springs for relaxing dip in its thermal pools. Arriving into Christchurch you'll see a new and improved city, steadily rising from the ruins of the 2011 earthquake.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Gondola

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - International Antarctic Centre General Admission 

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 8, Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Today you’ll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.

Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Tasman Valley 4WD & Argo Tours 

Stay 1 night Mt. Cook

Day 9, Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama. Continue on over the Lindis Pass and arrive in the quaint village of Tarras.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour 

Day 11, Depart Queenstown

Depart Queenstown

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/Double
3-Star Hotel Accommodation from NZ$2,374* per person

* PLEASE NOTE*

Price is per person and based on two adults travelling together and sharing a rental car and accommodation.

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:

10 nights accommodation

  • 1 night Auckland
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • 1 night Wellington
  • 1 night Blenheim
  • 1 night Kaikoura
  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Mt. Cook
  • 2 nights Queenstown

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

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 crossing

The 92 km journey between Picton and Wellington or vice versa 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 is a true photographic opportunity. From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Wellington Harbour sees you 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 countries highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

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11 Day Auckland to Queenstown Highlights Self Drive

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