Overview

Following a loop of the lower South Island, set off from Christchurch for a crossing of the Southern Alps on the world famous TranzAlpine Scenic Train bound for the West Coast. On this section of the trip, enjoy highlights such as a stunning cruise in Milford Sound and a scenic flight and snow landing on the incredible glacier fields of the West Coast.

Journey north for a wine tasting tour in Marlborough then cross the Cook Strait to reach the eccentric capital city of Wellington and the North Island. Traverse the central plateau on your way to Rotorua and its gurgling mud pools and rich Maori heritage before rounding out your trip in the “City of Sails,” Auckland.

Itineraries

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

Christchurch - TranzAlpine Train - Franz Josef - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Mt Cook - Christchurch - Kaikoura - Blenheim - Wellington - Rotorua - Auckland

Map of 17 Day Northbound Christchurch to Auckland Self Drive
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Welcome to Christchurch City
TranzAlpine Scenic Train
Greymouth to Franz Josef
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura to Blenheim
Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington
Wellington City
Wellington to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Auckland
Explore Auckland City
Depart Auckland

Day 1

Welcome to Christchurch City

Day 2

TranzAlpine Scenic Train

Day 3

Greymouth to Franz Josef

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 167 kms

Day 4

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 344 kms

Day 5

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Day 6

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 7

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Day 8

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 327 kms

Day 9

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 166 kms

Day 10

Kaikoura to Blenheim

Travel Time: 1 hr 25 mins

Distance: 116 kms

Day 11

Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington

Travel Time: 25 mins

Distance: 27 kms

Day 12

Wellington City

Day 13

Wellington to Rotorua

Travel Time: 5 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 441 kms

Day 14

Explore Rotorua

Day 15

Rotorua to Auckland

Travel Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 219 kms

Day 16

Explore Auckland City

Day 17

Depart Auckland

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Discover Christchurch City Tour (2pm Departure)

Stay 1 night Christchurch

A private transfer will collect you this morning and deliver you to Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train Christchurch to Greymouth
Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the always popular glaciers.

Collect your rental car in Greymouth.

Greymouth sits on the Grey River and is the largest commercial centre on the West Coast. Within the town centre are several historical buildings of note, making it a pleasant place to stroll. For a taste of adventure, there are many activities to do.

Stay 1 night Greymouth

Leaving Greymouth today you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and be sure to take a detour to the spectacular Hokitika Gorge, a turquoise coloured river surrounded by native bush-clad cliffs.

Continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact. As you travel further down the coast you’ll also go through Hari Hari, the town where Guy Menzies, the first person to fly solo over the Tasman crash landed. Follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight
Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys.
Stay 1 night Franz Josef

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. At Knights Point Lookout elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. 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 3 nights Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2½ hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord.

On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way.

On reaching Milford Sound, you board the Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

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. Drive 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 Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Leaving Queenstown you'll head through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge - a popular bungy jumping location. Continue through the Gibbston Valley and be sure to stop at one of its many vineyards for a tasting. As you leave the gorge you'll arrive in Cromwell, known for its many fruit orchards.

Cromwell itself sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge and the old historic town is well worth the visit. Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads, with the summit reaching 971 metres. It's tussock covered hills are a barren but beautiful sight as you descend into the Mackenzie Basin. You'll go through the towns of Omarama and Twizel - the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mount. Cook Highway to arrive in the small village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Stay 1 night Mt Cook

Leaving Mount Cook national park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Lake Tekapo also displays the same reflective qualities of Lake Pukaki - making the waters a bright turquoise.

You’ll go through the small town of Tekapo, home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue.

From here you travel through Burkes Pass and into the rich farming valley that surrounds Geraldine. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools. Continue on and cross the Hawkswood Range before descending to the spectacular Kaikoura coastline - where the road hugs the ocean for the last leg of the drive.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura
Stay 1 night Kaikoura

Heading north from Kaikoura, the road hugs the shore for approximately 50 kilometres and offers many opportunities to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals.

Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards Marlborough, New Zealand's largest wine producing region. Blenheim sits right at the heart of Marlborough and is ideally located to enjoy an afternoon sampling the local produce.

Stay 1 night Blenheim

Blenheim to Picton
The short drive from Blenheim to Picton takes you through more wine growing regions and the valley to the west of the Robertson Range.

Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington
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.

Collect your rental car
Stay 2 nights Wellington

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this (self described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
On this half-day tour explore key Lord of the Rings filming locations all within an hour of central Wellington. Highlights include the outskirts of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin and the sites of Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. Stroll where the hobbits raced to the Buckleberry Ferry and see where the infamous 'get off the road' scene was shot. You'll also stop and overlook the site of the Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment.

The drive from Wellington to Taupo takes you via the Kapiti Coast. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites, you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might also recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe as this was used as the scenery of Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Continuing on to Rotorua you pass the volcanic valley, visit either Wai O Tapu or the Waimangu Valley for a closer look. Arriving into Rotorua the city’s geothermal activity is evident with steam rising from the roadside and hills. Rotorua is considered the heart of New Zealand’s Maori cultural and it’s here you can learn of their history and traditions.
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

Mitai Maori Village
An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. See warriors in traditional dress and glowworms in their natural habitat. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance.

The drive from Rotorua to Auckland takes you through the heart of the Waikato and its rich agricultural land. New Zealand's longest river - the Waikato - guides you through the art and craft stores of Tirau and the township of Cambridge. Continue on a little further to arrive into Auckland City, your destination for the night.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Stay 2 nights Auckland

Perched on the edge of a large natural harbour, New Zealand's ‘City of Sails’ offers the best of both worlds. Sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests give way to a vibrant urban culture, humming with life. Spend time in the Viaduct Harbour - try your hand at sailing an America’s Cup yacht - or take the ferry to nearby Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience.

Walk (if you're that way inclined) to the top of Auckland's highest volcano, Mt Eden, and take in soaring views of the gulf. Pack a picnic lunch and lose yourself in one of the 800 regional national parks on offer or grab a book and relax on a deserted beach. Head up the Sky Tower, standing at just over 300m tall (about 1,000 feet) and have a meal in the 360 degree revolving restaurant. Scale the outermost perimeter of the Harbour Bridge - or test your stomach and bungy off both. To end your day, catch a cab to Ponsonby Road and sample some upmarket culinary delights.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Great Tastes Half day Kumeu Wine Country Tour with Lunch

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise

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

Day 1, Welcome to Christchurch City

Welcome to Christchurch City

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Discover Christchurch City Tour (2pm Departure)

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 2, TranzAlpine Scenic Train

TranzAlpine Scenic Train

A private transfer will collect you this morning and deliver you to Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train Christchurch to Greymouth
Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the always popular glaciers.

Collect your rental car in Greymouth.

Greymouth sits on the Grey River and is the largest commercial centre on the West Coast. Within the town centre are several historical buildings of note, making it a pleasant place to stroll. For a taste of adventure, there are many activities to do.

Stay 1 night Greymouth

Day 3, Greymouth to Franz Josef

Greymouth to Franz Josef

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 167 kms

Leaving Greymouth today you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and be sure to take a detour to the spectacular Hokitika Gorge, a turquoise coloured river surrounded by native bush-clad cliffs.

Continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact. As you travel further down the coast you’ll also go through Hari Hari, the town where Guy Menzies, the first person to fly solo over the Tasman crash landed. Follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight
Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys.
Stay 1 night Franz Josef

Day 4, 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. At Knights Point Lookout elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. 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 3 nights Queenstown

Day 5, Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2½ hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord.

On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way.

On reaching Milford Sound, you board the Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 6, 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. Drive 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 Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Day 7, Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Leaving Queenstown you'll head through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge - a popular bungy jumping location. Continue through the Gibbston Valley and be sure to stop at one of its many vineyards for a tasting. As you leave the gorge you'll arrive in Cromwell, known for its many fruit orchards.

Cromwell itself sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge and the old historic town is well worth the visit. Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads, with the summit reaching 971 metres. It's tussock covered hills are a barren but beautiful sight as you descend into the Mackenzie Basin. You'll go through the towns of Omarama and Twizel - the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mount. Cook Highway to arrive in the small village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Stay 1 night Mt Cook

Day 8, Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 327 kms

Leaving Mount Cook national park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Lake Tekapo also displays the same reflective qualities of Lake Pukaki - making the waters a bright turquoise.

You’ll go through the small town of Tekapo, home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue.

From here you travel through Burkes Pass and into the rich farming valley that surrounds Geraldine. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 9, Christchurch to Kaikoura

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 166 kms

The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools. Continue on and cross the Hawkswood Range before descending to the spectacular Kaikoura coastline - where the road hugs the ocean for the last leg of the drive.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura
Stay 1 night Kaikoura

Day 10, Kaikoura to Blenheim

Kaikoura to Blenheim

Travel Time: 1 hr 25 mins

Distance: 116 kms

Heading north from Kaikoura, the road hugs the shore for approximately 50 kilometres and offers many opportunities to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals.

Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards Marlborough, New Zealand's largest wine producing region. Blenheim sits right at the heart of Marlborough and is ideally located to enjoy an afternoon sampling the local produce.

Stay 1 night Blenheim

Day 11, Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington

Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington

Travel Time: 25 mins

Distance: 27 kms

Blenheim to Picton
The short drive from Blenheim to Picton takes you through more wine growing regions and the valley to the west of the Robertson Range.

Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington
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.

Collect your rental car
Stay 2 nights Wellington

Day 12, Wellington City

Wellington City

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this (self described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
On this half-day tour explore key Lord of the Rings filming locations all within an hour of central Wellington. Highlights include the outskirts of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin and the sites of Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. Stroll where the hobbits raced to the Buckleberry Ferry and see where the infamous 'get off the road' scene was shot. You'll also stop and overlook the site of the Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment.

Day 13, Wellington to Rotorua

Wellington to Rotorua

Travel Time: 5 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 441 kms

The drive from Wellington to Taupo takes you via the Kapiti Coast. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites, you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might also recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe as this was used as the scenery of Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Continuing on to Rotorua you pass the volcanic valley, visit either Wai O Tapu or the Waimangu Valley for a closer look. Arriving into Rotorua the city’s geothermal activity is evident with steam rising from the roadside and hills. Rotorua is considered the heart of New Zealand’s Maori cultural and it’s here you can learn of their history and traditions.
Stay 2 nights Rotorua

Day 14, 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

Mitai Maori Village
An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. See warriors in traditional dress and glowworms in their natural habitat. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance.

Day 15, Rotorua to Auckland

Rotorua to Auckland

Travel Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 219 kms

The drive from Rotorua to Auckland takes you through the heart of the Waikato and its rich agricultural land. New Zealand's longest river - the Waikato - guides you through the art and craft stores of Tirau and the township of Cambridge. Continue on a little further to arrive into Auckland City, your destination for the night.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Stay 2 nights Auckland

Day 16, Explore Auckland City

Explore Auckland City

Perched on the edge of a large natural harbour, New Zealand's ‘City of Sails’ offers the best of both worlds. Sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests give way to a vibrant urban culture, humming with life. Spend time in the Viaduct Harbour - try your hand at sailing an America’s Cup yacht - or take the ferry to nearby Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience.

Walk (if you're that way inclined) to the top of Auckland's highest volcano, Mt Eden, and take in soaring views of the gulf. Pack a picnic lunch and lose yourself in one of the 800 regional national parks on offer or grab a book and relax on a deserted beach. Head up the Sky Tower, standing at just over 300m tall (about 1,000 feet) and have a meal in the 360 degree revolving restaurant. Scale the outermost perimeter of the Harbour Bridge - or test your stomach and bungy off both. To end your day, catch a cab to Ponsonby Road and sample some upmarket culinary delights.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Great Tastes Half day Kumeu Wine Country Tour with Lunch

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise

Day 17, Depart Auckland

Depart Auckland

Explore more of vibrant Auckland city 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$4,299* 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:

16 nights accommodation

  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Greymouth
  • 1 night Franz Josef
  • 3 nights Queenstown
  • 1 night Mt Cook
  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Kaikoura
  • 1 night Blenheim
  • 2 nights Wellington
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • 2 nights Auckland

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 and train station transfers

Interislander Ferry Crossing

Tranz Alpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth

Mitai Maori Village Concert & Buffet Dinner

Half day Middle Earth Lord of the Rings tour, Wellington

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

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.

Optional Extras

Explore Christchurch

Discover Christchurch City Tour (2pm Departure)

Learn about Christchurch’s fascinating history from the back of a 1960’s London open top double decker bus. You’ll hear about the pioneering days right through to present time, including the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. On the tour you will view some of the areas affected by the earthquakes and see how Christchurch is preserving some of its iconic heritage buildings, as well as hearing about the city’s rebuild and vision for the future.

Explore Queenstown

Skyline Gondola and Luge

In the heart of Queenstown, located 450 metres above town in Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve is the Skyline Complex. Catch a gondola to the summit for awe-inspiring views and delicious local fare with view. Ride the 800 metre luge track, then for added thrill, choose to tandem paraglide back to base.

Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak with gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship. On disembarking, you’ll be escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel's Homestead. Here you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads.

Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Explore Mt Cook

Glacier Explorers

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Explore Kaikoura

Whale Watching

New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company, Whale Watch Kaikoura offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime up close encounter with the giant sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, is sometimes seen.
You’ll be taken out in modern catamarans specifically designed for whale watching - featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

Explore Rotorua

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

At Rainbow Springs you’ll have the chance to see some of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna within the majestic forests of Rotorua. Wander the beautiful tree-lined park and take in the flourishing bush, ferns, flowers and plants. See the spring-fed pool with rainbow, brown and tiger trout, then visit the on-site aviaries - home to New Zealand species such kea, kaka, tui, kereru and kiwi. The tuatara, known as New Zealand’s living dinosaur can also be seen here.

Go behind the scenes with New Zealand’s national animal at the purpose built Kiwi Conservation Centre - created solely to try and stop the extinction of this unique species. Here you will gain first hand insight into the conservation efforts being made to increase the numbers of kiwi eggs being hatched and returned to the wild.

Forest Canopy Tours

Embark on a three hour adventure through native New Zealand forest. Journey through the beautiful forest canopy via an incredible network of trails, tree platforms, Ziplines and swing bridges. See breathtaking views of the woodland valleys and hills as you fly through tight openings in the trees.

In between the thrill of the ziplines and suspended tree bridges, your guides will share their passion and knowledge for the forest and the conservation challenges to preserve it.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Become immersed in The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata - in the heart the lush Waikato farming region, your two hour tour will begin with a drive through a picturesque sheep farm. You'll then be taken through Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and insight into the making of the films.

Explore Auckland

Harbour Bridge Climb

The only bridge climb in New Zealand, this spectacular AJ Hackett walking tour is the ultimate way to experience the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge. Custom engineered walkways provide a safe and enjoyable experience - meaning this activity is suitable for all ages. As you're guided along the curving archways you'll be greeted with a 360 degree, panoramic view of the sparkling Waitemata harbour. See the best of the city from above and learn all about the secrets of the bridge!

Great Tastes Half day Kumeu Wine Country Tour with Lunch

Today you'll be leaving the city and heading northwest to Kumeu Wine Country, Auckland's Heritage Wine Region. Enjoy lunch at a contemporary vineyard, sample world-renowned wines and marvel at the rugged surf-fringed coastline nearby. Your first stop is award-winning Soljans Estate Winery. Utilising both traditional and modern techniques, Soljans produce varied and richly flavoured wines. Built with sunshine in mind and a distinct Mediterranean-style, the onsite restaurant showcases fresh seasonal produce from around the region.

Continuing on, you’ll visit the Muriwai Gannet Colony - one of the few mainland nesting sites in the world. Situated on the cliffs overlooking the Tasman sea you’ll have breathtaking views of the beach and ocean beyond. Next is Matua Valley Wines - the first winery in new Zealand to produce a sauvignon blanc. Your final tasting is at West Brook Winery, one of New Zealand's oldest. These wines reflect true varietal character and their unique regional origins.

Fullers Harbour Cruise

Today Cruise the sparkling waters of Aucklands Waitemata harbour. You’ll learn about the most well-known city landmarks, including a stopover on dormant volcano Rangitoto. You’ll see spectacular views of the Harbour Bridge, the city skyline and Devonport’s historic naval base as well as enjoying the Bean Rock Lighthouse with a complimentary hot drink and sandwich. Each tour includes a complimentary return ticket to Devonport, that can be used on a day and time convenient to you.

Highlights

Tranz Alpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth

Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train trip operates between Christchurch and Greynouth and vice versa. Crossing from the Tasman Sea through Arthur's Pass National Park to the Pacific Ocean. From your carriage enjoy views of the lush rain forest of the West Coast to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. Travel through gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River.

Interislander Ferry

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 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. 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 countries highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

Mitai Maori Village Concert & Buffet Dinner, Rotorua

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. See warriors in traditional dress and glowworms in their natural habitat. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Middle Earth Lord of the Rings tour, Wellington

On this half-day tour explore key Lord of the Rings filming locations all within an hour of central Wellington. Highlights include the outskirts of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin and the sites of Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. Stroll where the hobbits raced to the Buckleberry Ferry, and see where the infamous 'get off the road' scene was shot. You'll also stop and overlook the site of the Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment.

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

An extended and leisurely 2½ hour cruise of Milford Sound on board the Milford Mariner, MV Sinbad or Milford Wanderer. These modern vessels, purpose built for operating in a fiord environment, have been designed along the lines of a traditional trading scow, and have real character. These relaxing cruises have special appeal for the independent traveller and an on board nature guide provides detailed interpretation and commentary. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and to view the stunning scenery, including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks. Keep a lookout for dolphins, seals and penguins.

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys.

Flight duration is 30 minutes. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line’s operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

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17 Day Northbound Christchurch to Auckland Self Drive

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