Overview

This 11 Day Queenstown to Auckland Highlights Self Drive tour takes you to the iconic attractions of New Zealand from the “Adventure Capital” of Queenstown all the way north to Auckland where the tour ends. A visit to Mt. Cook National Park is included, as well as to the coastal town of Kaikoura and the renowned Marlborough wine region. Heading to North Island you cross Cook Strait, arriving at the harbour city and capital, Wellington. Along the way, you'll experience the unique Maori culture and thermal attractions in Rotorua, rounding it off in the "City of Sails," Auckland.

Itineraries

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

Queenstown - Mount Cook - Christchurch - Kaikoura - Blenheim - Wellington - Rotorua - Auckland

Map of 11 Day Queenstown to Auckland Highlights Self Drive
View itinerary for day 1
View itinerary for day 2
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View itinerary for day 4
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View itinerary for day 6
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View itinerary for day 8
View itinerary for day 9
View itinerary for day 10
View itinerary for day 11
Welcome to Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura to Blenheim
Blenheim to Picton; Interislander Ferry to Wellington
Wellington to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Auckland
Depart Auckland

Day 1

Welcome to Queenstown

Day 2

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 3

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Day 4

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Travel Time: 3 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 327 kms

Day 5

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 166 kms

Day 6

Kaikoura to Blenheim

Travel Time: 1 hr 25 mins

Distance: 116 kms

Day 7

Blenheim to Picton; Interislander Ferry to Wellington

Travel Time: 20 mins

Distance: 22 kms

Day 8

Wellington to Rotorua

Travel Time: 5 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 441 kms

Day 9

Explore Rotorua

Day 10

Rotorua to Auckland

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 219 kms

Day 11

Depart Auckland

On arrival into Queenstown international airport you will be met from your flight by one of our representatives. They will deliver your tour document pack containing everything you will need and assist you on your way.

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

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 - Dart River Wilderness Safari 

Leaving Queenstown you'll head through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge. 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. 

Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads. 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. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Bike Tour 

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

 As you leave Kaikoura take in the spectacular shoreline and keep a lookout for native wildlife as you go. Stop to view adult fur seals at Ohau point, and take a short stroll inland to view the pups frolicking in the waterfall upstream. Continuing on, you'll have the ocean on one side and the Kaikoura ranges on the other before traversing the dry hills of 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 

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'. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour 

Stay 1 night Wellington

The drive from Wellington to Taupo takes you via the Kapiti Coast and some seaside towns. Heading north you pass through the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving onto the central plateau. 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.

The township of Taupo sits on the shores of New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo. 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. 

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. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rainbow Springs 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Agrodome Sheep Show and Organic Farm Tour 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mitai Maori Village 

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 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience 

Stay 1 night Auckland

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

Day 1, Welcome to Queenstown

Welcome to Queenstown

On arrival into Queenstown international airport you will be met from your flight by one of our representatives. They will deliver your tour document pack containing everything you will need and assist you on your way.

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

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Day 2, 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 - Dart River Wilderness Safari 

Day 3, 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. 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. 

Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads. 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 4, Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Travel Time: 3 hrs 45 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. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Bike Tour 

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 5, 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 6, Kaikoura to Blenheim

Kaikoura to Blenheim

Travel Time: 1 hr 25 mins

Distance: 116 kms

 As you leave Kaikoura take in the spectacular shoreline and keep a lookout for native wildlife as you go. Stop to view adult fur seals at Ohau point, and take a short stroll inland to view the pups frolicking in the waterfall upstream. Continuing on, you'll have the ocean on one side and the Kaikoura ranges on the other before traversing the dry hills of 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 7, Blenheim to Picton; Interislander Ferry to Wellington

Blenheim to Picton; Interislander Ferry to Wellington

Travel Time: 20 mins

Distance: 22 kms

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'. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour 

Stay 1 night Wellington

Day 8, 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 and some seaside towns. Heading north you pass through the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving onto the central plateau. 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.

The township of Taupo sits on the shores of New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo. 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. 

Stay 2 nights Rotorua

Day 9, 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. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rainbow Springs 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Agrodome Sheep Show and Organic Farm Tour 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mitai Maori Village 

Day 10, Rotorua to Auckland

Rotorua to Auckland

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 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 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience 

Stay 1 night Auckland

Day 11, 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
3-Star Accommodation from NZ$2,498* 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:

10 nights accommodation

  • 2 nights Queenstown
  • 1 night Mt Cook
  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Kaikoura
  • 1 night Blenheim
  • 1 night Wellington
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • 1 night 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 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 Queenstown to Auckland Highlights Self Drive

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