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14 day New Zealand Grand 

14 days from Auckland to Christchurch

This 14 day itinerary ensures you get to experience the essential must see destinations of each island. From the City of Sails to the golden sand beaches of the Coromandel and the adventure and culture of Rotorua, the wine regions of Napier and the capital of Wellington. Cross to the South Island and its rugged mountains, glaciers and lakes. A true classic driving tour, perfect to customise to your ideal holiday.

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 This suggested tour costs from per person (twin share, low season) (get instant quote here)
 14 days/13 nights from Auckland to Christchurch
 Accommodation suggested on this tour is: Motels (Can be customised? YES )
 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible
 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers
 Tour pack: Includes detailed driving instructions, maps, guide books and much more
 This tour can be customised to suit you precisely - just request here

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  • Includes: Private airport transfers
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Yellow-eyed penguin, Dunedin, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
 

14 day New Zealand Grand - at a glance (See detailed itinerary)

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland, transfer to your accommodation and rest of day at leisure
Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments

Day 2: Collect your rental car then head south to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula
Accommodation: Beachside Resort
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 207 kms / 129 miles : 3.0 hours

Day 3: Travel to the Maori cultural capital of Rotorua
Accommodation: Tuscany Villas Rotorua
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 220 kms / 137 miles : 3.4 hours

Day 4: Rotorua to Taupo to Napier
Accommodation: The Nautilus Napier
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 210 kms / 131 miles : 2.4 hours

Day 5: Napier to Wellington
Accommodation: CityLife Wellington
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 322 kms / 200 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 6: Take the ferry to Picton then to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Accommodation: Trailways Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 hours

Day 7: Head down the coast to Hokitika
Accommodation: Shining Star, Hokitika
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 333 kms / 206 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 8: Hokitika to Franz Josef, Glacier Country
Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 133 kms / 82 miles : 1.6 hours

Day 9: Franz Josef to Wanaka and onto Queenstown
Accommodation: Mercure Resort Queenstown
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 344 kms / 213 miles : 4.3 hours

Day 10: A full day to explore Queenstown
Accommodation: Mercure Resort Queenstown

Day 11: Follow the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

Day 12: Cross the Southland Scenery to Dunedin, Edinburgh of the South
Accommodation: Motel on York
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 285 kms / 177 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 13: Follow the coast north and onto Christchurch City
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 346 kms / 215 miles : 4.2 hours

Day 14: Your last day, explore the city before your onward journey

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 7 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 1

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland, transfer to your accommodation and rest of day at leisure

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

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

Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

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.

Your accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments

Waldorf Stadium Apartment Hotel offers 4.5 star self-contained apartment accommodation in downtown Auckland City. Located a short walk from Britomart Transport and Entertainment Precinct, Auckland Waterfront and Ferries, Queen Street and Vector Arena, Waldorf Stadium is in a wonderful location to visit all of Auckland Cities attractions in.
Waldorf Stadium Apartments

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 2

Day 2 - Collect your rental car then head south to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township

Leaving Auckland you'll cross the lush farmland of the Hauraki Plains - one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. Continue on through the Thames Estuary, a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Arrive in the historic gold mining town of Thames and choose between two different routes to the Coromandel. Directly over the Coromandel Ranges will deliver you in a snappy 45 minutes, however the more scenic - and three hours longer - route takes you North to Coromandel Town along the Pohutukawa Coast. This is one of the most spectacular drives in the region and not to be missed.

Your accommodation: Beachside Resort

Beachside Resort is located just a three minute stroll to Whitianga's main street and only a minute to the beautiful Buffalo Beach. The modern fully equipped apartments are the perfect base for exploring the region.
Beachside Resort

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 207 kms / 129 miles : 3.0 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 3

Day 3 - Travel to the Maori cultural capital of Rotorua

Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through the seaside town of Whangamata - a popular location for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region.  Next you come to the old mining town of Waihi which still has an operating open cast gold mine (Martha Mine) that can be viewed from a vantage point just above the town centre.

For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. The route now takes you into the Bay of Plenty and the port town of Tauranga before you head along the scenic Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. For Lord of the Rings fans a detour to Matamata is recommended as this is the location of the Hobbiton film set. Arriving into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the lake.

Your accommodation: Tuscany Villas Rotorua

Tuscany Villas offers guests luxurious accommodation in the heart of the city, with new modern designs and comfortable furnishings and a personal and friendly service.
Tuscany Villas Rotorua

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 220 kms / 137 miles : 3.4 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 4

Day 4 - Rotorua to Taupo to Napier

Rotorua to Napier

This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. Home to a plethora of unique geothermal attractions including boiling mud pits, natural hot springs and steaming geysers, this area is a must do before you move on to Napier. Notable attractions are Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Craters of the Moon.
Continue on to Taupo and marvel at the lake - a giant crater formed following a volcanic eruption in the year 180 CE. As you approach the city, be sure to stop at Huka Falls to view the spectacular sight of hundreds of cubic metres of water spilling every second down the narrow 11 metre drop.
For an extra thrill take a jet-boat ride to the base of the falls. Leaving Taupo, follow the road as it climbs the rugged Ahimanawa Range before descending back down the Pacific Coast to art deco Napier.

Your accommodation: The Nautilus Napier

The Nautilus is an Art Deco-inspired waterfront accommodation offering self-contained executive studios and suites, one bedroom apartments and premium suites, Facilities include a fully-licensed restaurant and bar. Located on Marine Parade it is an ideal location to experience Napier.
The Nautilus Napier

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 210 kms / 131 miles : 2.4 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 5

Day 5 - Napier to Wellington

Napier to Wellington City via Masterton

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

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

Your accommodation: CityLife Wellington

City Life Wellington is a suite style hotel. rooms have every amenity required for a comfortable stay and the location is superb to explore the compact city centre.
CityLife Wellington

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 322 kms / 200 miles : 4.1 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 6

Day 6 - Take the ferry to Picton then to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

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'. Leaving Wellington Harbour 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 country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

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. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive

Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock. Magnificent views of the sounds can be had from many vantage points so allow plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. If you can spare the time take the narrow windy road to Portage along Mahau Sound and Kenepuru Sound with their bush clad hillsides and secluded sandy coves.

The small port town of Havelock has a great variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from so plan your journey to arrive in time for lunch. The highway between Nelson and Picton also crosses the Pelorus River and just at this junction is the famous and historic Pelorus Bridge. From here there are a number of forest walks with the most popular the 30 minute loop through beech, rimu and totara forest to the swing-bridge.

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

Your accommodation: Trailways Hotel

Centrally located within a few minutes walk of Nelson’s central shopping precinct, theatres, restaurants and cafés, the information centre, and close to the scenic waterfront. Located right on the river, many of the rooms open onto the river view. Also overlooking the river is award-winning The Tides Restaurant and Bar.
Trailways Hotel

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 7

Day 7 - Head down the coast to Hokitika

Nelson to Hokitika

Leaving Nelson City you will pass through the suburb of Richmond. Moving on you will pass through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head towards the town of Murchison. Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop. Underneath its sleepy farming facade is an adventurers paradise with white water rafting, jet boating, gold panning, kayaking, 4WD trips and excellent trout fishing.

Heading South towards Westport you will drive along the Buller Gorge, enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. Further along the river from the west coast turn off one of the must stop places is Whites Creek and New Zealand's longest swing bridge. Crossing the river you get magnificent views of the gorge and once on the other side there are short bush walks, jet boat rides and some of the historic gold mining remnants.

Continuing on your journey the first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua and a small museum tells of the earthquake that hit the region in 1968 leaving 70% of the buildings damaged or inhabitable. Heading south a worthwhile divert is to Cape Foulwind just south of Westport. Home to a seal colony and the short walk provides some spectacular scenery. Continuing south on the road to Punakaiki you will pass through Paparoa National Park. On arrival to Punakaiki you may want to visit Pancake rocks. Pancake rocks are open to the public free of charge all year round. These are awesome natural blow holes and rock formations, the name says it all.

Just a little further south is Greymouth, the administrative centre of the West Coast and a great attraction here is Shantytown, a replica gold mining village.
The township of Hokitika was built on the pioneering spirit of the West Coast settlers. A busy port in its heyday it then became a centre for the West Coast gold rush and more recently has become known for its Jade or Greenstone crafts. Here you will find many shops selling intricately carved pieces as well as other fine arts and souvenirs. The town itself has some great old buildings and you will also find some fine restaurants and cafes.

The windswept beach is often covered with driftwood making for an interesting stroll and the scenery to the mountains is quite spectacular with Mt. Cook very often in view. Around 15 kilometres inland you will find Lake Kaniere, an idyllic spot to take bush walks or simply relax and enjoy the bush clad hill views. Just south of the town on State Highway 6 is Lake Mahinapua Scenic Reserve where you can enjoy some short walks. The Hokitika Gorge, around 45 minutes from the centre of is a magnificent granite gorge lined with beautiful native bush. A swing bridge just 2 minutes from the car park takes you over milky blue green pools and a short walk delivers you to large moss covered boulders to explore.

Your accommodation: Shining Star, Hokitika

The Shining Star Beachfront Chalets is set in spacious grounds featuring chalets with their own verandahs overlooking the Tasman Sea.
Shining Star, Hokitika

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 333 kms / 206 miles : 4.1 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 8

Day 8 - Hokitika to Franz Josef, Glacier Country

Hokitika to Franz Josef

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

Your accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Punga Grove is right in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier village and offers affordable and stylish accommodation in a beautiful rainforest setting.
Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 133 kms / 82 miles : 1.6 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 9

Day 9 - Franz Josef to Wanaka and onto Queenstown

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is easy before heading along the coast and more classic West Coast bush scenery. 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 Haast Valley offers a spectacular view of the river and its enormous power. 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.

Your accommodation: Mercure Resort Queenstown

Mercure Resort Queenstown is located near the shores of Lake Wakatipu, only 3 minutes drive from the centre of town. The hotel boasts spectacular views over the lake and the Remarkables Mountain Range.
Mercure Resort Queenstown

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 344 kms / 213 miles : 4.3 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 10

Day 10 - A full day to explore Queenstown

Experience the wonders of Queenstown

Renowned as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital,’ Queenstown is not just an action destination. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the (truly remarkable) Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is a melting pot of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. Follow the vines through Gibbston Valley as you sample the region’s best wine. Stop at the Chard Farm cellar door, visit the award-winning Peregrine vineyard or take a cellar cave tour at Gibbston Valley Winery. Cruise to Walter Peak station for dinner on board a 100 year old steamship - the TSS Earnslaw. While you're there, a farm tour is a must do for those not familiar with rural living.

Take some time to wander the waterfront, and grab lunch at one of the many amazing cafes and restaurants on offer. Try Vudu’s Pantry and larder or for a holiday treat go to Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown - a disused gold mining settlement built in the 1800’s.Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. After all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water Rafting.

Your accommodation: Mercure Resort Queenstown

Mercure Resort Queenstown is located near the shores of Lake Wakatipu, only 3 minutes drive from the centre of town. The hotel boasts spectacular views over the lake and the Remarkables Mountain Range.
Mercure Resort Queenstown

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 11

Day 11 - Follow the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park

Queenstown to Te Anau

Skirting the shores of Lake Wakatipu The Remarkables mountain range towers over your approach to the small township of Kingston. Cross the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) before arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau

The hotel is conveniently located only a short five-minute walk along the shore of beautiful Lake Te Anau to reach the town centre set amongst manicured gardens on the tranquil shores of Lake Te Anau.

Meals included: Dinner

Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 12

Day 12 - Cross the Southland Scenery to Dunedin, Edinburgh of the South

Te Anau to Dunedin

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

Your accommodation: Motel on York

Motel on York is located in the heart of Dunedin city. It offers superior luxury accommodation only 300 metres away from cafes and restaurants. Qualmark 5 star rated.
Motel on York

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 285 kms / 177 miles : 3.3 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 13

Day 13 - Follow the coast north and onto Christchurch City

Dunedin to Christchurch

Heading north from Dunedin your first stop should be Moeraki to explore the famous and unique Moeraki Boulders strewn on the beach. Following a look at these incredible and unique geological features don't miss a visit to Fleur's Cafe in Moeraki Township for the freshest seafood you'll experience. The town of Oamaru is most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. Explore the old quarter or if you don't mind a late arrival into Christchurch then stay longer to see the blue penguins come ashore at dusk. The port town of Timaru is next and then the vast Canterbury Plains. Crossing New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia you can view some great examples of the South Island's famous braided rivers.  Arriving into Christchurch City puts you close to the airport and the International Antarctic Centre, a visit is highly recommended. Here you can get as close to experiencing life on the frozen continent without actually visiting plus see New Zealand little blue penguins and ride in a Haaglund Tracked vehicle.

Your accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

The Heartland Hotel Cotswold is just minutes walk to boutique shopping at Merivale and Hagley Park. The distinctive architecture of the Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside of England.
Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 346 kms / 215 miles : 4.2 hours

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Day 14 - Your last day, explore the city before your onward journey

Depart Christchurch today

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

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 7 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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- Lord of the Rings Scenic Explorer, Staying in Motels

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