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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 cultural capital 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: Boutique lodges & hotels (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

This Tour Also Features

  • Includes: All breakfasts
  • Includes: 1 dinner
  • Includes: Private airport transfers
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(twin share, low season)
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Coromandel, 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: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Day 2: Collect your rental car then head south to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and onto Whangamata
Accommodation: Brenton Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 278 kms / 172 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 3: Travel to the Maori cultural capital of Rotorua
Accommodation: Black Swan Boutique Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 138 kms / 86 miles : 2.0 hours

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

Day 5: Napier to Wellington
Accommodation: QT Museum 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: Kershaw House
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 hours

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

Day 8: Hokitika to Franz Josef, Glacier Country
Accommodation: Westwood Lodge
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: Browns Boutique Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 344 kms / 213 miles : 4.3 hours

Day 10: A full day to explore Queenstown
Accommodation: Browns Boutique Hotel

Day 11: Follw the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park
Accommodation: Fiordland Lodge
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: Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 285 kms / 177 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 13: Follw the coast north and onto Christchurch City
Accommodation: The Classic Villa
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: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is located in the heart of Auckland on the unique and vibrant Viaduct Harbour and close to the new Wynyard Quarter.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

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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 and onto Whangamata

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.

Whitianga to Whangamata

Just south of Whitianga is probably one of the best known locations on the Coromandel Peninsula; the famous Hot Water Beach and the holiday town of Hahei. Popular with locals and Kiwi holiday makers for decades the beach also attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year who choose their spot in the sand, dig a hole and enjoy the naturally heated waters in the own private hot pool - with of course the best view in the country. If this sounds like you, check the tide times and plan the short detour from the main highway. Also worthy of a detour is Cathedral Cove. This popular walk and is well worth the effort to view the massive limestone formation aptly named on the golden sand beach. Tairua is just a hop down the coast and first stop should be Paku Hill (the extinct volcanic cone) which offers spectacular views over the natural harbour and the Pacific Ocean.  Just a short drive from Tairua you reach the holiday destination of Whangamata, popular with locals for the great conditions for water sports, particularly surfing.

Your accommodation: Brenton Lodge

Set in beautifully landscaped grounds, Brenton Lodge offers a relaxing escape near the Coromandel seaside holiday destination of Whangamata. With just 3 suites, you’ll enjoy peace and privacy during your stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Brenton Lodge

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 278 kms / 172 miles : 4.1 hours

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 3

Day 3 - Travel to the Maori cultural capital of Rotorua

Whangamata to Rotorua

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through old mining town of Waihi, which still has an operating open cast gold mine and you can view the workings of the Martha Mine from a vantage point signposted from the town centre. For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. Continue along the rich fruit growing coastline towards the port town of Tauranga and the surf beaches of Mt Maunganui and Papamoa before you head inland 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 Hobbiton. Arriving into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed with some great views of the lake.

Your accommodation: Black Swan Boutique Lodge

Black Swan Boutique Lodge combines old world charm with a modern funky twist. Set in one acre of outstanding gardens on the edge of Lake Rotorua, the lodge is an intimate retreat just a short drive from the centre of Rotorua.

Meals included: Breakfast

Black Swan Boutique Lodge

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 138 kms / 86 miles : 2.0 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 County Hotel

The County Hotel occupies a grand historic building at the heart of Napier city. Rooms have been exquisitely designed in fitting with the history while incorporating modern conveniences for a relaxing stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

The County Hotel

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: QT Museum Wellington

The Museum Hotel is superbly situated opposite Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand and Wellington's waterfront. The luxury rooms are just a few minutes walk from the cafes restaurants, theatres, galleries and shopping of the vibrant Courtenay Quarter.

Meals included: Breakfast

QT Museum 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: Kershaw House

Centrally located in Richmond, Kershaw House is the perfect base for guests to explore the Nelson Tasman region. Kershaw House is a registered historic home that has been extensively refurbished and offers 4 luxury guest rooms. Evening dining is easy with a selection of great restaurants just a 10 minute walk away.

Meals included: Breakfast

Kershaw House

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: Rimu Lodge

Rimu Lodge is just a short drive from Hokitika, but once you arrive it feels like a world away. Set amidst New Zealand native bush each room takes advantage of the amazing West Coast views making for a relaxing retreat.

Meals included: Breakfast

Rimu Lodge

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: Westwood Lodge

Westwood is a purpose built lodge, crafted entirely from wood and exquisitely decorated throughout. The lounge is the place to meet to watch the Southern Alps turn a soft pink in the setting sun.

Meals included: Breakfast

Westwood Lodge

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: Browns Boutique Hotel

Relax in the friendly and comfortable atmosphere of Queenstown's boutique accommodation complex. Designed along traditional European lines, this small intimate Hotel is only three minutes walk to the center of town and features stunning views of the Remarkables mountain range from every room.

Meals included: Breakfast

Browns Boutique Hotel

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: Browns Boutique Hotel

Relax in the friendly and comfortable atmosphere of Queenstown's boutique accommodation complex. Designed along traditional European lines, this small intimate Hotel is only three minutes walk to the center of town and features stunning views of the Remarkables mountain range from every room.

Meals included: Breakfast

Browns Boutique Hotel

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14 day New Zealand Grand - Day 11

Day 11 - Follw 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: Fiordland Lodge

Set in a World Heritage area Fiordland Lodge offers the discerning traveller comfort and privacy. The elegance and splendour of the Lodge is mirrored in the breathtaking views of Lake Te Anau and Fiordland. Private and serene, the Lodge is perfect for relaxation, or as a base for your Fiordland experience.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Fiordland Lodge

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: Camp Estate at Larnach Castle

A luxurious country house, situated 500m from Larnach Castle. The house is built from blue stone and features a spectacular marble staircase. The rooms are all double glazed and the reception rooms are all heated by open fires and underfloor heating. Staying at Camp Estate offers total privacy, with entry to Larnach Castle and grounds included.

Meals included: Breakfast

Camp Estate at Larnach Castle

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 - Follw 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: The Classic Villa

The Classic Villa is a beautifully restored Italian-style villa in the heart of Christchurch city. Located a short walk from the large open expanse of Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, yet close to all the inner city attractions and dining.

Meals included: Breakfast

The Classic Villa

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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