5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour
5 day North & South Island Self Drive, from Wellington to Wellington
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5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour

Experience Wellington's unique cosmopolitan vibe with a highlights tour of the city. Get your fantasy on when you visit Weta Workshop, home of Lord of the Rings, and see native New Zealand birds at Zealandia. Cruise the Marlborough Sounds before taking in this stunning region over a glass of world renowned wine. 

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Itinerary details at a glance

North & South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,608 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Wellington, finishes in Wellington

5 days/4 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Rental car included

 Viewed 10 times in the last 7 days

This North & South Island Self Drive tour idea includes:

- Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation (IST)
- Cougar Line Shared Transfer - Marlborough Sounds to Picton
Meals included: 4 breakfasts, 1 dinner
Tour at a glance
Quick itinerary overview - 5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour

Day 1: Arrive into Wellington tonight enjoy an evening at Zealandia
Accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

Day 2: A morning tour of Wellington and then visit the Weta Workshop
Accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

Day 3: A morning cruise across Cook Straight before heading into the Marlborough Sounds
Accommodation: Bay of Many Coves Resort

Day 4: Discover the delightful wines of Marlborough on a half day wine tour
Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.3 hours

Day 5: Depart Blenheim today for your onward travel to Wellington and beyond

Detailed itinerary
See a day by day description including activities & accommodation suggestions for this itinerary example
Tour full itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive into Wellington tonight enjoy an evening at Zealandia
5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour - Day 1
Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation

You will be met on arrival at Wellington airport and transferred to your accommodation.

Zealandia By Night Wildlife Sanctuary Tour

Taking a night tour of Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary is an unforgettable experience and one that comes highly recommended. A conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals, Zealandia is home to many remarkable species of birds, reptiles and insects living wild within a beautiful 225 hectare (one square mile) valley - just 10 minutes from the central city.
Your tour begins with an interactive exhibition before you walk through the gates of Zealandia predator-exclusion fence into the sanctuary. Your guide will then lead you on a torch-light walk through the native New Zealand bush. Possible sights include Kiwi foraging on the forest floor, tuatara hunting for food, glowworms shining, tiny Maud Island frogs in their enclosure, pateke (brown teal) ducks feeding at night and kaka (parrots) coming in to roost.
Zealandia is one of the best places to see kiwi in the wild. Over 100 of these nocturnal birds live freely in their natural environment inside the safety of the sanctuary valley - so your chances of seeing one is high!

Your accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

The Bolton Hotel offers contemporary apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Wellington. Just steps from the Parliament buildings and central business district, Bolton Hotel is conveniently close to the best of the city's shops, cafes and restaurants and is within walking distance of Wellington's vibrant waterfront.
Day 2 - A morning tour of Wellington and then visit the Weta Workshop
5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour - Day 2
Wellington Half Day Tour

Witness the best sights of New Zealand's capital city up close and personal, before experiencing the beauty of the coastline that surrounds central Wellington and its harbour. On this tour, you will head for the hills of Mt Victoria to witness the stunning landscape of Wellington and its harbour below. You will then follow the coastline round to the Weta Cave Museum, which is the showpiece of Peter Jackson's film empire. After a drive around the south coast, you will head back into the city for a ride on the Cable Car and a walk around the lady Norwood rose gardens. The tour concludes with a visit to the Beehive and our Parliament buildings.

Wētā Workshop Experience

The Weta Cave mini-museum brings you face to face with some of the characters, props and displays from your favourite movies, including The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. Visit Weta Cave Workshop and get up close to the props, weapons and costumes created for The Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, The Great Wall, Avatar, District 9, and more. See artists at work on our tour stage and peek through windows that look directly into the Workshop. Hear stories from the Weta Workshop crew. Many have worked on the films themselves!
Weta Workshop is also known for its extraordinary miniatures and bigatures created for films like The Lord of the Rings, Furious 7, The Legend of Zorro, and Master and Commander. On the Miniatures Stage Tour, you'll visit the authentic Thunderbirds Are Go shooting stage and discover Weta Workshop's latest jaw-dropping creations.

Your accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

The Bolton Hotel offers contemporary apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Wellington. Just steps from the Parliament buildings and central business district, Bolton Hotel is conveniently close to the best of the city's shops, cafes and restaurants and is within walking distance of Wellington's vibrant waterfront.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 - A morning cruise across Cook Straight before heading into the Marlborough Sounds
5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour - Day 3
Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge

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 is a remarkable photographic opportunity. At the end of Queen Charlotte Sound the cruise comes to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.
When you're not out on the deck enjoying the amazing views, you can retreat to the exclusive Premium Plus lounge which is the most comfortable and relaxing way to travel across the Cook Strait. You'll enjoy complimentary beverages, light snacks, lunch or breakfast, internet access, magazines and newspapers and the most comfortable seating, so you can sit back and enjoy the journey.

Seafood Odyssea Cruise

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Queen Charlotte Sound with seemingly endless bays and coves to explore and different scenery around each corner. Seafood Odyssea Cruise offers a unique range of sightseeing, birdlife and wildlife. Learn about the Marlborough Sounds area, the local seafoods grown and enjoy a fabulous seafood tasting on board matched to stunning Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Your accommodation: Bay of Many Coves Resort

Bay of Many Coves is a luxury five-star resort, set in the heart of Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough. Nestled between stunning native bush and our secluded bay, you will enjoy an unforgettable experience: Whether you are seeking world-class cuisine, breath-taking scenery, adventure, or simply a sense of renewal, you will find it here, whatever the season.
Kindly note, this is a non-smoking resort.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 - Discover the delightful wines of Marlborough on a half day wine tour
5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour - Day 4
Cougar Line Shared Transfer - Marlborough Sounds to Picton

Return to Picton by Cougar Line scheduled water taxi today via the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Stop at a number of pick up/drop off points en route.

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.

GPS navigation

Navigating New Zealand can be done easily in two ways. If you have a smartphone, you will be able to connect it to the USB of your rental car and your maps and other apps will display on the screen in the centre console of your vehicle, with the sound coming through the car speakers.
If you don't have a smartphone, chat to us to ensure we book you a car with a portable GPS system. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface, with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions, which announces street names.  The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Picton to Blenheim

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

Half Day Wine Tour

An afternoon among the vines! Be immersed in the Marlborough wine country with the Sounds Connection half day wine tour. You'll be collected from your accommodation and taken through three or four hand-picked wineries to taste the award-winning produce this region is known for. You'll also hear about the history of winemaking in Marlborough as well as learning the unique processes each winery goes through. A lunch stop is not included in this tour so we do advise you have something to eat prior to this activity. 

Your accommodation: Chateau Marlborough

Chateau Marlborough offers luxury accommodation in the heart of Blenheim, one of New Zealand's most famous wine regions. This boutique hotel prides itself on offering guests luxury accommodation with enviable attention to detail, overlooking Seymour Square Gardens and is just a short walk from Blenheim's town centre.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.3 hours

Day 5 - Depart Blenheim today for your onward travel to Wellington and beyond
5 Day Explore Wellington and Marlborough Tour - Day 5
Rental Car drop off Blenheim Airport

Drop your vehicle at the Blenheim airport depot today.

Air New Zealand flight Blenheim to Wellington
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