Extended New Zealand Tour
31 day North & South Island Self Drive, from Christchurch to Auckland
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

Extended New Zealand Tour

This extensive month long tour visits all major regions on both the North and South Islands. A relaxed pace allows time to immerse yourself into the local atmosphere. The tour includes a great range of activities such as wildlife tours to view seals, albatross, penguins, dolphins and bird life plus must see destinations such as Milford Sound. An afternoon wine tour in Marlborough, a Maori cultural evening and dinner plus much more make this comprehensive itinerary a great option.

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North & South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$10,548 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Auckland

31 days/30 nights

Motels

 Rental car included

 Viewed 66 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch City
Accommodation: Bella Vista Christchurch

Day 2: Enjoy the scenes through the Southern Alps aboard the TranzAlpine Train
Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 167 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

Day 3: Enjoy the nature of the rainforest and perhaps a Glacier Helicopter flight
Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 4: Leaving the Glacier Country you'll follow the coast to Haast Pass which leads you to Wanaka
Accommodation: Clearbrook Motel and Serviced Apartments
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 283 kms / 176 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 5: Enjoy a cruise on Lake Wanaka before headed over to Queenstown
Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 75 kms / 47 miles : 1.2 hours

Day 6: The day is yours to discover all the scenic spots and fun activities on offer in Queenstown
Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 7: Enjoy a day on the Dart River
Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 8: Travel through the rich farmland of South Otago and Southland to reach Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

Day 9: Journey along the stunning Milford Road to Milford Sound for your cruise, then return to Te Anau
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 233 kms / 145 miles : 3.6 hours

Day 10: Travel through rolling Southland countryside tho arrive in Dunedin
Accommodation: Motel on York
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 285 kms / 177 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 11: Enjoy the wildlife of the Otago Peninsula
Accommodation: Motel on York

Day 12: Leaving Dunedin cross the Waitaki Valley and Mackenzie Country to Aoraki-Mt Cook
Accommodation: Mt Cook Motel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 317 kms / 196 miles : 3.7 hours

Day 13: Get up close with glaciers before a scenic drive to Christchurch
Accommodation: Bella Vista Christchurch
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 327 kms / 203 miles : 3.7 hours

Day 14: Take some time to enjoy the Garden City before departing to coastal Kaikoura
Accommodation: The White Morph, Kaikoura
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 179 kms / 111 miles : 2.5 hours

Day 15: Departing Kaikoura you'll travel to Abel Tasman National Park
Accommodation: Ocean View Chalets
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 303 kms / 188 miles : 4.3 hours

Day 16: Explore Abel Tasman National Park on a guided kayak and walking trip
Accommodation: Ocean View Chalets

Day 17: An afternoon of wine awaits in Marlborough
Accommodation: Bella Vista Blenheim

Day 18: Today you'll cross the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry
Accommodation: CityLife Wellington
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 27 kms / 17 miles : 0.4 hours

Day 19: Uncover the charms of Wellington City, including the quirky cafes and fascinating museums
Accommodation: CityLife Wellington

Day 20: Over the Rimutaka Ranges, then north through the wine regions of Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay
Accommodation: Bella Vista Napier
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 320 kms / 199 miles : 4.0 hours

Day 21: Gannet Safari Tour then time to explore Napier and the Hawkes Bay
Accommodation: Bella Vista Napier

Day 22: Napier to Rotorua, Tamaki Maori Village evening concert and dinner
Accommodation: Silver Fern Suites & Spa
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 211 kms / 131 miles : 2.4 hours

Day 23: Your day in Rotorua could be spent discovering Maori culture or thrilling adventure rides
Accommodation: Silver Fern Suites & Spa

Day 24: Follow the Bay of Plenty coastline north to Coromandel where you'll experience the delightful Driving Creek Railway
Accommodation: Coromandel Court Motel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 267 kms / 166 miles : 3.7 hours

Day 25: Cross the Hauraki Plains and through Auckland to Snells Beach
Accommodation: Snells Beach Motel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 232 kms / 144 miles : 3.1 hours

Day 26: Travel north to the sub-tropical Bay of Islands
Accommodation: Sea Spray Suites
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 175 kms / 109 miles : 2.3 hours

Day 27: Bay of Islands cruise then time to explore
Accommodation: Sea Spray Suites

Day 28: Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga day tour
Accommodation: Sea Spray Suites

Day 29: Cross Northland following the aqua blue waters of the Hokianga before travelling down the Kauri Coast
Accommodation: Auckland City Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 343 kms / 213 miles : 4.4 hours

Day 30: Explore the 'City of Sails'
Accommodation: Auckland City Hotel

Day 31: Depart Auckland today

Detailed itinerary - day by day
Tour full itinerary
Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 1
Private transfer Christchurch International Airport to your accommodation

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

Welcome to Christchurch City

Known as New Zealand's garden city, Christchurch is a vibrant metro area. 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 cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Christchurch

Bella Vista Motel Christchurch offers a great range of comfortable modern units with excellent facilities. Enjoy the convenience of being located in close proximity to the Christchurch CBD, shops, entertainment and other activities.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 2
Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation

On arrival at the Christchurch train station, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your accommodation.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth Scenic Plus

Great Journeys New Zealand's Scenic Plus carriage provides comfort and vast panoramic views, making our TranzAlpine scenic train journey the perfect way to explore coast-to-coast through the 'Great Divide' and the indomitable spine of mountains that partitions New Zealand's South Island. Scenic Plus offers an all-inclusive experience on the unique TranzAlpine scenic rail journey to invigorate all the senses! Feast your eyes on epic scenery while you savour regionally inspired cuisine paired with sumptuous wine and beer all from the comfort of your luxurious seat – a hosted dining experience like no other. Quite simply, we have done everything we can to ensure you feel at peace as you sink back in your seat and soak up the scenery.

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.

Greymouth to Franz Josef

Leaving Greymouth you will head south into Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and be sure to take a detour to the spectacular Hokitika Gorge, the famous turquoise-coloured river surrounded by native bush-clad cliffs.
Continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact and still to this day one of New Zealand's working gold mines. 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. Heading south along the mighty West Coast highway you pass through ancient temperate rainforests while getting sneak peeks of the wild west coast beach occasionally. Whataroa is the next town where you can see one of the world's rarest birds, the New Zealand white heron or Kotuku nest at the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve, and guided tours from October to March will take you there. Arriving in Franz Josef township is a lively place with a great atmosphere, restaurants including Blue Ice and Snakebite are worth a meal. This small town is packed with walks, adventure, and scenic activities, something for everyone.  

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.
Meals included: Lunch

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 167 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 3
Franz Josef Nature Tour with Glacier Valley Eco Tours

Nestled in thick historic West Coast forest and a stone's throw from wild black sand beaches, this is one of the world's most unusual glaciers. Beautiful blue skies or magical misty rain, whatever the weather - you will feel like you are in Narnia or LOTR.
With easy walking at your pace, information on glaciology, geology, geomorphology, flora and fauna, local legends, history, and small guided groups with fantastic guides, you will experience this glacier in style and in the best hands with the only local company. Wander past glacier rivers and streams and through beautiful podocarp forest; discover hidden natural treasures such as native snails, wild native mushrooms, and dozens of species of native orchids; listen to native bird song and waterfalls; see if you can spot a Chamois or a Tahr on the huge snow-capped mountains above while drinking a cup of tea and talking one-on-one with your guide. This tour will be a highlight of your travels in New Zealand.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

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. 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.

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.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 4
Franz Josef to Wanaka

Heading south you will climb over the Fox hills before arriving at the small town of Fox Glacier. If it's a nice day enjoy spectacular reflections of snowcapped mountains in Lake Matheson, located just 5 minutes west of Fox. Heading south from fox enjoy the amazing scenery of the Southern Alps, and sneak peeks of the rugged beaches while winding through ancient temperate rainforests. Paringa Salmon Farm is worth a stop to stretch your legs, feed the fish, and stop for lunch and refreshments. At Knights Point Lookout, elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the Haast River you’ll turn inland and through the mountainous valley littered with waterfalls. A great suggested stop along this route is the Blue Pools. Continue on past lakes Hawea and Wanaka into the alpine township of Wanaka.

Your accommodation: Clearbrook Motel and Serviced Apartments

Clearbrook offers luxury apartment style and townhouse accommodation options and is located just metres from Wanaka's main street and its majestic lake front.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 283 kms / 176 miles : 3.3 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 5
Cruise and Island Nature Walk with Eco Wanaka

Lying close to the centre of Lake Wanaka is Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve. A unique glacial remnant of the last ice age, the island is also the historic site of early shipbuilding and used to be a stopping place for the steamers and log rafts that once plied the lake. Accessible from Wanaka by a 35-minute boat cruise, the landing is on the eastern side of the island where the remnants of the early settlement remain; a stone wharf and a hut. A well-formed track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native bush to near the top of Tyrwhitt Peak. Just before the top, we see Arethusa Pool, a small lake on the island with small islands in it - very intriguing! From the top, we have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and below Arethusa Pool. The perfect spot to stop for tea or coffee. Going back down the track gives us more time to take in our surroundings, listening to and watching the lively bird-life, and just enjoying this unique wildlife reserve. You will feel well rewarded as you re-join the boat for the cruise back to Wanaka. Total cruise time is 1.5 hours. The trip runs subject to weather and lake conditions. Depending on the planting season, you can help The Reforestation of Mou Waho by planting a tree.

Wanaka to Queenstown via Arrowtown

Leaving Wanaka you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Arrowtown. From here it's just a short drive to Queenstown, along the way passing Lakes Hayes before you catch your first glimpse of Lake Wakatipu and the bustling tourist mecca of 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: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 75 kms / 47 miles : 1.2 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 6
Explore 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.
Head down the Gibbston Valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
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. If you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.
Finally, if you're lucky enough to visit in winter (July-September) there are four ski resorts close by. You can head up to Coronet Peak and the Remarkables close to Queenstown, or head to Wanaka for Cardrona and Treble Cone.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola Queenstown and 3 Luge Rides

In the heart of Queenstown, located 450 metres above town in the Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve is the Skyline Complex. A gondola ride to the summit makes for awe-inspiring views of the city surround. Arrive at the complex and wander the outside viewing decks for a picture perfect outlook. Then onto the Luge! The 800 metre luge track offers an exhilarating journey through banked corners, tunnels and dippers.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Jet Boat the Shotover River

Take a ride on ‘Big Red’ through the spectacular canyon walls of the upper Shotover River.  Shotover Jet Boat is the only company allowed to operate in this remarkable location and their skilled drivers will take you on a wet and wild ride you’ll never forget.

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

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience, a delicious gourmet BBQ buffet meal and a farm demonstration in a stunning lakeside setting. Take in the stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and its surroundings as you cruise across the lake to the historic Walter Peak high country farm aboard the TSS Earnslaw Steamship.
Enjoy the ambience of the heart of the stately homestead while your Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant chef prepares a gourmet BBQ dinner. Your seasonal menu includes an extensive selection of local New Zealand produce, including succulent meats and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Complete your meal with your choice of delicious desserts, New Zealand cheeses, tea and coffee.
After dinner, watch the farm dogs in action with a sheep-herding demonstration and say hello to the other farm animals. Finally, cruise home under the southern stars and enjoy the fresh night air as the lights of Queenstown draw ever closer.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 7
Dart River Safaris Funyaks

The best way to see, touch and feel the breathtaking Dart River valley. Jet boat for 1¼ hours to the upper reaches of the Dart River, where visitors disembark and inflate their own canoe. After a full safety and paddling instruction, your Funyak journey begins. Paddle downstream on a glacier-fed river amidst rocky peaks and dense rainforests. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch and explore the Rock Burn Chasm and ancient beech forests. Paddle to Paradise then transfer to an awaiting back road coach for the return trip through Paradise. Funyaks is suitable for most ages with average fitness and no previous experience is required.

It is important you read and understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information please see here.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.
Meals included: Lunch

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 8
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: Lakefront Lodge

Stylish self contained motel units less than one minute walk from Te Anau Lakefront. Close to shops, cafes and restaurants.

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

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 9
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau

The road to Milford Sound offers some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in the country. From crystal clear lakes and towering mountains to lush glacier formed meadows, this area is dramatic and unyielding. Stretch your legs on the Chasm Walk, a short stroll through native beech forest to see several powerful waterfalls. Continue on through the Homer Tunnel, an engineering marvel at 1219 metres long. Arriving into the village of Milford,you will be greeted with an amazing view of Mitre Peak. A day cruise into the heart of the sound is not to be missed. You’ll learn about how this magnificent area was formed and experience the wonder of the falls that line the Fiord before back-tracking the way you came.
Please note: Make sure to allow 2.5hrs to Milford Sound, this takes into account the current road works on the Milford Road.

Milford Sound Cruise with RealNZ

Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on a leisurely cruise of this spectacular fiord. From thundering waterfalls to sky-high mountains to lush rainforests, Milford has it all. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces. Informative, participative and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience Milford Sound to the fullest.

Your accommodation: Lakefront Lodge

Stylish self contained motel units less than one minute walk from Te Anau Lakefront. Close to shops, cafes and restaurants.
Meals included: Lunch

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 233 kms / 145 miles : 3.6 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 10
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. The property offers superior accommodation only 300 metres away from cafes and restaurants.

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

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 11
Wildlife Peninsula Encounter Tour Including Albatross Centre with Monarch

Join a local guide for a journey across the Otago Peninsula on the small group bus tour of Dunedin. Travel over the high road with postcard views of the harbour and coast. You'll travel past quaint communities and rural farms. Spot wading birds as your mini-bus explores around the inlets and the wetland eco-systems.
Your tour will visit a remote Otago Peninsula beach. A short walk from the mini-bus will provide dramatic views of rugged coastal cliffs, offshore islands and perhaps some huge sea lions. The trip continues to Taiaroa Head, home to the Royal Albatross Centre. You'll be taken up to a private viewing observatory for a special look at the northern royal albatross breeding colony. Watch as these majestic birds glide past on three-metre wingspans, or as they feed their chicks at the nest. Guests are also welcome to bring a pre-packed meal on tour with them. We recommend having a good sized lunch before the tour departs Dunedin.
The final stop is at a Yellow-eyed Penguin conservation reserve. Visit the on-site rehab centre before a tour of the reserve. You'll take trails through native bushland, walking through tunnels and trenches to different viewing hides scattered around the reserve. Watch as the world’s rarest penguin returns ashore and interacts around their nesting sites. The tour ends with a relaxed drive, following the harbour, back to Dunedin
 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - High Tea plus Garden and Castle Entry at Larnach Castle

Larnach is New Zealand's only Castle, built in 1871 by politician and merchant, William Larnach, a man of great vision who helped shape New Zealand's early history. It was built for William's beloved first wife Eliza; it took 200 workmen three years to build the shell and a further twelve years were spent by master craftsmen to embellish the interior. The Castle is located high up on the Otago Peninsula and looks down on Dunedin city giving beautiful views. The gardens have an International Garden of Significance status and have a unique collection of antiques, including a unique nine piece Totara knot suite. The Ballroom cafe is a fantastic place to rest and reflect on all you have seen while enjoying a delicious range of refreshments. As with the entire castle, the ballroom had an interesting and varied history prior to its beautiful restoration, uses ranged from an asylum, antique sales room to the penning of sheep. In this self guided exploration of the castle and gardens, you are free to discover on your own. Your High tea experience includes a selection of homemade sandwiches, slices, scones and cream cake and a pot of tea and is served in the Ballroom Cafe.

Your accommodation: Motel on York

Motel on York is located in the heart of Dunedin city. The property offers superior accommodation only 300 metres away from cafes and restaurants.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 12
Dunedin to Mt Cook National Park

Heading north from Dunedin your first stop should be Moeraki to explore the famous and unique boulders strewn on the beach. Before heading inland along the Waitaki Valley you pass through the historic township of Oamaru and its Stone buildings. Take time to head into the old quarter and if your timing is right you may get to see some of the local resident little blue penguins. The Waitaki Valley makes a large contribution to New Zealand's electricity supply with its 3 hydro dams. Arriving into Omarama you are now truly in the high country but don't think these vast empty lands are useless, these are some of the country's most productive merino sheep stations. The turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki guide you the final 45 minutes to Aoraki Mount Cook Village.
Please note: There are no food shops at Mount Cook, and dinner options are limited to one restaurant. If you wish to self-cater, you must stock up before arriving in Mount Cook, or make dinner reservations in advance.

Big Sky Stargazing

Mt Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand, perfect for viewing the night sky! Their fully trained guides are delighted to show you the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at the outdoor viewing platform. If the weather is not favourable then there will be an indoor alternative featuring New Zealand’s first full dome digital Planetarium, a high-definition video images on a suspended 9m wide x 4.5m high full dome. Unleash your imagination as you discover the night sky including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even our very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way!

Your accommodation: Mt Cook Motel

Mt Cook Motel is located in the centre of Mt. Cook village. The self-contained units are spacious and all are surrounded by alpine mountain views.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 317 kms / 196 miles : 3.7 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 13
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

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.

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to Christchurch

Leaving Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Learn about the formation of the region and take in the spectacular views of Mount Cook. 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. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just marvel at the magnificent views. 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.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Christchurch

Bella Vista Motel Christchurch offers a great range of comfortable modern units with excellent facilities. Enjoy the convenience of being located in close proximity to the Christchurch CBD, shops, entertainment and other activities.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 327 kms / 203 miles : 3.7 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 14
Christchurch to Kaikoura

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 - International Antarctic Centre General Admission

The International Antarctic Centre aims to recreate the atmosphere and environment of Antarctica, providing visitors with an interactive, fun and educational experience. Feel the full Four Seasons of Antarctica, where you'll experience a custom-built snow and ice experience, then warm up in the Scott Base interior exhibit, a replica Antarctic field camp or other informative displays in the gallery. You'll also learn about life in modern day Antarctica, view real little blue penguins and experience a thrilling ride in a Hagglund all terrain vehicle.

Your accommodation: The White Morph, Kaikoura

Set on the Esplanade in Kaikōura, The White Morph enjoys commanding views of the ocean and mountains. Just a 10-minute walk into town, The White Morph has been beautifully placed so that you can take in the spectacular scenery of Kaikoura while enjoying the variety of attractions on offer.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 179 kms / 111 miles : 2.5 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 15
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 30 Minute Whale Watch Explorer with Wings over Whales Kaikoura

In a typical 30 minute flight you will see the majestic Sperm Whale preparing for his next dive and up to 500 Dusky Dolphins cavorting with each other. On occasion, sightings include Southern Right, Humpback, Fin, Sei, Brydes, Pilot, Southern Bottlenose and the mighty Blue Whales. You may also spot Hectors, Risso's, Southern Right Whale Dolphins, and Orca, although these are all less frequent visitors to the area. Gain an aerial perspective of this fantastic marine environment in a high-winged aircraft with optimal, unobstructed viewing.

Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park

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. One of the best seal watching locations is Ohau Point (25km north of Kaikoura), where you can observe the adults on the shoreline and the pups frolicking in the waterfall, just a short walk from the road (signposted). As you drive you will have turquoise waters of the South Pacific Ocean to your east and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards New Zealand's largest wine producing region.The vineyards surrounding Blenheim are a great place to stop for a wine tasting or lunch at one of the many fine restaurants, including the award winning Herzog Winery and Restaurant. A short drive from Blenheim you reach the busy port town of Picton, and it's here that the Interislander ferries arrive and depart. The town centre is quite small with plenty of shops and cafes and the waterfront area is a very pleasant place to spend time watching the activity of the ships. The Edwin Fox Maritime Centre on the wharf is worth a visit with the star attraction being the vessel the Edwin Fox, reputably the 9th oldest ship in the world. It's also the starting point the for the famous Queen Charlotte Walk. 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. 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. Motueka is a further 45 minutes along the bay and from there it's just a short drive to Kaiteriteri and Marahau, all ideal spots from which to explore the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Captains Cabin Experience with Whale Watch Kaikoura

The Captain’s Cabin is situated in the wheelhouse alongside the skipper and watchkeeper. This cabin provides guests with exclusive access to the skipper as they go about their duties as well as a dedicated guide for the duration of the tour. There is a maximum of 12 passengers, giving a more intimate, comfortable, and modern setting.

Your accommodation: Ocean View Chalets

The Ocean View Chalets are situated on a 50-acre farmlet, slightly elevated and nestled along the bush line with panoramic sea views. Great access the National Park and close to the friendly Marahau village.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 303 kms / 188 miles : 4.3 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 16
Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park, known for its coastal hiking track has an abundance of golden beaches, inlets and private lagoons. The park has a mild climate and is a special place to visit at any time of the year. Why not enjoy a scenic cruise through the Sounds or take a kayaking tour around its many sheltered bays? Relax to the melodious birdsong and get up close to some of the parks many animal residents, including native bats, geckos, birds and marine mammals fur seals and dolphins.

Beaches, Bays and Seals Guided Sea Kayaking Trip Including Picnic Lunch

Combining the best of the Abel Tasman, this trip showcases incredible beaches, coastal walks and native wildlife. First you'll meet your guide and join the 9.30 am Vista Cruise along the magnificent coastline to Torrent Bay. You'll then arrive at Torrent Bay Lodge and complete a full training session and safety briefing before moving on to the water in kayaks to discover beautiful beaches, tidal estuaries and rivers.
Stop for a picnic lunch in a sheltered cove and take some time to swim, explore or sunbathe on the sand. On your return trip, if the winds are favourable, sails will be hoisted and you'll sail back via Pinnacle Island to view the seal colony there - if you're lucky, you may even see some resident blue penguins at the same time. Arriving back at Torrent Bay Lodge, freshen up with a hot shower and re-join the vista cruise back to Kaiteriteri, arriving at 4.10 pm.
During the summer there is the option to enjoy an unguided two hour coastal bush walk after the kayaking trip. Walk around the picturesque Torrent Bay Lagoon via Cleopatra's Pool to the anchorage where you will re-join the boat back to Kaiteriteri.

It is important you read and understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information see here.

Your accommodation: Ocean View Chalets

The Ocean View Chalets are situated on a 50-acre farmlet, slightly elevated and nestled along the bush line with panoramic sea views. Great access the National Park and close to the friendly Marahau village.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 17
Abel Tasman to Blenheim

The journey from Abel Tasman to Blenheim offers a spectacular showcase of New Zealand’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes, beginning in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park with its golden sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush coastal forests. As you leave the park, you pass through the charming town of Motueka, known for its orchards and vineyards, and then continue to Nelson, a vibrant city with a rich arts scene, craft breweries, and beautiful beaches. The drive takes you through the verdant landscapes of the Tasman Bay region, followed by the scenic Rai Valley en route to Havelock, the greenshell mussel capital of the world. The final leg from Havelock to Blenheim offers breathtaking views along the edge of the Pelorus Sound, leading into the Marlborough wine region renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc. Blenheim itself is a charming town with sprawling vineyards, beautiful gardens, and attractions like the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Highlights along the route include Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson Lakes National Park, Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, and the scenic Queen Charlotte Drive, making this journey an exploration of some of New Zealand’s most beautiful landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant local communities.

Sip Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour with Marlborough Tour Company

Sip is perfect for those who want just a taste of Marlborough's expansive wine region over a short period of time.
The afternoon tour visits a select number of top iconic and boutique wineries for special tastings, chosen for their history, fabulous customer service, unique offering and stunning range of wines. Sip is ideal for gaining an introduction to Marlborough’s incredible wine region in a fun and relaxed way. Enjoy tasting the delicious wine, wandering the beautiful wineries and meeting the people who know the wine and love sharing their passion for it.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Blenheim

In a quiet location and close to town, Bella Vista Motel is in the heart of Blenheim. Surrounded by the world-famous Marlborough wine growing area and just a few minutes walk from a wide variety of restaurants and bars.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 18
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. Picton is a port town and its here that the Interislander ferries arrive and depart. The town centre is quite small with plenty of shops and cafes and the waterfront area is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours watching the activity of the ships. The Edwin Fox Maritime Centre on the wharf is worth a visit with the star attraction being the vessel the Edwin Fox, reputably the 9th oldest ship in the world. The hills to the west of Picton are the start of Queen Charlotte Drive, a very picturesque road to Havelock and Nelson that winds its way along the shores of the sounds.

Return your rental car

Return your rental vehicle to your designated depot before your next adventure.

Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington

Described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world,' the 92 km journey between Picton and Wellington takes around 3 hours. The first hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds before heading out into open waters. This region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. Once out on the Cook Strait, amazing views of the Kaikoura Ranges can be seen, often accompanied by dolphins and sea birds. After crossing the strait you approach the Wellington Harbour, passing many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head, location of New Zealand's oldest lighthouse, Red Rocks, home to a large seal colony and Oterangi Bay  - the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

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.

Your accommodation: CityLife Wellington

City Life Wellington is a suite style hotel with every amenity required for a comfortable stay, as well as being in a superb location to explore the compact city centre. Situated on Lambton Quay, you’ll find the best shopping, tourist attractions and cultural landmarks all within easy walking distance.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 27 kms / 17 miles : 0.4 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 19
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.
Head to Te Papa Museum for a history lesson and a ticket to one of its many international exhibitions or jump aboard the Wellington Cable Car at Lambton Quay - the only running funicular railway in the country. For those with an eye for boutique, fashion wander through Cuba St to sample some of the city's best vintage stores. Break for coffee at a hipster cafe and be sure to snap a pic outside the ‘Beehive,’ New Zealand’s parliamentary debate chamber.
Go behind the scenes at Weta Workshop Experience, the Oscar Award Winning design studio behind Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, and Avatar. If you're a foodie at heart, a two-hour round trip to Martinborough is a must-do. Take your time as you wind through spectacular wine country, and be sure to stop in at Martinborough Wines or Ata Rangi Martinborough. For an educational day out, learn about New Zealand's native species at Zealandia, the world's first fully-fenced eco-sanctuary and home to over 40 types of endangered and native birds.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Lord Of The Rings Half Day Tour - Wellington

With some of the best Lord of the Rings tours Wellington has to offer, you will not be disappointed on this tour. You'll visit local filming locations, view a short documentary showing the filmmaking exploits of Peter Jackson and his remarkable team and be guided through the sights and sounds of the Weta Workshop in Miramar. This is followed by a fascinating 'Window into the workshop' exhibition, showing film props and weaponry, with the artists themselves describing how the artefacts were created.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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 are high!

Your accommodation: CityLife Wellington

City Life Wellington is a suite style hotel with every amenity required for a comfortable stay, as well as being in a superb location to explore the compact city centre. Situated on Lambton Quay, you’ll find the best shopping, tourist attractions and cultural landmarks all within easy walking distance.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 20
Wellington to Napier

Today you'll leave the city lights behind as you continue north to Napier. Drive through the Wairarapa, home to the rich pastures and boutique vineyards of Martinborough, then pass through Greytown - a small victorian settlement with the largest number of wooden buildings in the country. Stop in Masterton, the service capital of the area, known for its Golden Shears competition. Continue on through the grape growing region of Hawkes Bay and Havelock North before arriving in Napier, the art deco capital of New Zealand.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Napier

Bella Vista Motel Napier invites you to experience its friendly service and modern motel units. Located close to shops, restaurants and the renowned Marine Parade with its majestic Norfolk pines.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 320 kms / 199 miles : 4.0 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 21
Napier City

Napier, the city by the sea, is renowned for its 1930s Art Deco architecture, events such as the Art Deco Weekend in February, stately Norfolk pines, surrounding wineries and local fresh produce. Supported by a Mediterranean climate and over 2,200 hours of sunshine a year this popular year-round destination boasts a vibrant cafe culture amongst the splendour of the Art Deco buildings.
Around 30 cafes are within walking distance of the central city area, while Ahuriri, just over Bluff Hill, is home to a further cluster of up market establishments. Marine Parade overlooks the Pacific Ocean and out towards Cape Kidnappers, home to the world's largest mainland gannet colony. A full day can be taken visiting Ocean Spa hot pools and swimming complex, the Hawke's Bay Museum and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
A landmark of Napier is Bluff Hill, which is home to many Napier residents and provides views of the town,  beaches of Perfume Point and Westshore and out towards Whirinaki. Bluff Hill also overlooks the Port of Napier, one of New Zealand's busiest ports, transporting timber, local fruit and meat products to worldwide destinations.
In 1931, New Zealand's greatest natural disaster struck Hawke's Bay. At 10.47am on Tuesday February 3rd, an earthquake of magnitude Richter 7.8 struck. In a minute and a half, in two separate shocks, the centre of Napier was almost totally destroyed. Fires quickly broke out and reduced to ashes or gutted what the tremors had left standing. Damage in Hastings was also devastating, although the fires were contained. Wairoa and the smaller towns to the south as far as Dannevirke were affected. There were 258 deaths - 162 in Napier, 93 in Hastings and 3 in Wairoa along with many injuries. The reconstruction of Napier and Hastings was costly but the benefit was two modern cities and the Ahuriri Lagoon, or Inner Harbour as it was usually known, was raised over 2 metres, creating the land, which Napier desperately needed to expand.

Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay

With its Mediterranean climate and Art Deco style, Hawke's Bay is an attractive holiday prospect. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must. A trip to Mission Estate touted as the birthplace of NZ wine can't be missed. For the truly enthused head out on a tour of the vines. Those into Gatsby will enjoy the chance to view prominent Art Deco landmarks on a 1930s Vintage Car Tour. Passengers will spend just over an hour learning about the history of the city's architecture including the Napier Municipal Theatre, one of the top ten Art Deco Buildings in the world. If you're after some fresh air, hire a bike and take your pick of one of over 200km of cycling trails or head on down to one of the many beaches that ring the area. Ocean or Waimarama beach are good choices and both are patrolled by surf lifeguards during the summer. Indulge in some local produce and head out on a cheese, chocolate, honey or orchard tour.

Gannet Safaris

Drive along the scenic coast from Napier to Te Awanga and join Gannet Safaris Overland and the world's largest, most accessible gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Gannet Safaris has been guiding visitors over Cape Kidnappers for over 35 years and their safaris are the only way to be driven right to within a few feet of these remarkable birds. You will travel in comfort in air-conditioned 4 x 4 wheeled vehicles, through Cape Kidnappers Station - traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, stands of native bush, steep gullies and breath-taking inclines. There is a stop on the way at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke Bay right across to Mahia peninsular. The 36km, three hour trip includes a commentary by your tour guide/driver on the farming operation on Cape Kidnappers Station and an introduction to the gannets. On arrival at the gannets you can stretch your legs and take in the scenery from your position at the brink of the cliff's edge, 100 metres above the ocean!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hawkes Bay Wine and Dine Tour with Grape Escape

Experience a fun-filled Grape Escape wine and dine tour in the sun driving through absolutely stunning scenery. Meet like-minded people and share an appreciation of this region's fantastic wine. We visit four to five boutique wineries. Later, we enjoy a light cheese platter on the grounds of Ngatarawa or Sileni, weather dependent. You will taste around 30 different wines along with the main varieties, including Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, and lesser-known aromatics such as Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Napier

Bella Vista Motel Napier invites you to experience its friendly service and modern motel units. Located close to shops, restaurants and the renowned Marine Parade with its majestic Norfolk pines.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 22
Napier to Rotorua

Cross the Ahiminawa Ranges to arrive into the town of Taupo which is situated on New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the worlds largest eruptions. Just north of Taupo are the Huka Falls, an impressive body of water draining from the Waikato river. See it from the wooden viewing platform or get up close to the spray with a ride on the Huka Jet. Visit nearby volcanic reserve Craters of the Moon to see boiling pools and steaming vents. Continue on through the Waimungu Valley before arriving into geothermal Rotorua, the heart of New Zealands Maori culture.

Mountain Jade - Highlights Tour

This 30 minute highlights tour is a rare opportunity to spend time with New Zealand Jade artists. New Zealand Jade known as Greenstone, but more commonly known in New Zealand as Pounamu has a rich history within Maori culture. The expert guide will show you the intricate process of Pounamu carving first hand in the Mountain Jade studio. The local artist will be there to personally demonstrate the carving process and share their stories and knowledge with you. To top off the tour, you will get to select your very own piece of Pounamu and learn to string it yourself so you can take it home.

Polynesian Spa Adult Pavilion Pools & Priest Spa

Just for adults, this popular area offers seven hot mineral pools with views of Lake Rotorua. The pools are fed with hot mineral spring water from two different springs.
Three cascading, marble-lined pools (38˚C to 39˚C), feature alkaline water, renowned for its natural antiseptic action due to the high sodium silica content. The smooth terraced walls provide a popular resting spot for bathers!
The large deeper alkaline pool (38˚C) is an excellent place to stretch out for some light activity. Historically it was said that those who bathe in the Rachel Spring water will be blessed with ageless beauty!
The three Priest Spa pools (38˚C to 41˚C), offer special thermal bathing in acidic water from the Radium hot spring, long renowned for its therapeutic properties. The Priest Spa was named after a Catholic priest, who in the late 1800s gained great relief from arthritis when bathing in the hot spring waters.
Spacious changing rooms are provided and a choice of storage tubs and pay-lockers are available for your belongings and valuables.

Te Pā Tū Evening Maori Cultural Experience

New Zealand’s Most Awarded Cultural Attraction, presenting Te Pā Tū. Feast on song, drama, tradition, and divine seasonal kai (cuisine) within the forest Pā (village) blanketed by towering Tawa trees, blazing bonfires, and a forest-formed amphitheatre. Te Pā Tū shares Māori history, traditions, and cultural aspirations across 4-hours of celebration and feasting. These events change with each season of the maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar.

Your accommodation: Silver Fern Suites & Spa

Silver Fern Suites & Spa is located just minutes from Rotorua's city centre and is close to popular thermal attractions, cafes, restaurants and golf courses. Suites have a private spa pool or double spa bath for you to unwind and relax.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 211 kms / 131 miles : 2.4 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 23
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. Geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to one of the Maori Villages should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Spike your adrenaline at Velocity Valley Adventure Park on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Alternatively, head up the Rotorua Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill.
Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit should drive to nearby Matamata and experience the actual movie set ‘Hobbiton’. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - National Kiwi Hatchery Tour

The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour is a special opportunity to gain insight into and view this highly regarded conservation centre. Developed with the visitor experience in mind, the hatchery boasts special viewing opportunities and is hosted by kiwi expert guides who ensure guests leave fully informed and all questions answered. Learn all about New Zealand’s intriguing national icon and the efforts of the kiwi husbandry team, see and discover what it takes to hatch and rare chicks, and if you’re lucky see baby chicks in person!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Original Ziplining Experience with Rotorua 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. 

It is important you read and understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information see here.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a spectacular showcase of New Zealand’s most colourful and unique geothermal elements sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape – the key to what you see lies below the surface – one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand, extending over 18-sq. km. Enjoy viewing unique volcanic features as you walk at your own pace along well-defined tracks. Relax in the first-class Visitor Centre, home to the Gift Shop and Café facilities. Visit the Mud Pool, the largest in New Zealand, it was originally the site of a large mud volcano which was destroyed through erosion in the 1920s. See the history and beauty of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10:15 am every day. Lady Knox Geyser provides a unique opportunity to see an eruption to heights of 10 to 20 metres.

Your accommodation: Silver Fern Suites & Spa

Silver Fern Suites & Spa is located just minutes from Rotorua's city centre and is close to popular thermal attractions, cafes, restaurants and golf courses. Suites have a private spa pool or double spa bath for you to unwind and relax.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 24
Rotorua to Coromandel Township via Tairua

Pyes Pa Road is the scenic route towards the Bay of Plenty and the town of Tauranga before heading north along the coast towards the first of the Coromandel towns, Waihi. This old mining town 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. Next you will travel north to the popular locals' holiday destination of Whangamata with its golden beaches and surf, and onto Tairua. Here, The Mt Paku Summit offers spectacular views over the natural harbour and the Pacific Ocean. Further north you can take a side-trip to the famous Hot Water Beach and the holiday town of Hahei. North of Hahei Beach is the popular walk to Cathedral Cove, well worth the effort to view the massive, aptly named limestone formation on the golden sand beach.
Heading north along the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula you will pass through the town of Whitianga which sits in Mercury Bay (Te Whanganui-o-Hei). Stop here to take the small foot ferry over to Ferry Landing and explore Cooks Beach and Flaxmill Bay. Continue further north along the peninsula to Kuaotuna Beach and then west via the coastline of Whangapoua Harbour. On the west coast of the peninsula you will reach the Coromandel Township, whose history is steeped with the gold rush of the late 1800's and the pioneers and settlers of the area. Today there are still known deposits of gold, silver, lead and zinc throughout the ranges but residents and conservationists are unlikely to allow any form of exploitation of the region. Remote towns, isolated bays and a rich history of pioneers and fortune hunters make this one of the more diverse regions to explore.

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries has become a Coromandel icon. The dream of Barry Brickell was to establish a pottery workshop on his land. Using a railway he would have access to the clay on the land and the pine kiln fuel. Over the next 15 years the railway developed until in 1990 it was finally licensed to carry fare paying passengers and ever since thousands of visitors have made the trip to Coromandel to experience this unique attraction. The 1 hour return train trip on the innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus. The pottery is still producing and you can watch the artists at work as well as purchase items.

It is important you read and understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information please see here.

Your accommodation: Coromandel Court Motel

The Motels are in an excellent location with just a 3-minute stroll to shops and restaurants. Well equipped to ensure a comfortable stay.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 267 kms / 166 miles : 3.7 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 25
Coromandel Township to Snells Beach

The west coast of the peninsular drops to the Firth of Thames with steep pohutukawa clad cliffs while the east coast has an abundance of golden sand beaches and inlets.
On the other side of the Firth of Thames is Miranda and this out of the way spot is a haven for shorebirds.
R.B. Simpson discovered in 1940 that Miranda was a feeding ground for large numbers of wading birds. Since then ornithological societies have censured the numbers and found that 5-6,000 lesser knots and 7-10, 000 bar tailed godwits travel here during the summer months before departing to the Siberian and Alaskan feeding grounds. In addition over 20, 000 South Island pied oystercatchers and 300 wrybills spend the summer months here after breeding the South Island. Many more birds can also be found here and the Miranda Shorebirds Centre has lectures and displays.
The shoreline of Miranda itself is also very unique and is considered the finest example in the world of an active sand and chenier plain. The Hunua ranges to the east mark the original shoreline about 4000 years ago and since then continuous tidal and wind action has deposited shell ridges to form the land or coastal plain you see today. Continuing on State Highway 1 you pass through the city of Auckland and soon find yourself in the north shore suburbs. Houses soon give way to rolling farmland. Just south of Warkworth is Puhoi, an interesting town originally settled by Bohemians who had been displaced from their own country. It is also a great place to buy some of the local (and famous) Puhoi cheese. The town of Warkworth directs you east towards the coastline and Kawau Bay and Mahurangi Harbour and of course the seaside settlement of Snells Beach.

Sculptureum - Gardens and Galleries Experience

This 90-minute self-guided experience host you in a Garden of Creative Diversity with plenty of weird and wonderful art. The tour finishes with the sixth gallery which contains a stunning glass chandelier by American artist, Dale Chihuly. Be sure to indulge at the Rothko Restaurant located on site.

Your accommodation: Snells Beach Motel

Snells Beach Motel is perfectly situated, on the Mahurangi East Peninsula, overlooking the beautiful Kawau Bay and in the heart of the wonderful Matakana Coast Wine Country area.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 232 kms / 144 miles : 3.1 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 26
Snells Beach to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Continue north through Whangarei making time for a detour to the basin and harbourside region. The township of Kawakawa is also worth a short detour to see the public toilets designed by the famous Austrian Artist Hundertwasser. Also for train buffs a ride on Gabriel, a restored steam locomotive, might be a possibility. Arriving into the sub tropical Bay of Islands you are greeted with bush clad hillsides dropping to golden sand beaches. Paihia is the main tourist centre in the bay and has a great beach side atmosphere.

Your accommodation: Sea Spray Suites

Sea Spray Suites offers comfortable and relaxing accommodation close to Paihia’s best activities and attractions. Directly across the road is the beautiful Te Ti Beach, exploring Paihia’s beautiful waters and wildlife is only a short step away. If you are interested in experiencing New Zealand’s heritage, The Waitangi Treaty House is only 1km away.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 175 kms / 109 miles : 2.3 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 27
Hole in the Rock Cruise with Fullers GreatSights

Board your cruise and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known as the Hole in the Rock. According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as you get up close to the action. Stop off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island where you have time to relax, take a walk, have a swim, or enjoy a bite to eat and drink from the on-site fully licensed café. The purpose-built catamaran is licensed by DOC (the Department of Conservation) for dolphin viewing and the crew has years of experience locating dolphins in these waters. 

Explore the Bay of Islands

Made up of over 140 subtropical atolls, New Zealand's Bay of Islands is renowned for its untouched beaches, abundant marine life and idyllic climate. Commonly known as the 'Winterless North' this tropical paradise is the ideal holiday destination. Spend some time on a remote stretch of beach, or cool off during a ‘swim with dolphins’ ocean safari. If diving is your thing, take the morning to descend the Rainbow Warrior - The Greenpeace flagship sunk by French saboteurs in 1985. Wander around Russell, a whaling port founded in 1843. Learn about our culture in historic Waitangi, the site where The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the Maori and European settlers dictating the terms by which New Zealand would become a British colony. Finally, before you leave take a travel day to Cape Reinga, the very top of the North Island.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance

Waitangi is one of New Zealand's most historic sites where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the local Maori and the British Government. This two day pass allows you access to the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds and includes admission to the Te Kōngahu Museum and Te Rau Aroha Museum and a Maori Cultural performance. During your guided tour, you'll learn about the history of the treaty and discover the stories and events that shaped New Zealand. The cultural performance inside the carved meeting house includes waiata (singing), poi, a display of Maori weaponry and the haka - a war dance New Zealand is well known for.

Your accommodation: Sea Spray Suites

Sea Spray Suites offers comfortable and relaxing accommodation close to Paihia’s best activities and attractions. Directly across the road is the beautiful Te Ti Beach, exploring Paihia’s beautiful waters and wildlife is only a short step away. If you are interested in experiencing New Zealand’s heritage, The Waitangi Treaty House is only 1km away.

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 28
Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach Full Day Tour with Fuller GreatSights - Lunch Included

Journey to the very tip of the North Island and uncover a region of rich Māori tradition along the way on an unforgettable full-day tour. Travel along the sand-swept shore of Ninety Mile Beach in our purpose-built coach and experience sandboarding (weather permitting). In Māori tradition, Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua is the place where spirits depart on their long journey back to the homeland. Stand at the northernmost point of New Zealand and drink in the panoramic views. As you stand beneath the iconic lighthouse, and watch the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean collide far below, you'll feel the power of this special place. Throughout the day your local driver guide will provide an entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the culture, history and natural wonders of the Far North. Your tour also includes a locally prepared lunch to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

Your accommodation: Sea Spray Suites

Sea Spray Suites offers comfortable and relaxing accommodation close to Paihia’s best activities and attractions. Directly across the road is the beautiful Te Ti Beach, exploring Paihia’s beautiful waters and wildlife is only a short step away. If you are interested in experiencing New Zealand’s heritage, The Waitangi Treaty House is only 1km away.
Meals included: Lunch

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 29
Bay of Islands (Paihia) to Auckland via Waipoua Forest

Today you will leave the Bay of Islands for a scenic return trip to Auckland. Head west, leaving the Pacific Ocean for the wilder seas of the Tasman and Hokianga. Go through the small townships of Omapere and Opononi, each with a great seaside feel.
Your route now goes south through Waipoua Forest, home to the largest and oldest Kauri trees in the country. Make sure you allow time for several of the signposted short walks as you pass - not to be missed is the five minute loop to view the largest of all the trees -Tane Mahuta.
As you make your way back down the country you’ll pass the Matakohe Kauri Museum with extensive displays on the region’s logging, farming and social history. Continuing on, go through Warkworth and the bohemian settlement of Puhoi before crossing the harbour bridge to arrive in Auckland city.

Return your rental car

Return your rental vehicle to your designated depot before your next adventure.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Manea Footprints of Kupe Guided Tour

Enter Te Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe, our sacred cradle of tribal histories. Walk in the footprints of the Maori ancestor – Kupe the intrepid, Kupe the voyager, Kupe the discoverer.
Experience a Pōwhiri (welcome ceremony) and other rituals and customs experienced through interaction with the descendants of Kupe. Explore the contemporary cultural centre with carvings and artefacts holding the stories of the past, giving you incredible insight into the history of Aotearoa.

Your accommodation: Auckland City Hotel

The Auckland City Hotel is a peaceful sanctuary ideally located in the heart of Auckland’s entertainment and business district. It is situated five-minute walk from the Sky Tower, Aotea Square, and the centre of town, Queen Street.​

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 343 kms / 213 miles : 4.4 hours

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 30
Explore Auckland City

Surrounding a natural harbour, New Zealand's largest metro area offers the best of both worlds. Sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests meld with a lively urban culture. Grab a coffee downtown and watch the sailboats glide from the Viaduct or head harbourside and take the helm of an America's Cup Yacht.
Catch the Quickcat to nearby Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience. Clear the cobwebs with a little exercise and hike the summit of Mt Eden,  Auckland's highest volcano. Pack a picnic and choose one of 800 regional national parks to explore. If relaxing is more your style, find a good book and head out to a deserted beach. Try Orewa located an hour north of the city or stay a little closer and head to Cheltenham Beach in Devonport.
Make time to ascend the Sky Tower or The Harbour Bridge and spike your adrenaline by bungy jumping off either (or both!). Finish on a high with dinner at one of the many trendy eateries to be found on Ponsonby Road.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Fullers Ferry Auckland to Rangitoto Island return trip

A short 25-minute cruise through the Waitemata Harbour to the Hauraki Gulf delivers you to Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto Island is the largest and youngest of the many volcanoes that make up the Auckland volcanic field. It erupted around 600 years ago, but is extinct now and safe to explore. During your cruise to and from the island enjoy fantastic views of Rangitoto Island and Auckland the 'City of Sails'. On reaching the island you can walk to the summit (1 hour direct) for great views of the Hauraki Gulf and over Waitemata Harbour looking back towards Auckland. There are a number of walking trails to explore this volcanic island, further information can be found at the Department of Conservation website.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - All Blacks Experience

See what it takes to make, shape and be an All Black. Experience first-hand the excitement and emotion of game day. Discover the stories behind some of world rugby’s most famous players, moments and matches.
This guided experience introduces you to the game of rugby before being lead through state-of-the-art displays combining sound, images, interactive technology and hands-on activities. Discover New Zealand’s deep passion for our national sport, experience the full force of the All Blacks haka, tackle interactive zones where you can try out your kicking, catching, line-out and accuracy skills against legendary All Blacks.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - West Coast Discovery Piha Beach with Auckland & Beyond Tours

Piha is New Zealand’s most famous surf beach situated on the west coast of the North Island. This black iron-sand beach has a reputation for awesome surf that rolls in over the Tasman Sea. See this and more on your West Coast Discovery!

Your accommodation: Auckland City Hotel

The Auckland City Hotel is a peaceful sanctuary ideally located in the heart of Auckland’s entertainment and business district. It is situated five-minute walk from the Sky Tower, Aotea Square, and the centre of town, Queen Street.​

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Extended New Zealand Tour - Day 31
Private Transfer Auckland accommodation to Auckland Airport with Tourcorp

You will be met at your Auckland accommodation by the driver and transferred to the airport.

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