Best of New Zealand Self-Drive

Best of NZ Self Drive

Milford sound, New Zealan

Scenic Bay of Islands, Paihia, New Zealand

Milford sound, New Zealan

Sheep, New Zealand

Emerald lakes on Tongariro Crossing track, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Mirror Lakes along the way to Milford Sound

 Queenstown from the Skyline Luge at sunrise

Coromandel, New Zealand

Falls River, Abel Tasman National Park

Wanaka Tree at sunrise, Wanaka

Milford sound, New Zealan

Cathedral Cove marine reserve on the Coromandel Peninsula

Milford sound, New Zealan

Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand

New Zealand

------------------- Self-Drive -------------------

22 Day Adventure

Accommodations

Amazing Views

Customizable Vacation

Itinerary

Rental Car

Self-Drive

Auckland to Christchruch

Best of NZ Self Drive

22 Day Self-Drive - Auckland to Christchruch

This is an incredible New Zealand self-drive tour that offers you the best of both islands in an impeccably-timed itinerary!  This is perfect for travellers seeking authentic cultural experiences, while enjoying the independence that comes with driving to each region.  This self-drive tour in New Zealand includes nearly everything you need: accommodations, car rental, transfers and some of the best tours and activities that’ll leave a lasting impression.

Standard
$4,222CAD
per person, based on double occupany
  • Low Season $4,222
  • High Season $4,964
  • Low season: 01APR19 to 30SEP19
  • High season: 01OCT19 to 31MAR20
Superior
$5,293CAD
per person, based on double occupany
  • Low Season $5,293
  • High Season $6,098
  • Low season: 01APR19 to 30SEP19
  • High season: 01OCT19 to 31MAR20
Boutique
$7,084CAD
per person, based on double occupany
  • Low Season $7,084
  • High Season $7,592
  • Low season: 01APR19 to 30SEP19
  • High season: 01OCT19 to 31MAR20

Get Ready for a Trip of a Lifetime

Details of Your Downunder Travel Adventure

Included in your Adventure

Car Rental

Hotel Accommodations

Itinerary

Taxes & Fees

Customizable

Excluded in your Adventure

Accommodation

Flights/Airfare

Meals

Travel Visa

Where you will visit and things to do?

Auckland
Paihia
Pauanui
Coromandel Peninsula
Rotorua
Tongariro National Park
Wellington
Nelson
Greymouth
Glacier Region
Queenstown
Te Anau
Dunedin
Twizel
Christchurch

Best of NZ Self Drive

Itinerary

Arrive in Auckland - Depart at Christchurch

22 Day Adventure

DAY 01 - Auckland

Auckland is the main gateway city to New Zealand. Greater Auckland, with a population of over one million, is New Zealand’s largest urban area and centre of commerce and industry, but within minutes of the city you can experience uncrowded beaches, rural countryside and forests. The dominating feature of the Auckland cityscape are the graceful lines of the Harbour Bridge, the
sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. Upon arrival collect your rental car and make your way to your accommodation.

DAY 02 - Auckland to Paihia

On State Highway 1, travel north from Auckland past Warkworth and Leigh, through Wellsford and on up to Whangarei. Along the way, there are many forests to explore. You could also take off to the east and visit some of the surf beaches along the coast, such as Langs Beach, near Waipu. Whangarei (population 44,000) is the commercial and cultural heart of Northland. The city is surrounded
by forested hills and is situated on a harbour which houses yachts from around New Zealand and the world. If you are interested in clocks, the Clapham Clock Museum is worth a visit, with nearly 1000 unusual timepieces from around the world. It is located in the Town Basin, 5 minutes from the town centre. Continue on to Kawakawa, which has a railway line running down the main street, originally
built for trains to haul coal to Opua. Here you turn right to Paihia, where you will be staying for the next three nights.

DAY 03 - Paihia

On these days you have time at leisure to explore the magnificent Bay of Islands. The area provides a maritime park of over 144 islands and bays with miles of white sandy beaches to explore. Perhaps take a cruise, see the dolphins, or visit the Treaty House at Waitangi. Here, in 1840 the British Government and Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. You may like to take a ferry ride to Russell, the first capital of New Zealand.

DAY 04 - Paihia

Day at leisure.

DAY 05 - Paihia to Coromandel Peninsula

A choice of routes back south today - you can travel back down State Highway 1 straight into Auckland, or try a different route - over to the west coast through Opononi and along the beautiful coast. Further south on this route is the Waipoua Forest, which holds a reserve of 2639 hectares of Kauri, the largest surviving stand of these magnificent trees, which once covered much of the northern half of the North Island. The largest tree in Waipoua is the Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest). It is 51 metres high, 14 metres around, with no branches for the first 12 metres. Carry on the main State Highway 1 through Auckland again and onto State Highway 2 towards the Coromandel Peninsula. Along the coast of the Firth of Thames is the township of Thames which provides a
reminder of the gold rush which began in 1867. Around 1900, the town had about 19,000 inhabitants. Travel over the beautiful Coromandel Ranges to either the upmarket beach township of Pauanui or nearby Whangamata.

DAY 06 - Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula is a beautiful area, with cool forests, picturesque beaches, rugged coastlines and swimming holes. Take a bushwalk, a walk on the beach, dangle a fishing line, or do nothing at all.

DAY 07 - Coromandel Peninsulai to Rotorua

Travel south past many more beautiful beaches, and the township of Tauranga, one of the North Island’s largest ports. Your route takes you through Kiwifruit country around Te Puke and on to the heart of thermal activity and the cultural centre of New Zealand, Rotorua.
Rotorua is on the central North Island volcanic plateau, which causes the geysers, pools of boiling mud and water, steam vents and terraces of silica. The most well known thermal area is the  Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve.

DAY 08 - Rotorua

Time today to visit some of the major tourist attractions in the Rotorua township and surrounds.

DAY 09 - Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

Travel to the township of Taupo, right on the edge of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. Taupo is a trout fisherman’s paradise. There are also all sorts of water-based activities available – para-sailing, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, white-water rafting (on the Tongariro River) as well as horse-riding, sky-diving and bungy jumping. Just north of Taupo is Huka Falls, a very dramatic area. Drive along the east shore of Lake Taupo to Turangi, then onto State Highway 47 into Tongariro National Park.

DAY 10 - Tongariro National Park to Wellington

Leaving Tongariro National Park journey south via Palmerston North and Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. Wellington sits on a beautiful harbour, with Mount Victoria overlooking the city and surrounds.

DAY 11 - Wellington to Nelson

Catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton at the Inter-Islander terminal on Wellington’s waterfront. The car will need to be dropped off before catching the ferry and another vehicle picked up in Picton. Cruise through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Drive around Picton before travelling through Havelock to Nelson, a pretty city flanked by the sea, golden beaches and hills.

DAY 12 - Nelson

A day at leisure to explore the Abel Tasman region around Nelson.

DAY 13 - Nelson to Greymouth

From Nelson you will head out past the Abel Tasman National Park region to the “wild west coast” of the South Island, through the small town of Westport and on to Greymouth.

DAY 14 - Greymouth to Glacier Region

From Greymouth continue south to Hokitika. Hokitika is the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast and it is possible to watch pounamu carvers and gold craftsmen at work. Glass blowing and glass lace creation can be seen in the town’s glass blowing studio. Ruby rock is New Zealands very own gemstone and found only in Hokitika.
Just a short drive further south will bring you down into the famous Westland National Park, home to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. You will have time today to experience a walk up to the Glacier face or even out onto the ice itself.

DAY 15 - Glacier Region to Queenstown

Leave the Glaciers today continuing south west on State Highway 6. At Haast the road turns inland along the Haast River. Continue past Lake Wanaka and on to the town of Wanaka. From Wanaka either follow the main highway further inland through Luggate, Lowburn, Cromwell and back west to Queenstown, or take the Crown Range road via Cardrona (not recommended during Winter, approx. 68 km to Queenstown). The Cardrona Valley is an old gold-mining route. Mt Cardrona is a haven for skiers of all standards.
The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the many activities and scenic wonders of Queenstown. If you’re feeling adventurous enjoy a ride with Heli-Jet on the Kawarau River, Shotover Jet on the Shotover River, try white-water rafting, take a helicopter ride, go bungy jumping or bush walking. Or, for a more relaxing time, take a cruise on Lake Wakatipu on TSS Earnslaw or just have a picnic and take in the beautiful surroundings.

DAY 16 - Queenstown

Today is at leisure for you to explore the many activities and scenic wonders of the township Queenstown and the surrounding areas.

DAY 17 - Queenstown to Te Anau

From Queenstown travel south along Lake Wakatipu then west to Te Anau on the outskirts of the Fiordland National Park. Fiordland National Park is listed as a World Heritage Park. At 1.52 million hectares, it is the largest national park in New Zealand and one of the largest in the world. Milford Sound is the best known, most easily accessible and one of the grandest of the fiords along this coastline. It runs past one of New Zealand’s most famous landmarks, Mitre Peak, which rises 1692
metres almost straight up from the water.

DAY 18 - Te Anau to Dunedin

Travel east via Lumsden and Gore, renowned for its brown trout fishing. Dunedin, founded by Scottish migrants in 1848, has the distinctive character of a university city as many citizens are students. Dunedin is situated on the Otago Peninsula, which is indented with bays, providing many picnic and swimming sites. The hills above are criss-crossed with old stone walls.

DAY 19 - Dunedin

Today we suggest a drive out along the Otago Peninsula for a sample of the unique South Island wildlife found in abundance on this scenic peninsula. At the tip of the peninsula is Taiaroa Head, a special reserve that includes the only mainland nesting site of the magnificent Royal Albatross. The rare Yellow-eyed penguins can also be seen at the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Reserve, halfway along the
peninsula.

DAY 20 - Dunedin to Mt Cook Region

Drive up the coast on State Highway 1 through Palmerston to Moeraki, where you can see the intriguing boulders on the beach at low tide. Just past Oamaru, the main town of the Wataki area, at Pukeuri turn left onto State Highway 83. This route will take you through Kurow, Otematata and onto Omarama. Omarama is the centre for trout fishing on the Ahuriri River and bush walking in the Ohau State Forest. It is also a very popular spot for gliding.
From Omarama turn right to head north on State Highway 8. Travel on to Twizel. Twizel was built in 1968 as the base town for the huge power developments on the Upper Waitaki River Power Development Scheme. The town was supposed to have been bulldozed flat when the scheme finished in 1986 but today Twizel thrives as the nearest town to Mt Cook and as a service town for the Mackenzie Region.

DAY 21 - Mt Cook Region to Christchurch

Head north and travel via Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, a spectacular turquoise coloured glacial lake. Stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Tekapo for one of New Zealand’s most picturesque picnic spots. Enter the Canterbury Plains, the widest area of flat land in New Zealand and onto Christchurch. Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s historic cities with a distinctly “English” feel to it. The city is currently reinventing itself after the 2010/11 earthquakes which
destroyed much of the city. Among the city’s popular sights are RE:Start, an outdoor retail and café precinct built in fashionably presented shipping containers, the Transitional Cardboard Cathedral, a fascinating architectural structure made out of cardboard.

DAY 22 - Christchurch

Drop off your car rental and depart for home.

Best of NZ Self Drive

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Product Code: AUST101AOT

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What you need to know

Information and Facts

New Zealand: Facts & Information

Weather

New Zealand’s climate is the opposite of our climate and altogether a lovely destination to visit year-round. Summer is between December and February, autumn is between March and May, winter is between June and August and spring is September to November. Snow can appear throughout June to October, yet most of the snow calls in mountainous regions.

Safety

New Zealand is generally a very safe destination. We recommend that all our travellers purchase travel insurance to cover theft, loss, cancellations/travel interruptions, accidents and non-pre-existing medical problems. Take necessary travel precautions; bring sun block and sun glasses with you, have copies on-hand of your important documents.

Vaccinations

WHO recommends travellers be up to date with Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, meningitis, polio, measles,  mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap(tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

Currency & Customs

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar, which more or less at-par to the Canadian Dollar. Tipping is not customary in the country; however, hotels, tour guides/ground operators and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill and if you feel your service provider went above and beyond, it is recommended to tip about 10%.

Electricity

The electrical current for New Zealand (and Australia) is 220-240 volts; it is recommended for certain appliances such as hair dryers and straighteners to bring both a plug adapter and converter. For newer electronics such as tablets or smartphones, a plug adapter may only be needed as the voltage could automatically adjust.

Language

The main spoken language in New Zealand is English. As well, the Māori language of the indigenous residents of New Zealand is also recognized as a national language.

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Best Vacation Ever

Jason created the Best Vacation Ever for us – a month long trip to Australia travelling the east coast, the Red Center and south. All arrangements, locations, excursions, transfers were well executed which resulted in a stress free vacation for us! Thanks so much for your attention to all the details. Would definitely recommend that others trust Jason to make their entire trip as spectacular as ours was.
Gregory’s and Short’s

L. Gregory

African Safari

“Our group of 4 travelled to Africa, 4 different countries, many flights, hotels and tours under the guidance of Jason at Down Under Travel. The trip was amazing especially the safaris. Jason’s attention to detail made this trip outstanding. Truly a trip of a lifetime that was arranged perfectly. Don’t hesitate to book with this company, you will not be disappointed.”

M. O'Bryan

Australia, Africa, and more!

“A group of 9 travelers wanted to do a tour of Australia. 4 of us have been using Jason at Downunder Travel since 2005. We are a group with agricultural interests so we were hoping to see the diversity of Australia with as many ag components as possible. We met with Jason and he compiled an itinerary for us which gave us another trip of a lifetime. Jason’s attention to detail is truly amazing. Everything happened without a glitch which makes for a worry-free holiday. He also allowed for some free days if anything needed rearranged. We are already planning our next holiday with his company. Kudos to Jason!”

T. Evans

Ghan Platinum Trip

Just to let you know we arrived safely back home late yesterday after a wonderful trip. Thank you for setting it all up. We saw almost no rain but the day that it did rain was when we arrived in Darwin. Having Platinum [The Ghan] meant our transfer bus was right beside the train whereas the Gold passengers had quite a walk to get to the station. The train is almost a kilometer long so it meant a walk in the rain for some.

G. Bernhardt

NZ and Cook Islands

“Jason planned our 3 week honeymoon to New Zealand and Cook Islands in October 2016. Jason was very knowledgeable and saved us so much time not trying to plan the trip details ourselves! We had an amazing time, with everything going smoothly. Overall, happy to recommend his service to anyone else planning to go “down under” 🙂 .”

L. Filipic

New Zealand Self-Drive

“We spent 6.5 wonderful weeks exploring both Islands in New Zealand. Jason met with us to understand our interests and a sense of where we hoped to travel while there. Accommodations, day trips, half day tours etc all ran without a hitch. At one point we thought we might be seeking medical assistance at a drop in clinic. Not sure about the process with Medical Insurance, we sent him a note to which he quickly responded and we really appreciated. We are very thankful for the arrangements and bookings that helped make the time there truly great. Thanks Jason.”

D. Nixon

We will be recommending you to anyone we know

We absolutely loved our vacation, Jason!  Kudos to you with your recommendations, bookings, etc.  Everything came off without a hitch –  excursion pickups, airport shuttles were always on time.  We made out great driving on the wrong side of the road, and steering wheel on wrong side of car lol.  Air New Zealand was a great choice for our main flights, flight attendants came to our seats and thanked us personally for flying with Air New Zealand.  Again, we have to thank you so much Jason for helping us plan such a fantastic vacation – such a great time.  Hopefully we will vacation in another area you sell and we’ll need your services again.  We will definitely be recommending you to anyone we know.

C. Hinks

A Phenomenal South Pacific Adventure

A special thanks for putting my phenomenal South Pacific Adventure of a lifetime together.  Much appreciation for all the hard work that you have endured to make my trip a most memorable adventure.  I have totally enjoyed every aspect of the trip.  I will definitely recommend this itinerary to anyone looking for a trip of a lifetime.

A. Millette

Wonderful Thailand and Myanmar!

Thanks for organizing and planning our recent trip to Thailand and Myanmar. We had a wonderful, magical month on some Thai islands, and tremendously enjoyed Mandalay and particularly, Bagan. The hot air balloon ride, is not to be missed.  Our next trip to that part of the world , we will certainly use your expertise Andree.

T. Baker

Southern Africa 25 Day Tour

“Heard about this place through a friend and decided to inquire about a trip to Southern Africa. Jason did a fantastic job with very little time and set up a 25 day trip, flights included. Was excellent at every stage and everything went off without a hitch. Would absolutely recommend, and will most definitely be a repeat customer.”

J. Szoo

3 Week Australia Trip!

Our family would like to thank you for coordinating an amazing trip to Australia!  We only had 3 weeks but we were able to experience so much with an itinerary that was seamless and worry free!

Every spot was memorable, from the Grampians to Kangaroo Island, to a liveaboard on the GBR and the bright lights of Melbourne and Sydney  – a spectacular country and can’t wait to go back!

We definitely recommend Downunder Travel and are grateful to Andree for all her help and expertise in creating a wonderful adventure!

Maureen

Melbourne, Cairns & Sydney!

The tours in Melbourne, Cairns and Sydney were exceptional.  The guides were all very informative and helpful when explaining the sites, sometimes throwing in their own personal stories too.  In Melbourne we enjoyed: the hop on/off bus tour, the Central Historical tram, the Treasury and ANZAC Memorial is is very worthwhile, The Great Ocean Road with our small group tour was fabulous and the Penguin Parade with underground viewing is definitely a must-see!  The Cairns tours are remarkable; I enjoyed our small personalized group travel to Frankland Island (including guided walk), the Kuranda Train, Skyrail and Hartley’s offered a great variety and St. Monica’s Cathedral with its stained glass windows are a hidden gem!  In Sydney, we enjoyed so much; the Ferry boat was easy to manage, The Sydney Opera House was definitely a highlight, our Harbour Cruise was fantastic and our Blue Mountains tour with hike was lovely, definitely another must-experience.

In addition to the terrific tours, our flights and connections were seamless and the personal touches and the variety of experienced offered on this trip was one of a kind!  I look forward to working with you again in the not too distant future!

W. MGee