Best of NZ Road Trip

19 Day • Kiwi Road Trip from Queenstown to Auckland

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Wanaka Tree at sunrise, Wanaka

Mirror Lakes along the way to Milford Sound

The Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand

 Queenstown from the Skyline Luge at sunrise, New Zealand's South Island

The rolling hills and countryside of New Zealand

Best of NZ Road Trip

19 Day Self-Drive - Kiwi Road Trip from Queenstown to Auckland

Drive both islands of New Zealand

Aotearoa, the “land of the long white cloud” welcomes you! Be ready to enjoy beautiful landscapes and coastlines, rare wildlife, Māori culture, superb food and wine plus unlimited adventure – accompanied by the warm welcome of the Kiwi people.  This is an incredible New Zealand self-drive tour offers you the best of both islands!

This is perfect for travellers seeking authentic cultural experiences, while enjoying the independence that comes with driving to each region.  Your New Zealand package includes accommodations, car rental, transfers and excursions that will leave a lasting impression.

19 Day Best of NZ Road Trip
$6120CAD
price per person, based on double occupancy
  • Travel between:
    1 Jul – 17 Dec 2023 or 9 Jan – 31 Mar 2024
    Subject to availability
  • Package includes: 18 nights Accommodation, 14 days mid-size car rental, sightseeing and excursions per itinerary, private airport transfers
  • Meals: 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches
  • Contact us for Solo Traveller rates or to travel alternate dates

Trip Details

Included in your trip

Accommodations
Excursions
Wildlife Encounter
Ferry Fees
Car Rental
Private Airport Transfers

EXCLUDED FROM YOUR TRIP

International Flights/Airfare
Meals
Travel Insurance
Travel Visa
Tips/Gratuities

WHERE WILL YOU VISIT?

  • Queenstown
  • Lake Wakatipu
  • Milford Sound
  • Te Anau
  • Invercargill
  • Dunedin
  • Otago Peninsula
  • Oamaru
  • Christchurch
  • Arthurs Pass
  • Canterbury Plains
  • Kaikoura
  • Napier
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Rotorua
  • Te Puia
  • Hobbiton
  • Auckland

TRIP ITINERARY

New Zealand Self Drive Package - from Queenstown to Auckland

19 Day Adventure

Day 1: Arrive Queenstown, New Zealand

Kia Ora, welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand).  On arrival into Queenstown, you will be met and transferred to your hotel by private vehicle. At the foot of the Southern Alps, Queenstown offers incredible scenery, adrenalin packed adventures and may other attractions. This resort town is a wonderful place to start your New Zealand adventure.  Stay in Queenstown for 3 nights.

Day 2: Milford Sound National Park

Today you will travel to explore Milford Sound. Your full day excursion departs Queenstown and travels along the shores of Lake Wakatipu through rolling countryside to Te Anau. Continue along the spectacular Milford Road through impressive alpine scenery. Upon arrival at Milford Sound board a leisurely nature cruise along the fiord out to the Tasman Sea where you will enjoy spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest, towering peaks and wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins.

Day 3: Queenstown

Today free time to explore the Queenstown region at your leisure. You may choose an adventure such as Bungy jumping or jetboating, take the gondola and luge for spectacular views or enjoy a guided wine tour.

Day 4: Queenstown to Invercargill

Pick up your car today and drive to Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city.  Often referred to as the ‘City of Water and Light’, due to the long summer daylight hours, and appearances of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights).  This town has plenty of character combined with a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. Driving distance approximately 200km / 2.5 hours.  Stay in Invercargill for 1 night.

Day 5: Invercargill to Dunedin

Drive to Dunedin today, you have a couple of options of routes to choose and we recommend taking the long way to travel via ‘The Caitlins’ or the remote untouched coastal region stretching along the southeastern coast of New Zealand with sparsely populated small towns and spectacular scenery. Wildlife enthusiasts, beach lovers and surfers will love the Catlins. Some suggested places to stop along the way are Tunnel Beach Track, Central Cycle Trails, Nugget Point and Tokata walks as well as Waipapa Point Lighthouse, The Lost Gypsy Gallery. Driving distance (without stops) approximately 265km / 4 hours.  Stay in Dunedin for 2 nights.

Day 6: Otago Peninsula

Enjoy an excursion to explore remote areas of the Otago Peninsula, home to Penguins, Albatrosses, Fur seals and Sealions and feeding grounds for numerous other wading birds. Learn more about the world’s largest seabirds and see the world’s only mainland colony of Northern Royal Albatross from a private viewing platform at Taiaroa head. Here you can watch as these majestic birds with three-metre wingspans glide past, or as they feed their chicks in the nest.  Hike trails through native bush to listen and observe some of New Zealand’s native birds, walk through tunnels and trenches to get different views of the wildlife and watch the world’s rarest penguin return ashore at the Yellow-eyed penguin reserve..

Day 7: Dunedin to Oamaru

Depart Dunedin and travel north up the east coast to Oamaru.  Driving time is approximately 120km / 1.5 hours. You may choose to stop or detour along the way today to visit Port Chalmers, Heyward Point Track, Orokonui Sanctuary, Doctors Point, Silver Peaks Scenic Reserve, Karitane, Waikaouiti Beach, Shag Point, Kaitiki Point Lighthouse and Beach or the Moeraki Boulders. On arrival in historic Oamaru, you may want to take a walk along Harbour Street in downtown where most of the elegant sandstone architecture is from the 1800’s.

Later in the day you will take an excursion to visit the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, a natural colony of the smallest penguin in the world. You will be just 2-3 metres from the penguins as they arrive and cross into the colony for the evening. Enjoy the reserved seating area with informative commentary and as you make your way to the grandstand, you enter the breeding colony on a boardwalk among their nesting burrows. Stay in Oamaru for 1 night.

Day 8: Oamaru to Christchurch

Continue north along the east coast to Christchurch today.  Driving time is approximately 1.5 hours / 250km). If you have time you might stop in Timaru to see the Art gallery or Richard Pearse Museum, stop in Temuka to buy a local pottery souvenir or Geraldine to visit the gourmet cheese factory and vintage car museum. Christchurch (also know as Ōtautahi) is the South Island’s largest city that rebuilt after devastating earthquakes in 2011.  This creative urban centre has historic remnants as well as colourful murals that tell stories of the city’s resilience and spirit. Stay in Christchurch for 2 nights.

Day 9: Arthurs Pass & Canterbury

Today you have a full day excursion inland to the Southern Alps including the scenic Tranzalpine rail journey. After being collected from your hotel, you will drive through rural scenery of the Canterbury Plains to Springfield where you will board the Tranzalpine train to Arthur’s Pass. Continue your tour by road into the snow-capped Southern Alps to view the breathtaking beauty of the Otira Gorge, Viaduct Lookout and Otira. After lunch explore the village and some of the many local walks. The return journey to Christchurch is by road. Meals included: Lunch.

Day 10: Christchurch to Kaikoura

Drive north along the coast to Kaikoura today, approximately 200km / 2.5 hours.  You may like to allow additional time in winter, or to allow stops along the way and places like the Waipara wine region, Gore Bay or Cathedral Cliffs.  Kaikoura itself is Kaikoura is one of the prettiest towns in New Zealand, flanked by the Pacific Ocean and mountain ranges. It is also teeming with wildlife so you may have the opportunity to fur seals, dolphins, blue penguins, and whales.  On arrival in Kaikoura, you will enjoy a whale watching cruise.  Take your camera, warm clothing and light waterproof clothing as you enjoy a spectacular adventure. Stay in Kaikoura overnight for 1 night.

Day 11: Kaikoura – Picton – Wellington

Depart Kaikoura and drive north to Picton (approximately 160km / 2.5 hours) where you will board a large ferry with your vehicle.  This trip across the Cook Strait to Wellington is regarded as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world and a ‘must do’ New Zealand experience.  Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand and home to Parliament; it has thriving cafe and dining as well as lots to see including Te Papa the Museum of New Zealand. After you disembark, drive to your Wellington hotel.  Stay in Wellington for 2 nights.

Day 12: Kapiti Island Nature Reserve

Embark on a day tour to Waiorua Bay, Kapiti Island. Here you can learn the unique balance of conservation, ecology and local human history Kapiti offers. Experienced nature guides will walk with you and explain the rich human and ecological history, and help you identify the flora and fauna around you. Sit down with the family and enjoy a delicious cooked lunch at the lodge, surrounded by one of the most lavish and diverse nature reserves in New Zealand.  Meals included: Lunch.

Day 13: Wellington to Napier

Drive to Napier, approximately 4.5 hours / 330 km. Napier in the Hawkes Bay region is one of the first places in the world to witness the dawn of a new day and was once the scene of a large earthquake that destroyed the city. Today it is known as the Art Deco capital of New Zealand, it is also home to many fine wineries and excellent dining.  Stay in Napier for 1 night.

Day 14: Napier

Today is free time at your leisure to explore Napier and the Hawkes Bay.  You may choose to add an art deco themed walking tour of the city or perhaps visit a number of the wineries in the region on a guided tour for tastings or wonderful dining options.

Day 15: Napier to Rotorua

Drive to Rotorua, approximately 3 hours / 230 km.  Check in to your accommodations with the lake at your doorstep. You may enjoy a short stroll to the lakefront to ride the thrilling Kawarau Jet on Lake Rotorua, drive to the Skyline Gondola and enjoy a warm soak in one of the many thermal pools.  Stay in Rotorua for 2 nights.

Day 16: Rotorua

Today you visit Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute for a ‘Steambox Tour’. You can choose what to have cooked for lunch before heading out on a guided tour. Learn how to weave a flower and tour the carving and weaving schools while your food is placed in a Nga Wha (steam vent).  Puapua, which is located in the geothermal area that is the backdrop to the famous Pohutu Geyser.  Heading down into the geothermal valley to the mud pools and hot springs.  Sit and enjoy a steam box picnic lunch on the geyser terrace. Meals included: Lunch.

Day 17: Rotorua to Auckland

Depart Rotorua to drive north to Auckland today, travelling via the Hobbiton™ Movie Set.  This is an experience filled with the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire™ at the home of the Hobbits™ that was featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.  This is the only movie set that remains intact from the trilogies filmed in New Zealand.  Your guide will show you the set including intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made.  You will be taken around the 12-acre set; past Hobbit Holes, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon™ Inn to sample their exclusive, specially brewed beverages to finish your Middle-earth adventure. Drive to Auckland and return your rental vehicle on arrival before 4pm.  Stay in Auckland for 2 nights.

Day 18: Auckland

Today you have a full day excursion in Auckland to see the best of the city from the city to the coasts. The morning will be spent exploring the history and sights of the Auckland, known as the ‘City of Sails’. Stop at iconic landmarks including the Domain, Mt Victoria in Devonport and Westhaven Marina before heading to the city’s largest Regional Park – the Waitakere Ranges.  Visit the Arataki Centre for spectacular views back to the city and both harbours, admiring the magnificent Māori carvings that stand guard. Continue onto the wild and rugged west coast with the opportunity to stroll on an unspoiled beach and learn about the fascinating local history, flora and fauna of the region.

Day 19: Depart Auckland, New Zealand

Today is free in Auckland until your private transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

 


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Trip Code: NZL2303

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