Best of NZ Road Trip

18 Day • 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

Trip Summary

Best of NZ Road Trip

18 Day Self-Drive - Queenstown to Auckland

Explore both islands of New Zealand at your own pace

The “land of the long white cloud” welcomes you! Be ready to enjoy beautiful landscapes and coastlines, a unique maori culture, superb food and wine opportunities, and unlimited adventure – all founded in the warmth of the Kiwi people.  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 accommodations, car rental, transfers and some of the best tours and activities that’ll leave a lasting impression.

Valid for travel: 01 Feb – 31 Mar 2022

Price Per Person
Based on double occupancy
  • Price per person, based on double occupancy.  Subject to availability. 
  • Package inclusions:
  • Car rental for 18 days, 17 nights accommodation, various sights and activities, and all taxes, fees & fuel surcharges.
  • Note: the price includes the mandatory New Zealand Travel Visa

Trip Details

Included in your trip

Hotel Accommodations
Car Rental
Wildlife Encounter
Ferry Fees


Travel Insurance


  • Auckland
  • Queenstown
  • Milford Sound
  • Te Anau
  • Tasman Sea
  • Lake Wakatipu
  • Invercargill
  • Dunedin
  • Otago Peninsula
  • Oamaru
  • Christchurch
  • Hagley Park
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Arthurs Pass
  • Springfield
  • Canterbury Plains
  • Viaduct Lookout
  • Otira
  • Kaikoura
  • whale watch cruise
  • Waiorua Bay
  • Napier
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Rotorua
  • Matariki
  • geothermal pools
  • Te Puia
  • Nga Wha
  • Hobbiton
  • The Shire
  • Kaimai Ranges
  • Waitemata
  • Manukau
  • Devonport
  • Arataki Centre
  • Westhaven Marina
  • Viaduct Harbour


Arrive Queenstown - Depart Auckland

18 Day Adventure

Day 1: Queenstown 

Pick up your rental car upon arrival.  Your Queenstown hotel is in one of the most sought after locations. The hotel’s elevated position gives fantastic views of the Southern Alps and over Lake Wakatipu.  At the foot of the Southern Alps Queenstown offers adrenalin packed adventure activities and other yearround attractions. This inspiring resort town attracts thrill seekers, romantics, families, young travellers, wine-lovers and anyone looking for an unforgettable getaway.  Stay in Queenstown for 2 nights.

Day 2: Milford Sound Sightseeing Tour

A coach vehicle will pick you up from your hotel for your transfer to Steamer Wharf, Queenstown, the departure point of your tour. Join your coach to commence a full day Milford Sound Day Excursion. Depart Queenstown and travel 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 the Real Journeys vessel for a leisurely nature cruise the full length of the fiord out to the Tasman Sea. View spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and towering peaks and keep a look out for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins.

Day 3: Queenstown to Invercargill

Drive to Invercargill.  Your hotel is on Tay Street.  The location means you will be central (within minutes) to all amenities, including: Stadium Southland, Cycling Velodrome, Hockey Turf, Rugby Park, Splash Palace, Golf Course, Southland Hospital, City Centre, I Site, Queens Park, Bill Richardson Transport World and the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT).  Stay overnight  in Invercargill (1 night).

Day 4: Invercargill to Dunedin

Drive to Dunedin.  Your hotel in Dunedin City features a contemporary award-winning design, with spacious guest rooms, modern facilities and attractive local artworks all in a handy inner-city location. Located in the heart of the city and just blocks from the Octagon, your hotel is within walking distance of many of the city’s main attractions, great restaurants and shopping centres.  Stay in Dunedin for 2 nights.

Day 5: Otago Peninsula

Enjoy a day on the Otago Peninsula to experience the variety of natural and wildlife treasures in the company of an expert nature guide. We explore the more remote areas of the Otago Peninsula a very special place that is home to penguins, albatrosses, fur seals and sea lions, also providing rich feeding grounds for numerous wading birds. During a walk through regenerating native bush you can listen to and observe some of New Zealand’s native birds, while on one of the region’s beautiful beaches your group may encounter rare New Zealand Sea Lions, little penguins, and fur seals. Further along the peninsula, Northern Royal Albatross are breeding in the only mainland breeding colony of any albatross species in the world. A picnic lunch is included on this tour.

Day 6: Dunedin to Oamaru

Drive to Oamaru. From the moment you arrive you’ll enjoy the convenience of having your accommodations located in close proximity to the Oamaru CBD for shops, restaurants, cafes, entertainment, the beautiful Opera House and Historic Oamaru and much more! Your accommodations are only a very short drive to both Blue and Yellow-eyed Penguin Colonies.  Stay overnight in Oamaru (1 night).

Tonight is your Premium Penguin Evening Viewing excursion.  You will be just 2-3 metres from the penguins as they arrive and cross into the colony. You have individual seating which makes the experience more comfortable. You will also get to listen to an informative commentary that is given by one of the tour’s staff. When you make your way out to the grandstand you will enter into the breeding colony on a boardwalk and walk among their nesting burrows

Day 7: Oamaru to Christchurch

Drive to Christchurch. Exuding warmth and cosy comfort, your charming hotel is the perfect choice for a relaxing stay in beautiful Christchurch as it is located in a the heart of the city, with walking distance to Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, boutique shopping, cafes and bars.  Stay in Christchurch for 2 nights.

Day 8: Arthurs Pass & Canterbury Sightseeing Tour

A tour vehicle will pick you up from your hotel for your transfer to the departure point of your tour. Join your coach to commence a full day Arthurs Pass Tour with Train, Lunch and Farm tour. Travel by road through the rural pastoral scenes of the Canterbury Plains. At Springfield, board the TranzAlpine train to travel through the Southern Alps to Arthur’s Pass. Continue your tour by road into the snow-capped Southern Alps to view the breathtaking beauty of the Otira Gorge and the magnificent photo opportunities at Viaduct Lookout and Otira. Enjoy lunch at the Wobbly Kea Restaurant in Arthur’s Pass. After lunch explore the village and some of the many local walks. The return journey to Christchurch is by road.

Day 9: Christchurch to Kaikoura

Drive to Kaikoura. Stay in Kaikoura overnight (1 night).

Day 10: Whale Watching Cruise

Bring your camera, warm clothing and light waterproof clothing as you enjoy a spectacular whale watching cruise.

Afterwards, take the ferry from Picton to Wellington.  The Cook Strait ferry crossing between Picton and Wellington is known as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world and is rated as a New Zealand must-do experience.  After you disembark, drive to your Wellington hotel where you will stay for 2 nights.

Day 11: Waiorua Bay, Kapiti Island, Wellington,

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. You can expect to see some of our most beautiful and endangered birds up close and personal.

Day 12: Wellington to Napier

Drive to Napier. Your hotel enjoys a central waterfront location on Marine Parade directly across the road from the War Memorial Convention Centre. Napier is one of the first places in the world to witness the dawn of a new day, and guests are inspired by the extensive sea views the hotel offers.  All rooms face out to the Hawkes Bay with floor to ceiling windows that open, offering extensive sea views.  Evening at leisure.  Stay overnight in Napier (1 night).

Day 13: Napier to Rotorua

Drive to Rotorua.  Check in to your accommodations with the lake at your doorstep. Rejuvenate in the spa’s natural geothermal mineral pools and experience a delicious Maori hangi at Matariki. Conveniently located just 15-minutes from Rotorua Airport in the heart of Rotorua township, your lakeside hotel is the perfect base for adventure enthusiasts and families alike to see all that New Zealand’s geothermal capital has to offer. Take a short stroll to the lakefront to ride the thrilling Kawarau Jet on Lake Rotorua, or ride the local public transport to experience cultural and geothermal wonders at Te Puia, or the adrenaline-pumping action of the luge at Rotorua Skyline.  Stay in Rotorua for 2 nights.

Day 14: Te Puia, Rotorua

Join your Te Puia guide at Te Puia New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute to commence a Steambox Tour. Visitors can choose what they want to have cooked for their lunch before heading out on a special guided tour. As they participate in an interactive session, learning how to weave a flower, and tour the carving and weaving schools, their 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, the tour concludes when, after watching their lunch being lifted from the Nga Wha, guests sit and enjoy a steam box picnic lunch on the geyser terrace.

Day 15: Hobbiton

Hobbiton™ Movie Set is an experience to tantalize the senses of visitors from all across the globe, as guests find themselves engulfed in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire™, at the home of the Hobbits™, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.  The Hobbiton Movie Set is the only set that remains intact from the trilogies, and that allows our visitors to fully immerse themselves in the wonders of The Shire.  Fall in love with the Alexander family sheep farm, just as acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson did, as you journey through the unequivocal beauty of the land, with the mighty Kaimai Ranges towering in the distance. Your guide will then escort you around the set, showing you the 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, where you can sample our exclusive, specially brewed beverages to conclude your own Middle-earth adventure.

Day 16: Rotorua to Auckland

Drive to Auckland.  Your hotel is positioned opposite the famous viaduct harbour in the Central Business District.  Stay in Auckland for 2 nights.

Day 17: Auckland Sightseeing Tour

A tour vehicle will pick you up from your hotel to commence a full day tour. Auckland is set on 52 dormant volcanic cones and between two harbours, the sparkling Waitemata and the brooding Manukau. Known as the City of Sails, it is New Zealand’s largest and busiest city. Travel up Queen Street, through Auckland’s central business district, past the Auckland University and through the inner city park known as The Domain. Continue on through the picturesque suburb of Ponsonby, with its historic buildings, before heading over the Harbour Bridge to Auckland’s North Shore and enjoy a stroll on Narrow Neck Beach in the historic village of Devonport. There is time here for a coffee break before continuing up to the summit of Mt Victoria with its stunning panoramic views of Auckland City. Travel back over the Harbour Bridge to Westhaven Marina, one of the largest marinas in the Southern Hemisphere, then visit the Auckland Fish Market, before continuing on to the Viaduct Harbour. The tour continues into the afternoon with a visit to the city’s largest Regional Park – the Waitakere Ranges. Just 30 kilometres from downtown Auckland, visit the Arataki Centre to enjoy spectacular views back to the city and over both harbours, and admire the magnificent Maori carvings that stand guard. Continue on to 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 18: Depart Auckland, New Zealand

Return your rental car to the Auckland Airport.


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Trip Code: TOFT100275

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