This 21-day self-drive itinerary offers a fantastic introduction to the great outdoors of New Zealand and covers highlights of both the North and the South Island. Wildlife tours, scenic flights, glacier adventures, overnight cruises and more. Relax at boutique lodges, where charming hosts will make you feel at home.
- A close encounter with the giant sperm whales off the coast of Kaikoura
- Cruise the remote Doubtful Sound onboard the Fiordland Navigator
- Experience an exhilarating landing on the face of Franz Josef glacier by helicopter
- Journey from Greymouth to Christchurch onboard the Tranz Alpine train
This holiday to New Zealand starts in the countries largest city, Auckland, with time to explore the vibrant harbour and the shopping area of Ponsonby.
Pick up your hire car and begin your self-drive adventure with a stop in Hobbiton, the charming setting for the Lord of the Rings films. Continue to Rotorua, in the centre of the North Island this region is full of volcanic landscapes and Maori history.
New Zealand's capital city Wellington signals the southern end of the North Island with time to explore some wonderful wine regions and the art deco city of Napier. Take a winery tour or explore the architecture of Napier by 1930's vintage vehicle before cruising through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds to New Zealand's South Island.
The South Island has an abundance of great walks and outdoor pursuits on the doorstep. The top of the island is renowned for its wine growing regions, producing some of the finest wine in the world. After arriving into Picton, drive around the coast to Blenheim maybe stopping enroute for some wine tasting and lunch.
Continue south along the coastline to Kaikoura to take to the water in search of whales and other marine life. Sperm whales can be seen in Kaikoura year-round while depending on the season it is also possible to see migrating humpback, pilot, blue and southern right whales, as well as dolphin and orca.
Next stop Christchurch, before driving through the heart of the South Island to Mount Cook National Park. This region of mountains and rivers is home to 19 peaks including New Zealand's highest; Aoraki or Mount Cook. Take a scenic flight over the glacial landscape plus the chance to view 500-year-old icebergs up close, by boat from Mount Cook Terminal Lake.
Drive south-east to the Victorian city of Dunedin, home to historical architecture and a rugged coastline. Spend a day in search of penguin, sea lion and albatross before following the spectacular South Island coastline round to Te Anau and the Fiordland National Parks. Spend a night onboard the Fiordland Navigator on the stunning Doubtful Sound discovering hidden tributaries where fur seals and bottlenose dolphins are often seen. Take time to kayak around the shoreline or go exploring in the tender craft with a nature guide.
Spend a day amidst the buzz of Queenstown before following the west coast northwards to take to the skies and fly over all three of Franz Josef glaciers by helicopter. Land high on the face of the glacier where the brilliant blue ice is magical.
Finally, cross the South Island from Greymouth to Christchurch on board the Tranz Alpine scenic train; considered one of the world's most scenic train journeys.
Tailor-made New Zealand
This holiday idea can be completely personalised to suit you perfectly. We can add more days, remove days, change accommodations and add specific activities to suit your interests or simply design something completely from scratch. Call our New Zealand Travel Experts to start planning your trip of a lifetime.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.