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16 day self drive holiday New Zealand
North and South Islands (NZ16)

Introduction:

The New Zealand holiday for visitors wanting the get the very most out of their three weeks holiday in New Zealand, great scenic diversity islands, mountains, volcanic wonders, alpine passes, glaciers and fiords, stunning scenic drives. With quality time in key city and village locations, culture and adventure, food and wine. Enjoy activities and experiences to really get an appreciation of the best of New Zealand.

We can customise this holiday to suit your accommodation style and transport preferences including car, motorhome and scheduled coach services.

To see a price guide for this holiday and to send us an enqiry
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Itinerary Overview:

Day 1 - Arrive Auckland and stay overnight
Day 2 - Auckland to Rotorua
Day 3 - Rotorua
Day 4 - Rotorua to Napier/Hawkes Bay
Day 5 - Napier/Hawkes Bay
Day 6 - Napier to Wellington
Day 7 - Wellington to Nelson incl Interislander cruise
Day 8 - Nelson
Day 9 - Nelson to Punakaiki
Day 10 - Punakaiki to Fox Glacier
Day 11 - Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Day 12 - Queenstown day trip to Milford Sound
Day 13 - Queenstown
Day 14 - Queenstown to Mount Cook/Lake Tekapo
Day 15 - Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Day 16 - Christchurch and end trip

Itinerary map

Itinerary details:

Day 1 - Arrive Auckland and stay overnight
Located on the waterfront Auckland city enjoys wonderful views across the harbour to the popular seaside village of Devonport. Auckland is a cosmopolitan city that benefits from its mix of Pacific and European cultures, take time to enjoy these influences and the resulting art and cuisine.

Day 2 - Auckland to Rotorua
From Auckland city make your way towards Hamilton alongside the Waikato River. Cambridge and Tirau provide excellent opportunities for a 'refreshment' stop as you near your destination, the lakeside city of Rotorua. Here you will find a fantastic diversity of scenery and activities to suit all interests.

Day 3 - Rotorua
Full day in Rotorua to enjoy the many thermal and cultural sights, Rotorua also has excellent fishing, an interesting golf course with mud pools and Geysers, mountain bike tracks and forest trails. Scenic drives to stunning lakeside picnic spots and summer swims. Opportunities to head out over the volcanoes by helicopter including White Island, and to visit the cathedral like Whirinaki Forest a remnant of giant podocarp forests

Day 4 - Rotorua via Lake Taupo to Napier/Hawkes Bay
Travelling via Lake Taupo, our largest lake, you may be rewarded with views across to the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park. Then head south east to Hawkes Bay, famous for the Art Deco architecture of Napier and Hastings and the production of premium wines.

Day 5 - Napier/Hawkes Bay
Wine and food, art, nature, cultural and architectural tours are a great way to get the most from your stay in Hawkes Bay. At nearby Cape Kidnappers take a tour to the world's largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place or play golf at the spectacular golf course.

Day 6 - Napier/Hawkes Bay to Wellington
A highlight of today's journey is a stop at the Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre with its breeding program for the conservation of some of our most endangered wildlife, predominantly birds. Later in the day pass through the historic villages of the Wairarapa Region and perhaps visit the Martinborough Wine Centre that showcases this regions excellent wines. Finish the day in the harbourside city of Wellington.
Day 7 - Wellington to Nelson incl Interislander cruise
More than just a ferry crossing, the trip from Wellington to Picton is an experience in itself. A leisurely cruise out of Wellington Harbour offers wonderful city and coastal views, before crossing the straight and entering Queen Charlotte Sound. Cruising through the sheltered waters you will be treated to fantastic Marlborough Sounds scenery and perhaps a dolphin escort. The drive from Picton offers more photo opportunities as you head for Nelson.

Day 8 - Nelson
Nelson is renowned for its artisans and galleries including the highly regarded Hoglund Art Glass studio. Local produce including wines are also a feature of the region. Nelson is a popular base from which to venture into the Abel Tasman National Park just over an hour from the city, where you can spend a day on the walking track also sail, cruise or kayak the sheltered waters. Day kayaking trips are suitable for novice or experiences paddlers.

Day 9 - Nelson to Punakaiki
From the sheltered haven of Tasman Bay travel south through the inland Nelson Lakes region before heading west to the dramatic and rugged scenery of the 'coast road'. Winding its way between the bush clad slopes, studded with Nikau Palms and the surf of the Tasman Sea this has to be one of New Zealand's most beautiful drives. Your overnight stop is Punakaiki where you will find the intriguing Pancake Rocks and blowholes.

Day 10 - Punakaiki to Fox Glacier or Lake Moeraki
A day packed with features today as you travel south through historic 'gold rush' towns and settlements, past bush clad lakes, wild beaches and onwards to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.
Or continue through to Lake Moeraki for an eco-lodge experience at the Moeraki Wilderness Lodge.

Day 11 - Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Leaving behind the lush vegetation of South Westland you will travel the hills and valleys of the Haast Pass where roadside walkways provide easy access to a number of waterfalls and mountain pools. Emerge into the tussock country of the Southern Lakes district as you pass lakes Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan. The fruit and wine growing region around Cromwell leads you to the craggy confines of the Kawarau Gorge famous for its historic bridge and some spectacularly located vineyards. Finish this full day of sightseeing in beautiful Queenstown.

Day 12 - Queenstown day trip to Milford Sound
Travel by luxury coach from Queenstown taking in views of Lake Wakatipu, the lakeside town of Te Anau and the sights of the Milford Road, stop for short walks, before cruising the wonderful Milford Sound with its soaring peaks and cascading waterfalls. Watch for seals, dolphins and penguins as you make your way to where the fiord meets the sea and back. Scenic flight options to Milford Sound or both ways are also available.

Day 13 - Queenstown
Journey up the Dart River into the stunning scenery of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Then free time to enjoy some of the many other Queenstown activities. Ride the Gondola for spectacular views over the town and across the lake to the mountains, Bungy jump, take one of the many hikes including the famous Routeburn Track for a day. Catch a fish, white water rafting, horse treks, winery visits, the possibilities are endless!

Day 14 - Queenstown to Mount Cook/Lake Tekapo
From Queenstown travel north to through the Lindis Pass into the McKenzie Country with its stunning vistas of the eastern flanks of the Southern Alps,  then a dramatic drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki to the Mount Cook National Park. Enjoy the return trip beside Lake Pukaki then on to iconic Lake Tekapo, the glacial lakes in this region are often a stunning azure blue, setting off the snow capped peaks beyond.

Day 15 - Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Take the 'Inland Scenic Route' as a peaceful alternative to the main highway and includes the dramatic Rakaia Gorge, great mountain and rural vistas are enjoyed most of the way. Christchurch is an eclectic mix of colonial heritage and new world modernism. The Avon River, with its cascading willows, cuts through the city and provides the setting for numerous parks and gardens.

Day 16 - Christchurch and end trip
Consider an early morning balloon flight the ideal way to experience stunning views across the plains to the Southern Alps and Pegasus Bay. Spend the day visiting galleries and gardens or take a nature cruise on nearby Lyttelton Harbour. Beyond the harbour you will find the intriguing volcanic land form of Banks Peninsula with its many sheltered bays and settlements including picturesque Akaroa where you can enjoy lunch in the village and swim with dolphins in the sheltered waters.

Remember the above itinerary can be amended to fit your schedule and interests.

If you have more days available - there's plenty more to see and do!

For some examples of New Zealand accommodation styles and indicative pricing
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To see a price guide for this holiday and to send us an enqiry
Please click here

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