New Zealand’s Highlights

From AUD

Duration
14 Days
Departure Day
Daily
Group Size
Private Tour
Tour Type
Self-Drive & Highlights Tour
Trip Grading
Moderate
Breakfast
Daily Breakfast
Hotel Category
3 Star Hotels
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SKU: IJFSPC-ALLCY-43 Tags: , , ,

Travel to both the North and South Island of New Zealand and admire the fascinating landscapes. Get to know the ancient culture of the Maoris. Visit along the route the capital Wellington, the Waitomo Caves, the Southern Alps and Milford Sound.

Travel Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrival - Christchurch

After your arrival, pick up your rental car. The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is also called Garden City and is the gateway to the South Island. Bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps. There is nowhere else in the world where, within two hours of an international airport, you can ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, raft, mountain bike, hot-air balloon, wind surf, whale watch and visit internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens.

DAY 2

Dunedin

Today you continue to the Scottish influenced town of Dunedin. Explore Dunedin or visit the penguin colonies on the Otago Peninsula. Here you can see the rare yellow-eyed and blue penguins. Royal albatrosses also live here. In Dunedin itself it is recommended to have a look at the railway station. The “Railway Station” was built in the style of the era of King Edward. Visit the steepest street in the world – Baldwin Street. The street was concreted, because the asphalt would “flow” away in the heat.

DAY 3

Te Anau

Today you leave Dunedin – the most Scottish city outside of Scotland, with its Victorian Architecture. You should not miss the fascinating route via the Catlins region, which is known for its contrasts and fantastic nature and wilderness. On the way to Te Anau you encounter the town of Gore. In Gore the “Hokonui Moonshine Museum” shows the story of the illegal whiskey production. Your journey along the main roads presents deep rivers, lush fields and parks. Then you arrive at Te Anau with its stunning mountains and fjords.

DAY 4

Te Anau - Queenstown

Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland National Park, home of the beautiful Milford Sound. To discover the world famous fiord with waterfalls, rainforest and the impressive Mitre Peak on a scenic cruise is worth a detour into the National Park. The region has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for its uniqueness and the road is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. Hardly any other landscape represents more wilderness than Fiordland. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. The Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound. Often you can encounter keas there. Enjoy the wild romantic scenery of nearly vertical mountain sides, before driving on to Queenstown today.

DAY 5

Queenstown

Queenstown, the most visited resort on the South Island, was built after its namesake Queen Victoria. It is the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy jumping, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. Queenstown is treasured for its magnificent scenery and luxury lifestyle. It is situated on the shore of Lake Wakatipu which is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges like the Remarkables. A unique New Zealand activity is a jet boat ride on the Shotover River. Others may prefer a romantic boat trip with the old steamboat “Earnslaw” on Lake Wakatipu. Mountain lovers are recommended to take a Gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak. From here, various hiking trails start.

DAY 6

Glacier

Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight of your journey, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. The famous ‘bra fence’ is impossible to miss – it started as a joke, but it’s become a local legend. After the wilderness town of Makarora you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass. Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you arrive in rainforest country. Just north of Haast is Lake Moeraki, a peaceful forest lake. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense.

DAY 7

Hokitika

Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude. While in the area, you can book a scenic helicopter flight to better experience the glacier. Otherwise, make sure to visit the Franz Josef Glacier lookout and the perfect reflections of Lake Matheson from one of the lookouts along the walkway around the lake. Further north, in Ross, there’s a goldfield walkway to explore, or enjoy a picnic by the shores of Lake Ianthe. A visit to the White Heron colony near Whataroa is a rare experience. Hokitika was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a ‘frontier town’, and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town’s treasure these days – you can see it being polished and sculpted.

DAY 8

Hokitika - Nelson

The road between Hokitika and Greymouth provides great views of the Wild West coast. Detour to the beach and breathe the salt spray air. Driftwood is the ornamentation of choice for west coast beaches – every shape, size and colour. Greymouth is the largest town on the west coast and is known for its awesome seascapes. Further north you will pass Punakaiki which is famous for its pancake rocks and booming blowholes. A short, but strikingly beautiful loop track along the coast will bring you up close and makes up for a perfect stop along the way. Another recommended stop is Cape Foulwind where you can find a seal colony. You leave the West Coast along the Buller River towards Nelson, home to a community of beach, bush and art lovers.

DAY 9

Nelson - Wellington

A two hour drive along the beautiful coast will take you to Picton. It is the South Island base for the ferry service that links the North and South islands of New Zealand. The passage across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most scenic ferry trips in the world. Highlights along the way include the Tory Channel, Cook’s Lookout and the beautiful coves of the sounds. Wellington City is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops.

DAY 10

Wellington

Use the day to explore Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Visit the National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa or take the historic Wellington Cable Car to the Kelburn Lookout just above the city and explore the Botanic Gardens from here. The Weta Caves or Zealandia are also worth a visit. From Mount Victoria you have a fantastic view of the city.

DAY 11

Rotorua

The road leads north to the Kapiti Coast. National Park Village is a friendly settlement that’s well positioned for those who want to explore the Tongariro National Park. All three volcanic peaks can be seen from here. Not to be missed is a stop at the roaring Huka Falls north of Taupo. Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people.

DAY 12

Rotorua

Rotorua is home to boiling mud pools, geysers and other thermal activities. Make sure to visit one of the geothermal parks to see the volcanic activity on the surface up close. Rotorua is also the centre of Maori culture, and offers a wide range of activities – from a Gondola ride to natural hot pools to soak yourself.

DAY 13

Auckland

You will leave Rotorua on the Thermal Explorer Highway. On your way to Auckland you’ll come across the town of Tirau, known for its antique shops and animal-shaped corrugated iron buildings. As you cruise further towards Auckland stop in Hamilton for a stroll. The city of Hamilton is carved in two by the mighty Waikato River. Enjoy riverboat cruising and a giant free flight aviary. Other popular stops on the way are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the Hobbiton Movieset in Matamata. New Zealand’s largest city with a population of over 1.3 million people – is home to one third of New Zealanders. You can visit the Harbour Bridge, the Viaduct Harbour or the Skytower. The Skytower is 328 m high and therefore the highest building in New Zealand and the southern hemisphere.

DAY 14

Departure - Goodbye New Zealand!

Today you depart Auckland after dropping off your rental car at the airport.

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New Zealand’s Highlights
New Zealand’s Highlights

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