15 Days New Zealand Spectacular
15 Days | All of New Zealand
Starting in Christchurch, explore coastal highlights of Oamaru and Dunedin, the rugged beauty of Central Otago, hot pools resort village of Hanmer Springs as well as the North Island's volcanoes and geothermal reserves.
(01 Oct 2017 - 30 Apr 2018)
NZ$1880 per person
(01 May - 30 Sep 2017)
NZ$1585 per person
- 10 nights gold + 2 nights blue motel accommodation + 1 nights silver + 1 nights gold hotel accommodation
- 14 days small rental car hire
- welcome voucher wallet & driving maps
- expert itinerary planning & booking service
- 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Prices are per person, share twin/double room and in NZ$
Views of the South Island's vivid blue coastal ocean contrast with the wild vastness of the Central Otago's rolling tussock hills, snow capped alps and sparkling mountain lakes. Genuine rural towns offer warm kiwi hospitality as well as insights into New Zealand's unique culture and amazing landscapes. This 15 day itinerary comfortably combines popular destinations with scenic new discoveries.
Day 1 - Arrive Christchurch, pick up rental car on arrival. Kia ora, welcome to Christchurch, the largest city of the South Island. Christchurch offers pockets of perfect as the central city rebuilds after the 2011 earthquakes. Located on the vast Canterbury Plains, with the sweeping coastal curve of Pegasus Bay and the volcanic hills of Banks Peninsula, Christchurch offers surprisingly diverse landscapes. Stroll the graceful Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park, relax beside the gently flowing Avon River or take in the expansive city and mountain views from the Christchurch Gondola.
Day 2 - Drive Christchurch - Oamaru (approx 3 hours 20 min) Travel across the broad Canterbury Plains, with the spectacular Southern Alps as a backdrop to the rural township of Ashburton, a major service centre for the local farming district. Ashburton sits between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers which are known for salmon and sea run trout. Follow the east coast through the small city of Timaru with the beach side attractions of Caroline Bay, botanic gardens, an aviary and wonderful walks. Next is the township of Oamaru which has an impressive heritage and has recently been awarded the title "Sharpest Town in New Zealand". Many of the elegant historic buildings were made from the local sandstone. Visit the Harbour-Tyne area - the best-preserved collection of historic commercial buildings in New Zealand. You should also check out the penguin colony, the museum and the pretty public gardens.
Day 3 - Drive Oamaru - Dunedin (approx 1 hours 30 min) Along the way perhaps visit the huge spherical Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach, an amazing geological phenomenon, and quaint fishing village of Moeraki. Destination is Dunedin, the vibrant "Edinburgh of the South" with its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and close proximity to the wildlife habitats on Otago Peninsula which include the soaring albatross and yellow eyed penguin colonies. Take a guided nature tour, visit Cadbury World chocolate factory, ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway and enjoy the lively vibe of The Octagon.
Day 4 - Drive Dunedin - Cromwell (approx 2 hours 40 min) Today's drive to Cromwell will take you through the stunning landscapes and rich heritage of Central Otago. In the 1800's this was a place of gold and many of the old buildings and mining sites remain but today the area is well known for its internationally acclaimed wines, particularly pinot noir. Meander through the quaint historic towns, of Lawrence, Roxburgh and Alexandra where in summer and autumn, you can enjoy local apricots, peaches, cherries and apples from roadside stalls. Clyde with the immense Clyde hydro dam and the starting point for the Otago Central Rail Trail. In Cromwell you can visit the town’s historic precinct on the shores of man-made Lake Dunstan and visit the nearby Bannockburn wine growing regions. Race go-carts at Highlands Motorsport Park, cruise the scenic Clutha River and savour the region's renowned fresh fruit.
Day 5 - In Cromwell at leisure. Relax in this charming Central Otago rural town or take a day excursion to Queenstown, just a 45 minute drive away. Queenstown's vast array of outstanding activities includes thrilling river jet boating, out back 4WD trips, white water rafting, bungy jumping, tandem skydiving, hot air ballooning, mountain bike and hiking trails. For a more relaxing day perhaps choose a scenic lake cruise in the historic TSS Earnslaw, visit a high country farm, play a round of golf at one of the many world class courses, ride on the Skyline Gondola for breathtaking views or take a guided Lord of the Rings film site tour.
Day 6 - Drive Cromwell - Omarama (approx 1 hour 40 min) The expansive views from the top of the Lindis Pass will be one of today's many highlights. Omarama is famous for its clear blue skies and beautiful dawn and dusk colours. The giant fluted Clay Cliffs are a sight to behold and one of NZ's best-kept natural secrets. Nestled among spectacular mountain ranges, Omarama has some of the best conditions in the world to experience the magic of gliding. Perhaps soak in an outdoor hot pool filled with fresh mountain water. Trout fishing and bird watching are also popular leisure activities here.
Day 7 - Drive Omarama - Methven (approx 2 hour 50 min) The stunning turquoise of Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo with their jagged backdrop of snow-capped peaks provide spectacular photo opportunities. Cross Burkes Pass to the rural towns of Fairlie and Geraldine where cheese, chocolate and internationally recognised Barker's fruit products are worth stopping for. Take time to browse though the specialty shops selling gifts, souvenirs, clothing and Maori Arts. Follow the inland scenic route to Methven village, a vibrant ski town by winter and hikers and cyclists by summer. Local activities include scenic walks, fishing, 4WD safaris, tandem skydiving, jet boating and hot air ballooning.
Day 8 - Drive Methven - Hanmer Springs (approx 2 hour 45 min) Cross the Rakaia River at the gorge bridge en route to Darfield. There is time to detour into Christchurch city centre, or bypass north to follow the state highway through the wine region of North Canterbury before turning off inland towards the alpine village of Hanmer Springs. Whether you’re after relaxation or exhilaration, versatile Hanmer Springs delivers. This tranquil village offers a top class thermal retreat at the Thermal Pools and Spa and an enviable variety of activities including local forest walkways and mountain bike trails. Hanmer Springs’ charm extends to the many restaurants, bars, cafes and boutique shopping.
Day 9 - Drive Hanmer Springs - Picton (approx 5 hour 15 min) Drive through the Lewis Pass, the northernmost of the three main passes across the Southern Alps. Lush beech forests and snow-capped Alps feature during the drive across the Lewis Pass to Springs Junction, follow the Maruia River past the natural hot pools of Maruia Springs to the rural town of Murchison. Murchison looks after the farming community and also has a fantastic range of outdoor activities including rafting and kayaking. Further north is the tiny lakeside village of St Arnaud, perfectly positioned for travellers wanting to explore the Nelson Lakes National Park. Drive the length of the wide Wairau River Valley to Blenheim surrounded by vast tracts of vineyards and renowned as a leading wine growing region. Destination is the picturesque seaside town of Picton.
Day 10 - Picton - Wellington by InterIslander Ferry (approx 3 hour 30 min) Leaving the sheltered waters of Picton behind, cruise through the magical Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel to cross Cook Strait to Wellington Harbour. Wellington's hillside suburbs and vibrant waterfront retail and commercial hub welcome you to the "coolest little capital in the world". Home to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, streets filled with art and world famous Lord of the Rings film locations, Wellington's special creative vibe is delightful.
Day 11 - Drive Wellington - New Plymouth (approx 5 hour 5 min) Enjoy the coastline and views of Kapiti Island, beach side towns of Paekakariki and Waikanae en route to Wanganui with its vibrant arts scene and rich cultural heritage. The conical peak of Mt Taranaki (Egmont), encircled by the Egmont National Park, dominates the horizon as New Plymouth approaches. With its eclectic mix of diverse cultures and contemporary style, New Plymouth is a seaside city and bustling port fast becoming a lifestyle destination for big-city escapees. Highlights include its award winning coastal walkway, Puke Ariki, an innovative museum/information centre and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.
Day 12 - Drive New Plymouth - Rotorua (approx 3 hour 50 min) Enjoy the last views of the mythical mountain, Mt Taranaki, which will contrast with the stunning coastal views to Awakino before heading inland towards the central plateau, dominated by rolling green farmland and further on the Pureora Forest Park. An optional side trip to visit the magical Waitomo Glowworm Caves might pique your interest if time allows. The hydro settlements of Whakamaru and Atiamuri on the mighty Waikato River are part of a series of eight hydro power stations on the river flowing through the Kinleith Forest. The resort town of Rotorua, New Zealand's coolest hot spot, is renowned for its outdoor adventure activities, rich Maori culture, geothermal reserves, glistening lakes and world-class hiking and cycling trails.
Day 13 - In Rotorua at leisure. Make the most of Rotorua's many activities and attractions. Adventurous mountain bike trails and cycle ways, thrilling river jet boating, 4WD outback trips, take to the forest canopy by zip line, scenic helicopter flights over Mt Tarawera and neighbouring lakes. The cultural side of Rotorua offers you traditional and modern Maori performances, hangi feasts and insights into genuine Maori maraes (meeting houses). Self guided and guided tours of geothermal reserves including Te Puia, Waiotapu and Waimangu Valley. The award winning Polynesian Spa is one of the many offerings of spa therapies, so make the most of Rotorua's geo thermal region.
Day 14 - Drive Rotorua - Auckland (approx 3 hours) Travel through rural countryside of the Rotorua region and through quirky Tirau, with its expansive corrogated iron artworks that are hard to miss - select from an option of routes, travel via Matamata to explore the land of Hobbiton and then on through the tree lined farmlands of Waikato, otherwise perhaps via the town of Hamilton that straddles the Waikato, New Zealand's longest river, with an optional trip to view Waitomo, home to its famous glowworms and mystical caves before continuing onto Auckland.
Day 15 - Depart Auckland. You have the day at leisure until you make your way to Auckland International Airport for your departure flight.
This New Zealand KiwiCombo road trip itinerary can be travelled in reverse and can be modified to suit your individual requirements. Suggested activities are a guideline to some of the special and unique experiences offered in each region but are optional and not included in the KiwiCombo Pass. However we can make reservations for you, just ask!