24 Days New Zealand Meander
24 Days | All of New Zealand
Take a relaxing journey around New Zealand's highlights and byways, staying in popular resorts & cities as well as smaller, genuine Kiwi towns.
(01 Oct 2017 - 30 Apr 2018)
NZ$3025 per person
(01 May - 30 Sep 2017)
NZ$2555 per person
- 18 nights gold + 5 nights blue motel accommodation
- 23 days small rental car hire
- welcome voucher wallet & driving maps
- expert itinerary planning & booking service
- 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Prices are per person, share twin/double room and in NZ$
Starting in Christchurch, this relaxing tour offers a generous sprinkling of 2 night stays so that you have the opportunity to explore many of the destinations in-depth. Highlights include majestic fiords, piercing snow capped mountain peaks, sparkling alpine lakes, golden sand beaches and geothermal pools. You'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing your trip highlight!
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 - Twizel (approx 4 hours) Travel through rolling green farmland and several quaint rural towns including charming Geraldine with its chocolate shop and renowned Barker's jam store, Fairlie and Kimbell. Continue to the stunning turquoise blue glacial lakes of Tekapo and Pukaki before reaching today's destination - the alpine village of Twizel. An optional side trip to the Mt Cook village in the heart of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is worthwhile if time allows. Twizel is a small township located near Aoraki Mount Cook which was originally created to provide a home for workers involved with the Upper Waitaki Power Scheme. Today it is a well-positioned base for exploring the Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.
Day 3 - Drive Twizel - Dunedin (approx 3 hours, 45 mins) Pass beautiful Lake Ruataniwha to Omarama then follow the shores of Lake Benmore, Lake Aviemore and Lake Waitaki as you steadily descend to the coast. Oamaru's white sandstone architecture and historic Victorian precinct make this town a worthwhile stop. 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.
Day 4 - Drive Dunedin - Te Anau (approx 4 hours, 10 mins) Pass Lake Waihola and cross the Taieri Plains to the Clutha River at Balclutha before heading inland and on to the Southland Plains. Sheep farms dominate the velvet green landscape to the rural hub of Gore before reaching Te Anau, the gateway to the majestic Fiordland National Park. A short side trip to beautiful Lake Manapouri is worthwhile. Te Anau's strategic location to both Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves and its own magical surroundings make it a perfect destination.
Day 5 - Milford Sound Day Trip (approx 1 hour, 45 mins each way) As gateway to the Fiordland National Park, Te Anau's proximity to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound make it a very popular destination. Take a guided hike on to the Milford Track, a day excursion to Doubtful Sound from nearby graceful Lake Manapouri, visit the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, thrilling river and lake jetboating, trout fishing and star gazing. There are choices galore!
Day 6 - Drive Te Anau - Queenstown (approx 2 hours, 25 mins) Rolling farmland interspersed with native and exotic forest en route to the small settlement of Kingston at the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu. Skirt the lake shore with the imposing backdrop of the majestic Remarkables mountains to reach Queenstown, famous for its outstanding adventure activities, superb wineries and restaurants and sparkling nightlife. Whether it's family fun, romantic honeymoon days or adrenaline rush you are looking for, you'll find it in Queenstown.
Day 7 - In Queenstown at leisure. 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, take a guided Lord of the Rings film site tour or a guided winery tour. Visit historic Arrowtown for insights into the early gold mining days. Queenstown's enticing cafes, restaurants and nightlife will complete the day.
Day 8 - Drive Queenstown - Wanaka (approx 1 hr 15 min) Take time to meander the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley before the rocky Kawarau Gorge draws you to Cromwell in the heart of Central Otago's fruit growing region. Visit Old Cromwell Town at the head of Lake Dunstan, perhaps visit nearby Bannockburn's wineries with their impressive views over the vineyards. Drive along Lake Dunstan to Wanaka, nestled on the lake shore. This alpine town with its local skifields, cycle trails and water-based leisure activities is very enticing.
Day 9 - In Wanaka at leisure. The perfect destination for outdoor adventure - from jet boating up the Matukituki River, outback 4WD safaris, mountain biking and tandem paragliding for those who want a bit of adventure, to more leisurely attractions such as Puzzling World, a round of golf with stunning lake views, a scenic lake cruise or a guided tour of local vineyards. A lakeside stroll offers impressive views up the lake towards the remote Mt Aspiring National Park.
Day 10 - Drive Wanaka - Franz Josef Glacier (approx 4 hr 55 min) Drive along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea with their impressive mountain backdrop of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Continue through Haast Pass, then follow the Haast River to the coast. Stop at Knight Point for outstanding coastal views of the Tasman Sea, peaceful Lake Moeraki and Lake Paringa to enter the Westland National Park. Pass through the Fox Glacier village to Franz Josef Glacier township with its exciting outdoor activities such as guided glacier hikes, scenic helicopter flights, kayaking on nearby lakes. A soak in the hot pools completes a star studded day.
Day 11 - Drive Franz Josef Glacier - Hokitika (approx 1 hour, 45 mins) The Westland National Park displays its highlights with mirror lakes Mapourika and Ianthe, towering native forests with the dramatic snow-capped Southern Alps in the background. Steeped in rich gold mining history, Hokitika also has nearby Hokitika Gorge, Treetops Walkway and even some local glow worms!
Day 12 - Drive Hokitika - Motueka (approx 4 hr 10 min) View some of the West Coast's beautiful lush rainforest as you leave Hokitika, north bound for Motueka. From Greymouth follow the spectacular coast road to Punakaiki, considered one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet. The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki are world famous and the 20 minute loop track to Dolomite Point gives the best views of these 30 million year old rock formations. Follow the Buller River inland to Murchison then enjoy the dense forest of the Kahurangi National Park through to Kohatu. The Motueka River valley takes you to the thriving town of Motueka, surrounded by vineyards and fruit orchards. The nearby beautiful Abel Tasman National Park, the new Great Taste Cycle Trail as well as its vibrant arts community all contribute to Motueka's popularity as a holiday destination.
Day 13 - In Motueka at leisure Motueka is a colourful town, home to a wealth of artists and craftspeople, and therefore, naturally, great galleries and shops. The town is important for its fishing, hops, pip fruit, kiwifruit and vineyards. Near a number of idyllic beaches, the town is within a short drive of Kaiteriteri, Marahau, Abel Tasman National Park and the Motueka River. It can be used as a base to the walking trails of the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks. The Abel Tasman may be New Zealand's smallest national park but it's big on exquisite natural features. Take a water taxi to one of the golden sand beaches as far north as Totaranui or just take a 20 minute walk from Marahau to experience a few of the park's delightful bay.
Day 14 - Drive Motueka - Picton (approx 2 hr 40 min) Enjoy the gentle coastline of the Tasman Bay, perhaps taking the coastal route via Ruby Bay and Mapua. Vineyards, fruit orchards and market gardening are testament to the fertile soil of this region. Nelson's rich arts community is evident with galleries galore and its beachside location a favourite. Leave the tranquil shores of Tasman Bay for forested hills en route to the marina settlement of Havelock at the head of the Mahau Sound. Queen Charlotte Scenic Drive features outstanding vistas of Queen Charlotte Sound's picturesque bays before arriving into the port township of Picton, where the inter-island ferry terminal is located. Enjoy waterfront walkways and the tranquil marina. 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 15 - In Wellington at leisure. Explore Wellington's waterfront with its fine historic buildings and Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's national museum, while the Lambton Quay area is well known for its retail shopping. The entertainment district of Courtenay Place and Cuba Street, features the impressive St James Theatre restored for Lord of the Rings world premiers. Mt Victoria and the cable car both offer outstanding city and harbour views. Join a guided LOTR film site tour for all the inside stories, visit Weta Workshop or perhaps enjoy a half day Seal Coast Safari by 4WD to view NZ fur seals at remote Cape Palliser. Wellington's superb restaurants and cafes offer elegant fine dining and popular cuisines from around the world.
Day 16 - Drive Wellington - Napier (approx 4 hr 30 min) North through the Hutt Valley, over the Rimutaka Hill, enjoy charming Greytown (famous for its chocolate shop!), perhaps a side trip to Martinborough wine village en route and the Danish heritage town of Dannevirk. Napier's trademark is its art deco and spanish mission architecture, Norfolk Pine tree-lined waterfront, rich arts culture and vast surrounding vineyards boasting world-renowned wine labels.
Day 17 - In Napier at leisure. Embrace Napier's art deco heritage with a selection of guided walks and tours or pick up a local walking map to take in some of Napier's superb architecture, parks and gardens. A drive up to Bluff Hill allows for truly commanding views, the local art guide map takes you around city galleries to home studios to get a taste of the thriving artistic community or to relax and unwind, try the open air hot pools.
Day 18 - Drive Napier - Rotorua (approx 2 hr 55 min) Pass pockets of farmland and vineyards as you leave the Hawke's Bay region. The Kaimanawa Forest Park and several conservation areas provide for a tree-lined drive for much of the way until you reach Taupo on the shores of New Zealand's largest lake. Take time for a scenic lake cruise to view the Maori rock carvings or perhaps a river jetboat ride to the Huka Falls. The geothermal reserves of Orakei Korako, Waiotapu and Waimangu Thermal Valley provide sightseeing options before reaching the geothermal city of Rotorua.
Day 19 - 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 20 - Drive Rotorua - Hamilton (approx 1 hr 30 min) Travel through rural countryside of the Rotorua region and through quirky Tirau, with its expansive corrogated iron artworks that are hard to miss. Then on through the tree lined farmlands of Waikato, to the vibrant city of Hamilton which sits on the banks of the majestic Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river. This city is relatively young but boasts a university, research institutes, galleries, The Hamilton Zoo and the beuatiful Hamilton Gardens. Its energy is reflected in its people and iconic events including the National Agricultural fieldays, Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and Balloons over Waikato.
Day 21 - Drive Hamilton - Paihia (approx 4 hr 40 min) Cross the fertile farmlands of the Waikato region and the Bombay Hills to the city lights of Auckland. Crossing the imposing harbour bridge, leave Auckland behind and then its beaches galore as you travel north. First is Orewa en route to historic Warkworth town and from there either follow the main road to Whangarei or divert along the coast road via Mangawhai Heads. From Whangarei its rolling farmland to Kawakawa and then on to Paihia the main township in the beautiful Bay of Islands.
Day 22 - In Paihia at leisure. The main township located of the beautiful Bay of Islands offers superb sweeping beaches and a wide range of recreational activities. Your choice to relax on one of the golden sand beaches or take a dolphin watch nature cruise, a scenic boat trip to Cape Brett and the 'Hole in the Rock' or short ferry to historic Russell. Swimming with the dolphins, kayaking and sailing are also right here! Or you might choose to do a day trip to New Zealand's northern most tip at Cape Reinga.
Day 23 - Drive Paihia - Auckland (approx 3 hr 10 min) Drive to Auckland via Whangarei, with its Town Basin marina popular with international yachties and surrounded by art galleries. Gardens and parks flourish here in Whangarei's mild climate and Whangarei Falls Scenic Reserve is worth time. Perhaps take a side trip to the Tutukaka coast where the road winds through native bush, pase white sandy beaches, harbours and estuaries. South of Warkworth, enjoy the beachside towns of Waiwera and Orewa on the Hibiscus Coast before reaching Auckland. Alternatively, travel via Kaikohe to the Hokianga Harbour on the west coast, driving south through the Waipoua Forest and Trounson Kauri Park to Dargaville and then on to Auckland's city centre.
Day 24 - 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!