14 Days New Zealand Highlights
14 Days | All of New Zealand
Visit New Zealand's most popular resort & scenic destinations in this easy 2 week itinerary.
(01 Oct 2017 - 30 Apr 2018)
NZ$1875 per person
(01 May - 30 Sep 2017)
NZ$1450 per person
- 9 nights gold & 4 nights blue motel accommodation
- 13 days' small rental car hire
- welcome voucher wallet & driving maps
- expert itinerary planning & booking service
- 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Prices are per person, share twin/double room and in NZ$
From the mystical Maori culture of Rotorua, spectacular lake and volcanic region around Taupo, south to the Capital City of Wellington and the highlights of the South Island. Visit the beautiful beaches and wine district of Nelson and spectacular Franz and Fox glacier region. Experience the adventure & thrills of Queenstown and awe-inspiring Milford Sound, with the eco-attractions of Dunedin and famous Aoraki Mount Cook en route back to Christchurch.
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland, pick up rental car on arrival. Kia ora, welcome to Auckland, the "City of Sails', New Zealand's largest and very multi-cultural city. Stroll the waterfront at Viaduct Harbour, famous for America's Cup sailing, savour the dining scene at adjacent Wynyard Quarter, enjoy beautiful beaches as well as boutique shopping at the Britomart, High Street and along Queen Street. The iconic SkyTower offers splendid views of the Harbour Bridge.
Day 2 - Drive Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua (approx 4 hours,55 mins) (alternatively travel via Matamata and visit LOTR Hobbiton). Leaving Auckland city, enjoy the more rural landscapes as you drive over the Bombay Hills to the fertile farmlands of the Waikato region. Further south Otorohanga proudly celebrates and displays everything Kiwi. Waitomo Caves have been millions of years in the making, formed by underground streams carving out apertures through limestone rock. The caves include deep caverns, luminescent glowworms and dark waterways. Enjoy your scenic drive through a mixture of farmland, lake land and forest. Te Kuiti is the only major town you’ll encounter before arriving at the lakeside city of Rotorua, New Zealand's coolest hot spot. Renowned for geothermal hot spots, world-class mountain bike trails, 18 lakes and a raft of attractions and experiences for everyone from adventure-seekers to those just looking to relax. Scenic lake cruising, wildlife parks and nature reserves, Maori cultural experiences all make for an exciting visit.
Day 3 - 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 4 - Drive Rotorua - Wellington (approx 6 hours) Leaving Rotorua, head south through vast pine forests before skirting the edges of Lake Taupo. Worthwhile stopovers en route include the geothermal reserves of Waimangu and Waiotapu, Aratiatia Rapids and the thundering Huka Falls. The resort town of Taupo sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake and is known as a trout fishing paradise. Continue south and follow the Desert Road past rolling farmland and through the stunning Tongariro National Park, dominated by the volcanic cone that is Mount Ruapehu. As you continue, pass through the army base at Waiouru with its excellent army museum, and small rural towns during the drive south to Palmerston North. Ocean views along the Kapiti Coast bring you to the "coolest little capital in the world" according to Lonely Planet. Wellington is home to a powerful mix of culture, history, nature and cuisine. Highlight features include its stunning harbour location, Te Papa National Museum, theatres and galleries, high street stores and culinary havens.
Day 5 - Wellington - Picton (by InterIslander ferry approx 3 hours) Cruise from the inner harbour of Wellington, across Cook Strait and through the Tory Channel to the sheltered waters of the magical Queen Charlotte Sound. There's extraordinary scenery all the way before you reach the picturesque seaside town of Picton. Pick up replacement rental car in Picton. Drive to Nelson (approx 1 hour,45 mins) Enjoy stunning scenery as you leave the Marlborough Sounds along serene Queen Charlotte Drive to the marina town of Havelock. Mussels are on the menu in Havelock, the town is best known as the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World. Continue alongside the Pelorus River into the dense pine tree lined Rai Valley to the vibrant beachside city of Nelson. Relaxation and rejuvenation are priorities here. As well as high sunshine hours, the white curve of Tahunanui Beach and street side cafes, Nelson is full of fantastic original arts. Visit the workshop of a local painter, sculptor, fashion designer, glass blower or jeweller for wonderful displays.
Day 6 - Drive Nelson - Westport, (approx 3 hours, 15 mins) Pass through charming small towns of the Tasman district, pine tree covered Spooners Range to rolling hills and dairy farmland. Skirt the Kahurangi National Park's native forest and onto the magnificent Buller Gorge. Follow the Buller River to the coastline of the Tasman Sea. Westport was first a gold town and then a coal town. The coal mining museum provides a glimpse of what it's like to work underground. Westport is also a centre for outdoor adventures – jet boating, underground rafting, caving, white water rafting and kayaking. Scenic highlights include old coal towns, gold mining relics, forest hikes and coastal walks. There is a seal colony nearby at Cape Foulwind and depending on the season, there can be up to 100 New Zealand fur seals in the vicinity.
Day 7 - Drive Westport - Franz Josef (approx 3 hours, 40 mins) Spectacular coastal vistas, sparkling mirror lakes, the backdrop of the spectacular Southern Alps and abundant native bush of several forest parks feature on your drive south. The small village of Franz Josef, along with nearby Fox Glacier, is gateway to the most accessible glaciers anywhere in the world. Activity options include scenic bush and forest hiking, heli-hiking on the glacier, spectacular flights, easy cycle ways and the relaxing hot pools.
Day 8 - Drive Franz Josef - Queenstown (approx 4 hours, 40 mins) Pass through the alpine village of Fox Glacier, past Lake Paringa and Lake Moeraki to the rugged Tasman Sea coastline. A stop at Knights Point offers dramatic views. Through the Gates of Haast, follow the Haast River into the extraordinary, remote beauty of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Skirt the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea to the township of Wanaka, then on to the vibrant alpine resort town of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu with it's backdrop of The Remarkables Mountains.
Day 9 - 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 10 - Drive Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau (approx 5 hours, 45 mins) Skirt Lake Wakatipu's stunning shores as you transcend through small towns and local farmland into the grand Fiordland region today. The road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your time in Fiordland. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you’ll remember, while the underwater observatory is an option with most cruises.
Day 11 - Drive Te Anau to Dunedin (approx 4 hours,10 mins) Depart Te Anau and travel across the Southland Plains through the small townships of Mossburn, Lumsden and rural hub of Gore, sheep farms dominate the landscape. Continue to the Clutha River at Balclutha before heading north crossing the Taieri Plains, pass Lake Waihola to Dunedin. Note you can travel to Dunedin via the rugged Catlins coast, part of the Southern Scenic route, known for its wildlife and fossalised forest. You would need to allow extra time for this drive. Dunedin is said to be the Edinburgh of New Zealand with its well preserved Victorian and Edwardian heritage present throughout the city. Surrounded by hills and featuring a wide harbour, Dunedin's Taieri Gorge, Railway, chocolate factory and Speights Brewery are rewarding visits. A scenic drive along the Peninsula with its rugged beaches and local wildlife is recommended.
Day 12 - Drive Dunedin to Twizel (approx 3 hours/45 mins) (near Aoraki Mount Cook National Park) A pause at Moeraki to see the mysterious boulders on the beach is worthwhile before continuing north to historic Oamaru with its distinctive white sandstone public buildings and wide main street. Follow the mighty Waitaki River inland, skirting the shores of Lake Waitaki and Lake Aviemore to reach the junction at Omarama. Perhaps take time to enjoy a luxurious soak in the hot tubs before continuing to Twizel. 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 13 - Drive Twizel - Mt Cook - Christchurch (approx 5 hours/40 mins) Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo create outstanding photo opportunities of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, dominated by New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook. Cross Burkes Pass to the peaceful rural towns of Fairlie and Geraldine, before traversing the vast Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Its location between the Pacific Ocean, snow capped Southern Alps and volcanic hills of the Banks Peninsula gives Christchurch stunning landscapes and an enticing range of attractions. Ride the historic tramway, punt on the River Avon, stroll the Botanic Gardens and enjoy vibrant restaurants and cafes.
Day 14 - Depart Christchurch You have the day at leisure until you make your way to Christchurch Airport for your departure flight. Drop off rental car at airport.
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!