Self-drives in New Zealand
A New Zealand road trip offers almost unrivalled natural beauty, with climes ranging from the warm and sub-tropical to the cool and glacial. While the North Island is predominantly known for its evergreen foliage and hot springs, the South Island’s reputation is forged on glaciers, fjords and winter adventure. As such, a kiwi self-drive is often time split between the two, with the Interislander ferry between Wellington and Picton providing the only vehicular crossing.
Explore some of the world’s greatest wine regions
A drive through the Hawke’s Bay region on the north east coast of the North Island explores the oldest wine producing region in New Zealand. Take in the stunning visual paradox of green and fertile valleys alongside white sand beaches and emerald coves. Alternatively wait until you are close to Wellington in the south of the North Island, and visit Martinborough. A darling of the new world wine regions and famed for its Sauvignon Blanc, it offers the chance to temporarily swap your driving seat for a bicycle seat and take a more intimate tour through its vineyards.
Find an ‘unexpected journey’ of your own: the South Island
Despite Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit films contributing a long-term boost to New Zealand’s tourist industry, driving in the South Island presents many an opportunity to get cut loose from other tourists and discover its natural jewels for yourself. Driving south from Queenstown (the country’s adventure capital) explore Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the renowned Milford Sound. From here a 2.5 hour drive to the town Te Anau boasts one of the most scenic roads in the world – its hills and beech forests home to many of the country’s flightless birds, such as the Takahe and the infamous Kakapo – now part of a managed breeding program offshore to help prevent extinction.
Let us help you find the stops that suit your interests
Like any driving holiday, a self-drive in New Zealand can be arranged around any of a number of different aspects, be it wildlife, food and wine, or local culture. Understanding what’s important to you will help us create a journey with the right balance, from hours spent behind the wheels to accommodations in just the right spots that you want to explore. Get in touch and our experts will be more than happy to help.
Our top itineraries for New Zealand Self-drives
With boutique hotel stays and car hire included throughout, this curated road trip perfectly showcases the unique cultures and natural wonders of New Zealand's North and South islands.
Discover New Zealand's South Island, bringing all to life with an included glacier heli-hike, an overnight Doubtful Sound cruise and a journey on the iconic TranzAlpine train.
A tip-to-toe tour of New Zealand, taking in the best of its landscapes and culture, and calling into filming locations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.