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Queenstown, New Zealand

Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,790 pp incl. flights


Short description

Explore the best of New Zealand’s North and South islands on this stunning self-drive


  • From north to south, enjoy some of the world’s most scenic drives
  • Take in epic landscapes, from mountain glaciers to geothermal wonders
  • Relax with vineyard tastings and pristine beaches
  • Showcase the city charm of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
  • Stay in boutique luxury throughout

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Auckland
  • 2 Nights Coromandel Peninsula
  • 1 Night Rotorua
  • 1 Night Napier
  • 1 Night Wellington
  • 2 Nights Nelson
  • 1 Night Franz Josef
  • 3 Nights Queenstown
  • 1 Night Lake Tekapo
  • 1 Night Christchurch


Recommended for:
December holidays | February holidays | Food & wine | History & culture | January holidays | Mountains | Natural world | Self-drive

Only New Zealand crams so much spectacular scenery into so little space. And, on this ultra-scenic road trip, you’ll be treated to everything from giant glaciers and snow-capped mountains to glittering lakes and Rotorua’s explosive geysers. Then, alongside Maori heritage, you’ll take in the city culture of maritime Auckland, hip Wellington and idyllic Christchurch. There’s also plenty of time to take things easy, too, with vineyard tastings and golden beaches showcased between stays in boutique properties.

Day by day itinerary

Days 1-2
Depart UK

Begin your trip in style with VIP lounge access before your flight out to New Zealand.

Days 3-4
Arrive in Auckland

You’ll be met on arrival by a private driver, who’ll see you to your accommodation – both our options are 1920s Art Deco icons. They’re also both set right in the heart of the action, with all of the city’s delights on your doorstep. After strolling past the sails and trendy restaurants of its gorgeous harbour, perhaps take in the Maori treasures of its art galleries and museums or the citywide views from its needled Sky Tower – the country’s tallest building. However, this being New Zealand, Auckland is just as much about its natural world, with volcanic peaks, Maori-carved rainforests and vineyard-dotted islands all within easy reach.

Stay: Heritage Auckland (Superior) or Fable Auckland (Deluxe)

Meals: B (Deluxe)

Days 5-6
Coromandel Peninsula

Picking up your hire car from the city centre, you’ll set off through the lush New Zealand countryside, sweeping along the coast and over peninsular mountains to arrive at your sea-view accommodation. While both options enjoy direct access to the region’s iconic golden sands, our intimate Deluxe offering is particularly enticing, host to just four suites. But, aside from some seaside relaxation, scenic drives will bring you between cathedral rock formations, the ocean-thrashed west coast and a bush-clad interior – a hikers’ paradise. There are even naturally heated beaches where you can dig out your own private spa pool in the sand. For Superior option, breakfast included only on day six.

Stay: Brenton Lodge, Coromandel Peninsula (Superior) or 970 Lonely Bay, Coromandel Peninsula (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 7

Continuing south, you’ll arrive into Rotorua. It’s here that the North Island’s millennia of volcanic activity is best felt; geysers spurt, hot springs steam, mineral lakes glow bright orange and mud pools all but explode. It’s all steeped in tribal Maori mythology, evident everywhere from traditional villages to cultural performances and hangi feasts. You’ll take it in between a night spent in your boutique-chic accommodation, with our Superior option offering a private mineral pool and the Deluxe alternative – a 1930s mansion – featuring spectacular lake views best taken in on its secluded beach.

Stay: Regent of Rotorua (Superior) Peppers on the Point (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 8

You’ll be brought back to the coast today by gentle rolling countryside. While Napier is an architectural marvel, having been reimagined in fine Art-Deco style following a 1931 earthquake, you’ll want to sample the local produce – its viticulture. As the gateway to the world-class Hawke’s Bay wine region, you’ll be able to taste your way through some of New Zealand’s finest wineries, each terraced over beautifully undulating vineyards. End the day in either an Art-Deco boutique or our Deluxe option – a historic Vicarage where you’ll be treated to pre-dinner drinks and canapés.

Stay: The County Hotel (Superior) The Manse (Deluxe)

Meals: B (Deluxe)

Day 9

Heading on to the southern tip of the North Island, you’ll arrive into Wellington. New Zealand’s pretty capital is a quarter the size of Auckland, retaining a certain small-town charm that’s wrapped in lush hills and a picturesque harbour. The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, is a particular highlight for its Maori woodcarvings, as are the harbour views from the cable car. Then, after perhaps sampling its superb restaurant and microbrewery scene, retire to the cocktail bar of your chandeliered art hotel or the rooftop-pool views of our flawlessly contemporary Deluxe option.

Stay: QT Museum Wellington (Superior) or The InterContinental Wellington (Deluxe)

Meals: B (Deluxe)

Days 10-11

After dropping off your hire car, you'll leave the North Island behind aboard the Interislander ferry, crossing the Cook Strait in included Premium Class. Expect pretty views of green-dappled bays as you enjoy complimentary snacks, beers and wines. Then, once arrived, you’ll pick up your new hire car for the vineyard-dotted countryside to Nelson. Positioned on the edge of Abel Tasman, you’ll have two days to explore the quiet coves, golden beaches and jungled interior of this national-park gem on everything from kayak trips to scenic hikes. There’s even one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. End each day in a charming colonial homestead or a luxury lodge with spectacular harbour views – our Deluxe option.  For Superior option, breakfast included only on day 11.

Stay: Cambria House (Superior) Te Koi (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 12
Franz Josef

Saying goodbye to the sunny shores of Abel Tasman, you’ll journey down along the South Island’s spectacular west side, dipping through verdant coastal forests as you go. You’ll soon arrive into Westland National Park, where you’ll stay right next door to the colossal expanse of Franz Josef Glacier. Be sure to explore with optional hikes onto its endless white or even a helicopter flight, before warming back up with a hot-pool soak in its surrounding rainforest. Our Deluxe option even features a canopy-level restaurant with mountain views while the Superior alternative, a 1920s colonial homestead, looks out over Franz Josef itself.

Stay: Holly Homestead B&B (Superior) Te Waonui Forest Retreat (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Days 13-15

Your trip down to Queenstown will bring you alongside rushing rivers, past quaint lakeside towns and into the heights of the Southern Alps. Perched between the Remarkables mountain range and glittering Lake Wakatipu, there’s a full range of activities here, from skiing and skydiving to bungee jumping and white-water rafting. However, look beyond the high adrenaline and you’ll find mountain hikes, vineyard tastings and laidback gold-rush towns set on idyllic lake shores. Or, explore further with a scenic cruise on spectacular Milford Sound – a true fjord icon. You’ll return each night to the boutique alpine-chic of your luxury accommodation.

Stay: Browns Boutique Hotel, Queenstown (Superior) or St Moritz Hotel, Queenstown (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 16
Lake Tekapo

Heading north today, you’ll venture deeper into the Southern Alps to arrive at Lake Tekapo. Here, you’ll look right over its glassy, mountain-ringed shimmer from your accommodation, before enjoying the chance to explore with ranging hikes and horseback rides through the rolling foothills of McKenzie Country. Then, soothe any sightseeing aches with a soak in one of the town’s geothermal hot pools. There’s also the beautifully positioned Church of the Good Shepherd, so postcard-perfect that it’s among the most photographed sites in New Zealand.

Stay: Peppers Bluewater Resort (Superior) Lake Tekapo Lodge (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 17

Hopping over to the east coast, you’ll arrive into Christchurch. Although devastated by its 2011 earthquake, it’s not difficult to see why it’s often referred to as the country’s most English city. Beautiful neo-Gothic architecture is interspersed by idyllic parks and taken in on punting trips along the River Avon. The Botanic Gardens are a further highlight. For your stay, choose between either a century-old Victorian townhouse or the contemporary chic of our Deluxe option.

Stay: The Classic Villa, Christchurch (Superior) or The George, Christchurch (Deluxe)

Meals: B (Deluxe)

Days 18-19
Depart for UK

After a last breakfast, drive to Christchurch airport for your overnight flight home.

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior Deluxe

19-day tailor-made self-drive
from £3,790 pp incl. flights


01 Apr - 30 Sep 2024

from £3,790 pp. incl. flights

01 Oct 2024 - 31 Mar 2025

from £4,590 pp. incl. flights


  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between London to Auckland and departing from Christchurch
  • Private transfers as per itinerary (except on day 5, make your own way to car hire depot which is close by)
  • 14 days medium car hire, including Inter-island ferry (premium plus)
  • 15 nights accommodation in typically 4* (Superior) hotels on a mix of B&B and room only basis

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

Meet our experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614

Meet the team

Adjust your itinerary with our recommended extensions

Best of Both Worlds

Best of Both Worlds

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Caves and Kiwi

Caves and Kiwi – The Waitomo Experience

On-the-day excursion

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Siberia Valley Wilderness Adventure

Siberia Valley Adventure

On-the-day excursion

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Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Overnight excursion

Quiet, untouched and beautifully remote, Doubtful Sound is the perfect destination for an overnight cruise getaway, complete with superb wildlife-spotting opportunities

Milford Sound Overnight Cruise

Milford Sound Overnight Cruise

Overnight excursion

Escape the crowds with an overnight cruise that takes in all the fjord’s wildlife-populated cliffs, rainforests and waterfalls

4WD Skippers Canyon

4WD Skippers Canyon

On-the-day excursion

Cliff-carved off roader routes bring you out of Queenstown, deep into gold rush territory where wild canyons, historic townships and gold-panning opportunities map a rich history

Stewart Island

Stewart Island

Three-day extension

Discover the unique wildlife and coastal geography of Stewart Island between catamaran cruises, scenic walks and island conservancy visits

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0614 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
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