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
- 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
Food & wine | History & culture | 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
Begin your trip in style with VIP lounge access before your flight out to New Zealand.
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 just back from the waterfront, so you’ll have 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.
Meals: B (Deluxe)
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.
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)
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 vineyards, 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)
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.
Meals: B (Deluxe)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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.
Meals: B (Deluxe)
Depart for UK
After a last breakfast, drive to Christchurch airport for your overnight flight home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £3,250 pp. incl. flights
from £3,350 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
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