Experience the very best of New Zealand's exceptional food and wine on this tailor-made self-drive
- 2 Nights Auckland
- 2 Nights Waiheke Island
- 2 Nights Rotorua
- 2 Nights Hawke Bay
- 1 Night Wellington
- 2 Nights Marlborough Sounds
- 2 Nights Abel Tasman
- 2 Nights Kaikoura
- 1 Night Christchurch
- 2 Nights Franz Josef Glacier
- 3 Nights Queenstown
This itinerary in pictures
Activity adventure | Food & wine | Self-drive
New Zealand boasts some truly wonderful landscapes and with such an abundance of fresh mountain air and wide open spaces, its of little surprise that this remarkable country also produces a wealth of outstanding modern and traditional cuisine along with some of the world's finest wines. Covering many of the country's highlights, this luxury self-drive starts in Auckland in the North Island, New Zealand's City of Sails and ends in the South Island at the picturesque lakeside town of Queenstown in the heart of the Southern Alps. As you make your way through New Zealand's ever-changing landscapes, we've recommended some superb excursions to help you gain an insight into the country's cuisine, including trips to artisan markets and some of the country's finest wineries.
Day by day itinerary
Fly from the UK to Auckland, arriving on day 3.
Arrive in New Zealand's northernmost city set on the picturesque Auckland Harbour. You'll be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel for a two-night stay. Your second day in the City of Sails is free for you to enjoy an optional Big Foody Tastebud Tour, discovering some of the city's best culinary hotspots including visits to local producers along café's, restaurants and, on weekends, the city's farmers markets. You'll be guided by a local expert before rounding things off with a light lunch.
Stay: Hotel DeBrett, Auckland (Deluxe)
Board a ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island, located in the Hauraki Gulf. On arrival you'll be met by your hosts and transferred to your accommodation.
Spend the next day at leisure exploring Waiheke Island, the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf and home to a beguiling blend of forests, beaches, vineyards and olive groves. Discover the island's unspoilt coastline, maybe heading to Cactus Beach, accessible only by kayak, or take a guided nature tour to learn more about the island's wildlife.
Stay: The Boatshed, Waiheke Island (Deluxe)
From Waiheke Island, make your way by ferry back to Auckland where you'll transfer to the airport for your short flight to Rotorua. On arrival, collect your hire car and drive to your accommodation. The rest of the day will be at leisure.
The following day is free to enjoy an optional Te Ra + Kai Ngawha day pass and steambox lunch. Discover the distinctive flavours and unique preparation of the traditional steambox hangi and explore the region's Maori culture with an extended tour and interactive weaving encounter.
Stay: Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel, Rotorua (Deluxe)
Depart Rotorua this morning and drive east to picturesque Hawkes Bay, one of New Zealand's renowned wine-producing regions.
The next morning we recommend an optional half-day private food and wine tour, a fun way to spend the day and also a chance to learn about the region's award-winning wines and visit some of the best local wineries.
A Long Island Tours vehicle will pick you up from your hotel as you commence a highly enjoyable half day tour of the vibrant world of Hawke's Bay wine. Talk with the personalities who are passionate about crafting world-leading wines, visit some of the best of local vineyards and sample their award winning vintages. The region's rich soils and warm growing conditions also attract innovative epicurean food producers and you'll get to taste all manner of tantalising treats and meet the people behind them. Guided by a wine specialist, this is a fantastic day for wine and food lovers.
Stay: The Manse, Hawke’s Bay (Deluxe)
After breakfast on day nine, you'll depart Hawke's Bay and enjoy a scenic drive south to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. On arrival, check into your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Spend time exploring the city's many restaurants, cafes bars and microbreweries as well as a host of art galleries and Te Papa, New Zealand's fascinating national museum.
Stay: The InterContinental Wellington (Deluxe)
This morning you'll make your way to Wellington's ferry terminal where you'll leave your hire car and board the Interislander ferry, travelling in Premium Class to Picton at the northern tip of the South Island where you'll catch the Cougar Line Water Taxi to Bay of Many Coves in the Marlborough Sounds.
The following day will be yours to explore this stunning coastal region of deep inlets and drowned river valleys with plenty of opportunities for kayaking, walking and wildlife watching, as well as the chance to discover another of New Zealand's wine producing strongholds.
Stay: Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds (Deluxe)
Take a water taxi back to Picton and collect your new hire car for the drive to Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty with numerous unspoilt bays, gorgeous beaches and a host of activities including white-water rafting, mountain biking, hiking and fishing to name just a few. Along with the wealth of activities there's also plenty of opportunity to relax and unwind with a host of wineries, art galleries and first-class restaurants all to be found in the region.
Stay: The Resurgence, Nelson and Abel Tasman (Superior)
Meals: B D
From Abel Tasman you'll head south to the pretty town of Kaikoura on the South Island's east coast. Backed by snow-capped mountains, Kaikoura is the best place in New Zealand for watching whales and dolphins. Throughout the year, the waters off the Kaikoura coast attract migratory humpback, pilot, orca and southern right whales, depending on the season.
Stay: Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses, Kaikoura (Deluxe)
Meals: B D
Depart Kaikoura and continue south to Christchurch where you'll leave your hire car. Spend the night in Christchurch, often thought of as New Zealand's most 'English' city, and spend time exploring the centre, much of which has been rebuilt following the 2011 earthquake. There are some beautiful gardens to explore, or perhaps go punting on the Avon River that cuts through the heart of the city.
Stay: The George, Christchurch (Deluxe)
Franz Josef Glacier
This morning you'll transfer to Christchurch Rail Station where you'll board the TranzAlpine Train to Greymouth on New Zealand's west coast. Passing through the Canterbury Plains and foothills of the majestic Southern Alps, this four-hour scenic rail journey is a highlight of any visit to New Zealand.
On arrival in Greymouth you'll collect your hire car and make the drive south to your hotel in Franz Josef. Dinner is included on your first night.
A full day in Franz Josef allows for the possibility of an unforgettable optional excursion onto the majestic Franz Josef Glacier (not included). Strap on some crampons and head out onto the ice as your guide leads you through dramatic ice arches and across small crevasses. Alternatively, a helicopter flight gives a unique birds-eye-view of this impressive natural phenomenon.
Stay: Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier (Deluxe)
Meals: B D
Departing Franz Josef you'll make your way along the stunning west coast to Queenstown in the heart of the Southern Alps. A long but incredibly beautiful drive allows for plenty of stops along the way to admire the dramatic scenery.
On arrival in Queenstown, check into your accommodation where you'll spend the next three nights.
You'll have two full days to explore Queenstown, New Zealand's adrenalin capital. Perhaps embark on a private gourmet wine tour, visiting five tasting venues in the Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn, exploring New Zealand's largest underground wine cave and indulging in a gourmet lunch with a glass of premium estate wine. A mid-morning cheese tasting is also included.
A truly memorable way to end your trip and your culinary journey through the Land of the Long White Cloud is with an optional Picnic on a Peak helicopter flight to a remote location where you'll enjoy a leisurely champagne luncheon in the wilderness, calling on the helicopter once you're ready to return to civilisation.
Stay: St Moritz Hotel, Queenstown (Deluxe)
Return your hire car to Queenstown airport and board your flight home, arriving on day 25.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £6,850 pp. incl. flights
from £7,975 pp. incl. flights
- Complimentary UK airport lounge access
- Return flights from London to Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington & Queenstown
- Private transfers as per itinerary
- 17 days car hire with GPS and inter-islander ferry
- 21 nights accommodation in a mix of 5* (deluxe) and 4* (superior) hotels on B&B and half-board basis (as per itinerary)
- Big Foodie Tours Auckland - from £115 per person
- Te Puia, Te Ra & Kai Ngawha - from £65 per person
- Long Island Guides, Food & Wine Lovers Delight - from £115 per person
- Appellation Private Gourmet Wine Tour - from £360 per person
- Over the Top Picnic on a Peak Helicopter Flight - from £455 per person
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 someone who has been there on 020 7590 0614Meet the team
Adjust your itinerary with our recommended extensions
After a city tour of Auckland, taste your way through its surrounding viticulture with three vineyard visits and the chance to spot nesting gannets
Combine a city tour with wine tastings, a gourmet lunch and artisanal chocolate in Christchurch’s picturesque rural surrounds
Enjoy a traditional feast, cultural performances and an ancestral homeland that erupts in geothermal activity in one fascinating evening