17
days

Easy Going Kiwi Self Drive Adventure

Take a 17 day Easy Going New Zealand Self Drive Adventure, enjoy a touch of hiking, cycling, easy glowworm caving and glacier walk with multiple views on and off mountain tops. Get the best views from trains, boats and automobile. But make sure you have time to enjoy a drop of Marlboroughs Sauvignon Blanc on the way.

Thermal Tour Rotorua, Glowworm Cave, Tongariro Crossing, Vineyard Cycle Tour, Tranz-Alpine Train, Glacier Heli Hike, Cruise Milford Sound.

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Auckland!

Welcome to Auckland, situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, next to a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. The Auckland isthmus straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea.

After checking into your hotel, relax, your Easy Going Kiwi Self Drive Adventure starts tomorrow.Take a stroll around our beautiful city, explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter or choose one of the many activities available to give a more in depth understanding of Auckland and the surrounding area.

Some activities and sightseeing options available are:

Explore Waiheke Island Island Kayaking Adventure America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky Tower Relax on the Beach Rangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine Tour Whale and Dolphin Safari Muriwai Surf Beach

Accommodation Auckland - 1 night

2
Rotorua on the Pacific Ring of Fire

Three and half hours easy drive from Auckland, sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire - Rotorua is a geothermal spectacular. Giant geysers rocket into the air and colourful sulphur terraces hiss and boil. The earths crust at its most exciting and accessible in the downtown parks and lake front-  the smell of sulphur and sight of steaming vents invade the senses.  But Rotorua is more than boiling mud, there are ancient forests set amongst prisitine lakes, and the area is steeped in the history and tikanga (culture) of Maori, the First People of New Zealand. 

Recommended excursions in and around Rotorua:

See Geysers & Boiling Mud Polynesian Hot Springs Whirinaki Forest Walk
Thermally Active Golf Biking the Mighty Forests Flight to Volcanic Island
Museum of Art & History Evening Cultural Experience White Water Rafting

Approximate Distance: 226 kms | 140 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 45 mins

Accommodation Rotorua - 2 nights

3
Ecothermal and Cultural Full Day Guided Tour

This morning tour visits Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks. 
•    Wai O Tapu 
•    Waimangu Volcanic Valley 
•    Rainbow Mt and boiling mudfields

Spend an afternoon gaining an appreciation of New Zealand’s Maori culture with visits to settlement sites and living villages. Sites visited include Te Puia Cultural Centre, Ohinemute Village and Lake Okareka, the Blue and Green lakes with your knowledgable guide on hand at all locations.

4
Waitomo - Will the Underground Labyrinth leave you Spellbound?

To the south of Hamilton, the small and pleasant town of Waitomo is the focal point of the region’s subterranean wonders. The caves at Waitomo are one of New Zealand's most commanding wonders – a celebration of nature's work over the last one hundred thousand years. There are hundreds of miles of labyrinthine caves, glow-worms, under ground lakes, stalactites and stalagmites, and all manner of limestone crustaceans. Above ground, the area around Waitomo is also popular for horse riding and bush walking.

Take part in the small group personalized Spellbound Tour that allows you to spend 40 minutes under glow worms. This tour is one of the most unhurried glow worm tours in New Zealand, with plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness - intensifying the effect of thousands of softly shining glow worms.

Approximate Distance: 137 kms | 85 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 50 mins

Accommodation Waitomo - 1 night

5
National Park - The Volcanic Plateau

Today gives you the opportunity to re-charge your batteries before the Tongariro Crossing. Enjoy a sleep in and a hearty breakfast before driving to National Park .  There are plenty of short walks available to give you a taste of the terrain in New Zealand's oldest National Park with dual World Heritage status (recognising both the cultural & spiritual importance to Maori along with its outstanding volcanic setting).

Approximate Distance: 144 kms | 90 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 50 mins

Accommodation National Park - 2 nights

6
Guided Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Like walking on the Moon

Fancy a Walk on the Moon? The Tongariro Crossing - New Zealand's Best Day Walk
Tongariro Crossing winds its way through the otherworldly landscapes of Tongariro National Park. This National Park was New Zealand’s first, and was created in 1887 when its three spectacular volcanoes – Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe – were gifted to the people of New Zealand by the Tuwharetoa tribes. This mountain needs to be treated with respect - it has claimed more than its fair share of victims - that is why we recommend going with our expert guides - who are friendly and keen to share their alpine expertise.

7
Wellington the Capital City

It is a clear 4 hour drive down to Wellington, the last part of the journey hugs quite a rugged coastline with views out to Kapiti Island. Wellington is another of our Harbour Cities situated at the southern most tip of the North Island. The Wellington vibe is creative and eclectic - the nations politicians and parliament rub shoulders with street performers all with a lively cafe culture.

Before heading to your lodge here are some suggestions to enjoy Wellington:

National Museum - Te Papa Visit Cuba Street Weta Workshop Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Reserve  Wellington Cable Car
 
Carter Observatory 

Approximate Distance: 306 kms | 190 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 50 mins

Accommodation Wellington - 1 night

8
Ferry Southbound to the heart of wine country

This morning, make your way to the Wellington Ferry Terminal in time for your morning crossing of the Cook Strait. This challenging stretch of water connects the Tasman Sea to the Southern Pacific Ocean, you will enter the South Island through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds. Blenheim is the winemaking engine room of the New Zealand wine industry. In the 1970's the plains would have been filled by sheep - now it  is vines as far as the eye can see, producing world class wines.

Approximate Distance: 28 kms | 18 miles  Total Driving Time: 25 mins

Accommodation Blenheim - 2 nights

9
Get on your bike & cruise the vines

Today visit a selection of Marlborough's famous vineyards, enjoy the tastes and soak up the atmosphere. Over 40 wineries can be explored by bike along quiet back roads, and all within a 10km radius. A route will be matched to your interests to partake in wine tasting, gourmet food, crafts or just cycling on these quiet country roads.

10
The Wild East Coast to Christchurch

The vines will keep you company as you reach the headlands of the East Coast. Once down on the flats, this road - (worthy of any big budget car commercial) hugs the coastline - make sure you stop to enjoy the marine life as Fur Seals bask and play along the rocky shoreline, before arriving in gorgeous Kaikoura. The Kaikoura peninsula enjoys a mild microclimate and is overlooked by majestic snowcapped mountains. This unique proximity of ocean and mountain range offers a host of eco-tourism oriented activities, including whale watching, dolphin and seal swimming, kayaking, fishing and hiking. Leaving Kaikoura and the coast you will then head inland towards the rural Canterbury plains, once again passing through viticulture of the Waipara wine region. Return your rental car on arrival - enjoy a couple of days off.

Approximate Distance: 310 kms | 193 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours

Accommodation Christchurch - 2 nights

11
Cycle a city under renaissance

The two-hour guided Christchurch Bike Tour is a great way to experience the 'buzz' and see the creativity being used to rebuild a great modern city for us all.  Explore Christchurch city's top attractions by bike - from the historic... to the new. There are many exciting new projects and developments underway in Christchurch as the post-earthquake rebuild begins. 

The Christchurch Bike Tour provides a personalised way of seeing and learning of the city's new vision. During the tour there is plenty of time to take photos and ask your friendly local guide lots of questions! 

12
From Coast to Coast by Train

Rated as one of the top six scenic train journeys in the world, the famous Tranz Alpine train will take you deep into the heartland of the South Island… a coast to coast journey through some of the world’s most extreme and beautiful scenery. The Tranz Alpine winds its way over massive viaducts and through spectacular gorges and river valleys, tracking slowly across the country's greatest mountain range, the Southern Alps. It stops in the heart of the Southern Alps at Arthur’s Pass before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth. From Greymouth collect your rental car and travel to Franz Josef in Glacier Country.

Approximate Distance: 173 kms | 110 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 10 mins

Accommodation Franz Josef - 2 nights

13
Ice Explorer main course & Hot Pools for dessert

This is a fantastic introduction to an enthralling world of ice. A short heli hop from the township takes you into the remarkable Pinnacles area of the glacier. Here your guide will navigate you through a maze of ice and explain the dramatic environmental changes over the last few years. You will explore the awe-inspiring landscape in this incredible experience through Franz Josef Glacier.  The Ice Explorer hike includes entry into the fabulous Glacier Hot Pools - a perfect location to relax and chat about your incredible day.

14
From the Coast via the Haast Pass to Queenstown

Your driving days dont get much better than this. As you farewell the beech forests of th Mt Aspiring National Park and traverse the Haast Pass - be prepared to view lakes and rivers coloured like rare jewels - emerald and sapphire hued, intensified by the contrast of the surrounding mountain and tussock clad hillsides. Eventually arriving in Queenstown, the centre of adventure in New Zealand, there truly is something here for everyone. Every possible mode of transport and adventure is available to explore Central Otagos lakes (Wakatipu & Hawea), rivers (Shotover, Kawerau, Dart) and mountains (Coronet Peak, Remarkables, Ben Lomond) - you do not need to be an adrenalin junkie - although those who are, are well and truly catered for! 

Approximate Distance: 352 kms | 219 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Queenstown - 3 nights

15
Day Trip to Milford Sound

Famous British author Rudyard Kipling called Milford Sound the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ – and, with some of the most spectacular fiord scenery in the Southern Hemisphere, it certainly is. Milford Sound is impressive in all weather – whether your visit is misty, rainy and moody or clear and sunny, this stunning fiord never fails to inspire.The road in to Milford Sound today will provide ample photo opportunities with reflective lakes, jagged mountain cliffs, native Kea parrots, and lots and lots of water tumbling from sheer mountain faces.  Couple the dramatic scenery with the engineering feat that is the Milford Road and Homer Tunnel - and you can see why Milford Sound is touted as a `must-do' on your travels. For a country forged by the shifting of tectonic plates and ancient flooded glaciers (Milford is technically a Fijord not a Sound) no where is this more evident than at Milford Sound. 

Boarding your vessel at Milford will give you expert commentary and another perspective of the staggering scale of the surrounding mountain peaks. Return to Queenstown

Approximate Distance: 578 kms | 359 miles  Total Driving Time: 8 hours

16
Free day in Queenstown

Today relax and enjoy the stunning lakes & rivers - there is a bounty of vineyards, cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the wider district of QueenstownArrowtown and the Gibbston Valley.

Recommended excursions in and arouns Queenstown

Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk Explore Historic Arrowtown Highest Bungy Jump
Wine Tasting Tour Central Otago Biking Skippers Canyon Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise Dart River Jetboat Safari Gibbston Valley Wine Trail
 
17
Homeward Bound

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We are sure you will enjoy the Easy Going New Zealand Self Drive Adventure and our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about 'Easy Going New Zealand Self Drive Adventure'  - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!