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A Relaxing New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary

The 'Relaxing New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary' is designed for those for the need to relax and revitalize - to reset their relaxation compass whilst still incorporating the best of our slice of paradise. Plenty of time for reading, walking on beaches, soaking in geothermal hot pools, and restful massages, including some slivers of excitement to spice things up.

Dolphin & Bay of Islands Cruise, Flight to and explore White Island Volcano, Soak in Polynesia Spa, Relax in Abel Tasman National Park, Free Time in Queenstown.

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Auckland

‘Haere Mai’ … welcome to New Zealand.

Now you can relax - you are officially on holiday. Everything has been taken care of, we will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation.

Auckland city centre surrounds a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. In the Auckland region, the North Island is geographically narrow and the city straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea. Boutique shopping, pulsing, Pacific-inspired markets and a passionate cafe culture make this city a charming place to visit.

Some activities and aightseeing 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
North to the Beautiful Bay of Islands

Today collect your car its time to start your Relaxing New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary and travel north to the subtropical wonderland of the Bays of Islands. This is a sleepy place that is  steeped in both Maori and early European history.

Get out on the water with a boat cruise or sailing charter and spot dolphins and whales frolicking in the water before seeing the Hole in the Rock, just off Cape Brett, up close. Stroll the streets of Russell, New Zealand’s first capital, and soak up its whaling and pioneering past. Learn about the birth of New Zealand in Waitangi, where the treaty that made New Zealand a British colony was signed. The compelling mix of early New Zealand heritage and coastal beauty makes the Bay of Islands an unforgettable destination to experience first-hand. For divers, the Rainbow Warrior wreck – sunk just off Matauri Bay – is a riot of colour; jewel-hued anenomes in pink, purple and yellow stick to the rails and schools of fish call the wreck home. Also offering world-class fishing and the opportunity to swim with dolphins, the Bay of Islands is a must-do for lovers of perfect beaches and pristine coastline.  

Approximate Distance: 242 kms | 150 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 mins

Accommodation Opua - 3 nights

3
Just Relax at Cherry Bay Lodge

Whilst at Cherry Bay Lodge why not book a relaxing treatment in the in-house Therapy Room. Sandy, one of your hosts is ITEC trained in the UK and has diplomas in Reflexology, Massage and Aromatherapy. Later in the day make use of the lodges facilities -  with direct access to stunning walks and free use of kayaks and fishing lines. 

Here are some excursions available if you want to get 'Out and About'

Historical Island Cruise Diving Rainbow Warrior 4WD Adventure Cape Reinga
Sailing the Islands Dolphin Swimming Giant Kauri Forest Walk
Cultural Tour of Waitangi Golf at Kauri Cliffs Sea Kayaking the Bay

 

4
Bay Cruise with dolphin viewing or swimming

This cruise follows the path of the original 1927 'Cream Trip' and will take you on a journey back in time as you cruise past the secluded islands of the Bay, delivering essential supplies and mail to island families. Today the cruise is onboard a modern, multi-level catamaran allowing to comfortably experience the prominent natural landmarks like the 'Hole in the Rock' near Cape Brett. The opportunity to stop at the tranquil (yet hard to pronounce)  Urupukaopuka Island to go for a bush walk or just relax on the beach. Marine mammals are abundant so the chance to see whales, seals, dolphins and other wildlife is high.

See dolphins in their natural healthy environment is a treat and if conditions are suitable, try Swimming with the Dolphins, these inquisitive creatures really love to interact with Humans - a once in a lifetime experience. 

5
The Sleepy Rural Village of Matakana

Two hours south of the Bay of Islands is a small village with a lot to offer. Here you can while away the hours - browsing the gift shops and tasting artisanal food products. With excellent local vineyards and cafes you will enjoy the sights and sounds of small town New Zealand. The surrounding coast line is excellent with Pakari Beach offering vast stretches of white sand or the sheltered shorelines of Snells Beach nearby - a perfect place to visit on your Relaxing New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary.

Approximate Distance: 171kms | 107 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Accommodation Matakana - 1 night

6
Travel to the Geothermal wonderland - Rotorua

The heartland of New Zealand’s North Island, Rotorua is host to some of the world’s most incredible geothermal forces. Geysers and clouds of steam are dotted around the city and the un-mistakable smell of sulphur gives the city an otherworldly feel. Here you’ll find natural wonders like the Pohutu geyser, erupting 20 times a day and spouting up to 100 feet, as well as bubbling mud pools, warm geothermal pools and sulphuric terraces in a variety of colours. Nowhere else in New Zealand are the turbulent forces that shape the world more evident. 

On arrival in Rotorua you will find the Polynesian Spa conveniently located nearby - they offer a full range of treatment rooms and spa options.

Travelling Distance 295km | 185mi Total Travelling Time 3hrs 40 mins

Accommodation Rotorua - 2 nights

7
Volcanic White Island - Flight and Picnic

Fly to and land on New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano White Island. Leaving the Rotorua city lakefront fly over the northern lakes district before crossing the coast on track to White Island. Arriving overhead the volcano enjoy aerial views of the active crater before landing on this lunar like surface. Here embark upon a leisurely guided tour of the island's crater floor to view active steam vents 'fumaroles', hot streams, vibrant sulphur formations and the steaming crater. This landscape is constantly changing as the activity forms new features and removes old ones. The Crater Lake changes in depth and temperature so that from one day to the next the landscape is different. 

Part of our tour includes a walk through crumbling mining ruins to view the weathered remains of what was a working factory built in 1923 and abandoned in 1933. Tours on this privately owned volcano are conducted by your pilot / guide whose wealth of knowledge about the island's history and geology enhances the experience. 

Return flights to and from the island takes in aerial views of the wider Bay of Plenty.

8
Fly to Nelson - the region of wellness & abundance

Today return your rental car to the airport and fly to Nelson at the top of the South Island. Nelson receives some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand, making it the perfect destination to visit year round. The Nelson region is surrounded by sheltered mountain ranges, golden beaches, national parks and boutique wineries and breweries. Its large creative community of working artists gives the town a laid-back, bohemian feel and the passionate wine makers and craft beer brewers mean that sitting in the sun with the tipple of your choice is a lovely way to enjoy the city centre. From Nelson, it’s easy to access any of three distinctly different National Parks. 

Accommodation Nelson - 3 nights

9-10
Two Days on the Beach - Abel Tasman National Park

The Abel Tasman is New Zealand's smallest national park at 225sq km. Small in size but big on beauty! Golden beaches border the translucent turquoise sea, and sandy estuaries fringed by natural forests. The walking tracks here, both in land and costal, are world famous for their out standing beauty. You can walk the coastal track, or enjoy one of the many shorter day walk options using a cruise boat, sailing catamaran, water taxi or sea kayak to enter into the Abel Tasman. If that all sounds just a little too energetic, then just kick back on one of the many unspoilt beaches you will discover along the way. Plus you have the added bonus of face-to-face encounters with marine wildlife and birds. Tonga Island is located in the Marine Reserve or the Abel Tasman National Park and is home to the ever-entertaining seal colony. And who knows you may be lucky enough to spot visiting dolphins and Orcas playing in the Abel Tasman National Park waters.

11
Fly to Queenstown

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and ringed by towering mountains, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s ultimate holiday destinations. It may be the adventure capital of the world, but it’s also home to an excellent food and wine scene as well as great shopping, hiking and endless opportunities to relax. It’s just as easy to go fishing, golfing, gold panning or wine tasting as it is to bungy jump or sky dive. Famed for its international winter skiing profile and outdoor beauty, Queenstown is a brilliant destination to visit year-round. One thing is certain here: you won’t run out of things to do.  

Accommodation - Queenstown 3 nights

12
Indulge in the serenity at Azur Lodge

Over the next two days savour the amazing tranquility and the epic views from Azur. Of course if you prefer to explore -  your hosts will take you into Queenstown or recommend anything from Scenic flights to hikes, to arranging an onsite massage. After enjoying canapes and cocktail hours at the lodge - if you dont plan on eating out (transfers are provided) the staff can collect your meal from any location in Queenstown if you prefer to eat in - whether it be the infamous `Fergburger' or something more in line with your gastronomic preferences from Madam Woo or Rata. 

13
Get Out and About - In and around - Queenstown

Surrounded by the magnificent Southern Alps, is New Zealand’s most celebrated destination.  Offering a wealth of experiences to be enjoyed – from adrenaline activities such as bungee jumps and sky diving, adventurous excursions like jet-boating and hiking through to superb golf, gourmet food and wine tours or romantic hot air ballooning.

Recommended excursions for you to enjoy your time in 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
 
14
Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

This morning you can return to Queenstown in time to relax at one of the many enticing cafe's or last minute shopping before flying home.

We know you will love this Relaxing New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary, and our promise is to make your travels in New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles 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 the 'Relaxing New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary'  - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!