Immerse yourself in NZ's history and culture
So you know about New Zealand's knockout scenery and its relaxed, friendly vibe. But what makes New Zealand so... New Zealandy?
To get a real feel for what gives New Zealand so much heart, go a bit deeper and discover some special places that tell a story.
Itinerary 1: New Zealand's Culture and Heritage Self Drive Itinerary
North and South Islands
Duration: 14 days
Start Location: Auckland
Finish Location: Queenstown
Where will you go?
Auckland > Bay of Islands > Rotorua > Napier > Wellington > Akaroa > Oamaru > Dunedin > Queenstown
What's great about this itinerary?
Where do we start? You'll visit:
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds where New Zealand's historic treaty between Maori and Europeans was signed (Bay of Islands)
Russell, a charming old harbourside village once dubbed "the Hellhole of the Pacific"
A Marae (Maori village) in Rotorua
Napier, a unique Art Deco city built from the ruins of a 1931 earthquake
Wellington: New Zealand's culture (and actual) capital
Arrowtown, an old mountain mining town where you can still pan for gold.
Centuries-old Maori rock carvings created by moa-hunters. (South Canterbury)
Larnach Castle, New Zealand's one and only castle (Dunedin)
A vintage steamship cruise across Lake Wakatipu, with stunning mountain views (Queenstown)
The best part? You won't miss out on any of New Zealand's gorgeous scenery while you’re checking out its history and culture. Gems like the Bay of Islands, the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, picturesque Hawkes Bay, and the lakes & mountain peaks of Queenstown are all part of this journey.
Tweak this itinerary...
For adrenalin junkies: instead of a steamship cruise on Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, why not skydive over the lake instead?
For wildlife lovers: trade some historical activities for wildlife excursions: swim with dolphins while in Akaroa instead of sightseeing, or visit the world's largest mainland gannet colony in Hawkes Bay.
For golfers: this itinerary takes you close to at least three of New Zealand's most scenic courses: Kauri Cliffs (Bay of Islands), Cape Kidnappers (Napier), and Queenstown Golf Club. Simply swap whichever activity suits you best.
Read the full New Zealand’s Culture & Heritage itinerary for in-depth descriptions, plus driving times & distances, and other practical information.