Easy Going Kiwi Self Drive Adventure Tour 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

Within a stones throw of the Britomart & Harbour side entertainment and dining precinct - your stay in Auckland will be a memorable one. Fully equipped modern serviced one, two and three bedroom apartments are perfect for short or long term stays within Auckland City. Full Kitchen Facilities - Oven & stovetop, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, cuttlery and cooking utensils and Internal Laundry Facilities allow you the freedom to stay as if you had never left home. Newly refurbished hotel rooms are perfect for shorter stays.

Nesuto Stadium Apartments,  Located in Auckland Central Business District.

2

Rotorua - the Cultural and Geothermal Centre

Three and half hours easy drive from Auckland, sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire - Rotorua is a geothermaly 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

Accommodation:
This 4.5 star deluxe property is perfectly situated next to mystical Lake Rotorua and is just a brief stroll from the City centre, close to many restaurants and bars. The hotel offers world class residential style accommodation that is suitable for those travelling on business and for leisure. Restaurant Nikau offers a good range of evening menu choices, from the Restaurant's famous Nikau Burger to fine dining options, while the Brassiere Poolside Restaurant is the perfect place to start your day with an alfresco style breakfast beside the geothermal heated pool.
Millenium Hotel Rotorua

3

Ecothermal and Cultural Small Group Guided Tour

Join this ‘well regarded’ small group tour of Rotorua's most popular and spectacular geothermal parks and colorful lakes on a day trip led by a local naturalist guide.

See the Lady Knox Geyser erupt, visit the Lake Tarawera lookout and see boiling mud pools and hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu. Along the way, you'll learn all about volcanology, New Zealand's stunning flora and fauna, and Maori history from your naturalist guide.

This Morning: Your tour takes you through forestry and farmland to New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool and a series of colorful hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu. After seeing the Lady Knox geyser erupt, you'll take a short drive to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, where your guide will tell you about the Mt Tarawera eruption which blew open this spectacular, bush-covered, geothermal park.

The Afternoon: Visit Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake) are amazingly clear and colorful lakes, and their gorgeous scenery make them a favorite stop for visitors. You'll also visit the Buried Village, the site of a Maori village that was destroyed during the Tarawera volcanic eruption. You'll then take a walk through beautiful native bush to a waterfall and the Lake Tarawera lookout.


4

Waitomo - These Caves Will 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.

A Gross Fact... about the New Zealand Glowworm

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

Accommodation: Waitomo - 1 night

These Wilderness Cottages were built to capture the unique beauty of its surroundings. This farm is a fantastic example of what Waitomo is renowned for: subterranean caves with glowworms, rough limestone out-crops, lush green fields and friendly people. There are a number of walking tracks through our native bush. There are also a number of rock climbing areas which are mapped out for those interested.

Wilderness Cottage

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

The lodge is a small boutique colonial inspired accommodation whose buildings date back to the early 1900s. The lodge is made up of just six well-appointed, large, warm rooms with their own bathrooms. The lodges focus is to offer guests an unforgettable stay which corresponds to and magnifies the amazing surrounds of the Central Plateau area. Whether you are coming to hike, bike, canoe, ski or just wanting to escape the rat-race and chill in and around the mountains.
Tongariro Crossing Lodge

6

Guided Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Crossing is New Zealand's Best Day Walk. Our guided Crossing winds its way through the otherworldly landscapes of Tongariro National Park. This 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.

Facts: The crossing passes over the volcanic terrain of the multi-cratered active volcano Mount Tongariro, passing the eastern base of Mount Ngauruhoe which can optionally be climbed as a side trip.

Time / Distance: The full distance of the track is usually 19.4 kilometre (12.1 mi) climbs can be steep and the weather unpredictable, though worth it in every aspect. On average the trek takes between six and eight hours to complete.

Fitness: A moderate to good level of fitness is required. It is a 19.4km (12.1 mi) walk which starts with a staged climb to Red Crater. You will be climbing nearly 800m (2,624 ft)in altitude to 1900m (6,233 ft) above sea level.


7

Chill Out in Hip Wellington

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.

Renowned for its eclectic, arty atmosphere, Wellington is a real kiwi cultural treat and numerous galleries and character-filled shops line its colourful streets.Wellington is also famous for having some the New Zealand's best restaurants - gourmet dining experiences here are truly world class. 

Here are some suggestions to help you 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

Accommodation:

Located in a modern tower 300m from the waterfront, the Travelodge is just a few minutes walk from the harbour and the centre of Wellington. Main attractions such as the famous Cable Car, Botanic Garden and Te Papa (the national museum) all are situated within walking distance so transportation in the city centre is unnecessary. From here it is easy to enjoy a city trip that includes everything you don't want to miss when visiting New Zealand's (culture) capital! 

Travelodge Wellington

8

Cruise Marlborough Sounds / Wine Country

This morning, make your way to and board the InterIslander in time for your morning crossing of the Cook Strait. This challenging stretch of water connects the Tasman Sea to the Southern acheter cialis en france Pacific Ocean, you will enter the South Island through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds. After disembarking in Picton collect your car and drive to Blenheim 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.

Interested in Aviation History? The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is an aviation museum located at the Omaka Air Field, 5 km (3 mi) from the centre of Blenheim. This is a world class museum and certainly worth a look.

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

Accommodation: Blenheim - 2 nights

St Leonards Vineyard Cottages in Marlborough is a classic New Zealand farm house built in the 1880s and was once the focal point of a large farm complex. The Homestead and self-catering cottage accommodation now form a unique collection of traditional buildings that have retained their original charm and yet provide up-to-date facilities.
St Leonards Vineyard Cottages

9

Cycling the Vineyards of Marlborough

Today explore the Marlborough region by bike with the company of a local wine aficionado, he or she will ensure you have an unforgettable experience sampling some of the best local wines and cuisine. Enjoy the tastes and soak up the atmosphere. Over 40 wineries can be explored by bike along quiet back roads. This is such a great way to experience Marlborough’s wonderful scenery, cycling along quiet country roads, stopping to rest on the odd riverbank and through vineyards.

Maximise your time and your tastings by letting our experienced guide do the planning for you. We will visit three wineries and sample their selection of cool climate wines. The route is easily modified to suit your preferences and abilities.

Distance / Fitness: This easy 10km (6 mi) loop is easy with an average level of fitness and will be matched to your interests in wine tasting, gourmet food, crafts or just cycling on these quiet country roads soaking up the scenery.


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 New Zealand Fur Seals bask and play along the rocky shoreline, before arriving in gorgeousKaikoura.

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: Due to major roadworks in and around Kaikoura, up-to-date drive times will be supplied on enquiry.

Accommodation: Christchurch - 2 nights

A boutique Bed and Breakfast within a charming 100 year old villa. It has been completely restored with stylish décor, antiques and beautiful flowers for a romantic retreat. Enjoy a delicious breakfast with home-made muesli, organic yoghurt and fruits whilst you admire the manicured gardens outside. The Rooms all feature personality and charm, with beautiful Egyptian cotton sheets, private bathrooms and complimentary wireless internet.
The Lilac Rose B&B - Christchurch

11

Botanic Garden Guided Tour

Experience the natural beauty of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens on board electric powered vehicles. See the finest range of exotic and indigenous plants to be found anywhere in NZ and learn about the history of this treasured central city oasis. Stay on board for a full circuit which takes an hour, or get on or off at any of the stops along the way. The Tour departs every 30 minutes from outside the Museum or Gardens kiosk.


12

TranzAlpine Train Journey

Rated as one of the top six scenic train journeys in the world, the famous TranzAlpine Rail Journey 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, theSouthern 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 Town in Glacier Country.

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

Accommodation: Franz Josef - 2 nights

Holly Homestead whispers history.Enjoy the guest lounge and a glass of port before retiring to your room. Built in 1926 the Holly Homestead is a perfect example of “Arts and Crafts’, mixed with casual country chic. Your hosts Beradine and Gerard have refurbished the house and delivered a boutique B&B just three minutes drive from Franz Josef Village. Take in the charm of the property whilst enjoying breakfast in the country kitchen or simply relax in your private room.
Holly Homestead

13

Helicopter Exploration & Hike - Franz Josef

This is a fantastic introduction to an enthralling world of ice. The Franz Josef Heli Hike starts with a thrilling flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a three hour guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world. Your guide will choose your route carefully as you go and, with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, you'll soon be making your way through an extraordinary land of towering peaks and glistening blue ice explaing 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.

Time Hiking: 3 Hours

Fitness Required: If you are moderately fit, you will enjoy this excursion. 

Equipment Supplied: We supply ankle supporting hiking boots with crampons. If its looking like rain we provide the best in rain protection including Goretex Rain Jackets and waterproof over trousers.


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

Just 5 minutes’ walk from Lake Wakatipu, Blue Peaks Lodge offers heated rooms with satellite TV. The property offers free parking and 500mb of free Wi-Fi per stay. Blue Peaks Lodge Queenstown is 3 minutes’ walk from Queenstown Gardens, and 10 minutes’ drive from the popular Onsen Hot Pools. Queenstown Airport is a 15-minute drive away.
blue peak

15

Cruise Magical 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 via a stunning return fixed wing flight.

Approximate Distance: 578 kms | 359 miles  Total Driving Time: 5 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 Day Walk Highest Bungey Jump Explore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon       Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
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!


Profile picture for user Dmitry
What Dmitry says about this tour: I like recommending this easy going self drive adventure to those with good levels of energy and who want to grasp the kiwi adventures on offer. Cycling, glacier walks, heli hiking, launch cruises and guided walks across volcanic plateaus. So much to enjoy with plenty of time to do it.
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