Icons of New Zealand Tour Itinerary


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144 Page A4 NZ Touring Atlas  

Full 24 Hour Support 50 Page Essential New Zealand Guide  

Welcome to Auckland!

Relax you are on holiday and everything has been taken care of. We will meet you at the airport and to transfer to your central city luxury accommodation. This New Zealand luxury Self Drive Itinerary has been designed to make your New Zealand experience as hassle free as possible.

Auckland is 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. Relax you are on holiday, take time to stroll around the Viaduct Harbour, sit in a cafe and enjoy your surroundings - this is a friendly easygoing city.

Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:

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

Hotel de Brett is situated in downtown Auckland and is considered a very unique luxury boutique hotel. Set in Auckland’s hip High Street, the fashion district, the iconic building has been reinterpreted into a 25 room luxury boutique hotel with each room designed with eclectic furniture, New Zealand Art and photography. The décor is a celebration of contemporary New Zealand art and design, with hints of the hotel’s art deco past.
Hotel De Bretts Auckland City


Privately Guided Te Anaroa Glowworm Cave - Waitomo

A short walk through native bush gets you to the natural cave entrance, there, your guide lights candles to set the scene for an intimate experience. Known to local Maori as Te Anaroa Cave you experience spectacular cave formations and galaxies of twinkling glowworms at their best - only inches away. As you enjoy a relaxed stroll through the underworld you will see bones that have remained here for many thousands of years. They belong to one of New Zealand's now extinct giants - the mighty Moa.

The soothing sound of the caves stream flows in the darkness below as you enter the massive Cathedral Cave that will be promptly lit by a dazzling magnesium torch, revealing its true size and beauty.This underworld adventure is very relaxed and it is a dry caving adventure (easy walking), your guide is a true caving enthusiast with detailed knowledge on both the cave, its inhabitance and local Maori history. 

Approximate Distance: 195 kms | 121 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 21 mins

Accommodation: Taupo - 2 nights


Huka Lodge invites you to enter a word where elegant and generous hospitality meets sophistication and style. Situated on the Waikato River this property has hosted many famous guests including royalty. Within 17-acres of manicured grounds you can peace and tranquility. Huka Lodge offers a variety of experiences from golf, fishing, cultural experiences through to kayaking and hiking. 

Huka Lodge Lake Taupo


Exclusive Cruise on Great Lake Taupo

Impressive is the word best used to describe Great Lake Taupo; after all, it is the biggest volcanic crater in the World! Lake Taupo is set amidst clean, green countryside, spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful native bush and some of the largest pine forests in the Southern Hemisphere.

Lake Cruise
The best way to experience the lakes grandeur and beauty is on the water. So get onboard your private launch and get away from it all, enjoy the beautiful seclusion of the wonderful Western Bays. Explore the fascinating Giant Maori Bay rock carvings accessible only by water. Take a swim in Lake Taupo's fresh, pristine waters and sunbathe either on deck or on one of the may secluded beach’s available to you - perhaps you would like to soak in one of the geothermal natural hot pools found around the lake.

Lake Taupo is known for its trophy-sized trout so If you're a keen angler your vessel is equipment with the latest fishing gear and your skipper knows exactly where to go. Take a beach picnic before upping anchor and watch the stunning sunsets seen only around Taupo as you cruise home.


Hawkes Bay - Cape Kidnappers

Kiwi Discovery Walk
As a guest of The Farm at Cape Kidnappers you are offered an exclusive experience to view our treasured native bird the kiwi at New Zealand's largest privately owned wildlife sanctuary at Cape Kidnappers. Our iconic national bird is in dangerous decline and completely vulnerable to predators as chicks, the kiwi has just a 5 per cent chance of survival in the wild 

Since kiwi were unexpectedly discovered on the property in 2007, it has become an established breeding source - a collaboration between DOC and a number of private players. Because the Kiwi is a semi-nocturnal secretive bird, few New Zealanders have seen their national bird in the wild.

Tours are arranged with an experienced guide who carry out essential, you are transferred from the Lodge and taken the site and take a gentle walk for up to an hour to locate the Kiwi’s habitat. You can observe the guide checking the Kiwi’s transmitter and watch it being weighed and measured. You will have the opportunity to hold the Kiwi and take photographs

Approximate Distance: 142 kms | 88 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 48 mins

Accommodation: Hawkes Bay - 2 nights

Nestled amongst 6,000 acres (2,500 Hectares) the Farm At Cape Kidnappers is a luxury retreat with a spectacular 180 degree view of the Pacific Ocean. The common areas of the lodge connect you to this amazing landscape offer numerous spaces in which to relax; including the intimately snug, stylish lounges complete with roaring open fires and outdoor conservatory areas. 

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers


The Best of the Bay - a Private Tour Tailored for You

Wine & Food, Art Deco, Maori Culture, Artists, Gardens and Walks Tour

Stroll amongst the celebrated collection of art deco buildings in Napier. Visit a rural coastal settlement and talk with Maori elder gain a spiritual insight into Maori culture who clearly demonstrate what it is that makes this indigenous people so special.

Hear their stories, meet wonderful characters, chat to artists, sample delicious foods, fruit and wine - all produce of beautiful rural Hawkes Bay.

This tour is customized for you and will take you on a special journey to find the true essence of this beautiful region.

Lunch: Winery or epicurean lunch at a beach house overlooking the sea.


Fly to Christchurch

After a short flight, you land in New Zealand’s ‘Garden City’ Christchurch. Expansive parks, beautiful public gardens and local green fingers make it a relaxing, tranquil city to enjoy on foot. New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island, Christchurch sits on the very edge of the Canterbury Plains and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. The city itself has bounced back after a series of major earthquakes, and has shown its resiliency with a number of new and exciting developments popping up everywhere.

Accommodation: Christchurch - 2 nights

Otahuna Lodge is New Zealand's premier historic estate offering modern luxury in the context of a restored Victorian mansion. Only 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre of Christchurch, making it the ideal base from which to explore Canterbury. Wineries, private gardens, championship golf, world-class fishing and even the world’s rarest dolphins are all just a short drive or helicopter ride from the front door.


A Day of Leisure

Today is a day of leisure, relax and enjoy Otahuna Lodge, sunbathe next to the pool, relax in the spa, take advantage of the massage and fitness centre. Or perhaps venture out and explore Canterbury and tour wineries or play a round of championship golf. One of the advantages of taking a New Zealand luxury Self Drive Itinerary is the flexibility it offers, enabling you to do the things you really want to do.  

Some suggested adventures if you wish to get out and enjoy the region.

Easygoing Cycling Tour

   Punting the Avon River    Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise

Māori Cultural Evening

   French Akaroa Tour    Southern Alps Ballooning

Christchurch Gondola

   Clearwater Golf    Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike



Mt Cook National Park

The road to Mt Cook is one of the most spectacular in New Zealand, it hugs the edge of picture perfect 'Lake Pukaki'. This exquisite opaque turquoise coloured lake is one of the most photographed in New Zealand and for good reason, its astounding colour is caused by fine, glacier-ground rock particles suspended in the waters of the lake and reflected out to you the viewer - The colour needs to be seen to be believed. 

The Aoraki Mount Cook National Park landscape is a mixture of high country tussock, farmland and snow-capped mountains and includes the highest peak in Australasia - 3755m (12,319 feet). The region attracts mountain climbers, hikers and scenery fanatics. Heli skiing, hiking and aerial sightseeing provide visitors with amazing memories. A variety of walking trails begin in or near Mount Cook Village - most take only a couple of hours. In the bar of the local hotel, huge windows provide a perfect view of Mt Cook and provides a great location for a relaxing drink or an evening meal..

Some reccommended excursions to consider while in the National Park

Tasman Glacier by Boat      Hooker Valley Walk      Glacier Helicopter Landing      Star Gazing Tour

Approximate Distance: 332 kms | 206 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours

Accommodation: Mt Cook Village - 1 night

A stunning destination surrounded by the silent splendor of the Southern Alps and with spectacular views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and the surrounding National Park World Heritage area. There is a selection of properties within the Terrace Road campus from Hotel to Chalet and Mountainview Motels - all budgets and standards can be catered for.

Hermitage Hotel Mount Cook


Glenorchy - Gateway to Paradise

A 45 minutes drive from Queenstown is the peaceful town of Glenorchy. This rustic town is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu surrounded by Middle-earth landscapes. Sparkling waters stretches past islands to a backdrop of glaciers and sunlit crags. 

Glenorchy’s spectacular landscapes have become a prime location for film scouts, depicting many scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as featuring in the Narnia movies. 

Paradise: Paradise is to be found just 20 Kilometers (12 Miles) from Glenorchy, just before you enter Mt Aspiring National Park. It sits below Mt Alfred and Mt Earnslaw next to Diamond Lake. Although the area is aptly named (we are sure you will agree), no one seems to know how it got it, but the curious thing is within this area you will also find names like the ‘Rock of Eden’ and you have to cross the 'River Jordan' to find 'Heavens Gate'. Some believe it is named after the Paradise Duck. Although the reason is lost to antiquity Paradise is a must visit and can be only found by passing through Glenorchy - it is a one-way road to Paradise.

 "This is the Middle-earth I had always pictured," Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) said of Paradise.

Approximate Distance: 
309 kms | 192 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 50 mins

Accommodation: Glenorchy - 3 nights

This magnificent lodge offers unrivaled lakeside rooms with stunning views of Lake Wakatipu. Built in the grand style of the finest alpine lodges and finished with native timbers. You may feel isolated yet the lodge is located just 40 minutes from Queenstown. Blanket Bay is Widely acknowledged as New Zealand's leading luxury lodge, Blanket Bay has received many international accolades.
Blanket Bay Glenorchy


Wilderness Experience - Mount Aspiring National Park

This is a World Heritage eco-journey into the heart of South Island wilderness. The jet boat navigates deep into the alpine corridor of Mount Aspiring National Park; the splendid isolation of the mountains and valleys will leave a lasting impression. Experience cascading waterfalls and crystal clear streams and pools, ice-capped mountains and glaciers.


A Day of Leisure / Explore Queenstown

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and ringed by towering mountains, Queenstown is only a 40 minute drive from Glenorchy. 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.  

Recommended adventures around 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


Homeward Bound

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We know you will enjoy the Icons of New Zealand luxury Self Drive Itinerary 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. 

Profile picture for user Jess
What Jess says about this tour: Featuring the very best of New Zealand, this itinerary allows you to experience some of the iconic lodges that take luxury to a new meaning. Catering for all interests, this itinerary gives you a diverse look at New Zealand, from the geothermal lakes of Taupo, to the rugged coast line of the Hawkes Bay and the dramatic Alps of Southland, this itinerary is the ultimate New Zealand vacation.
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