Short Stay - Highlights of NZ Self Drive Itinerary

Short Stay - Highlights of NZ Itinerary

Queenstown - the "Jewel Of The South"

‘Haere Mai’ and welcome to New Zealand!

Welcome to Queenstown, New Zealand’s Adventure Capital.  A transfer has been arranged from the airport to your hotel in Queenstown. After you check-in, head out and explore Queenstown.

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by towering mountains, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s ultimate holiday destinations.

It is renowned as the adventure capital of the country but with excellent food and wine, great shopping, and hiking trails galore, there are endless ways to relax here too. Fishing, golfing, gold panning and luxury thermal spas are on offer as well as the more adventurous bungy jumping, skydiving and rafting.

Famed for its international winter skiing profile and outdoor beauty, Queenstown is a brilliant destination to visit year-round. With three nights here, you can take your time and savour every minute.

Accommodation: Queenstown - 3 Nights


Your European styled boutique hotel is awaiting you in Queenstown, situated in a quiet yet central location with an easy 3 minute walk to local shops and restaurants. Take in the stunning views of the town, lakes and mountains as you enjoy a delicious cooked or continental breakfast on your private outdoor patio. In the winter months cuddle up with an open fire as you take in the gorgeous alpine backdrop. 

Browns Boutique Hotel - Queenstown


Fly into Fiordland and Cruise Milford Sound

Scenic flight to Milford Sound

No visit to Queenstown is complete without a pilgrimage to the "Eighth Natural Wonder Of the World": Milford Sound. Leave the car at home and take a scenic flight deep into the heart of Fiordland National Park.

Along the journey, keep your camera close by: there are scenic wonders waiting to be snapped. The stunning Mirror Lakes, the glacier-formed Eglinton Valley, the waterfalls and rapids of The Chasm, and iconic Mitre Peak are some of the many highlights.

Milford Sound Cruise

Arriving in Milford you will board your purpose built cruise vessel and sail the length of the Sound. Marvel at the gigantic waterfalls cascading into the sea, and the towering glacier-scarred rock walls around you. Dolphins, penguins and seals are regularly visit Milford Sound, so keep your eyes peeled.

You will return to Queenstown in style on a scenic flight over the lakes, mountains, rivers and forests of this breathtaking region. It's a day to remember forever.

Milford Sound


Queenstown at Leisure

A full day for you to enjoy Queenstown and its surrounds.

Adrenalin junkies, we can arrange virtually any activity you can think of from a bungy jump into Kawarau Gorge, a swing across Shotover Canyon, or a skydive into Paradise.

For a more peaceful day, there are beautiful drives in the local area. Head to historic Arrowtown for quaint streetscapes and leafy views. Or drive to Glenorchy for a horseback ride through Lord of The Rings country. You could explore local wineries, cheese-eries and orchards by car or by bike.

Like the landscape the options are endless: chat to our travel specialists for more great suggestions for your perfect Queenstown day.

Recommended Queenstown excursions:

Routeburn Day WalkHighest Bungey JumpExplore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon      Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise  Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail

Dart River


Abel Tasman: Beautiful Bays and Golden Sands

As your flight descends into Nelson, get a stunning introduction to New Zealand's sunshine capital as you admire the glittering waters, forests and bays from the plane windows.

In less than an hour you'll find yourselves in beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. New Zealand's smallest National Park is famous for its golden beaches, marbled cliffs and native forests. Blessed with secluded bays, mossy valleys and picturesque waterfalls, you are sure to fall in love with this corner of paradise: your home for the next two nights

Accommodation: Abel Tasman - 2 Nights

Abel Tasman
The Waters is a luxurious boutique bed & breakfast dramatically set above the turquoise Tasman Bay, in the heart of the Nelson Wine region, New Zealand. Three private, appointed accommodation suites offer spectacular unspoilt panoramic views over the bay to the east and snow-capped Mount Arthur to the west.
The Waters


Cruise and Explore the Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman by Catamaran

Enjoy a scenic full day catamaran cruise around the hidden bays and beaches of beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.

You'll sail to the mysterious Split Apple Rock and visit the local wildlife at Tonga Island Marine Reserve. The itinerary is loose and flexible, giving you ample time to swim and snorkel the turquoise bays, or take a leisurely paddle in one of the on-board kayaks. You might even find yourself face to face with a fur seal!

If you fancy, take some shore leave to walk along the famous Abel Tasman Coast Track. Or relax on board and enjoy the serenity, while your knowledgeable skipper tells tales of the unique history and wildlife in this wonderful part of the world.

Cruise Abel Tasman National Park


Rotorua: From Beaches to Volcanoes and Valleys

It's time to bid the South Island farewell and fly north to Rotorua. The day is yours to enjoy Rotorua however you desire.

You could marvel at the alien landscapes in a geothermal park, visit the Agrodome Sheep Show for a taste of local farm life, tackle the mountain bike trails of the ancient Redwoods Forest, or take a scenic flight out over Lake Rotorua for a bird’s eye view of the region. You could even hike to the crater of Mt Tarawera, the site of the largest volcanic eruption in New Zealand’s living memory!

Polynesian Hot Springs

However you choose to spend your day, the best way to end it is with a luxurious soak at the award-winning Polynesian Spa. Here you can lie back in the seclusion of your own private pool and let your cares melt away.

Some excursions in and around Rotorua:

See Geysers & Boiling Mud    Polynesian Hot Springs  Whirinaki Forest Walk
Thermally Active GolfBiking the Mighty ForestsFlight to Volcanic Island
Museum of Art & HistoryEvening Cultural Experience   White Water Rafting

Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 Nights

Koura Lodge, a private, boutique, lake-edge bed and breakfast property, just 5 minutes’ drive to the city centre and even closer to many of Rotorua’s world famous attractions. Enjoy the Koura Lodge’s private lawn-to-lake front living and established native garden setting. All 10 rooms feature 180 degree lake views. A buffet and cooked breakfast, lakeside open air hot-tub, canoeing and fishing are all part of Koura Lodge's real New Zealand experience.
Koura Lodge


Rotorua: Kiwis, Culture and a Volcanic Valley

Rotorua is at the heart of our Maori culture, and it's the best place to get up close to New Zealand's other-worldly geothermal activity.

Waimangu Geothermal Valley

Marvel at the alien landscapes of Waimangu Geothermal Valley. Thanks to the molten lava 2km below the earth, you'll see steaming lakes and hissing vents, silica terraces and even the world's largest hot pool. Not to mention incredible panoramic views of the valleys, craters and regenerating native forests all around.

Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs Nature Park

Drop in and meet New Zealand's national bird - the Kiwi - plus many more of our curious critters - in the beautiful forest setting of Rainbow Springs Nature Park.

Maori Cultural Evening & Feast

Finish your day with a Maori Cultural Performance at a local marae (village). Enjoy a banquet of foods cooked the traditional Maori way - on hot stones in an underground oven (a Hangi). You'll learn about Maori culture, symbols and spirituality through joyous song and dance performances. Seeing the Haka performed before your eyes is unforgettable.

Maori Village


Auckland via a Glow-Worm Wonderland

Glow Worm Cave Tour

Travel to Waitomo's underground caves, famous for their beautiful natural lighting - kindly supplied by tens of thousands of twinkling glow worms.

As you float along an underground river, a spectacular light show unfolds before your eyes. Your local guide will tell you all about these fascinating creatures and the secrets of their subterranean home.

Emerging into daylight, you'll take a gentle walk along a gorge path to Te Ana o te Atua, the Cave of the Spirit. Here you will find a treasure-trove of history including evidence of past explorers and the fossils of extinct giant Moa birds.

 Sir David Attenborough: “An Astonishing Cave” And “one of natures most Magical Illuminations!”

Later, take a leisurely drive to Auckland where your trip ends tonight in our City of Sails. We wish you a safe onward journey, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.

Approximate Distance: 225 km | 140 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 50 mins

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!


What Toni says about this tour: If you're short on time, flying between New Zealand's most iconic locations is the ideal way to maximise your time here. This clever itinerary allows you to sample New Zealand's many flavours: mountains, fiords, beaches, national parks, Maori culture and even our famous glow worms!
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