Two Week Best of New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary

Kayaking at Split Apple Rock

Welcome to Auckland

‘Haere Mai’ … Welcome to New Zealand

Relax you are now officially on holiday and everything has been taken care of! We will meet you at the airport and drive you directly to your hotel to freshen up and unwind. Make the most of some free leisure time in the 'City of Sails' - simply relax or take this opportunity to explore the many sights of Auckland

Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:

Explore Waiheke Island    Island Kayaking Adventure    America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky TowerRelax on the BeachRangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine TourWhale and Dolphin SafariMuriwai Surf Beach

Accommodation: Auckland - 2 nights

Auckland Viaduct
Set in Auckland in the heart of the Viaduct Harbour, QT Auckland offers accommodation with a restaurant, valet parking, a fitness centre and a bar. With free WiFi, this 5-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and room service. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a Chromecast, a Nespresso machine, wireless Bose speakers, a Dyson Supersonic hairdryer. At the hotel all rooms include a private bathroom with free toiletries.
QT Auckland


Waiheke Island for a Wine And Food Tour

Waiheke Island is to Auckland as the Hamptons are to New York – the former being on a much smaller scale. Home to beautiful beaches and holiday homes, Waiheke Island produces some outstanding wines. Just a thirty-minute boat ride away the island lends itself nicely to relaxing and sampling to fine food and wine. A natural complement to the fine wines you will taste on Waiheke is a range of hand-made specialty foods all locally-grown produce.

Your visit to the Island includes the local olive oil mill, followed by two vineyards offering a range of gourmet food to accompany the tasting. Succulent Waiheke oysters, wild honey, vincotta, (famous local herb spread) and a variety of local cheese are all on the menu.

Evening Entertainment: Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city has many entertaining spots to while the night away.

Waiheke Island wine tour


Black Water Rafting in Waitomo - Rotorua

Collect your rental car this morning and start your journey by heading South from Auckland, the City of Sails. You will embark on a leisurely scenic drive to the stunning Waitomo Caves.

Under Waitomo’s rolling green hills you will discover the labyrinth of amazing limestone caves, sinkholes and underground rivers.

Exploring the dark caves, your eyes will be lit up by thousands of New Zealand’s unique softly shining glow worms who call the caves home. The maze of limestone caves were created over thousands of years as underground streams pushed through the soft rock to create the intriguing caverns.

As you return back to daylight you will continue on your road trip towards Rotorua, the cultural centre of NZ.

Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 nights 

Approximate distance: 327.5 km | 203.5 miles   Driving time:  4 hours 45 mins

Labyrinth Black Water Caving

Rotorua’s designer 5 star Boutique Hotel and Spa offers stylish luxury accommodation, with accommodation to suit most groups of travellers from Hotel rooms to 2 bedroom family apartments situated amidst the exciting attractions and experiences Rotorua has to offer. With excellent facilities such as the restaurant, heated pool, gym and mineral bathing facilities. 

Regent of Rotorua


Kaituna River Rafting Trip

The Kaituna River is one of the most popular whitewater runs in the country, with the distinction of being the world's highest commercially rafted waterfall. This exhilarating seven metre drop of raging, thundering whitewater is the ultimate rafting experience to be found in New Zealand. The Kaituna offers a forty-five minute trip over fourteen drops, including the seven metre waterfall, through the depths of a magnificent bush-lined gorge steeped in Maori history.

The Kaituna is classified as a grade five river because of its seven-metre waterfall, however, it is suitable for all people who are reasonably comfortable in the water.

Grade 5 Kaituna Valley


Fly to Nelson

Return your rental car and fly to Nelson. Collect your car before embarking a picturesque drive - its worth taking a small side detour to Mapua Wharf. The wharf is scattered with cafes, restaurants and art galleries - a prefect place to enjoy the beauty of your first stop in the South Island. Continue 30 minutes to Marahau the gateway of Abel Tasman National Park – New Zealand’s smallest National Park.

Approximate Distance: 57 km | 35 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour

Accommodation: Marahau - 3 nights

Golden sands of the Abel Tasman

Situated 400 metres from the renowned Abel Tasman National Park is this quaint bed and breakfast. The perfect base to explore the park and have access to restaurants, water taxi’s, kayaking and more. There are just 12 private chalets providing a tranquil haven to relax, enjoy and unwind. 


Kayak to Split Apple Rock

Paddle a safe, sheltered section of the Abel Tasman Bay coastline. See lots of good stuff in a small area including islands, caves, beaches and of course, Split Apple Rock. Loved by families and the cruiser in all of us for the last 18 years. Two hours on the water of guided kayaking.

This trip has a strong emphasis on fun and enjoyment. We don’t just show you the best spots to travel to, you will have a great time with a group of people in a beautiful area. Like all of our short trips we paddle at a relaxed pace and pause often to enjoy views, stories and conversation.

  • No experience is necessary.
  • Enjoy the most sheltered part of the Kaiteriteri coastline.
  • A great option for family fun.

For families with younger children, we would recommend the morning tour. The afternoon tour can quite often be breezy due to the sea breeze which picks up around midday.

split apple rock kayak tour


Free Day in the Abel Tasman

Most of the day trips  originate in either Marahau or Kaiteri and they can include kayak, cruise, walk and sail options into the beautiful golden sands of the Abel Tasman National Park The Coast Track in the Abel Tasman National Park is the most popular ‘great walk’ in New Zealand. The track takes you past pristine golden sand beaches and calm turquoise waters.  Today we recommend that you cruise into the park and walk a section of the track before returning by boat.

Abel Tasman National Park


Return to Nelson and Fly to Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city and the South Island's capital. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. 

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is our "Garden City," blessed with beautiful parks and gardens right in the heart of town. English heritage buildings sit side by side with innovative post-earthquake regeneration in this vibrant place.

After settling in, why not relax with a punting trip down the Avon River? Gliding gently along in a flat-bottomed boat, you will take in Christchurch's 'must-see' historic attractions and botanic gardens away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.

Accommodation: Christchurch Hotel - 1 Night

Punting on the Avon River
Rydges Latimer Square in Christchurch overlooks scenic Latimer Square, an iconic New Zealand green space with ample room for travellers to roam and enjoy the shade of lush, broad-leaved trees. This contemporarily kiwi designed rooms & suites are spread over four levels, with the piece de resistance being the fifth level penthouse suite which boasts views stretching from the Port Hills to the Southern Alps.
Rydges Latimer Square Christchurch


Tranz Alpine Train Then Continue To Glacier Country

Travelling via Arthur's Pass to Greymouth on the West Coast. Climb aboard the TranzAlpine. This rail journey is truly something special. Enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River and traverse the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiseled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. Ranked among the world’s top 6 train journeys, these tracks flow through some of New Zealand's most splendid countryside from the Southern Alps to Greymouth. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see natural grandeur on such a scale. 

On to west coast glacial village of Franz Josef where you can relax and soak in the thermal pools after an invigorating day.

Accommodation: Franz Josef - 2 nights

Approximate Distance: 170 km | 120 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hour 20 mins

Tranz Alpine
Rainforest Retreat is centrally located in the heart of Franz Josef Village , Secluded yet handy to every local activity. Nestled in six acres of idyllic native bush at the foot of precipitous mountains the Rainforest Retreat is a inviting place to stay. Each unit was built exclusively to embrace its beautiful, secluded, natural environment providing guests with choices of either forest floor or mid canopy bush views.
Rainforest Retreat


Franz Josef Heli-hike

Simply the ultimate Glacier experience! Take in the Franz Josef Glacier by helicopter before descending onto the ice itself for an adventure like no other. From the crevasses and ice caves to the splendour of the clean blue ice, immerse yourself in the unique surroundings and touch the ice, breath the fresh air and enjoy one of the world's most exhilarating experiences.

Franz Josef Glacier is 12km (7.45mi) long and fed by a massive 20 square km (7.7 sq mi) snowfield at the top of the Southern Alps. It features ice pinnacles as high as multi-story buildings, deep crevasses and stunning, pristine blue ice. It's all on show and the most dynamic glacier in New Zealand is accessible to you via one of the most exhilarating experiences in the world.

Franz Josef heli-hike


Franz Josef to Queenstown

See the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel south along the West Coast to beautiful Fox Glacier. Continue via the Haast Pass, an area of stunning beauty before arriving into picturesque Queenstown, a year round resort 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 

Approximate Distance: 351 km | 251 miles   Total Driving Time: 4 hours 54 min

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


Scenic Heli Flight to Milford Sound and Cruise

Travel to Fiordland National Park in style on a scenic flight over the lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests of this breathtaking World Heritage Area, before taking a scenic cruise of this world famous fjord.

As your helicopter lifts off, keep your camera close: there are scenic wonders begging to be snapped from above. You'll discover isolated valleys of ancient forests and pristine rivers famous for their fishing as well as mountains sculptured from ice over thousands of years. The stunning Mirror Lakes, glacier-formed Eglinton Valley, and iconic Mitre Peak are among the highlights of this vast and remote wilderness.

This evening relax and soak at the beautiful Onsen hotpools.

Milford Sound hellcopter flight


Bike the Wineries of Central Otago

This Full Day Self-Guided Tour begins with pick up from your accommodation and a scenic transfer to the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown. Here you may choose to enjoy one of the many great cafes or just jump straight into your scenic ride along the beautiful Arrow River Trail till it meets the Kawarau River, ride the original Miners Trail that crosses the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, the home of bungy and the beginning of the Gibbston Valley. From Bungy you set off to bike at your leisure the Gibbston River Trail using a informative trail map with exclusive offers to visit as many of the 8+ wineries linked throughout this 8kms of easy riding trail. Enjoy a relaxed lunch en-route or picnic at one of the many Wineries.

Bike the Wineries


Return to Queenstown Airport for Onward Flight

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

We know you will enjoy our Two Week Best of New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary and our promise to you 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! Return your rental car back at the airport, have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Kea the New Zealand Alpine parrot

What Michelle says about this tour: This is the essential trip for those whose time is precious. All the highlights helped by a couple of internal flights. This trip is a favourite of mine for active people who want a taste of adventure and - of some relaxation and true wow moments.
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