21 day North & South Self-Drive tour
21 day New Zealand Fly-drive
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Holiday Highlights
  • All airport fees & taxes
  • 21 day Campervan Hire
Overview

This is one of our most popular itineraries providing the ultimate touring experience of New Zealand. North Island highlights include the spectacular Bay of Islands, the geo-thermal region of Rotorua, allowing you the chance to experience the unique Maori culture, through to the art deco architecture of Napier & the wineries of the Martinborough region. After a short stay in the capital, Wellington, you then travel onto the South Island to explore the Kaikoura coastline, the rugged West Coast, and the adventure capital Queenstown.

Some of the Highlights:

  • Cruise through some of the 144 islands that make up the beautiful Bay of Islands
  • Walk through the giant Kauri forests visiting 2,000 year old Tane Mahutu
  • Explore the awesome limestone caves & glow worms at Waitomo
  • Take a walk through the art deco city of Napier
  • Visit the free national museum at Te Papa
  • Enjoy the stunning scenery of the South Island
What's Included
  • Return International flights
  • All airport fees & taxes
  • 21 day Campervan Hire
  • Auckland
  • Bay of Islands
  • Rotorua
  • Napier
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Glaciers
  • Queenstown
  • Te Anau
  • Milford Sound
  • Dunedin
  • £300 per person discount
Itinerary

Day by day

Day 1 London to Auckland

Fly overnight from London to Auckland.

Day 2 Auckland

Arrive into Auckland and pick up your campervan. Make your way to one of the many campervan sites and overnight here.

Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, is situated between two enormous harbours and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It's a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication. The city's blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern city environment has created a lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world.

Day 3 Auckland to Bay of Islands

Depart Auckland and travel north through beautiful coastal scenery to Whangarei and north to the Bay of Islands. At the beginning of your journey, you'll drive over the Auckland Harbour Bridge towards the bays and beaches of Auckland's North Shore. The motorway will quickly sweep you northward, until the suburban scenery gives way to peaceful farmland.

Whangarei is a subtropical city on the edge of a beautiful harbour. At the Quayside Town Basin complex you'll find stylish cafes and restaurants, as well as museums, art galleries and shops. Be sure to visit Whangarei Falls.

The resort town of Paihia makes an excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands. Catch a cruise to the outer islands or a ferry to the charming township of Russell. The historic Treaty House at Waitangi marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation.

You will have 2 nights staying at a campervan site of your choice.

Day 4 Bay of Islands

Today is free to enjoy the many activities the Bay of Islands has to offer. You can't escape the ocean in subtropical Northland. You may like to take a sail around the Bay of Islands, swim with dolphins, dive a wreck or snooze under the pohutukawa trees.

Throughout the region you'll also enjoy the shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities that stem from the distinctive local culture, which embraces art, creativity, organic farming and alternative thinking.

Northland's history is rich and interesting. It is believed that the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in Northland during the 11th century. Today Waitangi is the seat of Maori culture, which is very much alive in this region (32 percent of the population are Maori). European settlement began in the 1840s, further enriching the region's colourful past.

Day 5 Bay of Islands to Auckland (west coast)

Depart in the morning for Dargaville. Stop at Waipoua Forest where well-maintained tracks give access to giant Kauri Trees up to 2,000 years old. At Dargaville you can visit the maritime museum, which tells the story of many shipwrecks from New Zealand's early history. Continue onto Auckland for your overnight stay in your campervan.

Day 6 Auckland to Rotorua

Departing Auckland as you cruise down the southern motorway, suburban scenery gradually gives way to the farmland of South Auckland, an area favoured by bloodstock breeders. The Waikato River will accompany you for much of your journey through the green countryside. Places of interest along the way include the wine growing area of Te Kauwhata and the coal mining town of Huntly.

The city of Hamilton is carved in two by the mighty Waikato River. Attractions include gardens, riverboat cruising and a giant free flight aviary. Excellent restaurants and cafes can be found at the southern end of the city's main street.

The mighty Waikato River brings a unique beauty to Hamilton city. As well as river boat cruising, local attractions include gardens, museums and a giant free flight aviary. At the southern end of the city's main street you'll discover a wide variety of excellent restaurants and cafes.

The Waitomo Caves district is famous for its subterranean splendour. Beneath the surface of this limestone region is a series of vast cave systems decorated with stalactites, stalagmites and glow-worms. Some caves open to the public, and are easy to walk through, others require specialised caving equipment.

Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city's past and present. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand's Maori people. Rotorua is entertaining in any weather, at any time of the year.

Day 7 Rotorua

Located in the heart of an active geothermal area, Rotorua is famous for it's geysers, steaming lakes, boiling mud pools & silica terraces. It's also a major centre of Maori culture and is surrounded in natural beauty including 16 lakes teaming with trout.

The region was the birthplace of New Zealand tourism in the 1800s, when people flocked here from around the world to see the amazing Pink and White Terraces - vast, naturally formed silica terraces that cascaded into a volcanic lake. The terraces were destroyed in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption, but Rotorua's fame as a fascinating travel destination continued to grow.

Today Maori guides can often be seen at the city's iconic attractions, following in the footsteps of their ancestors.

You can witness the spirit of Maori culture, with authentic village and performance experiences. With a soak in a natural hot spring or a relaxing massage, you can rejuvenate your spirit. Or free your spirit with outdoor adventures - trout fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, swimming, hiking and mountain biking. If it's excitement you crave, you can challenge your spirit with adrenalin-charged extreme activities such as sky-diving, jet boating and zorbing.

Day 8 Rotorua to Napier

The road to Taupo will keep you entertained with its unusual, volcanic geography. You'll also drive through large tracts of plantation pine forest. Take a side road to a geothermal park, where you'll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud. Towards the end of your journey you'll encounter the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. Other diversions include Huka Falls and a world-acclaimed golf course.

The resort town of Taupo sits on the edge of New Zealand's largest lake, which is well stocked with sizeable trout. You'll find everything a traveller could wish for, including an excellent choice of restaurants. Most accommodation establishments make good use of the underground thermal activity to provide hot spas for relaxation.

The major entertainment on the road from Taupo to Napier is the fantastic scenery. There's a bit of everything - rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas.

In 1931 a devastating earthquake nearly levelled the city of Napier. It was rebuilt in the style of the times, and is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world. The vineyards of Hawke's Bay are all within easy reach of Napier.

Day 9 Napier to Wellington

Hastings is only 20 kilometres south of Napier and was also devastated by the 1931 earthquake, so has plenty of Art Deco and Spanish Mission-style architecture to see. Fabulous parks and delicious ice cream are two other reasons to visit Hastings.

Enjoy the clean, green Wairarapa scenery as you drive south. Carterton is a good place to shop for paua shell souvenirs, while Greytown has many beautiful examples of Victorian architecture and a quaint museum – take yourself on a self-guided walk. In recent years, Martinborough has become the gourmet capital of the lower North Island. It is home to over 25 boutique vineyards, several fabulous restaurants and a number of upmarket bed and breakfast establishments. From the charming town square, you can walk to most of the local attractions.

After the town of Featherston, you'll climb up and over the Rimutaka Range towards Wellington.

Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand's capital, this city is rich in political history.

Day 10 Wellington

Free day to enjoy the city.

Part of Wellington's charm is its close proximity to nature. The central city is nestled between a beautiful harbour and forested hills. Wildlife sanctuaries, islands, seaside villages, ocean beaches and regional parks provide huge scope for outdoor fun.

Many visitors choose to base themselves in the vibrant inner city, where it's easy to walk to boutique shops, art galleries, trendy cafés and restaurants. Dominating the spectacular waterfront is Te Papa - the interactive, innovative museum that's one of New Zealand's key cultural attractions. At night, the city stays up late to enjoy live theatre, music and dance performances.

Wellingtonian's love their city, and we're sure you will too. Allow at least a couple of days here to get an insight into New Zealand's history, contemporary culture and creativity.

Day 11 Wellington to Christchurch (Via Picton)

The passage across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most scenic ferry trips in the world. The ferry takes 3 hours. Highlights along the way include the Red Rocks seal colony, Tory Channel, Cook's Lookout and the beautiful coves of the sounds.

The picturesque seaside town of Picton is the South Island base for the ferry service that links the North and South islands of New Zealand. It's also the gateway to the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds.

Blenheim is the heart of wine-growing Marlborough. You'll find a pleasing selection of cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops and golf courses.

State Highway 1 takes you through the coastal foothills, and then out into the picturesque Awatere Valley. In the township of Seddon you'll find authentic New Zealand crafts. The Lake Grassmere saltworks is an interesting stop - the ponds turn coral pink in late summer.

Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds – it's also a great place to eat crayfish. A whale watch tour can take you to see Minke, Humpback and Southern Right whales mixing it with dolphins and orcas. You can also walk to see fur seal colonies and spy on big seabirds such as mollymawks, albatross and petrels.

The trip south takes you along the edge of the rugged coastal ranges before arriving in the South Island's largest city, Christchurch. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy to get around. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.

Day 12 Christchurch to West Coast Glaciers

Today take an unforgettable journey through the Southern Alps across the Arthurs Pass towards the West Coast. 'West Coasters' are renowned for their friendliness & hospitality, and have developed a distinctive culture all of their own.

With a population of only 31,000 people, the West Coast retains the feeling of a pioneer frontier. It's a wild place known for rivers and rainforests; glaciers and geological treasures. Legends and stories from the past cling to every feature of the landscape.

Of all the glaciers in the Southern Alps, only the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers have crept as far as the rainforests. These giant tongues of ice have squeezed down their valleys to just 250 metres above sea level.

The world famous mirror images of Lake Matheson are just a few minutes down the road and Gillespies Beach offers the best mountain and beach views in the entire South Island.

Day 13 Glacier Region

Today is a free day to enjoy to beauty of this stunning region at your leisure. While glaciers around the world are retreating, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers still flow almost to sea level. The temperate climate at this low altitude means these glaciers are among the most convenient to visit in the world. Easy walks to the foot of the glaciers pass along ancient river valleys with steep sides bearing gigantic horizontal scars from when the glaciers have retreated and advanced over millennia.

You may like to discover the glaciers up close by combining an awesome helicopter flight over Franz Josef with a unique guided walk, hiking amongst ice caves & pinnacles in this pristine alpine environment.

Day 14 Glacier Region to Queenstown

Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you leave the coast and climb up the Haast river valley to Haast Pass. The road snakes through the Aspiring National Park, and the vegetation becomes sparser as you travel inland. The wilderness town of Makarora is a chance to refuel and refresh. Watch for the famous 'bra fence' – it's become a local legend.

Framed by mountains, Lake Wanaka is a glacier-carved lake which can be enjoyed from the water or by hiking around shoreline tracks. There are two ways to drive between Queenstown and Wanaka, and the Crown Range road is the most memorable, and the highest main road in New Zealand.

The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic. It's the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. It's also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.

Day 15 Queenstown

Today is free to you to explore Queenstown at your leisure. From crystal clear Lake Wakatipu across to The Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown's environment is majestic, awe inspiring and almost unbelievable. Queenstown's wildly exciting environment is irresistible to adventure seekers. In the 'Adventure Capital of the World' you'll find adrenalin-stirring, sanity-reducing exploits of the most extreme kind.

Day 16 Queenstown to Te Anau

High country landscapes and trout fishing rivers are features of the road to Te Anau. The first part of your drive clings scenically to the edge of Lake Wakatipu. Take a break when you reach the small town of Kingston, the home of a remarkable vintage steam train. Further on, the settlements of Lumsden and Mossburn can be explored for unique shopping opportunities – a farm tour is another possibility.

Nestled beside one of New Zealand's largest lakes and surrounded by magnificent scenery, Te Anau is the one true gateway to the Fiordland National Park.

Day 17 Milford Sound day trip – recommended pre-bookable trip

The road to Milford is one of New Zealand's most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you'll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak.

A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your time in Fiordland, or you can get up close and personal in a sea kayak. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you'll remember. The underwater observatory is an option with most cruises.

Day 18 Te Anau to Dunedin

Leaving Te Anau this morning, and travelling through Lumsden you'll travel across the river plain to Gore. Stop in Mandeville if you'd like to fly in a Tiger Moth, or by the Mataura River if you want to catch a trout. Fresh, green farm scenery will accompany you to Balclutha, which has a distinctive arched concrete bridge and an interesting museum. Milton is the last sizeable settlement before Dunedin - the unusual kink in the main road is where two surveyors didn't quite meet.

In the late 19th century, Dunedin acquired an impressive amount of ostentatious Victorian architecture. Today you can enjoy the historic public buildings, imposing churches, palatial homes and ornate hotels. There's even a castle. Eco-tourism is the other face of Dunedin – visit penguin, albatross and seal colonies.

Dunedin is a beautiful and vibrant city with a strong community and a wide range of things to see and do. LivingSpace Dunedin is just moments from the city centre. Surrounded by shops and cafes, you will only be a short stroll to the Octagon, in the heart of Dunedin city, where you will find the information centre and a range of quality shops, the Town Hall, Civic Centre and Art Gallery.

Day 19 Dunedin

Free day to enjoy the city.

Dunedin's dramatic hills surround a long, natural harbour, which attracted Maori settlers to the site over four centuries ago. More recently the area was settled by whalers, gold miners and migrants from Scotland and China. Memorable for its historical architecture, Dunedin is one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. On the doorstep of the city, you can find incredible wildlife - the world's rarest penguins, a mainland albatross colony, fur seals and sea lions.

Day 20 Dunedin to Mount Cook

At 3754 metres, New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook is dazzling, yet there are 27 other mountains in this alpine backbone which peak at over 3050 metres, and hundreds of others not far short of that – all making up the famous Southern Alps.

You can enjoy 4WD safaris, boating on the glacier lakes, horse treks, fishing, scenic flights with snow landings and numerous Walks and Hikes. During the winter guided ski experiences onto New Zealand's longest glacier, the Tasman, is also a popular activity.

Day 21 Mount Cook to Christchurch

The road to Lake Tekapo takes you down the Tasman Valley to beautiful Lake Pukaki. The opaque turquoise colour of this lake and others in the area is caused by fine, glacier-ground rock particles held in suspension. The settlement of Lake Tekapo is at the southern end of the lake where you may like to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheepdog statue which are both great photo opportunities.

The scenic route to Christchurch leads you out of the Mackenzie Country and out to the farms and fields of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

The South Island's largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.

Day 22 Christchurch

Drop your campervan off at the airport ready for your overnight flight home.

Day 23 London

Arrive back into the UK after an amazing New Zealand adventure.

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Price from
£2,239pp
Secure your holiday from only £100pp
Enquire now
Enquire about 21 day North & South Self-Drive tour
Please list all your holiday requirements in as much detail as possible. This could be the amount of passengers to your preferred dates and departure airport.
The Internet Traveller takes your privacy very seriously and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our privacy policy.
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