Around New Zealand in 21 days
Around New Zealand in 21 Days
This epic 3 week journey starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch is one not to be missed. Discover the variety of astonishing and dramatic landscapes across the entire country. The North Island's diversity will enchant you with its subtropical beaches, volcanic landscapes, rolling lush farmlands, and geothermal activity. The amount of micro-climates are puzzling and bedazzling for such a small country. The South Island with its majestic peaks of the Southern Alps will leave you in awe. The range of sensational activities on this tour will leave memories for a life time..
HighlightsHole in the rock cruise Bay of Islands Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal wonderland Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach - Coromandel Abel Tasman Kayaking Milford Sound Cruise Franz Josef Heli-Hike
This epic 3 week journey starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch is one not to be missed. Discover the variety of astonishing and dramatic landscapes across the entire country.
Terms and Conditions
Prices are based on twin share occupancy in a double room, and are subject to availability. If anything comes back unavailable, we will endeavor to find you a suitable alternative.
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Day 1 : Auckland
Welcome to Auckland and New Zealand. On arrival you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your first night’s accommodation. Or if you’ve decided to pick up your rental vehicle immediately, you pick up your vehicle at the airport and drive to your accommodation.
Your detailed tour information pack will be given to you once you arrive at your accommodation.
You’ll most likely be pretty tired from a long flight, so take the rest of the day to relax and explore the inner city. The city centre of Auckland is not too big, so you can easily walk around. Visit the Skytower to take in great views of the city, and stroll around the waterfront with its many nice bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a great meal.
Day 2 : Auckland - Bay of Islands
Once you've collected your car first thing in the morning (in case you don't already have it), you'll head North across the Auckland Harbour bridge. Northland is a region with an abundance of marine life, subtropical climate and pristine beaches, but is also a region with historical significance.
About half way between Whangarei and Paihia, at Whakapara, we recommend you take the turn off for Helena Bay/Whangaruru. The journey to Paihia will be a little bit longer as the road winds its way along the coastline, but this stretch of coastline is absolutely stunning as you approach the Bay of Islands. Turquoise, azure waters, spectacular rocky formations and island views, this will no doubt get you excited for what New Zealand has to offer.
When you arrive in the Bay of Islands, stop in the picturesque sea side town Russell, the first European settlement in New Zealand, before taking the ferry to Opua for the final short stretch into Paihia.
Take the afternoon to explore the town. If you want to learn something about New Zealand history, visit the Waitangi Treaty grounds, one of New Zealand's most significant historic grounds.
Driving distance : 251 km - Driving time : approximately 4 hours 20 mins
Day 3 : Bay of Islands - Cape Reinga - Bay of Islands
You'll travel to the very top of New Zealand, Cape Reinga (Te Rerenga Wairua).
Uncover the wild beauty of this vast and untouched region that is rich in Māori culture and tradition. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views, visit the iconic light house, and see the point where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean come crashing together. Ninety Mile Beach is another highlight of the tour, so make sure you stop along the way.
Driving distance : 212 km - Driving time : approximately : 2 hrs 55 mins (one way)
Day 4 : Bay of Islands - Auckland
Before your journey back to Auckland, you will join a Hole in the Rock cruise in the morning with dolphin viewing. You'll board the Dolphin Seeker, a purpose built catamaran licensed by the Department of Conservation for dolphin and whale viewing. Enjoy the large outdoor viewing decks as you cruise past the islands of the Bay. Keep a look out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life as your experienced local skippers get you up close to the action. Cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the majestic Hole in the Rock. Admire the rock walls towering above you as the skipper navigates right through the narrow space (conditions permitting) before heading back into the inner islands of the Bay.
On your way back to Auckland in the afternoon, stop for a coffee at the famous Hunterwasser toilets in Kawakawa, before taking another detour, this time to the Tutukaka Coast. The Tutukaka Coast is home to the Poor Knights Islands, world renowned for it's world class diving and marine life. Just north of Matapouri, a beautiful walk brings you to Whale Bay. Sandy bay is another beautiful spot and has great surfing.
Driving distance : 276 km - Driving time : approximately 4 hours 10 mins
Day 5 : Auckland- Coromandel
Your destination will be the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula with its secluded bays, white sandy beaches, and spectacular but rugged mountainous interiour. Follow the Hauraki Trail until you arrive in Thames. Keep driving north along the waterfront until you reach Coromandel town, a town full of history from New Zealand's early gold mining and logging days. Over the hill you reach the Coromandel's East Coast and the coastal views along this drive are amazing. Stop at the famous Hot Water Beach to dig your own spa at low tide, and walk down to Cathedral Cove.
Between Coromandel Town and Whitianga we recommend you visit New Chums beach, which was voted one of the best 10 beaches in the world!
Driving distance : 177 km - Driving time : approximately 3 hours 10 mins
Day 6: Coromandel - Rotorua
We've organized an amazing kayaking trip to Cathedral Cove this morning, no doubt one of the best in the country. This trip will show you stretches of coast line no other travellers get to see.
Leaving the Coromandel in the afternoon, you drive through the lush farmlands of the Waikato on your way to Rotorua. Rotorua s also nicknamed Roto Vegas by Kiwis for the amount of attractions it has. The main attractions are Maori culture and amazing geothermal activity. The region also has many beautiful lakes to explore. World-class biking trails, excellent hiking traills, natural hot streams, luxurious spas, a whole range of adventure activities such as rafting, sledging, jetboating, zorbing, racing down a steep hill in a luge, Rotorua won't bore you.
Driving distance : 230 km - Driving time approximately 3 hour 20 mins
Day 7 : Rotorua - Taupo
The drive from Rotorua to Taupo is only about an hour, but there are many things to see en-route, so take your time today. Wai-O-Tapu geothermal wonderland with its colorful hot springs, boiling mud pools and barren moon landscapes will leave you in awe. This is one of the most unique places you'll ever visit.
About 2kms north of Taupo, a must see are the impressive Huka Falls. This is where the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock. The resulting sight is nothing but spectacular. More than 220,000 liters of water per second rushes by.
Driving distance : 81 km - Driving time approximately 1 hour
Day 8 : Taupo - National Park
Get your hiking boots ready on this early morning! Often described as New Zealand's greatest day walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging journey across a remarkable volcanic landscape. Lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald-colored lakes and magnificent views combine to make this an unforgettable walking journey. Transportation to and from the track is arranged from your accommodation.
Driving distance : 100 km - Driving time approximately 1 hour 15mins
Day 9 : National Park - Wellington
Today you make your way down to Wellington, the coolest little capital in the world. Find out yourself why Wellington was named the best liveable city in the world in 2016!
A visit to the national museum Te Papa is a must-do. A trip on the iconic cable car gives you great views across the city and bay at the top.
Stroll around in Cuba street, with its many funky bars known for their craft beers, cafes, and excellent restaurants.
Driving distance 322 km - driving time approximately : 3 hrs 57 mins
Day 10 : Wellington-Picton-Nelson
Today you will say goodbye to the North Island and cruise across the Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry, with great views of the Marlborough Sounds.
Upon your arrival in the small but picturesque fishing town of Picton, you will carry on your journey to creative Nelson, the sunniest place in New Zealand.
Interislander Wellington - Picton : 3 h 37 min (97.6 km)
Driving time approx (Picton - Nelson): 1 hr. 47 min. Distance : 134 km.
Day 11 : Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson
You'll be spending a day in the coastal paradise of Abel Tasman National Park today. It is New Zealand's smallest national park, but perfectly formed for both relaxation and adventure.
And what better way to explore the golden bays and beaches than from the water in a kayak.
You will be picked up and dropped off again at your accommodation.
Activity : Abel Tasman Kayaking Half Day Kayak.
Day 12 : Nelson-Hanmer Springs
You'll be travelling to the picturesque alpine village of Hanmer Springs today, best known for its natural hot pools and stunning landscapes. The town is an attractive year-round holiday destination for adventure, relaxation and indulgence. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and towering forests, this charming town has a main street filled with boutique shops, cafes and eateries.
Driving distance : 300 km - Driving time : approximately 3 hrs 55 mins
Day 13 : Hanmer Springs - Christchurch
It's only a few hours to Christchurch today, the largest city on the South Island and second largest city by urban area in New Zealand. The city has recovered well from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and is once again a vibrant place.
Stroll around in the renowned botanical gardens and explore the inner city, or drive to the coast and visit beautiful Akaroa harbour.
Driving distance : 134 km - Driving time : approximately 1 hrs 53 mins
Day 14 : Christchurch- Mt. Cook
You'll cross the expansive Canterbury plains on your way to Mt Cook. The Southern Alps seem to be ever increasing in size as you approach closer, and leaving a bigger impression as you carry on.
Lake Tekapo will leave you dazzled with its remarkable turquoise coloured water against the backdrop of the Southern Alps. The picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd is a great place for great photo opportunities, but please note that photos are not allowed inside the church.
Once you arrive at Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook dominates the landscape, and how! It will leave a memorable impression, and the drive along the lake with its green and turquoise water is nothing but spectacular.
We recommend you do one of the short hikes in the Aoraki National Park.
Travelling distance : 333 km - Travelling time : approximately 4 hrs 10 mins
Day 15 : Mt. Cook - Queenstown
As the road takes you further south, you will cross the the Lindis Pass, one of the highest roads in New Zealand. The contrast in scenery will be noticeable as you leave the McKenzie Country and enter Otago.
Wanaka town is nestled below towering mountains, and is a little bit quieter than its neighbour Queenstown. In winters skiers from all over the world flock here for its great skiing, and in summer the impressive mountains provide for a range of adventure activities. You will return to this beautiful town in a few days, but your journey continues to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown!
Queenstown is synonymous with adventure, and often labelled the "adventure capital of the world". Regardless of the season, Queenstown gets your adrenaline flowing year round, and the options are endless. Want to throw yourself out of a plane in amazing scenery, jump off a bridge in the birthplace of Bungy, jetboat, raft down a river, you name it...Queenstown has it all.
The afternoon is yours to enjoy this buzzing town. Let us know if you would like us to book one of the numerous adventure activities.
Driving distance : 264 km - Driving time : approximately 3 hrs 15 mins
Day 16 : Queenstown
Queenstown is a place with so many things to do, so you'll stay here for an additional day. In the morning we've included the thrilling Shotover Jet, deep in the Mt Aspiring National Park wilderness. The drive to Glenorchy alone will already leave you in awe. It is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.
As appetites differ from person to person, just let us know if you would like to do something else during this day that we can help you with.
Day 17 : Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau
Visit Milford Sound today and experience a world of cascading waterfalls, sheer rock faces and dense rainforest. Your journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu takes you further south to Te Anau first. You will travel along the Milford Road – one of the world's most scenic roads – and through the Homer Tunnel, before arriving for your Milford Sound cruise. Enjoy striking views of iconic Mitre Peak from the head of the Sound – it rises 1,692 metres from the south shore and is named for its resemblance to a bishop’s mitre.
The pristine Milford Sound is part of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, in the south west of the South Island, and is famed for its pristine natural beauty and remote atmosphere. It is New Zealand’s best known fiord and the only one that can be reached by road. The fiord extends 15km inland from the wild Tasman Sea and is regularly visited by wildlife including penguins, seals and dolphins.
You will return to Te Anau where you will spend the night.
Driving distance : 173 km - Driving time : approximately 2 hours 10 mins
Driving Te Anau - Milford Sound : 118 km - Driving time : approximately 1 hour 45 mins
Day 18 : Te Anau - Wanaka
Your journey will take you to Wanaka today via Queenstown and over the Crown Range. Relax by the waterfront, pay a visit to Puzzling world or the War Birds and weels, ro do one of the many great short day hikes in the area.
The Roys Peak Track - a NZ must do - will give you magnificent views of Wanaka, the lake and Southern Alps. The Rob Roy Glacier Track half day walk leads you into Mount Aspiring National Park, an amazing world of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes. The Mt Iron Track is one of Wanaka's most popular short walks with spectacular views over the lake and surrounding mountains.
Driving distance : 226 km - Driving time : approximately 2 hours 55 mins
Day 19 : Wanaka - Franz Josef
Passing through a number of national parks today, the road from Wanaka to Frans Josef and Haast winds its way along Lake Hawea first, then through majestic Mt Aspiring National Park, until you reach the town of Haast on the West Coast, which is located in the heart of Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area. The road between Haast and Frans Josef continues along the rugged West Coast with lush native bush and rainforest.
From Frans Josef township you'll have a number of options to explore the extraordinary glaciers.
Driving time approx : 3 hrs. 36 min. Distance : 286 km.
Day 20 : Franz Josef - Punakaiki
Westland National Park and its glaciers is an area of magnificent primeval vistas – snow-capped mountains, glaciers, forests, tussock grasslands, lakes, rivers, wetlands and beaches.
And you'll have the best view of all today, from a helicopter. After 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.
You'll continue northbound in the afternoon along the coast. The seaside town of Hokitika is a place to appreciate the fascinating history of the west coast. The Arahura River, which enters the sea just north of Hokitika, is a traditional source of pounamu (greenstone). There are a number of jewelry stores selling greenstone in town, and are well worth a look.
Your final destination will be Punakaiki in the smallest national park of New Zealand, Paparoa National Park, known for its famous pancake rocks, where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of hotcakes.
Driving distance : 217 km - Driving time : approximately : 2 hrs 55 mins
Day 21 : Punakaiki - Christchurch
End of the tour
Driving time approx : 3 hrs. 27 min. Distance : 243 km.
- Complimentary airport transfers
- Detailed tour pack upon arrival at first noght's accommodation.
- 21 day car rental with unlimited daily kilometers
- Standard insurance with zero excess reduction option.
- 20 Nights Accommodation.
- Franz Josef Heli Hike
- Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland entrance fee
- Cathedral Cove Kayaking.
- Hole in the Rock Cruise Bay of Islands
- Milford Sound Cruise
- Shotover Jet Queenstown
- Interislander Ferry
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 45 days or more before the start of the tour, the cancellation fee will be equivalent to the deposit paid
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 30 to 45 days before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 25% of the contract price
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 7 to 30 days before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 50% of the contract price
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 7 days or less before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 100% of the contract price
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