Best of New Zealand - 18 Days / 17 Nights

An 18 day self drive itinerary covering the following places of interest in N.Z. including Auckland, Bay of Islands, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Picton, Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Dunedin, Mt Cook, Christchurch. Daily departures with a choice of 5 vehicle types and choice of 3, 4, 5 star hotel accommodation.

Includes a self drive rental car with pick up on arrival at Auckland International Airport and for all touring & sightseeing with a choice of five vehicle types, a choice of three standards of hotel accommodation, sightseeing & entrance fees as specified, and daily buffet breakfast at hotel. Daily departures year round.



Best of New Zealand - 18 Days / 17 Nights Itinerary

DAY 01: ARRIVE AUCKLAND: view detail >
DAY 02: AUCKLAND / BAY OF ISLANDS: view detail >
DAY 03: BAY OF ISLANDS: view detail >
DAY 04: BAY OF ISLANDS / AUCKLAND: view detail >
DAY 05: AUCKLAND / WAITOMO / ROTORUA: view detail >
DAY 06: ROTORUA: view detail >
DAY 07: ROTORUA / TAUPO / WELLINGTON: view detail >
DAY 08: WELLINGTON / PICTON / NELSON: view detail >
DAY 09: NELSON / ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK / NELSON: view detail >
DAY 10: NELSON / GREYMOUTH / FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER: view detail >
DAY 11: FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER: view detail >
DAY 12: FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER / QUEENSTOWN: view detail >
DAY 13: QUEENSTOWN / MILFORD SOUND / QUEENSTOWN: view detail >
DAY 14: QUEENSTOWN: view detail >
DAY 15: QUEENSTOWN / DUNEDIN: view detail >
DAY 16: DUNEDIN: view detail >
DAY 17: DUNEDIN / MOUNT COOK / CHRISTCHURCH: view detail >
DAY 18: DEPART CHRISTCHURCH: view detail >

Best of New Zealand - 18 Days / 17 Nights Itinerary Detail

DAY 01: ARRIVE AUCKLAND:

Pick up your self drive rental car on arrival at Auckland International Airport. Transfer by self drive rental vehicle to your hotel in the “City of Sails”. The rest of the day is at leisure.


DAY 02: AUCKLAND / BAY OF ISLANDS:

Check out of your hotel and drive north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and along the Hibiscus Coast with golden beaches and clear waters. View native Kauri trees en route. Continue north through the city of Whangarei, the capital of the Northland Province and the largest city in this area, to the small township of Kawakawa and on to arrive at Paihia, the jewel in the beautiful Bay of Islands. Check in to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure to relax or for optional activities such as a cruise out through the Bay of Islands, or take the passenger ferry across the bay to the historic settlement of Russell, or perhaps a visit to the historical Waitangi Treaty House where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. (Please note that Optional sightseeing mentioned above is not included in tour costs.)


DAY 03: BAY OF ISLANDS:

Today we have included Fuller’s Bay of Islands “Flexi-Choice Ticket” which allows you to choose from one of the following tours: the Supercruise; Dolphin Adventures; Hole in the Rock Cruise; Cape Brett Cruise or Cape Reinga Wanderer. Also included today is a free return ferry ticket from Paihia to the historic settlement of Russell across the bay. Have fun and enjoy your day in the Bay.

DAY 04: BAY OF ISLANDS / AUCKLAND:

Check out of your hotel. This morning is at leisure with time to explore on your own. Perhaps an Optional visit to the Waitangi Treaty House with a tour through the Treaty Grounds where the founding document of New Zealand, the Treaty of New Zealand was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and local Maori Chiefs. Optional activities mentioned are not included in the tour cost. Drive back to Auckland in the afternoon.


DAY 05: AUCKLAND / WAITOMO / ROTORUA:

Depart Auckland this morning and drive south along the motorway to the Bombay Hills and descend into the lush, green, dairy farming region of the Waikato Province, folowing the Waikato River for part of the way, and on to the world famous Waitomo Caves. Take a guided tour through the Waitomo Glow worm caves and view staligtites, staligmites and thousands of tiny glow-worms. Continue on to Rotorua via the prosperous town of Cambridge, well known for the many thoroughbred horse studs in the area which have produced some of the top race horses. Climb over the bushclad Mamaku Ranges and arrive at the “Thermal Spa City” of Rotorua in the late afternoon. Check into the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or go for an Optional soak in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa. (Please note that Optional activities are not included in the tour costs.) Enjoy a Maori Hangi & Concert this evening.


DAY 06: ROTORUA:

Enjoy a self drive morning sightseeing tour of some of the highlights of Rotorua including a visit to Te Puia Thermal Reserve to see boiling mudpools and geysers and learn about Maori culture. Also visit the Paradise Valley Springs to see New Zealand trout, birds and wildlife before continuing on to the Agrodome where you will watch a New Zealand Farm show featuring sheep dog demonstrations, cow milking and learn about the New Zealand sheep farming industry and the different breeds of sheep. Return to the hotel. This afternoon is at leisure for Optional activities such as a soak in a hot pool, a 4WD safari to Mt Tarawera, a scenic flight, a visit to the Museum, or perhaps wander around the city centre and do some shopping for New Zealand souvenirs, or perhaps you would like to explore the surrounding region and maybe take a drive to Te Puke and Whakatane on the East Coast.(Please note that Optional activities mentioned above are not included in the tour costs.)


DAY 07: ROTORUA / TAUPO / WELLINGTON:

Check out of the hotel and drive to Wellington via Taupo travelling through the pinus radiata forest of Kaiangaroa and past the Huka Falls and Wairakei Geothermal Valley. Arrive at Taupo situated at the northern end of Lake Taupo, the largest in New Zealand and the same size as the Republic of Singapore. Follow the eastern shoreline of the lake to Turangi and climb up and over the Central Volcanic Plateau adjacent to the Tongariro National Park, home to the two active volcanoes of Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe. Continue on south through Waiouru, Taihape, Bulls and down the West Coast of the North Island to arrive in the “Capital City” of Wellington in the afternoon. Check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or explore on your own. The main restaurant and entertainment area is located very centrally in Courtenay Place and nearby to the Waterfront area where there are more bars, cafes and restaurants and a prominade walk along the waterfront towards the Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa and yacht marina.


DAY 08: WELLINGTON / PICTON / NELSON:

Check out of your hotel this morning and drive from your hotel to the Wellington Ferry Terminal and drop off your rental car prior to boarding the Inter Island ferry to Picton. Sail out of Wellington Harbour into Cook Strait and across to the Marlborough Sounds and the South Island. Cruise up the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. Arrive at the Picton Ferry Terminal and pick up your rental car and drive to Nelson. There are two routes to chose from here. One option is to travel by the very scenic Queen Charlotte Drive to Havelock, and the other option is to take the main road via the wine growing region of Marlborough, well known for the savignon blanc and chardonnay wines that grow here, and through the main servicing town of Blenheim. The main road option is quicker but not as scenic as the Queen Charlotte Drive which follows the shoreline of Queen Charlotte Sound. Arrive in Nelson in the afternoon and check in to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure to relax or explore on your own. There are many bars, cafes and restaurants here as well as arts and crafts shops and galleries. The seafood here is very fresh and very popular.

DAY 09: NELSON / ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK / NELSON:

This morning we recommend a  full day excursion to the Abel Tasman National Park where you will be able to take a walk along this beautiful coastal track with golden sand beaches and pristine waters or participate in various Optional activities such as a launch cruise along the coastline of the Abel Tasman National Park or sea kayaking before returning to Nelson. The drive from Nelson passes through an area of many orchards, primarily apples and pears as well as other seasonal produce. Pass through the holiday settlement of Kaiteretere Beach with its golden sand beach to Marahau at the road end and on the boundary of the Abel Tasman National Park. (Please note that Optional activities are not included in the tour costs.)


DAY 10: NELSON / GREYMOUTH / FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER:

Check out of your hotel and drive from Nelson to Franz Josef Glacier via Greymouth. Travel through the scenic Buller Gorge to the historic West Coast of the South Island, where during the nineteenth century many settlers and prospectors arrived attracted by the discovery of gold and coal and many fortunes were made and lost. Drive down the coastal route from Westport to Greymouth via the "Blow Holes" at Punakaiki and the rugged, inhospitable coastline to arrive at Greymouth, the main town on the West Coast and situated at the mouth of the Grey River. Continue on south and pass through the small settlements of Hokitika, Ross and Hari Hari and several beautiful lakes surrounded by native bush en route before arriving at Franz Josef Glacier. Check in to your hotel. The rest of day is at leisure to relax or perhaps take a walk to the Westland National Park Visitor Centre.


DAY 11: FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER:

This morning you will be taken on a ½ day guided glacier walk onto the ice of the Franz Josef Glacier accompanied by experienced Alpine Guides who will explain the local flora and fauna as well as the geology of the glacier. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore on your own or perhaps take an Optional scenic helicopter flight over the glacier. Please note that Optional activities are not included in the tour cost.


DAY 12: FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER / QUEENSTOWN:

Check out of your hotel and drive to Queenstown this morning traveling through the small settlements of Fox Glacier and Haast at the mouth of the Haast River before following the river upstream to the “Gates of Haast” and over the scenic bush clad Haast Pass, the southern most route across the main divide. Travel past the small settlement of Makarora opposite the Mount Aspiring National Park and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before passing through the fruitgrowing area around Cromwell and through the scenic Kawarau Gorge to picturesque Queenstown set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Arrive in the late afternoon and check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or wander around this lovely spot with its many bars, cafes and restaurants which are all situated very close to each other and create a great atmosphere. 


DAY 13: QUEENSTOWN / MILFORD SOUND / QUEENSTOWN:

Full day excursion to Milford Sound. Drive alongside the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the towering Remarkables mountain range and across the flat Southland Plains to Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park, now proclaimed a World Heritage Park. Pass through Beech forests, glaciated valleys, the Homer Tunnel with its 1:10 gradient, and stunning scenery to reach the majestic Milford Sound. Enjoy a cruise on this world famous fiord which is dominated by Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls. View waterfalls, dolphins, seals and maybe penguins as well as the stunning scenery. Return to Queenstown & arrive in early evening.


DAY 14: QUEENSTOWN:

Today is a free day at leisure with an opportunity to explore on your own or to experience some of the many Optional activities available here such as Jetboating, bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, gondola ride up Bob's Peak, TSS Earnslaw cruise across Lake Wakatipu to the Walter Peak Sheep Station, 4WD safaris and many more options. (Optional activities are not included in the tour costs.) Enjoy your time in Queenstown - the Adventure Capital of New Zealand.


DAY 15: QUEENSTOWN / DUNEDIN:


Check out of your hotel this morning and drive from Queenstown to Dunedin via the scenic Kawarau Gorge and fruit growing area around Cromwell and across Lake Dunstan and follow the Clutha River through Central Otago via Alexandra, Roxburgh and Lawrence to the student "scarfy" City of Dunedin with its Scottish heritage and much of New Zealand's early colonial history. Check in to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure to relax or explore this lively student city.

DAY 16: DUNEDIN:

Today is a free day to explore the city of Dunedin are surrounding area on your own. This morning you can enjoy a self drive sightseeing tour of the city of Dunedin including the First Church, Octagon, Town Belt, University of Otago, Botanical Gardens, Otago Museum, and Dunedin Railway Station. This afternoon you can self drive out along the Otago Peninsula to visit the Royal Albatross Colony Visitors Centre, Natures Wonders with the Yellow–Eyed Penguins, and Larnach Castle and grounds built by William Larnach in the nineteenth century and the only castle in New Zealand. The views from the Otago Peninsula are spectacular with many bays and beaches and wildlife. We suggest driving along the harbours edge to the end of the peninsula and return via the high road and Larnach's Castle. Return to your hotel afterwards. The rest of the day is at leisure to experience the local night life in this student city.


DAY 17: DUNEDIN / MOUNT COOK / CHRISTCHURCH:

Check out of your hotel this morning and depart Dunedin and drive north on the motorway over the Kilmog Hill to reach the coast at Waikouiti and on to Oamaru via Palmerston. Oamaru is a good example of restored Victorian architecture and buildings that have been built with a unique white sandstone quarried nearby. From Oamaru travel inland following the Waitaki River into the MacKenzie High Country and on to New Zealand’s highest mountain – Mount Cook. There will be time here for an Optional scenic flight over the Southern Alps with a snow landing on the Tasman Glacier subject to the weather on the day. (Please note that Optional scenic flight is not included in the tour costs.) Depart Mt Cook and follow the shores of Lake Pukaki and on to Lake Tekapo and the “Church of the Good Shepherd” before descending Burkes Pass to Fairlie and through rolling hill country to Geraldine and then drive across the flat straight roads of the Canterbury Plains to arrive in the “Garden City” of Christchurch in the late afternoon. Check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax, or for some last minute shopping for souvenirs of New Zealand, or to wander around the many bars, cafes and restaurants here.


DAY 18: DEPART CHRISTCHURCH:

Your arrangements conclude today with the drop off of your rental car at Christchurch International Airport prior to boarding your departure flight. Bon Voyage! We trust that you have enjoyed your New Zealand holiday with Adventure Pacific.


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