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There's surely no better way to explore the diverse landscape of New Zealand than on a self-drive holiday. Enjoy the freedom and flexibility of your own vehicle as you journey across the country, traversing volcanic terrain, driving past ancient glaciers, travelling through forests of coniferous kauri trees and alongside beautiful, subtropical plants. Bays, beaches and bush play host to an abundance of wildlife and marine creatures and memorable experiences abound, from learning about Maori culture, to sports and adrenaline activities. From the tip of the North Island to the adventure capital of the south, Queenstown, this self-drive tour is the perfect introduction to New Zealand's many wonders.
Experience New Zealand in all its amazing diversity - from coast, to fields and forest, to lakes and mountains
Savour sublime food and wonderful wine in some of the country's most renowned wine regions
Discover amazing wildlife on land and at sea
Enjoy countless memorable activities including a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight to Milford Sound
Enjoy expert guiding on memorable activities throughout your journey, including on wine tours and tastings, Maori cultural excursions, eco-adventures and more.
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The perfect start to your self-drive holiday around New Zealand is the Bay of Islands, a collection of 144 islands in the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. The islands promise abundant marine life, stunning natural beauty and three local townships steeped in Maori and colonial history. During your time staying at Eagles Nest, you will have a chance to explore the islands for a full day on a private catamaran. If you'd like to explore further, there are lots of other options too.
3 nights in First Light Temple Villa, including breakfast
From Eagles Nest, it's about a three hour drive south to Auckland passing small beachside towns, huge sand dunes and enormous kauri trees en route before you cross over Auckland’s harbour bridge into the city. Auckland, affectionately known as the ‘City of Sails’ is New Zealand’s largest city boasting two natural harbours, golden sand beaches, various off shore islands and marine reserves. During your stay in Auckland, we will arrange for a return private water taxi to Waiheke Island where you will be met by a driver to take you on a full day guided tour of some of the island's beautiful vineyards.
2 nights in a Rooftop Harbour View Room, including breakfast
Travel south through Auckland's city suburbs before reaching green farmland with rolling hills and small working communities. There's time for a stop at the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton movie set or at the ethereal glowworm caves at Waitomo before arriving in the geothermal city of Rotorua. Famous for its steaming lakes, bubbling hot pools and bursting geysers, there's lots to explore here, from following the trails at Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters), New Zealands most colourful and diverse active volcano area, to enjoying a private guided tour of Ohinemutu Village, the first Maori settlement of Rotorua. There is also the chance to go zip wiring on an exhilarating eco adventure through the evergreen nature forests of the Mamaku Plateau.
2 nights in an Executive Suite, full board basis (pre dinner drinks, dinner, breakfast and a light lunch included))
Another scenic three hour drive takes you past more geothermal wonders, onward to the delightful town of Taupo on the shores of the lake and over the Kaimanawa Ranges descending past vineyards before arriving at Hawke's Bay and Cape Kidnappers Lodge. As well as relaxing at this beautiful farm and making the most of all the onsite facilities and activities, such as the kiwi discovery walk, enjoying beach picnics and viewing the massive colony of gannets, you will have a chance to enjoy a private guided winery tour by e-bike. Savour some of Hawkes Bay’s finest foods and wines in renowned wineries surrounded by beautiful views. A round of golf on Cape Kidnapper's spectacular course with stunning landscape and sea views is also included during your time here.
3 nights in a Hilltop Suite, full board basis (all meals including pre-dinner drinks included))
Your journey continues south from Hawke's Bay to Wellington, once dubbed ‘the coolest capital city in the world’. On the way you will pass through the exclusive Wairarapa wine region and its small towns featuring antique stores, boutiques and independent artisans. Your one night stay at the Sofitel Wellington is the perfect base from which to explore this fantastic city nestled between a dramatic harbour and bush clad hills with its feast of attractions.
1 night in a Luxury Room, breakfast included
The three hour Interislander Ferry journey from Wellington to Picton is one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world, taking in spectacular views of Wellington Harbour, the wide expanse of the Cook Straight and with a majestic vista of Queen Charlotte Sound. On arrival you will be transferred to Hapuku Lodge in Kaikoura. During your time at the lodge you will be able to enjoy an exhilarating whale watching trip. There is also the chance to swim with dolphins and seals, spend a few hours fishing, check out the ‘street food’ (the BBQ crayfish is a must!) or take in the beautiful coastal views along the Peninsula Walkway and spot lots of different species of seabirds. You will definitely be spoilt for choice!
2 nights in a One Bedroom Treehouse, on a half board basis (breakfast and dinner)
Your journey will continue south around the rocky Kaikoura shoreline with its many beaches, over the Hunderlee Ranges and onto the vast Canterbury Plains until you reach Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city for your two night stay at Otahuna Lodge. Your stay here includes a day tour to Banks Peninsula, home to the quaint village of Akaroa, a favoured holiday destination for locals, and a two hour cruise of the harbour, renowned for its sparkling waters which are home to a myriad of sealife.
2 nights in a Suite, including breakfast, pre dinner drinks and dinner with wine pairing
Continuing your journey south, we recommend taking the scenic inland route from Christchurch to the Ahuriri Valley taking in the small farming communities of Canterbury Plains and the foothills towards Mackenzie County. When you arrive in the high country, huge barren landscapes bordered by the Southern Alps dotted with aqua blue lakes await you. Your stay at The Lindis Lodge enables you to fully explore the beautiful Ahuriri Valley. Whilst at leisure at the lodge, take advantage of being in one of the top ten fly fishing locations in the world, perhaps explore the rugged countryside on horseback, mountain bike or 4WD buggy, go for a hike through the surrounding wetlands or forests or spend some time studying the local flora and fauna. All of these options are possible on your own or with local guides, the choice is yours.
2 nights in a Lodge Suite, including all meals and pre dinner drinks
Your three hour drive south to Queensland, 'the Adventure Capital of the World’ is via the beautiful Lindis Pass into Central Otago, past the small picturesque town of Wanaka and over the Crown Range Road, New Zealand’s highest road, with its spectacular views, before descending into Queensland. Whilst in Queensland, you will have the chance to take a helicopter to the spectacular natural attraction of Milford Sound and speed away on a jetboat deep into the heart of the world renowned Mt Aspiring National Park. Depending on your personal taste and preferences, there is also time to do some other activities whilst in Queensland; options range from adrenaline pursuits like bungy jumping, white water rafting and sky diving to more sedate options such as visiting the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown, browsing the town's chic boutiques, visiting the region's vineyards or playing a round of golf. Whatever activity appeals, you can be sure you'll enjoy taking in the views of Queenstown's picturesque landscape as you enjoy it.
On day 21 return your rental vehicle to the airport in Queenstown before boarding your flight home.
3 nights in a Suite, including all meals and pre dinner drinks
An idyllic way to see New Zealand's northern coast and explore the offshore islands, your home for the day is a 54ft catamaran offering plenty of space to relax both inside and out. Enjoy mooring up in sheltered bays for swimming, paddle boarding and snorkelling as well as strolling along pristine beaches. Laze on one of the trampolines on the bow or in the shelter of the covered deck whilst taking in the coastal views and looking out for some of the resident wildlife including pods of dolphins frolicking in the waves. Enjoy a tasty lunch onboard the boat.
Travel to beautiful Waiheke Island on a private water taxi (approximately a 45 minute journey) where you will meet your private driver guide for a bespoke tailormade tour of the island's vineyards. Visit three or more of the island’s highly regarded vineyards, where you can taste a selection of their fine wines and learn about what makes Waiheke wines some of the best in the world. Since the late 1970's Waiheke's mild Mediterranean climate has created the perfect setting for a flourishing wine industry. A 'small is beautiful' philosophy on the island yields low quantities of extremely high quality fruit, which is made into international award-winning wines. The big Bordeaux-style reds of Stonyridge and the Goldie Estate are now appreciated by wine lovers all over the world, and more than 30 vineyards have followed in the footsteps of the original three. Enjoy a lunch stop with a glass of wine at one of Waiheke’s top vineyard restaurants as part of your tour. At the end of your day exploring a private water taxi will take you back to Auckland.
Visit the first settlement in Rotorua, Ohinemutu Village, and learn about life there and how locals have adapted to this geothermal area. Gain an insight into the early developments of Maori settlement and tourism in Rotorua before seeing the ancestral meeting house and St Faith’s Anglican Church with its beautiful carvings.
Enjoy a guided small group eco-adventure excursion through the native evergreen forests of the Mamaku Plateau near Rotorua. Experience one of the North Island’s last remaining areas of untouched forest in the most exciting and unique of ways - take on the sights, smells and sounds of the canopy whilst traversing a 1.2 kilometre network of ziplines (flying foxes) walking trails, suspended bridges and treetop platforms up to 22 metres above the ground. Along the way, guides will bring the forest to life as you learn about the history, inhabitants and conservation of the flora and fauna not seen on any other country on earth – centuries old giant trees, monster tree ferns and perching plants are just some of the species you will encounter. The highlight for many is the jaw dropping 220 metre 'Tui Song' zipline where you step out of the canopy of a 500 year old Rimu tree and fly over a long forgotten valley deep into the forest beyond.
Please note a weight restriction of 120kg applies to this activity.
Enjoy a privately guided winery tour by e-bike, offering a unique cycling experience with the opportunity to enjoy tasting some of Hawke's Bay’s finest foods and wines whilst taking in the superb scenery all around. As one of the New Zealand’s most acclaimed wine regions and with cycling trails that are wide, smooth and mostly flat, this excursion is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the mini Mediterranean climate and sample some of the region's delicious food and drink. A professionally trained cycling guide will show you the way, cycling along off-road trails past vineyards, olive groves, orchards and farmland and giving you an insight into the local history and culture as you travel. Visit the boutique winery of Black Barn and the Te Mata Estate winery, where a spectacular setting is sure to impress. Continue on to the world-class winery of Craggy Range for an optional visit before joining the river trail for a 15 kilometre cycle to the coast through orchard country. A stop in the coastal village of Haumoana allows for more wine tastings and a delectable lunch with mesmerising rural views (lunch cost is not included). Following your lunch you will be transferred back to your accommodation.
Embark on an exhilarating half day cruise searching for giant sperm whales, fur seals, pods of dolphins and Wandering Albatross, present year round in the waters surrounding Kaikoura. Depending on the season, you may also encounter humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and Southern Right Whales and possibly the Orca or Killer Whale. A lucky few might spot the world's rarest and smallest dolphin, the Hector’s Dolphin.
Travel out of Christchurch on a day tour to Banks Peninsula, home to the quaint French settlement village of Akaroa, an idyllic seaside location and a favoured holiday retreat for Christchurch city dwellers. Enjoy a memorable cruise of picturesque Akaroa Harbour, renowned for its sparkling waters which are home to a myriad of sea life including the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector’s dolphins, as well as New Zealand fur seals, little blue penguins and a myriad of bird life.
A short tour of The Ahuriri Valley exploring wetlands, spotting native wildlife and taking in the scenery of the Huxley and Barrier Ranges in the Southern Alps.
Departing from Queenstown Airport, board your private helicopter for a once-in-a-lifetime experience flying to Milford Sound. Soaring over rainforests, frozen lakes, and majestic Milford to the heart of Fiordland, the grandeur of the Alps is completely breathtaking. On arrival an alpine landing gives you the opportunity to explore at ground level, taking in the views of the glaciers with their ragged crevasses and blue and green ice falls. Return to Queenstown and to your accommodation on the included transfer.
This jetboat experience takes you deep into the heart of the world renowned Mt Aspiring National Park. You will experience a unique combination of breathtaking scenery and an exhilarating jet boat ride as you travel up the braided glacier-fed rivers. Your guides will give you an insight into the area’s rich history, the Greenstone Trail and countless Maori legends. Time and conditions permitting, your guide will stop the boat briefly so that you may explore on foot as well.
The summer months of December to March are ideal for outdoor activities. June to September is perfect for winter sports. Spring and Autumn offer pleasant temperatures.
20 NIGHTS FROM £21,760 per person
Price based upon economy flights from London, transfers, UK airport lounge passes and meals and excursions as specified.
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