New Zealand Self-Drive
New Zealand is the perfect country for a road trip, plus you’ll have the freedom to explore at your own steady pace. This 22-day self drive takes you to all New Zealand’s iconic highlights across both the North Island and South Island.
Experience urban Kiwi life in Auckland, witness the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, visit Queenstown – New Zealand’s adventure capital – and much more. However if there’s anywhere extra you want to visit, we can tailor your ideal route or duration in a few easy steps. Plus, you’re sure not to miss a thing with your courtesy co-pilot kit, complete with map and directions.
- Return flights from London Heathrow
- Superior accommodation
- Avis car hire
Day 1: Auckland
Spend the day exploring the harbour, shops and museums, or even venture out to the deserted beaches or wineries that surround the city.
Day 2: Auckland
The adventure starts! Travel north towards Whangarei, stopping to take in the forests or surf beaches. At Whangarei head for lunch and wander around the town, before continuing north to the Bay of Islands.
Day 3 & 4: Paihia
Enjoy two days at leisure to explore the magnificent Bay of Islands, maybe take a cruise to spot dolphins, visit the historic Treaty House at Waitangi, or head to Cape Reinga to explore 90 Mile Beach.
Day 5: Paihia to Coromandel Peninsula
Head south from Paihia towards the Coromandel Peninsula, along the coast is the township of Thames, which provides a reminder of the gold rush. From Thames it is a short trip over the beautiful Coromandel Ranges Mountains to the upmarket beach township of Pauanui.
Day 6: Coromandel Peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is a beautiful area, with cool forests, picturesque beaches, rugged coastlines and swimming holes. Take a bushwalk, a walk on the beach, dangle a line, or do nothing at all.
Day 7: Coromandel Peninsula
Travel south from Pauanui past many more beautiful beaches, and the township of Tauranga, one of the North Island’s largest ports. Your route takes you through the Kiwifruit Country around Te Puke and on to the heart of thermal activity and cultural centre of New Zealand, Rotorua.
Day 8: Rotorua
A day at leisure in this geothermal wonderland, why not head to the Agrodome for some adrenalin activities, followed by a relax in the hot springs of the Polynesian Spa.
Day 9: Rotorua to Tongariro National Park
Travel to the township of Taupo, right on the edge of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. There are all sorts of water-based activities available – para-sailing, sailing, water-skiing, or windsurfing, alternatively book a jetboat ride at Huka Falls, before heading Tongariro National Park.
Day 10: Tongariro National Park to Wellington
Journey down to Wanganui, on the South Taranaki Bight on the banks of the Wanganui River. From Wanganui travel down the west coast to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand on the south-western tip of the North Island. Wellington sits on a beautiful harbour, with Mount Victoria on the outskirts.
Day 11: Wellington to Nelson
Catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton and cruise through the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound. Explore the area before travelling through Havelock to Nelson, a pretty city flanked by the sea, golden beaches and hills.
Day 12: Nelson
A day at leisure to explore the Marlborough and Abel Tasman region around Nelson. Take a water taxi to explore or even a guided kayak tour.
Day 13: Nelson - Greymouth
Continue further south-west over to the west coast, and drive through the rugged and densely forested Buller Gorge. The road is one of the most beautiful and impressive scenic drives in New Zealand. Travel down the coast through Punakaiki, and then on to Greymouth.
Day 14: Greymouth to the Glacier Region
Just a short drive will bring you into the Westland National Park, home to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Experience a walk up to the glacier face and even out onto the ice itself.
Day 15: Glacier Region to Queenstown
Continue south-west before turning inland along the Haast River in the region of Central Otago to the town of Wanaka, a great place to stop for lunch on the shores of the lake. Drive through spectacular scenery to the adrenalin capital of Queenstown.
Day 16: Queenstown
Today is at leisure for you to explore the many activities and scenic wonders of the township of Queenstown and the surrounding areas. There's plenty to choose from - take an exhilarating trip on the Shotover Jet Boat, or cross Lake Wakatipu on the steamship TSS Earnslaw.
Day 17: Queenstown to Te Anau
From Queenstown travel south along Lake Wakatipu then west to Te Anau on the outskirts of the Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound is the best known, most easily accessible and one of the grandest of the fiords along this coastline. Take an afternoon cruise to see the fiord in all its splendour.
Day 18: Te Anau to Dunedin
Travel east to Dunedin, founded by Scottish migrants in 1848, situated on the Otago Peninsula, which is indented with bays, providing many picnic and swimming sites. At the tip of the peninsula is Taiaroa Head, a special reserve that includes the only mainland nesting site of the magnificent Royal Albatross.
Day 19: Dunedin
Today is free to discover Dunedin and the surrounding area. You may decide to join Monarch Wildlife Cruises as they cruise to Taiaroa Head to see the fur seal colony, plus the award-winning Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve.
Day 20: Dunedin - Mount Cook
From Dunedin take the coastal road before heading inland to the base of the awe-inspring Mount Cook - New Zealand's largest mountain.
Day 21: Mount Cook to Christchurch
Leave Twizel and pass Lake Pukaki, a spectacular turquoise-coloured glacial lake. Stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo for one of New Zealand’s most picturesque picnic spots. Enter the Canterbury Plains, the widest area of flat land in New Zealand and into Christchurch.
Day 22: Christchurch
Depart Christchurch for your onward journey.
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