Spirit of New Zealand Self Drive

Overview

Spirit of New Zealand

Exciting cities contrast with quaint rural towns; smouldering lakes, spouting geysers and bubbling mud-pots with towering snow-clad mountain peaks; icy blue glaciers with rushing streams, tranquil lakes and verdant rainforests. From Auckland and Wellington to the vineyards of the North Island; the marine life of Kaikoura to the farmlands of the Canterbury plain; and the peace of Milford Sound and majestic Mount Cook to the non stop action of Queenstown, this self drive holiday has it all.

What's Included:

  • Includes flights from London
  • 12 nights Value Grade accommodation as shown, based on two sharing
  • Group B all inclusive car rental
  • Choice of activity in Rotorua
  • Flight Napier to Wellington on day 5
  • Waitomo Caves Tour
  • Hawkes Bay Winery Tour
  • Skyline Gondola
  • Milford Sound Cruise

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

Arrive in Auckland and make your own way to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city. Hotel: Value - Scenic Hotel Auckland; Standard - Stamford Hotel; Superior - Crowne Plaza

Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua (Via Waitomo Caves)

Collect your car and depart Auckland this morning and journey south through the farming districts of the Waikato. At Waitomo Caves ride the underground river system through the Glow Worm Grotto with its millions of tiny lights. Continue south past Lake Karipiro to arrive in Rotorua. Hotel for 2 nights: Value - Ibis Hotel; Standard - Sudima Hotel; Superior - Millennium Hotel

Day 3: Rotorua

Today you have the choice of either a morning sightseeing tour or an evening Maori Hangi and Concert. (Please specify your choice at time of booking). The afternoon is free to explore.

Day 4: Rotorua - Napier

This morning is free to explore. Early afternoon travel through the world’s largest manmade forest to Taupo before climbing over the North Island’s main ranges to Napier in the prominent wine and fruit producing region of Hawkes Bay, famous for its Chardonnays. Napier is famed for its Art Deco buildings, built after the devastating earthquake of 1931. Hotel: Value & Standard - Scenic Te Pania; Superior - Scenic Te Pania Suite

Day 5: Napier - Wellington

Today enjoy a morning tour and briefly learn of the history, including its darkest period immediately after the 1931 earthquake that devastated the city leaving 1000s of people homeless. Next visit some of the regions award winning winery’s, with time allowed for tastings. Drop off your car this afternoon fly south to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Hotel for 2 nights: Value - Thorndon Wellington by Rydges; Standard - Rydges Hotel; Superior - Sofitel

Day 6: Wellington

Today is free to enjoy New Zealand’s capital. You may wish to visit Te Papa, the museum of New Zealand perhaps visit the Parliament Buildings or take the Wellington Cable Car.

Day 7 - Wellington - Christchurch

This morning cross Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry and cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton where you collect your car. Head south past some of New Zealand’s best wine country to Kaikoura, famous for its crayfish and whale watching before heading on to Christchurch. If you would like to go whale watching in Kaikoura or wine tasting in Blenheim it is possible to add an extra night or additional sightseeing options (call for details). Hotel: Value - Heartland Hotel Cotswold; Standard - Rydges Latimer; Superior - The George

Day 8 - Christchurch - West Coast Glaciers

Journey across the Canterbury Plains and wind up the gorges of the Waimakariri River, flanked by snow capped mountains towards Arthur’s Pass. After reaching Greymouth head south past the pristine beaches to the West Coast Glaciers. Hotel (all grades): Scenic Franz Josef

Day 9 - Today you will travel south past tranquil lakes and past towering mountains with cascading waterfalls. Leaving the West Coast Rain Forest for the arid Central Otago, journey past the shores of Lake Wanaka to the Kawerau Gorge before passing Lake Hayes to arrive in Queenstown.

Hotel for 3 nights: Value - Heartland Hotel; Standard - Novotel Queenstown Lakeside; Superior - Crowne Plaza

Day 10 - Milford Sound Day Excursion

Head south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and on to Te Anau before travelling through the remote wilderness of the Eglington Valley and emerge from the Homer Tunnel to the magnificence of Milford Sound. Cruise Milford Sound and experience up close the geographical uniqueness of 5000ft sheer rock faces rising from the sea and the numerous waterfalls and marine life. Return to Queenstown for your overnight stay. Please note: the drive to Milford Sound is approx. 4 1/2 hours with the road narrowing through alpine passes. We also offer coach and fly-in/out options, please ask for details.

Day 11 - Queenstown

Today is free to explore. We have included a ride on the Skyline Gondola high atop the Queenstown basin. Perhaps you’ll take an optional boat ride on the famous TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu or head off to nearby Arrowtown, once a gold mining settlement. The adventurous might try the adrenalin rush of the Shotover Jet boat ride or even a bungee jump. This is an upcoming wine area, so maybe a winery tour is more to your liking. Please ask us to make your arrangements before you travel.

Day 12 - Queenstown - Christchurch (Via Mount Cook)

Depart Queenstown via the Kawerau Gorge and traverse the Lindis Pass to reach the MacKenzie Country framed by the snow capped Southern Alps. On arrival at Mount Cook time allows for an optional ski plane or helicopter flight over the Alps (extra cost applies). Heading north, pass Lake Tekapo and climb Burkes Pass then descend to the Canterbury Plains. Cross the snow fed Rakaia River and arrive in Christchurch in the early evening.

Hotel: Value - Heartland Hotel Cotswold; Standard - Rydges Latimer; Superior - The George

Day 13 - Christchurch Departure

Your tour ends with the check-out from your hotel and the return of your rental vehicle for self-drive passengers.

Hand Picked By

Maria Millard

A self drive is a superb way to experience New Zealand; you can enjoy the incredible scenery, all at your own pace.

Maria Millard

Additional Information

  • Date: November 2018
  • Board Basis: Mixed Meal Plan
  • Duration: 12 nights
  • Departure Airport: London
  • Guide Price: £2,999pp
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