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21 Day AUS and NZ Natural Wonders

20 nights, Cairns to Auckland

21 Day AUS and NZ Natural Wonders

Visit iconic locations across two incredible countries on this 21 day journey. You'll visit Sydney Harbour, marvel at natural wonders such as Uluru (Ayers Rock), the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest in Australia. Cross the Tasman to New Zealand and explore the Queenstown, the Southern Alps and Franz Josef Glacier before heading to the North Island. Travel through scenery straight out of the Lord of the Rings and enjoy an evening of Maori culture in Rotorua before finishing your journey in Auckland, the 'City of Sails'.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

  • This New Zealand holiday starts at price per person (see details)
  • 21 days / 20 nights from Cairns to Auckland
  • Accommodation is Hotel 4 star (can be customised)
  • A superb range of rental cars to choose from
  • Rental car insurance with full coverage (variable excess/deductible)
  • Unlimited kilometres, GPS navigation, airport and ferry fees
  • Can be fully customised to suit you
Tour map
 

Day 1 - G'day and welcome to Cairns

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive Touring App. The App includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts, and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Private transfer from Cairns Airport to your accommodation

A private transfer will meet you on arrival at the airport and transfer you to your Cairns accommodation.

Arrive into Cairns

Cairns has been home to indigenous Australians for more than 40,000 years and was settled by Europeans in 1876 who arrived in search of gold. These days, Cairns is seen as the city "where the rainforest meets the reef" as it is the gateway to both the 100-million-year-old Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. The main tourist centre in town is along the Esplanade, which has a swimming lagoon, bustling weekend markets, and plenty of great food options.

Accommodation: Mantra Esplanade, Cairns

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
  • Apartments serviced weekly

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Day 2 - Collect your car and explore Cairns

Collect your rental car

Your holiday can be customised and priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs.

Explore Cairns and surrounds

Cairns is a laid back city with plenty to do outdoors. You can take the Skyrail or Scenic Railway to Kuranda to explore the world's oldest continually surviving rainforest; journey by boat to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef to visit the largest coral reef system in the world or visit the nearby islands; or simply relax and enjoy the Cairns Esplanade.

Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway - suggested

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, smells and tranquillity of one of the world’s most botanically fascinating areas that have remained relatively unchanged for 130 million years.
Enjoy a truly unique perspective of this ancient landscape with unsurpassed panoramic views of Barron Gorge and Australia’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Glide metres above the pristine jungle canopy between Smithfield (Cairns) and Kuranda, en route descend to explore the rainforest close up at Red Peak and Barron Falls.
Journey back on the must-do Kuranda Scenic Railway. This famous railway winds its way on a journey from Kuranda to Cairns, the village in the rainforest, with Freshwater situated along the line with views of the surrounding mountains. Descending from 327 metres back to sea level, the journey to Kuranda passes spectacular waterfalls and into the stunning Barron Gorge.

Accommodation: Mantra Esplanade, Cairns

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 3 - Head north to Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef

Driving distance and time: 138 kms / 86 miles : 2.6 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Cairns to Cape Tribulation via Port Douglas

The best route north is the Captain Cook Highway (State Route 44). This drive offers countless opportunities to stop and admire the breathtaking views or walk along the beach. Just 20 minutes north of Cairns is Smithfield, home to the Skyrail Rainforest CablewaySkyrail Rainforest Cableway where you can take a bird's eye view of the world's oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest, or divert a little further to Kuranda for the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Continue north through Palm Cove and onto Port Douglas, stopping on the way at Rex Lookout for a 180-degree view over the Coral Sea, with views to Double Island to the south. Port Douglas is a perfect town for a break. Stretch your legs on Four Mile Beach and grab some lunch or a coffee before continuing your drive. Back on the highway, you will pass through Mossman as you head north on your journey into the Daintree Rainforest.

Dreamtime Walk at the Mossman Gorge Centre - suggested

A visit to Mossman Gorge is a must-do for anyone travelling to the beautiful Far North Queensland region. The Mossman Gorge Centre is the gateway to the world’s oldest rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest, as well as a unique link to the lives, cultures, and stories of Australia’s Indigenous people and their connection to the natural environment.

Accommodation: Daintree Wilderness Lodge

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Please note: Check in is ONLY until 8pm unless otherwise arranged
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Bar on site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 4 - Today you will head back to Cairns, make sure you stop off at some of the incredible beaches on the way

Driving distance and time: 138 kms / 86 miles : 2.6 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Cape Tribulation to Cairns via Palm Cove

The drive south from Cape Tribulation takes you out of the Daintree Rainforest, across the Daintree River on the ferry and down towards Kuranda State Forest. An hour and a half into your journey is Mossman Gorge, an interactive ecotourism experience that introduces visitors to the Daintree Rainforest and the Indigenous communities who have lived there for centuries.
Just 20 minutes further south is Port Douglas, a bustling tourist town with no shortage of cafes, bars and restaurants. Continue on the Captain Cook Highway as it follows the Coral Sea until you get to Palm Cove. Palm Cove Beach is a great spot for a swim if you’d like to have an afternoon dip to break up the road trip, or there is a beautiful jetty to stroll along to stretch your legs. If you're not short on time, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Beach, and Clifton Beach are worth checking out as you continue to your destination, Cairns.

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures - suggested

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is one of the longest continually operating tourist attractions in Australia. The business began in 1934 as a roadhouse for weary motorists. Legend has it the original owner Pop Evans entertained motorists by feeding Charlie the crocodile, while scones cooked in the woodstove. Eight decades later, Hartley’s world-famous Crocodile Attack Show is as popular as ever with daily presentations that strike a perfect balance between entertainment and education.

Accommodation: Mantra Esplanade, Cairns

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 5 - Explore more of Cairns, or take this opportunity to get out and experience the Great Barrier Reef

Explore Cairns and surrounds

Cairns is a laid back city with plenty to do outdoors. You can take the Skyrail or Scenic Railway to Kuranda to explore the world's oldest continually surviving rainforest; journey by boat to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef to visit the largest coral reef system in the world or visit the nearby islands; or simply relax and enjoy the Cairns Esplanade.

Reef Cruise, Snorkelling and Scenic Helicopter Flight with Down Under Cruise & Dive - suggested

Experience the magic of the Great Barrier Reef up close on board the luxury vessel, Evolution and above, with an exhilarating helicopter flight over picturesque reef systems. Be treated to an Aussie BBQ lunch and snorkelling to discover the mysteries of the underwater world.

Outer Barrier Reef Cruise with Quicksilver Cruises - suggested

For your experience of a lifetime, Quicksilver’s wave-piercing catamaran and friendly crew will take you to a reef at the very edge of Australia’s Continental Shelf, to an underwater world that is a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour and brilliance.
Choose to dive, snorkel, or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a Quicksilver semi-sub, just one meter underwater. Watch the fish feeding from Quicksilver’s unique underwater viewing platform and underwater observatory. Whichever way you choose, you’ll bring home a lifetime of memories from this living natural wonder.

Accommodation: Mantra Esplanade, Cairns

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 6 - Fly to Darwin to experience the Top End

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Depart Cairns today

Explore more of Cairns before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Domestic Flight - Cairns to Darwin

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Private transfer from Darwin Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Darwin accommodation.

Arrive into Darwin

Welcome to the Northern Territory's unhurried capital, Darwin. The city is a melting pot of cultures, with an array of Aboriginal cultures and languages as well as strong Asian influences in its cuisine, thanks to its close proximity to Asia. Spend a balmy night at the buzzing night markets, see crocodiles up close, or slow things down with a cruise on the harbour.

Accommodation: Mantra on the Esplanade, Darwin

Accommodation type: Apartments

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchenette & Laundry Facilities in Apartments only
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • Children's playground
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 7 - Today is yours to explore Darwin's rich history and multicultural cuisine

Explore Darwin

Darwin has a fantastic mix of things to do, whether you are joining a tour or going the self-guided route. Make sure you head to Mindil Beach Sunset Market and wander the multitude of stalls. Join a sunset harbour cruise and soak up the sunset with drinks and canapes. Catch a film under the stars at the outdoor Deckchair Cinema (known as "The Deckie" to locals); all screenings start at 7:30pm and local eateries have food stalls to keep your hunger at bay.
There are more crocodiles in the Northern Territory than anywhere else in the world, so jump in a boat or visit Crocosaurus Cove and meet the real locals. If you're looking to stretch your legs, visit the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. These beautiful, exotically gardens are home to some spectacular plant species that provide a tropical oasis where you can learn about their natural and cultural history.

3 Hour Gourmet Lunch Tour with Darwin Gourmet Tours - suggested

Darwin Gourmet Tours guides you to the best of Darwin’s food scene with an escorted 3-hour easy walking tour. Chefs and staff present tasting plates (degustation) with an emphasis on local produce and Aboriginal bush foods. The rotating roster of restaurants includes Hanuman, Phat Mango, Aboriginal Bush Traders, PepperBerry Restaurant at the Hilton, Little Miss Korea, Moorish, Ruby, Char, Snapper Rocks, Roma Bar, Chow, Bannsang and other top dining places. Coffee, tea and standard soft drinks are included. During the short walk the guide will also show you cultural and historic landmarks and Darwin’s vibrant street artworks, many showcasing futuristic augmented reality.

Charles Darwin Sunset Cruise with Darwin Harbour Cruises - suggested

Toast the top end’s legendary sunsets from a location like no other. On the city of Darwin’s doorstep, Darwin Harbour features incredible wildlife, historical landmarks, and unbeatable views of the tropical city. Sit back and soak up the water views and stunning sunset as you cruise in comfort. A range of delicious platters and beverages can be ordered throughout the two and a half hour cruise (at your own expense).

60 Minute Scenic Heli Tour of Litchfield National Park with Nautilus Aviation - suggested

Covering an area of more than 1500km2, exploring Litchfield by scenic helicopter is the practical choice, providing a true appreciation of the scale and variety of the National Parks unique landscape while ensuring you don’t miss any of the highlights!

Accommodation: Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 8 - Take a tour to Litchfield National Park

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Litchfield National Park Waterfalls with AAT Kings

Established in 1986, Litchfield National Park is a stunning location. You can take in the splendour of thundering waterfalls, rainforest pockets, and historic sacred sites. It is a haven for hundreds of native bird species and the plateau supports a rich range of woodland flora. The traditional custodians of the Park are the Wagait people, many of whom still call the area home.
On this one day tour you will visit Tolmer, Florence, and Wangi Falls and enjoy an interpretive guided walk through the scenic bush and monsoon vine forest. Feed barramundi and turtles in Howard Springs Nature Park, before experiencing the towering Magnetic Termite Mounds.

Accommodation: Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 9 - Fly to the 'Red Centre', home to the iconic Uluru (Ayers Rock) rock formation

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Private transfer from your accommodation to Darwin Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Darwin Airport in time for your departing flight.

Domestic Flight - Darwin to Ayers Rock/Yulara

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Hotel transfer Ayres Rock Airport to Hotel

A hotel transfer will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

Accommodation: Voyages Sails in the Desert

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 10 - Discover the history of one of the oldest cultures in the world

Explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Discover the spiritual heart of the Australian Outback. Home to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Watarrka National Parks, this desert region is blessed with natural wonders, world-class dining experiences and rugged beauty.
Visit local galleries to discover local Indigenous art and culture, take a scenic flight, or choose from one of the established walks in the region, from short ones suitable for very young children to the full 10.6-km loop around the base of Uluru.

Uluru Sacred Sights Tour with Emu Run Experience - suggested

Uluru is more than a landmark. This world-heritage listed monolith has been a significant cultural site for the Aboriginal people for many centuries. Discover the stories intertwined with Uluru and its surroundings on this fascinating tour. Depart Ayers Rock mid-afternoon for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Learn the significance of ancient Aboriginal rock art, about the areas flora and fauna, and culture of its traditional owners, the Anangu. Enjoy guided walks of the Mala and Mutitjulu Waterhole sacred sites. View ancient rock art and hear stories of traditional Anangu life Learn the Tjukurpa (creation) story of Kuniya and Liru.

A Night at Field of Light - suggested

This exclusive dining experience combines the award-winning ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner under the outback sky with the once-in-a-lifetime Field of Light art installation.
With magnificent views of Uluru at sunset, a three-course bush tucker menu, premium selection of Australian wines and beers, fascinating star talk and a self-guided walk through the Field of Light art installation, your ‘A Night at Field of Light’ experience is complete.

Accommodation: Voyages Sails in the Desert

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 11 - Fly to Australia's largest city, Sydney and enjoy an evening dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Hotel transfer Hotel to Ayres Rock Airport

A hotel transfer will meet you at your hotel reception and transfer you to the Ayres Rock Airport to meet your departing flight.

Domestic Flight - Ayers Rock (Yulara) to Sydney

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Private Transfer from Sydney Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, a private transfer will collect you from Sydney Airport and transfer you to your accommodation.

Evening Dinner Cruise on Sydney Harbour

Sydney harbour is like a sunset painting in progress. The aquamarine colours of Summer give way to the warm orange hues of Autumn before deepening to a magical Winter twilight blue. Year-round, sun-up or sun-down and everything in between, the colours of Sydney Harbour will welcome you onboard the evening Dinner Cruise. This is the perfect start to an evening or stunning end to an amazing day in the greatest city in the world.

Accommodation: Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: offsite paid parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 12 - Today is yours to explore Sydney

Explore Sydney

Often mistaken as Australia's capital city, Sydney is a vibrant coastal city with plenty to see and do. Wander around Circular Quay for great views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge; explore the Royal Botanic Gardens, get your science and culture fix at the Powerhouse Museum, Maritime Museum or the Sydney Observatory; take a ferry and explore the Harbour, Luna Park or Taronga Zoo, or simply shop til you drop in the city centre. With plenty of great bars and restaurants, there is no shortage of things to see, do, eat and drink!

Sydney Sights, Opera House & Bondi Beach Tour with AAT Kings - suggested

Discover the best that Sydney has to offer on this half day morning tour. Discover the iconic Sydney Opera House on a guided behind the scenes walking tour and see, feel and touch the magic that happens from rare vantage points that are off limits to the general public. Travel past Hyde Park, St Mary’s Cathedral, Parliament House and the Art Gallery. Enjoy magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and continue on through Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross, and Paddington as you make your way to the world famous Bondi Beach before returning to Sydney's CBD.

Hidden Bars of Sydney Walking Tour with Depot Adventures - suggested

In 2014, the government of New South Wales introduced lockout laws, which forever changed Sydney’s bar scene. Suddenly, club-hopping was no more in a city known for some of the best nightlife in Australia.
In a story of unintended consequences, a new kind of bar started to appear in the city — one that you could settle into for the night with a small group of mates. Sydney’s speakeasies came roaring into fashion, and now hidden bars behind pizza shops, dumpling halls and back laneways are all the rage.
Join a local guide and discover the incredibly new and exciting trend in Sydney’s hospitality scene.

Accommodation: Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 13 - Time to say 'goodbye' to Australia and 'hello' New Zealand!

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Private Transfer from your Sydney accommodation to the Airport

You will be collected from your accommodation and taken to the Sydney Airport.

International Flight - Sydney to Christchurch

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: valet paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 14 - Cross the Southern Alps on Arthurs Pass, before heading down the West Coast to Franz Josef Glacier

Driving distance and time: 382 kms / 237 miles : 4.8 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Christchurch to Franz Josef via Arthurs Pass

Crossing the Canterbury Plains, the rich farmland that attracted and helped settlers prosper becomes apparent as you head out of the city and towards the mountains.
The drive through the Waimakariri offers some spectacular views of the braided river valleys. Castle Hill Scenic Reserve sits in limestone country and the area is dotted with remarkable rock outcrops. Today its a popular location for climbers to practice but in the past, it was also an important place for Maori in past years as they provided shelter on their seasonal journeys between the coasts. There is a network of walking paths allowing you to explore. The high country lakes and mountain landscape is unique. Arthur's Pass National Park covers 114,500 ha right in the heart of the Southern Alps. Descending through Otira and onto the lush west coast the route takes you to the wild West Coast, from there head south to Hokitika.  Hokitika is home to Jade or Greenstone art and craft stores, the carvings on offer here are probably some of the best you will see in the country. The nearby Hokitika Gorge, off the beaten track and inland a little is a spectacular side trip. Turquoise waters flowing through a narrow gorge. A great short walk will deliver you to this slice of paradise.
Leaving Hokitika the next township is Ross, an old gold mining town where some of the old buildings and workings remain. In fact, Ross is still home to one of the few working gold mines left in New Zealand and the local information centre offers you the chance to pan for gold.
Continuing south Hari Hari is the township that Guy Menzies decided to land in (or rather a crash land) as he became the first person to fly solo across the Tasman. Arriving into the Glacier region you catch your first glimpse of Franz Josef Glacier from a few kilometres out as it flows from the Southern Alps. Franz Josef township is a lively place with a great atmosphere, plenty of choices to dine out and some wonderful activities to enjoy.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 15 - Explore Franz Josef and Westland National Park

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice from a viewpoint you can walk along the valley floor to the viewpoint below the terminal face. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

Half Day Franz Josef Glacier Eco Tour - suggested

This tour starts with a short drive in the courtesy vehicle to the glacier carpark. Enjoy walking through regenerating forest for your first glimpse of the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier. Your experienced guide will take you off the beaten track as much as they can safely, to discover hidden waterfalls and 'dead' ice, and lots of other treasures. Your guide will keep you captivated with an amazing interpretation of glaciation, geology and the natural history of this incredibly dynamic environment, make the most of the amazing photo opportunities.
Suitable level for beginners and all ages and abilities. Easy to moderate walk.

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line - suggested

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 16 - Get your camera ready for the spectacular scenery of the Haast Pass, then over the Crown Range to Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 344 kms / 213 miles : 4.6 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is easy before heading along the coast and more classic West Coast bush scenery. At Knights Point Lookout elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the massive Haast River you turn inland and head into the valley climbing through mountains littered with waterfalls.
The Haast Valley offers a spectacular view of the river and its enormous power. The Blue Pools near Makarora are a great 30 minute walk. Lakes Wanaka and Hawea guide you into the township of Wanaka before you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.

Accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 17 - Fly north to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington

Driving distance and time: 1 kms / 1 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Depart Queenstown today

Drop your rental car at the Queenstown airport today and farewell New Zealand.

Domestic Flight - Queenstown to Wellington

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

Wellington's museums - suggested activity

Te Papa
Te Papa means 'our place' and is considered to be the 'museum of New Zealand'. The building opened in 1998 and since then has shown millions of visitors it's fascinating and unique collection of New Zealand's art, history, memorabilia, natural wonders, treasures and stories as well as hosting many international displays.
One of the finest collections of Maori artefacts can be found here as well as displays dedicated to the many different cultures that make up New Zealand's current population. Make sure you allow enough time to explore museums many floors. The museum is open 10am to 6pm and is free to visit. A small fee may be applicable to some short term visiting displays.

Wellington Museum
Housed in the iconic Bond Store on Wellington’s waterfront, the Museum of Wellington is dedicated to the preservation and study of Wellington’s rich social and cultural history. It provides a backdrop for the permanent display of the people and events that have made Wellington what it is today. The Museum’s atmosphere is thick with history. The Bond Store dates back to 1892, when it was a cargo warehouse and head office of the Harbour Board. Careful restoration has preserved the building’s striking facade, as well as solid timber beams and the original flooring inside. The latest technology is used to further stimulate your senses. Traditional displays sit alongside interactive exhibits, holographs and a giant cinema screen that stretches the length and breadth of an entire wall, a feature unique in Australasia. The collection includes over 95,000 items. Open 10am to 5pm entry is free. 

New Zealand Portrait Gallery
The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata is a small gallery which tells the stories of New Zealanders through the art of portraiture. The Gallery is located in Shed 11 on Wellington’s waterfront.
Open 10:30am to 4:30pm daily, entry is free.

City Gallery Wellington
Showing art that is sometimes challenging and always captivating from some of the world’s leading artists, City Gallery Wellington is known for world-class exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand and international art. It is located in Te Ngākau Civic Square and is open daily, 11am to 5pm.

Wellington Cable Car

Join locals and visitors alike in a historic trip on the Wellington Cable Car. For over a hundred years passengers have enjoyed the dramatic views of the growing cityscape and the surrounding hills that define Wellington's harbour. This five minute trip to the top of the Kelburn Hill offers a charming escape from the busy city streets. You will enjoy views of the city & harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara from the indoor or outdoor platforms.
Once at the Kelburn Lookout, you can visit the Cable Car Museum located adjacent to the Kelburn Terminus. It houses the original winding machinery for the cable car system which operated from 1902 until 1978. Take a seat and enjoy a short film about the development of the Cable Car or browse through the gift shop for any last-minute presents! You can also visit the Space Place at Carter Observatory, located two minutes from the top of the Cable Car with multimedia exhibitions and some of New Zealand's most prestigious astronomical artefacts. Enjoy the show in the digital full-done planetarium and explore the Southern skies.
If you have time and feel like stretching your legs, you can choose to walk downhill back to the city through the beautiful Wellington Botanic Garden.

Accommodation: Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 18 - Over the Rimutaka Ranges, then north through the wine regions of Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay

Driving distance and time: 320 kms / 199 miles : 4.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Wellington to Napier

Leaving Welllington today you will first pass the Wairarapa on the eastern side of the Rimutaka Ranges. A significant contrast to the hills of Wellington, it's rich pastures and boutique vineyards of Martinborough give way to grassy plains and rugged coastal shores. Go through Greytown, home to the largest number of wooden buildings in the country then stop in Masterton, a small farming town known for its Golden Shears competition - where shearers compete for the title of fastest shearer. Continue on to Hawkes Bay and Havelock North before arriving in Napier, the art deco capital of New Zealand.

Twilight Odyssey Progressive Winery Dinner - suggested

Take a scenic drive through the vineyards as you learn about the region and its wines. Enjoy a full interactive wine tasting alongside gourmet platters at a boutique winery. Take in the breathtaking panoramic views from Te Mata Peak while enjoying a glass of bubbles as the sun sets from 399m above sea level overlooking the glimmering lights of the Twin Cities.
The Twilight Odyssey Tour includes sightseeing of the region with fully guided commentary, a progressive three course dinner at one of New Zealands top winery restaurants, wine tasting, champagne, wine with dinner, dessert wine, tea and coffee.

Art Deco Trust Guided Evening Walk - suggested

Experience Napier's fascinating heritage created by the dramatic story of this city's rebirth in the vibrant 1930s. In February 1931, Napier was leveled by earthquake and fire but was rebuilt in the depths of the Great Depression in just two years. Nowhere else in the world can you see such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s: Art Deco, Spanish Mission, and Stripped Classical.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 19 - Napier to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity and enjoy a Maori cultural experience this evening

Driving distance and time: 211 kms / 131 miles : 2.4 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Napier to Rotorua

Cross the Ahiminawa Ranges to arrive into the town of Taupo, sitting on New Zealand's largest lake - Lake Taupo - a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the worlds largest eruptions. Just north of Taupo are the Huka Falls, an impressive body of water draining from the Waikato river. See it from the wooden viewing platform or get up close to the spray with a ride on the Huka Jet. Visit nearby volcanic reserve Craters of the Moon to see boiling pools and steaming vents. Continue on through the Waimungu Valley before arriving into geothermal Rotorua, the heart of New Zealands Maori culture.

Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Tour and Hangi Dinner

Journey back in time to a Pre-European lifestyle experience of customs and traditions. Enjoy the night's festivities with the people of Tamaki Maori Village as you are treated to a banquet of succulent foods cooked the traditional Maori way. Rediscover the Maori village as it comes alive to the sound and activities of tribal songs, dances, myths, and legends and browse throughout the largest after hours tribal marketplace in Rotorua. Includes a hangi buffet feast that has cooked slowly underground.

Accommodation: Pullman Rotorua

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 20 - Travel north to Auckland through the lush Waikato region

Driving distance and time: 219 kms / 136 miles : 2.6 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Rotorua to Auckland

Today you'll leave Rotorua for the bustling metropolis of Auckland. Head through the heart of Waikato king country and marvel at its lush dairy pastures. Follow the Waikato - New Zealand's longest river - through the small artsy settlement of  Tirau and the township of Cambridge. Continue on a little further to arrive into Auckland, your destination for the night.

Hobbiton Movie Set tour from Shires Rest - suggested

Become immersed in the The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata - in the heart the lush Waikato farming region, your tour will begin with a drive through a picturesque sheep farm. You'll then be taken through Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and insight into the making of the films.

Accommodation: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$30-NZ$35 per 24 hrs
  • Parking: valet paid parking NZ$40-NZ$50 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 21 - Explore more of Auckland, before departing for home

Driving distance and time: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.4 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Depart Auckland today

Explore more of vibrant Auckland city before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

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