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New Zealand Odyssey

22 nights, Auckland to Christchurch

New Zealand Odyssey

The New Zealand Odyssey visits all of New Zealand's must see's and some of the best off-the-beaten-track goodies. This is great for people who want to see and experience as much of NZ as they can.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

Enjoy the view across Lake Pukaki and the Southern Alps
Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand. Take a cruise or explore the hiking trails
Relax on the golden sand beaches of Northland, New Zealand
Lakes and mountain scenery in the Mackenzie country, South Island, New Zealand
Tour map
 

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland, take a private transfer to your accommodation then spend the rest of day at your leisure

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Auckland City

Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland

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$10-NZ$15 per 24 hrs
  • Parking: valet paid parking NZ$30-NZ$40 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 2 - Spend the day in Auckland exploring the city's sights, head up the sky tower for spectacular views

Explore Auckland City

Explore Auckland City
Explore Auckland City
Explore Auckland City
Explore Auckland City

On the edge of a natural harbour, 'City of Sails' offers the best of both worlds. Behind a vibrant urban culture are sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests. Start your day with a coffee in town and watch the sailboats from the Viaduct Harbour. Wander the docks and take the helm of an America's Cup Yacht for a trip across the Waitemata. If food and wine is more your thing relax on the Quickcat to nearby Waiheke Island for a five star food and wine experience. Hike the summit of Mt Eden -  Auckland's highest volcano. Choose one of 800 regional national parks to explore -  Hunua Falls - located within the Hunua Ranges - is one not to be missed. If relaxing is more your style, find a good book and head out to a deserted beach. Try Orewa - located an hour north of the city - or stay a little closer and head to Cheltenham Beach in Devonport. Make time to ascend the Sky Tower or The Harbour Bridge and spike your adrenaline by bungy jumping off either (or both!). Finish on a high with dinner at one of the many trendy eateries to be found on Ponsonby Road.

Auckland Sky Tower Admission

Auckland Sky Tower Admission
Auckland Sky Tower Admission
Auckland Sky Tower Admission
Auckland Sky Tower Admission

At 328 metres (about 1000 feet) the Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand. Experience uninterrupted views of the Auckland landscape as you travel in a glass-fronted lift to one of three spectacular viewing platforms. For a little more excitement do a SkyWalk - an outside loop around the pergola 192 metres (just over 600 feet) above ground or If you're really bold, choose the quick way down and SkyJump - a controlled free fall from the top to the bottom. Inside, the Sky lounge offers coffee and light meals while the iconic Orbit Restaurant is Auckland's only 360 degree revolving dining experience.

Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise - suggested

Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise
Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise
Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise
Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise

Head out on the sparkling Waitemata Harbour and gain an insight into the city surrounds. This Cruise includes a complimentary return ticket to Devonport and a you'll also stop over at dormant volcano Rangitoto. Highlights of this tour include the iconic Harbour Bridge, the city skyline and Devonport’s historic naval base. You'll also see Bean Rock Lighthouse while enjoying morning or afternoon tea (a hot drink and a muffin). The harbour cruise lasts one and half hours and departs daily from the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 10:30am and 1:30pm.

Your free return ticket to Devonport can be used whenever you like - it doesn't have to be the same day.  Hop across the harbour to Auckland's ‘marine suburb' and spend some time exploring its delightful shops, cafes and galleries.

Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore - suggested

Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore
Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore
Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore
Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore

See Auckland after dark with this amazing on-water dining experience, not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Take in the sights of the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Your experienced crew will talk about Auckland’s highlights and there will opportunity try your hand at steering.

At our sheltered mooring you'll be served delicious New Zealand fare - choose from a delectable three course menu catered for by a renowned Viaduct Restaurant.

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Auckland

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Day 3 - Collect your rental car and head to the 'Winterless North' and the Bay of Islands

Driving distance and time: 226 kms / 140 miles : 2.9 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.

Collect your rental car

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
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.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands

The trip from Auckland to the Bay Of Islands takes around 3.5 hours but give yourself some leeway for stops and sightseeing. As you go through Puhoi, take in the bohemian atmosphere of this historical township. Stop for a breath of fresh salty air in Whangarei and take another break at Kawakawa - home to the world famous Hundertwasser toilets. Enjoy the native bush surrounds and marvel at the endless golden beaches as you arrive into central Bay Of The Islands, Paihia.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

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: On site paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 4 - Discover the birthplace of our nation at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Explore the Bay of Islands

Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands

Made up of over 140 subtropical atolls, New Zealand's Bay of Islands is commonly known as the ‘winterless north.’ Renowned for its untouched beaches, abundant marine life and idyllic climate this tropical paradise is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Spend some time on a remote stretch of beach, or cool off during a ‘swim with dolphins’ ocean safari. If diving is your thing, take the morning to descend the Rainbow Warrior - The Greenpeace flagship sunk by French saboteurs in 1985. Wander around Russell, a whaling port founded in 1843. Learn about our culture in historic Waitangi, the site where The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the Maori and European settlers dictating the terms by which New Zealand would become a British colony. Before you leave take a travel day to Cape Reinga the very top of the North Island.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance

Waitangi is one of New Zealand's most historic sites where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the local Maori and the British Government. This two day pass allows you access to the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds and includes admission to the Museum of Waitangi, a guided tour and a Maori Cultural performance. During your guided tour, you'll learn about the history of the treaty and discover the stories and events that shaped New Zealand. The cultural performance inside the carved meeting house includes waiata (singing), poi, a display of Maori weaponry and the haka - a war dance New Zealand is known for.

Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights - suggested

Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights
Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights
Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights
Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights

Take a glimpse into New Zealand's earliest European history as your luxury catamaran passes by the township of Russell (Kororareka) and many of the historic and culturally significant islands in the Bay, before heading out into open sea. Enjoy the views as you cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the stunning Motukokako Island, home of the majestic Hole in the Rock. As we venture into the dramatic Hole in the Rock (conditions permitting) hold your breath as the skipper navigates through the narrow space and admire the rock walls which soar above you. Watch out for water drops if you are seated on the top deck! Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the sheltered waters of the Bay. Keep an eye out for bottlenose and common dolphins along the way.

Dolphin Eco Encounter - suggested

Dolphin Eco Encounter
Dolphin Eco Encounter
Dolphin Eco Encounter
Dolphin Eco Encounter

Dolphins are fascinating creatures, and in the Bay of Islands we are blessed with their presence all year round. This eco cruise gives you the chance to get into the water and swim with dolphins as they play in their natural environment (conditions permitting). You'll also cruise the many secluded islands of the Bay and gain an insight into this historically significant region. This intimate half-day cruise seeks out the many playful dolphins within the sheltered waters of the Bay You will look out for bottlenose and common dolphins, baleen whales, orca, seals, fish, penguins and other sea and bird life. The experienced crew have specialist knowledge of dolphin behaviour - join them in searching for those tell-tale splashes from our purpose-built dolphin watching boat Tutunui.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

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Day 5 - Explore the ancient Kauri trees of the West Coast as you head south to Snells Beach

Driving distance and time: 295 kms / 183 miles : 3.8 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.

Bay of Islands to Snells Beach via Waipoua Forest

Bay of Islands to Snells Beach via Waipoua Forest
Bay of Islands to Snells Beach via Waipoua Forest
Bay of Islands to Snells Beach via Waipoua Forest
Bay of Islands to Snells Beach via Waipoua Forest

From the Bay of Islands you will head west, leaving the Pacific Ocean for the wilder shores of Hokianga and the Tasman Sea. Small towns Omapere and Opononi are reminiscent of days gone by with a vintage seaside feel - and are the perfect place to stop for an ice cream in a hot day.

Stretch your legs and take the short walking track at the mouth of the Hokianga Harbour, which offers a unique vantage point to view the harbor and rolling sand dunes. To the south is the Kauri coast - which you're about to explore. Head south into the Waipoua Forest, home to giant Kauri trees.  Allow time for one of a number of short walks available in the area. Not to be missed is the five minute loop to view the largest Kauri in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta.

Backtrack cross-country to the Matakohe Kauri Museum - an award winning museum with extensive historical displays. Continue on the road to Snells Beach, a lovely little township close to Warkworth. If you arrive in plenty of time, head into Matakana Wine Country for some great dining options. Another must do while you’re here is a day excursion to one of many deserted beaches in the Tawharanui Marine Reserve.

Accommodation: Snells Beach Motel

Accommodation type: Motels - premium

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Snells Beach Motel
Accommodation: Snells Beach Motel
Accommodation: Snells Beach Motel
Accommodation: Snells Beach Motel

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Breakfast service available
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 6 - Pass through Auckland and travel across the Hauraki Plains to the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula

Driving distance and time: 273 kms / 169 miles : 3.8 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.

Snells Beach to Whitianga via Coromandel Township

Snells Beach to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
Snells Beach to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
Snells Beach to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
Snells Beach to Whitianga via Coromandel Township

Head South from Warkworth passing through the city of Auckland. Leaving the city boundaries the landscape changes to lush rolling farmland. Crossing the Hauraki Plains - one of the biggest dairy producing regions in New Zealand - you’ll see many black and white friesian cows before crossing the Thames Estuary, a haven for shorebirds.

A short detour to Miranda is worthwhile to see large flocks of oystercatchers and godwits, among others. Continue on through the historic gold mining town of Thames before following the Pohutukawa Coast to The Coromandel - named for the British Ship the HMS Coromandel, which visited the area in 1820. Head inland directly across the Peninsula passing several small towns including Kuaotunu and Waiata Bay before reaching your destination - Whitianga.

Accommodation: Oceans Resort

Accommodation type: Apartments

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Oceans Resort
Accommodation: Oceans Resort
Accommodation: Oceans Resort
Accommodation: Oceans Resort

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Swimming pool
  • Childrens playground
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 7 - From the sandy beaches of Whitianga head south to New Zealand's culture capital, Rotorua

Driving distance and time: 220 kms / 137 miles : 3.4 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.

Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga

Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga
Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga
Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga
Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through the seaside town of Whangamata - a popular location for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region.  Next you come to the old mining town of Waihi which still has an operating open cast gold mine (Martha Mine) that can be viewed from a vantage point just above the town centre.

For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. The route now takes you into the Bay of Plenty and the port town of Tauranga before you head along the scenic Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. For Lord of the Rings fans a detour to Matamata is recommended as this is the location of the Hobbiton film set. Arriving into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the lake.

Mitai Maori Village - suggested

Mitai Maori Village
Mitai Maori Village
Mitai Maori Village
Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Swimming pool

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Day 8 - Experience the geothermal wonders of Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland

Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Live on the edge when you hop aboard a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. Spike your adrenaline at Agroventures on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Go up the Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill.
Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit should drive to nearby Matamata and experience the actual movie set ‘Hobbiton’. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

This thermal area around 30 kilometres south of Rotorua has many walking tracks to take you through this strange landscape. Bubbling mud pools, simmering waters rising from the depths and colourful sulphurous pools make this a fascinating insight into the geothermal activity that goes on below Rotorua's surface. Lady Knox Geyser can be seen erupting at 10:15am daily, shooting water up to 10 metres into the air. There are 3 well signposted walking tracks and an informative brochure tells you about each feature. A gift shop and cafe are also on site.

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter - suggested

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

At Rainbow Springs you'll have the chance to see some of New Zealand's native flora and fauna within the majestic forests of Rotorua. Wander the beautiful tree-lined park and take in the flourishing bush, ferns, flowers and plants. Come face to face with, and learn more about, New Zealand’s precious wildlife. See the spring-fed pool with rainbow, brown and tiger trout, then visit the on-site aviaries - home to New Zealand species such kea, kaka, tui, kereru and kiwi. The tuatara, known as New Zealand's living dinosaur can also be seen here.
Go behind the scenes with New Zealand's national animal at the purpose built Kiwi Conservation Centre - created solely to try and stop the extinction of this unique species. Here you will gain first hand insight into the conservation efforts being made to increase the numbers of kiwi eggs being hatched and returned to the wild.

Rotorua Canopy Tours - The Original Canopy Tour - suggested

Rotorua Canopy Tours - The Original Canopy Tour
Rotorua Canopy Tours - The Original Canopy Tour
Rotorua Canopy Tours - The Original Canopy Tour
Rotorua Canopy Tours - The Original Canopy Tour

Embark on a three hour adventure through native New Zealand forest. Journey through the beautiful forest canopy via an incredible network of trails, tree platforms, Ziplines and swing bridges. See breathtaking views of the woodland valleys and hills as you fly through tight openings in the trees.
In between the thrill of the ziplines and suspended tree bridges, your guides will share their passion and knowledge for the forest and the conservation challenges to preserve it. 

Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

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Day 9 - Travel along the Geothermal Highway to Taupo, then follow the lake edge towards Tongariro National Park

Driving distance and time: 168 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 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.

Rotorua to Whakapapa Village

Rotorua to Whakapapa Village
Rotorua to Whakapapa Village
Rotorua to Whakapapa Village
Rotorua to Whakapapa Village

Today you'll drive from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park along the thermal highway. Pass through Taupo and be sure to check out the Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley - both well worth a visit if you can spare the time. Visit the Huka Falls, New Zealand's largest volume of water or take in the boiling mud pools and steam vents as you wander the nearby geothermal reserve, Craters of the Moon.

Continue on to the township of Turangi, known as one of the world's best trout fishing locations before emerging out into Tongariro National Park.

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park

There are a plethora of walks in and around Whakapapa Village and Tongariro National Park. From short 15 minute hikes to longer 5 hour treks, there is something for every level of fitness. All established tracks are maintained by the Department of Conservation and before heading out on a walk, it is best to check the track conditions and suitability at the local DOC information office in the centre of the village. Below are a selection of the best walks to do:

  1. Whakapapa Nature Walk,15 min loop track
  2. Mounds Walk, 20 min one way
  3. Tawhai Falls, 20 min one way
  4. Ridge Track, 340 min return
  5. Taranaki Falls, 2 hour return
  6. Whakapapanui Walk, 2 hour return
  7. Tupapakurua Falls Track, 5 hour return

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane - suggested

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Take a scenic flight over New Zealand's oldest National Park and world heritage site for a spectacular view of this unique volcanic landscape. See all three volcanoes - Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Ruapehu as well as the iconic Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and the Tama lake. Climbing to 10,000 ft, you'll also view the active Mount Ruapehu crater lake, and spot some of the landscapes used in the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort
Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort
Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort
Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 10 - Today you'll journey to Wellington, the coolest little capital city

Driving distance and time: 320 kms / 199 miles : 3.9 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.

Whakapapa Village to Wellington

Whakapapa Village to Wellington
Whakapapa Village to Wellington
Whakapapa Village to Wellington
Whakapapa Village to Wellington

Today head south down the coast to New Zealand's capital, Wellington. Leaving Whakapapa Village, make your way through the Rangipo Desert around Tongariro National Park. See active volcano Mt Ruapehu, and recognise Mt. Ngauruhoe - better known as Mt Doom - from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

A little further you'll come to the  military town of Waiouru, home to the New Zealand Army museum and a unique collection of military history.

Continue south to the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the spectacular Kapiti Coast. Take a short detour to the quaint seaside town of Paraparaumu before arriving into Wellington City.

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour - suggested

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

Taking a night tour of Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary is an unforgettable experience and one that comes highly recommended. A conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals, Zealandia is home to many remarkable species of birds, reptiles and insects living wild within a beautiful 225 hectare (one square mile) valley - just 10 minutes from the central city.

Your tour begins with an interactive exhibition before you walk through the gates of Zealandia predator-exclusion fence into the sanctuary. Your guide will then lead you on a torch-light walk through the native New Zealand bush. Possible sights include Kiwi foraging on the forest floor, tuatara hunting for food, glowworms shining, tiny Maud Island frogs in their enclosure, pateke (brown teal) ducks feeding at night and kaka (parrots) coming in to roost.

Zealandia is one of the best places to see kiwi in the wild. Over 100 of these nocturnal birds live freely in their natural environment inside the safety of the sanctuary valley - so your chances of seeing one is very good.

Accommodation: Hotel Ibis Wellington

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Ibis Wellington
Accommodation: Hotel Ibis Wellington
Accommodation: Hotel Ibis Wellington
Accommodation: Hotel Ibis Wellington

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: offsite 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
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 11 - Cross the Cook Strait to the South Island, collect your car and then follow the sounds to Nelson

Driving distance and time: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 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.

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Collect your rental car

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
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.

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive

Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock. Magnificent views of the sounds can be had from many vantage points so allow plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. If you can spare the time take the narrow windy road to Portage along Mahau Sound and Kenepuru Sound with their bush clad hillsides and secluded sandy coves.

The small port town of Havelock has a great variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from so plan your journey to arrive in time for lunch. The highway between Nelson and Picton also crosses the Pelorus River and just at this junction is the famous and historic Pelorus Bridge. From here there are a number of forest walks with the most popular the 30 minute loop through beech, rimu and totara forest to the swing-bridge.

Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.

Accommodation: Trailways Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Trailways Hotel
Accommodation: Trailways Hotel
Accommodation: Trailways Hotel
Accommodation: Trailways Hotel

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
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 12 - A day to explore the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park

Driving distance and time: 95 kms / 59 miles : 1.4 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.

Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park

Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park
Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park
Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park
Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park

From Nelson, follow the coastline through several small seaside towns including the popular holiday destination of Kaiteriteri with its magnificent sandy beaches and calm blue waters. Continuing on you'll come to the tiny settlement of Marahau, gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park.

Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Open Day Pass

Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Open Day Pass
Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Open Day Pass
Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Open Day Pass
Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Open Day Pass

Abel Tasman Cruises combined with short bush walks are a great way to experience this beautiful national park.  Join Abel Tasman Wilson's Experiences' boat at Kaiteriteri for your Abel Tasman National Park Cruise. The boat hugs the shore, travelling in close to the idyllic beaches. Your skipper provides a full commentary of the trip. Take you own lunch or pre - order a prepared lunch the night before. The following are some of the more popular cruise and walk options you can choose from.

Vista Scenic Cruise
Cruise from Kaiteriteri, through the Astrolabe Roadstead to Torrent Bay and Bark Bay, calling into picturesque beaches and coves where walkers and kayakers are transferred to golden-sand beaches. Pause to view the antics at Tonga Island Seal Colony in the Marine Reserve, then continue past isolated northern beaches to the long sweep of burnished sands at Totaranui.

Pitt Head Loop
Cruise through the sheltered waters of the Astrolable Roadstead to disembark at Anchorage Beach. There you can choose to take a leisurely stroll to Te Pukatea Bay or walk the Pitt Head Track. Alternatively relax on the beach and go swimming in the calm azure waters. Walking time is around 1 hour.

Seals and Beach
For the best of everything, this trip is for you. Take a scenic cruise into Tonga Island Marine Reserve, pausing to watch the antics at its resident Fur Seal Colony. Land at historic Tonga Quarry beach then take a walk for about 2 hrs 15 mins (4.1 kms, 2.5 miles) over a forested saddle and around spectacular Bark Bay estuary with its cascading waterfalls.

Bark Bay Falls
From the sheltered beach at Kaiteriteri, cruise past the sculpted granite headlands and islands. Pause to view the long, golden, forest-fringed beaches of Torrent Bay. Disembark at Medlands Beach. A short stroll takes you to popular, sheltered Bark Bay with its pleasantly shaded camping area. Swim in calm azure waters, sunbathe or relax in the shade of native forest trees. A forested track around the estuary takes you to Bark Bay Falls (approx. 1 hour return).

Swing Bridge, Bush and Beach
Cruise into the heart of the National Park with full commentary to introduce you to this fascinating coastline. Disembark at idyllic Medlands Beach, where you will walk to the long golden-sand beach of Anchorage, via Torrent Bay (approx. 4hrs) The track weaves through sunny groves of Manuka and fern between breathtaking views of the granite coast and lush gullies of mature forest, to reach tranquil forest pools. Cross the rushing Falls River by an impressive swing bridge. Allow extra time to take a short side track beside a crystal forest stream to visit tranquil Cleopatra's Pool.

Abel Tasman National Park to Nelson

Abel Tasman National Park to Nelson
Abel Tasman National Park to Nelson
Abel Tasman National Park to Nelson
Abel Tasman National Park to Nelson

From your base near Abel Tasman National Park, follow the coastline to Kaiteriteri, a popular seaside holiday destination. The magnificent golden sand beaches and calm blue water attracts thousands of kiwi families over the holiday periods. Leaving the coast you arrive into Motueka, the largest town in the area. Just a little further south, the regenerated commercial wharf of Mapua is now home to galleries, funky shops and cafes. Continuing on, the route takes you along the shore through the seaside suburb of Tahunanui before arriving into the city of Nelson.

Accommodation: Trailways Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Trailways Hotel
Accommodation: Trailways Hotel
Accommodation: Trailways Hotel
Accommodation: Trailways Hotel

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Day 13 - Journey to the wild West Coast, passing windswept beaches and lush rainforests

Driving distance and time: 276 kms / 171 miles : 3.3 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.

Nelson to Greymouth

Nelson to Greymouth
Nelson to Greymouth
Nelson to Greymouth
Nelson to Greymouth

Leaving Nelson today pass through the suburb of Richmond before travelling through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you as you head towards the town of Murchison - a great place to stop for lunch. Continuing on to Westport, you’ll drive along the Buller Gorge and see some magnificent scenery as you follow the river.

Crossing the river you’ll get magnificent views of the gorge, while the other side brings many short bush walks, jet boat rides and historic gold mining remnants. Travel through several small towns including Reefton, the first town in Australasia to have electric lighting, before heading down the West Coast to Greymouth, your destination. 

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Internet facilities: On site paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer

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Day 14 - Follow the coastline South the remarkable Glacier Region

Driving distance and time: 194 kms / 121 miles : 2.5 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.

Greymouth to Fox Glacier

Greymouth to Fox Glacier
Greymouth to Fox Glacier
Greymouth to Fox Glacier
Greymouth to Fox Glacier

Leaving Greymouth today you’ll make your way down the West Coast through the Glacier region. Pass through Hokitika, and take a detour to the Hokitika Gorge, spectacular with its Turquoise waters and steep bush-clad sides.

Continue on through Ross, an old gold mining town with many original buildings still intact. Pass Hari Hari, the township Guy Menzies decided to crash-land in as he became the first person to fly solo across the Tasman. A little way further you’ll catch your first glimpse of Franz Josef glacier before arriving into the Fox Glacier township.

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line - suggested

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Explore the glacial icefalls of not one but two glaciers - Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. Discover up close their neve and unusual ice formations - landing on the snowfields is a highlight and will make for superb photos, snowballs and memories. A 30 minute flight with snow landing. 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.

Fox Guides Walk to the Terminal of the Fox Glacier - suggested

Fox Guides Walk to the Terminal of the Fox Glacier
Fox Guides Walk to the Terminal of the Fox Glacier
Fox Guides Walk to the Terminal of the Fox Glacier
Fox Guides Walk to the Terminal of the Fox Glacier

On this leisurely guided walk to the terminal face of the glacier you'll venture right up to the face of the ice where you'll be able to view the cave from which the Fox River emerges. Your guide will give informative commentary about the role of the glacier in this ever-changing environment.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site

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Day 15 - Allow plenty of time for your journey to Queenstown as you'll travel through spectacular scenery

Driving distance and time: 320 kms / 199 miles : 3.9 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.

Fox Glacier to Queenstown

Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Fox Glacier to Queenstown

Heading south along the coast you’ll encounter 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 through a valley 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 make the most of the spectacular scenery.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

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
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site

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Day 16 - For the best views of Queenstown take the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Queenstown may be New Zealand's ‘adventure capital,’ but it offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday.  On the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the soaring Remarkables Mountain Range, this small town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. Head through Gibbston Valley to sample some of the region’s best wine. We recommend stopping at the Chard Farm cellar door, visiting the architecturally award winning Peregrine vineyard or taking a cellar cave tour at Gibbston Valley Winery. Cruise to Walter Peak station for dinner on board a 100 year old steamship -  the TSS Earnslaw. While you're there, a farm tour is a must do for those not familiar with rural living.

Take some time to wander the waterfront, and grab lunch at one of the many amazing cafes and restaurants on offer. Try Vudu’s Pantry and larder or for a holiday treat go to Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown - a disused gold mining settlement built in the 1800’s.Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. After all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water Rafting.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride
Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride
Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride
Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and Coronet Peak - one of Queenstown's Ski field.

Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride - suggested

Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It's a thrilling ride - skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet 'Big Red', as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breath taking speeds. And a major highlight - hold tight for the world famous Shotover Jet full 360 degree spins!

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour - suggested

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Enjoy a scenic cruise from central Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the historic steamship, TSS Earnslaw. On disembarking, you'll be welcomed and escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the Colonel's Homestead for dinner. Here, you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare as you watch. Choose from the  seasonal menu which includes an expansive array of New Zealand meats and produce, followed by a delicious array of desserts, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration offers you a glimpse of life in the high country. On the magical night-time cruise home, you can enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

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Day 17 - Travel past Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park

Driving distance and time: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 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.

Queenstown to Te Anau

Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau

As you traverse the shores of Lake Wakatipu you'll see The Remarkables mountain range towering over your approach to the small township of Kingston. Continue towards Southland before crossing the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Ata Whenua - Shadowland Film at Fiordland Cinema

Ata Whenua - Shadowland Film at Fiordland Cinema
Ata Whenua - Shadowland Film at Fiordland Cinema
Ata Whenua - Shadowland Film at Fiordland Cinema
Ata Whenua - Shadowland Film at Fiordland Cinema

This breathtaking 'Fiordland On Film - Ata Whenua' will take you on an unforgettable journey through one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth. Shot by award-winning cinematographers with outstanding musical composition, this is the next best thing to a scenic flight over this spectacular wilderness.

Te Anau Glowworm Caves - suggested

Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Begin your Te Anau Glowworm experience with a scenic cruise across lake Te Anau on board the luxury catamaran, Luminosa, to the western side of the lake. On arrival you'll enter the caves through Cavern House, where informative displays detail the history of this 12,000 year old underground network.
You'll then explore by limestone pathway while your guide points out hidden whirlpools, sculpted rock formations and a rushing underground waterfall. See a magical display of thousands of glowworms as you glide through the darkness in a small boat.

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Gym/fitness centre

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Day 18 - Follow the Southern Scenic Route to Invercargill

Driving distance and time: 177 kms / 110 miles : 2.1 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.

Te Anau to Invercargill via Southern Scenic Route

Te Anau to Invercargill via Southern Scenic Route
Te Anau to Invercargill via Southern Scenic Route
Te Anau to Invercargill via Southern Scenic Route
Te Anau to Invercargill via Southern Scenic Route

Heading South and onto the Southern Scenic route the drive from Te Anau to Manapouri to Invercargill passes through some wonderful and often overlooked regions of Southland. The Blackmount Road offers some great side trips if you have the time and one in particular is the 50 kilometre round trip to Lake Haruoko, New Zealand's deepest lake. A little further south is the Clifden suspension bridge which dates back to 1899. The early sawmilling settlement of Tautapere is next. Known as the 'hole in the bush' the town features an attractive domain. Orepuki on the coast was once 'almost' a gold town but the fine dust proved too hard to extract commercially. You can still sometimes see gold dust in the beach sand at Monkey Bay.
Riverton is Southland's oldest community established by whalers in the 1830's and many of the original cottages have survived throughout the town. The Riverton Early Settlers Museum tells the story well.

Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel
Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel
Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel
Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Room service available
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre

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Day 19 - Head north through rolling countryside to the Scottish city, Dunedin

Driving distance and time: 202 kms / 126 miles : 2.5 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.

Invercargill to Dunedin

Invercargill to Dunedin
Invercargill to Dunedin
Invercargill to Dunedin
Invercargill to Dunedin

The scenic route from Invercargill to Dunedin takes you via the Southern Scenic Route. Well signposted from Invercargill the route takes you along the rugged Otago coastline and its many secluded beaches and bays and many are great places to spot New Zealand fur seals and sea lions. At Nugget Point, penguins and elephant seals can also be spotted. Curio Bay is home to a 160 million year old fossilised forest. Get an early start for this drive as you can easily pass the whole day exploring the many attractions along the Southern Scenic Route.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Internet facilities: On site paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available

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Day 20 - With a free day in Dunedin explore the wildlife of Otago Peninsula or take a trip on the Taieri Gorge Train

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy Scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life. Head to the Saturday farmers market held in the aforementioned railway grounds for a taste of organic produce, handmade crepes and local honey. Explore the many cafes and wine bars in The Octagon, then continue on a self-guided walking tour of the internationally acclaimed Street Art dotted around the city. Drive to the coast and watch the freighters passing in the distance while you sunbathe, or hire a mountain bike and test your legs on one of the many trails available in the area. For a more immersive historical experience, follow the coast to New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle. On your way back be sure to head to the Otago Peninsula to see the largest mainland Albatross colony in the world.

Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve - suggested

Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve
Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve
Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve
Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

A half day tour of the Otago Peninsula and its unique wildlife including a cruise through Dunedin Harbour. A unique environment, this tour includes a visit to The Penguin Place to view the rare and unique yellow eyed penguin. The tour also includes a scenic bus tour and the wading bird wetlands.

Larnach Castle and Gardens - suggested

Larnach Castle and Gardens
Larnach Castle and Gardens
Larnach Castle and Gardens
Larnach Castle and Gardens

Larnach is New Zealand's only Castle, built in 1871 by politician and merchant, William Larnach, a man of great vision who helped shape New Zealands early history. It was built for William's beloved first wife Eliza, it took 200 workmen three years to build the shell and a further twelve years were spent by master craftsman to embellish the interior. It's located high up on the Otago Peninsula and looks down on Dunedin city giving beautiful views. The gardens have International Garden of Significance status and have a unique collection of specialised areas for you to explore. The Ballroom cafe is a fantastic place to rest and reflect on all you have seen while enjoying a delicious range of refreshments. As with the entire castle, the ballroom had an interesting and varied history prior to its beautiful restoration, uses ranged from a lunatic asylum, antique sales room to the penning of sheep.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

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Day 21 - Head inland to the MacKenzie Country for immense views of mountains and turquoise lakes

Driving distance and time: 309 kms / 192 miles : 3.5 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.

Dunedin to Lake Tekapo

Dunedin to Lake Tekapo
Dunedin to Lake Tekapo
Dunedin to Lake Tekapo
Dunedin to Lake Tekapo

Heading north from Dunedin stop in Moeraki to explore the famous and unique boulders strewn on the beach. Another worthwhile stop in Moeraki is Fleurs - one of the finest cafes in New Zealand. Before heading inland along the Waitaki Valley you’ll pass through the historic township of Oamaru and it’s stone buildings. Take time to head into the old quarter and if your timing is right you may get to see some of the local resident little blue penguins.

Continuing inland, you’ll pass through Omarama, known as the gliding capital of New Zealand and home to some of the country’s most productive merino sheep stations. Just North of Omarama is the township of Twizel, before you reach the turquoise shores of Lake Pukaki. As you travel along the lake take in the magnificent views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. A little further and you will arrive into Tekapo, your destination.

Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo

Accommodation type: Luxury apartments

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo
Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo
Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo
Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 22 - Enjoy your final travel day across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 223 kms / 138 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.

Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

From Lake Tekapo you descend from the high country through Burkes Pass and into rich farmland and the rural township of Fairlie. Beautiful Valley guides you to the town of Geraldine before you cross the vast Canterbury Plains back towards Christchurch City.

Christchurch Gondola - suggested

Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola

In the Heathcote Valley, just fifteen minutes from the heart of Christchurch city, ride the Christchurch Gondola for nearly a kilometre to the collapsed rim of an extinct volcano - which exploded six million years ago.  Take in the panoramic 360-degree views of the central city, Lyttelton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury Plains and the distant peaks of the Southern Alps.  Wander the summit complex and choose one of many nature walks or visit the Time Tunnel - a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the Port Hills and Christchurch.

International Antarctic Centre General Admission - suggested

International Antarctic Centre General Admission
International Antarctic Centre General Admission
International Antarctic Centre General Admission
International Antarctic Centre General Admission

The International Antarctic Centre aims to recreate the atmosphere and environment of Antarctica, providing visitors with an interactive, fun and educational experience. Feel the full Four Seasons of Antarctica, where you'll experience a custom-built snow and ice experience, then warm up in the Scott Base interior exhibit, a replica Antartic field camp or other informative displays in the gallery. You'll also learn about life in modern day Antarctica, view real little blue penguins and experience a thrilling ride in a Hagglund all terrain vehicle.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

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
  • Hairdryer

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Day 23 - Explore more of Christchurch before catching your onward flight

Driving distance and time: 7 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 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 Christchurch today

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

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