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23 Day New Zealand Odyssey

23 days 22 nights
Auckland to Christchurch
from NZD$5,084pp
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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.

Classic driving toursFamily touringWildlife & nature
Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
Day One - Welcome to Auckland, take a private transfer to your accommodation then spend the rest of day at your leisure
Tour day 1
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 1
Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

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.

Welcome to Auckland

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 4 star
Located in the heart of the Auckland Waterfront district the Mercure Auckland overlooks the spectacular harbour and bustling city. Within walking distance of downtown shopping and attractions it is the ideal hotel for your Auckland stay.

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Day Two - Spend the day in Auckland exploring the city's sights, head up the sky tower for spectacular views
Tour day 2
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 2
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

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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 4 star
Meals included: Breakfast
Located in the heart of the Auckland Waterfront district the Mercure Auckland overlooks the spectacular harbour and bustling city. Within walking distance of downtown shopping and attractions it is the ideal hotel for your Auckland stay.

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Day Three - Collect your rental car and head to the 'Winterless North' and the Bay of Islands
Tour day 3
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 3
Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. We have a fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.

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

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
The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 226 kms / 140 miles : 3.0 hours

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Day Four - Discover the birthplace of our nation at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Tour day 4
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 4
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 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 Te Kōngahu Museum and Te Rau Aroha Museum 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 well known for.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hole in the Rock Cruise with Fullers GreatSights

Board your cruise and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’. According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as you get up close to the action. The purpose-built catamaran is licensed by DOC (the Department of Conservation) for dolphin viewing and the crew have years of experience locating dolphins in these waters. Dolphin Seeker has indoor and outdoor seating available, and the largest outdoor viewing decks in the Bay of Islands.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.

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Day Five - Explore the ancient Kauri trees of the West Coast as you head south to Snells Beach
Tour day 5
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 5
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
Snells Beach Motel is perfectly situated, on the Mahurangi East Peninsula, overlooking the beautiful Kawau Bay and in the heart of the wonderful Matakana Coast Wine Country area.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 295 kms / 183 miles : 3.8 hours

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Day Six - Pass through Auckland and travel across the Hauraki Plains to the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula
Tour day 6
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 6
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
Only a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Buffalo Beach, you will find the relaxed luxury Whitianga Apartments of Oceans Resort. All apartments have a full kitchen including oven, cook top, microwave as well as their own personal laundry with washing machine and laundry necessities provided.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 273 kms / 169 miles : 3.8 hours

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Day Seven - From the sandy beaches of Whitianga head south to New Zealand's culture capital, Rotorua
Tour day 7
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 7
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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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: Sudima Lake Rotorua
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 220 kms / 137 miles : 3.4 hours

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Day Eight - Experience the geothermal wonders of Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland
Tour day 8
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 8
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. Geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to one of the Maori Villages should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Spike your adrenaline at Velocity Valley Adventure Park on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Alternatively, head up the Rotorua 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 is a spectacular showcase of New Zealand’s most colourful and unique geothermal elements sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape – the key to what you see lies below the surface – one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand, extending over 18-sq. km. Enjoy viewing unique volcanic features as you walk at your own pace along well-defined tracks. Relax in the first-class Visitor Centre, home to the Gift Shop and Café facilities. Visit the Mud Pool, the largest in New Zealand, it was originally the site of a large mud volcano which was destroyed through erosion in the 1920s. See the history and beauty of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10:15 am every day. Lady Knox Geyser provides a unique opportunity to see an eruption to heights of 10 to 20 metres.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - National Kiwi Hatchery Tour

The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour is a special opportunity to gain insight into and view this highly regarded conservation centre. Developed with the visitor experience in mind, the hatchery boasts special viewing opportunities and is hosted by kiwi expert guides who ensure guests leave fully informed and all questions answered. Learn all about New Zealand’s intriguing national icon and the efforts of the kiwi husbandry team, see and discover what it takes to hatch and rare chicks, and if you’re lucky, see baby chicks in person!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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
Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.

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Day Nine - Travel along the Geothermal Highway to Taupo, then follow the lake edge towards Tongariro National Park
Tour day 9
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 9
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

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
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Private Guided Scenic Highlights Tour of Tongariro National Park with Adventure Outdoors

Experience the best of the Tongariro National Park with this Scenic Highlight short walks & drive tour. Designed to suit ensuring a relaxed pace with stunning views.

Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
Located in the tussock on the edge of the Whakapapa Village in the heart of the Tongariro National Park The Skotel Alpine Resort offers a wonderful atmosphere and well equipped rooms to relax and enjoy the region from.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 168 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

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Day Ten - Today you'll journey to Wellington, the coolest little capital city
Tour day 10
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 10
Whakapapa Village to Wellington

Your drive today takes you from the North Island Volcanic Plateau to New Zealand's capital, Wellington. Leaving Whakapapa Village, make your way through the Rangipo Desert, skirting the edges of the Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites.

Catch a glimpse of the volcanically active Mt Ruapehu and if you're Lord of the Rings fan, you'll enjoy seeing the symmetrical Mt. Ngauruhoe - better known as Mt Doom. A little further is 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Zealandia By Night Wildlife Sanctuary 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 high!

Accommodation: Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star
Meals included: Breakfast
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel is located in the heart of Wellington's CBD, close to shopping, restaurants and key attractions such as Te Papa Museum.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 320 kms / 199 miles : 3.9 hours

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Day Eleven - Cross the Cook Strait to the South Island, collect your car and then follow the sounds to Nelson
Tour day 11
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 11
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

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. We have a fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.

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
Centrally located within a few minutes walk of Nelson’s central shopping precinct, theatres, restaurants and cafés, the information centre, and close to the scenic waterfront. Located right on the river, many of the rooms open onto the river view. Also overlooking the river is award-winning The Tides Restaurant and Bar.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 hours

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Day Twelve - A day to explore the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park
Tour day 12
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 12
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 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.

Marahau 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
Centrally located within a few minutes walk of Nelson’s central shopping precinct, theatres, restaurants and cafés, the information centre, and close to the scenic waterfront. Located right on the river, many of the rooms open onto the river view. Also overlooking the river is award-winning The Tides Restaurant and Bar.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 95 kms / 59 miles : 1.4 hours

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Day Thirteen - Journey to the wild West Coast, passing windswept beaches and lush rainforests
Tour day 13
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 13
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
Kingsgate Hotel is only minutes walk from shops, cafes, bars and art galleries. The reception, bar and restaurant areas of the hotel form part of the original hotel built in 1906 and have a wonderful heritage feeling. The decor has been maintained to capture this historic ambience.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 276 kms / 171 miles : 3.3 hours

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Day Fourteen - Follow the coastline South the remarkable Glacier Region
Tour day 14
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 14
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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Half Day Lake Matheson Eco Tour

Nature has combine three ingredients to create the stunning vista that is Lake Matheson. Explore the crystal clear waters and learn about flora, fauna, glaciation, geology and natural history of this beautiful area.

You'll be collected from your accommodation in Franz Josef and driven to the stunning Lake Matheson, where you'll walk the 3km gentle track that follows the lake edge. Along the way take in the reflective qualities of the lake and the surrounding lush rainforest which make for fantastic photo opportunities.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
The Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier is nestled at the base of the majestic Southern Alps, in the Westland World Heritage Park. Originally built in 1928 it has been refurbished to retain its charming atmosphere.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 194 kms / 121 miles : 2.5 hours

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Day Fifteen - Allow plenty of time for your journey to Queenstown as you'll travel through spectacular scenery
Tour day 15
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 15
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
The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstown's main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 320 kms / 199 miles : 3.9 hours

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Day Sixteen - For the best views of Queenstown take the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak
Tour day 16
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 16
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
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. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere! From which you can 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, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Jet Canyon Jet Boat Ride

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

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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
The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstown's main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.

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Day Seventeen - Travel past Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park
Tour day 17
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 17
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

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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
The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

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Day Eighteen - Follow the Southern Scenic Route to Invercargill
Tour day 18
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 18
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
The Ascot Park Hotel is Invercargill's largest hotel, offering both motel and hotel accommodation with a great range of facilities. Set in park like surrounds its a great base for a visit to the southern city of Invercargill.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 177 kms / 110 miles : 2.1 hours

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Day Nineteen - Head north through rolling countryside to the Scottish city, Dunedin
Tour day 19
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 19
Invercargill to Dunedin

The route from Invercargill to Balclutha will take you along State Highway 1 and the "Old Coach Road" between the Southland township of Mataura and the Western Otago town of Clinton, as it bypasses the town of Gore. The tranquil river town of Balclutha is the largest in the South Otago region and is memorable for its arched concrete bridge, under which flows the mighty Clutha River, which is largest waterway in New Zealand by volume.
From Balclutha, continue along State Highway 1 past Milton and Mosgiel before arriving to Dunedin.

Accommodation: Dunedin Leisure Lodge – A Distinction Hotel
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
Nestled in landscaped gardens, the Heritage Dunedin Leisure Lodge is located within two acres of beautifully kept garden, and just a short drive to the city centre.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 202 kms / 126 miles : 2.5 hours

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Day Twenty - With a free day in Dunedin explore the wildlife of Otago Peninsula or take a trip on the Taieri Gorge Train
Tour day 20
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 20
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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Elm Wildlife Peninsula Encounter Tour Including Wildlife Cruise

A small-group bus tour from Dunedin. Join a local guide for a journey across the Otago Peninsula. Travel over the high road with postcard views of the harbour and coast. You'll travel past quaint communities and rural farms. Spot wading birds as your mini-bus explores around the inlets and the wetland eco-systems. Your tour will visit a remote Otago Peninsula beach. A short walk from the mini-bus will provide dramatic views of rugged coastal cliffs, offshore islands and perhaps some huge sea lions. The trip continues to Wellers Rock Wharf, for a Monarch Wildlife Cruise. You'll travel out of the harbour, around Taiaroa Head, and out to sea. Watch royal albatross glide across the water and return to their breeding colony. Beneath a historic lighthouse is a colony of playful fur seals. You'll spot other rare seabirds and maybe blue penguins or other marine mammals. Guests are also welcome to bring a pre-packed meal on tour with them. Snacks and drinks can be purchased whilst aboard the MV Monarch. We recommend having a good-sized lunch before the tour departs Dunedin. The final stop is at a Yellow-eyed Penguin conservation reserve. Visit the on-site rehab centre before a tour of the reserve. You'll take trails through native bushland, walking through tunnels and trenches to different viewing hides scattered around the reserve. Watch as the world's rarest penguin returns ashore and interacts around their nesting sites. The tour ends with a relaxed drive, following the harbour, back to Dunedin.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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 Zealand's 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 craftsmen to embellish the interior. The Castle is located high up on the Otago Peninsula and looks down on Dunedin city giving beautiful views. The gardens have an 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: Dunedin Leisure Lodge – A Distinction Hotel
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
Nestled in landscaped gardens, the Heritage Dunedin Leisure Lodge is located within two acres of beautifully kept garden, and just a short drive to the city centre.

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Day Twenty one - Head inland to the MacKenzie Country for immense views of mountains and turquoise lakes
Tour day 21
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 21
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
Peppers Bluewater sits overlooking stunning Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps and is just a short walk to the small towns facilities. Also close by is the Tekapo Springs Day Spa, a great place to relax after a day exploring. Facilities include an on site restaurant and bar.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 309 kms / 192 miles : 3.5 hours

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Day Twenty two - Enjoy your final travel day across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch
Tour day 22
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 22
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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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 Antarctic 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
The Heartland Hotel Cotswold is just a few minutes walk to boutique shopping at Merivale and Hagley Park. The distinctive architecture of the Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside of England.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 223 kms / 138 miles : 2.6 hours

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Day Twenty three - Explore more of Christchurch before catching your onward flight
Tour day 23
23 Day New Zealand Odyssey - Day 23
Depart Christchurch today

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

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 7 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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