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Mount Cook New Zealand
Because not everybody wants the same holiday....
Because not everybody wants the same holiday....

22 day self drive holiday New Zealand North and South Islands

Itinerary Overview:

Day 1 - Arrive Auckland and stay overnight
Day 2 - Auckland to Rotorua
Day 3 - Rotorua
Day 4 - Rotorua to Napier/Hawkes Bay
Day 5 - Napier/Hawkes Bay
Day 6 - Napier to Wellington
Day 7 - Wellington to Nelson incl Interislander cruise
Day 8 - Nelson
Day 9 - Punakaiki
Day 10 - Punakaiki to Fox Glacier
Day 11 - Fox Glacier
Day 12 - Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Day 13, 14 & 15 - Queenstown
Day 16 - Queenstown to Te Anau/Fiordland
Day 17 - Te Anau & Milford Sound
Day 18 - Te Anau to Dunedin/Otago Peninsula
Day 19 - Dunedin/Otago Peninsula
Day 20 - Dunedin to Mount Cook/Lake Tekapo
Day 21 - Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Day 22 - Christchurch and end trip

Itinerary map

Itinerary Details:

Day 1 - Arrive Auckland and stay overnight
Sailing Auckland Located on the waterfront Auckland city enjoys wonderful views across the harbour to the popular seaside village of Devonport. Auckland is a cosmopolitan city that benefits from its mix of Pacific and European cultures, take time to enjoy these influences and the resulting art and cuisine.
Day 2 - Auckland to Rotorua
Mount Tarawera Helicopter From Auckland city make your way towards Hamilton alongside the Waikato River. Cambridge and Tirau provide excellent opportunities for a 'refreshment' stop as you near your destination, the lakeside city of Rotorua. Here you will find a fantastic diversity of scenery and activities to suit all interests.
Day 3 - Rotorua
Whirinaki Forest Full day in Rotorua to enjoy the many thermal and cultural sights, Rotorua also has excellent fishing, an interesting golf course with mud pools and Geysers, mountain bike tracks and forest trails. Scenic drives to stunning lakeside picnic spots and summer swims. Opportunities to head out over the volcanoes by helicopter and to visit Whirinaki Forest a remnant of giant podocarp forests
Day 4 - Rotorua via Lake Taupo to Napier/Hawkes Bay
Napier Art Deco Travelling via Lake Taupo, our largest lake, you may be rewarded with views across to the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park. Then head south east to Hawkes Bay, famous for the Art Deco architecture of Napier and Hastings and the production of premium wines.
Day 5 - Napier/Hawkes Bay
Vineyard Hawkes Bay Wine and food, art, nature, cultural and architectural tours are a great way to get the most from your stay in Hawkes Bay. At nearby Cape Kidnappers take a tour to the world's largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place or play golf at the spectacular golf course.
Day 6 - Napier/Hawkes Bay to Wellington
Mount Bruce A highlight of today's journey is a stop at the Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre with its breeding program for the conservation of some of our most endangered wildlife, predominantly birds. Later in the day pass through the historic villages of the Wairarapa Region and perhaps visit the Martinborough Wine Centre that showcases this regions excellent wines. Finish the day in the harbourside city of Wellington.
Day 7 - Wellington to Nelson incl Interislander cruise
Interislander Ferry More than just a ferry crossing, the trip from Wellington to Picton is an experience in itself. A leisurely cruise out of Wellington Harbour offers wonderful city and coastal views, before crossing the straight and entering Queen Charlotte Sound. Cruising through the sheltered waters you will be treated to fantastic Marlborough Sounds scenery and perhaps a dolphin escort. The drive from Picton offers more photo opportunities as you head for Nelson.
Day 8 - Nelson
Nelson Wine Tour Nelson is renowned for its artisans and galleries including the highly regarded Hoglund Art Glass studio. Local produce including wines are also a feature of the region. Nelson is a popular base from which to venture into the Abel Tasman National Park just over an hour from the city, where you can spend a day on the walking track also sail, cruise or kayak the sheltered waters suitable for novice or experiences paddlers.
Day 9 - Nelson to Punakaiki
Beach at Punakaiki From the sheltered haven of Tasman Bay travel south through the inland Nelson Lakes region before heading west to the dramatic and rugged scenery of the 'coast road'. Winding its way between the bush clad slopes, studded with Nikau Palms and the surf of the Tasman Sea this has to be one of New Zealand's most beautiful drives. Your overnight stop is Punakaiki where you will find the intriguing Pancake Rocks and blowholes.
Day 10 - Punakaiki to Fox Glacier or Lake Moeraki
Glass works A day packed with features today as you travel south through historic 'gold rush' towns and settlements, past bush clad lakes, wild beaches and onwards to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Or continue through to Lake Moeraki for an eco-lodge experience at the Moeraki Wilderness Lodge.
Day 11 - Fox Glacier or Lake Moeraki
Alpine Guides Fox Glacier Fox Glacier based stays can include a guided walk or guided HeliHike onto the glacier for an exhilarating and memorable experience. Or from Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki wilderness experiences in the South Westland World Heritage temperate rainforest and isolated beaches on the rugged coastline.
Day 12 - Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Lake Matheson Leaving behind the lush vegetation of South Westland you will travel the hills and valleys of the Haast Pass where roadside walkways provide easy access to a number of waterfalls and mountain pools. Emerge into the tussock country of the Southern Lakes district as you pass lakes Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan. The fruit and wine growing region around Cromwell leads you to the craggy confines of the Kawarau Gorge famous for its historic bridge and some spectacularly located vineyards. Finish this full day of sightseeing in beautiful Queenstown.
Days 13, 14 & 15 - Queenstown
Dart River Safari Journey up the Dart River into the stunning scenery of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Then free time to enjoy some of the many other Queenstown activities. Ride the Gondola for spectacular views over the town and across the lake to the mountains, Bungy jump, take one of the many hikes including the famous Routeburn Track for a day. Catch a fish, white water rafting, horse treks, winery visits, the possibilities are endless!
Day 16 - Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown A two and a half hour drive today means you can spend the morning in Queenstown or the afternoon in Te Anau, allowing time to visit the amazing glow worm caves. The journey today begins with a scenic drive beside Lake Wakatipu before crossing predominantly grazing country, then to the boundary of the Fiordland National Park.
Day 17 - Te Anau day trip to Milford Sound
Milford Cruise Drive from Te Anau taking in the sights of the Milford Road, stop for short walks, before cruising the wonderful Milford Sound with its soaring peaks and cascading waterfalls. Watch for seals, dolphins and penguins as you make your way to where the fiord meets the sea and back.
Day 18 - Te Anau to Dunedin
Dunedin Railway Station The journey east today takes you through the verdant grazing countryside of the Southland Region. The numerous valleys and their streams feed the rivers that are treasured by fishing enthusiasts from around the world. Dunedin, dotted with architectural examples of the economic boom that started with the Otago gold rush, is a mix of staid Scottish heritage and the present day vitality of a university town.
Day 19 - Dunedin
Monarch Wildlife Cruise Close to Dunedin is the Otago Peninsula popular for its wildlife attractions. Home to colonies of nesting yellow-eyed penguins and Royal Albatross, join Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours for a day trip that visits these colonies and includes a visit to Larnach Castle.
Day 20 - Dunedin to Mount Cook/Lake Tekapo
Mount Cook From Dunedin travel north to the town of Oamaru with its majestic white stone buildings and historic precinct. Turn inland to follow the Waitaki Valley and pass the hydro lakes of Aviemore and Benmore before making your way along the shores of Lake Pukaki to the Mount Cook National Park. Enjoy the return trip beside Lake Pukaki then on to iconic Lake Tekapo, the glacial lakes in this region are often a stunning azure blue, setting off the snow capped peaks beyond.
Day 21 - Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Lake Tekapo Good Shepherd Church Take the 'Inland Scenic Route' as a peaceful alternative to the main highway and includes the dramatic Rakaia Gorge, great mountain and rural vistas are enjoyed most of the way. Christchurch is an eclectic mix of colonial heritage and new world modernism. The Avon River, with its cascading willows, cuts through the city and provides the setting for numerous parks and gardens.
Day 22 - Christchurch and end trip
Christchurch Tram


This holiday can be customised to suit your interests, golf, wine, hiking, art, culture... just let us know. You can also have all or part of this holiday combined with a holiday in Australia. Price will be determined by accommodation choices, activities to include and flight costs. Contact us for more information, we are here to help you get the very best from your trip.


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New Zealand Australian Holidays
85 Phillips Drive
Oropi Downs
New Zealand
Phone: +64 (07) 577 1434

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