18 Great Days – Classic New Zealand Self Drive Tour  2022/23
Independent and amazing New Zealand holiday package

One of our most popular self drive tours 4.8/5
4.8/5

Visiting the highlights of New Zealand with the freedom to enjoy plenty of options. Relax in pre-booked accommodations at the end of each great day.

 

Enjoy THE classic New Zealand self-drive tour from Christchurch to Auckland or from Auckland to Christchurch!

 

This tour is the classic New Zealand self drive tour, designed for your needs. Enjoy an everlasting holiday you might remember and explore the diversity of this amazing country on a stunning route from South to North. Experience the incredible natural beauty and Maori cultural heritage that makes our country so unique. The perfect tour to explore this pristine country!

Find here the itinerary daily details of your New Zealand tour.

This tour package can be customized to suit your requirements precisely. All our self drive tours can also be booked with a chauffeur/tour guide as a private tour option! Please let us know your special requests.

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p.P. in Double Room or Twin Share from:

NZD 4,795 *

 
  • 1 Person in Single Room NZD 8.390.00
  • Daily Departures possible
  • *) Please note:
    • All Prices in New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
    • incl. 15% GST (New Zealand Goods & Services Tax)
    • Payment options in USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, CHF
    • Currency converter
     
  • Tour Options/Upgrades:
    • Upgrade Options: 4-5+ Star Hotels/Motels, Boutique Lodges, Luxury Retreats, Rental Category, Activities, Tour extensions etc.
New Zealand Tours Sepcialist Tour Operator DMC
New Zealand Tourism Board certified specialist

Please take a look at our other New Zealand self-drive tours and if you can’t find the right tour- no problem! We are happy to advise you individually to offer you the perfect New Zealand holiday. Get in touch with us! Behind this website are real people who want to share their enthusiasm and expertise for this country. You enjoy New Zealand and we take care of the rest.

Included within this package:

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  • Accommodation, 17 Nights
    • 1 Night at Auckland City Hotel - Hobson Street- 1 x Standard Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Buffalo Lodge – Deluxe Room BB
    • 2 Nights at City Lights Boutique Lodge – Kea Room BB
    • 1 Night at Chateau Tongariro – Standard Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Atura Hotel – Standard Room BB 
    • 1 Night at - Executive Studio BB
    • 2 Nights at Abel Tasman Lodge – Studio Chalet BB
    • 1 Night at Punakaiki Resort – Standard Room BB
    • 1 Night at Fox Glacier Mountainview B&B – Ensuite Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Garden Court Suites & Apartments - 1 x Studio Suite BB
    • 1 Night at MacKenzie Country Hotel – Deluxe Room BB
    • 1 Night at Homelea B&B – Classic Room BB
  • Meals: Daily breakfast, 1 x Dinner (Hangi Mitai Maori Village)r
  • Rental car hire:
    • Vehicle according to the booked category, day 1 - 18
    • Rental car insurance: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible
    • GPS navigation, unlimited kms, additional drivers
    • airport/ferry terminal fees
    • Digital travel documents
    • Detailed driving instructions, maps, guide books and much more
  • Tour & Activity Pack: (can be customized to suit you precisely - enquire here)
    • Hobbiton Movieset & Farm Tours – Entry
    • Mitai Maori Village – Hangi Dinner
    • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – Entry
    • Whale Watch Kaikoura – Tour
    • Wilsons Abel Tasman, Vista, Great Day Out
    • Real Journeys - Milford Sound Coach & Nature Cruise, Queenstown return 
    • Interislander Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton for foot passengers & rental car
  • While in New Zealand 24 hour support
  • Tour Excludes:
    • Flights, Travel Insurance
    • Fuel and parking fees
    • Meals, unless otherwise specified
    • Optional activities

We all know Terms and Conditions are really boring.

These are no exception. We fell asleep two times while we wrote them!

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BUT - we need them so that there is no misunderstanding if you decide to change or cancel anything. If you transact through this website then we will give you every chance to read these. Any quotes and bookings undertaken are done so on the understanding that you have read and agree to these terms. Please read here  our Terms & Conditions for payment options and cancellation policy.
We play fair and we know we play with people who play fair!

  • Our tours incl. all tax, fees and admissions
  • All prices are displayed/charged in NZ$ and may vary in your home currency depending on currency conversion rates.
  • This tour price is based on 2 people sharing one room and may vary depending on type of accommodation (Motel, Boutique Lodges, 3-5 Star Hotels). Of course, we can provide more options in type of car, accommodation, also in route and duration of your tour.

Additional Information:

 

Tiakai - Care for New Zealand
Tiakai - Care for New Zealand
  • Before you travel to New Zealand - New Zealand travel tips - Good to know!
  • This tour package can be customized to suit your requirements precisely! All we need to know is the date when your flight will arrive in New Zealand.
  • Please let us know your special request or if you want to stay a bit longer. We will tailor your holiday.
  • Please note: All of our self-drive tours can be booked with a chauffeur/tour guide as a private tour option!
  • While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.
  • Bookings are essential even if the tours are operating daily. Please send us your dates for reservations.

How it works:

  • You send us the date you will arrive in New Zealand
  • If you have special interests, please let us know
  • We send you a detailed quote plus options
  • When you are happy to accept the quote we will send you the invoice
  • You go on with the payment to secure all bookings
  • We are looking forward to your stay in this amazing country and your once in a lifetime holiday!
Please take a look at our other New Zealand self-drive tours and if you can’t find the right tour- no problem! We are happy to advise you individually to offer you the perfect New Zealand holiday. That’s why we are winner of the „Bespoke Tour Operator of the year“ LTG-Award – New Zealand 2018, 2019″. Get in touch with us! Behind this website are real people who want to share their enthusiasm and expertise for this country. You enjoy New Zealand and your round trip, we take care of the rest.
  • Stunning and proven New Zealand itineraries

    Accommodations and meals | Activities package: All admissions, tours and activities marked as such in the tour itinerary | Detailed driving information, road maps, route book, and more.

  • Extras for your individual New Zealand Tour holiday

    Numerous additional options and individual tips possible | Tour price options (upgrade/downgrade) possible in Standard, Superior and Luxury categories (3-5 star hotels/motels, boutique lodges, rental car category, tour extension, etc.) | Personal "Meet & Greet" service possible (private shuttle/transport airport, city hotel, cruise terminal, etc.)

  • Rental car incl. all inclusive Insurance with GPS

    All-Inclusive rental insurance or with variable excess | GPS navigation | airport/ferry handling fees | unlimited mileage | additional drivers

  • Ideal prices thanks to daily currency conversion

    Perfect for you: We offer our tours in NZD$  (New Zealand Dollar). Experience has shown that this is often more favourable for our guests during the booking period than a fixed price in your local currency, which may include possible currency fluctuations at the time of travel.
    All prices in New Zealand Dollar (NZD) incl. 15% GST (New Zealand Goods and Services Tax) and incl. all taxes applicable in New Zealand.

  • 24-hours Support while you are in New Zealand

    Details on how you can reach us at any time during your New Zealand holiday - in your time zone - can be found in the travel documentation.

Your daily New Zealand tour details:

 

The following summary lists driving information for each major driving day of your itinerary. Times and distances are based on ideal conditions without stops. Plan to take longer to allow time to explore and enjoy some stops. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support – details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Day 1 – Arrival – Kia Ora and welcome to New Zealand!

After picking up your rental car at the airport you will drive to your first accommodation. On the way you will encounter the „City of Sails“. Today you can drive to Mt Eden, an extinct volcano, from where you can enjoy wonderful views over the city. Or you can drive to the elegant suburb of Parnell and the port of Auckland. Afterwards you can either stroll along the harbour or stroll through the shopping malls of the city centre. A visit to the War Memorial Museum or the Sky Tower is also recommended.

We recommend dinner at the Brazilian Wildfire Restaurant. This restaurant, located at the port, offers a special culinary experience. If you prefer dinner with spectacular panoramic views of New Zealand’s largest city, we recommend a visit to the rotating Orbit Restaurant in the Sky Tower (all activities optional).

  • Optional: Sky Tower
  • Optional: Orbit 360° Dining
  • Optional: Museum Domain
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Day 2 – Auckland – Coromandel

 

Today you will leave the Auckland and drive through the fertile Waikato region, which is the „greenest spot“ in New Zealand with its lush meadows. Afterwards, the journey continues to the Coromandel Peninsula.

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Day 3 – Coromandel

 

Today you will experience the Coromandel Peninsula. Visit the Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own „spa pool“ and relax in the hot water. Shovels can be rented locally for $10 or ask at your accommodation. To cool down afterwards, take a dip in the ocean.

You can also discover the impressive Cathedral Cove by boat, kayak or on a beautitiful little track. This rock formation on a white sand beach was also one of the settings of the movie „The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.“

Or take a ride on New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge railroad – the driving creek railway- which takes you over viaducts and through tunnels along magnificent landscapes. A windy course takes you about 2.7 km through lush native forest to a ’station‘ high on the mountain, offering you fantastic views of the Coromandel Peninsula.

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Day 4 – Coromandel – Rotorua

 

Today you will leave the peninsula and head south towards Rotorua.

On the way there you will make a stopover in Matamata. Here you will discover the real Middle Earth. During your 2-hour guided tour you will visit the film set of the „Lord of the Rings“ and the „Hobbit“ triologies, which might be better known to you as the „Shire“. During your tour you will see the Hobbit Caves, „The Green Dragon Inn“ and many other highlights.

Afterwards you will continue to your today’s destination Rotorua.

This region is not only the center of Maori culture, but also famous for its geothermal activity. Geysers, steaming lakes and rivers, bubbling mudholes and multi-colored hot mineral springs known for their healing properties can be admired here.

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Day 5 – Rotorua

Today you will spend a free day in Rotoruaa. You can, for example, take the cable car to a panoramic mountain and enjoy the panorama of Rotorua.

In Waimangu Volcanic Valley you can do different hikes (1.5km to 4km), where you will pass different hot springs and walk through rainforest. (optional)

In the evening you will visit a Maori village and participate in a Hangi. The „Hangi“ is the traditional feast of the Maori. First, a hole in the ground is dug, and next to it, special heat-sensitive stones are set to glow in a fire of hot-burning Manuka wood. Then the hole in the ground is filled with the hot stones, and the food to be cooked is placed on the stones in layers, wrapped in leaves. The hole in the ground is then closed with earth and the food is cooked naturally for several hours. You will be present to see how the „hangi“ is then „lifted“. Afterwards you will enjoy the wonderful steamed different vegetables as well as meat. There will also be a selection of salads and of course Maori bread. During a concert with dancing and singing, the Maori will perform their cultural Haka. 

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Day 6 – Rotorua – Tongariro Nationalpark

 

As your continue your journey today you can make a stop at Kerosene Creek at the Kerosene Hot Springs. These natural, free hot springs consist of a stream, a 2m high waterfall and several hot pools in the middle of the forest (approx. 200m walk from the car park) about halfway between Rotorua and Taupo. Afterwards your journey continues to Lake Taupo, which was formed about 2000 years ago by a huge volcanic eruption. Here, a stop at the foaming Huka Waterfalls or the geothermal park Craters of the Moon is worthwhile.

Afterwards you drive along Lake Taupo to the Tongariro National Park. This is dominated by three sister volcanoes Mt Ruapehu (2797 m), Mt Tongariro (1967 m) and Mt Ngauruhoe (2291 m), as well as a landscape of black ash, brown dust desert and mountain streams lined by native beech trees. Many Maori tales and legends surround the three mountains. In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, and two years later also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Various scenes of the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings were filmed in the Tongariro National Park. Mount Ngauruhoe can be seen in the film as Mount Doom. You will stay overnight here with a view of the volcanoes, in Ohakune, at the foot of Mt Ruhapehu.

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Day 7 – Tongariro National Park – Wellington

 

The three still partly-active volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park form the scenery of your drive along Desert Road. The drive through barren country, surrounded by peaks up to 2700m, brings you to the green, fertile farm areas of Rangitikei and Manawatu. The journey continues along the Kapiti Coast to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Here you can visit the parliament, stroll along the promenade or explore the national museum „Te Papa“ (entrance free).

The funicular will take you to the Observatory, Botanical Gardens and viewpoint over the harbour, while from Mt Victoria viewpoint you can enjoy a magnificent view of New Zealand’s capital. In the evening we recommend a visit to Zealandia. With a local guide you can go for a short walk through the park and see various animals, which only become active in the evening. With a bit of luck you might even see the kiwi, an endangered flightless bird and the national symbol of New Zealand (all activities optional).

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Day 8 – Wellington

Today you will enjoy a free day in the windy city of Wellington. At Te Papa National Museum you will get an interesting insight into the history and culture of New Zealand (free entrance). You can also take the cable car up to the botanical gardens for a walk and a fantastic view of the city. Or you can take a trip to the Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson workshop, where characters and props from movies like the Hobbit and Narnia were brought to life. (all activities optional).

In the evening, you can take an evening light hike through „Zealandia“ with a local guide. Here you will see various animals, which become active only in the evening hours. With a little luck you will also hear or see the Kiwi bird, an endangered flightless bird and also the national symbol of New Zealand (all activities optional).
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Day 9 – Wellington – Cook Strait – Kaikoura

 

Early in the morning you leave Wellington by ferry and cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. The 3-hour trip on the Interislander ferry is very impressive and offers many beautiful photo opportunities. First you pass through the Cook waterway and then glide through the Marlborough Sounds, an area of „drowned“ valleys created by the geological subsidence of a low mountain range.

After leaving the vessel in Picton you will first reach Blenheim in the Marlborough Plain. Viticulture in this region started in the 70’s when Montana Wines was looking for new land. The composition of the soil, high sunshine duration, a long autumn and cold winter are excellent conditions for a first class wine, especially for Sauvignon Blanc.

Your journey then continues along the wild and romantic coast to Kaikoura. Sperm whales regularly occur here, attracted by the abundant food supply of the warm ocean currents. You can also observe fur seals that lie on the rocks here along the highway, and with a little luck even dolphins jump acrobatically out of the water.

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Day 10 – Kaikoura – Abel Tasman National Park

Today you will enjoy a whale watch tour. You will go out on a boat under expert guidance to get closer to the whales. From Kaikoura, you will return to Picton and via the „shell town“ of Havelock, located on the edge of the Marlborough Sounds, you will travel via Pelorus Gorge, where you can enjoy a short hike through native forest (optional). Continue to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city, and through fertile growing areas of wine, apples, pears and hops to the northern coast of the South Island.

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Day 11 – Abel Tasman National Park

Today you will first drive to Kaiteriteri in the Abel Tasman National Park. Here you will experience an amazing boat trip. Enjoy the trip along the coastline with extensive beaches and small offshore islands. The unique coastal landscape is especially popular for hiking. The boat ride will be followed by a 2-hour hike to intensively enjoy the beauty of the golden beaches and bays. Afterwards you will be taken back to Kaiteriteri, from where you will drive home to Nelson.

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Day 12 – Abel Tasman National Park – Punakaiki

 

Travel southwest through the Motueka River Valley on a scenic drive. After crossing Buller Gorge, you will experience an impressive change of the local flora and reach the subtropical rainforest of the wild west coast.

At Cape Foulwind you will have the opportunity to observe a large colony of sea lions on a short hike. A wild and romantic landscape awaits you along the coastline.

Famous are the limestone cliffs of the „Pancake Rocks“, near the small town of Punakaiki, where you will spend the night today. Sculpted by sea and weather, these rocks resemble stacked pancakes.

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Day 13 – Punakaiki – Fox Glacier

After a drive through historic gold mining areas, you will reach the town of Hokitika, which is mainly the center of processing greenstone, the very hard New Zealand jade. Here you can visit a jade factory or the Kiwi House.

Continue along the west coast through evergreen rainforest to the glacier region of the Southern Alps. The Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, about 12 km long, slide down to a height of 300 m above sea level, that’s worldwide unique in temperate latitudes.

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Day 14 – Fox Glacier – Queenstown

Today you will drive through the rainforests of the Westland National Park. This is one of the most diverse and fascinating national parks in New Zealand, and has been declared a „Heritage Park“. The lush moss growth of the lowland rainforest and the swamp forests create a fairytale atmosphere.

Cross the Haast Pass and head inland again, where the Aspring National Park opens up to you. This combines more than 100 glaciers and some of the highest peaks in the Southern Alps. You will reach the lakes Hawea and Wanaka. The contrast between the lush green rainforests of the west coast and the dry grasslands of Otago is stunning. The forests are replaced by tanned sheep pastures and highlands covered with „tussock“ grass.

Enjoy the impressive, winding mountain route of the Crown Range, past numerous impressive views of the rugged mountains, you will reach Queenstown in the evening. Beautifully situated on the Lake Wakatipu, it was once settled by sheep farmers and later by gold prospectors, but has now developed into a tourist destination.

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Day 15 – Queenstown

 

Today you are in for another highlight. You will take part in the Milford Sound Nature Cruise. In the west, 14 fjords reach deep into the primeval forests of a rugged alpine world. You will travel along the spectacular Milford Road. At the Homer Tunnel you often see the cheeky keas, the only mountain parrots in the world.

Arriving at Milford Sound, board an excursion boat that takes you through the fjord, gliding almost out to the Tasman Sea. Enjoy the wild romantic scenery, which is determined by almost vertical mountain walls, such as Mitre Peak.

Afterwards you will be brought back to Queenstown.

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Day 16 – Queenstown – Lake Tekapo/Twizel

From Lake Wakatipu the journey goes on over Lindis Pass (971 m) and right through the McKenzie Country.

Sparse rainfall makes this highland appear as a barren steppe landscape. At Lake Pukaki you will have the opportunity to admire the magnificent glaciers of Mt. Cook. This area is full of magical contrasts. You will end another eventful day and spend the night in Twizel.

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Day 17 – Twizel – Christchurch

 

You will continue to the turquoise shining Pukaki Lake with magnificent views to the Southern Alps. A little later you will reach the turquoise Tekapo Glacier Lake, located in the middle of the mountains, with its photogenically situated small chapel. Flocks of sheep and colorful flowers complete the idyllic picture with the white mountains in the background. You will leave the mountains of the Southern Alps, cross numerous farmlands and reach Christchurch, the largest city of the South Island.

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Day 18 – Christchurch

 

Please drive to Christchurch Airport in time and drop off your rental car here. From here you can start your journey home or onwards. We wish you a good flight!

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Please take a look at our other New Zealand self-drive tours and if you can’t find the right tour- no problem! We are happy to advise you individually to offer you the perfect New Zealand holiday. Get in touch with us! Behind this website are real people who want to share their enthusiasm and expertise for this country. You enjoy New Zealand, we take care of the rest.

"What I loved about this tour was that the guide was not afraid to get off the beaten track and show us the real country. This was an experience I would definitely want to come back to."
Alene Elvine
HR Manager
“Our tour was everything I hoped for, and more. Great Days really makes a difference, I would have never discovered the beautiful places we stopped at."
Jona Gerber
Designer

Enjoy the Holiday of a lifetime