New Zealand Food & Wine - Superior Self Drive Tour

22 Great Days New Zealand Food & Wine – Season 2024/2025
New Zealand Self Drive Tour – Superior Package

There is no better way than exploring New Zealand with food and wine!

 

This superior tour includes great activities!

 

Start in Auckland or in Christchurch and visit four major award-winning New Zealand wine regions (Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Marlborough and Queenstown). See all New Zealand Highlights and enjoy our breathtaking nature. Experience regional specialities  and an authentic Maori Hangi (traditional meal) at an authentic Maori village. It’s a relaxed schedule so don’t miss all the essential must-do’s along the way from Auckland to Christchurch or Christchurch to Auckland.

This is a fantastic self drive itinerary that offers a variety of unspoiled dramatic landscapes, geothermal activities, majestic Milford Sounds, stunning coastlines, Maori culture, local experiences and great superior accommodation. This Food & Wine New Zealand journey is  a superior self drive tour and also bookable for your Honeymoon or couples-holiday in New Zealand.

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 10,170 *

 
  • Tour Options:
    • Upgrade/Downgrade options (accommodation category, rental car category, length of tour, activities, etc.)
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"Bespoke Tour Operator of the Year – New Zealand"

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

Included within this package:

 

Whangarei Falls Auckland Day Tours private tour day trips water fall northland shore excursion bay of islands

  • Accommodation, 21 Nights
    • 2 Nights at Hilton Auckland – 1 x Hilton Guest Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort – 1 x Deluxe Studio BB
    • 2 Nights at The Crown Hotel – 1 x Double Room BB
    • 1 Night at Peppers Parehua Martinborough – 1 x Garden Cottage BB
    • 2 Nights at Bolton Hotel – 1 x Classic Suite BB
    • 1 Night at The Peppertree – 1 x Double Room BB
    • 1 Night at Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses – 1 x Lodge Room DBB
    • 1 Night at Rural Holidays NZ Ltd. – 1 x Farmstay Fairly Region, Double Room DBB
    • 1 Night at Peppers Bluewater Resort – 1 x Hotel Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Hotel St Moritz Queenstown – 1x One Bedroom Alpine Suite BB
    • 2 Nights at Fiordland Lodge – 1 x Log Cabin DBB
    • 1 Night at Tudor Park Country Stay & Garden – 1 x Double Room BB
    • 1 Night at Camp Estate at Larnach Castle – 1 x The Camp Estate Package, Double Room BB
    • 2 Nights at The George – 1 x Executive, Double Room BB

Key:  BB: Bed and Breakfast, DBB Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

  • Meals:
    • 21 x Daily Breakfast (cooked, continental, buffet or self-prepared)
    • 1 x Lunch (Waiheke Tour)
    • 7 x Dinner (Orbit Restaurant, Rotorua Hangi, Hapuku Lodge, Farmstay Fairly, Walter Peak Tour, 2xFiordland Lodge)
  • Tour & Activity Pack: (can be customized to suit you precisely )
    • Auckland: Fullers, Waiheke Island Vineyard Tours, Taste of Waiheke
    • Rotorua: Tamakai Maori Village, Maori Cultural Performance, Hangi (Traditional Maori Dinner)
    • Napier: Art Deco Walks & Tours, Morning Walk
    • Napier: Mission Estate Winery, Wine Tasting
    • Picton: Marlborough Tour Company, Seafood Odyssea Cruise
    • Blenheim: Wine Tours By Bike, Bike Rental
    • Queenstown: Real Journeys, TSS Earnslaw Hostoric Steamshp & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Dinner
    • Milford: Real Journeys, Milford Sound Nature Cruise UNESCO World Heritage Area
  • Rental car hire:
    • Vehicle according to the booked category
    • Rental car insurance: Fully inclusive
    • unlimited kms, additional drivers
    • airport/ferry terminal fees
    • Digital travel documents
  • Ferry: 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

Additional Information:

 

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.
  • 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.

Destination Auckland

 

Auckland with its suburbs has over 1 million inhabitants. It is the largest city in the country and spreads generously over a narrow isthmus between the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea. Over 60 extinct volcanic cones and craters characterize the landscape, while an endless procession of sails in the harbor is typical of the relaxed way of life here. Auckland was the state capital until 1865 and is today the economic center of New Zealand.

Day 1

Hilton Auckland Hotel • Auckland
 
Day Notes

Welcome to New Zealand!

You will arrive at the airport and be transferred by a German-speaking transfer to your accommodation in the city center.

In the evening you will enjoy dinner at Auckland’s “Sky Tower”. This magnificent 328 m high tower is the focal point of this beautiful city. From the top, you’ll enjoy an incredible 360° view of ancient volcanoes, sparkling sunlit harbors and much more.

Included
  • Pick up at Auckland Airport
  • Orbit 360 Restaurant – Sky Tower Dinner
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Day 2  Auckland / Waiheke Island

Hilton Auckland Hotel • Auckland
 
Day Notes

Today you will undertake a day trip to Waiheke Island on your own. A short ferry crossing from Auckland harbor will take you there. The island has a temperate climate and ideal growing conditions for wine. Furthermore, various cafes, art galleries and restaurants have settled here. You will go on a gourmet tour of the island with a local guide and visit three wineries and an olive grove in a small group. At one of the wineries you will have a light lunch and enjoy the view over the vines. In the late afternoon, you will take the ferry back to Auckland.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Fullers Taste of Waiheke Tour, incl. wine tasting
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Destination Rotorua

 

The city of Rotorua has been a spa town since the 1800s, thanks to the many geysers, hot springs and mud pools that can be found in what is one of the world’s most active geothermal fields. The Maori, who considered the region sacred, make up 35% of the population and a popular attraction is discovering their rich culture and traditions. Rotorua is surrounded by lakes, mountains, forests and other natural features that afford visitors the opportunity to try out a number of outdoor activities between relaxing sessions in the hot springs and pools.

Day 3  Auckland – Rotorua

WaiOra Lakeside Spa Resort • Rotorua
 
Day Notes

Today you will pick up your rental car and drive to Rotorua. The area around Rotorua is known for boiling mud pools, geysers and boiling lakes. Here you can feel the “pulse of the earth” up close and the smell of sulfur over Rotorua proves that the earth’s surface here is only very thin. Even today it can happen that in the front yard of the residents the earth breaks open and a new boiling pond appears.

In the evening you will drive to a marae (Maori gathering place), experience the dances and songs of the Maori, learn more about their customs.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Pick up of your vehicle
  • Tamaki Maori Village – Cultural Experience incl Hangi
Expert Tips
  • Starting point for Tamaki Maori Village:1220 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
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Day 4  Rotorua

WaiOra Lakeside Spa Resort • Rotorua
 
Day Notes

Rotorua offers plenty of excursion options for you.

In “Rainbow Springs”, a well-kept park area, you will take a walk and see the tuatara, a 200 million year old reptile species, and in a night house the heraldic animal of New Zealand, the flightless kiwi bird. In the newly built Kiwi breeding station “Kiwi Encounter” you can learn a lot of interesting facts about this peculiar bird, which left scientists puzzling for a long time whether it even belongs in the “bird category”.

Alternatively, you can join a half-day tour with Kaitiaki Adventures. First, an all-terrain vehicle will take you up to Mt Tawarewa, a volcano best known for the June 10, 1886 eruption. This fully guided hiking experience encompasses the unique landscape and history of the region. With unsurpassed scenic vistas and 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and volcanoes, this experience is ideal.

Other actions such as “Redwoods Treewalk” or a visit to “Skyline Rotorua” are very popular.  There you can see the gondolas, luge, mountain biking and much more.

Included
  • Breakfast
Expert Tips
  • Visit the “Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland”, known for boiling mud pools, white sinter terraces, geysers and bubbling lakes. With its “Painter’s Palette, Devil’s Inkwell and Champagne Pool,” it is the most colorful of the thermal areas. The main attraction is Lady Knox Geyser, which erupts every morning up to 20m high. Such a geyser is formed where superheated deep water enters a groundwater reservoir, heats it up and partially causes it to boil. As a result, steam suddenly shoots upward in meter-high water fountains.
  • Drive on a beautiful scenic route towards Taupo. Lake Taupo is a crater lake larger than Lake Constance, formed about 2000 years ago by a massive volcanic eruption. Even Greek and Roman historians noticed a darkening of the sky. In the angler’s paradise, trout weigh on average 2 kg, in many cases even more. Trout was imported to New Zealand from California and Tasmania and has been farmed very successfully since, but may not be fished commercially.
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Destination Napier

 

The popular tourist city of Napier on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island is one of the country’s most likeable regional centres. The inner-city streets are lined with palm trees, and the sculpted Marine Parade is sprinkled with numerous lush parks, landscaped gardens and grand memorials, giving the water’s edge its unique character. Arriving in Napier gives one the distinct feeling of stepping back in time, owing to its unique concentration of remarkably well preserved 1930s art-deco buildings, built after much of the city was destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1931. The city is also known for its gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers and its abundance of world-class wineries on the surrounding plains. This is the place to enjoy a Mediterranean climate, an excellent variety of restaurants and cafes, and the air of an affluent English seaside resort.

Day 5  Rotorua – Napier

The Crown Hotel Napier • Napier
 
Day Notes

The journey takes you to Napier today. Napier, located directly on the sea, was completely destroyed during an earthquake in 1931 and rebuilt in the Art Deco style of the 1920s/30s. Since then, it has been considered the world’s best preserved city in this distinctive architectural style.

The Hawkes Bay region had the first commercial grape growing in New Zealand. The riverbed on the Heretaunga Plain produces a variety of fruit wines and the surrounding hillsides excellent wine for premium Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc with a typical tropical fruity flavor.

On your own, you will visit the Mission Estate Winery to taste a variety of wines from the region. Afterwards, you will have plenty of time to explore Napier and the surrounding wine region in more detail.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Visit to Mission Estate Winery -wine tasting
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Day 6  Napier

The Crown Hotel Napier • Napier
 
Day Notes

You will join a guided “Art Deco Tour”. You will visit some of Napier’s iconic Art Deco buildings and learn about the people and events that shaped them from your local guide. 

In the afternoon, walk along the beach promenade and visit the aquarium or get products and information on the unpopular introduced Australian marsupial at “Opossum World.” Opossum fur and merino wool are strong and durable. Perfect for high quality clothing.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Guided Art Décor walk at 10 am
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Destination Martinborough

 

Resting in beautiful South Wairarapa, Martinborough is a small but charming village with a laid-back atmosphere and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Spend your days exploring the lush green town square, admiring the old heritage buildings and indulging in the gorgeous boutique retail shopping. Packed with colonial charm, what was once an obscure farming village, Martinborough, is now a thriving wine region home to more than 20 vineyards, most within walking or cycling distance of the town’s quaint main square. Visitors can taste their way around the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, famous for its robust Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t forget to bring your appetite along, as many wineries are home to tempting cafes and restaurants that serve delectable cuisine made using fresh, local produce.

Day 7  Napier – Martinborough

Parehua Resort • Martinborough
 
Day Notes

Today you will travel to Martinborough. This region has long ceased to be considered backward, and since 1984 has become one of the best wine producing areas. There are 17 boutique wineries in Martinborough. This area has low rainfall and the wine enjoys more sunshine hours and warmth than the rest of the North Island.

Try one of the local restaurants in the pretty “village of Martinborough” and a Pinot Noir, which is particularly good here.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Destination Wellington

 

Located on the south-western tip of North Island on the Cook Strait, Wellington is the constitutional and cultural capital of New Zealand – dubbed ‘the coolest little capital in the world’. With its diverse architecture, world-class museums, cultural attractions and award-winning restaurants, Wellington is a popular destination for both local and international travellers. Due to its location in the ‘Roaring Forties’ the city experiences its fair share of wind and as a result, sailing is a popular activity here – with charters offering the visitors the experience of a relaxed cruise with beautiful views of the city and the surrounding bays.

Day 8  Martinborough – Wellington

Bolton Hotel Wellington • Wellington
 
Day Notes

Today you will drive to Wellington. Since 1865 Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, so the political center of the country. Worth seeing is therefore the area around the Parliament with the former government buildings, the oldest of which, built in 1876, is considered the second largest wooden building in the world. Across the street is the present-day government building. Architecturally striking is the modern addition, known as the “Beehive” or “Beehive.”

Take the bright red city cable car up to the well-tended Botanical Gardens. Stop for a bite to eat at the “Picnic Café,” surrounded by trees and adjacent to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Alternatively, stroll along the beautiful harbor promenade and discover well-preserved Victorian architecture in the town. Wander Wellington’s most colorful street (Cuba Street) and discover quirky cafes, vintage clothing, record stores, art galleries, and get splashed by the famous Bucket Fountain.

Wellington is the coffee capital with some of the best roasters, baristas and cafes on every corner: Evil Twins, Pour & Twist, L’affare, Peoples Coffee and many more. Fidel’s is one of many cafes on Cuba Street that stay open late.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Day 9  Wellington

Bolton Hotel Wellington • Wellington
 
Day Notes

There’s no way around Te Papa, the lavishly appointed National Museum (admission free).

Hannah’s Laneway is where you’ll find some of Wellington’s most popular products: Visit Fix & Fogg for toast and peanut butter like you’ve never seen it before, Leeds Street Bakery for the best salted caramel cookie you’ve ever tasted, and Pizza Pomodoro for fresh and full-flavored pizza straight from the wood-fired oven. Visit Golding’s Craft Beer Bar for some of the freshest beers in town or the Wellington Chocolate Factory for a bean-to-bar chocolate experience.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Destination Blenheim

 

This remarkably sunny and rather sleepy little town is most commonly used as a base for exploring the town’s surrounding winelands which are home to some of New Zealand’s most fertile and venerated vineyards. The area boasts over 40 excellent wine farms, many of which are conveniently located within a 10km radius of Blenheim. In and around Blenheim you’ll find an impressive array of tempting cafes and restaurants, charming craft shops, artisan food outlets and some world-class golf courses. The nearby Marlborough Sounds provide an ideal setting for a variety for water sports, from kayaking to swimming with dolphins. Popular attractions include the fascinating Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, home to a well restored collection of World War I planes, as well as the Marlborough Museum which showcases a variety of interesting local historical artifacts and also houses Beavertown, a replica street scene based on features of Blenheim around 1900.

Day 10  Wellington – Blenheim (Marlborough Sounds)

The Peppertree • Blenheim
 
Day Notes

In the morning you will go on the Interislander ferry. The trip is very impressive and offers very nice photo motifs. First you glide through the Marlborough Sounds, an area of “drowned” valleys formed by the geological subsidence of a low mountain range. Steep ridges still bear witness to the original mountain range, which today jut out as narrow peninsulas between deep inlets. The steep shores have a fjord-like character in places.

Arriving in Picton, join a seafood boat cruise in the afternoon. On the Seafood Odyssea Cruise, relax and enjoy the stunning Marlborough Sounds with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and local seafood such as mussels and salmon.

Continue to Blenheim, also called the “Capital of Wine,” on the Marlborough Plain. Viticulture in this region began in the 70’s, as “Montana Wines” . The name Montana was first used by the Yugoslavian immigrant Ivan Yukich for the wine he produced in the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland. Montana is now known by the new name Brancott Estate.

The composition of the soil, high sunshine duration, a long autumn, a cold winter and little rain are excellent conditions for a first-class wine, especially Sauvignon Blanc.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Interislander ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton for foot passengers and rental car
  • Marlborough Tour – Seafood Odyssea Cruise
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Destination Kaikoura

 

On the rugged east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the seaside settlement of Kaikoura is located on a rocky peninsula, protruding from lush farmland beneath the mountains. This little hamlet has become a popular tourist destination, primarily due to its famous wildlife watching opportunities. Few places can boast such a wide range of accessible wildlife. With whales, dolphins, fur seals, penguins and albatrosses frequently spotted, this area is truly a nature lovers dream. Visitors can join the Art Trail to witness the skilled local artisans at work in their own studios and galleries or visit the town’s first home which was built in 1842, remains remarkably well-preserved and, interestingly, was built using whale bone as its foundation. So, if you are looking for a bit of history, a touch of crafty culture and a whole heap of outdoor adventure, Kaikoura won’t fail to impress.

Day 11  Blenheim – Kaikoura

Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses • Kaikoura
 
Day Notes

In the morning you will explore the Marlborough wine region in more detail. Biking on your own, you’ll travel from winery to winery. Spend it relaxing in beanbags, nibbling on cheese boards, enjoying gourmet food and sampling delicious wines.

When viticulture began in 1973, few expected that in less than 20 years this region would become the largest and best-known wine region in New Zealand. The fruity, pungent tendencies of the first wines animated winemakers as well as wine drinkers and sparked a real outbreak in wine growing. Sauvignon Blanc is the most popular variety, with the Chardonnay grape in second place, followed by Pinot Noir and Riesling. Sparkling wine is also very popular.

You will then drive to Kaikoura, your destination for today.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Bicycle tour through the wine regions on your own (wine tasting & lunch not included)

Dinner

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Destination Fairlie

 

Fairlie is a scenic farming town and the the gateway to the Mackenzie Basin, including idyllic destinations such as Lake Tekapo and Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. The town’s history is encapsulated in its local museum, where you can see exhibits of farming and household artifacts from days gone by, while the nearby Mount Dobson ski area is a magnet for skiing and snowboarding fans. For a more quirky experience, visit the Fairlie Alpaca Farm, where you can interact with these friendly creatures and learn how alpaca wool is made.

Day 12  Kaikoura – Fairlie

Farmstay – Fairlie Region • Fairlie
 
Day Notes

In Kaikoura there is the possibility to go whale watching by boat. The Kaikoura coast attracts sperm whales due to warm ocean currents, which find an abundance of food here.

You will continue south to the Canterbury Plain to your next accommodation,

In the afternoon you will be welcomed by a very warm farmer family, who will take you on a farm tour to get an insight into the life and work of the New Zealand rural population. Very impressive is e.g. the rounding up of the cattle and sheep.
Today you will spend the evening in a stylishly furnished farmhouse. With coziness at the open fireplace, the day will end here with a tasty dinner with certainly a lot of conversation with the farmers.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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Destination Lake Tekapo

 

Tekapo – commonly known as Lake Tekapo – is a small town located near the geographical centre of New Zealand’s South Island. As its name suggests, the town is primarily known as a lakeside resort village, offering some excellent outdoor activities in remote and tranquil surroundings. In addition to numerous hiking trails, mountain bike paths, horse trekking and a full array of water sports (including salmon fishing), Lake Tekapo is most famous for its stargazing opportunities. Head to the Mount John Observatory, where you will learn about the unique geography of its region and its cloud-free skies, which are supported by local light pollution laws, as the area seeks to secure World Heritage status for starlight preservation. Lake Tekapo also boasts the photogenic Church of the Good Shepherd and plenty of dining and lodging options.

Day 13  Fairlie  – Lake Tekapo

Peppers Bluewater Resort • Lake Tekapo
 
Day Notes

Driving south, you will soon experience an impressive change of vegetation. Passing vast farmlands you approach the Southern Alps. The drive goes through the McKenzie Country. Sparse rainfall makes this highland appear as a barren steppe landscape. Vast ‘tussock’ (native flowering grass) glades carpet the hills, transforming the landscape into a strange-looking, inner-alpine basin landscape.

At Lake Tekapo, the ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ is worth visiting, impressive for its remoteness and history.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Destination Queenstown

 

Queenstown is situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and has stunning views of the surrounding alpine peaks. Considered by many as one of the world’s adventure capitals, it offers visitors a wide selection of adrenaline-boosting activities to choose from, such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, zip lining, skiing and skydiving. Queenstown also has a lively bar and restaurant scene, and for those who prefer the quieter things in life there are vineyards, golf courses, spas and wellness centres.

Day 14  Lake Tekapo – Queenstown

Hotel St Moritz Queenstown • Queenstown
 
Day Notes

You will drive along the turquoise colored Lake Pukaki, in which the snow-covered peaks of the 3000m high Southern Alps are reflected in good weather. From here it is not far to Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3754m.

The journey continues through the McKenzie Basin to Omarama, the “place of moonlight”, with its bizarre silty sandstone rocks, a paradise for glider pilots because of its special thermals.

Sparse rainfall makes this highland appear as a barren steppe landscape. Vast tussock meadows, which cover the hills like a carpet, transform the landscape into a peculiar looking inner alpine basin landscape.

You cross the Lindis Pass (971 m) and reach Central Otago and soon after Queenstown, which is often called the “St. Moritz of the South Seas”. Due to its beautiful mountain location on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the small resort town of Queenstown has developed into the popular tourist center of the South Island.  The elongated lake stretches between steeply rising mountain ranges. 

You will spend the rest of today in this scenery. You can take an optional cable car ride to Bob’s Peak (Lookout Mountain), for a magnificent view of the adventure capital of New Zealand and the surrounding mountains. There you will also find the Stratosfare Restaurant.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Day 15  Queenstown

Hotel St Moritz Queenstown • Queenstown
 
Day Notes

From a culinary point of view, Queenstown is also a one-stop shop. There are restaurants and bistros all over town. A particularly big visitor magnet is the snack bar ‘Fergburger’. Especially English tourists are drawn here in masses.

In the afternoon you will take a trip on the historic steamship “TSS Earnslaw” and cross Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Here you will see a farm tour and have a grilled dinner before returning to Queenstown by steamboat.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • TSS Earnslaw Historic Steamship Cruise to Walter Peak Sheepfarm incl. Gourmet BBQ Dinner (circa 3.5hrs)
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Destination Te Anau

 

Te Anau is situated in the southern region of New Zealand’s South Island, on the eastern bank of Lake Te Anau (the largest lake on South Island). The town is the perfect gateway to the unique and awe-inspiring geographical attractions of Milford Sound (boasting rich marine life and spectacular views), and the Fiordland National Park (offering the excellent Kepler, Routeburn, and Milford hiking and biking trails among astonishing landscapes). However, beautiful Te Anau has plenty to offer in its own right. Active travellers can enjoy water sports on the lake, such as kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and trout fishing, while gentle boat cruises provide a more leisurely option. Make sure to visit the incredible Te Anau Caves to see other-worldly displays of glowworms and an impressive underground waterfall, and visit the beautiful native birds at the Punanga Manu o Te Anau aviary.

Day 16  Queenstown – Te Anau

Fiordland Lodge • Te Anau
 
Day Notes

You will drive to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park. At the entrance to the town, on the shore of the lake, is the Bird Sanctuary/Wildlife Centre, which is well worth seeing. It is home to endangered native birds that are difficult to observe in the wild. The takahe, a flightless rail, was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in a remote mountain range in 1948 and has been strictly protected ever since. Other rare birds can also be found here in large-scale aviaries.

Also, the glowworm cave is a very popular attraction. Experience a mysterious underground world on a guided cave tour past the rushing waters of an underground stream before drifting in silent darkness under the glowing glow of hundreds of glowworms.
 

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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Day 17  Te Anau – Milford Sound – Te Anau

Fiordland Lodge • Te Anau
 
Day Notes

Today another highlight is on the program. You will drive to the Fjordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest and at the same time most undeveloped national park. Hardly any landscape embodies the term wilderness better than Fjordland.

In the west, 14 fjords penetrate deep into the primeval forests of a rugged alpine world like overlong ocean tongues. Not far away, snow-covered mountain peaks rise above alpine grass mats to 2700 meters.

On what is arguably New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain road to Milford, you’ll pass Mirror Lakes and the gloomy Homer Tunnel, and even encounter parrots and keas at one stop. After about 2.5 hours of driving you will reach the landmark of New Zealand and the most beautiful end of the world, Milford Sound. Lush vegetation stands out in front of the reflecting fjord and in the background a huge mountain rises from the earth. Already deeply impressed, you will start a boat trip past huge waterfalls and, with a little luck, encounter seals, penguins and dolphins. Afterwards you drive back to Te Anau.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Real NZ – Milford Sound cruise
  • Dinner
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Destination Southland

 

This is the southernmost region of New Zealand and also one of the most sparsely populated. It is home to the largest national park in New Zealand – Fiordland National Park in the west – as well as Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island. Fiordland is dominated by mountains, fjords and glacial lakes and home to the famous Milford Sound and Mirror Lakes. Popular adventure activities in the park include boating, surfing, sport fishing and jet-skiing, while hiking and mountain-biking are perfect ways to take in the unrivalled scenic beauty of what locals call “The Real New Zealand”.

Day 18  Te Anau – Invercargill

Tudor Park Country Stay & Garden • Southland
 
Day Notes

You will travel towards Invercargill on the ‘Southern Scenic Route’.  It is New Zealand’s southernmost small town, founded by the Scots. Visit Queens Park or Transport World. Queens Park is a magnificent public park in the heart of Invercargill, covering 80 acres of beautifully maintained gardens and wildlife habitats.

At Transport World, discover the world’s largest private automotive museum of its kind. With over 300 classic vehicles, Invercargill Café The Grille to explore, there’s something for everyone here. Perhaps try the ‘Fish and Chips’ which are particularly delicious in New Zealand today.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Destination Otago Peninsula

 

Creating one wall of the eroded valley that now forms Otago Harbour, the Otago Peninsula lies half an hour’s drive east of Dunedin City on the Otago Coast. The sliver of land is home to numerous interesting heritage sites, stunning wild walking trails, and impressive, accessible wildlife. The haven of rolling hills, tranquil bays and soft sandy beaches make idyllic landscapes to explore. A host of tours show visitors sites such as the impressive gothic revival Larnach Castle, the 1000-year-old matai trees in the Glenfalloch Woodland Garden, and the Ōtākou Marae Cultural Centre, which offers insight into Ngai Tahu life. Animals that make their home here include albatross, penguins, fur seals and sea lions. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch the port’s daily operations and learn about maritime pursuits at the Maritime Museum.

Day 19  Invercargill – Dunedin/Otaga Peninsula

Camp Estate at Larnach Castle • Otago Peninsula
 
Day Notes

You will travel along the scenic ‘Southern Scenic Route’. The Catlins district offers a wide range of hiking opportunities and many other attractions. The first highlight is the southernmost point of the South Island, a lighthouse, at ‘Waipapa Point’, where in 1881 New Zealand’s most terrible shipwreck took place. 131 people died when the ship ‘Tararua’ ran onto a reef here.

In Purpoise Bay, if you are lucky, you can see the very rare Hector’s dolphins, which belong to the smallest dolphin species in the world and are found only in New Zealand waters. Sometimes the very rare Yellow-eyed Penguins can also be seen here. Then at nearby Curio Bay, the tree stumps and fallen logs of a 160 million year old petrified forest can be marveled at when it becomes visible on a rock platform at low tide.

Another lighthouse is located at Nugget Point, which was commissioned in 1870. From here, New Zealand fur seals and sea lions can be seen, as well as elephant seals, and many species of seabirds. Soon you will leave the Catlins and reach Dunedin. Dunedin is known as the “Scottish Stronghold” of New Zealand. It was Scots who named their settlement Dunedin in 1847 – the Gaelic name for Edinburgh. Today, the former settlement is considered the world’s best preserved Victorian town.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Destination Christchurch

 

Despite the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, Christchurch was placed second on The New York Times’ list of 52 ‘Places to Go’ in 2014. This speaks volumes of the spirit of this city and its people, whose collective creativity has seen a number of restorative art projects developed on the empty lots and buildings the disasters left behind. The city also offers a fabulous array of activities, including punting down the Avon River, helicopter tours, hot-air ballooning and whale and dolphin watching. Or stroll around the Botanic Gardens.

Day 20  Dunedin – Christchurch

The George • Christchurch
 
Day Notes

Today you will drive along the east coast towards the north. The small settlement of Moeraki invites you to take a break off the main route. Here on the beach are the mysterious stone balls of the ‘Moeraki Boulders’, which fascinate visitors again and again.

Continuing north along the Pacific coast we reach the limestone town of Oamaru. The town is known for its Victorian architecture, rich history and little blue penguins. The port was vital to Oamaru and surrounding agriculture during the late 19th century. Grain and wool were stored in often elaborate warehouses built from limestone quarried nearby. Many of the well-preserved majestic buildings still stand in the historic district and house a wide variety of curio stores, eateries, etc. Afterwards, continue on to Christchurch.

Included
  • Breakfast
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Day 21  Christchurch

The George • Christchurch
 
 
Day Notes

The South Island’s largest city is a lively, cosmopolitan place with exciting festivals and theaters, diverse shopping and other attractions.

The Christchurch Art Gallery, one of the CBD’s most popular destinations, is a cornucopia of creative treasures. New Zealand art sits alongside international artifacts in a building worth visiting for its architectural value alone. The Canterbury Museum, proudly located at heritage hotspot Rolleston Ave and Worcester Boulevard, is a must visit. Interactive exhibits, taxidermy, contemporary and iconic art, and an incredible Antarctic collection. Right next door is the Botanical Gardens.

For your last evening, we recommend the following activity. Dine in style in the restored historic streetcar, in an air-conditioned carriage. During a sightseeing tour through the heart of the rebuilt city center, you will experience a unique blend of old and new.

Included
  • Breakfast
Expert Tips
  • Today you will drive to the ‘Banks Peninsula’, a peninsula near Christchurch created by volcanic activity. The largest town here is Akaroa, the only former French settlement in New Zealand. French settlers settled here shortly after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, making the land British territory. To this day Akaroa has retained its French charm. You will have plenty of time to stroll along the harbor promenade with its numerous cafes and art galleries. Optionally, you can take part in a harbor tour. Wave-riding Hector’s dolphins can be seen here regularly. These very rare and smallest marine dolphins in the world are only at home in New Zealand waters. In the afternoon return to Christchurch. (optional)

End of Itinerary

Day 22  Christchurch

 
 
Day Notes

Today your New Zealand trip ends.

You will drive to the airport and drop off your rental car to board your onward or homebound flight from there. We wish you a safe journey home.

Included
  • Breakfast
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