Hiking Holidays in New Zealand - Self Drive Tour Experience

22 Great Days – Hiking in New Zealand – Season 2024/2025

New Zealand Self Drive Tour & Hiking Holiday Package

Our New Zealand Self Drive Tours 4.9/5
4.9/5

Welcome to one of the top hiking and travel destinations of the world!

Featuring spectacular day hikes, this journey takes you to the beating heart of New Zealand’s diversity and wilderness.

 

New Zealand is one of the world’s best hiking destinations with it’s dramatic scenery and the national parks are extensive.This self drive tour package includes great activities!

 

This ‘Hiking in New Zealand’ self drive tour takes you to some of our major national parks and world class day hikes. Experience the volcanoes in the Tongariro National Park and enjoy a swim at the golden beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park. See stunning water falls in the Milford Sounds and explore the Southland.

This is a fantastic route to many of the iconic places across the country. Learn more about Maori Culture, our land, our people, our incredible nature. Enjoy three weeks full of daily outstanding experiences. Welcome to one of the top hiking and travel destinations of the world!

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.

new zealand tour tongariro day hike self drive tours new zealand taupo holidays
new zealand hiking tour holiday self drive tours new zeland walks national parks south island nature day walk
new zealand hiking holidays kepler track self drive tours nature trips holiday new zealand

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

NZD 6,070 *

 
New Zealand Tours Sepcialist Tour Operator DMC
New Zealand Tourism Board certified specialist

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. You 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, 21x overnight stays in accommodation as described
    • 2 Nights at Auckland City Hotel - Hobson Street - 1 x Studio BB
    • 1 Night at Aotearoa Lodge & Conference Centre - 1 x Superior Studio BB
    • 2 Nights at Prince’s Gate Hotel - 1 x Classic Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Skotel Alpine Resort - 1 x Superior Room BB
    • 1 Night at West Plaza Hotel- 1 x Standard Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Picton Beachcomber Inn - 1 x Standard Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Kimi Ora Holiday & Health Resort - 1 x Studio BB
    • 1 Night at Beachfront Hotel Hokitika - 1 x Driftwood Superior Room BB
    • 1 Night at Holly Homestead B&B - 1 x Standard Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Wanaka Hotel - 1 x Lake Facing Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Kingsgate Hotel - 1 x Superior Room BB
    • 2 Nights at Aoraki Mt Cook Alpine Lodge - 1 x Standard Room BB
    • 1 Night at Heartland Hotel Cotswold - 1 x Standard Studio BB
  • Meals:
    • Daily breakfast
    • Maori Hangi Dinner

new zealand self drive tours hiking luxury food wine holidays inbound tour operator small groups

  • Rental car hire:
    • Vehicle according to the booked category, day 1 - 22
    • Rental car insurance: Fully inclusive
    • unlimited kms, additional drivers
    • airport/ferry terminal fees
    • Digital travel documents
  • Tour & Activity Pack:
    • Fullers - Rangitoto Island Ferry Return
    • Mitai Maori Village Evening Experience - Cultural Experience including Hangi Dinner
    • Kaitiaki Adventures - Mt Tarawera Crater Walk Experience
    • Waimangu - Walk and hike
    • Tongariro Crossing shuttle bus
    • Beachcomber Cruises: Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge
    • Wilson's Abel Tasman - Seals and Beach
    • Real NZ - Milford Sound Cruises, Nature Cruise UNESCO-World heritage area

new zealand self drive tour Greymouth Rapahoe Beach small group tours couple holiday new zealand honeymoon luxury tours

  • Ferry: Interislander Ferry crossing North Island/South Island for foot passengers and hire cars
  • Transfers: Tongariro National Park: Tongariro Crossing Day Walk shuttle bus
  • While in New Zealand 24 hour support
  • Tour Excludes:
    • Insurances
    • Gasoline and Parking Fees
    • Flights
    • Meals unless otherwise noted
    • Optional Activities

Additional Information:

  • Interactive itinerary 22 Great Days Hiking in New Zealand
  • Before you travel to New Zealand - New Zealand travel tips - Good to know!
  • You can travel Auckland-Christchurch or Christchurch-Auckland.
  • This tour package can be customized to suit your requirements precisely!
  • 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.

We all know Terms and Conditions are really boring.

 

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

new zealand sheep shearing sheep farm auckland day tour new zealand self drive tours

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 – Auckland

Auckland City Hotel • Auckland
 
Day Notes

Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand.

Arrive at Auckland Airport and pick up your rental car. During the drive to your hotel you will get to know the “City of Sails”, as Auckland is also known. You can drive up the extinct volcanic cone of Mount Eden for beautiful views over the city, or to the elegant suburb of Parnell and on to Auckland Harbour. The “Maritime Museum” is also located at the port. It houses displays of New Zealand’s maritime history, from the earliest Polynesian explorers and settlers to modern day America’s Cup triumphs. Just before sunset we recommend a visit to the Auckland “Sky Tower”. This magnificent 328 m high tower is the focal point of this beautiful city. From the top you’ll experience incredible 360° views of ancient volcanoes, sparkling sunlit harbors and more.

Included
  • Pick up your rental at the Auckland Airport
auckland holiday day tours new zealand shore excursion day trip private tour guide
new zealand holidays auckland trips self drive tours new zealand private tour airport transfer auckland trips
auckland city tour holidays new zealand day trips private tours auckland skytower self drive tours new zeland luxury

Day 2  Auckland – Rangitoto Island

Auckland City Hotel • Auckland
 
Day Notes

In Auckland’s port, board a ship to reach Rangitoto Island, one of the youngest volcanic islands on earth. A hiking trail leads over solidified lava masses to the summit (260m) of this conically shaped island, which was formed around 700 years ago as a result of several eruptions. Alternatively, you can go swimming, fishing, relaxing or watching the birds and nature.

Included
  • Fullers – Rangitoto Ferry Return
Expert Tips

Rangitoto Summit Track
2 hrs return, 7 km

Rangitoto Island Auckland Volcanoes New Zealand Hauraki Gulf Tours America's Cup Day Trips Best Tour Operator Auckland Sightseeing self drive Tour guides holiday vacation destination management travel agency

Destination Whitianga/Coromandel Peninsula

 

Set on the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula’s Mercury Bay, alluring Whitianga is a charming seaside destination best known for Buffalo Beach, a five-kilometer-long stretch of white sand perfect for swimming, fishing, and collecting seashells. There are plenty of other activities on offer, including hiking(through the grand Coromandel Ranges), or kayaking or snorkelling (among bright schools of fish in the secluded Cathedral Cove, where a cathedral-like tunnel separates two tranquil, pristine beaches lapped by calm, turquoise waters). Those seeking an unusual and relaxing experience can dig themselves a private spa bath on Hot Water Beach. Travellers visiting in September can look forward to the Whitianga Scallop Festival, a fun-filled weekend tradition with an emphasis on seafood cuisine and cooking demos.

 

Day 3  Auckland – Whitianga

Aotearoa Lodge & Conference Centre • Whitianga
 
Day Notes

In the morning you leave the big city of Auckland. The Coromandel Peninsula impresses everyone who visits it with its different types of landscape, such as wildly rugged mountains, rough and steep rocky cliffs and sandy beaches like the South Seas. Drive along the east coast to Tairua and from there you can take a short drive to Hahei, which is close to Hot Water Beach. Enjoy a walk on the white sandy beach or swim in the invitingly clear sea. A hike to Cathedral Cove, a bizarrely sculptured rocky bay, is particularly spectacular. Surf erosion has impressively washed out the soft chalk cliffs.

new zealand tours coromandel cathedral cove holidays new zealand self drive tour luxury trips auckland
new zealand tours coromandel hot water beach small groups self drive tour guide new zealand holidays

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 4  Whitianga – Rotorua

Princes Gate Hotel • Rotorua
 
Day Notes

Today you’ll cruise across the Bay of Plenty towards Rotorua, the North Island’s premier attraction. This thermal city was built around the numerous hot mineral springs. Rotorua is also the center of Maori culture. An evening at “Mitai Village” gives you an authentic introduction to Maori culture. Be mesmerized by Pacific and Maori songs, dances and games, a rich, powerful, entertaining cultural concert, complete with a conclusion of the Maori war dance ‘Haka’. You will learn how to prepare a “hangi” in an earth oven, Maori customs, flora and fauna for medicinal purposes and much more. At the end you all enjoy the Hangi Buffet together.

Included
  • Mitai Maori Village Evening Experience – Cultural Experience incl Hangi Dinner 
new zealand self drive tours hobbiton trip new zealand holidays self drive tour new zealand inbound tour operator auckland
new zealand tours rotorua geyser private tour guides self drive tours dmc auckland day trip shore excursions
new zealand tours rotorua auckland shore excursion geothermal experience best self drive tours new zealand trips

Day 5  Explore Rotorua

Princes Gate Hotel • Rotorua
 
Day Notes

Today they are taking part in a half-day tour with Kaitiaki Adventures. First, an all-terrain vehicle takes you up to Mt Tawarewa, a volcano best known for the June 10, 1886 eruption. This fully guided hiking experience takes in the region’s unique landscape and history. With unsurpassed scenic views and 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and volcanoes, this experience is ideal.

Included
  • Kaitiaki Adventures – Mt Tarawera Crater Walk Experience
new zealand self drive tours rotorua maori culture nature tour holiday new zealand tours
new zealand tours rotorua geyser private tour guides self drive tours dmc auckland day trips

Destination Tongariro National Park

 

Tongariro is the oldest national park in New Zealand, located in the heart of North Island. It encompasses three active volcanoes – Mount Ngauruhoe, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ruapehu (one of the most active volcanos in the world) – that have great significance to the local Maori people. The raw beauty of the environment draws a high number of tourists, and is also the reason much of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed here. There are activities to be enjoyed by everyone here, from scenic cruises to white water-rafting, hiking, rock climbing and skiing in winter.

Day 6  Rotorua – Tongariro National Park

Skotel Alpine Resort • Tongariro National Park
 
Day Notes

In the “Waimangu Valley” the mud pools smack, the geysers hiss and the lakes steam. This thermal valley was only formed in 1886 when a volcanic eruption tore open the earth’s crust. An easy hike will take in hot springs and steaming cliffs, as well as the enigmatic Inferno Crater, which rises and falls 8m every 38 days. You will come to a lake at the bottom of which lie buried the white and pink calcite terraces ruptured by the Tarawera eruption. Drive to Lake Taupo, which you can reach after a stop at the famous Huka Waterfall if you wish. You continue to Tongariro National Park, characterized by the 3 active volcanoes, Ruapehu (2797 m), Tongariro (1967 m) and Ngauruhoe (2291 m). Its landscape of black ash, brown dusty desert and mountain streams lined with native beeches simply impresses everyone.

Included
  • Waimangu – Walk and hike
new zealand tours rotorua geysir geothermal holiday experience best self drive tours new zealand trips
new zealand holidays Rotorua Whirinaki Rainforest nature walks self drive tours luxury guided tours
Taupo Huka Falls Holiday package self drive new zealand touring best trips new zealand specialist private guided luxury tor guide agency best offer lake taupo

Day 7  Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Skotel Alpine Resort • Tongariro National Park
 
Day Notes

Early in the morning, a shuttle bus will take you to the start of the Tongariro Crossing. A path that has become one of the most popular hiking trails due to the ever-changing, sometimes lunar-like landscape and the spectacular views. You look out from Mt Tongariro (1968 m) on the sister volcanoes Mt Ngauruhoe (2291 m) and Mt Ruapehu (2797 m). You will cross several craters, pass fumaroles and hot springs and admire the bright turquoise Emerald Lakes. At the end of the approx. 6-10 hour hike (if you are in good physical condition) the shuttle bus will take you back to your accommodation.

Included
  • Shuttle Service Tongariro Crossing
new zealand tour tongariro day hike self drive tours new zealand taupo holidays
Tongariro-crossing-newzealand-vulcano-travel-holiday-guided-tour-operator

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  Tongariro National Park / Wellington

West Plaza Hotel • Wellington
 
Day Notes

Today you drive south and experience an interesting vegetation change. The drive through barren steppe land surrounded by peaks up to 2800 m brings you to the green, fertile farming areas of Rangitikei and Manawatu. Then, past the self-proclaimed “Wellington Boot Capital” Taihape, head towards the capital city of Wellington, where you’ll arrive in the afternoon. In the middle of a beautiful landscape, right on the rough seas, the famous Cook Strait, you will discover Wellington, also known as the “Windy City”. The city, which was founded in 1839 and separates the North Island of New Zealand from the South, earned this nickname due to the constant strong west wind. Stroll along the beautiful harbor promenade and discover well-preserved Victorian architecture in the city. The bright red cable car takes you up to the well-tended botanical gardens. There is no way around Te Papa, the lavishly furnished national museum. And maybe make a detour to Zealandia for an evening tour. The wilderness oasis near downtown is home to endangered species. Even primeval tuataras can be seen here – almost like in the wild.

new zealand tour volcanoe tongariro day hike self drive tours new zealand holidays
Wellington new zealand holiday experience self drive tour new zealand specialist DMC
Wellington new zealand tours self drive holiday new zealand tour

Destination Picton/South Island

 

Sandwiched between the lush green rolling hills of the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island and the calm, tranquil waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, lies the small, picturesque town of Picton. This peaceful seaside town is known as the gateway to the greater Marlborough area and it makes an excellent base for exploring the Sounds, the Queen Charlotte Track or the wonderful wine region around Blenheim. The town’s favourable location around a sheltered harbour makes it an ideal spot for boat cruising, fishing, dolphin watching or sea kayaking. Less energetic travellers can enjoy browsing local craft markets, exploring the floating maritime museum or simply watching the world pass by at one of the numerous cafés and bars lining the waterfront of this delightful little port town.

Day 9  Wellington – Picton / North Island – South Island

Picton Beachcomber Inn • Picton
 
Day Notes

Today you board the Interislander ferry. First, you will navigate the Cook Waterway, which separates the North Island from the South Island. Then glide through the Marlborough Sounds, an area of ​​’drowned’ valleys formed by the geological subsidence of a low mountain range. Steep mountain ridges, which today jut out as narrow peninsulas between deep sea arms, still bear witness to the original mountains. The steep banks have a fjord-like character in places. You will reach the small harbor town of Picton.

Included
  • Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton, 2x Person, 1x Vehicle
Wellington new zealand holiday experience self drive tour new zealand nature tours
New Zealand top 10 self drive tours best tour operator ferry north island wellington south island picton crossing cook strait honeymoon golf tours luxury travel finest accommodation premium travel nature dolphin best touroperator auckland wellington christchurch business travel sounds wine tasting rental car self drive booking tourism award destination newzealand booking
Ferry Wellington Picton Marlborough Sounds Cruise Tour Operator self drive small group tours golf luxury honeymoon travel newzealand ageny bespoke award eco trips north island south island

Day 10  Marlborough Sounds

Picton Beachcomber Inn • Picton
 
Day Notes

Your day starts early as you hike part of the famous Queen Charlotte Track. This 67km coastal walk stretches from historic Ship Cove to Anakiwa in the spectacular Marlborough Sounds. Through beeches, rimu trees and around coves, the route offers breathtaking views of the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds. The lush, subtropical bush is home to many bird species typical of New Zealand. Beachcomber Cruises will transfer you to Ship Cove by boat. From here you have a 15 km hike to Furneaux Lodge. Along the way you will be repeatedly rewarded with beautiful views.

Included
  • Beachcomber Cruises: Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge
new zealand food and wine self drive tours luxury holidays 3 weeks new zealand wine tours
new zealand self drive tour marlborough abel tasman south island tour holidays

Destination Kaiteriteri/Abel Tasman National Park

 

Loved for its beauitful golden sand beach(made of quartz and mica particles), the sunny town of Kaiteriteri is a launching place for trips into the Abel Tasman National Park. Kaiteriteri has a motor camp, motels, a general store and a choice of places to eat (check out the seafood). Local hikes include Withells Walk and Kaka Pah Point. From Kaiteriteri you can catch a water taxi or tour into the Abel Tasman National Park; you can also hire kayaks or arrange to go seal swimming. It’s often possible to rent a private beach house if you’re planning to stay for more than a few days.

Day 11  Picton – Kaiteriteri (Abel Tasman National Park)

Kimi Ora Eco Holiday and Health Resort • Kaiteriteri
 
Day Notes

A scenic drive along the coast takes you to the ‘shell town’ of Havelock, nestled on the edge of the Marlborough Sounds. You will drive via the Pelorus Gorge where you could enjoy a short hike through native forest. Continue to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city, and through fertile lands of wine, apples, pears and hops to the north coast of the South Island. From here you continue to your accommodation near the Abel Tasman National Park.

new zealand self drive tours abel tasman split apple tour operator new zealand small group holidays

Day 12  Abel Tasman National Park

Kimi Ora Eco Holiday and Health Resort • Kaiteriteri
 
Day Notes

On today’s half-day excursion, you will first enjoy the bays and beaches of the national park from the boat (about an hour’s drive). Stop at Tonga Island to get up close and personal with New Zealand fur seals. You then hike about 2 hours (4.1 km) past golden beaches, viewpoints, through native forest and over a suspension bridge with a waterfall to an idyllic bay where the boat will pick you up again and take you back to the starting point in Kaiteriteri. There are several swimming opportunities along the way.

Included
  • Wilsons Abel Tasman -Seals and Beach
new zealand self drive tours matapouri beaches north island tour couple holidays

Destination Hokitika

 

Hokitika or “Hoki” as locals have affectionately named this little town, is idyllically located on a stunning, driftwood-strewn beach on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Presided over by the towering Mount Cook and the Southern Alps this idyllic little town functions primarily as a gateway to the South Westland World Heritage National Park, however, the town itself offers plenty to keep you blissfully engaged. Hokitika is well-known for its excellent local crafts and has developed a prolific artistic community with an array of open studios and galleries displaying skilful artisans in the process of, among other things, weaving, greenstone carving or blowing glass. It’s a place of simple pleasures: scout the craft galleries, enjoy the fabulously fresh local seafood, or simply have a relaxing picnic on the banks of the picturesque Lake Kaniere surrounded exquisite snow-capped mountains. Hokitika is a great place to get away from the bustle of the city to engage in some wonderfully relaxing self-indulgence.

Day 13  Kaiteriteri – Hokitika

Beachfront Hotel Hokitika • Hokitika
 
Day Notes

You travel southwest through the Motueka river valley on a side route with great views. After crossing the Buller Gorge you will experience an impressive change in the flora and reach the subtropical lowland rainforest of the wild west coast. If time permits, a short hike at Cape Foulwind near Westport is a large colony of NZ Fur Seals. A wild and romantic landscape awaits you between Westport and Greymouth. The limestone cliffs of the “Pancake Rocks” near the small town of Punakaiki are famous. Wind and sea have worked hard on the rock, attacking soft intermediate layers of clay or sand and forming bizarre rock sculptures. At these “pancake rocks” you take an easy walk to experience the force of the Tasman Sea, which shoots up here at high tide through underground tunnel systems between the rocks from “blowholes”. You spend the night in Hokitika, which is primarily the center of processing the greenstone, the very hard New Zealand jade.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks West Coast New Zealand travel route self drive holiday private customized tours new zealand top travel agency best tours day excursions cruise
new zealand self drive tour hokitika south island holidays new zealand tours
new zealand tours hokitika west coast self drive tours south island best nature hikes

Destination Franz Josef

 

The quaint west coast town of Franz Josef has a few hundred permanent residents, but numbers swell during the holidays to around 2000 visitors per day. This is glacier country, and Franz Josef glacier (after which the town is named) and Fox Glacier, some 23km further south, are the main attractions. The town offers myriad options for cosy accommodation, especially after the snow and ice activities on offer – combine a helicopter tour with a guided walk on the glacial terrain to view ice caves, and spectacular crevisses and pinnacles. Helicopter tours over the two glaciers are also available, with a stop off at the head of either glacier so you can experience the frozen landscape up close.

Day 14  Hokitika – Franz Josef Glacier

Holly Homestead Bed & Breakfast • Franz Josef
 
Day Notes

The turquoise Hokitika River squeezes through a gorge that is wonderful to look down on an easy half-hour hike. Walk through dense native forest to a viewing platform and across a suspension bridge to another platform with sweeping gorge and river views. In Franz Josef you reach the southern Alps and now have the mountains directly in front of you. The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are among the few on earth whose glacier tongues reach down to the rainforest.

Expert Tips
  • Lake Matheson / Te Ara Kairaumati Walk 1.5 hrs,  2.6 km
  • Fox Gletscher / Te Ara or Tuawe Valley Walk 1 hr, 2.5 km
  • Ōkārito Trig Walk  1 hr 30 min, 4,2 km
new zealand self drive tours glaciers helicopter snow landing west coast hiking small groups best private tour
new zealand west coast tours franz josef glacier ice hiking holiday self drive tour
new zealand nature tour hikes self drive tours hiking day walk tour guides small groups

Destination Wanaka

 

Wanaka is a town located on the southern bank of Lake Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. This resort is known for being a prime access-point to the unique Southern Alps’ Mount Aspiring National Park – featuring rich birdlife, enormous mountains and many astounding glaciers – and which forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Area of Te Wahipounamu. However, besides being near the famous park, Wanaka also offers an abundance of outdoor activities. When it’s warm, enjoy water sports like kayaking and canoeing on Lake Wanaka, as well as hiking, rock climbing and 4×4 routes; while, in winter, you can go skiing and snowboarding on the white peaks of Snow Farm, Treble Cone or Cardonia (all within a 40-minute drive from Wanaka), and extreme sports enthusiasts even have the opportunity to heli-ski.

Day 15  Franz Josef Glacier – Wanaka

Wanaka Hotel • Wanaka
 
Day Notes

In the morning you have the option of circling Lake Matheson on an easy walk through the rainforest. When there is no wind, the glaciers and snow-covered mountains of the 3000m are reflected here, surrounded by the rainforest – a feast for the eyes and a popular photo motif! The journey continues to Westland National Park, where you can go on a 2-hour hike in the rainforest. Then it’s on to Haast. Cross the Haast Pass, the water and climate divide of the Southern Alps, and enter Aspiring National Park. Surrounded by gigantic mountains you drive along the lakes Hawea and Wanaka.

Expert Tips
  • Dune Lake Walk 30 min, 1 km
  • Monro Beach Walk 1 hr 20 min,  4,7 km
  • Ship Creek: Kahikatea-Swamp Walk (SH6) 20 Min, 800 m
  • Roaring Billy Falls  25 Min, 1 km
  • Blue Pools Track 1 hr, 10 km

Day 16  Wanaka

Wanaka Hotel • Wanaka
 
Day Notes

Centuries of glaciation formed the Lakes of Wanaka and Hawea. Discover these fantastic landscapes on mountain bike trails, paragliding flights, sightseeing flights or on foot along countless hiking trails. The gem of the region is the highest point, Mount Aspiring (3,027 m), which is located in one of the largest national parks in the country. Within the boundaries of the park one can discover a rare alpine world. The dominant short walk here and a must for all is the hike up Iron Mountain, which offers wonderful panoramic views for navigating the area In good weather conditions and for more serious hikers, we recommend the approximately 4-hour challenging hike to Rob Roy Glacier to get as close as possible to the three-thousander Mt. Aspiring. You drive into the Matukituki Valley and hike in the Rob Roy Valley, a gorge shaped by the Ice Age. Above the tree line you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the massive cliffs, surrounding glaciers and sub-alpine meadows. Often you will even come across the endemic, inquisitive Kea parrot, the only mountain parrot in the world.

Expert Tips
  • Wanaka Tree
Wanaka selfdrive holiday tour lake wanaka new zealand tours operator inbound agent agency travel specialist booking special best offers new zealand

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 17  Wanaka – Te Anau

Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau • Te Anau
 
Day Notes

Today you drive first to Queenstown. Due to its beautiful mountain location on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, this small holiday resort has become the popular tourist center of the South Island. The elongated lake extends between steeply rising mountain ranges. There you can take the gondola up Bob’s Peak in the morning to enjoy the views over Queenstown. Afterwards we recommend a hike up Ben Lomond. Then continue to Fiordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest and most undeveloped national park. Hardly any landscape embodies the term wilderness better than Fiordland. In the west, 14 fjords penetrate deep into the primeval forests of a rugged alpine world like overlong sea tongues. Not far, snow-covered mountain peaks rise above alpine grass mats up to 2700 m. You will first drive to Te Anau, the gateway to this World Heritage Site, and stay overnight.

Expert Tips
  • Ben Lomond Track  3-4 hrs, to Ben Lomond Sattel, 6-8 hrs to Ben Lomond Summit
new zealand holidays waitomo glow worm caves auckland day trips self drive tours
new zealand tours milford sound holidays trip self-drive tour hiking honeymoon luxury travel
new zealand tours milford sound self drive holidays new zealand roadtrip tour company dmc small groups

Day 18   Milford Sound

Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau • Te Anau
 
Day Notes

Another highlight is on the agenda today. On New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain road to Milford, you’ll pass the Mirror Lakes and the murky Homer Tunnel and even encounter parrots and keas at a stop. After a 2.5 hour drive you will reach New Zealand’s landmark and the most beautiful end of the world, Milford Sound. Fiordland National Park is New Zealand’s largest and most undeveloped national park. Hardly any landscape embodies the term wilderness better than Fiordland. At Milford Sound you will enjoy an extended boat trip where you will see more nature, waterfalls, wilderness and wildlife. On the way back to Te Anau, stop for a hike on the Routeburn Great Walk to Key Summit.

Included
  • Real NZ – Milford Sound Cruise
Expert Tips
  • Routeburn Great Walk to Key Summit  3 hrs, 3.4 km
  • Doubtful Sound – optional instead of Milford Sound (extra costs)
new zealand tours milford sound self drive tour new zealand holiday honeymoon luxury travel
new zealand tours milford sound self drive tour new zealand holiday honeymoon

Destination Mount Cook

 

Mount Cook Village (also known as Aoraki) is located near the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This retreat – lying within the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park – is an absolute must for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering an outstanding wilderness experience. The national park, which has been given UNESCO World Heritage status, is home to New Zealand’s highest mountain, its longest glacier its darkest night skies. In addition to hiking trails to suit all fitness levels, the area also offers boat tours along Terminal Lake (the end of the Tasman Glacier), 4×4 adventures, and world-renowned stargazing opportunities, while the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre boasts a 3D theatre and a planetarium.

Day 19  Te Anau – Aoraki/Mt Cook

Aoraki Alpine Lodge • Mount Cook Village
 
Day Notes

In the morning we drive via Queenstown to Arrowtown, a former restored gold mining town with an old Chinese settlement. This charming place invites you to café and stroll through the small shops. Continue inland through McKenzie Country. Sparse rainfall makes this highland appear as a barren steppe landscape. Wide “tussock” corridors, which span the hills like a carpet, transform the landscape into a peculiar inner-alpine basin landscape. At the nearby Pukaki Lake you have the opportunity to admire the grandiose glacier world. In this region full of contrasts, you end another eventful day in Mt Cook Village. The Maori call New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3724 m “Aoraki”, the “cloud piercer”.

 
Expert Tips
  • Arrowtown
new zealand tours Mt Cook luxury holiday new zealand self drive tour guide honeymoon travel small groups
new zealand self drive tours mt cook best new zealand self drive holidays
new zealand self drive tours mt cook lake tekapo tour operator dmc new zealand holiday

Day 20  Mt Cook

Aoraki Alpine Lodge • Mount Cook Village
 
Day Notes

Today you can go hiking in the Hooker valley and have the alpine mountains as a backdrop. First you cross a suspension bridge. The path continues to wind between two side moraines of the Müller Glacier. After another suspension bridge, the path descends slightly and you reach the shelter in a small depression. From here the valley of the “Hooker Glacier” with Mt Cook in the background can be clearly seen. It’s another 30 minutes to the glacier lake. After a rest you will start the return trip to Mt Cook village (total walking time: 4-5 hours).

Included
  • Breakfast at Hermitage Mt. Cook
Aoraki Mt Cook Lake Tekapo Nature self drive tours off the beaten track luxury tour operator selfdrive new zealand holiday specialist

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 21  Mt Cook – Christchurch

Heartland Hotel Cotswold • Christchurch
 
Day Notes

Before leaving the Southern Alps, we recommend a stop at the glacial lake Tekapo. A small chapel and a monument to herding dogs stand by the turquoise lake, which is located in the middle of the mountains. Herds of sheep and colorful flowers complete the idyllic picture with the white mountains in the background. You are now in McKenzie Country, a landscape with a steppe character. As far as the eye can see, New Zealand tussock grass sways in the wind. The journey continues through the extensive farmlands of the Canterbury Plains. Arrive in Christchurch in the afternoon, also known as the “most English city” outside of England. Downtown Cathedral Square is an interesting area, either hop on a restored tram or walk between Hagley Park and Cardboard Cathedral, New Regent Street and South City Mall. With a visit to the museum included, it’s easy to spend a whole day in central Christchurch by yourself. Don’t forget to visit the botanical garden. We recommend a detour to the Toi Pōneke Arts Centre. If you have time, take a gondola ride up Christchurch’s Overlook Mountain. From here you have a panoramic view of Christchurch, as well as the ‘Banks Peninsula’, a nearby peninsula formed by volcanic activity.

new zealand tours lake tekapo self drive tour new zealand holiday package
new zealand tours christchurch self drive holidays luxury golf tours honeymoon new zealand

End of Itinerary

Day 22  Christchurch

 
 
Day Notes

Your New Zealand trip ends today. You hand in your rental car at the airport in order to start your onward or home flight from there.

new zealand tour christchurch self drive holiday gardens south island new zealand tour operator specialist honeymoon new zealand
"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 guide 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

Get in touch for your unforgettable New Zealand holiday. That’s what we are here for. Behind this website are real people who are at your disposal with expertise and passion for this extraordinary place in the world. We know where to go as we live here – and we are looking forward to sharing our hidden gems with you.

Enjoy the Holiday of a lifetime