17 January 2017
21 nights fr £3295ppIncludes flights
Drive NZ bursting with scenic beauty and amazing wildlife
21 nights fr £3295ppIncludes flights
Drive NZ bursting with scenic beauty and amazing wildlife
Beautiful New Zealand is one of the world's top destinations to visit and on this comprehensive 21 day New Zealand Independence tour you will see all the amazing highlights. You drive yourself around the North and South Islands stopping at wonderful places like the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Wellington, Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch, stop to see majestic Mount Cook, spend time at the Franz Josef Glacier and spectacular Milford Sound. The land of the long white feather has so much to offer and this great tour is ideal for first time visitors or travellers who have been before but want to experience everything the country has to offer.
On arrival you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel in the city. Your driver will give you your travel documents and be able to make suggestions of what you should see and do in Aukland during the rest of the day and evening. There are great restaurants in the pulsating waterfront district and you could get to know the place better on an organised city tour.
After breakfast this morning collect your rental car from Avis Auckland City depot and possibly drive around the City Of Sails before travelling for around 200 miles up to the tropical and beautiful Bay of Islands, an aquatic playground with golden beaches, sheltered coves and turquoise water. You may like to travel via the Waipoua Kauri Forest for great views along the way.
Time to relax today with a full day of leisure enjoying all that the Bay of Islands has to offer. Make time for swimming with the dolphins, exploring this historic area and maybe end the day with a round of golf. There are countless sandy beaches and coves in the area and if you prefer you can spend the day soaking up the tropical sunshine.
A long drive today when you leave the Bay of Islands and travel the 300 miles to the Coromandel Peninsula, which is renowned for its spectacular coastline and white sandy beaches. The Coromandel is rugged and mysterious, yet also a place to flop on a beach and watch the waves roll in. In this area are the main centres of Thames, Whitianga, Whangamata, Paeroa, Waihi, Pauauni and Tairua to visit.
A full day at leisure with time to explore the bush and beaches on the Peninsula. The Coromandel, with its pristine beaches, native forests and laid-back vibe, is one of New Zealand’s most popular and best-loved holiday destinations. A binocular’s view across the gulf from Auckland, it is everything that a big city isn’t. Cloaked in native rainforest with dazzling white sand beaches, it is rustic, unspoiled and relaxed. Activities and attractions are plentiful, from fishing and diving to hiking and cycling. For the more adventurous there's Sleeping God Canyon, with its 300m vertical descent down a set of waterfalls.
A shorter drive today when you leave the Coromandel Peninsular and travel through farmland, lake land and forest for around 150 miles until the distinctive smell of sulphur and constant steam drifts let you know you are in tempestuous, geothermal Rotorua. This evening enjoy a memorable night of culture, song and dance followed by dinner cooked the traditional Maori way on hot stones underground.
Experience Maori culture today at Te Puia and take a tour through a thermal valley full of forceful geysers and bubbling mud pools. View woodcarving and weaving schools and see how these ancient arts are being passed on to a new generation. Explore Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, where you can get up close to the native flora and fauna. Then see New Zealand's agricultural industry in action at the Agrodome, a working farm where you can watch a sheep shearing display and sheep dog trials.
Today you drive south from Rotorua hugging the lakeshore of Lake Taupo to Tongariro National Park where the three volcanic mountains of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro dominate the scenery. Optional sightseeing today includes a scenic flight to get a great view of the active volcanoes and crater lakes in the area.Overnight at Tongariro.
Another long drive today when you leave the national park and head for Wellington - the capital city of New Zealand. Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between harbour and hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. The city is noted for its live theatre, art galleries, restaurants and cultural activities. On the Waterfront is Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s National Museum, one of the best interactive museums in the world.
This morning return your rental car to the Ferry Terminal Depot then board the Interislander Ferry for your journey across Cook Strait to Picton. On arrival in Picton on the South Island collect another rental car and make your way to Nelson. The NelsonTasman Region boasts vibrant coastal towns full of bustling cafes, charming boutiques and funky art galleries. Rich with spectacular scenery, three national parks are within 90 minutes of the city.
Another 300 mile drive today when you leave Nelson and make your way down the West Coast and journey through Paparoa National Park with its coastal cliffs, limestone gorges and wild, deserted beaches. En route a stop is recommended at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes where the surging sea has sculptured amazing shapes out of the rocks. Overnight in Hokitika.
Continue down the West Coast, a remote area with a ruggedly beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow capped mountains. At Franz Josef, your expert tour guide will take you on a Glacier Valley Walk along the mighty Waiho River bed following the glaciers path of retreat in this remarkable landscape and learn about the glacier's history. Near the terminal face, you will be rewarded with spectacular views. After your tour, relax in the Glacier Hot Pools, a haven of natural tranquility, nestled in the lush rainforest. The more adventurous can take a Franz Josef Glacier Ice Explorer Tour by helicopter.
Today you can fully appreciate the waterfalls and beautiful river scenery as you leave the coast and climb up the river valley to Haast Pass. The road snakes through the Aspiring National Park, and the vegetation becomes more sparse as you travel inland. Lakes Wanaka and Hawea make the last part of the trip wonderfully scenic on the way to the lakeside town of Wanaka where you spend the night.
Journey south for 100 miles today over the Clutha and Cardrona Rivers and via Lake Dunstan to Cromwell. Continue through the Kawarau Gorge before arriving at New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. An alternative route today is via the Crown Range Road which is New Zealand’s highest sealed highway. This route is shorter than the one via Cromwell however travel time may take longer due to the winding nature of the road.
A memorable day today in the Adrenelin Junkies capital of the world. Make your way to downtown Queenstown for your transfer to the Shotover River for a thrilling jet boat ride in the canyon. The boat skims past rocky outcrops, around crags and boulders and through the dramatic and narrow canyons. Return to Queenstown where the afternoon is free to enjoy some of the many other exciting activities on offer.
After breakfast in Queenstown possibly try a new exciting activity before driving on through spectacular 'Lord of the Rings' scenery to Te Anau. We suggest you travel via stunning Milford Sound where time is available to enjoy a cruise on the scenic sound . . . another of New Zealand's many must do experiences.
After all these activities you have a full day today in Te Anau. Possibly visit the famous Te Anau Glow Worm Caves or Doubtful Sound – the “Sound of Silence”. A gateway to Fjordland National Park, the quaint and peaceful township of Te Anau is nestled on the edge of a lake of the same name and is a perfect site for jetboating or fishing. Take one of many day-long hiking or walking tracks, then return to town to restore your body with a soak or massage at a spa and a delicious cafe meal.
Today you leave behind the beauty of fjordland and make your way to Dunedin. Dunedin and Coastal Otago is often referred to as the eco-capital of New Zealand. It is a region of natural beauty overlaid with a fascinating cultural history. On Dunedin’s doorstep you will find incredible wildlife including the world’s rarest penguins and the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross. And while in this very Scottish town, enjoy a haggis and visit the lovely railway station.
Another long drive today when you leave Dunedin and travel via Moeraki to view dozens of spherical boulders strewn along the windswept beach before reaching Oamaru. Then head inland via rugged hills, high country farms and stunning turquoise lakes before reaching the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, where the scenery is again fantastic whichever way you look.
This morning you may like to take an optional Tasman Glacier scenic flight or cruise across the lake before driving across the patchwork fields of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, one of New Zealand's best loved cities. Clean green Christchurch is the country's second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island. Bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps.
Today your wonderful 21 day New Zealand Independence tour comes to an end. Enjoy more of this magical city then return your rental car return to Christchurch Airport depot before catching an onward flight or beginning your journey home having seen so many of the highlights of this beautifuol and very English country.
Standard fr £2515pp
Superior fr £3016pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated