Day 1: Auckland
On your arrival, present yourselves to the Budget Rent a Car desk. You will receive your tour manual and rental car. Make your way to your pre-booked accommodation as described in your tour manual. Should any problems or queries arise, call us during business hours and we’ll be happy to help. Rest New Zealand Tours 09-486-0636
Day 2: Bay of Islands
Travel to the Bay of Islands, a popular holiday destination for many Aucklanders. Spend tonight at Russell (240km).
Day 3: Bay of Islands
A free day in the Bay of Islands gives you the opportunity to explore and take part in some of the offered activities. We recommend a drive along ’90 Mile Beach’ to the northern most point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga, a sailing trip or boat excursion through the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett.
Day 4: Subtropical North
Drive along desolate beaches in the subtropical north towards Cable Bay and Taipa. Your destination is located on the coast at a beautiful sandy beach. (85km)
Day 5: Hibiscus Coast
Today’s route will take you past giant sand dunes and through New Zealand’s oldest Kauri forest (Waipoua). A short walk to the tallest Kauri tree, Tane Mahuta, and a trip to the Matakohe Kauri museum are recommended, before you stop in Matakana. (391km)
Day 6: Coromandel Peninsula
Heading along the west coast you will arrive at the town of Coromandel, where you’ll have the opportunity to take a ride on the ‘Driving Creek Railway’. Cut across the peninsula and experience the east coast with short walks to ‘Hot Water Beach’ or ‘Cathedral Cove’, ending up in Tairua where you stay tonight. (260km)
Day 7: Thermal Pools and Geyers
The focus of today’s journey is on Rotorua, the capital of Maori Culture and geothermal activity. We suggest a visit to Whakarewarewa where you can see New Zealand’s biggest geyser, as well as the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where you’ll be shown the traditional art of wood carving. In the evening we propose you participate in a Maori Hangi and concert (Maori food and cultural performance). Overnight in Rotorua. (214km)
Day 8: Tongariro National Park
You may also want to take a look at the geothermal area of Wai-O-Tapu with its impressive coloured pools, or the Huka Falls, before you appear at New Zealand’s largest lake, Taupo. Today’s expedition finishes in the Tongariro National Park at the foot of the (still active) volcanoes, Mt. Ruapehu. Overnight at Ohakune. (179km)
Day 9: Mt. Taranaki National Park
Visit the volcano, Mt Taranaki, well away from the usual tourist track. Take a short track through Mt Taranaki/Egmont National Park. Complete the day in New Plymouth.
Day 10: Wellington
Drive to Wellington the capital of New Zealand. We recommend a visit to Te Papa, the very interesting National Museum or a free of charge guided tour through the parliament building. Wellington is also the home to the Embassy Theatre, which screened the world premieres of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Enjoy the nightlife in one of the many good restaurants and spend the night in Wellington. (335km)
Day 11: Marlborough Sounds
Drop off your rental car at the ferry terminal in Wellington. The ferry crossing over Cook Strait to the South Island provides a pleasant change of scenery. After arriving in Picton, collect your new rental car. Via the Marlborough Sounds and Nelson, you come to Kaiteriteri/ Marahau, at the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park where you stay overnight. (165km)
Day 12: Abel Tasman Narionl Park
Enjoy a free day at Abel Tasman National Park. Numerous activities are available in the allotted time frame. How about a gentle trek through the forest or a kayak on crystal clear water? For the not-so-energetic travellers, lying on a golden beach all day is also an option. Later on, a boat trip to Tonga Island is worthwhile. With a bit of a luck your might spot some of the local wildlife, including Robins, Dolphins and Penguins.
Day 13: Paparoa National Park
Drive to the West Coast. In Westport you have the opportunity to view a seal colony, and the Pancake rocks at Punakaiki are a must-see. Go for a stroll along the Porari River. Overnight on the West Coast. (330km)
Day 14: Glagiers and Rainforests
Travel through the ever-green rainforest which climbs up to the very edge of the Franz Josef glacier. Climb up to the glacier- peak, or take a helicopter flight and see everything from a birds-eye perspective. Overnight at Franz Josef. (170km)
Day 15: Westland National Park
An extra night in Franz Josef will give you the chance to explore the area in more detail. Perhaps you might be interested in a guided tour on the glacier or a plane trip through the Southern Alps to Mt Cook? Between October and December you can observe Penguins on Monroe Beach.
Day 16: Queenstown
Climbing over Haast Pass you enter Central Otago, a striking colour change from lush green to desert brown. This area is renowned for its fruit and wine produce. We recommend you stop at Gibbston Valley Vineyard for lunch and wine-tasting, before you move on to Queenstown for your overnight stay. (287km)
Day 17: Queenstown
Spend today in and around Queenstown at your leisure. Many different activities are on offer. Take a cruise on the steamship, Earnslaw or a jet-boat ride up the Shotover River. Maybe you just want to enjoy a coffee in one of the numerous cafes or choose a few gifts to take back home. Another night spent in Queenstown tonight.
Day 18: Milford Sound – Fiordland National Park
On today’s agenda is an expedition to the famous Milford Sounds. The drive to get there is itself an experience. Move through the Eglington and Hollyford regions to the reflecting water of Milford Sounds with its mirror image of adjacent Mitre Peak. With a bit of luck you might see the Kea birds at the highest point of the park, beside the Homer Tunnel. A boat-trip up the Milford Sounds is optional. Check out the “Chasm” waterfall before you complete your day at Te Anau, beside the lake with the same name. Overnight in Te Anau. (289km)
DAY 19: Invercargill – Bluff- Stewart Island
Journey continues to the southernmost point of New Zealand. Towards Fiordland National Park, the biggest and to date most unexplored ancient forest of New Zealand. Look at New Zealand as it used to be two hundred years ago. Visit the Clifden hanging bridge, Lake Hauroko (the deepest lake in New Zealand), or the Dean Forest, filled with 1000year old Totara trees. Past Riverton and Invercargill you reach Bluff, at New Zealand’s most southern end. Another highlight of your tour is the subsequent ferry crossing over Foveaux Strait to your lodge on bush covered Stewart Island which will be your accommodation for tonight.
Day 20: Stewart Island
Pure Nature! Spend a free day on Stewart Island. Today you can: trek to an isolated beach, take a boat ride around the bays, visit a Robin colony on Ulva Island, or observe wild kiwi. Otherwise try and catch your own dinner in the fish-abundant waters. The dinner you receive at the local South Sea Hotel is sure to be a special experience.
Day 21: The Catlins and Dunedin
Ferry crossing back to Bluff. Pick up your rental car. Secret tip: Drive through the wild Catlins, a coastal region of breathtaking beauty. Take a look at a prehistoric forest and stop past Nugget Point and conclude today’s journey in Dunedin where you stay overnight. (282km)
Day 22: Otago Peninsular – Southern Alps
This morning you have the opportunity to visit the Yellow Eyed Penguins colony and the home of the mighty albatrosses, which have made Dunedin their home. From Dunedin you drive north past the famous Moeraki Boulders and end up in the centre of the Island in Omarama where you stay overnight. (240km)
Day 23: Mount Cook
A short drive will take you to the turquoise colored Lake Tekapo and we recommend a scenic flight over Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and the surrounding alpine landscape. Your final destination is the garden city of Christchurch where you spend your last night in New Zealand. (300km)
Day 24: Christchruch
Drop off your vehicle at Christchurch International Airport.
The shown tour prices are based on 4 people sharing a vehicle allowing for off season budget accommodation as well as high season standard accommodation
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Australia and Oceania New Zealand Local Culture Self Drive Multi-activity
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