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New ZealandNorth and south island journey

  • Highlights
See the best of New Zealand on this independent self-drive adventure. You’ll discover Auckland, Waiheke Island, glow work caves, Maori culture, art-deco Napier, the capital Wellington, the National Museum – Te Papa, Abel Tasman National Park, magnificent whale watching, one of the world’s great train journeys, Milford Sound and even more outdoor adventures.
Tour itinerary includes
  • Seaside
  • City
  • Sightseeing
  • Nature observation
    Nature observation
  • Water sports
    Water sports

Customizable tour itinerary

This tour idea is fully customizable

This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland!

Welcome to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland offers all of the things associated with a sophisticated cosmopolitan city, from beautiful scenery to adrenaline pumping adventure - and first-class food and wine.


Day 2: Wine or Waiheke

Discover Waiheke Island. Take a picturesque 40-minute boat trip followed by a deluxe vineyard tour combines world-class wine with the beautiful surroundings of Waiheke Island. On conclusion of the tour, take advantage of the All Day Bus Pass. This allows you to either return to a destination on the tour, or discover the island further on Fullers Waiheke Island scheduled bus services.


Day 3: Waitomo Caves and Maori Cultural experience

Pick up rental car and drive to Waitomo Caves. Your guide will lead you through the limestone chambers and passages to see stunning features and the famous 'Cathedral'. The highlight of a visit to the Glowworm Cave is a silent boat trip through the glowworm grotto. Marvel at Mother Nature's light display as you glide quietly beneath the lights of thousands of glowworms suspended from the cave ceiling.

Continue on to Rotorua. This evening gains an authentic introduction to Maori culture that will leave you amazed and in awe. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress, witness a cultural performance. Sit down to a traditionally cooked hangi meal – cooked underground.


Day 4: Drive Rotorua to Napier

This morning drive to Napier. Afternoon at leisure.


Day 5: Art Deco tour and Wellington

Begin your day with an art deco guided walk of Napier. Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco, the style of the 20th Century - in such a concentrated area as Napier. You’ll receive an informative Art Deco Walk booklet. Complimentary refreshments and a movie screening are available afterwards. At the conclusion of your tour, drive to Wellington. Wellington’s compact village-like size makes the city an easy place to walk around, yet its cosmopolitan flavor it the sophistication of a big city.

​Visit Zealandia, a unique, world-first eco-attraction, providing an excellent opportunity to experience New Zealand's natural environment just minutes from the capital city. With over 225 hectares of regenerating native forest and 40 species of birds, Zealandia is surrounded by a world-first "predator-proof" fence, the forest and wildlife are able to thrive without introduced animals and pests threatening their survival - thus providing a safe haven for New Zealand's precious rare and endangered birds. There are no cages here - the wildlife is in its natural environment.

Napier, Wellington

Day 6: Te Papa

Te Papa is a gateway to an encounter with the essence of New Zealand's land and people. Wonderful Maori cultural treasures, art, and objects are presented through fascinating stories, thought-provoking interpretations, and engaging interactives. Over the five floors of the museum you can explore the breadth of the New Zealand story - from the shaping of its land to the spirit of its diverse peoples, from its unique wildlife to its distinctive visual culture.

Te Papa, Wellington

Day 7: Welcome to the South Land!

Today you will take the Interisland Ferry from Wellington to Picton, make sure to hang out on the deck to catch the beautiful scenery! Once you arrive in Picton, you’ll pick up your rental car from the Ferry Terminal. Enjoy a leisurely, scenic drive to Nelson.


Day 8: Abel Tasman National Park guided sea kayaking

Discover the beautiful beaches, tidal estuaries and rivers of the most scenic kayaking area of the Abel Tasman National Park. Cruise the forest-fringed bays and granite archways of the unique coastline, explore the wondrous headlands, coves and islands of the coast. Stop at at a sheltered cove for lunch then relax on the beach, swim or or explore the native forest.

Day 9: Kaikoura

Wake up and take a scenic drive to Kaikoura – famous for whale watching, dolphin swimming and spectacular scenery.


Day 10: Whale watching

Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical whale watch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales.

​This afternoon drive to Christchurch. The largest city in the South Island offers fresh and exciting attractions, a lively café scene, lots of Victorian architecture, and many beautiful parks and gardens.

Day 11: Tranz Alpine Train

The TranzAlpine scenic train journey travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. You’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, spectacular gorges and river valleys, and the Southern Alps before descending through lush rainforest to the West Coast town of Greymouth. Drive to Franz Josef.

ChristchurchGreymouth, Franz Josef

Day 12: Franz Josef Glacier

Today you will have a fantastic introduction to an enthralling world of ice, traversing the impressive terrain on the lower reaches of Franz Josef Glacier. After a short walk through regenerating rainforest, the trip continues along the glacier valley with your guide calling stops to explain the unique features of the Franz Josef Glacier and its surroundings. This afternoon, drive to Queenstown.

Franz Josef

Day 13: Welcome to Queenstown!

Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere's premiere four season alpine and lake resort. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables Range, Queenstown is the perfect destination all year round.


Day 14: Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Milford Sound is a world-renowned natural wonder where mountains stand tall, straight out of the sea. Luxuriant rainforest clings to sheer rock walls and waterfalls tumble hundreds of meters to the sea below. Whatever the fiord’s mood – brooding and wet, or tranquil in the sunshine – it will inspire you. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife.

Milford Sound

Day 15: Dart River Funyak Safari

Today enjoy a truly unique outdoor adventure safari. The journey begins with an exciting jetboat ride up the Dart River. You will then be introduced to your Funyak - a unique inflatable canoe. You’ll paddle and drift downstream, taking in all the awe-inspiring sights amidst the Dart River channels. You will stop amongst the ancient beech forest for buffet lunch and explore hidden side streams, rock stream, rock pools before continuing downstream to Paradise. Take a 4WD coach to Glenorchy, stopping to view the stunning scenery that has inspired films like Lord of the Rings.

Milford Sound

Day 16: Head Home

Transfer from your hotel to Queenstown Airport.


Auckland Rotorua Napier Wellington Te Papa Picton Abel Tasman National Park Kaikoura Christchurch Greymouth Franz Josef Queenstown Milford Sound

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. $3,800 / 16 days
Excluding international flights
2 Pax
Price per person$3,800

Included in price:

  • Accommodation for 15 nights in Auckland (2), Rotorua (1), Napier (2), Wellington (2), Nelson (2), Kaikoura (1), Christchurch (1), Franz Josef (1), Queenstown (3)
  • Guided wine tour on Waiheke Island
  • Waitomo Caves glow worm tour
  • Maori Cultural Experience and Hangi feast
  • Guided art deco walk in Napier
  • Zealandia fauna & flora eco-attraction in Wellington
  • Guided tour of Te Papa Museum
  • Guided kayak tour of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Whale watch experience
  • World famous TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Guided half day glacier walk on Franz Josef Glacier
  • Scenic cruise of the beautiful Milford Sound
  • Funyak safari and jetboat adventure
  • Compact car rental for 11 days
  • Airport transfer
  • New Zealand GST (15%)
  • Springboard Vacations’ 24/7 local travel assistance and support
  • Springboard Vacations’ complimentary Travel Protection Plan

Not included in price:

  • International and national airfares
Book your flights to New Zealand
International flights are not included in this trip. Thanks to our partnership with Option Way, you can take advantage of booking your flights directly with your local agent.
Check out the many benefits:
  • Competitive rates
  • All-inclusive prices with no hidden fees
  • Your local agent Liz, in New Zealand, will inform you of any changes to your flights
For more information or to book your flights directly, head to our partner site.

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