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Classic New Zealand self-drive

23 days from CAD12,375pp

What is tailor made? 100% custom | Exceptional experiences | Hand-picked guides | Lodging with character | Designed to your schedule, budget & interests

Itinerary highlights

  • Explore the beaches, caves and Maori sites of the Coromandel Peninsula.

  • Kayak on the beautiful and quite Mueller Glacier Lake.

  • Hike around the mountain town of Wanaka.

  • Enjoy a scenic nature cruise on Doubtful Sound.

Price includes

Fully insured vehicle rental
/svg> All accommodations
  • Auckland
  • Coromandel Peninsula
  • Rotorua
  • Wellington
  • Picton
  • Kaikoura
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Mount Cook National Park
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Mount Cook National Park
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Lake Wanaka
  • Te Anau & Manapouri
  • Queenstown

Itinerary idea in detail

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Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

Day 1 Auckland

Auckland

On arriving in Auckland you're welcomed by an Audley representative and transferred by private vehicle to your accommodation in the central city. The rest of the day is at leisure. Relax after your flight, or start exploring the city by taking a trip up the Sky Tower for 360-degree views over the city and harbours.

Day 2 Auckland

Auckland

Enjoy a day at leisure around Auckland. We recommend taking a stroll along the waterfront and enjoying a bite to eat at one of the cafes on Viaduct Harbour. In the afternoon, you might like to take a Maori guided tour of One Tree Hill, an important cultural site for both Maori and New Zealanders alike, which also offers great views over Auckland. Alternatively, make the short ferry trip to bucolic Waiheke Island and visit its many wineries.

Day 3 Coromandel Peninsula

Auckland , Coromandel Peninsula

Today, collect your hire car from the downtown depot and make your way to the Coromandel Peninsula. You can take the shorter drive, crossing the flat plains of the northern Waikato region and arriving at your accommodation in around two and a half hours. You could also, if you wish, take the more scenic five hour route. Sections of it hug the coast and you'll have great views of the Pinnacles mountain range. Stay three nights in the Coromandel Peninsula.

Day 4 Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula

Today you explore the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula with one of our best-loved guides, Kiwi Dundee. The guides will take you around the peninsula as part of a small group, showing you sights such as historic gold-mining caves, Maori sites, and Hot Water Beach (tide permitting). You'll enjoy a picnic lunch on this full day tour, and be dropped back at your accommodation at the end of the day.

Day 5 Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula

This morning paddle out to Cathedral Cove in a kayak to take in the beautiful islands and beaches that surround the area. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the peninsula.

Day 6 Rotorua

Coromandel Peninsula , Rotorua

Depart the Coromandel Peninsula this morning and make your way to Rotorua, where you will spend the next three nights. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the geothermal region.

Day 7 Rotorua

Rotorua

Head out for a full day walk around Mount Tarawera, a mountain that erupted in 1886 and destroyed the pink terraces and the Waimangu Valley. You will learn about the mountain's significance to the local Maori and how it impacted the area after its eruption.

Day 8 Rotorua

Rotorua

Spend the first half of the day riding a mountain bike through the highlands around Rotorua with an experienced guide. In the afternoon, make your way to the Rainbow Springs Wildlife and Nature Park, where you will get to learn about the local kiwi bird and go behind the scenes to potentially see a kiwi up close and personal.

Day 9 Wellington

Rotorua , Wellington

Today make your way to the Rorotura airport in time for your onward flight to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. The rest of the day to explore at leisure. We can arrange a night tour of Zealandia, a wildlife reserve where you might spot the elusive kiwi as dusk falls.

Day 10 Wellington

Wellington

Today is yours to explore New Zealand's capital under your own steam. We highly recommend spending several hours in the national museum, Te Papa, where you have the opportunity to learn a little more about New Zealand's history and Maori culture. The museum features an excellent Maori meeting house and even a reconstruction of natural wonders such as a glow worm cave.

Day 11 Wellington

Wellington

Spend half of your day walking around discovering the capital's cafe culture. During your tour you will get to taste local honey, fresh produce and rich coffee with your guide. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city.

Day 12 Kaikoura

Wellington , Picton , Kaikoura

Make your own way to the ferry terminal this morning for your Interislander ferry journey to the South Island. This is a stunning journey that will take you through the Marlborough Sounds and you will be rewarded with some fabulous photo opportunities en route. The crossing lasts around three hours. Pick up a hire car upon arrival and make your way south to the coastal town of Kaikoura. Spend two nights in a glass building, called a Purepod that is located in the middle of a farm, allowing you to get away from the crowds and into nature.

Day 13 Kaikoura

Kaikoura

Today is at leisure to explore the coastal town of Kaikoura. We recommend hiking through the Kaikoura Mountain Ranges or taking a whale watching tour out into the Pacific Ocean.

Day 14 Lake Tekapo

Kaikoura , Lake Tekapo

Early this morning, depart Kaikoura and head southwest into the Southern Alps. You will arrive in Lake Tekapo, where you will spend the next three nights. After your drive, you have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Day 15 Lake Tekapo

Mount Cook National Park , Lake Tekapo

Today make your way to Mount Cook Village for your full day kayaking tour. You will get to hike through the beautiful mountains before arriving to Mueller Lake, where you will kayak right up to glaciers. Spend the afternoon exploring the glaciers on foot before returning back to Lake Tekapo for the night.

Day 16 Lake Tekapo

Mount Cook National Park , Lake Tekapo

Spend the day explore the Mackenzie Valley region. We recommend going for a leisurely hike or hiring a bike and riding a portion of the Ocean to Alps trail.

Day 17 Lake Wanaka

Lake Tekapo , Lake Wanaka

Today you drive through the stunning Southern Alps to Wanaka. This journey will take you through hill lands and mountains, and along the southern edge of Mount Aspiring National Park. There are lots of short walks and scenic viewpoints along the way. Spend three nights in the scenic town of Wanaka.

Day 18 Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

This morning depart from the marina of Lake Wanaka and take a 20 minute boat ride to the small island of Mou Waho, where you will take a hike to the top. Here you will try and spot the local weka bird while taking in the panoramic mountain and lake views. The afternoon is at leisure to relax or explore Puzzling World.

Day 19 Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Spend today at leisure in Lake Wanaka. There are some excellent short and more strenuous walking trails here. Adrenaline-seekers will also find much to enjoy: jet boat rides, paragliding, white water rafting and rock climbing. Wanaka also has fine restaurants, bars and cafes, some with a view over the willow-lined lake.

Day 20 Te Anau & Manapouri

Lake Wanaka , Te Anau & Manapouri

Drive from Wanaka to Te Anau, where you will spend the next three nights. The rest of the day is at leisure to hike around the lakes of the region or to visit the glow worm cave.

Day 21 Te Anau & Manapouri

Te Anau & Manapouri

Depart this morning from Te Anau and take a ferry across Lake Manapouri to West Arm, a small marina next to the Manapouri Power Station. Here you will board another coach to cross Wilmot Pass before meeting your Doubtful Sound cruise. Spend about two hours cruising the fiord trying to spot marine wildlife and taking in the surrounding landscape before making the journey home.

Day 22 Te Anau & Manapouri

Te Anau & Manapouri

Wake early this morning to depart for your half day fishing tour. You will hop onto a jetboat and cruise to a popular fishing spot, to try and catch rainbow and brown trout after being instructed on best fishing practices. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax at your accommodation.

Day 23 Return home

Te Anau & Manapouri , Queenstown

This morning, you will drive from Te Anau to Queenstown in time for your onward flight home.

Audley Travel specialist Rachele
Audley Travel Specialist Mary

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to New Zealand will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

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Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
Auckland
 
 
 
Coromandel Peninsula
 
 
 
Rotorua
 
 
 
Wellington
 
 
 
Picton
 
 
 
Kaikoura
 
 
 
Lake Tekapo
 
 
 
Mount Cook National Park
 
 
 
Lake Wanaka
 
 
 
Te Anau & Manapouri
 
 
 
Queenstown
 
 
 

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