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Road to Fox Glacier, South Island

Classic New Zealand self-drive tour

29 days from $15,080pp

Road to Fox Glacier, South Island
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Tour highlights

  • Helicopter over the Franz and Fox Glaciers to see these two valley glaciers that reach almost to the ocean.

  • Cruise down the Milford Sound taking in the cascading waterfalls and temperate rainforest.

  • Explore Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula.

  • See the elusive kiwi bird at Rainbow Springs sanctuary.

Price includes:

  • Fully insured vehicle rental
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

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

  • Arrive into the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch, where you will start your month-long journey. Spend the rest of the day exploring the Avon River, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, or explore the newly built city and its up-and-coming restaurant scene.

  • Depart on the TranzAlpine train and take it across the Southern Alps and over Arthur’s Pass to a small town of Greymouth, where you will collect your vehicle and make your way south to the town of Franz Josef. Spend two nights exploring the Franz and Fox Glaciers, two large valley glaciers that almost reach the sea.

  • Today, you will board a helicopter and soar high in the sky to get a bird’s-eye view of the Franz and Fox Glaciers. You will get to see these two cascading glaciers and the Southern Alps mountain range. After your helicopter ride, relax at the Franz Josef hot springs or grab a bite to eat in the small town.

  • Depart Franz Josef and hug the west coast of the South Island. Along this drive you can make stops at several places including Lake Matheson, known for its famous mountain scape reflection, before driving through the gates of Haast and the Roaring Billy waterfalls. As you descend into the valley, you will come to Lake Wanaka, where you will spend the next three nights.

  • Spend the day at leisure exploring the small but adventurous town of Wanaka. Here you can go for a day hike to the top of Isthmus Peak or rent bikes and ride to Cardrona along the Cardrona River.

  • This morning, head out on a half day trip to explore the Mou Waho nature reserve, a small island that sits in the middle of Lake Wanaka. You will take a cruise across the lake and dock at Mou Waho Island, where you will hike up to the top of the island. Here you have 360-degree views of Lake Wanaka, the Southern Alps and Mount Alta. Here you will stop for tea and coffee, and if you are lucky, a resident endemic flightless bird called the weka will come to join you before you head back to Wanaka. Spend the rest of the day exploring Lake Wanaka or go to Puzzling World for some fun brainteaser challenges.

  • Depart Lake Wanaka and make your way toward the Fiordland National Park to a small town called Te Anau. Here you will spend the next two days exploring Fiordland National Park and its numerous glaciers, alpine ranges and unique flora and fauna.

  • Today you will drive from your accommodation and head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Milford Sound. Here you will depart on a three-hour cruise down the Milford Sound to see cascading waterfalls and the breathtaking fjord. If you are lucky you will get to see seals, dolphins and Fiordland crested penguins. After the cruise, you will stop at the underwater observatory where you can explore the underwater world before heading out on a 90-minute kayak tour around Harrison Cove. In the afternoon, head back to Te Anau where you can enjoy the evening and even stop at the Fiordland Cinema to see local movies about the surrounding area or a hot new movie.

  • Leave Te Anau behind and make your way to Queenstown, the ‘Adventure Capital’ of the world, where you will spend the next three nights. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the town or head downtown to go shopping.

  • Head out on a half day adventure down the Dart River to explore the region. You will depart Queenstown on a jet boat and zoom up the Dart River taking steep turns through rugged forested areas and into Mount Aspiring National Park. Once at the top, you will take a hike around the rainforest to explore and spot the local flora and fauna before jumping into a four-wheel drive vehicle and making your way back to Queenstown.

  • Spend the day at leisure exploring Queenstown. We recommend taking the Skyline gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak where you will have panoramic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountains. Alternatively, you can drive to the Gibbston Valley to try some local Pinot Noir wines.

  • Leave Queenstown behind and head northeast over the Lindis Pass and into the MacKenzie Valley, where you will see a line of steep snow-covered mountains line an arid valley all the way to Twizel. Spend the next two nights in Twizel exploring the MacKenzie Valley and the Mount Cook region.

  • Early this morning, make your own way to the Mount Cook Village to meet your small boat cruise that explores the base of the Tasman Glacier. On this two-and-a-half-hour tour, your naturalist guide will talk about this mammoth glacier and the history of the area before taking a half-an-hour walk on the terminal face. In the afternoon, you can take a hike around the Mount Cook Village or head back to Twizel to relax at your accommodation.

  • Depart the MacKenzie Valley and drive past Christchurch and up the coastline to the small town of Kaikoura. This drive is a bit longer, but there are plenty of places to stop and stretch your legs and take photos of the ever-changing landscape. Arrive into Kaikoura late this afternoon and spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring this small but vibrant town.

  • Take a two-hour cruise out of Kaikoura to try and spot large marine life like whales, seals and dolphins. Kaikoura is known for its nutrient rich waters that attract a wide variety of marine animals and makes for a fun morning of seeing these large animals feed and play along the shore of Kaikoura.

  • Leave Kaikoura behind and make your way north along the coast to the wine country. You will stay three nights in Blenheim where you can enjoy some local wine.

  • Spend the day touring the local wineries with your small group tour. Your guide will drive you from winery to winery, where you will have the chance to sample three to five wines from that vineyard. Each of the vineyards has a unique flavor profile due to the climate, which makes each tasting a little different.

  • Today spend the day at leisure around Blenheim. We recommend visiting the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where you can learn about World War I and World War II planes and how they were used in the Pacific, alternatively you can drive up to Picton and have a lunch by the water.

  • Drive from Blenheim to Picton this morning and catch the ferry to Wellington which snakes its way through the Marlborough Sounds. Upon arrival in Wellington, you can catch a taxi to your city hotel where you will stay the next two nights.

  • Spend the day exploring the Te Papa Museum and taking a behind the scenes tour to see the ancient relics and tools that the Māori’s used and found culturally significantly. Your guide will take you through the pieces and tell you the stories about the Māori history and cultures and the natural environment and how people interacted with it.

  • Depart from Wellington today and head northwest to the Hawke’s Bay region, known for its variety of wines and fresh produce. Spend the next two days exploring the Art Deco architecture of Napier and wine tasting throughout the Hawke’s Bay region.

  • This morning, make your way to Napier to take a 75-minute tour of Napier. During this tour, you will be guided around in a classic car to learn about the earthquake that destroyed Napier in the 1930s and how the city rebuilt itself to reflect the architecture of the time. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the surrounding vineyards or take a cultural tour.

  • From Napier, you will continue onto Lake Taupo which is located in the middle of the North Island. You will spend the next three nights here, where you can hike and explore the lake and mountain region. As you travel around the lake, you will find ancient forests, trout-filled rivers and booming waterfalls. Within a short drive, you can also explore Tongariro National Park and Rotorua.

  • Spend the morning going fly-fishing in one of the best spots in New Zealand. You will be matched with a guide, who will equip you with all the gear you need before heading out to one of the many rivers surrounding Lake Taupo to go fly-fishing for trout. Your guide will teach you to use the equipment and give top tips on how to cast and catch a fish. In the afternoon, you have at leisure to go for a hike or relax at your accommodation.

  • Today spend the day at leisure around Lake Taupo. We recommend that you go to explore the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, which is a hydrothermal system created after the Mount Tarawera eruption that has Pink and White Terraces, a large lake, and the Waimangu Geyser. Alternatively, you can wake up early and head to Tongariro National Park to hike one of the volcanic mountains.

  • Today head north from Lake Taupo and through the Waikato region, which is home to Rotorua, Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton. Along your drive, we recommend making a stop in Matamata to take a guided one-hour tour of Hobbiton film set, where part of the film Lord of the Rings was filmed. After the tour, continue north onto the Coromandel Peninsula where you will spend the next two nights.

  • This morning head out onto the ocean and explore the coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula by kayak. As you kayak, you will float over the top of the Te Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve which is teeming with marine wildlife. Spend the rest of the day exploring the peninsula and stopping at the beautiful white sand beaches.

  • Make your way from the South Coromandel Peninsula to Auckland. When you arrive into Auckland you will drop your vehicle at the city car depot and stay two nights in central Auckland, the ‘City of Sails.’ Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city or the surrounding islands.

  • Spend your last day in Auckland by taking a two-hour cruise around Auckland Harbour on the America’s Cup Sailing yacht. You can either sit back enjoying the views of the bay or you can help hoist the sails or take the helm of the energetic yacht. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure around Auckland exploring Britomart and the bay.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°F) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers
Lake Wanaka
Te Anau & Manapouri
Mount Cook National Park
Lake Taupo

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