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Experience a stunning natural playground on your custom New Zealand road trip! Starting from vibrant Christchurch, explore glaciers, fjords, and towering mountains at scenic South Island. Drive on to the sunny North Island for wildlife adventures, Maori cultural excursions, relaxation, and world-class wines!

Do you wish to add more exclusive experiences, unique accommodations, or destinations to this tour? Our experts are happy to customize this sample itinerary to your tastes. Get in touch with us to start planning!

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Itinerary Summary

DayPlaceHighlightsHotel Options
1 - 2ChristchurchEnglish Heritage, Maori Art & Culture, Southern AlpsThe Classic Villa, The George
2 - 3GreymouthDiverse Landscapes, Paparua National Park, ShantytownKingsgate Greymouth, The Ashley Hotel
3 - 4Franz Josef GlacierNatural Wonders, Outdoor Activities, Heli-hiking & Glacier FlightsHolly Homestead (B & B), Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
4 - 6QueenstownDramatic Landscapes, Adventure Sports, Milford Sound FjordHeartland Hotel Queenstown, Hotel St Moritz Queenstown
6 - 7Mount CookSouthern Alps, Aoraki/Mount Cook Mountain, Hiking and MountaineeringMt Cook Lodge and Motels, The Hermitage Hotel
7 - 8ChristchurchEnglish Heritage, Maori Art & Culture, Southern AlpsThe Classic Villa, The George
8 - 9KaikouraMarine Life & Birds, Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway, Crayfish & SeafoodLobster Inn Motor Lodge, Lemon Tree Lodge
9 - 11WellingtonArt & Culture, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, Mount VictoriaTravelodge Wellington, Sofitel Wellington
11 - 12NapierArt Deco Buildings, Wine & Food, National AquariumArt Deco Masonic Hotel, McHardy Lodge
12 - 14RotoruaWellness & Relaxation, Adventure Sports, Te Wairoa VillageRobertson House (B & B), Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel
14 - 15AucklandVolcanic Peaks & Black Sand Beaches, Maori Culture, Food & WineAuckland City Hotel, M Social Auckland

Ideal For

  • Landscape
  • Wildlife
Travel Consultant Enchanting Travels team member

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Itinerary Details

Day 1 - 2

International Arrival

You will be transferred from Christchurch airport to your hotel in a private vehicle

Christchurch

1 Night

Christchurch is a vibrant city with a rich English heritage nestled on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, bordered by the Waimakariri River and the Pegasus Bay.

Hotel Options
RoomDeluxe Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleHeritage
The George – Opt 2
RoomExecutive Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleBoutique
Day 2 - 3

You will be transferred from your hotel to Christchurch train station in a private vehicle

Board the Tranz Alpine Train departing from Christchurch at 08:15 hrs and arriving in Greymouth at 1305 hrs.

Make your own way to the Greymouth city center and pick up your rental car

Greymouth

1 Night

The stretch of land comprising Greymouth, Punakaiki, and Westport, situated along the West Coast of South Island, is a treasure trove of natural resources.

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleBoutique
The Ashley Hotel – Opt 2
RoomSuperior Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleBoutique
Day 3 - 4

Drive yourself from Greymouth to Franz Josef in your rental car (Duration: 2-3 hrs)

Franz Josef Glacier

1 Night

Surrounded by dense rainforests, secret waterfalls, suspension bridges, and tartare tunnels with glow worms, Franz Josef is a treasure trove of natural wonders, making it an ideal base to enjoy numerous outdoor activities.

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleHeritage
RoomStandard Room -Graham Wing
MealsBreakfast
StyleLodge
Day 4 - 6

Drive yourself from Franz Josef to Queenstown in your rental car (Duration: 5 hrs)

Queenstown

2 Nights

Queenstown is where adventure seekers head out to for a shot of adrenalin! The region’s dramatic landscape is wrapped around the scenic lakes, velvety mountains and valleys of the Southern Alps.

Included Activities

Group Milford Sound Nature Tour by Coach and Boat
Soak in the natural beauty of the Milford Sound area with this coach tour and cruise. Set off from Queenstown in a comfortable glass-roofed coach, passing along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to move past the southern farmlands toward Lake Te Anau. Stretch your legs with a morning tea break before journeying on to Fiordland National Park. Make use of the opportunity to capture stunning photographs of the panoramic landscape along Milford Road. Enjoy splendid views as you go across the main divide of the Southern Alps through the Homer Tunnel, a passage carved into solid rock, which lets you pass under the mountains. Step aboard a cruise boat in Milford to savor superb views of the spectacular mountain range from the water. Cruise along passing by forested cliffs where majestic waterfalls gush down hundreds of meters into the fiord. Watch out for seals, penguins, and dolphins frolicking in the calm waters of the fiord. Relish a delicious boxed lunch as the boat sails past the magnificent scenery before disembarking to board the coach for your journey back to your hotel. (Time of Day: 0645/0720 hrs; Duration: 12 hrs; Box Lunch included; Shared Activity; Fitness Level: Easy.)

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Room with A/C
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
RoomAlpine Suite Garden View
MealsBreakfast
StyleBoutique
Day 6 - 7

Drive yourself from Queenstown to Mt Cook in your rental car (Duration: 4 hrs)

Mount Cook

1 Night

Explore Mount Cook, a dramatic alpine landscape bestowed with spectacular glacier lakes, rivers, meadows, and valleys that entertain horse treks, dinghy cruises, fishing trips, 4×4 drives, and scenic flights with glacier landings.

Hotel Options
RoomMotel Studio
MealsBreakfast
StyleLodge
RoomStandard Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
Day 7 - 8

Drive yourself from Mt Cook to Christchurch in your rental car (Duration: 4 hrs)

Christchurch

1 Night

Christchurch is a vibrant city with a rich English heritage nestled on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, bordered by the Waimakariri River and the Pegasus Bay.

Hotel Options
RoomDeluxe Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleHeritage
The George – Opt 2
RoomExecutive Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleBoutique
Day 8 - 9

Drive yourself from Christchurch to Kaikoura in your rental car (Duration: 3 hrs)

Kaikoura

1 Night

Sitting on a dramatic peninsula, Kaikōura boasts a superb location between the snow capped Kaikōura mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. Get up close to whales, fur seals, and dolphins in the coastal waters, or enjoy birdwatching tours and sheep shearing shows.

Included Activities

Group Aerial Whale Watching Tour
Fasten your seatbelt as you take off from Kaikoura airfield on this half hour flight over the Pacific Ocean to spot marine creatures in their natural habitat. Get a bird’s eye view of giant sperm whales diving into the depths of the ocean before surfacing again above the water. Watch from your vantage spot in the air as hundreds of dolphins frolic playfully in the vast sea. Enjoy panoramic views of the expansive ocean and the majestic mountains from the window seat in a four-seater Cessna 172 or an eight-seater Gippsland Aeronautics Airvan. If you are lucky, you may be able to catch a glimpse of some of the less frequent visitors to the area such as humpback, blue whales, orca, and southern bottlenose whales, as well southern right whale dolphins and other similar species. (Duration: 30-minute flight; Fitness Level: Easy; Shared Activity; Please note that all whale watching flights are dependent on weather conditions and there may be cancellations in the event of inclement weather, maintenance requirements, or any other safety concerns. Whale sightings are not guaranteed and refunds will not be issued if there is no sighting made. The maximum weight limit per passenger is 297 pounds (135 kg) and check-in is 15 minutes prior to the scheduled flight time.)

Hotel Options
RoomDeluxe Studio
MealsBreakfast
StyleGuest house
Lemon Tree Lodge – Opt 2
RoomGarden View Suite
MealsBreakfast
StyleHomestay
Day 9 - 11

Drive yourself from Kaikoura to Picton in your rental car (Duration: 2 hrs)

Interislander Ferry from Picton to Wellington

Wellington

2 Nights

Discover Wellington, a cosmopolitan harbor city brimming with art, culture, entertainment, and natural wonders. Wellington is also home to the protected Matiu/Somes Island reserve, and the Zealandia Ecosanctuary that conserves rare native flora and fauna.

Hotel Options
RoomGuest Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
RoomClassic Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
Day 11 - 12

Drive yourself from Wellington to Napier in your rental car (Duration: 4 hrs)

Napier

1 Night

A peaceful seaside town, Napier stands on Hawke’s Bay by the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. This seaport is best known for its resilient comeback following a devastating earthquake in the 1930s.

Included Activities

Group Food and Wine Experience in Napier
Get a firsthand look at the process involved in crafting the finest wines that Hawke’s Bay is renowned for. Listen to your wine specialist explain how the art of making wine is a science that begins right from nurturing the vines. Interact with winery owners and vintners to learn about their passion and dedication in producing award winning wines. Sample some excellent wine to discover the distinguishing features of each based on finer details such as aroma and flavor. Hawke’s Bay’s excellent soil and climatic conditions are perfect for the cultivation of various other produce such as vegetables, cheese, and bread. Gain insights into the techniques used to bring forth these epicurean delights by conversing with the enthusiastic people dedicated to the tasks. (Shared Activity; Half Day; Time of Day: 0930 hrs; Fitness Level: Easy)

Hotel Options
RoomArt Deco Studio
MealsBreakfast
StyleHeritage
McHardy Lodge – Opt 2
RoomDeluxe Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleHeritage
Day 12 - 14

Drive yourself from Napier to Rotorua in your rental car (Duration: 3 hrs)

Rotorua

2 Nights

From geothermal wonders at Kuirau Park located within the city center, to fumaroles, bubbling mud pools, and the pastel silica terraces of the Wai o Tapu valley, Rotorua is a haven for wellness enthusiasts.

Included Activities

Group Maori Art and Culture Experience at Te Po
Witness indigenous art and craftwork up close on this evening tour in Rotorua. Start off from your hotel early in the evening with one of Te Puia’s best known local experts. Begin your tour at local weaving and carving schools where you can see pupils at work under the tutelage of master weavers and carvers. Afterwards you can visit some of regions award-winning galleries to see products on display and have each explained to you in as much detail as you wish. Also visit Kiwi House to view New Zealand’s famous flightless bird from up close! Next on your itinerary is a visit to unique natural wonders in the area, including geysers and mud pools. Relax for a while and then continue on to Te Keketanga-a-Rangi (Heavenly Origins), a beautiful space where twelve carved structures reach skyward. This is where you can truly experience Maori culture and traditions, listening to tales and legends of the past and then gathering at the gateway of the marae or sacred site. Be welcomed in traditional Maori style and witness typical ceremonies such as a warrior’s challenge and a ‘kapa haka’ artistic performance as well. (Half Day; Shared Activity; Time of Day: 1630 hrs; Travel time: 30 mins; )

Personalized Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Set off from The Shires Rest Café on this fascinating exploration of the magical movie set that has been immortalized in the blockbuster movies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Drive across the sprawling sheep farm as you savor stunning views of the Kaimai Ranges that formed the backdrop for some of the most memorable scenes in the movie series. Accompany your guide in the footsteps of your favorite characters as you explore the Hobbit holes, the mill, and the Green Dragon Inn. Listen to the narration of how the scenic farmland was transformed into The Shire. Click plenty of photos of your memorable time spent in Middle Earth. As you wind up your tour, you could stop at the inn to refresh yourself with some of the specially brewed beverages on offer. Follow your guide back to the café from where you can head to The Shire Store and browse to your heart’s content through the collectibles on display. (Duration: 2 hrs; Private Activity; Fitness Level: Easy.)

Hotel Options
RoomBlue Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleHomestay
RoomPool View Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleBoutique
Day 14 - 15

Drive yourself from Rotorua to Auckland in your rental car (Duration: 3 hrs)

Auckland

1 Night

From volcanic peaks, lush native canopies and black sand beaches, to hip entertainment districts, contemporary art scenes and gourmet experiences, there’s something for everyone in this populous waterfront city, the largest in New Zealand!

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleHeritage
RoomSocial View Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational

Make your own way to the Auckland airport and drop off your rental car

International Departure

 Price & Inclusions

  • Option 1 From $ 4,190 /person
  • Option 2 From $ 5,290 /person

Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation in one double room for 15 days / 14 nights.
  • Meals as indicated
  • The following train journeys in the highest class available :
    • Christchurch – Greymouth 5 hrs (Tranz Alpine)
  • All activities as listed :
    • Queenstown: Group Milford Sound Nature Tour by Coach and Boat
    • Kaikoura: Group Aerial Whale Watching Tour
    • Napier: Group Food and Wine Experience in Napier
    • Rotorua: Group Maori Art and Culture Experience at Te Po
    • Rotorua: Personalized Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
  • Self-driven car during your journey as follows:
    • Vehicle Type: Compact Car for max. 4 guests: Toyota Corolla Hatch or similar (Automatic)
    • Unlimited kilometres
    • 13 days
    • Pick-up: Greymouth City
    • Drop-off: Auckland Airport
    • GPS navigation system (GPS units on continuous/ multi island hire must be kept until the final return of the car)
    • One additional driver, if spouse/partner
    • Towing charges in the event of mechanical failure
  • For your rental car we book the best cover possible with the following services:
    • Standard Motor Vehicle Damage Waiver
  • Additionally our preferred partner offers the following:
    • one way hire, in case car is hired for a minimum of 7 days
  • The general business terms apply
  • All airport and hotel transfers as indicated above
  • All transfers as indicated above
  • Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact, supporting you during your trip

Not Included

  • Among other expenses, the following additional costs are not included for rental cars (to be made directly at the car rental shop with a credit card from a recognisable bank institution):
    • One-way fee of 57.50 NZD for hires less than 7 days
    • Minimum 100 NZD pre-authorization
    • Late ferry fee of 57.50 NZD for vehicle collection at ferry locations after 18:30 hrs
    • Smoke free policy: based on Avis 100% smoke-free policy a cleaning fee of 287.50 NZD applies, if the vehicle is returned and it smells of smoke.
    • Road user charges
    • Charges for late return of the vehicle
    • Charges for damage to or repair of the vehicle
    • Traffic and/or parking offence infringement fees
    • Special request delivery fees
    • Additional driver (included, if additional driver is spouse/partner)
    • 14.95 NZD per baby seat per day or 74.75 NZD per month (baby seat to be provided at the time of booking)
    • 14.38 NZD per ski/snowboard rack per day or 184 NZD per month
    • 14.38 NZD per bike rack per day or 138 NZD per month
    • Optional: 6,90 NZD for roadside assistance per day (up to 10 NZD fuel delivery, key replacement in case of loss, flat tyre assistance, tyre replacement, flat battery assistance)
    • Optional: 11.50 NZD for roadside assistance PLUS per day (up to 10 NZD fuel delivery, key replacement in case of loss, flat tyre assistance, tyre replacement, flat battery, windscreen replacement free of charge)
    • Towing in case of an accident
    • Windscreen cover
    • Damage excess reduction
    • Restrictions to South and North Island roads apply. Rental cars are not permitted to drive on dangerous roads, e.g. Skippers Rd./ Ninety Mile Beach/ general unformed roads.
    • Rental cars cannot be taken from one island across to the other on Cook Strait Ferry Services. Failure to comply will result in a relocation fee of minimum 747.50 NZD.
    • Parking fees
    • Fuel (Please drop off the car with full tank. In case fuel needs to be added, the car rental company will charge you the amount for it)
    • Rental car trips do not include any entry fees or expenses for national parks or game reserves.
  • Tips, additional meals and personal expenses
  • Entrance fees, unless otherwise stated in the activity descriptions
  • Visa fees
  • Travel, health and cancellation insurance
  • International airfare (from your home country to your destination and return), unless specified under the trip inclusions above
Inquire Now
Road Trip: South to North Island

15 days $ 4,190 / person

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