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  • Arrowtown, Central Otago
    photo credit: Destination Queenstown
  • Dunedin harbour at dusk
  • Redwood Forest, Rotorua
    photo credit: Tourism NZ

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Self Drive Tours

Wonderland Uncovered - Auckland to Christchurch

Wonderland Uncovered - Auckland to Christchurch
Highlights:
• Admire geothermal wonders and caves studded with glowworms

• Feel the embrace of Maori culture and see New Zealand treasures at Te Papa our national museum

• Discover glaciers as old as the ice age as well as the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
Itinerary
Map
Price

ITINERARY (16 days)
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland

Welcome to the 'City of Sails'.

You will be met by our representative on arrival and receive your travel documents before transferring to your central city accommodation.

New Zealand's largest city is spread around 48 dormant volcanoes. With its scenic harbours and beaches, Auckland is host to a huge range of water sports especially around the islands of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park.

Relax on a harbour cruise or ferry ride to delightful Devonport, visit eclectic Viaduct Basin site of the America's Cup village, enjoy the amazing views and Auckland skyline from atop the Sky Tower.

Accommodation:
Quality style: Mid-range Hotel
Superior style: Superior class Hotel
Day 2 - Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua (approx 6:00 hours driving time)

This morning you will be transferred to pick-up your rental vehicle.

Begin your journey travelling to Rotorua, New Zealand's cultural capital, via the Waitomo Caves where you can take a subterranean boat excursion to see the glowworms amongst the sculpted limestone caves.

In Rotorua you can stand on active volcanoes, massive craters, see boiling mud pools, exploding geysers, a traditional Maori village buried by volcanic ash and the sacred green and blue lakes, as well as experience traditional Maori culture and entertainment.

Accommodation:
Quality style: Quality Bed & Breakfast
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 3 - Rotorua

Activity: Evening Maori Cultural Experience including Hangi (Dinner)

Accommodation:
Quality style: Quality Bed & Breakfast
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast

Day 4 - Rotorua - Taupo - Wellington (approx 6:30 hours driving time)

Travel through expansive exotic forests and pass enthralling thermal activity before arriving at Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake.

Enjoy the scenic views as you head across the Tongariro National Park with its live smoking volcanoes.

Our capital city Wellington is set on a magnificent harbour ringed by hills. Take in the views from the top of the Cable Car, visit Te Papa Tongarewa the spectacular national museum, and see Parliament Buildings with its unique 'Beehive'. This is a vibrant cosmopolitan city offering a myriad of restaurants, bars, entertainment and shopping.

Accommodation:
Quality style: Mid-range Hotel
Superior style: Superior class Hotel

Day 5 - Wellington

Accommodation:
Quality style: Mid-range Hotel
Superior style: Superior class Hotel
Day 6 - Wellington - Picton - Nelson (approx 5:10 hours ferry and driving time)

Today you cross by ferry to the South Island for the start of a whole new adventure.

From Picton take the Queen Charlotte Drive around the beautiful coastline of one of Marlborough's legendary sounds.

In Havelock at the head of Pelorus Sound, feast on local mussels for which the area is renowned and uncover treasures in the art, craft and collectables shops.

The Nelson region is an area of great beauty with a Mediterranean-type climate, sunny golden beaches and crystal clear bays, boutique wineries, apple orchards, a vibrant craft and art community and the famous World of Wearable Art museum.

Accommodation:
Quality style: Quality Bed & Breakfast
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 7 - Nelson

Accommodation:
Quality style: Quality Bed & Breakfast
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 8 - Nelson - Punakaiki - Hokitika (approx 5:00 hours driving time)

It is an outstanding drive through forested mountain scenery and the rugged Buller Gorge. Visit Westport on the Tasman Sea coast with its seal colony at Cape Foulwind, before exploring the pancake rocks and blow holes at Punakaiki.

Formerly an 1860's gold rush settlement, Hokitika still has the feel of a frontier town, where you can find your own treasures of gold and jewellery in the cheerful shops.

Accommodation:
Quality style: Quality Bed & Breakfast
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 9 - Hokitika - Glacier Country (approx 3:00 hours driving time)

The scenery is dramatic and ever changing as you travel south through primeval forests, across racing torrents and past serene, bush clad lakes.

Nestled between the sea and the high alps, remnants of the ice-age, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, descend right into the forests allowing you to take a guided walk or helicopter landing flight on the rivers of ice.

Nearby at Lake Matheson, you may experience the classical reflections of New Zealand's two highest peaks, Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, in the mirrored waters.

Accommodation:
Quality style: 4-5* self catering Motel
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 10 - Glacier Country - Queenstown (approx 5:45 hours driving time)

Your journey continues through the South Westland World Heritage Area, a place of incredible beauty and natural value, over Haast Pass to Lake Wanaka and through the old gold workings of the Kawarau River Gorge into Queenstown.

Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown on the shore of Lake Wakatipu is a vibrant ski town in winter and a buzzing summer adventure playground.

The amazing range of attractions includes canyon jet boat rides, mountain biking, bungy jumping, helicopter flights, horse treks and 4WD expeditions.

There are also more passive pastimes - wilderness safaris, historic steamer lake cruises, boutique pinot noir wineries, superb golf courses and gardens as well as uncovering gold-mining artifacts in the quaint gold-mining town of Arrowtown.

Accommodation:
Quality style: Mid-range Hotel
Superior style: Superior class Hotel
Day 11 - Queenstown

Accommodation:
Quality style: Mid-range Hotel
Superior style: Superior class Hotel
Day 12 - Queenstown - Te Anau (approx 2:45 hours driving time)

Take in the magnificent landscape enroute to the township of Te Anau, picturesquely sited on Lake Te Anau and within easy reach of the delights of the Fiordland National Park.

Accommodation:
Quality style: Quality Bed & Breakfast
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 13 - Te Anau - Milford - Te Anau (approx 4:45 hours driving time)

Travel through the Eglinton Valley, the Homer Tunnel and down the Cleddau Canyon to Milford Sound deep in the Fiordland National Park, to board a cruise and view captivating wildlife surrounded by sheer mile-high mountain walls before returning to Te Anau

Accommodation:
Quality style: Quality Bed & Breakfast
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 14 - Te Anau - Dunedin (approx 4:15 hours driving time)

Savour the lush sheep and dairy lands of Southland and Otago before arriving in Dunedin, where you will experience the heritage of its Scottish founders.

Visit Dunedin Museum with its outstanding natural history displays, wander through the Victorian Railway Station with its Royal Doulton mosaic floors and discover colonial history at classical Olveston House and Larnach Castle high on the peninsula, before checking out the playful penguins and Royal Albatross Colony.

Accommodation:
Quality style: 4-5* self catering Motel
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 15 - Dunedin - Christchurch (approx 5:00 hours driving time)

For the early part of the trip you will be accompanied by sweeping seascapes. Stop at Moeraki and see the large, smoothed rock spheres embedded on the beach.

Call into Oamaru and visit the old port quarter with its fascinating preserved colonial white stone buildings, before crossing the edge of the sun bleached Canterbury Plains with extensive farmlands and crop fields.

Christchurch is set amongst superb public and private gardens and wide leafy avenues with the picturesque Avon River gently meandering through the business and residential districts.

Take a punt ride, enjoy walks around the city, experience life on the southern continent at the International Antarctic Centre and be entertained at the Court Theatre, Museum or Art Gallery.

Accommodation:
Quality style: 4-5* self catering Motel
Superior style: Superior Bed & Breakfast
Day 16 - Christchurch

Spend your last day in 'The Garden City' shopping for those last minute gifts and unique New Zealand products before you return your rental vehicle and catch your departure flight.


Top
Map
Price
Map of Wonderland Uncovered - Auckland to Christchurch
Wonderland Uncovered - Auckland to Christchurch

Style
Quality
Superior
Share Twin NZ$
Share Twin NZ$
   CAR - Intermediate
$ 3556
$ 5335
   CAR - Full size
$ 3744
$ 5528
   4WD - Intermediate
$ 3860
$ 5640
Prices are per person and valid to 30 September 2017
What's Included

Meet & Greet and transfer to hotel on arrival

Automatic intermediate (medium), full size car or intermediate 4WD

Quality style - Quality Bed & Breakfasts, mid-range hotels, 4-5* self-catering motels

Superior style - Superior Bed & Breakfasts, superior class hotels

Evening Maori cultural experience with hangi (dinner)

Cook Strait ferry crossing

New Zealand touring information - distances, times, directions between destinations, map

Price Information

Prices are in New Zealand dollars and include 15% GST (Government Goods & Services Tax). Click Here for an online currency converter to convert prices to your own currency (approximate only).

Prices are per person and based on two persons sharing a Bed & Breakfast, hotel or motel room/unit.

Please enquire for prices for single travellers or up to four persons vacationing together.

Rental vehicle hire includes basic insurance.

1 October 2017 - 30 September 2018 prices provided on request.
Enquire
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Tourism Industry Associaton New Zealand - Affiliate Member