In-depth Road Trip to New Zealand

Auckland, Bay of Islands & Northland, Christchurch, Kaikoura & Canterbury District, Coromandel & Waikato, Hawkes Bay

Duration: 21 nights

Price: From $6,850 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including accommodation, some meals, all internal flights, car hire and taxes

This extensive three-week self-drive vacation in New Zealand gives you a fantastic overview of this beautiful country, with a tantalising taster of everything, from chic cities to panoramic landscapes of glaciers, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains, and from serene beauty to adrenaline-fuelled adventures. See whales, penguins and seals, go on scenic hikes and cruises (or skydiving, bungee jumping and jetboating if you fancy something more hardcore), and explore waterfront cities gleaming with skyscrapers or awash with colourful Art Deco masterpieces. Along the way, stay in our favourite boutique boltholes, which showcase luxury and style, from city-centre opulence to secluded lakeside chic.
Perfect forNature lovers and adventurous outdoorsy types looking to really get under New Zealand’s skin – and in spectacular style.
In the knowExtending your trip to Tongariro to hike the Tongariro Crossing – this stunning route, around volcanoes, mountains and aquamarine lakes, is one of New Zealand’s (and the world’s) best one-day hikes.

Best for

  • Landscapes & Scenery
  • Couples
  • First-timers
  • Road Trip

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Itinerary details


2 nightsAUCKLAND

Your journey begins in Auckland in the North Island, which is blessed by a beautiful waterfront setting and is packed with boutique shops, inviting eateries and lovely green spaces, with characterful suburbs to explore, and you should also get out on the water on a cruise or to visit the islands – Auckland isn’t called the City of Sails for nothing! The SKYCITY Grand is in the heart of the city, and is perfect for relaxing after your flight, with stylish rooms with city and harbour views, a pool, sauna and spa to shake off that jet lag, and a casino if you fancy chancing your luck…
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Coromandel Peninsula


Drive to the lovely Coromandel Peninsula, where you’ll have three days to soak up its natural beauty, including colourful wildlife, pristine white sand beaches fringed by crystal clear waters, crystal caves and natural hot springs.   The boutique 970 Lonely Bay Lodge is just a few minutes’ walk from Cooks Beach and Lonely Bay, and not far from wineries, boutique breweries and popular spots such as Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own natural spa pool in the sand – and there are numerous options for swimming, diving and kayaking. Pick up a bike and a gourmet picnic lunch from the hotel for a leisurely day’s exploring, or enjoy a memorable scenic flight over the area. Back at the lodge, relax and unwind as you enjoy the views across the beach and Mercury Bay.
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2 nightsTAUPO

Taupo, with its vast volcanic lake, pretty waterfront, incredible natural wonders and gorgeous places to stay, is one of our favourite spots in New Zealand. Hike or bike to the dramatic Huka Falls, see the rock carvings at Mine Bay, and experience the otherworldly geothermal landscapes of the area, such as the steaming pools of the Craters of the Moon reserve and the spectacular Orakei Korako geothermal park and cave, with its geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and silica terraces.   The luxurious, secluded Acacia Cliffs Lodge overlooks Lake Taupo and the mountains beyond. Unwind in the gardens, surrounded by native plants and birds, or on the deck, accompanied by a glass of wine or two and the panoramic vistas.
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Napier & Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

2 nightsNAPIER

Your next stop is the beautiful city of Napier, a showcase of Art Deco architecture that came about when it was rebuilt after an earthquake in the 1930s. One of the loveliest and best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world, it also has a distinctive local touch - some of the buildings also feature Maori motifs – and even the tree-lined waterfront and the beach have an Art Deco feel to them. Get snap happy with your camera as you stroll the streets of colourful, distinctive buildings, and stop off in one of the cafés for a treat. Napier sits in the wine region of Hawke’s Bay, and there are plenty of opportunities to taste local wines such as Pinot Gris and Syrah.   McHardy Lodge sits on Napier Hill just outside the city, and offers plenty of character, Pacific Ocean and mountain views and a pool to retreat to after a day’s sightseeing.
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3 nightsKAIKOURA

It’s on to the South Island, as you fly to Blenheim and drive to the pretty village of Kaikoura, wedged between the Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. This is a spectacular spot for whale and dolphin spotting, and colonies of fur seals also make their home here. Swim with the dolphins or watch them from your cruise boat as they flock around the bay. Back on land, trek along the Peninsula Walkway and tuck into some fresh seafood (crayfish is a speciality here – in Maori, ‘kai’ means food and ‘koura’ means crayfish).  Manakau Lodge is a blissful rural retreat set in five acres of pristine landscapes, including groves of manuka trees, flanked by the ocean and the mountains.
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Lake Moeraki is a small lake on the Moeraki River on the South Island’s west coast, within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Te Wahipounamu park. The park’s glassy fjords, rugged coastlines, mighty cliffs and gushing waterfalls are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including penguins and seals, as well as birds such as the only alpine parrot in the world, the kea, and the rare and endangered takahe, a large flightless bird. Your hotel, the Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge, offers daily complimentary activities with expert naturalist guides, from rainforest and seacoast trails to kayaking on the lake and night-time star gazing and glow-worm spotting.
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2 nightsWANAKA

Wanaka, like Taupo, also has a spectacular lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Wanaka is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, a pristine wilderness of glaciers, crystal clear alpine lakes, deep valleys and dense beech forests, and is also a good spot for adventures such as skydiving, cruises and scenic flights (you can even land on a glacier). There is a hike for everyone here, from a gentle stroll to a challenging alpine trek, and if you have children in tow, head to the popular Puzzling World, with its maze and sculpture gallery. Wanaka Haven is a perfect spot to relax after a day’s adventures – dine outdoors in summer, and cosy up by the fire in winter, as you enjoy the alpine mountain backdrop.
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2 nightsTE ANAU

The picturesque Te Anau is near Fiordland National Park, making it an ideal base for visiting Milford Sound and the lesser-known but equally spectacular (some would say more so) Doubtful Sound, where waterfalls gush down from mountainsides into the fiords, and seals bask in the sun on the rocks leading out to sea. A cruise here is a must, and the winding roads around the mountains leading to the fiords make even the journey there exciting. Meanwhile, the Milford Track, amongst the mountains and rainforests, is another of New Zealand’s most spectacular walks.  Fiordland Lodge has luxurious rooms and romantic log cabins set on grasslands overlooking Lake Te Anau – an idyllic setting for some premium relaxation.
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Queenstown is THE place in New Zealand to get your heart racing and your blood pumping, from the spectacular setting (the town is clustered around Lake Wakatipu, with the Remarkables range as the backdrop) to the wide range of activities on offer, from bungee jumping to jetboating. For something more leisurely, enjoy a cruise on the lake or head up the mountainside in a gondola for wonderful views (time your visit with sunset). Wind down at The Spire, an elegant hotel whose central location means you’re just a stone’s throw away from shops, restaurants and Queenstown’s buzzing nightlife (this town doesn’t stop when the sun goes down).
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Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

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