You will be welcomed to NZ by one of our friendly company representatives who will show you to your rental car and explain your detailed personalised travel guide, and ‘The Road Trip’ begins. Sights on your private city tour today could include a visit to one of Auckland’s inner city beaches, Mission Bay where it is possible to see stunning Pohutukawa trees. The trip could also take in sights such as Mt Eden, a stunning viewpoint and one of Auckland’s most famous volcanic craters, and perhaps a gander at one of The Road Trip’s favourite look out spots that boasts great views of both Rangitoto Island and Waiheke Island. This afternoon you can take a trip to the top of the Auckland Skytower and view the City of Sails from above (optional – extra cost). Tonight serves you up the possibility to eat in one of Auckland’s many waterfront restaurants as you watch the world ‘sailing’ by (optional – extra cost).
This morning you will venture south to Waitomo, New Zealand’s most extensive underground caving network. You will enjoy a 1 hour guided tour through the spectacular caves, including a 10 minute silent boat ride where you will be amazed by the impressive glow-worms that light up the cave roof (included activity). From here you will head to Hobbiton and take a 2 hour guided tour of the property featuring Shire’s rest and the beautiful farmland that was the backdrop for the Hobbit village in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies (included activity). Arrive in Rotorua in the afternoon and perhaps take a city tour featuring Kuirau Park mud pool reserve and view the stunning government gardens and lakefront. This afternoon/evening you could experience a relaxing soak in the thermal waters of the famous Polynesian Spa (optional – extra cost)
This morning you will take a guided walk around Te Puia and experience mud pools and geysers and visit the Maori Weaving School and Kiwi House (included activity). This is a chance to see our national bird up close. This afternoon is free for leisure activities. Options include: Rotorua Gondola and Luge, a trip to Rotorua Agrodome to experience zorbing, a self-guided walk through the stunning Waimangu Volcanic Valley + boat ride on Lake Rotomahana, a visit to a kiwifruit farm, a trip to The Buried Village of Te Wairoa, or a visit to the spectacular Redwoods Treewalk! (all activities listed are optional – extra cost). Tonight you will enjoy a Hangi and cultural performance with our native Maori people (included activity).
You leave Rotorua today and head south towards one of New Zealand’s three Unesco World Heritage sites; Tongariro National Park. Your first stop for the day is Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – a Wonderland of Stunning Geothermal Activity. You will see New Zealand’s largest thermal mud pool, sinter terraces and stunning hot and cold pools of many different colours (included activity). Heading south and stopping at the mind-blowingly powerful Huka Falls en route, you will reach Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Arriving in Tongariro National Park, you are surrounded not only by active volcanoes and the beautiful Mangawhero Falls but several LOTR filming locations, including areas used to portray Mordor, the rocky wasteland of Emyn Muil and the stunning volcano of Mount Ngaurauhoe, known by LOTR fans as the one and only Mount Doom!
If you are feeling active this morning there is a possibility of doing one of the many stunning short walks in the Tongariro National Park. One of The Road Trip’s favourites is 2 hours long featuring native bush, volcanic views and stunning waterfalls. Heading south you arrive in Wellington in the afternoon to discover New Zealand’s capital city. You can take a city tour taking in sights such as Mt Victoria – Wellington’s most spectacular viewpoint with 360 degrees of the city, harbour and mountain ranges in the background, Te Papa – our national museum, or Zealandia – A huge wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of the city. In the evening perhaps have a wander through the bustling streets of Wellington where you can enjoy a meal on the waterfront (optional – extra cost).
This morning you will catch a domestic flight to Christchurch. In the afternoon you could take a Christchurch city tour. Christchurch is known throughout New Zealand as ‘The Garden City”. This city tour could include a stroll in the botanic gardens and drive around the bays of Christchurch taking in Lyttelton which was the gateway for many of Christchurch and the Canterbury region’s first settlers. Perhaps go for a punt on the Avon River or visit the International Antarctic Centre. Tonight serves up the opportunity to enjoy dinner in one of the city’s many fantastic restaurants (all activities optional – extra cost).
Today you will take a journey across the Canterbury Plains and through the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass. Keep a look out for the Bealey River and Lakes Pearson and Lyndon with the towering Alps above. You can stop in Arthurs Pass where there is the opportunity of taking one of the many short nature walks in the national park and looking overhead for the Kea (New Zealand’s native alpine parrot). Our favourite spot features a stunning 150 metre waterfall and spectacular views of the mountains as you peek through native beech forest. Driving further you can stop in Hokitika to have a look at the greenstone factory, where you can view up close how the local people carve necklaces and sculptures from the precious stone. This afternoon or early tomorrow morning you will have the option of a flight over or heli-hike on the majestic Franz Josef Glacier, one of the only glaciers in the world to be flanked by rainforest on both sides (optional – extra cost).
One of the prettiest and most dramatic journeys in the country is what you can experience on this tour over the Haast Pass through to Wanaka. En route visit Lake Matheson, otherwise known as ‘Mirror Lakes’ where on a clear day it is possible to see the reflection of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mt Cook (3754m/12,316ft). The walking possibilities are endless today around Haast and Haast Pass and you can do one of or several walks. Some of our favourites feature spectacular waterfalls and deep blue coloured pools where it is possible to see trout swimming. These will all be marked out for you. One of our favourite hidden spots at The Road Trip is an isolated beach featuring native totara trees hugging rugged coastline. Keep a look out for dolphins bobbing up and down on the shoreline. Tonight you will stay in Wanaka, one of the most popular kiwi vacation hot spots situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka.
This morning after further exploring Wanaka, your South Island tour takes you over The Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest highway to Arrowtown, an important location in the gold rush of Central Otago in the 1860s. Perhaps browse the preserved Chinese gold mining village or wander the boutique shops the town has on offer. Your next stop is Amisfield Winery where you will enjoy a 3 course ‘trust the chef’ lunch with 4 matching wines, including the trademark Pinot Noir which this region is famous for (lunch and wine tasting included). This afternoon you will drive a further 2.5 hours to Te Anau. This evening in Te Anau you will take a tour by boat across Lake Te Anau to the glow worm caves to view the shimmering light of thousands of luminous glow-worms in a 12,000 year old grotto (included).
Today take the 20 minute drive to Manapouri Harbour for your day cruise through Doubtful Sound (or we can arrange bus transfers). This spectacular journey starts with a cruise to the other side of Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus trip over a pass to the fjords followed by a magical afternoon cruising through the towering peaks and stunning waterfalls of Doubtful Sound. The trip also passes by the famous Manapouri power station. The boat returns to Manapouri at 4:45pm. In the afternoon, take the 20 minute drive back to Te Anau (or bus) and perhaps enjoy dinner in the Town Centre and a walk alongside the Lake.
This morning you will head to Queenstown, ‘New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world’. Skirting your way around Lake Wakatipu makes for some stunning photography and you will be amazed by the Remarkables Mountain Range, one of the most famous back drops for Lord of the Rings. The afternoon is free to spend as you wish in Queenstown, and there is plenty to see and do!
Today is free to explore Queenstown at leisure and take part in some of the fantastic activities that this ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ has to offer. Options for the adventurous include: Skydiving, Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, Canyon Swings, White Water Rafting, Flyboarding and Paragliding. If you feel like taking a more relaxed approach to the day, a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw 100 year old steam ship or a walk through Queenstown’s Botanic Gardens are not to be missed. Perhaps drive out to the head of Lake Wakatipu and experience the breath-taking scenery of the Glenorchy area. A popular option with our clients is a helicopter flight to the top of Coronet Peak, where passengers are able to get out on the snow 365 days a year! (Weather permitting). In the evening, take a trip to the top of the Skyline Gondola to view Queenstown from a 360 degree panoramic viewpoint and enjoy a delicious buffet dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant (included).
You leave Central Otago today through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell where you can make a stop en route and visit a local fruit shop for a chance to try real fruit ice cream and perhaps sample New Zealand famous manuka honey products. From there, cross the Lindis Pass (965m) to the Mackenzie Country, known for its Merino Sheep and wool industry. Weather permitting you can take a short walk at the foot of Mt Cook – New Zealand’s highest mountain. En route to Lake Tekapo, perhaps take a trip to the top of Mt John to experience the feeling of being on top of the world. This boasts stunning 360 degree views of the Mountains and turquoise coloured lakes (Road open until 5pm – $8 entry fee). Tonight you will stay in the town of Lake Tekapo and enjoy its turquoise coloured waters. On a clear night there will be the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour to Mt John Observatory and its spectacular night sky (optional – extra cost).
This morning you will drive through to Christchurch where the rest of the afternoon can be spent exploring. Options include: The Tannery with its boutique shops, the Canterbury Museum, the Christchurch Art Gallery, a drive around Banks Peninsula or perhaps a visit to Christchurch’s International Antarctic Centre (all activities optional – some with an extra cost). Tonight you can enjoy a meal in the central city at one of the many new and exciting restaurants in Christchurch (optional – extra cost).
Today after dropping your rental car back you will be transferred to the airport for your onward arrangements. We trust that you have had an amazing time in our country.