Auckland - Auckland

Fly total time: 8 days

AT A GLANCE: 

  • 8 days/7 nights (self-drive with some transfers)
  • Explore Victorian-style architecture in Oamaru
  • Live like a royal in Larnach Castle
  • See Māori rock art where it was conceived
  • Day 1: Dunedin

    Drive Fly 0
    Arrive in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington. Transfer to a domestic flight to Dunedin. Upon arrival in the city, take a guided tour around the oldest, the newest and the steepest – see the city from the look-outs and up close, with plenty of photo stops along the way.

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a tour of Olveston Stately Home
    • Get a photo on Baldwin Street, the world's steepest residential street.
    • Enjoy a city tour that takes in all the highlights of this historic city.
  • Day 2: Dunedin

    Drive Fly 0
    This morning, collect your rental car. Then learn about Dunedin’s unique wildlife, coastal character, Māori and European history through stories that bring the natural landscapes alive. Spectacular Larnach Castle sits atop the Otago Peninsula with panoramic views of the harbour and beyond. Enjoy a tour, followed by a delicious dinner served in the castle.

    Top tip: There are several options for staying overnight at Larnach Castle.

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit Larnach Castle and learn about the history, stroll around the gardnes and enjoy dinner
    • Enjoy amazing wildlife viewing opportunities nearby, including a mainland Royal Albatross colony.
  • Day 3: Dunedin - Oamaru

    Drive Fly 1 hour 30 minutes 113 KMS 70 MI
    Journey north towards Oamaru, a town with a rich history and a proud heritage. Explore this heritage in the Victorian Precinct, where you will find, shops, galleries and traditional crafts within some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most complete Victorian streetscapes and 19th century architecture. On the way, stop off at the otherworldly Moeraki Boulders and Totora Estate – a heritage building and historic farm built by early settlers.

    Top tip: Stop off at Fleur’s Place for lunch, known to foodies around the world for its fresh fish and waterfront setting.
  • Day 4: Oamaru - Timaru - Christchurch

    Drive Fly 3 hours 20 minutes 250 KMS 155 MI
    Oamaru – Timaru (85km / 1hr 5mins)
    Timaru – Christchurch (165km / 2hrs 15mins)

    Follow the coast a short way north to Timaru, before visiting the region’s Māori rock art in the place where it was conceived. Dating back to the arrival of Māori in the South Island between 700 to 1000 years ago, the drawings provide a rare glimpse into the lives and culture of the regions’ first inhabitants. This afternoon, continue on to Christchurch.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • The Christchurch Tramway restaurant is a unique way to combine dinner and exploring the sights, in a colonial-style dining tram.
  • Day 5: Christchurch - Arthurs Pass - Greymouth - Punakaiki

    Drive Fly 4 hours 289 KMS 179 MI
    Travel west across the expansive Canterbury Plains, before slowly winding your way up to the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps. Stop for a coffee at New Zealand’s highest settlement, before descending towards the West Coast – a region of dramatic wilderness. In the late 1860s, gold attracted settlers to this wild coast. Stop off at Shantytown Heritage Park for a fascinating glimpse into the era. Fall asleep to the sound of waves at Punakaiki Beach Resort.

    Top tip: Don’t miss the ancient monolithic limestone rock formations at Castle Hill, just a short walk from the road before Arthur’s Pass.
  • Day 6: Punakaiki – Greymouth – TranzAlpine Train – Christchurch

    Drive Fly 5 hours 40 minutes 268 KMS 166 MI
    Punakaiki – Greymouth (45km / 40mins)
    Greymouth – Christchurch (223km / 5 hrs)


    Explore a limestone landscape of pancake-shaped rock formations, blowholes and surge pools on a short walk. Then head towards Greymouth with a stop at the Denniston Plateau, the dramatic location of a historic mining township. Board the TranzAlpine for one of the world’s most scenic train journeys back to Christchurch.

    Recommended activities:

    • Spend the night in luxury at the George Hotel, overlooking the picturesque Hagley Park and river Avon.
  • Day 7: Christchurch - Akaroa - Christchurch

    Drive Fly 1 hour 30 minutes 82 KMS 50 MI
    Christchurch – Akaroa (82km / 1hr 30mins)

    Today you will visit Akaroa, originally a French settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Experience majestic scenery and rare marine wildlife on a harbour cruise – these waters are home to the endangered Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin. This afternoon, explore Akaroa’s rich history on a guided walk. Finish your trip with a traditional hāngī (earth oven) dinner accompanied by an immersive cultural experience at the only official National Marae in New Zealand.

    Top tip: Stop off at Barrys Bay Cheese for a glimpse into the world of cheese making and a piece of New Zealand’s local dairy history.
  • Day 8: Dunedin - Home

    Drive Fly 0
    From Dunedin, either fly to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch to catch your international flight.