Auckland - Queenstown

Fly total time: 14 days

Please note: this itinerary has been affected by the recent Kaikoura earthquake. For information on an alternative route, please click here.

Your clients will enjoy world-class food and wine as well landscapes that promise to take their breath away. Along the way, friendly locals and easy transport options make this a holiday to remember.

One of the best things about this itinerary is that your clients don't need a car to get around. Domestic flights, regular coaches, ferries and trains means that somebody else takes care of the driving and transport, so your clients can focus on enjoying every minute of their time in New Zealand.

  • Day 1: Auckland

    Drive Fly 0
    Arrive in Auckland. Taxis and shuttles are plentiful at both the domestic and international terminals. There is a public bus (Airbus) that runs regularly between Auckland Airport terminals and the city centre.
     
    Once settled into their city accommodation, your clients can choose to rest and relax or explore the inner city and beyond. An energetic and colourful city surrounded by harbours and beaches, Auckland is great to experience on foot. Stroll the Viaduct Harbour, enjoy a café lunch in the hip Britomart precinct or choose to take an organised tour. Plenty of taxis and great public transport makes getting around the city simple.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a short 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckand to Waiheke Island. Here your clients will discover a relaxing haven of wineries, white sand beaches and art galleries
    • Visit the Auckland Sky Tower for spectacular views over the city and beyond. 
    • Adventurous clients can try the Sky Jump or Sky Walk, both activities are located at the Sky Tower
  • Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua

    Drive Fly 2 hours 45 minutes if travelling direct by private transfer 228 KMS 141 MI
    In the morning journey from Auckland to Rotorua via domestic flight, coach or one-way private transfer. Air New Zealand operates domestic flights between Auckland and Rotorua, and Naked Bus or InterCity are both coach companies that offer this route. 
     
    Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland in the central North Island that’s also home to rich Māori culture and heritage. 
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 3: Rotorua

    Drive Fly 0
    Rotorua offers a multitude of experiences, all located amongst beautiful lakes, native forests and pristine rivers. Known for its bubbling mud pools and shooting geysers, don't miss a visit to one of the many geothermal parks to see these impressive natural elements up close.
     
    Rotorua is a fantastic place to experience the best of New Zealand’s embracing Māori culture. There are many guided tours on offer, ranging from boat cruises on the lake to guided walks and sightseeing. Tours are great because transport and food are often included in the price. 
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Enjoy an informative city and lake tour on the Rotorua Duck
    • Visit a geothermal park to see bubbling mud, steaming cliffs and impressive geysers
    • Enjoy a night time cultural experience with delicious Māori food (hangi), singing, dancing and haka
  • Day 4: Rotorua

    Drive Fly 0
    Spend another day exploring Rotorua city and experiencing the many attractions and activities on offer.

    Recommended activities:

    • Enjoy a farm show and farm tour to explore a working farm and hand-feed friendly animals
    • Take a guided tour through native forest on a zipline canopy tour
    • Enjoy world-class mountain biking in Whakarewarewa Forest and Skyline Rotorua MTB Gravity Park
  • Day 5: Rotorua - Wellington

    Drive Fly 5 hours 30 minutes if travelling direct by private transfer 453 KMS 281 MI
    Today your clients will venture further south to Wellington, the capital city. Options for transport include a domestic flight with Air New Zealand (1 hour 10 minutes), travelling by coach with InterCity or NakedBus or one-way private transfer. 
     
    Wellington is home to a world-class restaurant scene – head to Courtenay Place or Cuba Street for dining options that promise to delight.
     
    Wellington has a good network of public buses and trains, although the inner city is compact making it easy to explore on foot. 
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 6: Wellington

    Drive Fly 0
    Spend the day exploring Wellington.
     
    Recently named ‘Coolest Little Capital in the World’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington is a funky, fascinating place to explore. Begin the morning with a delicious coffee and breakfast at one of Cuba Street’s many cafés – Wellington has more restaurants and cafes per capita than New York! 
     
    Visit Oriental Bay, an inner city, golden-sand beach, or ride the cable car up to Kelburn for panoramic views over the harbour.
     
    For fans of The Lord of the Rings, the Weta Cave Workshop Tour is not to be missed. End the day with drinks and dinner within the bustling city centre.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Walk or take a short bus ride to Oriental Bay. Visitors who are feeling adventurous can climb up to Mount Victoria lookout for spectacular views across the city and harbour
    • Ride the cable car from Lambton Quay to the suburb of Kelburn. Stroll around the Wellington Botanic Gardens or visit Carter Observatory
    • For Middle-earth fans the Weta Cave Workshop Tour is not to be missed. Transfers from central Wellington are available on the ‘There & Back Again’ guided tour
  • Day 7: Wellington - Blenheim

    Drive Fly 3 hours if travelling by ferry 130 KMS 80 MI
    This morning your clients will travel from the North Island to the South Island on a ferry journey that will most certainly take their breath away. Two companies, the Interislander and Bluebridge, offer regular scheduled ferry crossings. Travelling the Cook Strait on this three-hour trip, your clients will experience the breath-taking beauty of the Marlborough Sounds – a network of sunken, emerald-green river valleys. Dolphin, whale and fur seal sightings are common. 
     
    Arriving in Picton, take a short taxi or InterCity bus for the 20 minute journey to Blenheim – a town known for delicious wine, food and high sunshine hours.
     
    There are also domestic flight options, from Wellington to Blenheim, with Air New Zealand and Sounds Air
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre to learn about aviation history and view Sir Peter Jackson’s impressive collection of WW1 aircraft and artefacts
  • Day 8: Blenheim

    Drive Fly 0
    If your clients love Sauvignon Blanc and wine tasting then they’ve come to the perfect place. Blenheim and Marlborough produce superstar Sauvignon Blanc, and the perfect way to experience it is with a wine tour. Or, get a bird’s eye view of the region and take a scenic flight over the Marlborough Sounds. 
     
    Taxis, bike hire and public transport make it easy to get around Blenheim.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Join a guided small group winery tour to sample some of Marlborough’s finest wines including award-winning Sauvignon Blanc. Bike tours are also available
    • Spend a day exploring the stunning 70km Queen Charlotte Track. From Blenheim take a shuttle or taxi to Picton, and then board a water taxi to the Queen Charlotte Track. There are several drop off and pick up points to choose from depending on how far your clients would like to walk. Boutique lodges and resorts dotted along the track are a great place to stop for lunch
  • Day 9: Blenheim - Christchurch

    Drive Fly 4 hours if travelling direct by private transfer 309 KMS 192 MI
    Today your clients will journey further south to Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city. Transport options include coach - both InterCity and Naked Bus cover this route - and private transfer, as well as the Coastal Pacific Train. Running between September and May, this very scenic train journey hugs the Pacific Coast of the upper South Island and features stunning views out to the Pacific Ocean. 
     
    Depending on what time your clients arrive, spend the afternoon exploring Christchurch’s charming heritage building, famous Botanic Gardens or funky pop-up bars and restaurants.
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 10: Christchurch

    Drive Fly 0
    Today offers the opportunity to either stay and explore Christchurch City or take a day trip to a surrounding area. 
     
    The TranzAlpine is a world-famous train journey that showcases Arthur’s Pass and the Southern Alps, and offers an unforgettable experience for the day. Or, choose take a tour to visit the charming French-colonial town of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula to soak up heritage, wildlife and delicious French food. 
     
    Taxis and public transport make it easy to get around in Christchurch city - use the Metro website to plan public transport timings and routes.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Take an inner city bicycle tour to learn about Christchurch’s history
    • Catch a public bus to visit pretty Sumner Beach. Inhale the salt air on a stroll along the Esplanade or beach, climb Cave Rock and enjoy a meal at one of the delicious restaurants and cafés  
    • Enjoy 360 degree views of Christchurch cityscape, the Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps and Banks Peninsula with a ride on the Christchurch Gondola. The Gondola Shuttle operates scheduled transfers from outside the Canterbury Museum
    • Climb aboard the TranzAlpine train for a breathtaking journey to the South Island’s West Coast.  Spectacular views are guaranteed anytime of the year. Allow approximately 10 hours for the return trip
    • Take a small group tour to the charming seaside town of Akaroa. Stroll the French named streets, browse the boutique shops, dine at one of the many eateries or swim with Hector’s dolphins
  • Day 11: Christchurch - Queenstown

    Drive Fly 5 hours 45 minutes direct by private transfer 483 KMS 300 MI
    Today your clients will make their way to Queenstown, a famous alpine town nestled between Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range. 
     
    Options for transport include a domestic flight (Air New Zealand and Jetstar fly this route, flight time approximately 50 minutes), coach with InterCity or Naked Bus, or private transfer. 
     
    Spend the afternoon strolling by the lake, take the gondola up to Bob’s Peak for panoramic views or enjoy the boutique shops and cafés. Queenstown is a relatively small town so walking is a great way to get around, but there are also taxis available.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Take the gondola up to Bob’s Peak for dinner accompanied by panoramic views of the city lights and beyond
  • Day 12: Queenstown

    Drive Fly 0
    Spend the day exploring the Queenstown region.
     
    There’s something for everyone in the Queenstown region. Those after an adrenaline rush can enjoy the many adventure activities on offer – bungy jumping, rafting, jet boating and skydiving remain firm favourites. If your clients are looking for something more mellow, consider a day walk on one of the many scenic hiking trails, trout fishing, wine tasting or day tour.

    Fans of The Lord of the Rings should explore the many local filming locations from the movies with a guided tour.

    Many activities and attractions offer transfer options to and from accommodation, to make transport easier. 
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Enjoy a cruise on Lake Wakatipu to a working high country station
    • Experience a world famous jet boat experience
    • Visit local wineries and cellar doors on a guided tour. Sample Central Otago’s finest wines, including world-renowned Pinot Noir
    • Try adventure activities such as bungy jumping, sky diving or white water rafting
  • Day 13: Queenstown or Milford Sound day trip

    Drive Fly 4 hours if travelling from Queenstown to Milford Sound (one way) by road 287 KMS 178 MI
    Today your clients can continue to explore Queenstown itself or choose to visit Milford Sound for the day. 
     
    A dramatic fiord, Milford Sound was labelled by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth natural wonder of the world’. Sheer granite cliffs rise out of inky blue waters while waterfalls cascade down from high above. Day tour options can include coach, boat cruise and scenic flight – consider the best option for your clients depending on time and budget.
     

    Recommended activities:

    Milford Sound
    • Join a full day tour to spectacular Milford Sound
       
    Queenstown
    • Explore the region’s beautiful scenery by bike on one of the many cycle trails. Electric Mountain Bikes are also available for hire
    • Pamper your clients at one of Queenstown’s luxurious day spas or therapeutic hot pool
    • If visiting between June-October your clients might like to experience one of the region’s four ski fields
    • Enjoy a round of golf at one of Queenstown’s stunning golf courses
  • Day 14: Queenstown

    Drive Fly 0
    This is the final day of your clients’ itinerary. 
     
    Queenstown services domestic flights (to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and international flights to east coast cities of Australia. Depending on the flight time, your clients may have time to enjoy brunch and a little last minute shopping in Queenstown’s town centre.