Auckland - Christchurch

Fly total time: 

Your clients will begin their journey in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, before heading north to the culturally rich Bay of Islands.  Then they will travel to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, a relaxed beach town. Geothermal Rotorua is next on the itinerary, followed a couple of nights in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.

After exploring the city, they head to the South Island, to Nelson and the stunning Abel Tasman, before seeing marine life up close and personal in Kaikoura. Then it’s off to Christchurch to punt on the Avon, Lake Tekapo for stargazing, before visiting the adventure capital Queenstown, and beautiful neighbouring Lake Wanaka.

The trip ends with a visit to the awe-inspiring Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, followed by a scenic train journey across the South Island back to Christchurch.

  • Day 1: Auckland

    Drive Fly 0

    Welcome to New Zealand! 

    When your clients arrive into Auckland, they can take a transfer from Auckland Airport to Auckland CBD. 
     
    Surrounded by two sparkling harbours, vibrant and multicultural Auckland is the country’s largest city and commercial hub.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit the Auckland Sky Tower and do a SkyJump or SkyWalk 192m above the city.
    • Go on a half-day Auckland city sights tour with one of many tour operators
    • Visit Auckland Museum
    • Go shopping in one of central Auckland’s many shopping precincts.
    • Dine at the Viaduct, Auckland’s buzzing harbourside precinct.
  • Day 2 and 3: Paihia

    Drive Fly 3 hours 227 KMS 141 MI
    Paihia is an excellent base from which to explore the Bay of Islands for a couple of days.
     
    It has an extensive choice of accommodation and delicious dining options. From the town’s wharf you can arrange a trip to the outer islands, hook into a fishing expedition or catch ferry to Russell. For visitors interested in cultural experiences, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds are just 5km from Paihia.
     
    Or catch yourself an amazing experience with the big game fishing on offer. For more information go to the Department of Conservation website
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a dolphin safari 
    • Visit the historic town of Russell
    • Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where New Zealand’s founding document was signed and take a museum and cultural tour
    • Take a day trip to Cape Reinga in the Far North, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular swirl of currents. Fly with Salt Air or go via road with Explore Group.
    • Enjoy the southern ocean with a cruise to the Hole in the Rock
    • Go big game fishing in the Bay of Islands in the December to June season
    • Take a day trip to Tutukaka, the gateway to Poor Knights Island. The Perfect Day cruise is a great option for those staying in Paihia, as it departs mid-morning so allows for driving time to Tutukaka.  
    • Head across to the Hokianga to experience New Zealand’s ancient Waipoua Forest, home to huge native trees and rare birds. Visit Tane Mahuta, the largest living kauri in New Zealand and the second largest tree in the world. Footprints Waipoua and Fullers GreatSights offer guided day trips departing from Paihia. 
    • Adventurers can paddle in a traditional Maori canoe or waka with Maori guides
    • Take  to the air with a  scenic flight
    • Go on a local food and wine tour to sample some of the region’s speciality products 
     
  • Day 4: Auckland

    Drive Fly 3 hours 227 KMS 141 MI
    In the morning, self-drive from Pahia to Auckland, approx. 3 hours. 
     
    Your clients can make the most of their return to Auckland by checking out new activities and attractions they missed on the last visit. 
  • Day 5 and 6: Tauranga

    Drive Fly 2 hours and 45 minutes 200 KMS 124 MI
    Today your clients will drive to Tauranga.
     
    Tauranga stretches along the edge of an attractive harbour and is easily explored on foot. There’s a well-developed café culture, lots of gift galleries and designer stores. As dusk falls, experience the nightlife on the ‘The Strand’ in Tauranga with live music, pubs and clubs. Spend a couple of days exploring Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.

    Recommended activities:

    • Experience an evening kayak trip to see spectacular glowworms
    • Enjoy a guided scenic walk on Mount Maunganui
    • Visit Experience Comvita. Explore the healing power of nature through New Zealand’s native plants, and learn how Comvita extracts and processes this honey to create health and wellbeing products.
    • Gain an insight into the complexities of the kiwifruit growing process at Kiwi360, with a tour of the horticultural theme park and lush orchards.
    • Take a trip to Moutohora or  White Island from Whakatane with White Island Tours
    • Go blokarting at Blokart Recreation Park, a combination of land sailing and electric drift karting. 
  • Day 7 and 8: Rotorua

    Drive Fly 1 hour 64 KMS 39 MI
    Today your clients will travel to Rotorua.
     
    Rotorua is entertaining in any weather, at any time of the year. The city sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so there’s evidence of volcanic activity everywhere you look. Explore one or more of the geothermal parks and once you've seen the shooting geysers and steaming pools, wind back and enjoy a therapeutic natural spa.

    Recommended activities:

    • Enjoy a night time cultural experience with delicious Māori food (hangi), singing, dancing and haka
    • Visit a geothermal park to see bubbling mud, steaming cliffs and impressive geysers
    • Visit the Polynesian Spa for a relaxing soak in heated mineral water
    • Shop for authentic Māori arts and crafts
    • Spend the morning or afternoon at Skyline Rotorua. Activities include scenic gondola, thrilling downhill luge trips, Skyswing, Zoom Ziplines, and a downhill mountain bike park.
    • Explore native forest on a 1.2km network of ziplines, swing bridges and treetop platforms with Rotorua Canopy Tours
    • Cruise one of Rotorua’s beautiful lakes on a boat, or by duck
    • Go on a scenic flight to White Island 
     
  • Day 9 and 10: Wellington

    Drive Fly 1 hour
    Fly from Rotorua to Wellington, approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.
     
    Wellington is known for its vibrant arts scene, world class café and restaurant culture, and active outdoor lifestyle. A creative, cosmopolitan city, Wellington combines the sophistication of a capital with the warmth and personality of a village.
     

    Recommended activities:

     
  • Day 11: Nelson

    Drive Fly 40 mins
    Today, your clients will take a short flight to Nelson. There they can pick up a rental car to continue their journey into the South Island.
     
    Nelson is surrounded by three national parks each with their own distinct landscapes, there are many outdoor activities on offer including hiking, fly fishing, biking and kayaking. Unwind with a glass of craft beer, from one of the many craft beer breweries, in New Zealand’s sunniest region.


    Recommended activities:

     
  • Day 12: Nelson

    Drive Fly 0
    Today your clients will visit the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park, located approximately 50 minutes’ drive from Nelson.
     
    Enjoy the day exploring this stunning region. In the evening return to Nelson or stay overnight in the park in a beautiful waterfront lodge.

    Recommended activities:

    • Walk part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Guided options are available
    • Enjoy a kayaking adventure around breath-taking coves and beaches
    • Relax on a cruise or sailing trip around the park's stunning coastline
  • Day 13: Kaikoura

    Drive Fly 151 243 KMS 150 MI
    After breakfast, your clients will depart for Kaikoura.
     
    Kaikoura is known as New Zealand’s whale-watching mecca, visitors can get up close with Giant Sperm Whales, Humpbacks, Pilot Whales and Orcas. Fresh seafood is in abundance in Kaikoura, including delicious crayfish.

    Recommended activities:

    • Go on an afternoon whale-watching cruise or get a bird’s eye view of these gentle giants with a scenic flight
    • Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway – three hours return to visit a seal colony, limestone formations and a seabird colony
    • Experience a dolphin encounter cruise
    • Go swimming with playful New Zealand fur seals
  • Day 14: Christchurch

    Drive Fly 2 hours and 30 minutes 181 KMS 112 MI
    Today’s drive is from Kaikoura to Christchurch, and takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes.
     
    Vibrant and every-changing, Christchurch is New Zealand’s second-largest city and is affectionately known as “The Garden City”. Christchurch is framed by the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Alps, and offers visitors a wide variety of attractions and activities.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Head into central Christchurch for some local history at the beautiful heritage building of the Canterbury Museum 
    • Shop the city in quaint Spanish Mission style New Regent Street or the funky new pop-up shops in Cashel Mall.  
    • Stretch your legs with a leisurely walk through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Or punt through the gardens by boat on the beautiful Avon River with Welcome Aboard.
    • Take an inner city coach tour to look at the rebuild after the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010-2011
    • Ride on the historic Christchurch Tram
  • Day 15: Lake Tekapo

    Drive Fly 2 hours and 50 mintues 228 KMS 141 MI
    Today’s journey will have your clients arrive at Lake Tekapo before lunchtime – a small township alongside a beautiful turquoise lake framed by the dramatic Southern Alps. Lake Tekapo belongs to the South Island’s 4,300 km International Dark Sky Reserve, and known as one of the best stargazing sites on earth. 

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1935 for the pioneer families of the Mackenzie district and still used today as a place of worship.
    • Take a walk alongside the lake on one of the several walking tracks. 
    • Go on a guided stargazing tour once the sun goes down. If you are lucky, you might spot the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. 
    • Soak in a hot tub with views of the lake at Tekapo Springs Hot Pools. 
    • Take a scenic flight over the lake and surrounding mountains.
     
  • Day 16, 17 and 18: Queenstown

    Drive Fly 3 hours 256 KMS 159 MI
    Base your clients in the spectacular alpine village of Queenstown for the next two or three days. This year-round lakeside resort is the gateway to experiencing a scenic region that offers a fantastic range of recreational and lifestyle activities to suit every client. Most activities can be enjoyed all year round with the snow sport season from June to early October.

    Recommended activities:

    • Adventure activities include bungy jumping, jet boating, white water rafting and ziplining
    • Witness panoramic views of Queenstown and its surrounds from 6000ft while floating on the breeze in a hot air balloon.
    • For snow enthusiasts head up to Coronet Peak or The Remarkables skifields, just 30-40 minute by car or shuttle.  Further afield, Cardrona and Treble Cone ski fields near Wanaka are just an hour by car or shuttle.
    • Enjoy the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu on a boat cruise and visit a high country station
    • Take a tour and check out some of the stunning locations featured in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies
    • Enjoy world class golf courses including Jack’s Point, Millbrook and The Hills.
    • Take a wine tour to get a taste of the region’s 75 wineries
    • Grab a bike and go cycling – options are available to suit everyone, including cycling on the Queenstown Trail, mountain biking and heli biking
    • Ride the gondola and enjoy spectacular views from the Skyline complex on Bob’s Peak
    • Enjoy a relaxing soak in the Onsen Hot Pools, Queenstown's only private indoor/outdoor hot pools, overlooking the Shotover River canyon.
  • Day 19 and 20: Wanaka

    Drive Fly 1 to 1.5 hours 68 KMS 42 MI
    Today, your clients will drive from Queenstown to Wanaka and spend two nights in this beautiful lakeside resort town. The historic Cardrona Hotel is a good place to stop for lunch en route.

    Recommended activities:

    • Take to Wanaka by air with a fixed wing scenic flight, a helicopter ride including a glacier landing, sky diving or paragliding.
    • Experience high action on the water by jet boating, fishing or paragliding.  For the adventurous there’s canyoning or white water sledging.
    • Go on a hike, 4WD experience or mountain bike 
    • In winter, ski or snowboard at Cardrona or Treble Cone.
    • Visit award winning vineyards for local food and wine 
    • Have fun at the maze and other tricks at Puzzling World
     
  • Day 21 and 22: Fox and Franz Josef Glacier

    Drive Fly 3 hours and 40 minutes 297 KMS 184 MI
    Today your clients will drive from Wanaka via Haast to either Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers.
     
    Glacier Country is best known for year round guided glacier walks and scenic flights by helicopter or fixed wing, with or without snow landings.

    Recommended activities:

    • Stop in Haast and enjoy a scenic or wildlife tour by jetboat or helicopter
    • Enjoy the spectacular mountain reflections in Lake Matheson – take a short walk through ancient native forest to a pontoon that extends out onto the lake, ideal for photo opportunities.
    • Take a guided trip onto Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers
    • View the glaciers from above with a scenic flight
    • Relax in the steaming Glacier Hot Pools at Franz Josef Glacier
    • Get to know New Zealand’s national bird, the Kiwi, up close at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef
     
  • Day 23: Christchurch

    Drive Fly 2 hours and 30 minutes 195 KMS 121 MI
    After breakfast, your clients will drive from the glaciers to Greymouth, in time to drop off their rental vehicle and catch the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch. 
     
    The TranzAlpine traverses the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. It then continues through the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, before reaching the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland.
     
    An outdoor viewing carriage will get your clients close to the fresh alpine air and spectacular scenery.
     
  • Day 24: Depart for home

    Drive Fly 0
    Fly home from Christchurch International Airport.