Auckland - Christchurch

Fly total time: 14 days

Experience some of the best of New Zealand in 14 days with a tour of the North and South Islands. A combination of domestic flights, self-drive, coach and train travel enables clients to really experience the diverse scenery and activities on offer.

To ensure your clients are well rested after their flight, we recommend they stay a night or two in their arrival city before collecting a rental vehicle. Driving in a new country can be challenging and will be even worse if the driver is tired. The driver should always be well rested, take regular breaks during the journey and plan to drive for only 1-2 hours at a time.
 
New Zealand has unique road rules and driving conditions that your clients may not be used to. For a safe and enjoyable journey make sure your clients know where to find information on New Zealand’s road rules before they depart for their holiday.
 
Here are some suggestions:
  • Day 1: Auckland

    Drive Fly

    Arrive in Auckland and enjoy a leisurely day exploring the CBD or head out on the water and explore one of the islands on the Waitemata Harbour.

    Recommended activities:

    • Hit the shops in the CBD including the Britomart Precinct and find quality local goods as well the best international brands
    • Visit the Sky Tower for stunning views.  For an adrenalin rush book a Skyjump or Skywalk
    • Learn more about New Zealand’s history and people at the Auckland Museum
    • Experience New Zealand’s marine life up close at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in nearby Mission Bay
    • For an unforgettable experience, walk the Auckland Harbour Bridge or do a bungy
    • Head out on the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour from the Viaduct area in the heart of downtown Auckland.  Take a cruise, go sailing or zip around by jet boat
    • Take a short ferry ride across the harbour to the charming seaside village of Devonport.  Browse the specialty shops and cafes or walk up Mt Victoria for great harbor views
    • Head further afield with a half day boat trip to fascinating volcanic Rangitoto Island or have a full day trip to the laid back vineyards and beaches of Waiheke Island or West Auckland
  • Day 2: Auckland to Rotorua via Waitomo

    Drive Fly 4 hours and 30 minutes 377 KMS 234 MI

    This morning your clients will pick up a rental car and drive to Rotorua via Waitomo. The drive from Auckland to Waitomo will take approximately 2 hours.


    Head underground for a tour of the famous Waitomo Glow-worm Caves.  Adventurous clients can even abseil or blackwater raft through some of the larger caves. Drop in for a visit to the famous Hobbiton Movie Set at Matamata just 1 hour 15 minutes from Waitomo. 


    Clients travelling by car might like to check out Hamilton before heading to Rotorua for the night, a further one hour from Hobbiton Movie Set Tours.

    Recommended activities:

    • See the spectacular cave formations and glow worms at Waitomo Glow-worm Caves
    • Check out other cave experiences in the area including Ruakuri and Aranui Caves
    • Experience black water caving or take a dry caving adventure including abseiling, spider walking, high rope work and flying foxes
    • Take a guided tour through Hobbiton Movie Set and have a drink at The Green Dragon Inn
    • Visit Hamilton Gardens with its unique New Zealand traditional Maori vegetable garden as well as other international themed gardens
    • Get a taste of the organic Zealong oolong tea plantation near Hamilton
    • Experience New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna at the Maungatautari

     

  • Day 2 and 3: Rotorua

    Drive Fly
    Take a couple of days to experience Rotorua’s geothermal wonders as well as its sparkling lakes and lush native forests. It’s also the ideal place to discover the rich and fascinating culture of local Maori, New Zealand's indigenous people.  
     
    For adventure lovers try mountain biking on one of numerous local trails, go rafting or try out a Kiwi invention, the Zorb. For a more relaxed time enjoy the local spa culture.

    Recommended activities:

    • Relax in the therapeutic waters of natural hot springs spread throughout Rotorua
    • Experience one of the unique geothermal parks in the region
    • Enjoy a unique introduction to Maori culture with an evening of weaponry and combat displays, poi dances, the haka and a hangi meal (a tradiitional method of cooking food by cooking over hot stones in the ground)
    • Challenge yourself by white water rafting or jetsprinting or Shweebing at Agroventures Adventure Park.
    • Families can enjoy one of many wildlife experiences on offer in Rotorua, including getting up close to farm animals, watching a sheep being shorn and seeing Kiwi up close
    • View the spectacular geothermal landscape from above with a scenic flight.  Fly over Mt Tarawera or venture by helicopter to White Island, home to an active volcano
    • Go for a cruise on Lake Tarawera or Lake Rotoiti
    • Go fishing in one of the district’s 18 lakes
    • Get a fantastic introduction to the region by visiting Rotorua Museum 
  • Day 4: Rotorua - Wellington

    Drive Fly 5 hours and 18 minutes 452 KMS 280 MI
    Today you will head to Wellington, by road or air. Your clients can drop their car at Rotorua airport and fly to Wellington, or drive there in approximately 6 hours.
     
    Experience New Zealand’s capital city Wellington.  It’s also a cultural capital famous for its café culture, funky food and fashion, galleries and museums including the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
     
    Find out more about what activities are available in Wellington at the WellingtonNZ.com website

    Recommended activities:

    Make the most of a day in the capital with a mix of relaxation and exploration:  
    • Discover New Zealand’s stories at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
    • Enjoy 360 degree views of the city from the top of Mt Victoria, accessible by car or foot
    • Ride the historic and central Wellington Cable Car for city views. Walk back through the beautiful inner city Botanic Gardens
    • Experience a unique tour with local specialists including Wellington’s coffee roasters and gourmet foods, mountain biking with expert guides or take a helicopter ride for spectacular views of the harbour and city
    • Taste your way around the city by visiting the diverse cafes and bars in this compact, walkable city
    • Travel back in time and experience New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna at Zealandia: The Karori Sanctuary Experience, just a 10 minute drive from central Wellington
    • Check out movie making magic with a behind the scenes tour of The Weta Cave in Miramar or a Lord of the Rings location tour
    • Walk along the vibrant city waterfront and experience the Wellington Writers Walk through to popular Oriental Bay
    • Check out the wildlife at Wellington Zoo and get up close to the animals
    • Wander through the gift shops and boutique stores in Cuba Street, Wellington’s eclectic neighbourhood
  • Day 5: Wellington-Picton-Kaikoura

    Drive Fly 6 hours (requires a ferry between Wellington and Picton) 255 KMS 158 MI
    This morning your clients will drop off their rental car and take a Cook Strait ferry from Wellington to Picton. The ferry ride takes approximately 3.5 hours. When they arrive, they will pick up their South Island rental car and drive to Kaikoura. The drive from Picton to Kaikoura will take approximately 2.5 hours.
     
    Note: The Cook Strait ferry journey will take around 3 hours, 20 minutes.
    Your client can book either through Bluebridge or the Interislander.
     
    Pre-booking when travelling with a car or campervan is recommended.
     
    Pick up a rental car in Picton and drive to Kaikoura in around 2 hours, 15 minutes.

    Recommended activities:

    • Watch for dolphins and seals from the Cook Strait ferry through the Marlborough Sounds
    • Stop off to view one of the seal colonies beside the highway north of Kaikoura
  • Day 6: Kaikoura to Christchurch

    Drive Fly 2 hours and 17 minutes 182 KMS 113 MI

    This morning there will be time for your clients to swim with the dolphins or head out into the deep in search of a whale or two at Kaikoura.  There’s plenty of other land based activities on offer as well.

    Recommended activities:

    • Go whale watching by boat or air
    • Swim with dolphins or seals
    • Explore indigenous culture with Māori Tours Kaikoura
    • Visit a local seal colony
    • Indulge in the local delicacy, crayfish, for lunch 
    • Stretch your legs with a walk around the Kaikoura Peninsula
  • Day 7: Christchurch

    Drive Fly

    Enjoy a leisurely day exploring this changing, vibrant city.  Take in the sights, sample the local food and wine and browse the shops.

    Recommended activities:

    • For a memorable wildlife experience within minutes of arrival visit the International Antarctic Centre or the Willowbank Wildlife Centre.  Both are located just a kilometre from the airport
    • Head into central Christchurch for some local history at the beautiful heritage building of the Canterbury Museum.
    • 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 bus tour from the museum to look at the rebuild after the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010-11
    • Take a trip on the historic Christchurch Tram
    • Shop the city in quaint Spanish Mission style New Regent Street or the funky new pop shops in Cashel Mall.  There is a market here Friday-Sunday 9am - 4pm.
    • Ride the Christchurch Gondola for a view of the city
    • Visit the Airforce Museum at Wigram
  • Days 8, 9 and 10: Christchurch - Queenstown

    Drive Fly 5 hours and 37 minutes 483 KMS 300 MI
    On the morning of day 8, your clients can either take a domestic flight from Christchurch to Queenstown, or take the scenic drive. The drive will take approximately 7 hours.
     
    Base your clients in the spectacular alpine village of Queenstown for the next two or three days. This all 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. 
     
    Head over to the lakeside town of Wanaka for a day or overnight trip to sample local food and wines, enjoy a lake cruise, discover the fun of Puzzling World or get active on land or by air.

    Recommended activities:

    Queenstown is outdoor adventure heaven.  Most activities can be enjoyed all year round with the snow sport season from June to early October.  There’s also plenty of opportunities to relax with top quality local food and wine experiences.
     
    • Relax at one of the many day spa option in the local hotels
    • Ride the gondola and enjoy spectacular views from the Skyline complex on Bob’s Peak
    • Adventure activities include bungy jumping, jet boating, white water rafting and ziplining
    • 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 (season mid June to mid October, varing by year and field)
    • 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
  • Day 11: Drive Queenstown – Fox or Franz Josef Glacier

    Drive Fly 4 hours and 19 minutes (to Franz Josef Glacier) 353 KMS 219 MI

    Today your clients will drive to Queenstown via Wanaka and Haast to either Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers. The drive will take around 5 hours, 10 minutes.


    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:

  • Day 12: Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers - Greymouth

    Drive Fly 2 hours and 6 minutes (from Franz Josef Glacier) 173 KMS 107 MI

    Spend the morning at Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers before driving to Greymouth in the afternoon. 

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a guided trip onto Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers
    • View the Glaciers from above with a scenic flight
    • Get to know New Zealand’s national bird, the Kiwi, up close at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef 
    Enjoy lunch in the area before driving to Greymouth in around 3 hours.  Take a break at Hokitika and buy some local West Coast pounamu (jade) jewellery.
  • Day 13: Greymouth - Christchurch

    Drive Fly 3.5 hours 241 KMS 149 MI
    Today your clients will travel from Greymouth to Christchurch. If they choose to drive, it will take approximately 3.5 hours. Alternatively they can take the TranzAlpine train, which takes approximately 5.5 hours.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 14: Christchurch – Depart New Zealand

    Drive Fly

    Enjoy one or two more activities in and around Christchurch before connecting with your international flight out of New Zealand.

    Recommended activities: