Luxury New Zealand

  • Auckland - Matauri Bay - Rotorua - Hawke's Bay - Mapua - Nelson - Kaikoura - Queenstown

    This 18 day itinerary is a great way to explore New Zealand by car. Stopping at 7 of New Zealand's most interesting locations, it sees you begin in Auckland exploring its many sights and move through Matauri Bay, Rotorua, Hawke's Bay, Nelson Bays, Kaikoura and finishing in Queensland. You will have the opportunity to do a variety of different activities from water sports and walks in the beautiful countryside to helicopter tours, cruises and whale watching. Not to mention lazing on the beach in between stops.

    Highlights

    • Explore Auckland's museums or on a clear day, the Sky Tower observation deck.
    • Enjoy the water sports at Matauri Bay or explore on foot either on your own or with a tour guide.
    • See the White Island volcano from a great height in a helicopter flight.
    • Taste the renowned sauvignon Blanc in Kaikoura.
    • Spot Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales and Orca on a whale watching cruise.

    Rating

    £££
  • 18 day itinerary exploring north New Zealand

    Day 1

    When you arrive at Auckland International Airport you will be met by a driver and taken to your first nights’ accommodation. The rest of the day is at leisure exploring all that Auckland has to offer. Stroll around the northern side of Viaduct Harbour, admiring the super yachts, and cross the footbridge to Auckland’s new Wynyard Quarter and North Wharf area where you can stop for a coffee in one of its many cafés. Alternatively, you can take a trip to the excellent Auckland Museum in the Domain to view the biggest collection of Maori taonga (treasures) in the world. On a clear day admire the view from the Sky Tower observation deck with 360-degree views out to the Waitakere Ranges in the west and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf in the east.

    Overnight: Auckland

    Day 2

    Today you will drive to Matauri Bay from Auckland which will takes 4 to 6 hours depending on the route you take. Your choice is either the more direct east coast route, perhaps meandering along the coast between Warkworth and Whangarei and then again via the Tutukaka Coast or the longer west coast route via ‘The Hokianga’ with her massive sand dunes and the Waipoua Forest, home to the giant Kauri trees including Tane Mahuta.

    Overnight: Matauri Bay

    Day 3

    Spend the day in Matauri Bay. Visit the site of a pre-European Maori village standing on the spot where the historic 1840 Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and the British, or wander the old haunts of the sailors, whalers and missionaries. Those that want to take to the blue waters can choose from a range of activities from diving to kayaking. Boat trips can include dolphin and whale watching.
    If you prefer to stay with your feet firmly on land, there is plenty to do. Guided touring is available for culturists, whereas, further north, active people can take a quad bike through the huge sand dunes in Cape Reinga.

    Overnight: Matauri Bay

    Day 4

    Spend another day in Matauri Bay exploring its many attractions of beaches. If you like walking, there are a range of different hikes to choose from for all abilities.

    Overnight: Matauri Bay

    Day 5

    Today, drive from Matauri Bay to Kerikeri where you will fly to Rotorua via Auckland, pick up your car and drive to your accommodation in Rotoru.

    Overnight: Rotorua

    Day 6

    Today is spent in Rotorua where you will spend the morning taking a tour of White Island.  Fly over New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano, White Island, and enjoy amazing aerial views of the islands crater lake and ever changing volcanic activity. Continue across the Pacific Ocean and further inland to the site of the largest eruption in our living memory Mount Tarawera. En route view the magnificent coast, distant national parks and volcanoes and the massive Kaiangaroa forest before witnessing first-hand the massive craters formed during the 1886 Tarawera eruption. 

    The remainder of the day is at leisure exploring Rotorua, world-famous for steaming hot springs, bubbling mud pools, and geysers. Here there is a palpable sense of Maori culture both past and present. 

    Overnight: Rotorua

    Day 7

    Begin today with a drive to Hawke’s Bay which will take 3 to 4 hours. Your drive will either take you via Lake Taupo or Lake Waikaremoana which are equally as beautiful. Arriving at the Pacific Coast, first you will reach the Art Deco city of Napier.

    Overnight: Hawke’s Bay

    Day 8

    Explore Hawke’s Bay whichever way you choose whether it is joining a tour our taking one of the many walking trails and viewing the incredible birdlife.

    Overnight: Hawke’s Bay

    Day 9

    Take the day at leisure exploring the wineries of Havelock North and the Ngatarawa Triangle either on your own or on a guided tour. A long lunch at a winery like Clearview Estate could be just what is required. From Havelock North the beautiful wide white sand beaches of Waimarama and Ocean Beach are a scenic drive between 20-30 minutes' away.  
    Make sure you take in the panoramic views from Te Mata Peak above Havelock North and the more active may choose to paraglide back down on a clear day.

    Overnight: Hawke’s Bay

    Day 10

    Drive to Napier airport today where you will take a flight to Nelson. Upon arrival at Nelson Airport collect your car and drive to your accommodation near Mapua.

    Overnight: Nelson /Mapua

    Day 11

    Today begins exploring the Abel Tasman's coastline aboard a cruise seeing Split Apple Rock, Kaiteriteri, Marahau, cruising around sandy bays, Adele and Fishermans Islands and on to Tonga Island seal colony.

    The cruise will pull in to a sheltered bay for a light lunch before participating in a range of different activities as you choose, from kayaking, walking to just relaxing.

    Overnight: Nelson 

    Day 12

    Spend the day in the Nelson region which is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, national parks, boutique wineries, microbreweries and a large creative community of working artists.

    Overnight: Nelson 

    Day 13

    Your destination today is Kaikoura via the Marlborough wine region and Blenheim which will take around 3-4 hours. Blenheim is the hub of the Marlborough wine region and produces distinctive Sauvignon Blanc. From Blenheim follow the rugged coastline through to Kaikoura which will see you through some amazing scenery, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side and the Pacific Ocean coastline on the other.

    Overnight: Kaikoura

    Day 14

    Today is in Kaikoura on a whale watch cruise.  This morning you will join the whale watch boat tour. Every whale watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are year-round residents and a typical whale watch tour may also encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. You could also see Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales and Orca. 
    After your cruise, head back to land and explore the Kaikoura Winery, Kaikoura Museum or, active types can take a 4x4 Quad Bike Adventure or one of the many forest walks.

    Overnight: Kaikoura

    Day 15

    From Kaikoura drive through to Christchurch which will take 2 to 3 hours. North of Christchurch is the Waipara Valley, home to some great boutique wineries with cafés and restaurants so a good place to consider a stop and a bite to eat.
    Drive to Christchurch Airport and take your flight to Queenstown.

    Overnight: Queenstown

    Day 16

    In the morning take the incredible Milford Sound helicopter tour where you can view the dramatic scenery of New Zealand from a great height. Sit back and enjoy the journey through the grandeur of the Southern Alps, over Glaciers, Milford Sound, rainforests and frozen lakes to the heart of Fiordland.

    Take the afternoon at leisure to explore Queenstown, with its cinematic background of mountains and lakes. As well as spectacular outdoor terrain, the region is famous for all manner of adventure activities. Visit the quaint and historic Arrowtown, which has its origins in the days the Otago Gold Rush in the 1860s and now boasts excellent eateries. Sample gold medal wines in world beating surroundings; take a wine tour in Gibbston Valley.

    Overnight: Queenstown

    Day 17

    Today you will drive out to Glenorchy to join your Dart River jetboat safari – one of the most scenic jetboat trips in New Zealand. Take the 1 and a half hour ride along the Dart River among towering mountains and the refreshingly beautiful wilderness of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Then take a short and easy walk through ancient forests, unchanged for 80 million years.

    Overnight: Queenstown

    Day 18

    Drive to Queenstown Airport where you will fly back to Auckland domestic airport and transferred to the international airport for your flight home.


Back to New Zealand
Being a lover of the great outdoors meant I had to visit New Zealand and it really didn't disappoint. In fact, I loved it so much I ended up living there. My favourite way to explore is by driving, as you get to really soak up the beautiful landscape and have the flexibility to stop anywhere you like.
Matthew Fisher
Matthew Fisher
Director