This route of at least 13 days allows you to cover the highlights of both the North and South Island of New Zealand.
There are lots of options for tour variations for people with extra time, starting with Milford Sound. You can enjoy the beautiful drive to Milford with the addition of a couple of nights in Te Anau, or a single night at Milford itself. Alternatively, you can visit Milford with a 20 minute flight from Queenstown.
From the beautiful resort town of Queenstown, the route travels via Wanaka up the wild West Coast of the South Island. Here, you’ll find some of New Zealand’s most remarkable scenery, including both Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
Continue over Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch, and onward to the whale watching mecca of Kaikoura. New Zealand’s gorgeous capital city of Wellington is a beautiful, cosmopolitan harbour city well worth an extra night. Continue via Tongariro and ‘Mt Doom’ to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua, where boiling mud, hot pools and luxury spas all await. Finally, stop by Waitomo Caves on the road through to Auckland, known as the ‘City of Sails’ for its stunning waterside setting and abundance of yachts!
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Jetboat RidesFun YaksKawarau BungyMilford Sound FlightsHiking TrailsSkiing
Queenstown to Wanaka
89 km, 1h 20min
ArrowtownLake WanakaPuzzling World
Wanaka to Franz Josef
285 km, 3h 5min
Haast PassBlue PoolsHaast PassLake MathesonFox Glacier
Franz Josef to Hokitika
134 km, 1h 40min
The GlaciersLake MapourikaHokitika FallsHokitika Jade & Craft Shops
Hokitika to Christchurch
245 km, 3h 15min
Arthur’s PassCastle RockThe Port HillsChristchurch CathedralAntarctic CenterChristchurch Museum
Christchurch to Kaikoura
181 km, 2h 30min
Whale WatchingRoadside Seafood StallsAlbatross EncounterSwimming with Dolphins
Kaikoura to Wellington
157 km, 2h
Swimming with DolphinsOhau Seal PupsMarlborough WineriesMarlborough Sounds
Wellington to Tongariro
294 km, 3h 50min
Kapiti CoastWanganui National ParkMt Ngauruhoe & Mt Ruapehu
Tongariro to Taupo
130 km, 1h 40min
Mt Ngauruhoe & Mt RuapehuTongariro CrossingWhakapapaWinter Skiing
Taupo to Rotorua
82 km, 1h
Thermal ParksMaori Cultural PerformanceMountain BikingRedwoods
Rotorua to Auckland via Waitomo Caves
339 km, 4h 10min
Waitomo CavesRaglanHamilton Gardens
Optional Tour Extensions
By default, this tour is 13 days in length. It can be done in reverse, or customised however you wish. Here are some ideas:
- For a shorter alternative, travel via Mt Cook rather than the West Coast, see South to North Highlights via Mt Cook.
- +2 nights if you wish to drive to and from Milford Sound from Queenstown (you can alternatively visit by a fly-cruise-fly tour).
- Optionally change your night in Hokitika to a night in Punakaiki, where you’ll find the Pancake Rocks.
- You can optionally travel from Greymouth to Christchurch on the Tranz Alpine Train.
- Remove 1 night in Kaikoura if you wish to travel from Christchurch to Wellington on the Coastal Pacific train.
- +1 night is recommended in Wellington, giving you time to explore attractive NZ’s capital city.
- An alternative to going via Tongariro, is to go via Napier, New Zealand’s capital of art deco architecture.
- You may like to +1 night in Waitomo or Hamilton, for more time at the Waitomo Caves and/or Hamilton Gardens.
- Private transfers to/from airport on arrival and departure day.
- Driver-guide & vehicle on all days but arrival and departure day (this can be added for an additional cost on request).
- All Breakfasts.
- Route guide for your trip.
- Optional free local sim card.
- Full phone support and assistance.
- Interislander Ferry
- 1 night in Queenstown
- 1 night in Wanaka
- 1 night in Franz Josef
- 1 night in Hokitika
- 1 night in Christchurch
- 1 night in Kaikoura
- 1 night in Wellington
- 2 nights in Tongariro
- 1 night in Taupo
- 1 night in Rotorua
- 1 night in Auckland
We were very happy having our holiday planned out for us, with some input from us. We really had little idea of where to visit in the time we had, so the suggestions and the bookings done were great! The itinerary listing out suggested stops on the way was very helpful and enhanced our visit. Thanks for all the organisation!
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