New Zealand Vacation Itinerary - The Essence of New Zealand - by New Zealand Encounters and Travel
We've put together a collection of unique and exciting itinerary ideas for you based on what our clients have wanted over the past 12 years. These itineraries can form the base for your New Zealand experience.

New Zealand Vacation Itinerary - The Essence of New Zealand

Home Page
Design your own holiday
Itinerary Planner
New Zealand Information
Tips for travellers
Locals & Landscapes
Book an experience
Flights
Air New Zealand
Travel Packages
Money Transfers
About Gay Travel
Meet the team
Contact Details
What our clients have said
Our terms and conditions
Conservation Statement
Westpac Rescue Helicopter


The Essence of New Zealand


We call this trip “Soul Nourishment” because it offers beautiful places at a relaxed pace. This New Zealand discovery vacation allows you to explore both the North and South Island. Don’t just glimpse at the scenery from a car window - get out and explore, meet locals, picnic by a stream or swim at a beach you suddenly discover. See it all and slow down to “kiwi pace”.

Book this itinerary



Itinerary


Day 1 - Arrival Auckland
Arrival Auckland International Airport. After the long flight - instead of trying to navigate a map in a strange city in a foreign country - we will have a private driver pick you up and transport you to your Auckland accommodation. Along the way, your driver, will take you on a mini Auckland introduction tour. You may then spend the rest of the day exploring "The City of Sails".
   
Accommodation:
Your accommodation combines suite-style accommodation with personalised hotel services. Conveniently situated at Viaduct Harbour, its proximity to Auckland's central business district and the city's finest shopping, restaurants, cafes and recreation activities make it ideal.

From your own personal balcony you will enjoy both marina and city views.

Two night stay.

Region:
Auckland

Day 2 - Auckland No travel
A full day to enjoy Auckland and its surrounding region. You may choose to go sailing on an ex-America's Cup racing yacht, visit the black sand beaches of Xena and "The Piano" or take a day trip to Waiheke Island.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Auckland

Day 3 - Auckland - Bay of Islands 3-4 hour drive or 6-7 hour drive
Giant Trees, Giant Sand Dunes and the Bay of Islands.

Your rental car will be delivered to your B&B this morning.

It is a lovely drive from Auckland to the Bay of Islands. In your final Daily Planner we will outline various stops along way that provide points of interest, entertainment and/or spectacular sights.

The longer coastal route offers a journey through the Waipoua Forest with the giant Kauri Trees and Opononi giant sand dunes. The more direct route offers the opportunity to quickly get to the Bay of Islands ready to indulge in its' many wonders.

Depending on which route you take, you may or may not have much time to explore the Bay of Islands today.
   
Accommodation:
Your Lodge is elevated high above 9 acres of native bush adjacent to the Russell township, overlooking the Bay of Islands. You will be amazed with the breathtaking views offered in all directions that invite you to gaze upon the natural beauty of this special place.

Two night stay.

Region:
Northland

Day 4 - Bay of Islands No travel
A full day to visit the Waitangi Reserve to learn of the Treaty between the native Maori and English Crown, take a fast boat trip out amongst the islands and through the 'Hole in the Rock' or a day trip up to Cape Reinga to see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.

Lots to see and do!
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Northland

Day 5 - Bay of Islands - Auckland 3-4 hour drive
You have plenty of time to further enjoy the Bay of Islands today before heading back down the centre of Northland to the charming hisotric village of Devonport.

Devonport was once a military hold with barracks, hidden gun stations and large base. Now it is a charming, historic waterfront village with great vistas, cafes and atmosphere.
   
Accommodation:
Your B&B is a magnificently restored Victorian villa (circa 1880), situated in an unbeatable waterfront location in the heart of the historic maritime village of Devonport.

One night stay.

Region:
Auckland

Day 6 - Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula 3 hour drive
"Beaches, Bush and Bays"

Your drive to the remote and beautiful Coromandel Peninsula follows your optional morning walk. You can stop and visit Miranda Bird Sanctuary, one of the largest stopping points for migrating birds in the world. Journey through fertile farmland and over The North Island's longest one-way bridge. This bridge is the first sign that you are entering a remote and very different region.

The last hour of the drive to the Coromandel is a windy mountain pass through thick native bush. The mountains are covered in tree ferns, palms and huge native trees. There are volcanic cones, plugs and sheer valleys to entertain you along the way. This portion of the drive is a real buffet for the eyes!
   
Accommodation:
Experience the privacy and beauty from your own hillitop apartment overlooking the magnificent Mercury Bay. It is the perfect place for those that want to be close to all that Mercury Bay has to offer.

Two night stay.

Region:
Coromandel Peninsula

Day 7 - Coromandel Peninsula No travel
There is much to see and do here especially on a sunny day.

Relax on one of the seventeen beaches in the area, create your own Maori bone carving, take a guided nature walk with one of the country's leading naturalists or visit Hot Water Beach for a thermal soak.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Coromandel Peninsula

Day 8 - Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua 4-5 hour drive
Today you will drive down the Pacific Coast Highway towards Rotorua.

There are many interesting stops along the way including orchards you can visit and pick your own kiwifruit and vegetables and a wonderful vineyard. These interesting stops (and more) will be detailed in your final vacation packet.

The drive often takes all day with so much to do and see along the way.

   
Accommodation:
Your Hotel is within walking distance to activities, restaurants and shops.

Two night stay.

Region:
Rotorua

Day 9 - Rotorua No travel
You have the full day to explore and discover Rotorua.

It is only a one hour drive to nearby Cambridge (the thoroughbred capital of the country) or Lake Taupo, the country's largest lake.

Wherever you go - there is lots to see and do!
   
Accommodation:
Same as the previous night.

Region:
Rotorua

Day 10 - Rotorua - Kaikoura 1 hour flight + 2 hour drive
This morning you will head out to the Rotorua Airport for a flight down to the South Island and the small town of Blenheim. Blenheim is known as one of New Zealand's premier wine regions but you are landing here because it is less than two hours from Kaikoura, the mammal capital of the country.

At Blenheim Airport you will pick up your rental car. There will be time for you to enjoy a bit of wine tasting or a wine tour at one of the many vineyards in the region before heading south two hours along the eastern coastline to Kaikoura.

A short drive around Kaikoura then it is 20 km inland to your 2000-acre farmstay.

   
Accommodation:
Your luxury aparmtment is right across the street from the waterfront! This superb sea side location has off road parking in a quiet location, yet it is in the heart of the Kaikoura township.

Two night stay.

Region:
Canterbury

Day 11 - Kaikoura No travel
This morning you may enjoy a dolphin watch or swim with the dolphins trip. Pods of bottlenose, common and dusky dolphins live in the area and watching these playful acrobats of the sea is such good fun!

The other unique attraction of the area is whale watching. You may choose to view these giant mammals from sea level in a boat or get a bird's eye view from a Cessna or helicopter. Either way, it is a sight to treasure for a lifetime.
   
Accommodation:
Same as the previous night.

Region:
Canterbury

Day 12 - Kaikoura - Christchurch 2 hour drive
Today you may choose to further enjoy the seal colonies, dolphins, whales and coastline of Kaikoura or head immediately for the culture and arts centre of New Zealand; Christchurch.

It is an easy drive south on Highway 1 to Christchurch, "The Garden City". Cafes and vineyards offer enjoyable entertainment along the way.

You then have the rest of the day to have a look around the city and its many museums and art galleries, go for a punt on the Avon River or "shop till you drop".
   
Accommodation:
This Italian style historic home has been renovated and tastefully refurbished into one of the finest boutique hotel accommodations in Christchurch and only steps away from the city centre.

Two night stay.

Region:
Canterbury

Day 13 - Christchurch No travel
A full day to enjoy and explore at your leisure.

A day trip to nearby Akaroa to discover its rich history, cafes and shops. It is well worth the drive!
   
Accommodation:
Same as the previous night.

Region:
Canterbury

Day 14 - Christchurch - Franz Josef 4 hour train + 3 hour drive
After breakfast you will board your 8.15am train to Greymouth. The TranzAlpine is world renowned as "The Great New Zealand Rail Adventure". It crosses the Canterbury Plains and winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular gorges and river valleys before tracking slowly across the Southern Alps - arriving at Greymouth.

Upon arrival at the Train Station you will pick up your final rental car and begin exploring the 'Wild West Coast'.
   
Accommodation:
Your Lodge is raised into the forest canopy where the flora and fauna are your constant companion. You will be surrounded by beautiful and primeval native rain forest.

One night stay.

Region:
West Coast

Day 15 - Franz Josef - Lake Moeraki 2 hour drive
You have the morning to enjoy the wonders of Franz Josef. A walk around Lake Matheson is a must! On a clear day, the reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps onto the lake is quite simply one of the most breathtaking sights.

Not much further south is your next home for the night.
   
Accommodation:
Set in a World Heritage Rain Forest, powered by a generator driven by the river, and telephone service by satellite phone - you are in remote country! Guided hikes, optional self guided hikes and privately guided hikes (additional cost) are abundant. You can enjoy canoeing opportunities, fly fishing (catch and release only), glowworms and phenomenal night skies. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Please note: this Lodge books out quickly. If you want this accommodation guaranteed on your trip you must book months in advance.

Region:
West Coast

Day 16 - Lake Moeraki - Queenstown 4-5 hour drive
After breakfast enjoy a nature-oriented activity offered by the Lodge before hitting the road to Queenstown.

Travel today is over the Haast Pass, which offers many interesting stops. We will highlight swing bridges to walk over, waterfalls to hike to, crystal blue pools to gaze at (or swim in), caves to explore - a great wilderness area! It is amazing to walk through forests with curtains of moss and birds singing.

Although the drive is five hours, it often takes all day with so much to see and do.
   
Accommodation:
Your small intimate Hotel is only three minutes walk to the centre of town and features stunning views of the Remarkables mountain range from every room.

Two night stay.

Region:
Queenstown

Day 17 - Queenstown No travel
Indulge in this exciting town! This is the adventure capital of the country. Every imaginable way to go down, go up, travel over water, travel in water, travel faster, higher or scarier is offered here!

Of course you also can sit quietly and simply attempt to take in all the dramatic scenery - Queenstown is truly a stunning place.
   
Accommodation:
Same as the previous night.

Region:
Queenstown

Day 18 - Queenstown - Te Anau 2 hour drive
You may choose to further enjoy the many options in Queenstown this morning or immediately leave the bustle of and head to the remote nature and beauty of the Fiordland National Park.

It is an easy and picturesque drive from Queenstown to Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
   
Accommodation:
Architectually designed and located perfectly to give magnificent views of Lake Te Anau and mountains, your accommodation is only 3 minutes walk to the town centre.

Two night stay.

Region:
Fiordland

Day 19 - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau Guided tour + cruise
Enjoy a small group tour that has a maximum of twelve people. Travel from Te Anau to Milford Sound with stops for pictures, short hikes, bird viewing (usually Keas the cheeky alpine parrot) and commentary along the way. Learn about the flora, fauna and history of this unique region while taking in the ever-changing landscapes. Avoid the large bus feeling!

The two hour cruise included on this trip is the morning trip on a small boat that specialises in wildlife viewing. The trip back arrives into Te Anau at around 5pm. This is really a very special, special trip.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Fiordland

Day 20 - Te Anau - Dunedin 3-4 hour drive
A day of contrast; from the green of Fiordland to the rugged coast of Dunedin.

To make the transition from Fiordland to the coast you will cross seemingly endless rivers and streams.

When you reach the coast, we recommend a detour to The Catlins. This wild and rugged unspoilt region offers low populations with a high level of beauty. After a walk to Nugget Point lighthouse, it is a one hour drive north from the Catlins to the Scottish settlement of Dunedin.

   
Accommodation:
Nestled in a secluded, established garden the Lodge is conveniently located within minutes of many of the city's cafes and restaurants.

The Lodge was built in 1924 and offers luxury accommodation in an atmosphere of restrained elegance while providing the ultimate in contempory comfort and modern facilities.

Two night stay.

Region:
Dunedin

Day 21 - Dunedin No travel
This is your last full day in New Zealand exploring the wonders of Dunedin.

You may choose to enjoy a self drive tour to see the attractive architecture of Otago University and the Train Station or head out to the tip of the Otago Peninsula to see the Yellow Eyed Penguin. You can also visit the world's only mainland albatross colony, which coincidentally, is located on a historic site.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Dunedin

Day 22 - Dunedin - Auckland - International Departure 2-3 hour flight
Depending on your departure time, you may or may not have time for some last minute shopping before boarding your flight out of Dunedin to Auckland in time to connect with your International departure.
   
Accommodation:


Region:
Auckland



Pricing and Inclusions


Price with advertised accommodation approx
From $5,650 NZD per person based on share twin

Inclusions


    • Standard accommodations as listed.
    • Private Airport collect and Auckland Tour
    • TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth
    • Milford Sound Tour, cruise, lunch
    • Budget Rental Car - Full Size, automatic transmission with airconditioning & partial insurance
    • Exclusive travel pack with highlighted map(s) with your route, area guides for each region you visit and your comprehensive daily planner with sightseeing & activity options and suggestions

Exclusions


    • International Airfares
    • Internal Domestic Airfares
    • Meals not specified
    • Optional activities not specified

Departures




Accommodation and Meals



Included meals:
Lunch while on the Milford Sound trip.
Breakfast at any B&Bs chosen/included. Dinner and breakfast at Lake Moeraki Lodge

Accommodations:
All accommodations described are our preferred accommodation for that destination. Every effort will be taken to supply the described property but availability is on first come first served basis. A suitable and comparable substitute will be offered when the described property is not available.



Book this itinerary



View another itinerary package:

The Essence of New Zealand 22 days Self Drive
New Zealand's Most Popular Sights 14 days Self Drive
Our Favourite North and South Island Tour 14 days Self Drive
Guided Milford Track & The South Island 14 days Self Drive
Wilderness, Wildlife, Walks & Wine 14 days Self Drive
21 Day Middle Earth Adventure 21 days Self Drive
South Island Family Folly 14 days Self Drive
The Ultimate New Zealand Escape 13 days Self Drive
Family Fun - 14 day North and South Island Tour 14 days Self Drive




 
 
Tourism Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopter  
New Zealand Tourism Guide Gold Membership
Gay Travel is a division of New Zealand Encounters and Travel Limited
© Copyright 1996 - 2009. New Zealand Encounters and Travel Ltd. Our website design and content is copyright
 

homecustom travelcontactnew zealandlocals & landscapesflightspackagesaboutlinks