North & South Island Self Drive

18 Days

Discover the top highlights of both islands at your own pace as you drive along winding roads and past postcard-perfect vistas.

Priced from $2099 per person


Discover the top highlights of both islands at your own pace as you drive along winding roads and past postcard-perfect vistas. One of the most visually impressive countries on Earth, this itinerary is perfect for travelers wanting a complete but flexible tour.


  • Dig your own thermal spa in the sand at Hot Water Beach
  • Take in the breathtaking stalactites and amazing glow worms at Waitomo Caves
  • Witness the spectacular geothermal laborator of steaming geysers and bubbling pools at Rotorua
  • Delight your taste buds with world-famous Pinot Noir from the Martinborough region
  • Drive along the Tasman coast to see the unique Pancake rocks of Punakaiki
  • Behold the stunning Franz Josef Glacier, said to be the tears of a Maori princess, pining for her lost love


Depart Auckland and travel the Pacific Coast Highway touring route to the Coromandel Peninsula.

The Coromandel's dramatic and unspoiled coast, and beautiful white sandy beaches, offer endless opportunities for fishing, diving, boating, surfing and swimming.

164 km (102 Miles) 2.5 hours
Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort Pauanui (2 nights)

Enjoy the unique experience of Hot Water Beach where at low tide you can dig in the sand, allowing the sulphur-heated waters to rise to the top to create your very own thermal spa.

Swim with dolphins, hire a kayak and explore the many offshore islands or simply let the azure water lap at your feet and marvel at the beauty of the Pacific Ocean.

Depart Coromandel and arrive in the Bay of Plenty region early afternoon, in time for a swim or lunch at one of the many restaurants. Continue on to Rotorua, famous for its spouting geysers, bubbling mud pools and warm geothermal ponds.

253 km (157 miles) 4.5 hours
Millennium Hotel Rotorua (2 nights)

Spend the day experiencing the many wonders of Rotorua. Perhaps book a 4WD trip to Mt Tarawera to see an amazing crater and hear the stories of Maori legends.

Depart Rotorua for a short journey through to the Lake Taupo region. Taupo is the main centre of the region and Lake Taupo is one of the North Islands most popular holiday destinations.

80 km (50 miles) 1.5 hours
Millennium Hotel and Resort Taupo Manuels (1 night)

Depart Taupo for the Hawke's Bay region. Basking in a Mediterranean climate, the Hawke's Bay region is known for its wine, food and fabulous scenery. Over 30 vineyards offer visitors a wine tasting and indoor/ outdoor dining experience. Napier and Hastings, the two main centres in the region, have a high concentration of Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture. The rest of the day is free to enjoy the many vineyards and wonderful restaurants in the area.

143 km (89 miles) 2.5 hours
Scenic Hotel Te Pania Napier (1 night)

Today travel south, options include stopping at the small country towns of Carterton, Greytown and Featherston. Travel to Martinborough well known for the range of vineyards in the area and its growing worldwide reputation for its Pinot Noir wine. The afternoon is at leisure.

252 km (156 miles) 3.5 hours
Martinborough Hotel (1 Night)

Drive over the beautiful Rimutaka Hills to Wellington. The nation's capital is home to Te Papa - the interactive Museum of New Zealand, numerous art galleries and national treasures such as the original Treaty of Waitangi. A diverse range of cafes and restaurants support the city's vibrant nightlife.

83km (52 miles) 1.5 hours
InterContinental Wellington (1 night)

This morning is at leisure before returning your rental vehicle. Cross the Cook Strait between New Zealand's North and South Islands. On arrival in Picton, collect your rental car and drive to Nelson.

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco (2 nights)

Lots of options today including beaches to explore, harbour cruises, walks or adventure activities.

Nelson is also the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, the smallest of New Zealand's national parks, with glittering beaches, turquoise water and spectacular ocean views.

From Nelson journey through scenic reserves to Westport. Westport is a historic coal-mining settlement; the coal town museum has historical exhibitions and photographic displays. Visit the seal colony before continuing on to Punakaiki.

275 km (180 miles) 5 hours
Punakaiki Resort (1 night)

This morning explore Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and the Blowholes before continuing south to Franz Josef, an area of mountain peaks, impressive glaciers, tranquil lakes, raging rivers, lush rainforest and a magnificent coastline. Explore the base of the glaciers or take a scenic flight.

227 km (135 miles) 4 hours
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (1 night)

Travel through the scenic wilderness of Haast pass, stopping along the way to take advantage of many short nature walks and picnic spots before continuing to Queenstown.

404 km (251 miles) 6 hours
Heritage Queenstown (2 nights)

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps. Queenstown is recognized as New Zealand's premier visitor destination.

Journey through mountains and alongside lakes to Te Anau. We suggest a cruise on Milford Sound with its sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls and majestic Mitre Peak.

170 km (106 miles) 2.5 hours
Distinction Luxmore Hotel Te Anau (1 night)

Today is spent driving the southern scenic route exploring the Catlins area. The Catlins is home to an abundance of wildlife, and Nugget Point is a stunning and accessible place for viewing seals and penguins. Continue to Dunedin, a historic university town, that was first settled by the Scottish as it is renowned as the "Edinburgh of the South".

290 km (180 miles) 4 hours
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross Dunedin (1 night)

Depart Dunedin and head north to Timaru a place known for its extensive Edwardian and Victorian architecture. Stop and enjoy the coastal views from Caroline Bay before continuing on to Christchurch.

362 km (225 miles) 5 hours
Distinction Hotel Christchurch (1 night)

This morning is at leisure before returning your rental vehicle.


What's Included

  • 17 nights first-class accommodation
  • Car rental for 18 days with unlimited kilometres and mandatory vehicle insurance
  • Inter-Island ferry crossing for passengers
  • Co-Pilot Kit including maps and detailed driving instructions

What's not included

  • Travel Insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Optional excursions
  • Park fees unless stated
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

Tour Map

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    From $2,099
    / Adult