New Zealand Vacation Itinerary - New Zealand's Most Popular Sights - 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 - New Zealand's Most Popular Sights

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New Zealand's Most Popular Sights


If you want to get a taste of all the New Zealand highlights and you are willing to travel at a quick pace, then get your camera ready, this is your self drive itinerary!

All modes of transportation including rental car, TranzAlpine Train and two flights make it possible to enjoy all the enchantment of New Zealand within 14 days.

Auckland, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Waitomo, Christchurch, Mt Cook, Glaciers, Queenstown, Fiordland and Milford Sound - it's all here.

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Itinerary


Day 1 - Arrival Auckland Private transfer
No need to bother with collecting a rental car and juggling a map after such a long flight! You will be met by a private driver/guide who will greet you and take you on an Auckland City Highlights Tour on the way to the city. Sights can include the Auckland Domain with its many gardens, Auckland Museum, Parnell with its boutique shops and cafes, the Rose Garden, One Tree Hill with its' 360 view, historic Devonport village and The Royal Yacht Club Squadron with the America's Cup Trophy.

After your introduction to our 'City of Sails', you will be transferred to your accommodation. The rest of the day is free to explore Auckland on your own.
   
Accommodation:
Your accomodation is in a brand new waterfront apartment style hotel. Walk from your hotel right out onto the America's Cup Village and wharf. Glorious harbour views!

One night stay.

Region:
Auckland

Day 2 - Auckland - Bay of Islands 3-4 hour drive or 6-7 hour drive
Your rental car will be delivered to your hotel this morning. Today you will head north out of Auckland travelling over the famous Harbour Bridge. You will travel through farmland and small seaside townships as you journey to the Bay of Islands.

We suggest taking the coast road up to the Bay of Islands so you can enjoy the Matakohe Kauri Museum and drive through the amazing Waipoua Kauri Forest. Here you can see the granddaddy of all trees 'Tane Mahuta', who is over 2000 years old.

A bit further north is Opononi where the huge 300 metre high sand dunes are located.

   
Accommodation:
Your accomodation is elevated high above 9 acres of native bush which is adjacent to the Russell township and 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 3 - Bay of Islands No travel
A free day to choose how you would like to explore and experience the region - Treaty of Waitangi Historic Reserve, sailing, boat cruises, big game fishing, Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach, it's all here for you to enjoy.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Northland

Day 4 - Bay of Islands - Auckland - Christchurch 2 hour flight
A short morning flight delivers you back to Auckland Airport where you connect with your next flight to Christchurch, known as 'The Garden City'. This English flavoured city is lovely, with the Avon River meandering through the city, its' tree lined streets, grand cathedral and many art galleries, museums and street side cafes. You will pick up your next rental car upon arrival at the Airport. You will then have time today to enjoy a taste of Christchurch.
   
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 5 - Christchurch Depends on options
Today you have a choice of destinations. You can further enjoy Christchurch or choose a day trip to one of the surrounding regions.

Kaikoura: You may choose to travel up the East Coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura. Once a whaling station, it is now the centre for wildlife conservation. Seals, whales, dolphins and pelagic birds are abundant in Kaikoura. You have the option of a whale watch, dolphin watch (or swim), seal watch (or swim) or a bird viewing trip.

Arthur's Pass: You may choose to travel on one of those really great day tours that we are proud to include! First you coach then you jet boat, transfer to a four wheel drive vehicle over farmland, enjoy lunch at a sheep station and finish off with a train ride back to Christchurch all in one day!

Akaroa: You may choose to visit Akaroa, a simply charming harbour side village. Enjoy a scenic winery, cheese factory, harbour cruises to see the Hector dolphins (only found in NZ) and lovely rolling landscapes. Options on this day are an additional cost to the Tour price.

   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Canterbury

Day 6 - Christchurch - Mount Cook & Glaciers 4 hour drive
Your journey today takes you over the patchwork of the Canterbury Plains to our highest mountain, Mount Cook. You will pass large high country sheep stations, small farming communities, Lake Tekapo with its Church of the Good Shepard and Lake Pukaki.

With weather on your side you have the option of taking a helicopter scenic flight including panoramic views of Franz & Fox Glaciers, Mt Cook and a snow landing.

Enjoy the luxurious alpine air and remember to look at the stars in the evening- the crisp mountain air offers some of the best star gazing opportunities in the country.

   
Accommodation:
Your B&B is built on an elevated site overlooking Lake Tekapo and has spectacular unobstructed lake and alpine views.

One night stay.

Region:
Central Otago

Day 7 - Mt Cook - Queenstown 4 hour drive
Should Mother Nature offer a clear day- the sight of the morning sun on Mt Cook is one to remember for a lifetime. After exploring the nearby glacier lake, Salmon farm and perhaps a hike at the National Park, you head to the adventure capital of NZ.

Queenstown is a combination of Aspen and Disneyland! Endless opportunities to cruise, soar, golf, jump, bike, taste, climb and shop abound in this charming lakeside resort town.
   
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 8 - Queenstown
Enjoy a full day to indulge in Queenstown at your leisure. The options on this day are seemingly endless.

Click on Queenstown Activities below to view just some of the region's attractions and activities.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Queenstown

Day 9 - Queenstown - Te Anau 2 hour drive
Today you may want to enjoy a bit more of the bustle of Queenstown and head later to Te Anau or you may choose to journey right away to the quiet nature of Fiordland. It is an easy two and a half hour drive between Queenstown and Te Anau.
   
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 10 - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau Guided tour + cruise
Enjoy a small group tour to Milford Sound (up to 12 people). This trip includes transport between Te Anau and Milford Sound with short hikes along the way with a friendly guide to introduce you to the flora, fauna and history of the region.

You will travel through rainforest bush, sheer cliffs dressed in multiple waterfalls and through Homer's Tunnel. Upon arrival at Milford Sound you will board a boat for a two hour cruise through the glacier created, dramatic landscape.

It is like a journey to pre-historic times. A picnic lunch will be enjoyed during the cruise. The cruise on the morning trip is on a small boat that specialises in wildlife viewing. Back to Te Anau at around 5pm.

   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Fiordland

Day 11 - Te Anau - Queenstown - Rotorua 2 hour drive + 2 hour flight
The drive from Te Anau back to Queenstown is the same route you drove down on a couple days prior. There is an old steam train, The Kingston Flyer that offers an interesting stop along the way.

Upon arrival at Queenstown you hop on a two hour flight that takes you back to the North Island and the tourism mecca of Rotorua. Rotorua is known for its active thermal reserves with geysers, steaming vents, bubbling mud, Maori cultural encounters and great trout fishing. It is a region that caters to the international traveller.
   
Accommodation:
Your hosts will be there to welcome you to their lakeside lodge. Enjoy soaking up the views from the jetty or spa pool or just relax in this peaceful setting.

Two night stay.

Region:
Rotorua

Day 12 - Rotorua Full day tour
This morning you will be collected from your accommodation by our Maori guide/driver who will offer you Maori history, stories and legends throughout the day.

Learn of Maori traditions, visit a Maori Marae (meeting house), experience geothermal reserves and bubbling mud pools, hike through the spectacular Waimangu Volcanic Valley, discover the region around Rotorua and Taupo that is your guide's Iwi's (tribe's) ancestral land.

A special day to remember for a lifetime!
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Rotorua

Day 13 - Rotorua - Taupo - Waitomo Caves 3 hours
Time to leave the thermal activity and lakes of Rotorua for a different type of landscape. Travel one hour south to Lake Taupo to see the country's largest lake and the powerful Huka Falls before proceeding to the magical limestone caves of Waitomo.

You may choose a mild cave encounter like a visit to the Glow Worm Cave where you can see valleys of stalagmites and stalactites and then float gently in a boat with just the light from its resident glow worms to illuminate the way. Or you may choose a more adventurous cave encounter like black water rafting, abseiling into caves or cave crawling.
   
Accommodation:
Your B&B is surrounded by farmland in the hills of the King Country, with views of ancient Maori pa sites and native bush. Walking tracks are close at hand and the Waitomo Village only 500 metres away.

One night stay.

Region:
Waikato

Day 14 - Waikato/King Country - Auckland 3 hour drive
You may have time this morning to further explore the caves, enjoy a thoroughbred stud farm tour if overnighting at Cambridge or head up to Auckland for some last minute shopping before your International flight home.
   
Accommodation:


Region:
Auckland



Pricing and Inclusions


From $4,050 NZD per person based on share twin

Inclusions


    • Accommodations as listed.
    • Private airport collect and four hour Auckland Tour.
    • Rotorua Full Day PrivateTour
    • Milford Sound Tour, cruise, lunch.
    • Budget Rental Car - Mid Size, automatic transmission with airconditioning & partial insurancel
    • Exclusive travel pack with highlighted map(s) with your route, area guides for each region you visit and your comprehensive daily planner with sight seeing & activity options and suggestions

Exclusions


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

Departures


Daily departures are available but this tour is best suited to Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday international arrival.



Accommodation and Meals



Included Meals:
Lunch on day 3 is on the Milford Sound trip.
Breakfast at any B&Bs chosen is included.

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.

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South Island Family Folly 14 days Self Drive
The Ultimate New Zealand Escape 13 days Self Drive
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