Highlights

  • Showcase the best of both New Zealand’s north and south
  • Treat yourself to ultra-scenic drives
  • From spurting geysers to alpine lakes, take in true natural wonders
  • Stop off for the charms of Christchurch, Auckland & Wellington
  • Stay in utter luxury throughout

There’s simply no better way of seeing New Zealand than on an epic road trip, taking in the best of both the North and South islands. Coastal sweeps, countryside drives and high mountain passes will see you between everything from mighty glaciers and geothermal wonders to vineyard tastings and national-park beaches. There’s also plenty of Maori heritage amongst the country’s city greats and historic towns. And throughout, you’ll stay in some of the finest properties that New Zealand has to offer.


Days 1 – 2

Depart UK

Begin in style with a private-chauffeur airport transfer where you’ll enjoy VIP airport lounge access before your flight out.


Days 3 – 4

Auckland: The City of Sails

On arrival into New Zealand’s largest city, you’ll be met by a private driver who’ll see you to your luxury hotel. It’s the perfect introduction to Auckland – a 1920s Art Deco icon set right in the heart of town.

As such, you’ll have all of the city’s delights on your doorstep, from its Maori art galleries and museums to the giant Skytower’s sweeping views. If you look a little closer, you’ll also be within easy reach of volcano hikes, rainforests dotted with Maori carvings, and gulf islands home to superlative vineyards.

Hotel Grand Windsor

Breakfast included

Auckland harbour

Auckland harbour

Waiheke vineyard, New Zealand

Waiheke Island vineyard

Waitemata harbor and Devonport district, Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand


Days 5 – 6

Coromandel Peninsula's beaches and beauty

Picking up your hire car from central Auckland, it’s time to set off on your road trip. You’ll quickly find the city giving way to lush countryside, as you follow the coast to your exclusive seaside accommodation. With just four suites, it’s delightfully intimate, not least for its easy access to golden beaches that host geothermal pools.

For something more active, head into the peninsula’s centre for some back-bush hiking, or head out on a scenic drive for impressive rock formations and a west coast thrashed into weathered jags.

Breakfast included

Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Coromandel Peninsula

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula


Day 7

The volcanoes of Rotorua

Heading inland, you’ll make your way to Rotorua, where New Zealand’s volcanicity shines brightly in hot springs, geysers, mud pools and even lurid-orange mineral lakes. And, all this activity is contrasted by your relaxed accommodation – an early-20th-century mansion complete with lake views and its own beach.

There’s also plenty of cultural intrigue as well, with the local Maori mythology kept alive in traditional villages, where you can join cultural performances and hangi feasts.

Breakfast included

Champagne Pool, Rotorua

Champagne Pool, Rotorua


Day 8

Of wines and architecture: Napier

On your way back to the coast, you’ll watch as Rotorua’s volcanic exuberance calms into undulating greenery. Your goal is Napier, whose Art-Deco beauty is paired with some of New Zealand’s finest vineyards, found in next-door Hawke’s Bay.

In between tasting opportunities, be sure to find some time to relax in your luxurious accommodation – a converted vicarage where you’ll enjoy complimentary pre-dinner drinks and canapés.

Breakfast included

Hawke's Bay vineyard

Hawke's Bay vineyard

Napier, New Zealand

Art Deco Napier


Day 9

Wellingtonian charm

Despite its status as the country’s capital, Wellington is full of provincial charm, best experienced in its superb microbrewery scene, surrounding hills and postcard-perfect harbour. It’s a privileged view taken in right from your chic room and your hotel’s rooftop infinity pool.

Further highlights include the excellent Museum of New Zealand, home to a fascinating collection of Maori woodcarvings. 

Breakfast included

Kelburn Cable Car, Wellington, New Zealand

Kelburn Cable Car, Wellington


Days 10 – 11

Abel Tasman National Park

Leaving your car behind, you’ll board the Interislander ferry to enjoy all the comforts of Premium Class. As the lush-green bays of the Cook Strat drift past, you’ll be treated to a complimentary meal, along with snacks and beer or wine.

Then, on arrival in the South Island, you’ll pick up your new hire car for the journey through vineyard-dotted countryside to Nelson. Alongside the wine, you’ll also want to get a taste of next-door Abel Tasman National Park. This beautiful collection of burnished beaches and secluded coves is backed by thick jungle, ideal for both hiking and kayaking. Nights are spent in the luxury Te Koi on the tip of the historic Bronte Peninsula.

Breakfast included

Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman, New Zealand

Kayaking

Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Hiking


Day 12

Franz Josef's mighty glacier

The South Island’s west coast is delightfully rugged, characterised by cragged inlets watched over by old-growth forests. It’s all scenery that characterises your drive south to Westland National Park, where you’ll stay right among its wilderness rainforest in a luxury hotel that features private balconies and a canopy-level restaurant. You’ll also want to explore the next-door Franz Josef Glacier, perhaps on an optional hike or helicopter ride, before returning to warm back up in a forested hot pool. 

Breakfast included

Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Te Waonui Forest Retreat


Days 13 – 15

Adventures in Queenstown

Your trip down to Queenstown will bring you alongside rushing rivers, past quaint lakeside towns and into the heights of the Southern Alps. Perched between the Remarkables mountain range and glittering Lake Wakatipu, there’s a full range of activities here, from skiing and skydiving to bungee jumping and white-water rafting.

However, look beyond the high adrenaline and you’ll find mountain hikes, vineyard tastings and laidback gold-rush towns set on idyllic lake shores. Or, explore further with a scenic cruise on spectacular Milford Sound – a true fjord icon. You’ll return each night to the boutique alpine-chic of your luxury accommodation.

Breakfast included

Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

Crown Range Road, Queenstown

Crown Range Road, Queenstown

Hiking, Queenstown

Hiking near Queenstown


Day 16

Lake Tekapo's mountain-ringed shimmer

You’ll venture deeper into the South Island’s mountains today, your scenic route rewarding you with Lake Tekapo – a glassy delight almost entirely surrounded by snow-capped peaks. It’s a spectacular view enjoyed right from your luxurious suite.

You’ll also want to get a closer look, perhaps on a hike or horseride before perhaps taking some time to relax in the geothermally heated hot springs. For photographers, don’t miss out on the Church of the Good Shepherd. Its delightful stone construction is backdropped by some of the region’s prettiest scenery.

Breakfast included

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Church of the Good Shepherd


Day 17

Christchurch: The English City

Heading east, you’ll arrive at your final stop – Christchurch. Charmingly English, it’s resplendent in green parks and neo-Gothic vestiges; you can even try your hand at punting on the River Avon. Don’t also miss out on the superb botanic gardens.

You’ll take it all in from your boutique accommodation, enjoying its flawlessly contemporary styling and a one-to-one staff to guest ratio.       

Breakfast included

Avon River, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand

Punting on the River Avon

Anglican cathedral in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Anglican Cathedral


Days 18 – 19

Depart for UK

After your final breakfast, drop your car off at Christchurch Airport and board your overnight flight home. 

Breakfast included


About the itinerary

"I've designed this route to rival the greatest driving holidays the world has to offer. And, alongside the impossibly scenic views, there's plenty of time for some relaxed indulgence. Along with its superb wineries, New Zealand is famous in the trade for its boutique accommodation. So, I've selected some of the country's finest offerings for you to stay in."

Esther Ward

Destination Specialist

Pricing information

Guide price from £4,505 pp incl. flights

Low Season from: £4,505 pp
High Season from: £4,955 pp

  • Complimentary UK airport chauffeur drive
  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between London to Auckland and departing from Christchurch
  • Private transfers as per itinerary
  • 14 days medium car hire with GPS, including Inter-island ferry (premium plus)
  • 15 nights accommodation staying in typically 4.5 or 5* (Deluxe) hotels on a B&B basis and half-board basis for Franz Josef hotel
Enquire