New Zealand Highlights By Car
PLEASE NOTE: We can help you add, adjust and tailor the itinerary to suit your requirements. Each clients itinerary is different. We work to your budget and take advantage of current specials in the marketplace for your time of travel.
Destinations: Auckland, Napier, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch
Experiences: Culture, Scenery, Food and Wine, Wildlife, Relaxation
No. of days: 11 days/10 nights
Starting in Auckland you get to experience the natural beauty of New Zealand as you make your way from the North Island down to the South Island. Enjoy a scenic Auckland city and West Coast tour and Maori cultural experience before heading to the Hawkes Bay wine region. Enjoy a wine and gourmet food tour of the regions. Next stop is vibrant Wellington, discover the capital city on a highlights tour before visiting an urban ecosanctuary right in the heart of the city. Taking the Interisland Ferry from Wellington to Blenheim will take you through exquisite Marlborough Sounds. Visit a mussel farm while cruising Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, enjoy the tranquility and stunning beauty of the Sounds. Your trip ends in Christchurch, where you can tour the city, the Antarctic Center and wander through the Botanic Gardens.
DAY BY DAY:
Day 1: Arrive in Auckland. Transfer to your Auckland city accommodation. This afternoon make your way to Auckland Museum. Enjoy time at your leisure to explore the galleries and enjoy the Maori cultural performance at the museum. (2 nights Auckland)
Day 2: Today you'll be picked up from your accommodation to commence a full day Auckland City and West Coast Luxury Tour. On this full day small group experience explore the sights of Auckland City and be amazed by spectacular views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea plus dramatic views of several volcanoes, city and regional parks. Explore untamed coastline, black as well as golden sand beaches, subtropical rainforest with the famous Kauri trees, plus unique indigenous flora and fauna. Lunch is included.
Day 3: Leaving Auckland today you pick up your rental car and drive to Napier. (2 nights Napier)
Day 4: You're off to explore the Hawkes Bay wine region today. Your guide will pick you up from your accommodation at lunchtime to commence a half day Wine and Gourmet Odyssey tour around the Hawke's Bay region. Savour some internationally acclaimed wine and relax amongst a wealth of scenery. Take a behind the scenes look at a winery with a chance to learn from a local wine maker, learn about wine and food matching at one of New Zealand's top winery restaurants and indulge in gourmet platters with top local produce including meats, seafood, vegetables, cheese, olives, breads and dips. The tour commences in time for dinner, if you can still fit that in.
Day 5: You're driving to Wellington today. (2 nights Wellington).
Day 6: You get to explore Wellington today in a small group half day city highlights tour. You'll be picked up at your accommodation for a journey around the city's dramatic highlights, during which you will travel around the earthquake-scarred South Coast to see the site of the Wahine ferry disaster and the distant ranges of the South Island, overlooked by coastal houses perched on the steep, rocky hills. Enjoy views of the harbor from the top of Mount Victoria and ride the steep cable car for incredible views at the top. Visit the magnificent Parliament buildings and the famous Beehive and see the gorgeous, timber-built Old St Paul's Cathedral before visiting the national museum of Te Papa to experience the extraordinary mix of Maori and European history, amid the nation's natural and cultural treasures. This afternoon drive to the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctury a 225 hectare ecosanctuary in the heart of the city. This groundbreaking conservation project has reintroduced nearly 20 species of native wildlife back into the area.
Day 7: After returning your rental car you are boarding the Interisland Ferry for your transfer from Wellington to Picton. Upon arrival in Picton, pick up a rental car and drive to Blenheim. (2 nights Blenheim)
Day 8: This afternoon you are doing to join a small group cruise out into the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds. Learn about the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the pioneering families who have settled here. Take in the natural beauty and tranquility of the Marlborough Sounds. Then visit a Greenshell Mussel farm where you can see how mussels are grown and why they grow so well in the Marlborough Sounds. While at the Mussel farm you will get to sample a local favorite - freshly steamed mussels matched to a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Day 9: You leave Blenheim today and drive to Christchurch. (2 nights Christchurch)
Day 10: Explore Christchurch today on a half day city sightseeing tour. You'll travel through the central city past highlights including Canterbury University, Riccarton House and Riccarton Bush, Mona Vale, Hagley Park, the Antigua Boat Sheds, and the Botanical Gardens. Christchurch is the gateway to Antarctica and today you'll get to visit the International Antarctic Center which showcases modern day Antarctica. Spend the afternoon at leisure, make sure you wander through the beautiful Botanic Gardens or ride the tramcar.
Day 11: Today you transfer to the airport for your trip home.
* Coach tours can be arranged if you would prefer not to drive.
2 nights Auckland
2 nights Napier
2 nights Wellington
2 nights Blenheim
2 nights Christchurch
Auckland Museum and Maori cultural show
Auckland city and West Coast luxury tour
Hawkes Bay wine and gourmet food tour
Wellington city highlights tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary - urban ecosanctuary and conservation project
Marlborough Sounds tour
Greenshell Mussel Farm tour
Christchurch city highlights tour
International Antarctic Center
All aspects of this itinerary can be changed to suit your requirements.
The itineraries provided are great introductions to your chosen destination. You can create a travel plan using the itinerary provided or make modifications to destinations, activities and accommodation and create the dream trip you want.
Not every traveler is the same, we get that and so that’s why we recommend making changes to suit your needs. In fact, we insist - we want you to have the best trip.
If you would like any recommendations for dinner or shopping areas please let us know we are happy to help and make bookings for you where necessary.
To travel to Australia you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and we can process an ETA Visa for free for US Citizens. We will need a copy of your Photo Page of your Passport. Nationalities of any other countries please enquire with your agent to see if you are eligible for a free ETA Visa or if you need to apply for a Visitor Visa.
To travel to New Zealand you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. More information on the NZeTA application requirements and process can be found on our FAQ page here.
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment. We will provide a travel insurance quote at the time of booking, and you are free to use our recommended insurance with Travelguard, find your own, or book without insurance.
A product that we can offer is a Cancel For Any Reason policy that will provide you with 80% back in refunds. If the cancellation is for medical reasons there is a 100% refund..
Downunder Journeys services travel requests from the United States and Canada for travel to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands and Tahiti. All pricing on this website is in US Dollars.
All of the sample itineraries on this website do not include airfares as the airfare price changes daily and to ensure you get the best possible price we will work with the best airfares at the time. If you happen to buy your airfare first and then need a package to fit it, we can certainly help with that as well, just let us know.
As an idea for a 2-week vacation to Australia or New Zealand we recommend a budget of around $8,000-10,000 (including economy airfare), this would be for a 4 star and above itinerary, a little cheaper if we did more moderate accommodations.