2 nights Auckland
2 nights Rotorua
1 night Tongariro National Park
2 nights Wellington
2 nights Abel Tasman National Park
4 nights Queenstown
2 nights Te Anau
Best of Auckland tour including Auckland Sky Tower
Waiheke Island tour and wineries
Visit Hobbiton movie set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
Gondola ride, Dinner and Stargazing tour
Wilderness Jet Safari up Dart River
Boutique Wine Tour
Milford Sound Cruise
Rental car and GPS
Destinations: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Abel Tasman National Park, Queenstown, Te Anau
Experiences: Scenery, Food and Wine, Wildlife, Adventure, Relaxation
No. of days: 16 Days / 15 Nights
There’s no hurrying from place to place on this relaxing, scenic self drive tour of New Zealand. This itinerary is designed to enable you to visit beautiful locations and experience some of the best activities with plenty of time for exploring areas on your own. Begin in Auckland with a private Tiki Tour to give you a nice introduction after landing. Visit beautiful Waiheke Island for a wine, food and art tour, this is a great day out. You’ll see geothermal wonders in Rotorua, stunning National Parks with plenty of hiking and great photo opportunities. Visit vibrant Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and Queenstown the adventure capital. Enjoy great food, wine, scenery and plenty of hot pools. You’ll return home rested with amazing photos and memories.
DAY BY DAY:
Day 1: Arrive in Auckland and meet your transfer into Auckland city. Today you get to explore Auckland on a small group highlights tour that visits ancient volcanoes, beautiful beaches, the iconic Harbour Bridge plus many more sites. You also get to visit Auckland's Sky Tower where you'll get some of the best views of Auckland. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure (2 nights Auckland).
Day 2: Enjoy a lazy breakfast before heading to the wharf to catch the ferry to Waiheke Island. Today you get to experience Waiheke Island like a local. Visit olive groves, sceneries, restaurants, vineyards and art studios. Visit 4 wineries for private tastings and lunch is at your leisure (an additional cost). You’ll have an unforgettable experience before heading back to Auckland on the ferry.
Day 3: Pick up your rental car in Auckland and today you head to Rotorua (3-hour drive). On the way to Rotorua you get to visit the real Middle-Earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set near Matamata. On the most picturesque private farmland, tour the Hobbiton Movie set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. Arrive in Rotorua (2 nights).
Day 4: Explore Rotorua at your leisure today. There are many options for activities. Visit the geothermal wonders, learn about local farm life at the Agrodome Sheep Show, see endangered Kiwi at Rainbow Springs Nature Park. For more adventure take a scenic flight over Lake Rotorua, hike to the crater of Mt Tarawera or indulge in white water rafting, skydiving or luging at the Gondola.
Day 5: Today you drive to Tongariro National Park (2.5 hours drive) this is New Zealand’s oldest National Park. Here you will find many hiking opportunities with walks of varying durations. The walks will take you to waterfalls and volcanic features. Bring your swimming gear as natural hot pools are throughout the park to enjoy a soak in. (1 night Tongariro National Park)
Day 6: Off to Wellington this morning on a 4 hour drive which includes scenic coastline views. (2 nights Wellington).
Day 7: Explore Wellington today. The capital of New Zealand is a bustling, vibrant harbor city. You’ll find a lively café culture, art galleries, great shopping and gourmet dining experiences. Visit Te Papa the National Museum, eclectic Cuba Street, ride the Wellington Cable Car. You can take a Weta Workshop Tour, Food tour or visit Zealandia Wildlife Reserve. There are many options.
Day 8: This morning you have a morning flight from Wellington to Nelson. From Nelson drive 45 minutes to Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest national park famous for its scenic beauty. (2 nights).
Day 9: Explore Abel Tasman National Park today. You can take it easy or do activities such as skydiving, kayaking, sailing trips exploring the bays, canyoning, or hike portions of the Abel Tasman Coast Track one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
Day 10: Leaving Abel Tasman National Park today you fly from Nelson to Queenstown in the morning. (4 nights). Spend the day exploring Queenstown. There are many activities to choose from including golf, fishing, gold panning, bungy jumping, skydiving and rafting. Your evening will start with a scenic gondola ride, a Taste of New Zealand buffet in the Skyline Restaurant followed by a Stargazing tour.
Day 11: It’s time for some adventure on the Wilderness Jet Safari up the Dart River. Get ready for breathtaking snow-capped mountains, ancient native forest, waterfalls, and glacier valleys frozen in time. Included is an easy guided bush walk through native Beech forest learning about local flora and fauna as well as cultural history about the area. Return to Queenstown on a backroad 4WD safari vehicle and stop for view scenery seen in Lord of The Rings and other famous movies.
Day 12: Today you get to discover Central Otago's scenic wine country on this small group tour. Experience a tasting journey through three of Central Otago’s incredibly scenic and varying wine sub-regions; Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell. Visit four boutique vineyards, tasting their unique cool climate wines and discover why the Central Otago region has become world-renowned in its own right. Savor a delightful platter-style lunch made with locally sourced produce and accompanied by a flight of wines.
Day 13: Queenstown is yours to explore today as you choose. Some great options are doing the Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise, exploring Arrowtown, playing golf at Milbrook Estate Golf Resort, biking and hiking.
Day 14: Driving from Queenstown to Te Anau (2 hours 15 minutes) (2 nights). The lakeside township is in gorgeous surroundings and is the gateway to Fiordland. Spend the rest of the day fishing, kayaking, sailing or horse riding. Visit Te Anau Caves and see the underground waterfall and glow worm caves.
Day 15: Today you board a luxury coach for a trip into Fiordland National Park. You’ll pass many scenic highlights. Once in Milford you’ll board a cruise to sail the length of Milford Sound getting to view waterfalls, towering rock walls, Mitre Peak and keep an eye out for dolphins, penguins and seals.
Day 16: Driving back to Queenstown today. Return your rental to the airport and board your flight home!
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.