Skip Navigation

There is so much to see and do in New Zealand that a self-drive holiday is a perfect option to ensure you see as much as you can. New Zealand is a magnificent country full of fantastic scenery and landscapes that are truly out of this world - you won't want to miss a single bit of it.

For anyone who loves a road trip, this country is paradise! The roads are wide, open and the routes are fairly easy to follow, and with the ever-changing landscape as your backdrop, you have the makings of the perfect self-drive holiday.

Once you have chosen New Zealand as your holiday destination, the next step is to pick your route. We have picked out some of the best routes for you to consider.

Tour the Island

If you struggle to decide which part of New Zealand to focus on, there is good news. You don't have to miss anything. You can do a circuit around the entire country, North and South Islands. This option is a longer drive and will take slightly more time than other routes but take our word; it's worth it! There are two main routes to consider when planning a longer trip around the entire island; both have many benefits.

Auckland at dusk
Auckland at dusk

Auckland to Auckland

You can start and end your trip in Auckland on our Ultimate New Zealand Tour. This is an escorted motorhome tour with tour hosts David and Jenny, who live north of Auckland and are experienced in helping travellers on their holiday.

This trip starts in Auckland, where you'll have a few days to explore before picking up your motorhome and heading out on your journey. Head south through Rotorua and Taupo before heading down to Wellington, where you cross to the South Island and continue your tour. Once you hit the southern coast, it's time to head back up northwards, winding your way through west New Zealand through Mount Aspiring National Park and beyond. At the end of your trip, you end up back in Auckland for a couple of nights.

This is the ultimate New Zealand road trip and offers you one of the best chances of seeing as much as possible along the way.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Highlights and points of interest along the way

Waitomo is well worth a visit when you pass by. These caves lie under the lush green hills and are a labyrinth of walkways and underground rivers. Choose from a walking or boat tour to explore these fascinating caves.

At the most southern tip, you will arrive in Invercargill, a city with a heart and a lot to explore. You can explore the stunning coastline or stroll through the city and explore the culture as you shop, explore and pop into the odd cafe or restaurant along the way.

For those who love a touch of wildlife spotting, you can't beat whale watching. Kaikoura is a picturesque seaside town with an abundance of marine life to explore. Whales are just one of the creatures you might be lucky enough to see. You may also manage to spot dolphins, seals or albatross.

The vibrant heart of Christchurch
The vibrant heart of Christchurch

Christchurch to Christchurch

Start and end your trip in Christchurch on our Grand New Zealand Tour. Start your journey in Christchurch, travelling south on your way to Queenstown before heading north through the stunning mountain ranges and national parks of the west and onto the North Island. After a circuit around the North Island, taking in some of the best sights, including Auckland, Tauranga and Lake Taupo, head down through New Zealand's eastern side and back to Christchurch.

This is an epic holiday route and itinerary that allows you to see and do it all! Rather than an escorted tour, this one is a tailor-made holiday that gives you a little more freedom to choose your routes and stops.

Totaranui Beach at Abel Tasman National Park
Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers
Mount Cook

Highlights and points of interest along the way

A trip to New Zealand wouldn't be complete without going to the Abel Tasman National Park. It's one of the smallest national parks in the country, but that doesn't change its beauty or serenity. This coastal park offers tours by boat, foot or even by air.

Nothing is quite as dramatic as a visit to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. These are majestic valleys of ice in the Alps and are an impressive sight. The glaciers are ancient, with Franz Josef being an estimated 7,000 years old!

Mount Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain and stands at a towering 3,724 metres. As your travel through the mountain ranges, you will need to include plenty of time to stop and take pictures of the awe-inspiring scenery.

Drive from one end of New Zealand to the other

We have two routes available and with the ends and beginnings of the trips being either Auckland or Christchurch. If you want to see as much of New Zealand as possible but don't want to do a long circuit, you can easily take a self-drive trip from one end to the other. This way, you can still see the whole of both the North and South Islands without making the return trip. Perfect for a slightly shorter trip that still encapsulates everything New Zealand offers.

Tram and Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch
Tram and Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch

Christchurch to Auckland or Auckland to Christchurch

Both Christchurch and Auckland are fantastic cities to visit with much to offer. These routes either start or end in these beautiful cities.

On our New Zealand Discovery Tour, you start your journey in Christchurch, where you have a two night stay in a hotel to acclimatise and explore your surroundings. On this tour, you travel south, looping around the southern regions of the South Islands, heading through beautiful scenery, including Mount Cook National Park and the Fox and Franz Glaciers. From there, you head to the North Island and continue your tour until you end up in Auckland for more exploration before heading home.

Our Wonders Of New Zealand Tour has a similar route. Starting in Auckland, it takes you through the middle of the North Island before reaching Wellington and heading across to the South Islands to loop around and end up in Christchurch.

Hawkes Bay Wine Region
Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks)

Highlights and points of interest along the way

Napier is a coastal town known for being at the heart of the Hawkes Bay wine region. This, together with the stunning scenery and great weather, makes it a great stopover to relax, eat some excellent food and taste some great wines.

Wellington is New Zealand's capital and is a harbour town with lots to see and do. Explore the culture of New Zealand with a trip to a museum or art gallery. Then, spend some time shopping and exploring the city before heading out to the outskirts of the city, where you can experience stunning views. You may even spot some interesting wildlife too.

If you can make time for a visit to Punakaiki, or as it is sometimes known, Pancake Rocks, then it is worth it. At this fascinating tourist attraction, you can see the intriguing natural world in action with a walk through the geysers and blowholes that form the unique rock structures.

Coromandel Peninsula
Coromandel Peninsula

Tour the North Island

The North Island of New Zealand is an intriguing place. One of the best take-it-all-in routes is a trip starting and ending in Auckland, making a full circuit around the island.

When you arrive in Auckland, you have a couple of nights in a hotel to explore the city before picking up your motorhome and heading out on your road trip. You travel north to the Coromandel Peninsula from Auckland before heading back south and through Auckland again before completing a circuit around the island. There are plenty of fascinating stops along the way, and you won't regret choosing this route.

Lake Taupo
Cape Regina

Highlights and points of interest along the way

When you are road-tripping around New Zealand's North Island, the beautiful lakes of Taupo and Tongariro are a must-see. You can book yourself a boat and see the lakes, caves and marvel at the rugged scenery at your own pace. If you have time and the ability to complete the hike, you could also take a look at the impressive Huka Falls, which are also nearby.

Cape Reinga has more than beautiful scenery. It is an important region for the Mauri People. This region is unique as it is the place where two oceans meet. Near here is the Leaping Point, which is considered the spot where Maori spirits begin their final journey.

When you travel to the East Coast of New Zealand's North Island, you can take a trip to Gisborne, which is the first city to see sunshine in the morning. The city has much to offer in the way of culture, food, drink and some great beaches.

Wharariki Beach
Wharariki Beach

Tour New Zealand's South Island

New Zealand's South Island is one of the most majestic places you could ever imagine visiting. Towering snow-peaked mountains, lush green valleys and stunning still lakes are only the start of the beauty this region has to offer. This route starts in Christchurch, offering you ample time to enjoy the city before heading on a circuit around the whole of the South Island. Along the way, you travel through some of the most stunning landscapes whilst having plenty of opportunities to stop and take a picture or two. Of course, there is plenty to see and do, too. The route takes you via many must-see places before including Kaikoura for a spot of marine life watching before you reach your end destination of Christchurch and head home.

River Avon, Christchurch
Milford Sound

Highlights and points of interest along the way

Your starting point of Christchurch has a lot to offer. This is a calming town with waterways and scenic routes to travel. You could even take a trip punting down the River Avon for a relaxing afternoon on the river.

Kaikoura is a place you can explore near the end of your trip. This stunning place has plenty of wildlife opportunities. You can whale watch or see if you can spot a family of Dolphins and see what other wildlife you can spot on a cruise around the bay.

For breathtaking scenery, head to Milford Sound. This region is known for its towering peaks, rainforests and waterfalls. It is just as spectacular as it sounds! We have several cruise excursions available that help you make the most of your visit. Cruise around the waters and marvel at the scenery and wildlife on these guided tours.