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Our Ultimate New Zealand escorted tour covers all of the highlights that New Zealand has to offer, from the Bay of Islands in the North, to New Zealand’s southernmost city of Invercargill and everything in between.


With a combination of local Kiwi tour leaders, motorhomes that are less than 2 years old and have been built in and imported from Germany, and your sense of adventure, you are sure to have a holiday of a lifetime.

Duration: 56 days

Holiday Type:
Escorted Motorhome Tours

Holiday Hosts

Departure dates:

  • 4 Feb, 2022 from
    £9,499  per person
Make an enquiry Request a brochure

Highlights

  • The beautiful beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Kaikoura, New Zealand’s whale watching capital
  • Arthur’s Pass TranzAlpine Train
  • The glorious peaks of the Southern Alps
  • Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city
  • Doubtful Sound Cruise
  • Hawkes Bay Gourmet Food and Wine Tour
  • New Plymouth and Mt. Taranaki
  • Waitomo with its labyrinth of caves
  • Hole in the Rock Cruise in the Bay of Islands

Route Map

What's Included

  • International flights to Auckland
  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Shuttle transfers to and from the motorhome depot
  • 4 nights in a centrally located hotel in Auckland including breakfast
  • 48 nights pre-booked campsites
  • Ferry Crossings across Cook Strait
  • Locally guided by professional and experienced New Zealand Guides
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • Te Puia Maori Heritage Experience and Hangi Dinner
  • Hawkes Bay Gourmet Food and Wine Tour
  • Arthur’s Pass TranzAlpine Train with lunch
  • Doubtful Sound Cruise with Picnic Lunch
  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Dinner
  • Hole in the Rock Cruise from the Bay of Islands
  • McRent Family Standard Motorhome for 49 days including;
    • Full Inclusive Package with unlimited km’s
    • Insurance, Collisions Damage Waiver (reduced to NZ$500)
    • GPS
    • WiFi
    • Camping table and chairs

Itinerary

Days 1 - 4: Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, the City of Sails. Unwind after the flight and enjoy this harbour side city. Explore at your leisure, perhaps taking in the views from the top of the Sky tower or maybe a boat trip across the harbour to one of the neighbouring islands.

Days 5 - 6: Coromandel Peninsula

Distance: 168km (105miles)

Your first destination is the Coromandel Peninsula, a beautiful rugged area fringed with dozens of attractive beaches. It is a place where many Kiwis choose to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and is home to arts & crafts and stunning scenery. You can dig out your very own hot pool metres from the Pacific Ocean at world-famous Hot Water Beach, or head for Cathedral Cove where a huge arched cavern passes through the headland, joining up two secluded coves. Relax in the cafes and enjoy the art galleries or just taking in the wonderful scenery.

Days 7 - 8: Rotorua

Distance: 209km (131miles)

Driving on, you come to the geothermal region of Rotorua. A highlight is the Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Reserve, featuring all things boiling and sulphurous: bubbling mud pools, colourful mineral pools, the 62 metre deep Champagne Pool, and the famous Lady Knox geyser.

Take the cable car ‘gondola’ up Mount Ngongotaha and in return you’ll get amazing views. Rotorua is a key part of the Maori heartland so there’s always the chance to learn about Maori culture and traditions. Go along to an included evening feast or hangi for a traditional banquet with dancing and Maori culture. You may even find yourself performing the haka!

Days 9 - 10: Taupo

Distance: 80km (50miles)

Continuing on to Taupo, the geothermal landscape remains mysterious and volcanic. Near Lake Taupo are the Huka Falls, a relentless torrent that is one of New Zealand’s most visited natural sights. Marvel at the power of nature as the mighty Waikato river is forced through a gorge just 15 metres wide. Nearby at the Craters of the Moon, a meandering trail leads you through a slightly surreal and steaming heathland of bubbling pools and crevices.

Further on lies Lake Taupo, a vast volcanic crater, now the largest lake in the country. If you have time head out to see the spectacular Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, only accessible from the water. Beyond Taupo is the volcanic Tongariro National Park and the unmistakable sight of its three active volcanic mountains.

Days 11 - 12: Napier

Distance: 142km (89miles)

Often referred to as the Art-Deco capital of the world, Napier is in the Hawke’s Bay region which is famous for its many vineyards that serve gourmet food to accompany award-winning wines. Alternatively, you might enjoy the chance to view the world’s largest mainland gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.

Enjoy a gourmet food and wine tour of the Hawkes Bay region, before you move on.

Days 13 - 14: Martinborough

Distance: 271km (169miles)

As you leave the rolling countryside of the Hawke's Bay you'll be greeted with some of New Zealand’s richest dairy farmland in the Manawatu Gorge. Continue through the Wairarapa region and perhaps make a stop in the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, where you can see some of countries native animals.

Take another break in Masterson and visit the interactive Woolshed Museum to learn about sheep farming in New Zealand. As you drive south, a visit to historic Greytown is a must-do. Take in the restored Victorian buildings and make time for a cup of tea at one of its quaint cafes.

Leaving state highway 2 you will cross over the Ruamahanga River into Martinborough wine country - your destination for the day.

Days 15 - 16: Wellington

Distance: 80km (50miles)

Travel to the southern end of the North Island today and the city of Wellington. Explore the country’s capital city with a visit to the Te Papa museum, the national museum of New Zealand, or take a trip up Mount Victoria for views out over the city.

Days 17 - 18: Kaikoura

Distance: 156km (98miles)

Take the Interislander ferry to Picton where you’ll pick up the road south to Kaikoura.

At Kaikoura you’ll find a natural playground of aquatic mammals, feeding in the rich coastal waters. There are whales and dolphins passing close to the shore and often clearly visible from the coastal walkway. A popular option is to join a whale watching cruise where you have a better chance of getting up close.

Days 19 - 20: Christchurch

Distance: 181km (113miles)

Today’s journey takes you along the edge of the rugged coastal ranges. From Cheviot you can detour to Gore Bay to see the fascinating cliff formations. The landscape becomes gentler as you approach Waipara - a region known for its vineyards and olive groves. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.

Before you continue your journey, a trip on the TranzAlpine train is included, a chance for you to experience the stunning scenery of Arthur's Pass.

Days 21 - 22: Mount Cook

Distance: 309km (193miles)

Leaving Christchurch, you’ll head across the Canterbury plains towards Mt Cook. Be sure to stop at Lake Tekapo where the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd is a photographer’s dream, with sweeping lake views and surrounded by swathes of lupins in season.

The turquoise blue waters of Lake Pukaki are an eye catching sight as you approach Mt Cook village. Surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, all part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, there are sublime sunrises and sunsets over the snowy peaks. Explore the glacial lakes, hike the trails of Hooker Valley (mostly easy going with loose surfaces).

Days 23 - 24: Dunedin

Distance: 294km (184miles)

Heading towards Dunedin you’ll travel south through the Waitaki Valley. As you follow the coast, be sure to stop at the mysterious Moeraki Boulders. Nestled on the beach and appearing to emerge from the sands at low tide, these boulders have another-worldly feel to them.

Then continue onto to Dunedin, affectionately known as ‘the Edinburgh of the South’. It is an endearing city of classical Victorian & Edwardian architecture and is the gateway to the diverse wildlife of the Otago Peninsula.

Half or full day cruises and tours of the Otago Peninsula are available, taking in the region’s wildlife, scenery and historic buildings including Lanarch Castle, the Royal Albatross Centre, and Penguin Place. Options in Dunedin include tours of Cadbury Chocolate World and Speights Brewery, home of New Zealand’s most popular beer.

Days 25 - 26: Invercargill

Distance: 204km (128miles)

Continue your journey south through the winding roads of the Catlins where you can spot seals, sealions, Hector’s dolphins, several species of penguins and the petrified forest in Curio Bay. The area is full of wilderness beaches, waterfalls, walkways, lakes, and rivers that provide nonstop scenery as you drive.

Available Excursions:
Days 27 - 28: Te Anau

Distance: 158km (99miles)

Cross the rich farmlands of Central Otago as you make your way to Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park. You can travel via Gore, set on the Mataura River, or you may like to take the slightly longer route which takes you south via the Catlins with its rugged coastline, hidden lakes, and magical waterfalls.

Once in Te Anau, options here include an exhilarating jetboat ride, stopping at three of the actual film locations featured in the Lord of the Rings films, or you can visit the Te Anau Glowworm Caves where a mystical underground world of waterfalls and incredible rock formations awaits.

On your last day in Te Anau, enjoy a cruise across Doubtful Sound.

Days 29 - 30: Arrowtown

Distance: 180km (113miles)

Skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu as you make your way to Queenstown, an alpine resort regarded as New Zealand’s premiere holiday destination. Continue to Arrowtown, one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand. The town was established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush. The settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels, and churches, more than 60 of which can still be seen today.

Before continuing your journey, enjoy a trip to the Queenstown Skyline Gondola and dinner at the Stratosfare Restaurant overlooking Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

Days 31 - 32: Wanaka
Days 33 - 34: Franz Josef

Distance: 286km (179miles)

View incredible scenery as you travel past the untouched native forests and pristine lakes of the World Heritage Westland National Park to the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The glaciers of Fox & Franz Josef are fairly unique, in that they are so close to the sea. These twin rivers of ice, slowly making their way down from the mountains, are just waiting to be explored. We recommend a guided walk onto the glacier itself to appreciate the scale of it close up.

Once you’ve had enough of the ice you can take a walk through the rain forest trail around Lake Matheson, near Fox, for fantastic mirror lake views of the Southern Alps or you might prefer to relax in the Franz Josef Glacier hot pools, nestled in lush rainforest beneath mature 30m tall trees.

Days 35 - 36: Carters Beach

Distance: 275km (172miles)

Travel along the rugged west coast with its towering rainforests, rushing rivers and tranquil lakes. With the Tasman Sea on one side and the Southern Alps mountain range rising up on the other, take it slowly and enjoy this scenic drive.

Be sure to stop at Punakaiki and marvel at the bizarre limestone landscapes and powerful vents of ‘Pancake Rocks’, formed millions of years ago. Then make your way to Carters Beach for a two night stay.

Days 37 - 39: Abel Tasman

Distance: 238km (149miles)

The landscape gradually becomes softer and gentler as you leave the rugged west coast and mountains behind. The rolling hills and forested slopes give way to orchards and fertile fields as you approach Nelson and the north coast.

The Abel Tasman National Park enjoys New Zealand’s highest levels of sunshine and the beaches here have a distinctly Mediterranean feel. Enjoy some superb walking trails or take a leisurely water taxi or catamaran to see the coast from a different perspective.

Kaiteriteri, west of Nelson, is a great place for picking up kayaks and taking a paddle around the headland. Why not join a guided excursion to the incredible Split Apple Rock – it looks just like an enormous split apple and has been there in the shallows for 120 million years.

With fine, white sand beaches, palm trees and jauntily painted houses, Nelson appears almost subtropical. And with seaside promenades, a bustling marina with bobbing yachts and enticing eateries, you could imagine yourself on the Côte d’Azur. There are friendly cafés, galleries and lots of arts and crafts, not to mention a selection of rather decent small breweries.

Days 40 - 41: Picton

Distance: 168km (105miles)

It’s a really pleasant, interesting drive to Picton. Skirting round Nelson on the coast road, with sublime seascapes as you climb up into forested hills and twisting mountain passes.

Build in some time to explore the bays between Anakiwa and Picton, each with its own unique perspective over the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds. The Queen Charlotte Walkway is a great way to stretch your legs and enjoy some amazing scenery.

Just south of Picton lie the world famous Marlborough vineyards, famous for their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Maybe you’ll pick up a bottle or two?

Days 42 - 43: Whanganui

Distance: 199km (124miles)

The three hour Interislander ferry crossing passes through Queen Charlotte Sound, so enjoy the wonderful scenery as you leave the South Island, hopefully interspersed with sightings of dolphins playing in the calmer waters.

On the road to Wanganui you’ll see the offshore island of Kapiti, a nature reserve where you can book tours and see rare birds.

In Wanganui take a river cruise on the Steamer Waimarie, visit the interesting museums and the River Market.

Days 44 - 45: New Plymouth

Distance: 163km (102miles)

Heading north you’ll pass through idyllic lush countryside dotted with dairy farms, picturesque little towns and views over to Mt Taranaki.

You’ll be faced with a choice when you reach Hawera: for seascapes and beaches follow the Surf Highway around Cape Egmont, for verdant countryside follow the inland route via Stratford. To get closer to Mt Taranaki take a hike along one of the walking trails on its lower slopes.

New Plymouth is an interesting place with the well-known Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. It’s an impressive contemporary gallery housing one of the artist’s most famous kinetic sculptures.

Days 46 - 47: Waitomo

Distance: 180km (113miles)

Driving up the coast beside the Tasman Sea you’ll discover plenty of little villages and places to stop for a picnic and a stroll. At Awakino there’s always a chance of sighting the shy and elusive kiwi.

Waitomo is best known for its labyrinth of limestone caves where you can walk or take a boat ride to see the incredible natural spectacle of the glow worms which illuminate the caves in their thousands. The delicate canopy of light above your head is truly magical.

The Otorohanga Kiwi House shelters several rare species of the native kiwi.

Days 48 - 49: Orewa

Distance: 230km (144miles)

From Waitomo you’ll head up into the Waikato, real farming country and the dairy heartland of New Zealand. In Hamilton you can see the university, the elegant public gardens and river, while further north you bypass Auckland as you head to Orewa.

Days 50 - 52: Bay of Islands

Distance: 201km (126miles)

Once you’re ready, it’s time to head north to the Bay of Islands, a National Maritime Park. The scenic Bay of Islands is home to 144 islands and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views with a 3 night stay.

Options available to you include learning more about the history of the region, with nearby Waitangi the location for the signing of the unique treaty between the British and the Maori people in 1840, which is still relevant today.

Alternatively, you might enjoy a boat trip out into the bay, or how about heading to the most northerly point of New Zealand and Cape Reinga, where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea converge.

During your stay enjoy the included half day 'Hole in the Rock' Cruise. The Dolphin Seeker ship will allow you to take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’.

According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space... and if you get dripped on, consider yourself lucky.

Days 53 - 54: Auckland

Distance: 233km (146miles)

Auckland is a harbour city and the locals love nothing more than getting out on the water. You have the opportunity to explore the city at your leisure be it on land or water. A visit to Waiheke Island is a recommended and enjoyable experience that offers spectacular views of the city across the water. The Sky Tower is unmistakeable and offers an alternative view of the city.

Your Farewell Dinner is a chance to look back at your Ultimate New Zealand adventure with your fellow travellers and your tour hosts.

Days 55 - 56: Depart Auckland

Time to bid farewell to newfound friends, leaving New Zealand with treasured memories that will last a lifetime.

Additional Information

Price per person is based on two people sharing, prices for solo travellers are available on request.

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