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Day 1: Arrive in Auckland
Welcome to Auckland. Collect the rental car at the airport that will be returned to Wellington after finishing the self-drive North Island tour. Check into hotel with leisure time to stroll along Mission Bay or Queen Street for shopping. (Note: Many hotels provides free car parking for clients, please get more information at the front desk at check-in).
Day 2: Auckland
There are many choices for discovering Auckland, such as Auckland Museum, Sky Tower for a panoramic view of the city at Kelly Tarlton’s, which is a wonderland of snow, ice and amazing underwater sights. At night, you can drive to Harbour Bridge to view the city lights from North Shore.
Day 3: Auckland – Bay of Islands
Drive to Paihia, the northern tip in New Zealand. Take a Fullers cruise to visit hole-in-the-rock with dolphins swimming along.
Day 4: Paihia – 90 Miles Beach – Cape Reinga & Paihia
Drive to 90 Miles Beach through verdant scenery, passing under massive towering forests. There is a scenic tour coach. Then drive to Cape Reinga to ponder the amazing views to the Tasman Sea & Pacific Ocean before returning to Paihia.
Day 5: Paihia – Auckland – Rotorua
After breakfast at hotel, drive south to Rotorua via Auckland. Rotorua is volcanic and geothermal region. Upon arrival, there is an evening authentic Maori Hangi and Show at the hotel.
Day 6: Rotorua
After breakfast at your hotel, you may drive to the Agrodome for a live stage Farm Show including sheep shearing, sheep dogs, milking cows and feeding lambs. Paradise Spring Valley has trout and other wild nature life. Another option is Te Phia for the Maori Cultural Experience or the Hot Thermal Pool in Rotorua. A soak in a hot spring spa will be most relaxing at the end of the day.
Day 7: Rotorua- Tauranga – Napier
Continue the journey on the Pacific Coast Highway touring route to Napier via Tauranga. Tauranga has it all; a mild sunny climate, popular beaches and an abundance of orchards, especially kiwifruit, avocado and citrus. Arrive Napier in the evening; Hawkes Bay is known for its wine, food and fabulous scenery. Over 30 vineyards offer visitors wine tasting and alfresco dining.
Day 8: Napier – Wellington
Depart Napier and travel towards Wellington. Wellington is the nation’s capital and the government seat for the country. After arrival, you may visit Te Papa, the interactive Museum of New Zealand with numerous art galleries and national treasures; such as the original Treaty of Waitangi document and Katherine Mansfield’s birthplace. This is a compact city nestled between an expansive harbour and bush-clad hills. The downtown area is ideal for walking around with shops, cafes, transport, and accommodation.
Day 9: Wellington – Picton – Christchurch
Return the car in Wellington in the morning and take the ferry to Picton, collecting another rental car in Picton. Then drive to the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch.
Day 10: Christchurch
Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of sophisticated living and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, among historic buildings that house an active arts community with restored trams ambling through the city centre to get around
Day 11: Christchurch – Mt. Cook- Queenstown
Drive south to Queesntown passing Mt.Cook. A stop at the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, nestled near the shores of Lake Tekapo, is a popular place to stop. An optional scenic flight over the Southern Alps or a helicopter flight onto a glacier can be booked (subject to weather conditions). Enjoy the scenery of the fruit growing region of Cromwell and the historic gold mining region of the rugged Kawarau Gorge before arriving in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting and sophisticated surrounded by fantastical scenery.
Day 12: Queenstown- Fox Glacier
Depart Queenstown and travel via the Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell. Continue on via Lake Wanaka and Hawea to the township of Haast on the West Coast in South Westland, a World Heritage area. Drive past towering rainforests, dramatic limestone landscapes, mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers to Fox Glacier.
Day 13: Fox Glacier – Queenstown
Discover Fox Glacier area before returning to Queenstown. Cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm. A sunset ride on the Skyline Gondola provides a panoramic view over Queenstown while enjoying a buffet dinner.
Day 14: Queenstown – Milford Sound – Te Anau
Drive through the mountains to majestic Milford Sound. The region is spectacular with tall mountain peaks, waterfalls and crystal clear water. Sit back on a cruise among the fjords to view the fantastic scenery whilst observing the marine life. Stay overnight at hotel in Te Anau.
Day 15: Te Anau – Dunedin
Drive on to Dunedin, the second largest city in the South Island. The only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross is nearby with a chance to see blue penguins and New Zealand fur seals. A stop at Larnach Castle is also recommended.
Day 16: Dundin- Christchurch – Depart
Drive back to Christchurch, and return your car to the rental car counter at Christchurch Airport prior to your departing flight.