14 Day / 13 Night Self-Drive – New Zealand Complete – North Island & South Island

newzealandadventurevacationIncluding overnights in Auckland, Rotorua, Tongariro, Wellington, Kaikoura, Punakaiki, Franz Josef, Wanaka, Queenstown and Dunedin. Experience the urban, the cultural, the remote and everything in between. 14 days in New Zealand with a fascinating selection of visits and experiences as mentioned.

Starts: Auckland
Finishes: Dunedin
Fly Los Angeles to Auckland – arrive two days later

Day 1 Arrive Auckland

Kia Ora and welcome to New Zealand. On arrival to Auckland International Airport collect your Budget rental car and make your way to your hotel.

AUCKLAND – an exciting, sporting and cultural city, sprawled on a narrow isthmus, between two harbours. The Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, are a main feature of the city, along with numerous volcanic cones such as Mount Eden and Rangitoto Island. The city’s many beaches, marinas and parks, make it ideal for outdoor pursuits such as yachting, rugby, cricket or a day at the beach. The Auckland metropolitan area is New Zealand’s biggest city, and the population mix of European, Maori, and Pacific Islander, make Auckland the largest Polynesian city in the World.

Within your documents there will be vouchers for the Sky Tower which you can use at your leisure. The Sky Tower which at 328 metres high offers a clear view towards the Pacific Ocean as well as of the city of Auckland.

Day 2 Auckland via Waitomo to Rotorua (approx 228 miles)

Before departing Auckland, visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Spend time experiencing this unique tribute to New Zealand’s natural, Maori and European history. A recommended alternative within a short walking distance is ‘The Winter Garden’ Pavilion. See rare indoor plants and a spectacular fern display.

Depart Auckland city and begin your journey through the rural townships of the Waikato to Waitomo, where you will join a boat tour through the Glow worm caves.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves:
Join a guided tour through this world-famous cave formation, climaxed by drifting silently in a boat through a glow worm cavern lit up with thousands of tiny glow worm lights.

Continue to Rotorua, known as ‘Sulphur City’, centre of Thermal activity and Maori culture.

Tamaki Tours – Hangi and Concert – Journey of Ages
This evening you will be collected from your accommodation by Tamaki Tours. The Tamaki experience begins with a journey back in time. Your driver/guide will lead you back to pre-European times with stories, history and protocols in preparation for the ceremonies to follow as you travel by coach to our village, set deep in the forest around 15 minutes South of Rotorua. A traditional welcome ceremony signals entry in to the pre-European village. Huge crackling open fires in front of traditional whare (houses), the sound of ancient Maori instruments and the activities of the people of days gone by, create an palpable, electric atmosphere. At the heart of this village, the meeting house, Rangiatea culture group offer a special glimpse of many of the traditions, performance, songs and history of the Maori people. To top off this 3.5 hour evening experience, you will enjoy a traditionally-cooked feast from our earthen ovens and the lively entertainment and humour of your hosts, who will ultimately ensure your safe return home.

Day 3 Rotorua to Tongariro (approx 109 miles)

As you depart Rotorua enjoy visits to Te Puia and Waimangu Thermal valley. Visit Te Puia (ex Whakarewarewa) where we will enjoy a guided tour through the thermal valley, including visits to the Kiwi House and the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. This morning visit one of the most important thermal valleys in the area, Waimangu, where you will clearly see the effects of the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera, which changed the landscape of the entire region.

Depart Rotorua and travel south to the Tongariro National Park. On the way enjoy a morning tea or lunch stop at the lakeside town of Taupo. Take some bread along to feed the ducks. Continue on to Tongariro. On arrival and once you have checked in to your accommodation you may wish to take a short walk on one of the tracks within the National Park.

Day 4 Tongariro to Wellington (approx 208 miles)

Today travel South to New Zealand’s Capital City, Wellington. You may wish to stop at the Gumboot capital of New Zealand, Taihape for a spot of lunch.

WELLINGTON – the Capital city of New Zealand since 1865, is situated around Wellington harbour, its houses clinging precipitously to the steep hillsides. Wellington is renowned for its wind which is channelled through the Cook Strait, and causes the wind to blow most days. A clever blend of buildings, old and new, beautiful vistas of the city and harbour, and a cosmopolitan mix of culture and arts give Wellington its heart, and vibrant atmosphere.

Day 5 Wellington

Today spend the day exploring Wellington city at your leisure. A must is to visit the Te Papa Museum. Admission is free. Te Papa is New Zealand’s National Museum, offering visitors a unique and authentic experience of this country’s treasures and stories. Over five floors, you can explore the nation’s nature, art, history, and heritage – from the shaping of its land to the spirit of its diverse peoples, from its unique wildlife to its distinctive art and visual culture.

Enjoy the rest of the day walking along Oriental Parade, travelling to the summit of Mt Victoria or relaxing with a coffee at one of the harbourside cafés.

Day 6 Wellington via Picton to Kaikoura (3hr ferry + approx 97 miles)

This morning return your rental vehicle to the Budget representative located at the Interislander ferry terminal. Today board the Interislander ferry and watch the city sky line of Wellington disappear into the distance as you enter the Marlborough sounds to Picton. On arrival to Picton collect your new vehicle and travel to Kaikoura.

Day 7 Kaikoura to Punakaiki (approx 279 miles)

Start the morning early with a cruise with Whale Watch Kaikoura for a 3 hour cruise in the open sea. Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whalewatch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. (Alternatively during the summer months there is a 3.30pm departure which you may wish to join on arrival to Kaikoura).

Following your cruise depart Kaikoura and travel West to Punakaiki.

PUNAKAIKI – is the gateway to the dramatic limestone country of the Paparoa National Park. It lies halfway between Greymouth and Westport on one of the most spectacular coastal highways. The Pancake Rocks that Punakaiki is famous for are limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago. The seabed was raised above sea level by earthquakes to form the coastal cliffs and coastline. The sea, wind and rain have since etched out the soft layers to form the unusual rock formations we see today. When conditions are right, large ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge water spouts blast skywards through the blowholes creating a spectacular sight. Tourism activities in the area include canoe adventures, horse trekking, caving and guided walks to name just a few.

Day 8 Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier (approx 136 miles)

Depart Punakaiki and begin your journey south along the rugged West Coast to Franz Josef Glacier.

Franz Josef Guides – Ice Explorer Tour – up to 4 hours (Approx 3 hours on Ice – includes Hot Pools)
This is a fantastic introduction to an enthralling world of ice. A short Heli hop from the township of Franz Josef takes you into the remarkable Pinnacles area of the glacier. Here your guide will navigate you through a maze of ice and explain the dramatic environmental changes over the last few years. You will explore the awe-inspiring landscape in this incredible experience through Franz Josef Glacier. The Ice Explorer hike includes entry into the fabulous Glacier Hot Pools! All visitors and guides are equipped with the best in quality equipment. Breathable Rain Jacket, Waterproof over-trousers (if required), Socks and sturdy boots (or you have the option to wear your own hiking boots), Crampons (with small waist bag) for superior glacier grip, Woolen hats and gloves (if required).

Day 9 Fox Glacier to Wanaka (approx 167 miles)

Depart Franz Josef and enjoy the journey South to the lakeside township of Wanaka.

WANAKA – faces north across Lake Wanaka, to views of the surrounding mountains, which are often reflected on the Lake’s surface on calm days. Poplars and willows grow around the Lake’s edge, affording a colorful show during Autumn. Wanaka is best known for boating, fishing and skiing at the Cardrona and Treble Cone ski-fields.

Day 10 Wanaka to Queenstown (approx 72 miles)

This morning you may wish to take a gentle stroll along the shores of Lake Wanaka before heading off for the day. Depart Wanaka and travel to Queenstown. As you approach Queenstown you will travel through the Gibbston Valley, famous for its many wineries. You may wish to stop at one of the vineyards to sample some of their award winning wines.
QUEENSTOWN – is the South Island’s most popular resort, set alongside the shores of Lake Wakatipu, under the gaze of the Remarkables Ranges. See the contrast of smooth glacier rounded hills, and jagged mountain summits that reach high above the ancient ice floor. The town is renowned for its jet boating, bungy-jumping, skiing and awe-inspiring scenery. Local story has it, that the gold prospectors of the 19th century pronounced the town as “fit for any Queen”, and so she was called Queenstown.

Day 6 Queenstown

Included in your documents there are return Skyline Gondola tickets to the summit of Bob’s Peak where you can enjoy panoramic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

Day 11 Milford Sound Excursion

Today we will enjoy a full day tour to Milford Sound with Real Journeys, in the Fiordland National Park (coach transportation from Queenstown included). On arrival at Milford, a cruise on the fiord will take you to the Tasman Sea, allowing you to marvel at the size of this fiord, Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls. A picnic lunch is included on board. In the afternoon, we return to Queenstown by coach, or you may prefer an optional scenic flight which will take you high over the mountains, glacial valleys, waterfalls, rainforest, coastline, rivers and lakes, before arriving back in Queenstown.

Day 12 Queenstown too Dunedin (approx 177 miles)

Today depart Queenstown and travel along State Highways 8 and 1 via Alexandra and Milton to Dunedin. We recommend a stop at one of the fruit stalls on the side of the road in Cromwell for some tasty treats to enjoy along the way.

Day 13 Dunedin

Free day in Dunedin.

Suggested optional activity, not included in costing:
Natures Wonders 1 Hour Wildlife Tour in ARGO
Today Natures Wonders Naturally will show you the wild side of the spectacular Otago Peninsula with a thrilling cross-country adventure in the ultimate all terrain vehicle, an 8 wheel drive ARGO. You’ll see stunning coastal scenery and an extraordinary range of wildlife, including the rare Yellow-Eyed penguin, in its natural habitat. Get close to breeding colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals and Cormorants, and see Oyster Catchers, Gulls, Paradise Ducks, Hawks and Swallows. One tour covers the Maritime and Military History of Fort Taiaroa, with visits to the wreck of the Tyrone, the largest steamship to founder in New Zealand. A soft adventure experience combined with wildlife and stunning scenery makes it a fun family experience. At the end of the adventure you can relax in the large restaurant area and take in the stunning panoramic coastal view while enjoying some light refreshment. $55 per person

Suggested optional activity, not included in costing:
Penguin Place Conservation Tour
Today’s tour of Penguin Place is an experience made possible by the conservation work done to ensure the future of the Yellow-eyed Penguin (one of the rarest and most endangered penguins in the world). Covered trenches and observation huts will keep you hidden so the penguins will not be frightened and you can observe them going about their daily business in their natural habitat unperturbed by our presence. $47 per person

Day 14 Depart Dunedin

Today return your rental vehicle to the Budget representative at Dunedin Airport before your departure flight.


• Airfare and airline taxes – LA to Auckland and Dunedin to LA via Fiji – ask about a stop-over
• Accommodation – 13 nights
• Goods & Services Tax 15%
• Budget rental car throughout
• Basic vehicle insurance (subject to insurance excess)
• Admission to Sky Tower, Auckland Museum, Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, Te Puia, Skyline Gondola
• Hangi & Concert
• Whalewatch Cruise
• Franz Josef Ice Explorer
• Milford Sound cruise – including coach transport
• Picnic Lunch on Milford Sound Cruise
• Interislander ferry

No meals are included but please request pricing for breakfasts at all hotels. Children are welcome when sharing accommodation at no additional cost.


Pricing is dependent on the standard of accommodation your are requiring, the amount of tours you would like included and the time of year you wish to fly.
Pricing starts at $3,499 per person based on two people traveling together

***Consider a stop-over in Fiji, from just $359 per person for 3 nights including accommodation, tropical buffet breakfast, complimentary welcome cocktail and jungle cruise***