New Zealand Discovery

Tour highlights

  • Take in the stunning scenery of the Southern Alps
  • The breath-taking Abel Tasman and Mount Cook National Parks
  • A picturesque Cruise on the Milford Sound
  • The natural wonders of the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers
  • Experience Maori Culture and the geothermal wonders of Rotorua
  • The stunning coastal locations of the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Islands
  • Auckland, the city of sails

Meet your tour hosts

Day 1 – 11: Christchurch to Te Anau

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Days 1 - 4: London to Christchurch 

Board your flight from London to Christchurch. On arrival in New Zealand on the morning of day 3, due to the international time zones, you will be met and transferred to your Christchurch hotel for a 2 night stay. You have the opportunity to explore the city at your leisure and meet your fellow travellers at a welcome dinner on the evening of day 4. You'll also have an introduction and orientation of your motorhome at the hotel.

Days 5 - 6: Lake Tekapo & Mt Cook National Park

Distance: 274km / 170 miles

Your motorhome adventure starts today! Once you’re ready you’ll head south out of Christchurch across the Rakai River on the longest bridge in New Zealand. Drive across the Canterbury Plains towards Lake Tekapo. Be sure to stop and view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, a photographer’s favourite. Head towards Lake Pukaki in the Mount Cook National Park, where you will stay for 2 nights.

Take the opportunity to explore World Heritage listed Mount Cook National Park. Covering over 70,000 hectares of breath-taking alpine scenery, the park is home to glacial lakes and New Zealand’s two highest peaks, Mount Tasman and, of course, Mount Cook.

Day 7: Oamaru

Distance: 186 km / 116 miles

Oamaru is best known for having some of the Southern Hemispheres most complete Victorian streetscapes and 19th century architecture, while nature lovers can head to see the world’s smallest penguins in their natural environment at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. You can also witness the world’s rarest penguin – the yellow-eyed penguin – coming ashore at Bushy Beach.

Day 8: Dunedin

Distance: 113 km / 71 miles

From Oamaru follow the coast south making sure you have time for a stop at the mysterious Moeraki Boulders, then continue south to Dunedin, known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ and gateway to the diverse wildlife of the Otago Peninsula.

Day 9: Invercargill

Distance: 204km / 128 miles

Looking on a map, the drive from Dunedin to Invercargill via the Catlin’s may seem a short distance, but with its winding roads, its stunning coastal landscapes and numerous photo opportunities, it may take you a little longer than you first expected.

The Catlin’s are ecologically unique and are made up of native coastal bush and forest, waterways, beaches, birds, and sea life and combined with the coast’s temperamental weather, a journey through the Caitlin’s will no doubt be a memorable one.

Affectionately known as the "City of Water and Light", which refers it’s the long summer days, the frequent appearances of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), and the city’s location by the Waihopai River estuary, Invercargill has plenty of character and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere

Day 10 - 11: Te Anau 

Distance: 155km / 97 miles

From Invercargill you will drive through a patchwork of farmland and plains, dramatic coastal scenery and rolling hills before heading inland once more to Te Anau. Once in Te Anau, options here include an exhilarating jetboat ride, stopping at 3 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 day 11 we’ll take you on a full day excursion to Milford Sound where you get to take an extended nature cruise along the entire length of the Sound out to the Tasman Sea. Milford Sound is famous for the towering peaks that rise up almost vertically from the water as well as spectacular waterfalls, rainforests, and towering mountains.

Day 12 - 20: Queenstown to Picton

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Days 12 – 13:  Arrowtown

Distance: 179km / 112 miles

Skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu and head to Queenstown, set against the dramatic Southern Alps. Explore this beautiful town before heading to Arrowtown for two nights. Located in the Otago region of the South Island, Arrowtown is a historic gold mining town and well worth exploring.

Days 14 – 15: Franz Josef Glacier

Distance: 353km / 221 miles

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. We recommend a guided walk onto the Fox & Franz Josef glaciers to appreciate the scale of it close up. After, 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. 

Day 16: Westport

Distance: 273 km / 170 miles

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 Westport for an overnight stay.

Days 17 - 18: Abel Tasman National Park

Distance: 222 km / 138 miles

Continue onto the Kaiteriteri region, an area of diverse beauty that enjoys a Mediterranean-type climate. The stunning coastal forest and shoreline of nearby Abel Tasman National Park can be explored on foot, by kayak or on a leisurely cruise by boat. A popular option is the Kaiteriteri kayak excursion to Split Apple Rock, ideal for beginners and departing right from the beach.

Days 19 - 20: Picton

Distance: 115 km / 72 miles

From Kaiteriteri it’s a short drive to Picton, situated in the heart of the Marlborough wine region. Marlborough has a range of activities on offer including bush walks, scenic cruises and fishing and of course you can visit one or two of the local wineries which produce award winning Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Day 21 – 26:  Wellington to Lake Taupo

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Days 21 - 22: Interislander Ferry & Wellington

Distance: 28 km / 18 miles

Enjoy the scenic InterIslander ferry that takes you from the picturesque fishing village of Picton across the Cook Strait to New Zealand’s North Island. As the ferry leaves Picton you’ll sail through, picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound, making the journey between the two islands an experience in itself. Wellington is the nation’s capital and options here include a visit to the Te Papa museum to learn about the history of New Zealand and its Maori heritage or take a ride on the famous Wellington Cable Car to the top of Mt Victoria for spectacular panoramic views over the city and harbour.

Days 23 - 24: Napier

Distance: 322 km / 200 miles

Drive north through the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region as you make your way to Napier, on the east coast of North Island, 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.

Days 25 - 26: Lake Taupo & Rotorua

Distance: 222 km / 138 miles

On your way north today be sure to stop at the popular lakeside resort of Taupo, in the centre of the North Island. Nearby is the mighty Huka Falls, where the full force of the Waikato river flows from the lake and is squeezed through a canyon only 15 metres across. Continue on to the geothermal city of Rotorua where you will enjoy a traditional Maori hangi (feast) & cultural performance. The region around Rotorua is a geothermal ‘hot spot’ featuring volcanoes, geysers, improbably colourful mineral lakes, hot springs and thermal vents, where you can see and hear the earth’s heat escaping from the surface.

Visit Wai-o-Tapu, with its ‘Champagne pool’ and Lady Knox geyser or perhaps Te Puia Thermal Reserve in the historic Te Whakarewarewa valley with its boiling mud pools, silica terraces, steaming vents and Pohutu geyser. You can also visit Hobbiton, the movie set used in the award-winning Lord of the Rings & Hobbit movies.

Day 27 – 36: Bay of Plenty to Auckland

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Days 27 - 28: Bay of Plenty & Coromandel Peninsula

Distance: 243 km / 151 miles

Drive across the volcanic plateau and along the Bay of Plenty coastline to the popular beachside towns of Mount Maunganui & Tauranga. You might like to stretch your legs and climb ‘The Mount’ for picturesque views along the coastline. Head to your next destination, the Coromandel Peninsula, a beautiful rugged area fringed with dozens of attractive beaches.

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 29: Orewa

Distance: 225 km / 140 miles

Travel north today, heading for the coastal town of Orewa situated just north of Auckland. With its 3km long beach, looking out onto the Pacific Ocean, it's ideal for an overnight stop.

Days 30 - 32: Bay of Islands

Distance: 229 km / 142 miles

Head north to Russell in 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. 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.

Days 33 - 34: Auckland

Distance: 258 km / 160 miles

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.

Days 35 - 36: Return flight to the UK

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

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