This itinerary goes off the beaten track to parts of New Zealand not normally covered in itineraries while making use of excellent accommodation. We can also add in activities in different locations where requested, or you are welcome to make your own arrangements.
The excellent thing about this itinerary is cost. The accommodation, rental car and inter-island ferry crossing come in at $9,445 (USD$6,600) for a couple.
Arrive Auckland. Pick up rental car. Stay at Sebel Suites - apartments in the heart of the waterfront district.
Free day to recuperate from your flight. We suggest a walk on a wild West Coast beach, a sail on a classic yacht, or a ferry to Waiheke to enjoy the vineyards.
Drive 3.5 hours north to the Bay of Islands. Stay at the Paihia Beach Resort in a spacious studio with large sea views and access to an excellent restaurant and spa.
A free day to enjoy the Bay of Islands. We suggest an encounter with local Maori or a cruise around the islands. For the adventurous, the best quad bike ride in the country is only 90 minutes drive away.
Fly back to Auckland, and pick up another rental for the three-hour drive to Rotorua. Stay at the Wairoa Resort & Spa on the shore of Lake Rotorua.
A free day in Rotorua. We recommend a half-day eco-experience on Moikoia Island followed by a traditional spa at Hell's Gate.
Drive south to Taupo (we recommend stopping at Wai o Tapu for a lovely 2-hour walk around geothermal mud pools) and across to Breckenridge Lodge in Hawkes Bay. The lodge is run by an excellent chef, and we have included a gourmet meal as part of the stay.
The road down to Martinborough is a lovely country road, not often travelled. Martinborough itself is the centre of Pinot Noir production in New Zealand, and the Martinborough Hotel is a lovely old colonial building right in the centre, on the town square.
Today, drive two hours over to Wellington before catching the Interislander ferry over to Picton, in the South Island. Continue south for half an hour to get to your accommodation - the lovely Convent - set in the middle of Marlborough wine country. We recommend a vineyard meal that night.
Drive four hours to the centre of Christchurch. The road is a lovely rolling coastal road and goes through Kaikoura, where you can stop for lunch or a look at the whales. Tonight's hotel is the Heritage, right in the centre on the main square, and your room is a duplex suite in the Old Government Building.
Drive 5 hours right through the middle of the South Island, seeing mountains, lakes and rivers, before coming to your lodge - Silver Pine, overlooking Lake Hawea. This is a lovely place with superb views, lovely owner/hosts and a gourmet dinner included.
Today we recommend an extremely well-priced experience (NZ$300 (USD$210) per person) for a combined helicopter-remote hike-jetboat tour around Mount Aspiring National Park. Enjoy Silver Pine again in the evening.
Drive for an hour down to Queenstown, sightseeing, dropping into vineyards. Check into your apartment at The Rees. We recommend a helicopter or aircraft tour of Fiordland. This is one of the most scenic helicopter rides in the world.
Activities in the morning (wine tour, four-wheel drive tour, jetboating, rafting, hiking, horseriding etc.) before flying out in the afternoon and linking up with your international flight.