Here. There.  Everywhere.

This is the quintessential New Zealand road trip. This trip features New Zealand’s diverse culture and scenery from top to bottom, coast to coast. From New Zealand’s cultural cradle, Northland, to the gobsmacking beauty of Fiordland; from glacier-gazing in the west to beach bumming in the east, this is one of our most popular Self Drive trips and it’s easy to see why.

Premier Stays
Price per person from
7530
  • NZD
  • USD
  • CAD
  • GBP
  • AUD
  • SGD
  • EUR
All payment is in NZD. Pricing in other currencies is indicative based on the current exchange rate. Final payment amount is determined by your bank based on the latest conversion.
Classic Stays
Price per person from
5510
  • NZD
  • USD
  • CAD
  • GBP
  • AUD
  • SGD
  • EUR
All payment is in NZD. Pricing in other currencies is indicative based on the current exchange rate. Final payment amount is determined by your bank based on the latest conversion.

Based on 2 ppl, double occupancy. Prices vary depending on season. Request Your Date for exact pricing and a range of activity add-ons.

Summary
Length23 days | 22 nights
DestinationAuckland to Queenstown
Lodging

Premier Stays

Classic Stays

Classic Stays
Modern, well-appointed properties that provide a comfortable, convenient base from which to explore. Perfect for the region, they’re typically within easy access to cafes and other amenities.

Premier Stays
Quality lodgings in superb settings, from stylish lakeside lodges to restful alpine retreats. Note that in a few cases, Classic Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Premier to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Premier Stays are not available.

Luxe Stays
Exclusive, indulgent hideaways with exceptional facilities and service. The best in New Zealand (and perhaps the world). Note that in a few cases, Premier Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Luxe to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Luxe Stays are not available.

Special Stays
Some tours feature overnight cruises and multiple-day hikes, with stays in private lodges or Department of Conservation huts, for special wilderness experiences.

FitnessEasygoing

Easygoing
You’re comfortable on tracks with gently undulating terrain and can move comfortably and freely. Suitable for families with young children. Note, activity add-ons may change rating.

Moderate
You enjoy walking/light hiking, can handle a hill or two, and appreciate life-affirming soft adventures that dip a toe outside your comfort zone.

Active
You’ve got a bit of Kiwi in you and are ready to hit the hills and push yourself a little. Some of these trips include multi-day hikes that get you further into the wild. It’s not all Bear Grylls, though. You’re happy to enjoy a rewarding glass of pinot at day’s end.

This is an overall guide. Our trips include a range of activities across the spectrum. Request a Detailed Itinerary for more details on fitness levels needed for individual activities.

StyleSelf Drive

Small Group
Scheduled, guided adventures with just the right number of like-minded travellers to share in the laughs and make new friends.

Private
Guided, professionally crafted trips with your own group and your choice of travel dates.

Self Drive
Self-guided, stress-free road trips with all the elements sorted for you. Our professionally crafted itineraries and booking team, your dates and travel companions.

Bespoke
Guided or self-guided, this is your personal New Zealand dream made manifest. A fully customized experience based on your passions, finessed with our professional planning.

Interests
Soft Adventure,
GO BESPOKE

If you already have a dream in mind, our Travel Shepherds await the challenge of bringing it to fruition. Request a Custom Quote based on your interests.

Daily Brief

Click on the orange icons to read about lodging along the way (not available on mobile). C=Classic, P=Premier, L=Luxe, S=Special Stays. Note accommodation may vary based on departure date. For hotel links and more information, Request a Detailed Itinerary above.
1
P
C

A Black Sheep team member will meet you at your hotel in central Auckland following your transfer from Auckland Airport. He or she will take you through your tour documentation, providing tips on driving and travel in New Zealand. Spend the rest of the day resting from your journey and exploring this dynamic city.

2
P
C

It's a scenic drive to the Northland region, a remote area that time seems to have forgotten. Accommodation for the next three nights is in the beautiful Bay of Islands, a popular yet peaceful retreat. Your notes will point you to scenic stops along the way.

3

The day is free to enjoy this maritime paradise. Suggested optional activities include sailing on the bay or taking a dolphin-watching cruise amongst the islands. A Black Sheep Travel Shepherd can advise on pricing and secure your booking.

4

This day is spent enjoying the wider region. Northland was once blanketed by ancient kauri trees, true lords of the forest rivaled only by the redwoods in girth. Spend a day on a self-guided walk amongst these giants, visiting historic sites and exploring waterfall tracks.

5
P
C

Bid the Bay farewell and return to Auckland, stopping at scenic points along the way. Just north of the city, on the ruggedly beautiful west coast, is one of New Zealand's largest gannet colonies. Get a close-up view of these wonderful birds as they court, breed, and nest.

6
P
C

Departing Auckland, head for the lush and peaceful Coromandel Peninsula, loved by New Zealanders and often missed by overseas travelers. Take a self-guided hike along the coast to a secluded cove featuring beautiful sandstone formations. Your lodge for the next two nights lies a beach ball’s throw from one of the prettiest beaches in New Zealand.

7

There is a great range of self-guided hikes in the region to beautiful, sheltered beaches and beneath the world's largest tree ferns. Visit the phenomenon of Hot Water Beach, follow the snorkel trail in a marine reserve, or take a guided excursion into the rainforest. Your notes outline a variety of options for this day.

8
P
C

Head south to Rotorua, rich in Maori culture and a fascinating geothermal region. Consider a deviation to Hobbiton on route, have a soak in a lakeside geothermal spa, visit the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, or walk or cycle on a labyrinth of tracks beneath giant redwoods.

9

Explore some of the regions most extraordinary geothermal features with a variety of optional add-ons: visit active White Island volcano, fly over Mt Tarawera’s crater rift, kayak to lakeside hot pools, visit a colourful thermal reserve and much more.

10
P
C

This morning, drive south to Wellington, New Zealand's picturesque capital city. On route, visit Huka Falls and Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, and travel along the famous Desert Road, with views of Tongariro National Park's volcanoes. In Wellington, take in the wonderful features of this vibrant city

11
P

Ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island via the crenulated coastline of the Marlborough Sounds. Landing in Picton, travel to the Marlborough wine region, world-renowned for its Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays. Consider tastings and a winery lunch (after choosing your designated driver!), then continue to sunny Nelson, perched on the Tasman Bay.

12

Depending on the season, we recommend a memorable hike and sea kayaking trip along the stunning coastline of nearby Abel Tasman National Park. This activity enables you to experience the park’s best features--temperate forest, aquamarine water and golden beaches—by sea and land. This is a very popular activity and pre-booking by your Travel Shepherd is recommended.

13
P
C

Head east to the dramatic Pacific coast and the seaside hamlet of Kaikoura, New Zealand's marine-life centre. Hike around the Kaikoura Peninsula, past intriguing limestone formations and fur seals lounging on the rocks, enjoying magnificent views of the sea and mountains. Kaikoura means 'to eat crayfish (lobster)' and we recommend the best places to sample the local specialty.

14

Today you'll have the chance to behold Kaikoura's tremendous creatures in their natural habitat with a range of optional activities, including whale watching, swimming with dolphins or fur seals, or visiting the offshore feeding grounds of albatross.

15
C
P

Journey south to the Canterbury region and the city of Christchurch, described as the most English of New Zealand's cities. Explore the city: hire a punt on the Avon, visit the Canterbury Museum or stroll through the Botanical Gardens before your stay in the city this evening.

16
P
C

Depart Christchurch and drive inland, over the glorious Southern Alps. Cross alpine rivers and wind beneath snow-capped peaks before descending to the wild West Coast. Drive along stunning shoreline to your lodge for the next two nights. Visit the geologically fascinating Pancake Rocks and other hidden tracks outlined in your trip notes during your stay.

17

Limestone caves honeycomb this region and they can be explored in a variety of ways, be it a dry, scenic caving tour, a laughter-inducing cave rafting trip, or an all-out adventure-caving expedition. Alternatively, stay aboveground and explore the Paparoa National Park on foot, horseback, or kayak.

18
P
C

This morning is a spectacular drive to New Zealand's glacier region. Climb to the top of Sentinel Rock for a view of Franz Josef Glacier and stroll amongst old-growth rainforest before continuing to your alpine lodging and enjoying the warm hospitality of the locals here.

19

Your trip notes identify ways to make the most of this beautiful region. A variety of options allow you to access the glaciers, including heli-hikes that explore blue-ice caves and crevasses, or scenic heli-flights that land on their neve. Take a self-guided valley hike to view the terminal face, or a hire bike to cycle rainforest tracks.

20
P
C

Drive through the grandeur of the Mt Aspiring National Park on your way to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Your notes will identify hidden walks to waterfalls and turquoise pools on route. Pause in the lakeside town of Wanaka before continuing to your lodging in Queenstown, overlooking beautiful Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.

21

If you can dream it, you can do it in Queenstown, or so it seems. There’s a huge range of activities available, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and we have recommendations for both, and everything in between. From all-out adventures like mountain biking and bungy jumping, to more leisurely pursuits like wine trails and walking, today is the day to live the dream.

22

Milford Sound is the jewel in the crown of an area endowed with overwhelming beauty, and we highly recommend an optional visit here during your stay. There are numerous ways to reach and explore this area, with day tours featuring air and coach options, as well as the optimal experience of an overnight stay. We’ll talk you through these and other choices for the perfect finale to your trip.

23

Depending on your departure flight, you'll have time to take a stroll, fulfill your gift list, or contemplate one last adventure before dropping your rental car at Queenstown Airport and travelling home or to your next destination.

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Trip Inclusions

Of course, a successful road trip is more than just your hands on the wheel and the wind in your hair. See below for the inclusions in your Self Drive journey—inclusions that take the stress out of your trip, so all you have to do is worry about that hairdo.

Accomodation

All accommodation during your tour

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Activities

All activities are optional add-ons, so you can customize based on your interests

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Meals

Included meals as outlined in your itinerary. Meal inclusions may change based on hotel availability.

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Transport

Compact automatic rental car (Toyota Corolla or similar) with no-excess insurance and unlimited kilometres
Arrival transfer in Auckland
Ferry ride to South Island

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Support

Professional office staff to help plan every aspect of your trip
Detailed pre-trip information
Meet and greet by a Black Sheep team member upon arrival (Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown only)
Detailed Self Drive touring pack delivered on arrival
Background support from Black Sheep HQ
Flight assistance available

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Gear & Amenities

Stainless steel water bottle
NZ road atlas
Trip notes with detailed itinerary, directions, insider tips, dining and activity recommendations, and more

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New Zealand Wanderer
Self Guided
Self Drive

THE TRIP WAS GREAT! WE PLAN TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND AGAIN AND WILL NOT HESITATE TO USE BLACK SHEEP TOURING CO.

SHONA GALLAGHER, PADDINGTON, AUSTRALIA