Your memorable trip begins in Auckland before you pick up a hire car, and your epic road trip begins. You’ll drive between New Zealand’s most coveted locations across both North Island and South Island and stay in a range of gorgeous, hand-picked places, from waterfront lodges to eco-minded treehouses, family-run wine lodges, and high-end hotels, each of which offers something distinct and memorable.

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19 nights
Auckland, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Tekapo, Gibbston Valley, Te Anau, Queenstown

Perfect for those who want a top-to-toe exploration of New Zealand and stay in style in some of its most beautiful places.

Recommended itinerary

Days 1-2


After touching down in Auckland, Horizon by SkyCity waits to welcome you. Horizon is an excellent location for your first couple of days in the city – it’s part of a complex of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment with plenty to do at your fingertips while you acclimatise to your new time zone.

Days 3-4


You’ll collect a hire car from Auckland and drive to Rotorua, a three-hour journey. Plan a break in your journey to visit Hobbiton Village to tour the movie set featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. When you arrive at Rotorua, you’ll stay in a luxury lodge set on a private peninsula. It’s a tranquil base to return to after exploring this geothermic area known for its geysers, hot springs, and mud pools. It’s also where you can familiarise yourself with Maori culture and spend an evening trying hangi cooked in the ground.

Days 5-6


Leaving Rotorua’s geothermal wonderland behind, you’re bound for the wine region and the Art Deco charms of Napier. A three-hour drive takes you south to this fascinating town, where an incredible array of beautiful Art Deco buildings make it feel like a movie set. Visit Hawke’s Bay wineries to try the local Pinot Gris and Syrah, then enjoy the fabulous restaurant at Mangapapa, the luxury boutique bolthole where you’ll spend two nights.

Day 7


A four-hour drive to Wellington brings you to the southern tip of the North Island, where you have the evening to indulge in the city’s gastro scene or ride the Wellington Cable Car for city panoramas. Tonight, the InterContinental Wellington provides sophisticated surroundings for your overnight stop in the city.

Days 8-9

Marlborough Sounds

The Interislander Cook Strait Ferry transports you to South Island today. Consider booking the Premium Lounge for a comfy seat and complimentary food and drinks. On arrival, you’ll take a water taxi to the Bay of Many Coves, set in a secluded bay with fantastic views of the surrounding scenery. Two nights here allow plenty of wildlife watching, hiking, and kayaking along the coast – or simply enjoying the excellent spa and restaurant.

Day 10-11


After taking the water taxi back to Picton, you’ll collect your car and take the coast road to Kaikoura for a memorable stay at Hapuku Lodge. You’ll stay in a treehouse or lodge with sweeping views over the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range. Tear yourself away from the beautiful surroundings for a morning whale-watching cruise.

Day 12

Lake Tekapo

A scenic five-and-a-half-hour journey drive brings you to Lake Tekapo, where a milky blue lake and New Zealand’s Southern Alps await. You’ll stop overnight at Peppers Bluewater Resort in the Dark Sky Reserve, where you can spend the evening marvelling at the starry skies above.

Day 13

Gibbston Valley

Delve into the world of New Zealand wines at Kinross, the world’s most southerly wine-making region and stay among the Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir vines.

Days 14-16

Te Anau

When you arrive at Fjordland Lodge, you’ll be glad of your three-night stop here. It’s a beautiful base for exploring the Milford and Doubtful Sounds and all the wonders that await in this exquisite pocket of New Zealand.

Days 17-19


Queenstown’s next — New Zealand’s playground. You’ve got three nights at Sofitel Queenstown, which is a sophisticated place to return to after exciting days in Queenstown, whether you’re joining a Lord of the Rings tour, visiting the Central Otago wine region, or soaring above the scenery on a gondola.

Day 20


Your adventure concludes as you fly from Queenstown to Auckland, ready for your international flight home.