Best of New Zealand - in Style

28 days – EUR 5,193.00 pp in dbl-room1
Christchurch, Dunedin, Te Anau, Queenstown, Wanaka, Lake Moeraki, Franz Josef Glacier, Greymouth, Motueka, Picton, Wellington, Napier, Rotorua, Waipoua Forest, Bay of Islands, Auckland

Take four weeks to experience the best of New Zealand at leisure. Stay at boutique B&Bs and luxurious lodges on this self-drive tour that covers almost all of New Zealand's National Parks and major cities. Enjoy fine food and generous hospitality in stylish surroundings.

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1st day: Christchurch

Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch: quiet & central
Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch: quiet & central
Historic Tram in Christchurch
Historic Tram in Christchurch
Arrival at Christchurch Airport
Flight - by own arrangement

Taxi from Airport to Accommodation - by own arrangement

In front of the arrival terminal, you can easily catch a taxi to get to your accommodation.

Bouitque Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
This boutique hotel has a unique location in Christchurch city centre, on a very quiet and relaxed one-way pedestrian boulevard directly opposite the Christchurch Arts Centre and only minutes from Christchurch city-centre's major attractions. Only steps away for an early morning stroll through the park are the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The villa, an Italian style historic home, has been renovated and tastefully refurbished into a fine boutique hotel offering 15 guest rooms in total. Breakfast can be taken in the luxury dining room or alfresco in the private paved courtyard. A shared lounge and outdoor barbecue area are available for guests to share their experiences over a glass of wine, coffee or tea.

Details: Christchurch
Christchurch is the third largest city in New Zealand and South Island's largest city with a rather English atmosphere. Urban architecture, historic buildings and large gardens are today still characterised by of the vision of its founders to build a settlement for devout Anglican Church emigrants. So Christchurch was also named after the church in the old Oxford College in England. If you want more than shopping, the new Art Gallery, the Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and the Botanical Garden are recommended. The harbour side town of Lyttelton and the picturesque French settlement of Akaroa on nearby Banks Peninsula are also worth a visit.
A turning point in the city's history was the earthquake, which occurred completely unexpected during the busy lunchtime on 22 February 2011. In addition to the death of 185 people, many buildings were damaged. For example, the symbol of the city, the tower of Christ Church Cathedral, collapsed. Over 10,000 homes had to be demolished and more than 100,000 homes were renovated. Although much has already been done, Christchurch has not fully recovered from the shock.
Map: 1st day: Christchurch

2nd day: Christchurch

Rental car pick-up
Type: Compact Auto
Pick-up location: Christchurch Airport

3rd day: Dunedin

Situated between Dunedin & Otago Peninsula
Situated between Dunedin & Otago Peninsula
Yellow-eyed Penguin on Otago Peninsula
Yellow-eyed Penguin on Otago Peninsula
Near Dunedin: Albatross Colony on Otago Peninsula
Near Dunedin: Albatross Colony on Otago Peninsula
Dunedin: Historic Railway Station  (© Hiroshi Nameda)
Dunedin: Historic Railway Station (© Hiroshi Nameda)
passing the Moeraki Boulders
Distance: 390 km Travel time: 5:00 h

Leaving Christchurch the route is about as straight and flat as roads get in New Zealand. On a clear day, the Southern Alps provide outstanding scenery. The Rakaia bridge spans 1.8 kilometres of one of the world's best examples of a 'braided' river system. Oamaru has many elegant historic buildings made from the local sandstone. The famous Moeraki boulders lie scattered along a beach between Oamaru and Dunedin.


A B&B offering guided wildlife tours

2 Nights, BB with activities
Built in 1930 this boutique guesthouse offers a unique combination of accommodation and small group guided wildlife tours. The nature-based package includes 2 nights accommodation and breakfast, Sunrise Penguin Walk, albatross viewing, and wildlife observations on Otago Peninsula (2 night package).

Sunrise Penguin Walk
(Duration approx. 3 hours  max. 6 people)
Depart Nisbet Cottage before sunrise with your nature guide and drive for approx. 15 minutes to the car park from where we start the nature walk. This tour requires a reasonable level of fitness as we descend sweeping sand dunes to a remote beach on the way to our private viewing hide. On the way back to the car park you will need to climb up these dunes again. Penguins share this coastal habitat with a variety of different species, the most prominent being New Zealand Fur Seals and Sea Lions. We may encounter both and will certainly be able to see a number of other bird species. Learn about the penguins, their environment, and the management challenges for this unique place so close to a major city. Return to Nisbet Cottage for a hot shower and a well earned breakfast.
Please note: This tour may take place on the same day as the Dunedin Nature and Albatross Experience or on day of departure. (weather, availability of guides ...).

Peninsula Excursion & Albatross Encounter
(Duration approx. 6 hours, max. 6 participants)
10.30 am - Depart Nisbet Cottage with your Nature Guide for exploration of Otago Peninsula with its spectacular scenery, nature and wildlife. Focus will be on native forest, tidal inlet birdlife, and the Royal Albatross at Taiaroa Head. The itinerary is flexible and we are happy to include features to suit particular interests, weather and time permitting. Start your peninsula excursion with a scenic drive followed by a walk through regenerating native bush. You will see conservation in action and get the opportunity to contribute to ongoing re-vegetation by planting a few native trees before picnic lunch at a stunning lookout with views of the beaches, cliffs, geological features, and the vast Pacific Ocean. After lunch you will continue exploring the remote side of Otago Peninsula along tidal inlets were, depending on tide and season, a variety of birds can be observed - pied stilt, white faced heron, oyster catcher, spoonbill and arctic waders. Further along the peninsula, at Taiaroa
Head, Northern Royal Albatross are breeding in the only mainland breeding colony of any albatross species in the world. This special place will be another highlight of your day with the option of either a one-hour guided tour of the albatross colony or a one-hour harbour cruise on the MV Monarch to view these majestic birds in flight.
Approx. 4.30 pm - Return to Nisbet Cottage, relax,and enjoy a glass of wine by the fire or on the deck with views of Dunedin and the surrounding hills. Your hosts will be happy to advise on local dining options, make reservations, and provide transport to the restaurant.

Details: Dunedin
Dunedin was founded on the picks, harpoons and hard toil of goldminers, whalers and early Scottish settlers over 150 years ago. Its name is the old Gaelic one for Edinburgh - appropriate since the city was established by Scottish Presbyterians. Apart from being New Zealand's first university city, it has an abundance of museums, galleries, heritage homes and New Zealand's only castle nearby. Visitors can even discover the history of beer brewing at the Speights Brewery or tour the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. Dunedin is well known for its proximity to incredible wildlife on nearby Otago Pensinsula, where visitors can see the world's only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross, rare New Zealand sealions and yellow-eyed penguins, which can be watched from penguin-friendly visitor hides.
Map: 3rd day: Dunedin

5th day: Te Anau

Stunning location & unique architecture: Lodge in Fiordland
Stunning location & unique architecture: Lodge in Fiordland
Fiordland National Park: Carved by Glaciers  © Real Journeys
Fiordland National Park: Carved by Glaciers © Real Journeys
towards Fiordland National Park
Distance: 290 km     Travel time: 4:00 h

Leaving Dunedin, fresh, green farm scenery will accompany you to the historic mill town of Milton - the unusual kink in the main road is where two surveyors didn't quite meet. Next is Balclutha with its distinctive arched concrete bridge and an interesting museum. After Gore you will travel across the river plain to Lumsden heading towards Fiordland National Park.

Luxury Lodge overlooking Lake Te Anau

1 Night, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
Located on the highway to Milford Sound, this luxury lodge offers the discerning traveller style, comfort and privacy, yet is only five kilometers from the tourist township of Te Anau. Forty acres of rolling grass lands surround the lodge. The open architecture of the lodge reflects the vastness of the Fiordland National Park. Echoes of the forest are found in the striking natural timber construction. The lodgecomfortable dining area serves excellent food coupled with superb wine from the cellar. The ten luxury guest rooms look out across Lake Te Anau. Complementing the ten luxury lodge rooms are two traditionally built log cabins, ideal for families or those who want more privacy, providing bed and breakfast and the option to dine in the lodge. The warm interiors of the log cabins feature extensive use of recycled native New Zealand timber. The lodge owners, Robynne & Ron, know the area well and are happy to arrange excursions to Milford and Doubtful Sounds, trout fishing, escorted golf tours, horse riding, sea or lake kayaking, hiking, nature walks, alpine flower tours in the summer, bird watching, or glow worm cave tours for their guests.

Details: Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park is located on the south-west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. As one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand, Fiordland has achieved World Heritage status. Visitors can explore Fiordland National Park by foot, sea kayak or boat, or take to the air and do it the flightseeing way. The park covers showcases dramatic wilderness on a grand scale. Waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres into pristine, forested valleys, sheer-sided fiords slide gracefully into the sea. Fiordland is famous for its rainfall - visitors should always be prepared for wet weather. From the resort town of Te Anau, it is a scenic two hours drive to Milford Sound and an easy twenty minute drive to Lake Manapouri, the start of an excursion to Doubtful Sound. Compared to popular Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is less visited and much more remote as it is only accessible by boat. Famous multi-day walking tracks in the region include the Milford, Kepler, Hollyford and Routeburn Tracks. A guided 3 day tour on Hollyford Track as well as day and overnight cruises on Milford or Doubtful Sound can be arranged by Umfulana.
Map: 5th day: Te Anau

6th day: Te Anau

Overnight Cuise on Doubtful Sound © Real Journeys
Overnight Cuise on Doubtful Sound © Real Journeys

Overnight Cruise on Doubtful Sound

1 Night, DBB with activities
Known for its wilderness, peacefulness and wildllife, Doubtful Sound is the second largest of the 14 fiords in Fiordland National Park and it is three times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound. Following a short cruise across beautiful Lake Manapouri and a coach trip over Wilmot Pass, one will board the vessel at Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. The vessel, purpose built for cruising in the fiords, offers spacious viewing decks, a comfortable dining saloon, an observation lounge and private cabins with ensuite bathrooms. Apart from the stunning scenery, fur seals and bottlenose dolphins can often be admired, and at times, rare penguins can be observed. There is also time to kayak around the shoreline or go exploring in the tender craft with a nature guide. As the shadows lengthen, the crew will drop anchor at a favourite mooring for the night. A delicious evening buffet meal will then be served in the spacious dining saloon. The tour starts at Pearl Harbour in Manapouri just after midday, and finishes 24 hours later at the same place.
Map: 6th day: Te Anau

7th day: Queenstown

Boutique B&B elevated over Lake Wakatipu
Boutique B&B elevated over Lake Wakatipu
Bridge near Queenstown: Home of Bungy Jumping
Bridge near Queenstown: Home of Bungy Jumping
from Fiordland to Queenstown
Distance: 170 km Travel time: 2:00 h

Trout fishing rivers and high country scenery are features of the drive to Queenstown. Leave time to take a break in Kingston, the home of a remarkable vintage steam train. From here the rest of your journey scenically follows the contour of Lake Wakatipu.

Boutique B&B elevated over Lake Wakatipu

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
This boutique B&B is an architecturally designed contemporary homestay, offering comfort, style and relaxation. Built in 1998, the house is elevated over the lake and from its rocky ledge, and from its dining room window one has a bird's eye view of Lake Wakatipu and a 280 degree panorama of surrounding mountains. Both guestrooms are tastefully decorated and open to a north facing stylish courtyard garden to capture the all-day sun. Hosts Derek and Margaret are friendly New Zealanders who clearly enjoy sharing their exciting home with visitors. The township of Queenstown is only a five minute drive away.

Details: Queenstown
Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables Range, Queenstown is a premier alpine and lake resort, for both adventurers and leisure seekers. Queenstown is the world capital and home of bungy jumping. Other year-round, action-packed thrills, include jet-boating and white-water rafting. The less adventurous can enjoy alpine walks, cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard an historic steamboat, or take a scenic flight to discover Fjordland and the famous Mildford Sound. In winter, skiers and snowboarders come from all over the world to join in the fun at the annual Winter Festival.
Map: 7th day: Queenstown

8th day: Wanaka

Kiwi Hospitality and Mountain Views: Lodge near Wanaka
Kiwi Hospitality and Mountain Views: Lodge near Wanaka
Wanaka: The Rippon Vineyard (© Gilbert van Reenen)
Wanaka: The Rippon Vineyard (© Gilbert van Reenen)
Over the Crown Range
Distance: 120 km    Time: 1:30 h

From Queenstown, the shortest route to Wanaka is over the Crown Range Road. It's a challenging drive, but the views are amazing, if the weather is fine. Alternatively, you can take the route that runs beside the Shotover River, Lake Dunstan and the Clutha River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way.

B&B lodge above the Clutha River

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Located above the picturesque Clutha River this boutique B&B lodge offers a rural atmosphere and panoramic views. The three large and well appointed bedrooms have private patios; on the terrace there is spa-pool where guests can relax under the stars. There are complimentary mountain bikes on offer for guests to ride down along the Clutha River, a library, guest lounge, laundry and internet facilities are also available for guests. Over complimentary drinks and nibbles, the friendly hosts, Pam and Peter, will make you feel at home. They are more than happy to offer personal assistance to help plan your days to suit your own pace, whether it is skiing, fishing, hunting, horse or mountain bike riding.

Details: Wanaka
The crystal-clear waters of Lake Wanaka reflect the snow-capped peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park. Here one can absorb the unstoppable beauty of pristine wilderness, and know that it will be easy to find a great restaurant for dinner. Embraced by the Southern Alps, on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka, there is Wanaka township, Otago's second resort town after Queenstown. Lake Wanaka is a playground for sailors, water-skiers, kayakers, while the mountains offer great opportunities for mountaineers, climbers, hikers, hunters and snow lovers. The region offers superb brown and rainbow trout fishing and there is a selection of award-winning vineyards within easy travelling distance of Wanaka township. An elevated golf course overlooks Lake Wanaka, with its clear blue water and surrounding alpine vista providing plenty of excuses for a poor round. The seasons are particularly noticeable in Wanaka. Spring (October - December) brings an abundance of blossom. Summer brings cloudless, hot, sunny days (January - March). Autumn brings splendid colours of gold and red (April - June), Winter brings crisp days, and snow lovers can enjoy huge freedom the mountain slopes (July - September).
Map: 8th day: Wanaka

10th day: Lake Moeraki

Lodge Surrounded by Ancient Rainforest
Lodge Surrounded by Ancient Rainforest
Reflections in Lake Moeraki
Reflections in Lake Moeraki
across Haast Pass to the West Coast
Distance: 1 90 km Travel t ime: 3 : 0 0 h

Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. At the wilderness town of Makarora one can fuel up before taking on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass. There are waterfalls and river scenery to enjoy when arriving on the West Coast. The settlement of Haast was once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works (the government department responsible for road and bridge building). It's a town with a touch of the wild west - helicopters fly deer hunters into the rugged ranges and local pubs make a feature of stuffed animal trophies. The Haast Visitor Centre offers excellent information on the South Westland World Heritage Area, worth a stop!

Lodge on Moeraki River

2 Nights, DBB with activities
Located in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, this unique lodge was set up in 1989 by Anne, a teacher, and Gerry, biologist and former director of New Zealand's largest environmental organisation, to help protect the rainforest and share this extraordinary natural setting with visitors. The lodge is landscaped in a lakeside clearing surrounded by 1000 year old rainforest trees. It offers a high level of comfort in attractive lodge rooms with lounges and a restaurant that overlook the lovely Moeraki rapids. Radiating from the lodge is a network of rainforest and Tasman seacoast walks. There is a fleet of canoes for guest to explore Lake Moeraki and the Moeraki river. Today, West Coasters Dorothy and Malcolm are the managers at Lake Moeraki and a team of enthusiastic guides will introduce lodge guests to crested penguins, fur seals, giant tame eels and New Zealand's unique birdlife and ancient forests.

Details: Lake Moeraki
Lake Moeraki is situated between Haast in the south and Fox Glacier in the north. Its Maori name means "to sleep by day". The idyllic lake is surrounded by some of the West Coast's most lush lowland and the wetland rainforests - adjacent to remote beaches that are home to a variety of marine fauna, including seals and penguins. About half an hour further south, the settlement of Haast was once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works (the government department responsible for road and bridge building). Today, it's a settlement with a touch of the wild west - helicopters fly deer hunters into the rugged ranges and local pubs make a feature of stuffed animal trophies. Westland is famous for its rainfall - visitors should always be prepared for wet weather.
Map: 10th day: Lake Moeraki

12th day: Franz Josef Glacier

Lodge near Franz Josef Glacier: Lounge with Mountain Views
Lodge near Franz Josef Glacier: Lounge with Mountain Views
Guided glacier walk: an unforgettable experience
Guided glacier walk: an unforgettable experience
via Fox Glacier
Distance: 120 km     Time: 2:00 h

Just north of Haast is Lake Moeraki, a peaceful forest lake with good fishing - a 40 minute track (one way) goes down to Monro Beach - a wildlife refuge protecting breeding areas used by penguins between July and December. Next is pretty Lake Paringa and a salmon farm. The terminal face of Fox Glacier is just 5 kilometres from the township that serves it. The road to the walking track crosses ancient moraine from earlier advances and retreats. Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox.

Lodge near the Glacier

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
Set in bush and farmlands with views of the mountains, this boutique lodge offers a warm and relaxed atmosphere in a quiet, rural setting, just 2 km north of the Franz Josef village and only minutes from Franz Josef Glacier itself. The lodge is purpose built, crafted entirely from wood. Six of the suites have mountain views from the rooms and verandahs. Two have private courtyards, which catch all-day sun, and are planted with trees to encourage the native fantails, tuis, white-eyes and bellbirds.

Details: Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef and Fox Glacier are remnants of the ice age, which cascade from vast snowfields of the Southern Alps through West Coast rainforest to valley floors just 300 metres above sea level. Nowhere in the world's temperate zones are glaciers so accessible. These two glaciers move up to four metres every day, which in the glacier world is uncommonly rapid (the Tasman Glacier, on the eastern side of the great divide, moves at only 650 millimetres a day). At the foot of each glacier, the grinding, crushing sounds of ancient ice forcing itself down the time-worn valleys can be heard. A range of companies offer guided excursions to explore the spectacular ice formations. Helicopter and fixed wing aircraft, also provide scenic flights and snow landings, amidst New Zealand's highest peaks, overlooking the glaciers. The village of Franz Josef is a good base from which to explore the glaciers, as well as its rainforest environment. Nearby coastal Okarito has the largest unmodified tidal inlet in New Zealand and provides a sanctuary and feeding grounds for New Zealand's only breeding colony of Kotuku, or white heron. From September to March visitors can go on an excursion into the nesting area, accompanied by a permitted guide. On a rainy day, the recently built 'Glacier Hot Pools' in Franz Josef are worth a visit.
Map: 12th day: Franz Josef Glacier

13th day: Greymouth

Country Homestead near Greymouth
Country Homestead near Greymouth
The Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki (© David Wall)
The Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki (© David Wall)
up the West Coast
Distance: 200 km Time: 3:00 h

The road north of the glaciers is rural, but with a wild streak. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval. In good weather the Southern Alps can be seen. The road between Hokitika and Greymouth provides great views of the wild west coast. Shantytown, just south of Greymouth, is a reconstructed 1880s gold rush town, great for families.

Farmstead south of Greymouth

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
Only 10 minutes away from Hokitika and 20 minutes south of Greymouth, this peaceful and private coastal country retreat is set in extensive gardens featuring natives and conservation planting including traditional flax gardens. Guest will be warmly welcomed by the Te Rakau family at their colonial-style homestead, to experience wood stove warmth, a private outdoor spa and country cooking. Hosts Pauline & Hemi are happy to share their Maori and European cultural and historic knowledge of the site and the area. Accommodation comprises three ensuite bedrooms in the house as well as a separate self-contained apartment with a further two guestrooms. French doors open from all bedrooms onto the verandahs. Self-catering is optional for apartment guests. Free-range chickens provide farm-fresh eggs every day. Tours, such as scenic flights, hunting, fishing and bird-watching can be arranged. Award-winning cafés and the studios of greenstone, gold, wood, pottery and fibre artists can be visited nearby.

Details: Paparoa National Park
Greymouth is the major town on the West Coast. In New Zealand, the 'West Coast' generally refers to the narrow strip of land between the South Island's Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. Most spectacular is the coastal wilderness along the scenic West Coast Road. Located between Westport and Greymouth, the Paparoa National Park is memorable for its famous Pancake Rocks, a wild coastline, lush rainforest, bizarre limestone landscapes and caves that allow for underground rafting. In the townships of Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika, visitors can learn about the historic gold rush, the coal mining and the life of the early settlers. A range of local craft galleries exhibit hand blown glass, gold nugget jewellery, wood craft and New Zealand jade, known as Greenstone or Pounamu - a local treasure sourced from the West Coast's raging mountain rivers. Greymouth is also the terminus for the scenic TranzAlpine rail journey, from Christchurch across the Southern Alps. South of Greymouth is Hokitika, which was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a 'frontier town', and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone is the town's treasure these days - visitors can see it being polished and sculpted.
Map: 13th day: Greymouth

14th day: Motueka

Close to Abel Tasman National Park: boutique lodge
Close to Abel Tasman National Park: boutique lodge
Abel Tasman National Park  (© Tourism NZ)
Abel Tasman National Park (© Tourism NZ)
Through the Buller Gorge
Distance: 320 km Travel time: 4:30 h

The road to Westport hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea. At Charleston, formerly a prosperous gold town, you can arrange underground rafting and cave exploring trips. Westport is known as a coal mining town, but it's also a base for outdoor adventures such as black water rafting, jet boating, horse trekking and surf rafting. The road to Nelson is scenic and interesting, beginning with the dark, forbidding Buller Gorge. At Hawks Crag there is a dramatic rock overhang. At Lyell one can walk to a pioneer cemetery. The museum at Murchison tells visitors all about the massive earthquake that shook the region in 1929.

Umfulana-Tip: The seal colony at Cape Foulwind, near Westport is worth a visit - so is the nearby cafe.

Buotique lodge nestled in native bush

2 Nights, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
On the doorstep of the beaches of Abel Tasman and the wilderness of Kahurangi National Parks, this boutique lodge is nestled in 50 acres of native bush close to the source of the Riwaka river. There are four spacious lodge rooms and two self-contained cottage suites; all have private balconies and spectacular views. Facilities include pool, spa and bush walks. This place is ideal for couples who enjoy nature, the outdoors & good food. Each evening, guests are invited to join their hosts, Clare & Peter for cocktails. A 4-course dinner prepared with fresh ingredients from one on New Zealand's most bountiful regions and accompanied by fine Nelson wines will follow. Clare and Peter. keen travellers themselves, lived and worked in the UK, France, Asia, US and Australaisia and returned to New Zealand in 2003 to start up the lodge. They offer friendly advice and help guests plan activities.

Details: Abel Tasman National Park
The Nelson region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, national parks, boutique wineries, micro breweries, locally grown produce and a large creative community of working artists. From the city of Nelson it is easy to access any of three National Parks: Nelson Lakes, Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Park, the latter of which is known for its glittering golden sand beaches, turquoise waters and spectacular ocean views. Regular water taxis provide easy access to the park for those who want to enjoy a daytrip to explore part of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track which normally takes three to five days to walk. For those who wish to explore the coastline from the perspective of the sea, there are sea kayaks available for hire.
Map: 14th day: Motueka

16th day: Picton

Surrounded by vineyards: Lodge near Blenheim
Surrounded by vineyards: Lodge near Blenheim
Vineyards near Blenheim
Vineyards near Blenheim
to Picton
 Distance : 150km     Time : 2:30 h

The drive to Picton is both beautiful and interesting. A t Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve one can enjoy a bush walk or a swim. Havelock is the place for a seafood meal - it's known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. The famed Queen Charlotte Drive is a popular tourist route between Havelock and Picton. This road wends its way through native bush offering several vantage points from which to enjoy views of the inner Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sounds. If going via Renwick & Blenheim instead, which are surrounded by vineyards, it will be clear that this is wine country.


Boutique lodge on a working vineyard

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
This small lodge offers fully hosted boutique B&B accommodation on a working vineyard with a difference. It is housed in a unique modern straw-bale building nestled amongst the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir vines of BarrowVineyard. Situated on the world renowned wine producing river flats of the Wairau Valley. Barry and Trudy the hosts provide home-cooked and fresh home-grown produce, a taste of wine from the vineyard and the option to be professionally guided or advised on individually designed wine, trekking, cycling, walking, fishing, skiing, discovery, craft or gourmet trails of Marlborough. Guests are accommodated away from the main house in three private suites, which have a quiet comfort that is accentuated by quality fittings and custom designed and hand crafted furniture. Each suite has its own private entrance and vineyard setting incorporating verandah, courtyard and lounge area. Guests have free use of the large out-door spa set amongst the vines, petanque area, BBQ courtyard, living area with open fire, separate guestkitchen/dining area, garden/vineyard grounds, and complimentary use of the lodgebikes to explore the neighbouring wineries, riverbanks, swimming holes and countryside. Two sets of golf clubs are available with some wonderful courses nearby. A generous breakfast is served in the mornings. Blenheim is only a 15-minute drive away.

Details: Blenheim
Blenheim is the main town of the Marlborough Region – situated on the north-eastern corner of the South Island. It is New Zealand's largest grape growing and wine making region with 65 wineries, 290 grape growers and 4054 hectares in grape production. Nearly all of the wineries welcome visitors for tasting sessions and many have a cafe or restaurant on site. Sauvignon Blanc is the region's specialty, but wines made with Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are also highly acclaimed. Wine trail maps make it easy to find your way around the vineyards.
Map: 16th day: Picton

18th day: Wellington

Cruising between Picton and Wellington: Interislander Ferry
Cruising between Picton and Wellington: Interislander Ferry
Cable Car in Wellington (© Ian Trafford)
Cable Car in Wellington (© Ian Trafford)
Drop Off Rental Car at Picton Ferry Terminal
When travelling to the North Island, a changeover vehicle will be supplied at the ferry terminal in Wellington - if renting from one of the big companies, like AVIS. (No need to take the car onto the ferry and pay extra for a vehicle fare).

Ferry from Picton to Wellington

The Interislander Ferry is one of the best ways to travel between New Zealand's North and South Islands. The 83-kilometre journey between Picton in the South and Wellington in the North is regarded as one of the world's great scenic cruises - lasting three hours. Departing from the picturesque township of Picton the ferry passes through the majestic Marlborough Sounds - a haven of tree-lined coves, inlets and crystal clear water. Between the two islands lies Cook Strait, which offers stunning views and the opportunity to spot wildlife such as whales, dolphins and seabirds. After passing the rugged southern coastline of the North Island the journey ends at Lambton Harbour in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. (The fare for the ferry is included in the package price and included in 'Extras'.)

Accommodation: A villa in Thorndon

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
The spacious Victorian-style residence was built in 1890 in the historic district Thorndon and carefully restored 100 years later by its present owners, Neil and Sally. Stained glass windows, cast iron lacework, original furnishings and the stucco on the ceilings appear fresh and new. In summer the pool is heated to 26 ° water temperature.

Details: Wellington
The Capital of New Zealand, Wellington is not only the country's political centre, it is also its cultural centre - home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and home to Te Papa, New Zealand's bold, innovative national museum, set on Wellington's waterfront. The city is compact and nestled between a dramatic harbour and bush-clad hills. Great views can be found at the top of Mount Victoria, or by catching the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens. Downtown Wellington is ideally explored on foot. The waterfront has been transformed into a graceful promenade, with shops, cafes and restaurants. Visitors who want to enjoy coastal scenery within the city, should drive along the City Marine Drive - from Oriental Bay, to the seal colony at Red Rocks.
Map: 18th day: Wellington

20th day: Napier

Modern house overlooking Hawkes Bay
Modern house overlooking Hawkes Bay
Napier: Art deco among palms and ferns
Napier: Art deco among palms and ferns
via Martinborough to Napier
Distance: 330km     Time: 5:00 h

From Wellington the road winds through the picturesque Hutt Valley before climbing over the Rimutaka Range and descending into the tranquility of the Wairarapa region. The small town of Martinborough could be your first stop on your way north to Napier. In recent years, Martinborough has become the gourmet capital of the lower North Island. It is home to over 25 boutique vineyards and several fabulous restaurants.

Modern B&B overlooking Hawkes Bay

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
The inn opened in early 2008 by hosts Jill and Allan is located in a quiet cul de sac on the slopes of Bluff Hill, Napier. The popular Bluff Hill viewpoint with its panoramic view of Hawkes Bay is within easy walking distance. The view from the hotel terrace across the Napier port to the deep blue Pacific is impressive in its own right. A small swimming pool next to the patio is available for a quick dip before breakfast or a refreshing swim after a hard day of sightseeing. All three bedrooms are furnished in the modern style of the house (not all have a sea view). The hosts are just a few minutes' drive away.

Details: Napier
The most important harbour town on deep blue Hawke Bay was largely destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1931. In spite of the economic depression of the 1930's the town was rebuilt quickly. Instead of the neo-classical building style used generally till then, simpler and more geometric forms became important, inspired by art deco and the American "Spanish Mission" style. This new style was reputed to be earthquake proof. An excursion to Cape Kdnappers where a colony of gannets can be seen on windy terraces, can be recommended.
Map: 20th day: Napier

21th day: Rotorua

On the lakeshore: Lodge near Rotorua
On the lakeshore: Lodge near Rotorua
Rotorua:Centre of Maori Culture (© Nick Servian)
Rotorua:Centre of Maori Culture (© Nick Servian)
via Taupo to Rotorua
 Distance : 250 km Time : 3:30 h

The major entertainment on the road from Napier to Taupo is the scenery. There's a bit of everything - rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas. About Halfway, at Tarawera, there are hot springs, right above the Waipunga River. Lake Taupo is situated in a huge crater, created by an eruption so big the sun went hazy in China. It is the largest fresh water lake in Australasia - about the same size as Singapore - with water so clean a few zillion trout call it home. Water activities take place in the lake all year round, including water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing, fishing, cruising, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and landing in it by float-plane! There are 47 rivers and streams feeding into Lake Taupo, and just one outlet - the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river. Taupo township is located right on the edge of the lake. Located in Wairakei Tourist Park, just north of Taupo, the Huka Falls is New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. More than 220,000 litres of water tumbles over the cliff face per second. Large tracts of plantation pine forest and unusual, volcanic geography can be seen on the road to Rotorua. There are side roads to geothermal parks with geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud.

Lodge on the shores of Lake Rotorua

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
The unique lake-front lodge nestles in a peaceful garden setting near the tip of Kawaha Point, a leafy peninsula on the western shore of Lake Rotorua. While it is just a five-minute drive from the city centre, guests are secluded from traffic noise and sulphur fumes. A variety of accommodation is offered. Guests can swim from the private beach, then relax in the lakeside open-air spa and the Finnish sauna or enjoy a massage on site. The private jetty is an ideal starting point for floatplane and boating excursions. Complimentary green fees make a round of golf popular at the nearby 18-hole golf course. The breakfast buffet offers European breads, sliced meats, seasonal fresh fruit, cooked offering and more.

Details: Rotorua
Rotorua is one of the original tourist destinations in New Zealand - it has been welcoming visitors for more than 200 years. From the moment people arrive in Rotorua, they know they're somewhere quite different - there is a scent of sulphur in the air. At nearby geothermal hotspots, there are spouting geysers, boiling mud pools and warm geothermal springs. Silica terraces are naturally decorated with a kaleidoscope of colours. Rotorua is the heartland of New Zealand Maori culture, and visitors have the opportunity to experience the warm spirit of Te Maori, by visiting a Marae (meeting ground) and catching a Maori cultural performance, where stories are relayed through beautiful song and dance. Here one can also indulge in a traditional Hangi feast, where food is cooked below the ground in earthen ovens. The Rotorua region is also one of New Zealand's prime trout fishing spots, as many of the volcanic crater lakes are home to a plentiful stock of trophy-sized rainbow trout. Local professional fishing guides can be hired. Rotorua is also an ideal base to explore the scenic highlights of the neighbouring regions: The Waitomo Caves, White Island, the Bay of Plenty and Lake Taupo are only an hour away.
Map: 21th day: Rotorua

23th day: Waipoua Forest

Boutique Lodge on the Edge of the Kauri Forest
Boutique Lodge on the Edge of the Kauri Forest
Tane Mahuta: God of the Forest
Tane Mahuta: God of the Forest
to the Kauri Coast
Distance: 4 50 km Time: 6 :30 h

The relatively long drive makes sense to avoid an(other) overnight stop in Auckland. Driving through the lush farmland of the Waikato, it's easy to see why these green pastures and rolling hills near Matamata were chosen to portray Hobbiton and The Shire in "Lord of the Rings". A detour makes it possible to either visit 'Hobbiton' on the way. Although much of the set was deconstructed post filming, hobbit fans can still visit Hobbiton, wander among the hobbit holes and listen to the fascinating commentary about how it was all created. North of Hamilton, the route whisks you over the Bombay Hills, then along the motorway straight through Auckland heading north. Further north the Twin Coast Discovery Highway is a more scenic drive. Near Dargaville, a visit to the Kauri Museum is highly recommended.

Boutique lodge on the edge of the Kauri Forest

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
This lodge is nestled on a ridge overlooking the mighty Waipoua Forest, home to New Zealandbiggest and most majestic kauri trees. MahutaNew Zealandlargest kauri tree, is just 16kms from the lodge. The kauri villa has accommodated guests since 1890 and in winter 2003 was carefully restored, retaining ithistory and character. Guests can relax in the lounge by the fire, in the sunroom library, or choose a soothing wine from the bar to enjoy on the deck overlooking the 3 acres of gardens. Dinner is served at a time of the guestschoice. Four private self contained apartments are housed within the orginial farm buildings, which were also completely rebuilt in 2003. Tile bathrooms, private lounges, ensuites, king beds, robes, cds, and quality linen are there to enjoy and warm the soul. The landscaped gardens, filled with birdsong, lead to a native bush walk at the bottom of the garden.

Umfulana-Tip: A guided night walk - Encounter- through the Waipoua Forest. Friendly experienced and local Maori guides from Footprints Waipoua willingly share their knowledge, stories, song and musical instruments to enlighten and enhance this tranquil and spiritual location. Depending on the season, the tour starts around 6pm finishes at 9pm. This tour can be pre-booked by Umfulana or later on by the lodge.

Details: Waipoua Forest
The Maori tribe Te Roroa are the people of the land, who lived in the Waipoua Forest for hundreds of years. In the 19th Century, the European first set foot amongst the giant kauris, and the forests were soon exploited for their durable timber. Young kauri were felled in their thousands to provide ship masts and spars. Today, Waipoua and the neighbouring forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest left in northern New Zealand. The remnants are now under the protection of the Department of Conservation.There is no milling of mature kauri trees nowadays, except under extraordinary circumstances such as for the carving of a Maori canoe. The road through the forest passes by some splendid huge kauris and the Park Visitor Centre has plenty of information and excellent exhibits on kauri trees, native birds and wildlife. The largest kauri tree in New Zealand is Tane Mahuta, "God of the Forest". It stands close to the road, is about 52 metres high and estimated to be 1,200 years old. A very special experience is a personalised night walk with a local Maori guide, which can be arranged by Umfulana.
Map: 23th day: Waipoua Forest

24th day: Bay of Islands

Breakfast with commanding views of the Bay of Islands
Breakfast with commanding views of the Bay of Islands
Perfect sailing area: the Bay of Islands
Perfect sailing area: the Bay of Islands
via Hokianga Harbour into the Bay of Islands
Distance: 120 km        Time: 2:30 h

Lodge on Flagstaff Hill

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Set high on a hill above the historic township of Russell in five hectares of native bush, this small lodge is not only a haven for bird life - including a recently released kiwi that can sometimes be heard calling at night - but also a haven for travellers. From the large wooden deck guests have commanding views of the town and of the labyrinths of sea winding between the peninsulas and islands of the bay. The guests rooms are bright, modern, spacious and elegantly appointed. Host Colwyn is a former local policeman and a former New Zealand softball player who speaks fluent Maori. The lodge is also a great honeymoon destination and, because Colywn is a marriage celebrant. Small wedding are sometimes held at the lodge and can be arranged by Umfulana.

Details: Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands are a part of the Northland region, stretching towards the warm waters of Polynesia, the ancestral home of New Zealand's first inhabitants. The relaxed, sunny lifestyle of the region springs from its subtropical climate and the myriad of beautiful islands, bays and beaches. It is believed that the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in this region during the 11th century, but it wasn't until after the landing of the British sea voyager Captain Cook in 1769 that missionaries, whalers and traders arrived. The Treaty of Waitangi, the document that founded bicultural New Zealand, was signed at the Treaty House in Waitangi in 1840. The house stands proudly amidst a vast, peaceful park. Also of interest on the site is a fully carved Maori Meeting House, one of the largest remaining Maori war canoes and a superb Visitor Centre and Gallery - it's a 'must see' for any visitor interested in New Zealand's history and culture. From romantic Russell or Paihia visitors can catch a ferry, paddle a sea kayak, swim with dolphins or charter a sailing boat to immerse themselves in the blue-green world of island and beach. The township of Kawakawa has a public toilet that simply begs to be seen. The very last building to be designed by Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser, it's a masterpiece of glass tiles and imagination.
Map: 24th day: Bay of Islands

26th day: Auckland

Waterfront Location: Villa in Devonport
Waterfront Location: Villa in Devonport
Auckland: City of Sails
Auckland: City of Sails
via Whangarei to Auckland
Distance: 240 km Time: 4:00 h

On the way south, a detour can be taken to explore the beautiful Tutukaka Coast north east of Whangarei. The Whangarei Falls are also worth a visit. At the Quayside Town Basin complex a few stylish cafes and restaurants, as well as museums, art galleries and shops are worth a visit. Another detour is the loop past Waipu Cove, Langs Beach and Mangawhai Heads  spectacular surf beaches all the way. Those who like Dutch cheese, should pause in the township of Kaiwaka. Further south a drive through the Dome Forest leads into Warkworth, a pretty town on the banks of the Mahurangi River. From here Downtown Auckland is only another hour away.

Edwardian villa in historic Devonport

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Superbly located in heart of Devonporthistoric waterfront stands this charming Edwardian villa, which has been beautifully renovated. Four spacious guest rooms - all situated downstairs - open onto a tranquil private green garden or have a seafront balcony. The hosts, John and Jonathan, who also run a restaurant, live upstairs. The villa is located just 2 minutes walk from the ferry terminal, a safe swimming beach and only minutes away from Devonport seaside village with its variety of cafes, restaurants and bars, second hand book shops, panoramic lookouts and naval museum. The commuter ferry operates regularly and is the quickest and most scenic way to reach Aucklandcity centre.

Details: Auckland
Auckland, with a population of about 1.5 million people, is by far the largest city of New Zealand. Approximately one in three New Zealanders, lives on the narrow land bridge flanked by two magnificent harbours - the Waitemata to the east and the Manukau to the west - both dotted with many small islands. Auckland's location by the sea, a warm humid climate, the city's cosmopolitan flair, the background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a modern city environment, have inspired a lifestyle that is regularly ranked in the world's top ten. Within the city zone, locals as well as visitors, can shop around downtown, dine at one of the fine waterfront restaurants, visit the Auckland Museum, enjoy views from the Sky Tower, sail to an island, trek through the rainforest, picnic on a volcano, sample wines at a vineyard, or wander a wild, black sand, surf beach, on Auckland's rugged west coast.
Map: 26th day: Auckland

28th day: Auckland

Departure from Auckland Airport
Flight - by own arrangement

Rental car drop off
Drop off location: Auckland Airport

Additional Services

Climate Compensation
For more information on the Trees for Travellers project, please refer to our website:

Rental car

Rental car company: AVIS New Zealand
Group C - Compact Auto
Typ: Toyota Corolla Sedan, Holden Astra /Viva (1.8), Mitsubishi Lancer (2.4),Toyota Corolla Hatch (1.08), Ford Focus (2.0). (Gruppe C)
Equipment: Radio/CD-Player, Air Conditioning, Power Steering, Dual Airbags, Automatic

Max. Excess for this car: NZD 0.00 (max cover)
Services The price is per person based on two persons sharing a double room and includes accommodations (meals included as stated above) and rental car (if stated above).

USD 6,439.001
(EUR 5,193.00)1

The tour can begin on any date desired.
Best Travel Time:
January – May, September – December

Upon booking this tour you will receive:
» the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each accommodation
» vouchers
» detailed directions to each accommodation

Please call us if you would like to request a customized itinerary, book a tour or just ask quesitons about our range of services.

Your Consultant

Booking Process
  • 1Your Tour Specifications
    Request a tailor-made tour proposal. Indicate your interests, desired destinations, travel period and budget.
  • 2Consulting + Proposal
    Our experienced staff will provide professional consulting and prepare a colourful proposal based on your specifications.
  • 3Booking
    To book a tour, simply fill out and submit our form. We will make all tour arrangements for you.
  • 4Payment + Travel Documents
    After completion of the booking process, you will receive a confirmed itinerary. The complete travel documents will be forwarded to you on receipt of the remaining balance following payment of the deposit.
  • 5Tour
    We wish you a relaxing and memorable trip. Enjoy your holiday!
  • 6Your Feedback
    We appreciate any feedback you wish to provide after completion of your tour. This helps us continually improve our products and services.
1Price per person based on two people sharing a double room, flights not included. Prices may vary by season and due to differences in available services.

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