New Zealand
16 Days/15 Nights
Travel Type
Self Drive

Self-drive in New Zealand exploring the North and South Islands

Go on an adventure on the roads of New Zealand. This self-drive tour will allow you to discover the North and South Islands in complete freedom. The itinerary has been carefully planned so that you don’t miss any of the country’s highlights, while not having to worry about your accommodation being booked for you. For a planned but self-paced trip, this is the perfect combination!


15-night accommodation at 3* hotels in double occupancy
2 meals: 2 dinners
Car rental for a duration of 16 days with Budget Rent A Car – CCAR Compact, Toyota Corolla or similar
One way Interisland ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton for car and passengers
A Te Pō Hangi and concert in Te Puia
Cruise to Abel Tasman National Park
Admission to West Coast Wildlife Centre with Kiwi Backstage Pass
Queenstown Half Day Tour
TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Farm and gourmet BBQ dinner
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Wildlife Cruise in Dunedin


International and domestic flights – Electronic Travel Authority for New Zealand: An NZeTA request costs NZD $17 on our free mobile app, or NZD $23 if completed online – One way fee for the car rental to be paid on site (around $CA 150) – Optional excursions – Beverages – Items of a personal nature – Gratuities to hotel personnel, guides and drivers.



Kia Ora and welcome to New Zealand. After clearing customs and collecting your luggage, proceed to the Budget rental car desk to complete your car rental paperwork before travelling to downtown Auckland.

Accommodation : Auckland for 1 night


DAY 2 AUCKLAND – COROMANDEL (Approximately 180kms)

Depart Auckland and travel along the Pacific Coast Highway to the Coromandel region. The Coromandel Peninsula is one of New Zealand’s favourite summertime spots with endless beaches, coves and bush walkways.
COROMANDEL PENINSULA - the Peninsula juts out from the South Auckland coastline to separate the Hauraki Gulf from the Bay of Plenty. Deep in the bush lie abandoned mining machinery, old kauri water dams, and timber milling equipment. The Peninsula is full of contrasts - the sea lapping on quiet golden beaches, or crashing onto jagged rocks at the bottom of a steep cliff. Farmland is fertile in some places, and in other areas has reverted to manuka and gorse.

Accommodation : Pauanui for 1 night


DAY 3 COROMANDEL – ROTORUA (Approximately 250kms)

Before departing this morning for Rotorua, you may wish to enjoy a refreshing dip or visit one of the many picturesque spots the Coromandel has to offer.
ROTORUA - located on a volcanic plateau, and formerly a spa town, Rotorua is most famous for its geothermal activity. Rotorua is the main place in New Zealand where aspects of Maori traditions can be seen, from wood carvings, and meeting houses, to a Hangi dinner and Maori dances. Native introduced tree species abound locally and combined with several picturesque lakes, Rotorua is a fascinating mix of culture and nature.

Accommodation : Rotorua for 2 nights



Today is at leisure in the Geothermal Wonderland of Rotorua. Some activities in the area can include Kuirau Park, Rotorua’s lakes, The Redwoods, Government Gardens and St Faith’s Church. Also home to many adventure activities, you may wish to try rafting the Kaituna River. For the Lord of the Rings fan, visit the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, approximately 1 hour drive from Rotorua.
INCLUDED: Te Po Indigenous Evening Experience
The legacy of welcoming manuhiri/visitors began almost 200 years ago when the the people of Te Whakarewarewa were hosting the country’s first manuhiri to our geothermal wonderland. This legacy continues today as you are welcomed by the descendants of those original hosts. Te Puia’s world-famous hāngī buffet dinner is served in Pātaka Kai Restaurant, Bar and Cafe. The cultural performance will take place in our beautifully carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua. It will include a pōhiri (traditional welcome), waiata (song), mōteatea (traditional chant) poi and haka. The evening culminates with hot chocolate and steamed pudding surrounded by steam and the geyser terrace bathed in coloured light. Followed by your return to your hotel.

Meals : Dinner


DAY 5 ROTORUA – NAPIER (Approximately 230kms)

Depart Rotorua and travel South to Napier located in the Hawke’s Bay. En route stretch your legs at the lakeside township of Taupo before continuing to Napier. Napier is the Art-Deco capital of New Zealand after the entire city was rebuilt in the 1930s due to a devastating earthquake. The streets are lined with captivating buildings.

Accommodation : Napier for 1 night


DAY 6 NAPIER – WELLINGTON (Approximately 325kms)

Depart Napier and travel to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city located on the Southern tip of the North Island. Wellington is also New Zealand’s capital city for arts and culture. Wellington is an urban paradise surrounded by a glistening harbour on one side and rolling green hills on the other.

Accommodation : Wellington for 1 night


DAY 7 WELLINGTON – NELSON (3 hours ferry)

This morning, drive to the Interislander ferry terminal to board the Interislander ferry and watch the city sky line of Wellington disappear into the distance as you enter the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. On arrival to Picton, travel to Nelson.
NELSON - with its gardens and gorgeous sunsets, looks across Tasman Bay. Streets and parks are named after Admiral Nelson and his exploits, as well as the names of the ships that brought the first pioneers over from England. Forestry, fruit and fishing are the main focus of Nelson’s port, while to the west, apple orchards, tobacco and hop plantations occupy the land.

Accommodation : Nelson for 2 nights



INCLUDED: Full Scenic Cruise
Today, drive to picturesque Kaiteriteri Beach to bord a scenic cruise into the majestic Abel Tasman National Park as far north as Totaranui. View world-famous Split Apple Rock, fur seals and much more before you return to Kaiteriteri. A great cruise for all ages. Return to Kaiteriteri and drive back to your hotel.


DAY 9 NELSON – GREYMOUTH (Approximately 305kms)

Depart Nelson and travel south along the South Islands rugged West coastline. Experience the historic coal-mining settlement of Westport before arriving in Punakaiki, which is also located on the coast, home to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Make a stop to visit The Pancake Rocks that famous limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago. The seabed was raised above sea level by earthquakes to form the coastal cliffs and coastline. The sea, wind and rain have since etched out the soft layers to form the unusual rock formations we see today. When conditions are right, large ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge waterspouts blast skywards through the blowholes creating a spectacular sight. Continue to Greymouth, where you will stay for the night.

Accommodation : Greymouth for 1 night


DAY 10 GREYMOUTH – FRANZ JOSEF (Approximately 175kms)

Today depart Greymouth and travel south on State Highway 6 to Franz Josef.
INCLUDED: Admission to West Coast Wildlife Centre with exclusive Kiwi Backstage Pass Tour
Make your own way to the West Coast Wildlife Centre, located at the corner of Cowan and Cron Streets, Franz Josef Village to commence a Combo Pass (including Kiwi Backstage Pass). The West Coast Wildlife Centre is one of the largest Kiwi Captive Rearing facilities in New Zealand and is helping to save the critically endangered Rowi and Haast Tokoeka Kiwi from extinction. A Kiwi Ranger will guide you through the incubation and rearing facility. Chicks will be available to view on the Backstage Pass from October to March (subject to change and breeding season). Outside of the natural kiwi breeding season, Backstage Pass tours will include guided live kiwi spotting in the Nocturnal House.

Accommodation : Franz Josef for 1 night


DAY 11 FRANZ JOSEF – QUEENSTOWN (Approximately 355kms)

Today depart Franz Josef and travel down the rugged West Coast via Fox Glacier and Haast to Queenstown. We recommend a stop at the beautiful town of Lake Wanaka along the way.
INCLUDED: Queenstown Half Day Tour
Hop on Hop off Wine Tours are in the premier wine regions of Marlborough and Queenstown. The product operates a little differently where passengers can determine the day using the published timetable; passengers can hop on and hop off at wineries, breweries and attractions as they choose. If they like a place, there’s no pressure on them to get on the next bus; miss one bus there’ll be another. Along the way, Hop on Hop off Tours has negotiated special deals where passengers can make savings on food, tastings and bottle purchases.
Plan your day for the Queenstown wine and beer tour so you can take your time and you won’t feel rushed. Follow the simple bus timetable to get the most out of yourself guided tour. Tasting available at various venues (own expense).
Shotover Jet, Canyon Food and Brew Co, Strike Bowl, Cargo Brewery at Gantley’s, Arrowtown, Gibbston Valley Cheese, The Winery - Arrowtown, Akarua Wines and Kitchen By Artisan, Amisfield Bistro and Cellar Door, Nockie’s Pallet and Stoneridge Cellar Door, Wet Jacket Wines, AJ Hacket Bungy, Gibbston Valley Winery, Cargo Brewery and Bald Hills Cellar Door, Brennan Wines, Mt Rosa Wines, Kinross Cellar Door and Bistro, Gibbston Tavern, Altitude Brewing (Marina Heights Bus Stop), The Winery - Queenstown.

Accommodation : Queenstown for 2 nights



Today is at your leisure in Queenstown - the place to complete your adventure ’to do’ list: Skydiving, bungee jumping, jet boating, canyon swinging, white-water rafting, parapenting, heli-skiing. Home to the world’s first commercial jet boating, bungee jump and river surfing, there’s something in the air. Queenstown’s reputation as the world’s favourite adrenaline destination is well deserved. From the mild to the wild you’ll find your adventure threshold here. The expansive natural physical environment offers superb air, water and land based activities. Go walking, sailing, hiking, climbing, fishing, cycling, golfing, off-roading, skiing or mountain biking.
INCLUDED: TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Farm and gourmet BBQ dinner
Report to the Steamer Wharf 20 minutes prior to your departure.
For a dining experience like no other, cruise across Lake Whakatipu on the iconic TSS Earnslaw and discover Queenstown’s incomparable fine dining destination. Cruise aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw across to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Once at the lakeside Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant savour the delicious aromas as our chef has the best of local produce sizzling away on the grill. Overlooking Lake Whakatipu and Queenstown’s alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. An entertaining farm demonstration is also included or you can explore the beautiful lakeside gardens. After dinner, cruise back to Queenstown.

Meals : Dinner


DAY 13 QUEENSTOWN – TE ANAU (Approximately 185kms)

Once you arrive in Te Anau, check into your hotel.
INCLUDED: Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Cruise across beautiful Lake Te Anau, to the Cavern House. On arrival, learn about the caves and view fascinating displays. Your guides will then take you in small groups by path and small boats underground into the caves. Highlights include incredible limestone caverns, whirlpools, waterfalls and the magical glow-worm grotto. Return to Te Anau. There will be a guided walk (approx 30-40 minutes) in the forest area and lake surrounding the caves offered to guests as an option. The track will also be lit in the evenings.

Accommodation : Te Anau for 1 night


DAY 14 TE ANAU – DUNEDIN (Approximately 292kms)

Depart Te Anau and enjoy the scenic drive to Dunedin. Being the Scottish capital of New Zealand and the home of Otago University, Dunedin is a city rich with culture and heritage.
INCLUDED: Wildlife Cruise
All aboard a special one-hour experience departing Wellers Rock Wharf. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as our sturdy boat explores the stunningly beautiful and rugged coastline near the entrance of the Otago Harbour. The crew will give you a full commentary during your cruise about our local wildlife, history and geology. The trip will travel past the beautiful Aramoana Beach and it’s tidal sandflats. You can often spot sea lions here, sprawled out, basking in the sun. These impressive animals can weigh almost half a tone. After nearly being wiped out by early settlers they have recently started returning to the sandy beaches around the southern coastline of New Zealand. The sea lion population is now growing steadily. Across the other side of the harbor channel, you’ll see remnants of the area’s military history. Several lookout posts and gun emplacements were built into the rocky hill, connected by tunnels. They are now a popular spot for local fisherman. You’ll see uninterrupted views of the world’s only mainland colony of royal albatross. Get close to the albatrosses as they soar and glide on their huge three-meter wingspans. Watch as they fly in low from the ocean, then use updrafts from the hillside to get up high and land at their nest. Enjoy postcard views of the lighthouse, perched high above the volcanic cliffs of Taiaroa Head. This historic lighthouse was the first one built on the South Island of NZ, back in 1864.Your expert skipper will get you up-close to rocky outcrops that stretch out to the ocean. This is where we find a large New Zealand fur seal colony. Watch them sleep, fight and play on the rocks and swim in the water around this breeding rookery. Then cruise a short way out into the Pacific Ocean. Here you can spot rarely seen ocean birds including other smaller albatross species, cormorants and petrels. You also sometimes see blue penguins, dusky and hectors dolphins and other marine mammals.

Accommodation : Dunedin for 1 night


DAY 15 DUNEDIN – CHRISTCHURCH (Approximately 365kms)

Depart Dunedin and travel north to Christchurch.
The Garden City, lies on the level plains that initially attracted the closely knit Church of England settlers that settled the area. The largest of the South Island cities, Christchurch retains something of the English nature of its origins - the willow and oak-lined River Avon and clustered mediaeval stone buildings.

Accommodation : Christchurch for 1 night



Return your rental car to Christchurch Airport before checking in for your departure flight to Vancouver. Arrive on the same day as you cross the International dateline back.



Auckland City Hotel 3*


Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge 3*


Rydges Rotorua 4*


Bella Vista Napier 3*


Bella Vista Motel Wellington 3*


Bella Vista Nelson 4*


Bella Vista Greymouth 3*

Franz Josef

Aspen Court Franz Josef 3*


Heartland 3*

Te Anau

Kingsgate 3*


Kingsgate 3*


Ibis Christchurch 3*

Rates in CA$, per person, starting from, in double occupancy 

Land only
Daily departures
April 1 – September 30, 2024 3449
October 1, 2024 – January 31, 2025 4049
February 1 – March 31, 2025 4029
Note: Seasonal surcharges may apply  
Single Supplement On request

**Prices in this document are for information only; they were issued at press time, for the current year. Please note that due to exchange rates and temporary promotions, they can increase or decrease at any time. Contact your travel agent for the price and promotion of the moment. Prices include the contribution of customers to the Compensation Fund for clients of Quebec travel agents.

Self-drive exploring the North and South Islands – Detailed Itinerary
Self-drive exploring the North and South Islands – Detailed Itinerary