Few countries are so varied in nature and experiences. In just a few weeks you have time to experience everything from sandy beaches and clear water to steaming hot springs and Maori culture to friendly vineyards, dolphins, glaciers and cool small towns with restaurants, cafes and a great atmosphere. Learn more about New Zealand on localbusinessexplorer.
Our big tailor-made tour of New Zealand gives you the best of the best. You start with Auckland – City of Sails. After a short stop there you go on to the beautiful peninsula Coromandel with idyllic landscapes, beaches where you can dig your own “hot pool” and then on for a visit to Hobbiton where parts of The Lord of the Rings were recorded.
The next highlight is Rotorua, where steaming hot springs and geysers are one of the cityscapes, here you must not miss a full spring with Maori culture, hangi dinner and rhythmic chin dancing. The next stop is Taupo with the beautiful lake, lots of activities, hiking and waterfalls. You make a stop in the Art Deco city of Napier with its unique architecture and some of the country’s best wineries around the corner.
Before leaving the North Island, have a night in the capital Wellington. The journey over to the South Island is like a cruise in itself – 3 hours among fjords and mountains before arriving at Pictorn and moving on to the summer city of Napier and the beautiful national park Abel Tasman.
the rest of the South Island is as lovely as the North Island with vineyards, dolphin watching, French cafes in Akaroa and mighty glaciers. It then ends in New Zealand’s coziest city Queenstown – cruise among fjords, outdoor life and adventure – can it get any better?
Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia
Departure with scheduled flights – we always book scheduled flights with all its benefits – more legroom, meals and drinks, the opportunity to get bonus points. For those who have a special diet, you can order special food on board the flight free of charge.
Day 2: Travel, travel, travel …
With a big time difference and a long journey, that day will be spent traveling. Depending on which airline you choose, there are one or more changes on the way. If you want a slightly calmer trip, you can choose to stay for a night or two in e.g. Bangkok, Hong Kong or Singapore.
Day 3: Arrival in Auckland
You will meet on arrival and get all the materials needed for the trip such as vouchers etc. You will be transported to your hotel in central Auckland where you can now rest after the long journey or maybe go on a first small trip in town. Why not go to Viaduct Harbor and have dinner down by the water!
Day 4: Auckland – Coromandel
You now pick up your rental car and drive. You then drive in peace and quiet east to the Coromandel Peninsula and live in the small town of Whitianga. As always in New Zealand, the road is an experience and not just the goal. Enjoy the beautiful nature, small cute towns and the New Zealand hospitality! ( F )
Day 5: Coromandel
A full day to explore this beautiful peninsula. Since you have a car, it is easy to make a “full circle” and see most of what can be seen here. Beautiful walks, the small railway in the town of Coromandel itself, crafts and beaches. Do not miss a dip in the hot springs of Hot Water Beach. You also have a delicious 2-hour boat trip in a glass bottom boat included along with an English-speaking guide along the coast and a visit to Cathedral Cove. ( F )
Day 6: Coromandel – Waitomo – Farm Stay
Today the adventure continues and you drive south – past the Bombay Hills, through the Waikato Valley. You take a guided tour of the Waitomo Caves to see the peculiar worms. You then continue to a farm where you live tonight. You now have the opportunity to experience daily life on a typical New Zealand farm and dinner is served with the family. ( F , M )
Day 7: Waikato – Hobbiton – Rotorua
After saying goodbye to your host family, you continue and first go to Hobbiton where parts of The Lord of the Rings were recorded. You will hear the fantastic story of how Peter Jackson found the filming location but that the owners did not have time to show him around as it was an important rugby match on TV. An entire village has been built with the Hobbits’ house in different sizes, here is the large meadow by the tree where Bilbo’s birthday was celebrated and after an absolutely fabulous tour, the tour ends with a beer at The Green Shire. You continue through Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua which is the center of New Zealand’s thermal region with hot springs and geysers. In the evening you will enjoy a traditional Hangi dinner and a cultural show with Maori dancing and of course the famous chin dance. ( F , M )
Day 8: Rotorua
Today you take a guided tour with your own car and first visit the cultural center Te Puia where you get a good insight into the Maori culture and then continue on to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see spectacular geysers, hot springs and bubbling clay ponds. ( F )
Day 9: Rotorua – Taupo
Just south of Rotorua is a dream landscape of thermal activities – Wai-O-Rapu with the famous Champagne Pool, Artist’s Palette and the Silica Terrace. Take plenty of time to enjoy this and then continue via New Zealand’s largest pine forest to Taupo, a popular holiday destination for New Zealanders and trout fishermen from around the world. On the way, you may take a dip in the hot springs at Kerosene Creek, before reaching the Taupo itself where you can enjoy one of the North Island’s most popular places for outdoor life and relaxation. ( F )
Day 10: Taupo – Napier
On the way further towards Napier take the opportunity to stop to see the mighty Huka Falls and maybe do a little hike. Then continue further east through the country’s most fertile area; Hawkes Bay to today’s final destination – Art Deco Napier. Stroll along the long promenade and dine at one of the pleasant restaurants. ( F )
Day 11: Napier
Napier itself was completely destroyed in 1931 by an earthquake, it was decided to build the city quickly and completely in Art Deco, which made it an incredible experience for architectural nerds. This morning you take a walk in the beautiful and well-preserved Art Deco district and get a nice lesson in the different variants of Art Deco that are found among houses and buildings here. In the afternoon you will join a trip out to the Hawkes Bay wine area where some of the country’s finest wines are grown. The district’s Sauvignon Blanc often produces relatively full-bodied wines and some producers allow them to mature for a shorter time in oak barrels. The Syrah grape has proven to be suitable in the climate and on the gravelly soil and produces typically spicy, peppery wines such as Trinity Hill and Te Mata. During the tour you visit four different vineyards and at the end you enjoy a wonderful cheese platter on one of the farms. (F )
Day 12: Napier – Wellington
You are now leaving Napier and heading south to Wellington – the capital of New Zealand. Since you have a car, take the opportunity to take a panoramic tour of the city and see the city’s highlights such as the famous buildings Beehive and Parliament, the lovely Lady Norwood Rose Gardens, Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Do not miss a visit to Te Papa – New Zealand’s National Museum which displays the country’s finest treasures and stories. ( F )
Day 13: Wellington – Nelson
You now hand in the car to the car rental company at the ferry terminal and continue with a cruise in Wellington Harbor, across Cooksundet on the Interislander Ferry through the pitiful Marlborough Sound to Picton on the south island. Here you pick up your new rental car and then continue to Pelorous Bridge. Here you can make a walk along the river to enjoy the beautiful nature with pine forest and softly rounded boulders. You then continue to Nelson – New Zealand’s first real city and largest fishing port – and also the country’s sunniest place with a wonderful mix of beaches, nature and art lovers. ( F )
Day 14: Nelson – Abel Tasman – Nelson
Today you make a day trip to the picturesque Abel Tasman National Park. You leave Kaiteriteri by boat and cruise along the scenic beaches with golden beaches and the turquoise waters of Bark Bay. From here you do a guided hike to Anchorage Bay past Torrent Bay and Cleopatra’s Pool (the hike takes about 3-4 hours) – here you step on board again and cruise back to Kaiteriteri. A picnic lunch is included in the excursion and in the afternoon you drive back in peace and quiet to Nelson. ( F , L )
Day 15: Nelson – Kaikoura
Today you continue through Blenheim – a city known for both sunshine and grape growing. Sauvignon Blanc is the wine that characterizes this region and that has made New Zealand known in the wine context since the 1980s. There are also excellent Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürtstraminer, Pinot Gris and some really nice sparkling wines. Along the way there are many wineries to visit and most also serve lunch and wine tastings. The journey continues to Kaikoura, an area where the Maori people have lived for a long time thanks to the availability of seafood. ( F )
Day 16: Kaikoura – Akaroa
Before leaving Kaikoura, make an excursion to look for whales. The boat is specially built for this purpose and the waters out here are rich in nutrients and thus a favorite place for marine life such as sperm whales, seals, dolphins and birds including the majestic albatross. The boat trip takes just over 3.5 hours and you then go south along the coast over the Hundalee Hills to the Canterbury Plains. Here in the Waipara region there are also many wineries to visit. The journey continues, now to Akoroa outside Christchurch. ( F )
Day 17: Akaroa
Akoroa is often called New Zealand’s little Paris with its picturesque, French-inspired architecture. The best way to explore Akaroa is on foot. Start with the visitor center at the corner of Rue Lavaud and Rue Balguerie. Here are maps, brochures and tips on lots of activities. Maybe stop by for a stop at Barrys Bay Cheese with local delicacies. There are also pleasant walks among the historic buildings with lots of opportunities to stop at cafes and restaurants – it is not New Zealand’s most French city for nothing! ( F )
Day 18: Akaroa – Christchurch
Breakfast in peace and quiet – maybe a visit to Akaroa’s nice little museum before you go on to New Zealand’s second largest city Christchurch where you stay one night before the adventure continues among glaciers and rainforest. You return the car at the airport and go on your own to your hotel in central Christchurch. ( F )
Day 19: Christchurch – Tranz Alpine – Fox Josef
After breakfast you take a bus to the train station from where you take the popular Tranz Alpine train inland across the Canterbury Plains to Arthur’s Pass and through the mighty Southern Alps to Greymouth. Once there, you pick up a new rental car and continue the journey south through forest and the impressive landscape with snow-capped mountains in the background and then arrive at the village of Fox. A place known for the huge rivers of snow and ice that flow from the Franz Josef Glacier and the Fox Glacier – an unusual phenomenon for areas with this type of climate. ( F )
Day 20: Glaciers – Franz Josef & Fox
Take the opportunity to visit both Franz Josef and Fox – the area’s two glaciers and two completely different experiences. You can do hikes in the dried up river beds up to the glaciers themselves, if you want higher up you book a guided tour with equipment and guide. Outside Fox is also Lake Matheson, the weather is favorable making the hike out to the lake and enjoying Mt Cook which is reflected in the shiny lake. Inside both Fox and Franz Josef there are plenty of restaurants and cafes and there is also a small beautiful church to visit outside Fox. ( F )
Day 21: Fox – Wanaka
You continue through rainforest past lakes and rivers – at Haast you turn inland and pass Haast Pass through the Southern Alps Mountain range again, slowly down towards the glacial lakes Wanaka and Hawea. You stop in the charming village of Wanaka for the night – here there are plenty of hiking opportunities around the lake or you just soak up the incredible environment where the glacier peaks are reflected in the clear water. ( F )
Day 22: Wanaka – Queenstown
You continue through Otago’s cultivated landscape around Lake Dunstan to Cromwell; known as a hub for orchards and vineyards. The last stage of the day goes through the rugged Kawaru Gorde landscape to Queenstown, beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with its crystal clear waters and the Alps in the background. ( F )
Day 23: Queenstown
The day is completely free to explore this beautiful city on your own. You can take a cruise on the steamboat TSS Earnshaw, built in 1912 – you can go to Glenorchy just outside the city and do a river safari on the Dart River or maybe do a day hike on the famous Routeburn Track. In the evening, we recommend a visit to the Skyline Restaurant with panoramic views of the city and the mountains in the background. ( F )
Day 24: Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound
Today you do a full day trip by bus. You drive around Lake Wakatipu to Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. This area is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the form of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area and one of the most stunning natural areas in the southern hemisphere. The surroundings are spectacular with the mountains and the deep valleys created by the ice age glaciers. Waterfalls and flowing rivers in the green rainforest. You cross Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea past Miter Peak. If you are lucky, you will see both dolphins, seals and penguins. A picnic lunch is served on board and on the way back you take a tour through the Cleddau Gorge, the Homer Tunnel and the beautiful Eglinton Valley. Anyone who wants to make the trip to Doubtful sound instead, a little longer transports but more untouched and magnificent. ( F , L)
Day 25: Return trip
You drive to the airport in Queenstown and return your rental car and start the trip back to Scandinavia – if you want to stop for a little sun & swim or rest on the road or continue the trip to Rarotonga, it is easy to book! ( F )
Day 26: Homecoming
You land at home in Scandinavia again after a long journey.
Twenty-two nights in hotels, farms, B & Bs