Christchurch - Auckland in 21 days (4000km)

Day 1 - Christchurch

Drive to Akaroa, the French settlement of Christchurch, and enjoy the quaint arts and crafts shops, the Herb Garden, the museum or partake in a harbour cruise; truly experience the Garden City at the Christchurch Botanical Gardens; visit the Antarctic Centre; travel up the Port Hills in the Gondola; or see how New Zealand was at the Canterbury Muesum.

 

Day 2 - Christchurch to Mount Cook

332km / 4hrs 45min

Across the Canterbury Plains to Burkes Pass and Geraldine, and the alongside Lake Tekapo. You may like to stop off at the tiny stone Church of the Good Shepherd on the shore of Lake Tekapo.

Overnight: Glentanner Park - Mt Cook

 

Day 3 - Mount Cook to Dunedin

331km / 4hrs 35min

A flight seeing tour of Mount Cook is recommended to fully appreciate the grandeur of the Mount Cook National Park and surroundings. Past Lake Pukaki and Twizel, and head south along the coastline. Stop off the Moeraki Boulders for a look at these most interesting rock formations. Founded by Scottish Migrants in 1848, Dunedin is the Edinburgh of the South.

Overnight: Aaron Lodge Holiday Park - Dunedin

 

Day 4 - In and Around Dunedin

View the magnificent Royal Albatross Colony, or the Yellow-eyed Penguins - a unique experience. Visit Larnach Castle and enjoy a meal in true Scottish style!

 

Day 5 - Dunedin to Te Anau

301km / 4hrs 15min

Cross the farmlands of South Otago, passing through Balclutha and Gore. The countryside becomes drier as you reach Lumsden, Mossburn and the glimpse of Fiordland.

Overnight: Mountain View Holiday Park - Te Anau

 

Day 6 - Te Anau through Milford to Queenstown

121/291 km / 6hrs

Te Anau is the gateway to the Fiordland National Park, which has been acknowledged as a World Heritage Park with some of the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand. Take a cruise through Milford Sound to experience the local sea life and see the magnificent sheer cliffs.

Overnight: Arthurs Point Holiday Park - Queenstown

 

Day 7 - Queenstown to Wanaka

71km / 1hr 50min

There are dozens of activities here; the Skyline Gondola and Kiwi Magic show which will give you a bird's eye view of Queenstown; jetboating on the rivers; while water rafting; helicopter trip through the river chasm; world famous bungy jumping; cruise on the Lake on the vintage 'Earnslaw'; high country sheep stations; gold panning; spectacular walking track and horse treks… the list is endless. A very pretty drive along the Clutha River through Cromwell to Wanaka.

Overnight: Wanaka Pleasant Lodge - Wanaka

 

Day 8 - Wanaka to Fox or Franz Josef Glacier

404 km / 6 hrs

In Wanaka, relax by the lakeside, or take a cruise around the lake. Maybe try some of the many action activities that are available, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, tamping or skiing (in the winter). Travelling north will take you through the Haast Pass and Mt Aspiring National Park. A beautiful drive, take some time to view the scenery along the coastline and also at the various scenic rest areas in the National Park.

Overnight: Forest Park - Franz Josef

 

Day 9 - Fox or Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch

452/427km / 6hrs

The Glaciers at Fox and Franz Josef make a striking contrast against the thick forest in the surrounding ranges - take a helicopter flight or guided walk to fully experience the glacier's beauty. On the way up the coast, stop off at the White Heron colony, or Shantytown for a nostalgic return to the gold mining days of the West Coast. A spectacular journey from Greymouth through the rugged Otira Gorge and rainforest to Christchurch. Spend the night in Christchurch and visit the Casino - be careful of your pennies!

Overnight: Meadow Park Holiday Park - Christchurch

 

Day 10 - Christchurch to Hanmer Springs

135km / 2hr 15min

Driving up the coast you will find many small towns offering a variety of crafts and local interest. Stop off at one of the many beaches on the way out of Christchurch, and wander across the desolate sand dunes that rise up out of the sea.

Overnight: Mountain View Holiday Park - Hanmer Springs

 

Day 11 - Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura to Picton

161/133km / 2hr 15min

Turning inland to Hanmer Springs, you can rest your weary bones in the thermal pools which were originally created as a sanatorium to help ease nervous disorders. Now they offer relaxing entertainment for the locals and visitors alike. Take a whale watching trip to Kaikoura, guaranteed viewing of the whales! Spot the fur seals along the coast as you head north, then edge up the narrow coastal strip where the surf pounds sheer Kaikoura Ranges.

Overnight: Blue Anchor Holiday Park - Picton

 

Day 12 - Picton to Wellington by ferry

3hrs 20min

Take time in Picton and explore some wineries and vineyards that make the Marlborough region famous. Cruising on the Interislander ferry is most beautiful, through the Marlborough Sounds National Park and landing in Wellington. Once in Wellington take a walk around parliament buildings, explore Te Papa, our new National Museum and perhaps visit the Wellington City Art Gallery, located in the City Civic Square.

Overnight: Harcourt Holiday Park - Wellington

 

Day 13 - Wellington to Napier

334km / 5hrs

The drive from Wellington passes over the spectacular Tararua Ranges, and into the Hawkes Bay. Take time when in Napier and Hasting to visit some of the local vineyards - beware of drinking and driving though! Some of the best wines in New Zealand are grown in this region, and are definitely worth tasting.

Overnight: Kennedy Park Complex - Napier

 

Day 14 - Napier to Taupo

147km / 2hrs 30min

Once in Napier take time to explore the famous art deco buildings that make Napier so unique. The entire city was destroyed in a huge earthquake that shook the area in 1931, and at the local museum, there are fantastic displays about the history of the Hawkes Bay. Visit Cape Kidnappers, home of a very large gannet colony - a must to see.

Overnight: Lake Taupo Holiday Park - Taupo

 

Day 15 - Taupo to Rotorua

82km / 1hr 20min

Taupo is another beautiful lake with many action packed activities to keep you occupied. See the Huka Falls, some of New Zealand's most spectacular falls, and visit the freshwater prawn farm that lies at the base of the falls. Must be time for lunch here…followed by a jet boat ride back up the river. Or take time out and try some fishing out on the lake itself. A short drive further inland and you reach Rotorua.

Overnight: Holdens Bay Holiday Park - Rotorua

 

Day 16 - In and Around Rotorua

Take a guided tour of the incredible Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and see carvers at work at the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute; visit Waiotapu Thermal Reserve with its famous geysers and beautiful pools; see rainbow trout and a fantastic farm show at Rainbow Springs and Farm Show.

 

Day 17 - Rotoura to Waitomo

150km / 1hr

View a glow-worm grotto in the Waitomo Caves; or for more adventurous, tackle The Lost World - starting off with a three hundred feet abseil into an enormous, surreal hole in the ground followed by navigation through spectacular underground caves.

 

Waitomo to Auckland 202km / 1hr 30min

Overnight: Remuera Motor Lodge - Auckland

 

Day 18 - Auckland to Bay of Islands

241km / 3hrs 30mins

Stop off at the Matakohe Kauri Museum, where you can see how the Northland region began with its Kauri milling. Heading north you pass through the majestic Waipoua Kauri Forest, then up to Paihia. More that 144 islands dot the bay itself, with many of them privately owned and uninhabited. The water offers superb diving, fishing and leisure cruising. Take a cruise to historic Russell (New Zealand's first capital city) or visit Waitangi National Reserve.

Overnight: Bay of Islands Holiday Park - Paihia

 

Day 19 - Bay of Islands

A day of leisure - perhaps take a bus trip up to Cape Reinga which is the Northern most point in New Zealand, where the coach drives along the famous 90 Mile Beach. Or take a trip out amongst the Bay of Islands itself, swim with the dolphins or try your hand at fishing.

 

Day 20 - Bay of Islands to Auckland

241km / 3hrs 30mins

There are some beautiful beaches on the coastline north of Warkworth and Wellsford, worth a look if you have the time.

Overnight: Remuera Motor Lodge - Auckland

 

Day 21 - In and Around Auckland

Visit the Auckland Museum and see a live performance; see real live penguins and take a journey beneath the ocean at Kelly Tarltons Underwater and Antarctic Encounter; Shop market style at Victoria Park and Oriental markets, or in style in one of Auckland's central shopping areas.

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