24 Day North and South Islands Private Tour
This 24 day, private and fully guided vacation takes in all New Zealand has to offer and visits some different locations compared to the 24 Day Absolute New Zealand tour. We’ll explore golden sand beaches, geothermal activity, geysers and learn about the local Maori and their customs. This itinerary will have you seeing New Zealand Fiords by boat, experiencing what kiwi farming is like and getting up close with the local wildlife. This all while riding in the comfort of your own vehicle with a very knowledgeable, experienced Driver/Guide.
Day 1 Arrive into Auckland Airport
Welcome to Aotearoa, New Zealand! You will be met at the airport by your Tour Driver/Guide and begin your New Zealand adventure. You will visit one of Auckland’s many extinct volcanoes for stunning views over Auckland, also known as the ‘City of Sails’. Other sights you’ll enjoy will be one of the city’s most popular beaches, historic cultural sites and the Auckland Harbour. This evening you will also visit the Skytower, the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, taking in the 360 degree views over the city and beyond.
Day 2 Auckland to Whitianga
This morning your Driver/Guide will take you down to water front where you will catch the ferry across the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula. When you arrive your Driver/Guide will be waiting for you to take you to the Driving Creek Railway, a narrow gauge railway that winds its way through the regenerating forest while overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. After some lunch in the village we make a short drive over to Whitianga. This evening you will be able to relax in the hot pools at The Lost Spring, what a way to relax.
Day 3 Whitianga to Waitomo
After breakfast we will travel down the peninsula through the gold mining region of Waihi where you will stop and look over the largest open cast mine named Martha. After a lunch break we will arrive at the world famous Hobbiton movie set where you will join a group tour through the movie set and finish with a cooling drink at the Green Dragon pub. Once completed, we will make the journey over to Waitomo.
Day 4 Waitomo to Rotorua
Today we will start by taking a journey through the famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, guides provide informative commentary on the Caves' historical and geological significance. Once we have had some morning tea we will make the short trip over to Rotorua where we will have an arrival city sights tour before checking into our accommodation. This afternoon you will have time to explore the city and take part in any of the many activities on offer.
Day 5 Rotorua Sights
Once we have fuelled up on a tasty breakfast we will be ready for an action packed day. First stop you will be visiting the Agrodome, a working farm which you will join one of the farm tours as well as enjoy the informative Sheep Show. Next up is the 1.5 hour Railcruising experience. This motorised rail car takes you through the Mamaku forest and out into Dansey Scenic Reserve cruising along at 20km/hr covering the 10kilometres. Along the way you can listen to the audio tour and discover a unique piece of New Zealand railway history.
Day 6 Rotorua to Murupara
Today is a short on travel but filled with local Maori Culture and History. We will meet a local Maori Guide who will welcome us onto his tribal lands and share with you the history and legends of his family tribe. This evening you will be treated to a Hangi, a traditional Maori feast cooked in a earth oven.
Day 7 Murupara to Taupo
This morning we will travel a short way to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, where you will see up close the geothermal grounds the Rotorua region is famous for. While you’re here you will see bubbling mud pools, the Lady Knox Geyser, multi-coloured lakes and silica formations. Once you have had lunch we will continue to Taupo stopping at the thunderous Huka Falls before checking into our accommodation
Day 8 Taupo Free Day
Today is a day of leisure. You may wish to take part in many of the adrenalin fuelled activities such as bungy jumping or skydiving, walk the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, get a massage at the local hot spring spa or just enjoy the town. Your Guide will be able to help organise anything that takes your fancy.
Day 9 Taupo to Wellington
We will load up this morning after day of leisure and adventure ready for more of what NZ has to offer. After winding around the edge of Lake Taupo we will travel over the Desert road where our three most prominent mountains of the North Island stand, across the central plateau. Continuing south we will make our way into New Zealand’s Capital City, Wellington. We will take a city tour which will include Mount Victoria, Oriental Parade, Cuba Street, Lambton Quay and Courtney Place before ending the day at our accommodation.
Day 10 Wellington Sights
After breakfast you will have the opportunity to visit Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand, Parliament House and Buildings, Weta Workshops Cave and have some shopping time in the busy CBD. In the afternoon we will take part in the Zealandia Wildlife Tour hosted by one of their knowledgeable local guides, learning about New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna. Later that evening there are many restaurants and eateries for dinner.
Day 11 Wellington to Nelson
This morning we farewell the North Island and we take the Interisland Ferry from Wellington to Picton, located at the top of the South Island. This scenic voyage takes us through the Cook Straight and into the Marlborough Sounds. Once on land we will travel past the Mussel capital of New Zealand, Havelock and through Rai Valley into Nelson. This is the exact centre of New Zealand as well as the city with the most sunshine hours.
Day 12 Abel Tasman Day Trip
Today we will head out to Abel Tasman Nation Park and explore the area but boat, kayak and some hiking. The beautiful inlets, golden sand beaches and clear waters make this one of the most visited destinations in the Tasman district. Weather and tides permitting you will paddle out to Pinnacle Island to watch the antics of the local seal colony. This is a full day trip, totalling approximately 10hours.
Day 13 Nelson to Punakaiki
Once we have had breakfast we will continue our journey south through the lush pine forests and dairy farms before stopping in the historic Buller Gorge. Famous for its gold mining history but also the longest swing bridge in New Zealand. We’ll take part in some easy hiking before continuing on our journey to the West Coast shoreline. Just before we check in we will stop to check out the famous Pancake Rocks. We will arrive at our Hotel in time for dinner and to watch the sunset over the Tasman Sea.
Day 14 Punakaiki to Hanmer Springs
We are on the road inland today where we will travel through the winding, scenic roads of the Lewis Pass. Hanmer Springs is a resort town in the Canterbury region. It’s known for its Thermal Pools and Spa, with its mineral waters. Time to sink into the pools or hot tub and relax after a busy tour schedule.
Day 15 Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
Today we will the morning to enjoy the local walks or just have a sleep in. After lunch we will travel to Christchurch where we will have a city tour including the 185 White Chairs Earthquake Memorial, The Cathedral, The new Cardboard Cathedral and Botanical Gardens.
Day 16 Christchurch Sights
This morning we will join a tour of the Antarctic Centre, this museum houses injured penguins as well as experiencing the weather forces of Antarctica. Afterwards your Guide will take you into town where you can enjoy the city at your pace. Check out the container mall or you may like to try Punting on the River
Day 17 Christchurch to Dunedin
It is time to head to Dunedin, but not without a few stops first! Your Driver/Guide has an absolute favourite of past group members to visit – top secret, of course! – before we hit the road and travel south down the Canterbury Plains to Oamaru,, stopping off to visit Steam Punk a quirky museum type location which is set in an alternate futuristic version of 19th century Victorian England, that features steam powered technology. Bring your sense of humour and get ready to explore – you won’t see another place like this! Continuing south we have a couple more stops enroute before checking into our hotel late afternoon.
Day 18 Dunedin to Sights
This morning you will be catching the iconic Taieri Gorge Railway. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most ever changing, spectacular and iconic scenery. Your Driver/Guide will be waiting for you at the end of the line to take you back to Dunedin, where you have the afternoon to explore the city, museums and Scottish architecture.
Day 19 Dunedin to Invercargill
Once we have fuelled up on a good breakfast we will travel through some of the most scenic countryside New Zealand has to offer. We’ll have a few stops along the way, Nugget Point Lighthouse, Purakaunui Falls Scenic Reserve and Curio Bay, a place of international significance for its fossilised forest dating back to the Jurassic period.
Day 20 Invercargill to Te Anau
We have an early start today, we need to be in Manipouri for your 10:30am Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise. Doubtful Sound is a beautiful fiord. Three times longer than Milford Sound, with twisting arms, it has a surface area ten times larger. With its rugged peaks, verdant rainforest and twisting, hidden inlets, Doubtful Sound will take your breath away. Upon your return your Driver/Guide will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Te Anau.
Day 21 Te Anau – Queenstown
Today is a short journey to Queenstown - also known as the adrenaline capital of New Zealand! The scenery surrounding Queenstown is stunning and we begin this by driving alongside Lake Wakatipu as we coming into the busy village of Queenstown. This afternoon is free for you to explore, and perhaps participate in one of the many adrenaline pumping activities Queenstown is well known for!
Day 22 Queenstown Sights
Today you are in for a treat; we are off to the Gibbston Valley for a Prestige Wine Tour with a two course lunch. Once we return to Queenstown we will take a ride in the Skyline Skyrides Gondola where you can enjoy awesome views over the city, Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Lake Wakatipu.
Day 23 Queenstown Sights
This morning and afternoon is at your leisure. There is plenty on offer and your Guide will be more than happy to help with any bookings or requirements you may have. This evening you will be onboard the oldest coal fired steamship operating in New Zealand. You will be cruising on Lake Wakatipu over to Walter Peak where you will enjoy a special evening meal.
Day 24 Queenstown Airport Departure.
Today your Guide will take you to Queenstown Airport for your departure flight. After an exciting and in-depth tour of New Zealand we hope you’ve loved New Zealand as much as we have loved showing it to you!
What is included in this tour?
23 Nights’ Accommodation (4 Star)
15 Breakfasts, cooked or continental
2 Special Dinners, one Traditional Maori Hangi and an evening farm meal.
Auckland to Commended Scenic Ferry
Driving Creek Railway journey
The Lost Spring Natural Pools Entry
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves Entry
Guided Tour of Hobbiton Movie Set
Agrodome Sheep Show and Farm Tour
Railcruising through the Mamaku forest
Maori Cultural afternoon with evening traditional Hangi meal
Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland Entry
Zealandia Ecosanctuary Entry
Interislander Ferry between Wellington and Picton
Abel Tasman Beaches, Bays and Seals day trip
International Antarctic Centre Entry
Gibbston Valley Prestige Wine Tour with Two Course Lunch
Shot Over Jet Boat Ride
Doubtful Sound Scenic Cruise
Skyline Gondola Ride
Walter Peak Dinner Cruise
Taieri Gorge Scenic Railway Tour
Blue Penguin Evening with Premium Entry
Want to see more? Feel free to contact us and customise this itinerary to suit your needs! Add additional days, activities and more.
Want to upgrade to luxury travel and accommodation? Contact us for a quote to upgrade this trip to suit your tour needs.
Want to go budget? No worries! Contact us for a quote to change this trip to hostel accommodation without breakfasts.
All pricing is in New Zealand Dollars.
Airfares are not included.
Travel Insurance is not included.