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Ultimate New Zealand Road Trip

Traverse New Zealand encompassing iconic attractions, including Waitomo Caves, the Southern Alps, and Lake Wanaka, offering a blend of cultural, natural, and adventurous experiences along the way. This tour is perfect for all kinds of travellers seeking the trip of a lifetime across the North and South Islands.

Package From
Average per person
13 days
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Experience Overview

  • 13 days & 12 nights
  • Auckland, Rotorua, Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton, Taupo, Wellington, Kaikoura, Queenstown, Milford Sounds, Lake Tekapo, Franz Josef & Christchurch.
  • Optional add ons include: Jet Boating, AJ Hackett Bungee Jumping, Scenic Flights, Onsen Hot Pools, Wine Tasting, Auckland Sky Tower, Skydiving & more

  • 4-star & 4.5-star Hotel Stays
  • Breakfast Daily
  • Self Drive Car Hire for 13 Days Included
  • Auckland Sky Tower, Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves, Kaikoura Whale Watching, Te Puia Haka Experience, Polynesian Spa, Redwood Forest Night Walk, Lake Taupo Cruise, Milford Sounds Cruise, TSS Earnslaw Cruise & BBQ Dinner, Lake Tekapo Star Gazing, Interislander Ferry

  • Starting from $3,450 (NZD) per person
  • No Set Dates – Travel Anytime
  • Twin Share/Double Occupancy Room Rate
  • Seasonal Rates Available
  • New Zealand Owned & Operated
  • Customisable Itineraries upon request
  • Coach or Private Touring Option Available
Whale Watching
Kaikoura, New Zealand
Maori Culture
Rotorua, New Zealand
Wanaka Tree
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
Geyser & Hot Mud
Rotorua, New Zealand
Milford Sounds
Milford Sounds, New Zealand


Day 1

Kia Ora Auckland - Welcome to New Zealand

Welcome to Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand! Your New Zealand tour kicks off in the City of Sails Begin your journey in Auckland, New Zealand's most populous urban area, affectionately known as the "City of Sails".

We recommend your flight arrives before 4 p.m. to ensure a comfortable start to your adventure. Upon arrival, make your way to your accommodation, where you can settle in and freshen up for the start of your journey.


Your first day starts leisurely as you arrive into Auckland and make your way to your accommodation.


Take this time to relax and rejuvenate after your journey, perhaps with a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood of your accommodation.

Holiday Inn Express, or equivalent
30 Minutes Drive
Optional: Dinner
Auckland Sky Tower Admission
North Island Self Drive Car Hire
Optional: Orbit 360 Dinner
Day 2

Waitomo Caves & Redwood Tree Tops

Journey from Auckland to Rotorua, with a spellbinding interlude at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves & Hobbiton. This day promises an exploration of subterranean marvels, followed by an evening amidst the towering redwoods of Rotorua, illuminated by a network of lights. It's a day that weaves together the mysterious beauty of glowworm-lit caves with the tranquil ambiance of a night-time forest walk.


Depart Auckland and head towards the captivating Waitomo Caves. Embark on a guided tour through the cave's limestone formations and be mesmerized by the galaxy of glowworms lighting up the cavernous spaces.


Continue your journey to Rotorua, passing by Hobbiton on the way. Explore the set of the Lord of The Rings as your guide takes you on a professional tour through all of the little details. As night falls, venture into the Rotorua Redwood Tree Walk. Experience the forest as never before, on elevated walkways amidst gently illuminated redwoods, creating a serene and magical environment.

Jet Park Hotel, or equivalent
5 Hours Drive
8-9 Hours
Hobbiton Tour, Waitomo Caves Tour & Redwood Tree Walk
Optional: Skyline Gondola
Day 3

Maori Cultural Immersion & Geothermal Relaxation

Embark on a day filled with cultural enrichment and soothing relaxation in the heart of Rotorua, a city renowned for its geothermal wonders and deep Maori roots. This day promises an authentic glimpse into the traditional Maori culture followed by an afternoon of unwinding in the serene waters of a world-class spa. Afterwards you will make your way to Taupo via the most visited nature attraction in the country, Huka Falls.


Start your day at Te Puia, the epitome of Maori cultural experiences. Set in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, your morning will be spent exploring the geothermal landscapes, including the famous Pohutu Geyser, and discovering traditional Maori crafts at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. The highlight is the captivating Haka performance, a powerful and emotional Maori dance that resonates with strength and unity.


Transition from the morning's cultural journey to an afternoon of relaxation at the Polynesian Spa. Indulge in a private Lakeview Pool, where the soothing mineral waters and the tranquil view of Lake Rotorua provide a perfect setting for relaxation. Let the blend of mineral-rich waters and picturesque landscapes work their magic, leaving you refreshed and invigorated. Afterwards make your way to Taupo, via the empowering Huka Falls.

Quality Inn Taupo, or equivalent
1.5 Hours Drive
6 Hours
Te Puia Haka Experience & Polynesian Private Spa
Optional: Huka Falls Jet Boating
Day 4

Lake Vistas to New Zealand's Capital

Embark on a picturesque journey from the tranquil shores of Lake Taupo, with its awe-inspiring Maori Rock Carvings, to the cultural vibrancy of Wellington. This day promises a seamless blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, starting with a serene lake cruise and transitioning to a scenic drive through the North Island's diverse landscapes, culminating in the arrival at New Zealand's dynamic capital.


Your morning begins with a leisurely cruise on Lake Taupo, where you'll witness the impressive Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay, etched into the cliffs by master carvers. This serene experience not only offers a glimpse into Maori culture but also showcases the stunning natural beauty of the lake's surroundings.


Post-cruise, set off on the drive to Wellington. The journey unfolds through rolling hills, verdant forests, and along the rugged Kapiti Coast, offering panoramic views and picturesque stops along the way.

The Sebel Wellington, or equivalent
2 Hour Cruise & 5 Hour Drive
10-12 Hours
Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise
Optional: Craters of the Moon
Day 5

Wine Tasting & Breathtaking Scenic Drives

Embark on a scenic journey from Wellington, driving through the Rimutaka Range to the rugged southern coast. Your adventure begins with breathtaking views of Palliser Bay and Lake Onoke, where a serene walking or tramping track awaits, taking you through captivating landscapes over 2–4 hours. Continue to the charming village of Martinborough, renowned for its boutique shops, quaint cafes, and celebrated local wines, offering a delightful exploration of New Zealand's viticulture.


Start your day with the scenic drive to the Pinnacles via Rimutaka, where the dramatic landscapes of Palliser Bay unfold. Embrace the tranquility of Lake Onoke on an accessible walking track, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the region.


After your morning expedition, journey to Martinborough, a haven for wine enthusiasts and lovers of quaint village charm. Wander through the boutique shops and cafes, and indulge in the exquisite taste of local wines, defining the essence of this renowned wine region.

The Sebel Wellington, or equivalent
4 Hours Drive
8-10 Hours
Scenic Nature Driving & Walking Trails
Optional: Martinborough Wine Tour
Day 6

Seascapes to Vineyards

The day unfolds with a picturesque ferry journey from Wellington to Picton, gliding through the stunning Marlborough Sounds. The adventure continues on the South Island, with a scenic drive to Kaikoura. Along the way, savor the flavors of Marlborough, New Zealand's renowned wine region, known for its exquisite Sauvignon Blanc.


Begin with the Interislander Ferry crossing, a journey that offers panoramic views of the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds. This relaxing voyage connects you to the South Island's charm.


Upon reaching Picton, embark on a scenic drive through Marlborough's wine country, where a stop at a boutique vineyard for a tasting can be arranged. Continue the journey to Kaikoura, a coastal town famous for its marine life and stunning landscapes.

Sudima Kaikoura, or equivalent
3.5 Hour Boat Ride, 3 Hour Drive
6-8 Hours
Interislander Ferry
Optional: Marlborough Wine Tour
Day 7

Kaikoura Whale Watching

Begin your day with a thrilling whale watching cruise in Kaikoura, where the deep waters host an abundance of marine life, including the magnificent sperm whale. After this awe-inspiring experience, journey south to Christchurch, transitioning from the natural wonders of the coastline to the refined charm of the Garden City, known for its English heritage and vibrant cultural scene.


In the morning, embark on a captivating whale watching cruise in Kaikoura, renowned for its rich marine ecosystem. This extended expedition allows you to immerse yourself in the majesty of the ocean's giants, with expert commentary enhancing your understanding of their behaviors and the conservation efforts in place to protect them.


In the afternoon, the drive to Christchurch unfolds through a landscape that transitions from rugged coastlines to pastoral plains and into the urban sophistication of the city. Take the opportunity to delve into Christchurch's revival story, visiting iconic landmarks and spaces that symbolize resilience and renewal.

The Muse Christchurch, or equivalent
2.5 Hour Cruise, 2.5 Hour Drive
6-7 Hours
Kaikoura Whale Watching Tour
Optional: Swim with the Dolphins Tour
Day 8

Starlit Wonders & Mountainous Terrain

Transition from the urban elegance of Christchurch to the serene beauty of Lake Tekapo, renowned for its vivid turquoise waters and part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve. This journey not only showcases the contrasting landscapes of New Zealand's South Island but also offers an enchanting evening of stargazing, where the night sky reveals its cosmic splendor.


Depart Christchurch and drive through the picturesque Canterbury Plains and Mackenzie Basin to reach Lake Tekapo. The drive itself is a visual treat, with opportunities to witness the Southern Alps' grandeur and the unique braided rivers. Upon arrival, explore the quaint village, visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, and enjoy the lakeside's scenic beauty.


As dusk falls, prepare for an awe-inspiring stargazing experience. Join a guided tour that takes you on a celestial journey, observing stars, planets, and galaxies through high-powered telescopes, and learn about the Southern Hemisphere's night sky.

Peppers Bluewater Resort, or equivalent
3 Hours Drive
6-7 Hours
Lake Tekapo Stargazing Tour
Optional: Mt Cook Scenic Flight
Day 9

Lakeside Serenity to Queenstown Adventures

Your journey transitions from the calm, turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo to the adventure-filled landscapes of Queenstown. This day combines the tranquil beauty of the lake with the excitement of Queenstown's Skyline Luge and Gondola rides, and a picturesque TSS Earnslaw cruise with a sumptuous dinner.


Start your day with a thrilling Skyline Luge & Gondola ride. After breakfast, head to the Skyline complex for a fun-filled morning. The Gondola ride offers panoramic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables mountain range. Once at the top, the luge tracks await, offering a unique and exhilarating way to descend the hill with twists, turns, and tunnels.


As the day transitions to evening, embark on a memorable cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as the "Lady of the Lake.".

Following dinner, enjoy an entertaining farm show that provides insights into New Zealand's farming practices. The show includes sheep shearing demonstrations and an introduction to the farm's sheepdogs.

Holiday Inn Queenstown, or equivalent
2.5 Hour Cruise, 3 Hour Drive
Breakfast & TSS Earnslaw BBQ Dinner
8 Hours
Skyline Luge + Gondola & TSS Earnslaw BBQ Cruise
Optional: Onsen Hot Pools
Day 10

Milford Sound Scenic Cruise

Embark on a breathtaking journey to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand's most iconic natural attractions, known for its sheer cliffs, towering peaks, and cascading waterfalls. This day trip offers an immersive experience into the heart of Fiordland National Park, with countless photo opportunities along the way.


After an early breakfast, begin your journey along the stunning road to Milford Sound. This route is renowned for its diverse landscapes, passing through lush farmland, dense beech forests, and the remarkable Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain, where optical illusions make the mountain appear to recede as you approach.

As you approach Milford Sound, you'll pass through the Homer Tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat that cuts through the solid rock of the Darran Mountains.


Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board a cruise to explore this magnificent 22km-long fiord. The cruise offers up-close views of the iconic Mitre Peak, rising more than a mile straight out of the sea, and the chance to see waterfalls cascading down sheer rock faces, some of which are over 1000 meters high.

Holiday Inn Queenstown, or equivalent
6 Hours Drive, 2 Hour Boat Ride
10 Hours
Milford Sound Cruise
Optional: Milford Sound Lunch & Milford Sound Private Tour
Day 11

The Famous Wanaka Tree & Gold-Panning History

Embark on a picturesque journey from the adrenaline-filled Queenstown to the majestic Franz Josef Glacier, with captivating stops at the quaint Arrowtown and the serene Lake Wanaka. This leg of your honeymoon weaves through some of the South Island's most iconic landscapes, offering a mix of historical charm, natural beauty, and awe-inspiring glacial vistas.


Begin with a drive through the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown, where you can wander among well-preserved buildings and learn about the area's rich past. Continue towards Lake Wanaka, a haven of tranquility, ideal for a leisurely lakeside stroll or a photo session against the backdrop of the Southern Alps & the Wanaka tree.


Proceed to Franz Josef, traversing lush rainforests and scenic mountain passes. Once there, explore the township or opt for a relaxing soak in the Glacier Hot Pools, surrounded by the dense rainforest.

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef, or equivalent
6 Hours Drive
8-10 Hours
Scenic Drives & Cozy Townships
Optional: Puzzling World & Glacier Hot Pools
Day 12

Traversing the Arthur's Pass

Journey from the glacial landscapes of Franz Josef to the urban elegance of Christchurch, traversing the breathtaking Arthur's Pass. This route showcases the dramatic transition from the West Coast's rugged wilderness to the Canterbury Plains' pastoral beauty, culminating in Christchurch's regal charm.


In the morning, set out from Franz Josef, embarking on a drive towards Arthur's Pass. This part of your journey offers a deep immersion into New Zealand's alpine heartland, with each turn revealing dramatic landscapes, from towering peaks to deep valleys. Keep an eye out for the kea, the world's only alpine parrot, known for its curiosity.


The afternoon unfolds as you descend from Arthur's Pass towards Christchurch. The changing scenery from mountainous terrains to the expansive Canterbury Plains is a testament to New Zealand's diverse geography. Arriving in Christchurch, the city invites you to explore its blend of historical elegance and modern resilience, highlighted by the Avon River and the flourishing Botanic Gardens.

The Muse Christchurch, or equivalent
5-6 Hours Drive
8-10 Hours
Nature Trails & Scenic View Points
Optional: Franz Josef Scenic Glacier Flight
Day 13

Farewell New Zealand

As your New Zealand adventure draws to a close, take this final morning to reflect on the unforgettable experiences and the stunning landscapes you've encountered along the way.


Gather with your travel companions for one last breakfast at your accommodation. This is a moment to share stories, exchange contacts, and reminisce about the journey you've shared across New Zealand's diverse and breathtaking landscapes.


As you board your flight and bid farewell to New Zealand, take a moment to look back on the adventures you've had and the landscapes that have captivated your heart. Whether it's the adrenaline-pumping activities, the peaceful moments in nature, or the connections made with fellow travellers and locals, your New Zealand journey is sure to be an experience you'll treasure forever.


Terms & Conditions

13 Day Tara Travel New Zealand, Ultimate New Zealand Tour 24/25

Note: Instant quotes are subject to availability of specific accommodation and other inclusions. Our NZ touring experts will be in touch with you regarding this. Costs quoted in currencies other than New Zealand dollars (NZ$) are based on todays exchange rate and are subject to change. Refer to our terms and conditions.

Travel Insurance -

We strongly recommend that all travellers secure comprehensive travel insurance covering trip cancellation, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage to ensure peace of mind during your journey.

Health and Safety -

Travelers are advised to consult with a healthcare professional for recommended vaccinations and health precautions. We urge all clients to adhere to safety guidelines and instructions provided during activities and excursions.

If you have chosen to hire a rental car then you may incur a one way fee if a portion of your hire is under 7 days in total. Your sales consultant can confirm this on booking.

Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise to suit your interests and timeframe. Get in touch to build your dream holiday with us.

All indicative prices are in NZD and inclusive of GST

Cancellation and Refund Policy -

Cancellations by the client must be made in writing and are subject to the following charges:

More than 45 days prior to departure: 80% of the total booking is refunded to the client

30 -45 days prior to departure: 50% of the total booking is refunded to the client

Less than 30 days prior to departure results in no refund available.

Cancellations made by Tara will result in a full refund of any payments made specifically for the cancelled service.

Payment Terms -

A deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking, with the full balance due 45 days prior to departure. Acceptable payment methods include direct bank transfer, and credit card. Failure to make final payments by the deadline may result in the cancellation of your booking without refund.