Landscapes of New Zealand Self-Drive 

Take the scenic roads through New Zealand and experience some incredible moments along the way.

A self-drive journey through New Zealand’s most exquisite scenery

From glorious waters that teem with trout on the North Island to the glaciers of the South Island, this trip reveals the scenic diversity of New Zealand, including vineyards, lakes, and rainforests. You’ll have the chance to walk some of the country’s most famous trails, including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the Queen Charlotte Track, trails through Fjordland, and private routes that weave through a merino wool farm.

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21 nights
Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Mackenzie Region, Gibbston Valley, Te Anau, Glenorchy, Wanaka, Franz Josef, Arthur’s Pass, Christchurch

Keen hikers will love this trip – it gives you access to some of the country’s most famous and beautiful trails.

Recommended itinerary

Days 1-2


After your flight, you’ll be glad to check into the warmly welcoming Hotel Britomart in one of Auckland’s most desirable neighbourhoods. You have a full day in New Zealand’s largest city to stretch your legs exploring the shops and galleries and ease into your new time zone.

Days 3-4


You’ll pick up your hire car in Auckland and drive three and a half hours to Tongariro Lodge, a haven of trout fishing. If you are feeling like a challenge, there's a full day available to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of New Zealand’s most beautiful and popular single-day walks.

Day 5


You’ll drive south to Wellington on a four-hour journey that can be broken up with lunch in the Martinborough wine region – an essential stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. There’s an overnight stay at QT Wellington, an artsy and eclectic hotel.

Day 6-7

Marlborough Sounds

Catch the InterIsland Ferry to Picton. It’s a three-and-a-half-hour sailing, so consider the Premium Lounge for a comfy seat and complimentary bar and buffet. On arrival, you’ll take a water taxi to the Bay of Many Coves, a five-star resort on the shores of the Queen Charlotte Sound, where you’ll spend two nights, perhaps choosing to tackle part of the Queen Charlotte Track.

Day 8


After hopping aboard the water taxi back to Picton, you’ll collect your hire car and follow the coastal road for around two hours to Kaikoura, stopping overnight at Sudima Kaikoura, which sits on the oceanfront.

Days 9-10

Lake Tekapo

Choose a great playlist for your five-hour drive south to Lake Tekapo, heading inland for an overnight stop at the stylish Lake Tekapo Lodge, where you’re rewarded with terrific lake and mountain views after your day on the road.

Day 11


You’ll follow the scenic road that clings to Lake Pukaki to The Hermitage in Aoraki. You’ll spend a night here and have time to gaze skywards at night to admire the celestial marvels of world’s largest Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve, visit the Edmund Hillary museum or even take a scenic flight and land on a glacier.

Day 12

Gibbston Valley

Continue south to the spectacular Gibbston Valley in the Central Otago wine region for an overnight stay in a vineyard cottage.

Days 13-14

Te Anau

A two-hour drive brings you to Te Anau and Kingsgate Hotel, which overlooks the lake. From here, you can explore the Fjordland National Park and the glorious Milford Sound and try some of the most beautiful hiking trails in New Zealand.

Days 15-16


The next leg of your epic road trip loops you past Queenstown to the village of Glenorchy for a two-night stay in one of New Zealand’s finest luxury lodges, Blanket Bay Lodge. Soak up the jaw-dropping setting on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Milford Sound by helicopter anyone?

Day 17


Take a scenic drive on the spectacular Crown Ranges Road to Lake Wanaka. You’ll stay on the lakefront at Edgewater, where you can enjoy dinner with a view of the water at Wineglass Café.

Day 18

Franz Josef

A longer drive weaves you to the west coast, working your way northwards via the scenic Haast Pass to the glacier region, where the New Zealand rainforest awaits your arrival. The Te Waonui Forest Retreat is amid the native bush, operating on sustainable principles that honour its remarkable setting.

Days 19-20

Arthur’s Pass

After a morning exploring the glaciers, set off on a three-hour journey north before turning inland to Arthur’s Pass. You’ll stay at Wilderness Lodge, part of a working sheep farm that grows superfine merino wool for Italian fashion houses. Take the time to learn more about farming here, or head out on 25 kilometres of private walking trails.

Day 21


The final leg of your journey is a scenic stretch that takes you away from the Southern Alps to Christchurch. You’ll spend your last night at Sudima Christchurch - a smart, modern hotel - before heading to the airport for your flight home.