Fine Tours New Zealand
Call us free in New Zealand on 1844 215 8210
Call us free in New Zealand on 1844 215 8210

Similar itineraries

The Classic 8 day Southern Experience

8 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

7 Day North Island Explorer

7 days starting in Wellington, finishing in Auckland
Accommodation style: Hotel 3 star

Lakes, Mountains and Glaciers self drive tour

7 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

 

Wellington to Queenstown classic driving route

Wellington to Queenstown, 8 days 7 nights self drive tour, staying in Boutique lodges & hotels

Wellington to Queenstown classic driving route
Wellington to Queenstown classic driving route
Wellington to Queenstown classic driving route
Wellington to Queenstown classic driving route

Your journey begins as you cross the Cook Strait and into Marlboroughs wine region. Drive the magnificent Pacific Coast Road through Kaikoura and Christchurch before heading inland to the majestic Southern Alps. This classic route has it all, a capital city, a ferry crossing, ocean roads and high country passes.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1249 kms / 775 miles, 15.5 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$145 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Welcome to Wellingrton, transfer to your hotel and the rest of the day at leisure

Private transfer Wellington airport to hotel

You will be met on arrival into Wellington airport and transferred to your hotel.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. Containing all the documentation you’ll need for the duration of your tour, this comprehensive bag includes a bound version of your itinerary complete with driving instructions and maps for each travel leg. You’ll also receive the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - as well as a New Zealand touring atlas and relevant brochures on the destinations you’ll be visiting. While travelling throughout New Zealand we offer 24 hour support should you need any help at all.

Welcome to Wellington

Welcome to Wellington
Welcome to Wellington
Welcome to Wellington
Welcome to Wellington

Wellington City is New Zealand's capital. It sits on a wonderful deep natural harbour and is surrounded by bush clad hills. The city centre itself is quite compact (only around 1 square kilometre) and so exploring on foot is relatively easy. From your city centre accommodation you can easily stroll the cafes and restaurants around Courtenay Place and if you arrive early enough New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, is also close by.

Your accommodation - Bolton Hotel Wellington

Style: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$30-NZ$35 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
Bolton Hotel Wellington
Bolton Hotel Wellington
Bolton Hotel Wellington
Bolton Hotel Wellington
 

Day 2

This morning take the interislander ferry to Picton, collect your car and head to Blenheim and its wineries

Driving distance and time: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.3 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Private transfer to Interislander ferry terminal

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the Interislander ferry terminal in time for your ferry check in.

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Picton to Blenheim

Picton to Blenheim
Picton to Blenheim
Picton to Blenheim
Picton to Blenheim

Only short 30 minute drive, you’ll follow the valley south to arrive in Blenheim, located in the heart of Marlborough - New Zealand’s largest wine producing region. Go through acres of leafy green vines and marvel at the magnificent ‘dry hills’ of Marlborough in the distance.  

Your accommodation - The Peppertree

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 12 noon
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
The Peppertree
The Peppertree
The Peppertree
The Peppertree
 

Day 3

Take the Inland Route via Murchison today to Kaikoura

Driving distance and time: 443 kms / 275 miles : 6.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Blenheim to Kaikoura via Murchison

Blenheim to Kaikoura via Murchison
Blenheim to Kaikoura via Murchison
Blenheim to Kaikoura via Murchison
Blenheim to Kaikoura via Murchison

Heading south west out of Blenheim you pass the airport and here you will also find the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Continuing south following the path of the Wairau River and the Richmond Mountain Range you arrive into the Nelson Lakes region. From St Arnaud (a town just a short detour off the main road) there are many short walks around Lake Rotoiti. Lake Rotoroa is a little further off the main route but a good detour for the keen fisherman. The Buller River begins its journey to the coast from Lake Rotoroa and the route from here follows its path closely. The town of Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop.

From Murchison you will travel south to Maruia Springs, known for its natural hot springs - a great stop for a soak if time allows. Head inland over the Lewis Pass where the landscape becomes increasingly alpine - with large forests of red and silver beech. Take a break at the short walking track, Tarn Nature Walk is an ideal place to stretch your legs.  Follow State Highway 7 towards Kaikoura.

Your accommodation - Manakau Lodge

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10:30 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Dinner service available
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
Manakau Lodge
Manakau Lodge
Manakau Lodge
Manakau Lodge
 

Day 4

Kaikoura to Christchurch City

Driving distance and time: 170 kms / 105 miles : 2.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Kaikoura to Christchurch

Kaikoura to Christchurch
Kaikoura to Christchurch
Kaikoura to Christchurch
Kaikoura to Christchurch

Today you continue down the coast before heading inland through the North Canterbury wine region - the Waipara Valley. As you drive through this area you’ll be greeted by one of New Zealand's most notorious animals, the sheep. If you’ve time on your hands we recommend taking a detour to Hanmer Springs for relaxing dip in its thermal pools. Arriving into Christchurch you'll see a new and improved city, steadily rising from the ruins of the 2011 earthquake.

Your accommodation - Merivale Manor House

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Merivale Manor House
Merivale Manor House
Merivale Manor House
Merivale Manor House
 

Day 5

Head inland across the Canterbury Plains and to the high country before arriving into Mt Cook Village

Driving distance and time: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you’ll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo. Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village.

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
 

Day 6

Your journey continues south across the Mackenzie, over the Lindis Pass and into Central Otago

Driving distance and time: 256 kms / 159 miles : 2.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads with a summit of 971 meters. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago’s original gold mining settlements.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Your accommodation - Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • All rooms non smoking
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel
 

Day 7

Relax or explore in the exciting alpine destination of Queenstown

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Your accommodation - Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 8

Depart Queenstown today

Driving distance and time: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Enjoy your final morning in Queenstown before driving to the airport for your onward flight

Take in the sights of Queenstown one more time before returning your car to the airport and catching your onward flight.

 
 

Testimonials

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price from
NZ$ 2,265.00 pp (small car, low season - details)

This tour includes

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Your choice of rental car
  • Rental car insurance
  • Unlimited mileage
  • GPS navigation
  • No hidden fees
  • Detailed tour pack
  • 1 dinner
  • All breakfasts
  • Private airport transfers
  • Interislander ferry crossing