Gardens of New Zealand Self Drive • View Itinerary
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Boutique Hotels
Lanarch Castle, Dunedin, New Zealand
Central Auckland
Auckland
Hobbiton Movie Set
Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park
Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand
Zealandia
Interislander Ferry, Cook Strait
Guided kayak tour in Abel Tasman National Park
Bridge across Hokitika Gorge, South Island, New Zealand
Queenstown
Lake Wakatipu Queenstown
Dunedin
Christchurch
Christchurch

Gardens of New Zealand

17 day Self Drive Holiday – from £2959

With flights from £4259

Explore New Zealand’s gardens and unique flora in this well planned itinerary, staying in boutique hotels and visiting areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Highlights:
  • Explore the lush rainforests of Auckland
  • Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Middle-earth
  • Drive through Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary for a unique encounter
  • Visit the opulent Larnach Castle, nestled in beautiful gardens with panoramic views
  • Indulge in luxury at deluxe lodges and hotels

Your Itinerary

Expand All

You can customise your New Zealand Self Drive holiday by adding extra nights or destinations. Just let us know what you would like to do.

Central Auckland

Day 1 – Welcome to Auckland

On arrival at Auckland Airport a private transfer will take you to your hotel. Take the…

On arrival at Auckland Airport a private transfer will take you to your hotel. Take the remainder of the day to explore the boutique shops and restaurants within the newly developed Britomart precinct close to the city’s waterfront or relax in the tree lined parks of the Domain, a short walk from the city centre.

    Sudima

Central Auckland
Auckland

Day 2 – Auckland

Today you will be taken on a full day guided tour to Auckland’s wild black sand…

Today you will be taken on a full day guided tour to Auckland’s wild black sand beaches and lush rainforest. Spend the day walking and relaxing in the real New Zealand while hearing the stories of the region. You’ll first visit the Arataki Visitor Centre – gateway to Auckland’s coastal rainforest. The breath taking panoramic views from the sweeping decks extend from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Continue further west to the wild and rugged west coast. Walk through lush rainforest with giant tree ferns growing alongside picturesque streams in regenerating rainforest.

Then stroll on an awe-inspiring beach and experience the uniqueness of the soft, black sand and the clear ocean breeze. Your journey then takes you to an area of untouched original rainforest with mature 1,000 year old kauri trees. New Zealand has existed for millions of years separate from the rest of the world so has evolved in isolation to produce its own unique flora and fauna.

    Sudima

Auckland
Hobbiton Movie Set

Day 3 – Hamilton

This morning make your way to the rental car city depot where you will collect your…

This morning make your way to the rental car city depot where you will collect your rental car for your exclusive use. Depart Auckland for your journey south. You may like to stop and visit the Hamilton Gardens which feature a traditional Maori Garden as well as themed gardens from all over the world. Travel via Matamata for an afternoon tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set.

Your guided tour takes you through a picturesque sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Learn how the hobbit holes were created and how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth complete with hobbit holes and hobbit gardens and orchards.

    Auckland > Hamilton | 196 kms

    Distinction Hamilton Hotel

Hobbiton Movie Set
Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park

Day 4 – New Plymouth

Travel today to the Taranaki region where the volcanic soil and rainforest climate provide ideal growing…

Travel today to the Taranaki region where the volcanic soil and rainforest climate provide ideal growing conditions for native rainforests and many exotic species that have found a new home on the plains and rolling hills dominated by Mt Taranaki.

    Hamilton > New Plymouth | 228 kms

    Nice Hotel

    Breakfast
Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park
Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand

Day 5 – New Plymouth

Recommended gardens to visit today are Te Kainga Marire – an amazing intimate native garden; world…

Recommended gardens to visit today are Te Kainga Marire – an amazing intimate native garden; world renowned Pukeiti, a 360- hectare rainforest on the slopes of Mount Taranaki that features over 500 rhododendron varieties; Pukekura Park with a huge variety of plant collections amidst a diverse range of landscapes; Hollard Gardens and Tupare originally private gardens that have grown into spectacular displays of native and exotic specimens.

    Nice Hotel

    Breakfast
Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand
Northern Explorer, Kapiti Coast

Day 6 – Wellington

Enjoy the transformation of scenery through Otaki Gorge as you travel via the Kapiti Coast to…

Enjoy the transformation of scenery through Otaki Gorge as you travel via the Kapiti Coast to Wellington.

    New Plymouth > Wellington | 355 kms

    Rydges Wellington

Northern Explorer, Kapiti Coast
Zealandia

Day 7 – Wellington

A 10 minute drive will take you to Zealandia, an urban sanctuary dedicated to telling New…

A 10 minute drive will take you to Zealandia, an urban sanctuary dedicated to telling New Zealand’s unique conservation story. With over 225 hectares of regenerating native forest and 40 species of birds, it is a unique, world-first eco-attraction. Discover the story of New Zealand’s natural history and conservation movement with a world-class interactive exhibition.

    Rydges Wellington

    Breakfast
Zealandia
Interislander Ferry, Cook Strait

Day 8 – Nelson

Return your car and board the Interislander Ferry for your cruise across Cook Strait. On arrival…

Return your car and board the Interislander Ferry for your cruise across Cook Strait. On arrival in Picton, pick up your car and take a leisurely drive to Nelson.

    Wellington > Nelson | 130 kms

    The Rutherford

Interislander Ferry, Cook Strait
Guided kayak tour in Abel Tasman National Park

Day 9 – Nelson

Enjoy a day at leisure in the stunning coastal region of Abel Tasman. There are some…

Enjoy a day at leisure in the stunning coastal region of Abel Tasman. There are some outstanding walks and rainforest treks to be done, or alternatively relax on the sandy beaches next to the crystal clear waters of the Abel Tasman National Park.

    The Rutherford

Guided kayak tour in Abel Tasman National Park
Bridge across Hokitika Gorge, South Island, New Zealand

Day 10 – Fox Glacier

Travel today down the West Coast. This remote area has a ruggedly beautiful landscape of vast…

Travel today down the West Coast. This remote area has a ruggedly beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow capped mountains. A recommended stop is at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes where the surging sea has sculptured amazing shapes out of the rocks. Also of note en route, just 15 minutes south of Hokitika is the West Coast Treetop Walk – an exhilarating scenic walk adventure among the ancient tree canopy of temperate rainforest giants.

    Nelson > Fox Glacier | 480 kms

    Bella Vista

Bridge across Hokitika Gorge, South Island, New Zealand
Queenstown

Day 11 – Queenstown

Today will take you on a memorable trip through some of the most magnificent scenery in…

Today will take you on a memorable trip through some of the most magnificent scenery in New Zealand to the alpine resort town of Queenstown; exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic.

    Fox Glacier > Queenstown | 327 kms

    Copthorne Lakefront Hotel

Queenstown

Day 12 – Queenstown

Enjoy a day at leisure for you to enjoy many of the sights and activities on…

Enjoy a day at leisure for you to enjoy many of the sights and activities on offer in New Zealand’s most exciting and picturesque town. A recommended excursion is a 20 minute drive to Arrowtown – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.

    Copthorne Lakefront Hotel

Lake Wakatipu Queenstown

Day 13 – Queenstown

Today is yours to discover more of this beautiful lakeside town. The Queenstown Gardens are just…

Today is yours to discover more of this beautiful lakeside town. The Queenstown Gardens are just a few minutes walk from central Queenstown and offer a beautiful tranquil setting with some of the best panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu.

    Copthorne Lakefront Hotel

Lake Wakatipu Queenstown
Dunedin

Day 14 – Dunedin

Today, travel via river plains and tussock country through Coastal Otago to Dunedin. This is a…

Today, travel via river plains and tussock country through Coastal Otago to Dunedin. This is a region of natural beauty overlaid with a fascinating cultural history and often referred to as the eco-capital of New Zealand. Nearby is the beautiful Otago Peninsula home to New Zealand Fur Seals, rare Hooker’s Sea Lions, Yellow-Eyed Penguins, and the only mainland Royal Albatross colony.

    Queenstown > Dunedin | 286 kms

    Distinction Dunedin

Dunedin
Lanarch Castle, Dunedin, New Zealand

Day 15 – Dunedin

Included with your accommodation is a visit to Larnach Castle and the beautiful Gardens. Over a…

Included with your accommodation is a visit to Larnach Castle and the beautiful Gardens. Over a century old this large garden surrounding historic Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula is at an altitude of 300 metres. The scenery is spectacular and though the garden is subjected to wind and low rainfall it contains a unique collection of plants seldom seen elsewhere.

    Distinction Dunedin

Lanarch Castle, Dunedin, New Zealand
Christchurch

Day 16 – Christchurch

Today, depart Dunedin and travel north crossing the Canterbury Plains and travelling to Christchurch known as…

Today, depart Dunedin and travel north crossing the Canterbury Plains and travelling to Christchurch known as ‘the Garden City’ of New Zealand. In a loop of the Avon River, bordered on three sides by the green expanse of Hagley Park are the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Some of the largest, tallest and oldest trees in New Zealand can be found here.

The gardens host spectacular colour and form, intriguing artworks and some of the largest, tallest and oldest trees in New Zealand. A loop of the gently-flowing Avon River, criss-crossed by bridges, encloses a large part of the gardens which include horticultural displays, conservatories, memorials, garden art and walking tracks.

    Dunedin > Christchurch | 360 kms

    Crowne Plaza

Christchurch
Christchurch

Day 17 – Farewell from Christchurch

Tour concludes with the return of your rental car to Christchurch Airport depot.

Tour concludes with the return of your rental car to Christchurch Airport depot.

Christchurch

Your Itinerary

You can customise your New Zealand Self Drive holiday by adding extra nights or destinations. Just let us know what you would like to do.

Day 1

|

Welcome to Auckland

On arrival at Auckland Airport a private transfer will take you to your hotel. Take the remainder of the day to explore the boutique shops and restaurants within the newly developed Britomart precinct close to the city’s waterfront or relax in the tree lined parks of the Domain, a short walk from the city centre.

    Sudima

Central Auckland

Day 2

|

Auckland

Today you will be taken on a full day guided tour to Auckland’s wild black sand beaches and lush rainforest. Spend the day walking and relaxing in the real New Zealand while hearing the stories of the region. You’ll first visit the Arataki Visitor Centre – gateway to Auckland’s coastal rainforest. The breath taking panoramic views from the sweeping decks extend from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Continue further west to the wild and rugged west coast. Walk through lush rainforest with giant tree ferns growing alongside picturesque streams in regenerating rainforest.

Then stroll on an awe-inspiring beach and experience the uniqueness of the soft, black sand and the clear ocean breeze. Your journey then takes you to an area of untouched original rainforest with mature 1,000 year old kauri trees. New Zealand has existed for millions of years separate from the rest of the world so has evolved in isolation to produce its own unique flora and fauna.

    Sudima

Auckland

Day 3

|

Hamilton

This morning make your way to the rental car city depot where you will collect your rental car for your exclusive use. Depart Auckland for your journey south. You may like to stop and visit the Hamilton Gardens which feature a traditional Maori Garden as well as themed gardens from all over the world. Travel via Matamata for an afternoon tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set.

Your guided tour takes you through a picturesque sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Learn how the hobbit holes were created and how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth complete with hobbit holes and hobbit gardens and orchards.

    Auckland > Hamilton | 196 kms

    Distinction Hamilton Hotel

Hobbiton Movie Set

Day 4

|

New Plymouth

Travel today to the Taranaki region where the volcanic soil and rainforest climate provide ideal growing conditions for native rainforests and many exotic species that have found a new home on the plains and rolling hills dominated by Mt Taranaki.

    Hamilton > New Plymouth | 228 kms

    Nice Hotel

    Breakfast
Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park

Day 5

|

New Plymouth

Recommended gardens to visit today are Te Kainga Marire – an amazing intimate native garden; world renowned Pukeiti, a 360- hectare rainforest on the slopes of Mount Taranaki that features over 500 rhododendron varieties; Pukekura Park with a huge variety of plant collections amidst a diverse range of landscapes; Hollard Gardens and Tupare originally private gardens that have grown into spectacular displays of native and exotic specimens.

    Nice Hotel

    Breakfast
Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand

Day 6

|

Wellington

Enjoy the transformation of scenery through Otaki Gorge as you travel via the Kapiti Coast to Wellington.

    New Plymouth > Wellington | 355 kms

    Rydges Wellington

Northern Explorer, Kapiti Coast

Day 7

|

Wellington

A 10 minute drive will take you to Zealandia, an urban sanctuary dedicated to telling New Zealand’s unique conservation story. With over 225 hectares of regenerating native forest and 40 species of birds, it is a unique, world-first eco-attraction. Discover the story of New Zealand’s natural history and conservation movement with a world-class interactive exhibition.

    Rydges Wellington

    Breakfast
Zealandia

Day 8

|

Nelson

Return your car and board the Interislander Ferry for your cruise across Cook Strait. On arrival in Picton, pick up your car and take a leisurely drive to Nelson.

    Wellington > Nelson | 130 kms

    The Rutherford

Interislander Ferry, Cook Strait

Day 9

|

Nelson

Enjoy a day at leisure in the stunning coastal region of Abel Tasman. There are some outstanding walks and rainforest treks to be done, or alternatively relax on the sandy beaches next to the crystal clear waters of the Abel Tasman National Park.

    The Rutherford

Guided kayak tour in Abel Tasman National Park

Day 10

|

Fox Glacier

Travel today down the West Coast. This remote area has a ruggedly beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow capped mountains. A recommended stop is at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes where the surging sea has sculptured amazing shapes out of the rocks. Also of note en route, just 15 minutes south of Hokitika is the West Coast Treetop Walk – an exhilarating scenic walk adventure among the ancient tree canopy of temperate rainforest giants.

    Nelson > Fox Glacier | 480 kms

    Bella Vista

Bridge across Hokitika Gorge, South Island, New Zealand

Day 11

|

Queenstown

Today will take you on a memorable trip through some of the most magnificent scenery in New Zealand to the alpine resort town of Queenstown; exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic.

    Fox Glacier > Queenstown | 327 kms

    Copthorne Lakefront Hotel

Queenstown

Day 12

|

Queenstown

Enjoy a day at leisure for you to enjoy many of the sights and activities on offer in New Zealand’s most exciting and picturesque town. A recommended excursion is a 20 minute drive to Arrowtown – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.

    Copthorne Lakefront Hotel

Day 13

|

Queenstown

Today is yours to discover more of this beautiful lakeside town. The Queenstown Gardens are just a few minutes walk from central Queenstown and offer a beautiful tranquil setting with some of the best panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu.

    Copthorne Lakefront Hotel

Lake Wakatipu Queenstown

Day 14

|

Dunedin

Today, travel via river plains and tussock country through Coastal Otago to Dunedin. This is a region of natural beauty overlaid with a fascinating cultural history and often referred to as the eco-capital of New Zealand. Nearby is the beautiful Otago Peninsula home to New Zealand Fur Seals, rare Hooker’s Sea Lions, Yellow-Eyed Penguins, and the only mainland Royal Albatross colony.

    Queenstown > Dunedin | 286 kms

    Distinction Dunedin

Dunedin

Day 15

|

Dunedin

Included with your accommodation is a visit to Larnach Castle and the beautiful Gardens. Over a century old this large garden surrounding historic Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula is at an altitude of 300 metres. The scenery is spectacular and though the garden is subjected to wind and low rainfall it contains a unique collection of plants seldom seen elsewhere.

    Distinction Dunedin

Lanarch Castle, Dunedin, New Zealand

Day 16

|

Christchurch

Today, depart Dunedin and travel north crossing the Canterbury Plains and travelling to Christchurch known as ‘the Garden City’ of New Zealand. In a loop of the Avon River, bordered on three sides by the green expanse of Hagley Park are the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Some of the largest, tallest and oldest trees in New Zealand can be found here.

The gardens host spectacular colour and form, intriguing artworks and some of the largest, tallest and oldest trees in New Zealand. A loop of the gently-flowing Avon River, criss-crossed by bridges, encloses a large part of the gardens which include horticultural displays, conservatories, memorials, garden art and walking tracks.

    Dunedin > Christchurch | 360 kms

    Crowne Plaza

Christchurch

Day 17

|

Farewell from Christchurch

Tour concludes with the return of your rental car to Christchurch Airport depot.

Christchurch

This Self Drive Includes

16 nights accommodation
Auckland rainforest guided walk
14 night car hire, with unlimited kilometers
Interisland ferry crossing
Entry to Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary
Hobbiton Movie-set tour

Flights & More

Ask your FREEDOM Consultant to include Economy, Premium or Business Class flights for a complete ABTA and ATOL protected package.

They can also add extra nights and experiences in places you choose, to create the exact holiday you are looking for. Popular options include:

  • Extra nights in any location en route
  • A stopover in Singapore, Dubai or another destination

Next Step

Please get in touch with our New Zealand Experts to start planning your holiday. You’ll have a single point of contact from your first enquiry through booking.

Gardens of New Zealand

17 day Self Drive Holiday – from £2959

With flights from £4259

All prices are per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room, and include pre-booked accommodation, air-conditioned car and unlimited kilometres. Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar or higher standard. Seasonal supplements may apply.

Map

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