Highlights of New Zealand Self-Drive Experience

    2022-2023 Departures | Highlights of New Zealand Self-Drive Experience | Special Pricing | 14-Nights | Tourcan Vacations | Offer expires April 30, 2023

    Highlights of New Zealand Self-Drive Experience with Tourcan Vacations

    Price: $6,225CAD Per Person Sharing

    (Special Pricing based on 2 people. Per person Land Cost ONLY sharing in double/twin. Please inquire about single supplement or international airfare.)

    Departure Date: Any time between October 1 - December 10, 2022 & January 15 - April 30, 2023

    Photo: Highlights of New Zeeland Self-Drive Experience | Tourcan Vacations | Half-day morning tour of Auckland City

    Self-drive experience visiting: Auckland, Rotorua, Martinborough, Wellington, Christchurch, Wannaka & Queenstown 


    Auckland: Grand Millennium Hotel

    • Harbour Bridge
    • Westhaven Marina
    • Auckland Fish Market

    Rotorua: Distinction Rotorua Hotel

    • En Route visit the Hobbiton Movie Set
    • Redwood Treewalk Experience
    • Evening Cultural Experience

    Wellington: Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay

    • Zealandia: The Exhibition

    Kaikoura: Sudima Kaikoura Hotel

    • Whale-watching Experience

    Mt Cook: Aoraki Court Motel

    • Southern Night Sky Experience

    Queenstown: Scenic Suites

    • Full day visit to Milford Sound


    • Meet and Greet at Auckland Airport
    • Sightseeing & Transfers per itinerary
    • Accommodation per itinerary or similar
    • Meals per itinerary
    • Rental Vehicle – Intermediate Automatic/standard insurance
    • Interislander Ferry
    • GST

    Photo: Highlights of New Zealand Self-Drive Experience | Tourcan Vacations | En Route visit the Hobbiton Movie Set

    Day 1: Arrive Auckland Flight (Not Included)

    After clearing Customs and Immigration, and collecting your baggage, please enter the Main Arrivals Hall, turn immediately left and make your way to the Pre-Booked Transport and Groups area, where you will be met by your driver. He/she will be standing with a signboard displaying your name and will assist you to your vehicle for private transfer to the hotel. Normal check in time applies but the hotel will store your luggage until your room becomes available.

    Overnight: Grand Millennium Auckland (Superior Room)

    Meals: None

    Located in the heart of the city, a stay at Grand Millennium Hotel Auckland places you within walking distance of a variety of the city's dining, shopping and entertainment venues. The Superior Room is a spacious and modern room with a floor to ceiling window and views of the city, as well as a large ensuite with separate bath and shower.

    Day 2: Auckland 

    Early breakfast at the hotel.

    Pick up from the hotel lobby and proceed on a sightseeing tour of Auckland with a local English speaking guide.

    This half-day morning tour of Auckland City is designed to explore the history and sights as well as see how Aucklanders live and play. You will cross the Harbour Bridge, enjoy a stroll on a beach and coffee in Devonport and enjoy the stunning panoramic views from Mt Victoria. Visit Westhaven Marina, one of the largest marinas in the Southern Hemisphere followed by the Auckland Fish Market and the Viaduct Harbour.

    Afternoon is at leisure to explore the city independently.

    Overnight: Grand Millennium Auckland (Superior Room)

    Meals: Breakfast

    Day 3: Auckland/Hobbiton/Rotorua - 228 kms/4 hours drive

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Check out of the hotel and pick up from the hotel lobby and make your way to the nearest Rental Car depot and collect a Toyota Corolla Sedan or similar intermediate automatic from Rent A Car.

    (5 pax / luggage capacity 2 large suitcases) Includes hire, unlimited kilometres, standard motor vehicle insurance, Rental company’s Protection Plan reducing excess to Nil and GPS Unit.

    Inter-islander Ferry return Fee may applies (NZ$51.75 – pay direct).

    Rental vehicle hirers will be required to put down a security deposit by credit card issued in their name (minimum NZ$100 + credit card fee). This will not be activated if the vehicle is returned undamaged, on time, to the pre-arranged depot with a full tank of gas. Please ensure you present a full and valid driver’s license (must be in English).

    Drive south over the Bombay Hills then turn east to travel across the Hauraki Plains through the rural town of Matamata. Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire that featured in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings. Your tour starts with a drive by coach and guide travelling through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Your guide will escort you walking through the ten acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton set was created. The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films can be viewed and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth.

    Upon completion of your tour enjoy a complimentary beverage in the Green Dragon Inn then return to The Shires Rest.

    Departing Matamata, continue over the bush-clad Mamaku Ranges to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua.

    Rest of the day at leisure.

    Overnight: Distinction Rotorua Hotel (Deluxe Room)

    Meals: Breakfast

    Distinction Rotorua Hotel is located just minutes from the city centre, in a beautiful garden setting guests can relax and unwind whilst still being minutes from all the attractions and activities Rotorua has to offer. The Deluxe Room delivers the perfect balance of comfort and style, situated on the top floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy views from their own private balcony.

    Day 4: Rotorua

    Early breakfast at the hotel.

    Depart the hotel on a self-drive sightseeing tour with admission included to the below sightseeing operators: A daytime discovery experience like no other, walk high amongst giant 118-year-old redwood trees and open your eyes to the natural beauty of our forest. A peaceful haven for you to discover above the forest floor, surround yourself with gentle giants, native fauna and sweeping silver ferns. The Treewalk takes an average 40 minutes to complete. Overlooking Lake Rotorua, the Lake Spa is Polynesian Spa’s deluxe hot mineral bathing and relaxation area. Enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in the four alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C). Here you are surrounded by revitalizing native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, and the energizing sight and sound of two waterfalls and a grotto that reflects the glistening water.

    Te Pō is Te Puia’s evening cultural experience. Enjoy an indepth experience of the customs and traditions of Māori, with a welcoming pōwhiri, a warrior’s challenge and a full kapa haka concert performance. You will enjoy a sumptuous meal, with cuisine that incorporates indigenous ingredients, traditional hangi-cooked food and contemporary Māori dishes. As the evening concludes, visit Pohutu, Whakarewarewa's famous geyser, under the stars (weather permitting).

    Rest of the day at leisure

    Overnight: Distinction Rotorua Hotel (Deluxe Room)

    Meals: Breakfast

    Day 5: Rotorua/Martinborough - Drive 

    Early breakfast at the hotel.

    Depart Rotorua and travel south pass Lake Taupo and on to Martinborough.

    Martinborough is famous for its 20-odd vineyards, most within walking or cycling distance of the village square. It is packed with colonial charm and criss-crossed with walking and cycle tracks to explore. The sunny dry climate and free draining low-vigour soils of the Wairarapa Valley is ideal for grape growing and results in intensely flavoured grapes. The Pinot Noirs, make up 60% of the grapes planted here with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris also popular.

    Enjoy a leisurely afternoon and tomorrow morning to explore the wineries or boutique shops.

    Overnight: Martinborough Hotel (Heritage/Garden Suite)

    Meals: Cooked Breakfast

    The Heritage Rooms are part of the original hotel, the rooms overlook the vibrant Martinborough Wine Village and picturesque courtyard. Step through the French doors onto the wrapping balcony and take a seat on the rattan chairs to see stunning views from any side of the hotel.

    Day 6: Martinborough/Wellington - 81 kms/2 hours drive

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Morning at leisure. Either enjoy some time at leisure in the boutique township or continue on to Wellington.

    Check out of the hotel and proceed on your drive to Wellington. From Martinborough the road continues through the rugged Rimutaka Ranges that form a formidable barrier between the Wairarapa and the Hutt Valley.

    Descend into the Hutt Valley, which takes its name from the Hutt River, then arrive at Wellington, the Capital City and Seat of Parliament.

    Begin your adventure with guided highlights of ZEALANDIA: The Exhibition. Then, as darkness falls, follow your guide into the Sanctuary Valley to search for little spotted Kiwi. Over 100 kiwis call this valley home, so there's a really good chance of spotting one! Also look out for Tuatara; a nocturnal duck, the Pateke; native forest parrot, the Kaka and the Morepork, a native owl.

    Includes: Taxi transfers each way.

    Overnight: Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay (Superior Room)

    Meals: Full Breakfast

    Your accommodation is located on Oriental Parade. The Copthorne Hotel is an ideal home base for guests exploring the area. The Superior Room features a private balcony with views of the cityscape, room with a king bed or a double and single bed combination, ensuite and all the modern in-room amenities a guest could need.

    Day 7: Wellington/Picton/Kaikarou

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Return rental vehicle to the Car Rentals car park at the Interislander Ferry Terminal, Aotea Quay, and deliver key to the after-hours drop-box at the Rental Car Counter, Tel: (04) 473 7588, in the Arrivals Hall. NZ$51.75 incl GST ferry return fee applies, pay direct – this will be charged to your credit card. Report to the Interislander Counter in the Departure Hall and check your luggage through to Picton.

    Depart Wellington on the Interislander Ferry cruising across Cook Strait and through the scenic Queen Charlotte Sound to the South Island. The 92km voyage takes approximately three and a half hours. Dining facilities available on board at your own cost.

    On arrival to Picton, collect your luggage and proceed to the Rental Car counter to collect your South Island rental vehicle.

    Depart Picton and drive through the vineyards surrounding Blenheim in the Marlborough Wine Country then along the thin ledge of land pinned between the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged ranges to Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea.

    Overnight: Sudima Kaikoura (Superior Room)

    Meals: Buffet Breakfast

    Photo: Highlights of New Zealand Self-Drive Experience | Tourcan Vacations | Interislander Ferry cruising across Cook Strait and through the scenic Queen Charlotte Sound to the South Island

    Day 8: Kaikarou/Christchurch - 181 kms/4 hours drive

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    This morning take a Whale Watch experience by modern purpose-built catamaran for an exciting close-up encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment. The upwelling of nutrient rich waters around Kaikoura supports an abundant and diverse fauna of vertebrates, fish and marine mammals. At times you may also see Dusky Dolphins and the Rare Hector Dolphins, NZ fur seals, sea lions and a large variety of seabirds including the smallest of the penguins, the little Blue Penguin. 

    Allow 3.5-hours for the Whale Watch experience. Between 2 and 2.5 hours is spent on the water, with the extra hour covering report time, checking in and transport to and from the boat. 

    Depart Kaikoura this afternoon. The road south follows the wild coastline affording constantly changing seascapes and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean before turning inland and climbing the Hundalee Ranges. Then descend into the rolling farmland of North Canterbury passing through several small country towns before entering the city of Christchurch.

    Overnight: Distinction Christchurch Hotel (Superior King / Twin Room)

    Meals: Full Breakfast

    In the heart of the city and a short walk to many of the attractions the area has to offer, Distinction Christchurch offers accommodation in central Christchurch for guests exploring the area. The Superior King/Twin Room is a spacious room that features either a king bed or two queen beds, ensuite, large windows, small seating area and many other in-room amenities.

    Photo: Highlights of New Zealand Self-Drive Experience | Tourcan Vacations | Whale-watching Experience in Kaikoura

    Day 9: Christchurch/Mount Cook - 333 kms/5 hours drive

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Depart the city travelling across the sheep and crop farmlands of the Canterbury Plains then inland through the rural town of Fairlie and Burkes Pass.

    At Tekapo stop to see the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd with its views from the altar window across the lake to the mountains then travel around glacially formed Lake Pukaki into Mt Cook National Park. At the heart of New Zealand’s most spectacular alpine region is Mt Cook, at 3754 metres the highest peak in Australasia.

    Please note: there is no supermarket or general store at Mount Cook Village. Nor is there a petrol station – self-service facility only and requires credit card with pin number.

    The darkness of the night sky around Aoraki Mt Cook is unbeatable. Let the team at Big Sky Stargazing introduce you to the wonders above. The 4367sq km Gold Status Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is the largest in the world and for this tour you will be the centre of it all. The fully trained guides are delighted to show you the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at the r outdoor viewing platform or if the weather is not favourable then ‘live’ under the high definition digital dome planetarium. Unleash your imagination as you discover constellations including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even our very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way.

    Overnight: Aoraki Court Motel (Executive Spa/Shower Studio)

    Meals: Continental Breakfast

    The motel is situated in Mount Cook Village surrounded by the splendour of the Southern Alps. Every unit has views of the surrounding mountains with each directly facing the stunning Mt Sefton. The motel is situated opposite the intersection of State Highway 8 and Bowen Drive as you enter the village.

    Photo: Highlights of New Zealand Self-Drive Experience | Tourcan Vacations | Southern Night Sky Experience MT Cook

    Day 10: Mount Cook/Vanaka - 208 kms/3 hours drive

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Continue south alongside glacial Lake Pukaki and pass through the small towns of Twizel and Omarama. Travelling across the barren terrain of the Lindis Pass and the picturesque Otago countryside to the delightful lakeside town of Wanaka.

    On arrival to Wanaka you may wish to spend some time enjoying Wanaka and its environs. There are guided walks up into the glacial valleys, trips across the lake to visit the native birds on Stevenson’s Island, mountain bikes available for hire, wineries to visit and sample the produce, the vintage aircraft at the Warbirds Museum to see or you may wish to get lost in the Great Maze and be puzzled by the illusions at Puzzling World (not included).

    Overnight: Edgewater (Lakeview Hotel Room)

    Meals: Full Breakfast

    Edgewater lies right at the water's edge of Lake Wanaka. It is the perfect destination for you to experience all that Central Otago's four seasons have to offer. All rooms have either a balcony or patio overlooking the lake and gardens with the Southern Alp mountains in the background.

    Day 11: Vanaka/Queenstown - 67 kms/2 hours drive

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Before departing the area join a 4WD tour. Words fail to describe how utterly spectacular this adventure through West Wanaka High Country Station is. Wild and empty silence, jawdropping mountain-top scenery with views for days are just the beginning.

    Participation with predator control conservation projects, yarns about farming life, and fascinating local history will leave a deep and lasting connection with the land. One of the most authentic adventures Wanaka has to offer.

    Drive through the fruit growing region around Cromwell or alternatively take New Zealand’s highest road across the Crown Range to the delightful lakeside resort of Queenstown.

    On arrival, return your rental vehicle to the nearest Rental Car depot.

    Overnight: Scenic Suites Queenstown (Lakeview Superior Room)

    Meals: Full Breakfast

    Day 12: Queenstown

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Today enjoy a day at leisure to explore Queenstown, admission to the Skyline Gondola is included. Sit back and ride the scenic aerial gondola to Bob’s Peak rising 450m/1500ft high above Queenstown. From here the panoramic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges including The Remarkables are breathtakingly spectacular.

    Please retain your ticket for the downward journey

    This evening enjoy a taste of rural life in New Zealand. Steeped in Queenstown’s pioneering history, the experience commences with a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the 1912 vintage steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm, one of the first farms set up in the region and still a working farm. In the ambience of the Colonel’s Homestead, enjoy a delicious gourmet BBQ dinner which the chef will prepare in front of you. After dinner enjoy an entertaining brief farm experience including a sheep shearing demonstration. 

    On the magical nighttime cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a sing-a-long with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

    Overnight: Scenic Suites Queenstown (Lakeview Superior Room)

    Meals: Full Breakfast

    Day 13: Queenstown

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    For today’s trip wear non-slip shoes and bring a warm jacket/sweater, sun protection, raincoat, water bottle and insect repellent may be required. This morning you will be collected from the hotel for a full day tour by coach travelling around the eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu and across the picturesque Southland countryside to Te Anau and into the dramatic landscape of the Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Stop at the Mirror Lakes to see the near perfect reflections of the mountains in the calm waters then take a short walk to the Chasm and see where the waters disappear into the rocks before arriving in Milford Sound. Cruise the fiord past Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea enjoying the stunning scenery of cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest, steep cliff faces and marine life that inhabits these waters. Picnic box lunch is included, and your nature guide will give a commentary on the interesting features of the area.

    Return to Queenstown by coach arriving approx. 8.30pm (scenic flights from Milford Sound to Queenstown available at extra cost).

    Overnight: Scenic Suites Queenstown (Lakeview Superior Room)

    Meals: Full Breakfast

    Day 14: Queenstown

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    A full day at leisure to enjoy the many activities and attractions available in the area. You may wish to experience a thrilling ride on a jetboat, drive out to quaint Arrowtown which was a rip-roaring town in the 1860’s gold rush, cruise the lake on the vintage steamer, parasail on the lake, join a 4WD tour onto a rural property with panoramic views across the valley, take a guided bush walk, enjoy a scenic flight over the area, take a cycling tour from Mt Nicholas Station to Walter Peak High Country Station, try horse riding, play a round of golf or enjoy the challenge of white water rafting, join a winery tour to some of the most southern vineyards in the world, ride the aerial gondola to Bob’s Peak for the panoramic view across the lake to the mountains, join a 4WD tour into the home of ‘Middle Earth’ where much of the filming was done for ‘Lord of the Rings’ or if you dare - try bungy-jumping (all at extra cost).

    Overnight: Scenic Suites Queenstown (Lakeview Superior Room)

    Meals: Full Breakfast

    Day 15: Depart Queenstown Flight (Not Included)

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    12:00 noon check out of the hotel and transfer by private car and driver from the hotel to Queenstown Airport to board your flight back home.

    Meals: Breakfast

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    Terms And Conditions

    Per person Land Cost ONLY per person sharing in double/twin share (based on 2 people travelling). Please inquire about single supplement or international airfare. Deposit of $200 per person within 60-days of reservation. Final payment due 45-days before departure.

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