North Island Twin Coast Discovery
✔️ Driving north from Auckland via the North Shore, our first stop will be the town of Matakana....a gateway to your accommodation for a couple of nights at Brick Bay Wineries at Snell Beach. The city is a foodie’s heaven known for its weekend farmers market, boutique food shops and spectacular vineyards.
✔️ Keep following the highway north to Whangarei, the city by the sea. Whilst you’re there, visit the Whangarei Falls, the summit of Mount Parihaka and hang out at Quayside, the entertainment centre.
✔️ From there, go inland via Kawiti Family Glow worm Caves or over the mountains via the coast to Helena Bay.
✔️ Then you will be in the Bay of Islands - whether you stay in Kerikeri, Paihia or Russell there is plenty to do in this area with beautiful beaches, opportunities for fishing, surfing, diving and dolphin encounters as well as fabulous hikes including the Cape Brett Walkway.
✔️ On the way down south take the west coast highway for another scenic drive.
✔️ When visiting Auckland, there is one place you must always go to - Waiheke Island. It’s only a short ferry ride across the bay and together with fabulous wineries to visit, there are some incredible places to stay. A day trip is possible, but if you can spare the time, a few days spent here is recommended.
North Island Thermal Explorer
Start the journey in Auckland before venturing south…
✔️ After leaving Auckland this morning, travel south to Waitimo to see the incredible glow worm caves.....by foot or by boat, you’ll see the magical creatures light up.
✔️ Rotorua is the adventure capital of the North Island. It’s famous for its thermal mud pools and hot springs, but there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family occupied for days.
✔️ Continue south to Taupo for more adventure and a visit to Huka Falls and Tongariro National Park. Glamping in this area is popular to immerse yourselves in nature.
✔️ For a change of pace, let’s head into the Hawke’s Bay Area for some wonderful wine, innovative cuisine, shopping and art galleries.
✔️ Napier is known as the Art Deco capital of New Zealand - walking around the city is like being on a 1930s film set. The Art Deco festival is held each February.
✔️ To finish our North Island Thermal Explorer itinerary, we’ll end in Wellington. The capital is a city with a vibrant mix of culture, history, nature, shopping and cuisine. Wellington is the master of casual dining with great restaurants, night markets and food trucks aplenty.
South Island Exploration
✔️ Start your journey in Christchurch, hire a car and drive north to Hanmer Springs - known for its thermal springs and hot pools
✔️ Drive inland to Lewis Pass and do the Nature loop walk, then on to Maruia Falls near Murchison.
✔️ From there, it’s a must to visit Nelson Lakes National Park which is stunning.
✔️ Base yourself in Nelson for a few days to do some wine tasting in and around Marlborough Sound, boat cruises or visit art galleries and shop.
✔️ Or set off on the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk - one of the great walks of New Zealand.
✔️ Travel via Blenheim to see Lake Grassmere, otherwise known as the pink lake
✔️ End off the trip with a fabulous stay at the Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses in Kaikoura, check out Ohau Point Seal Colony and waterfall before heading back to Christchurch
South Island Glacier Adventure
✔️ Let’s start the journey in Christchurch - the historic centre with beautiful old buildings and scenic gardens.
✔️ Take a boat ride on the Avon River and then head to Akaroa and the Bays for some dolphin spotting.
✔️ From there, drive west to the uncrowded ski town of Methven which is the perfect base for your heli-skiing adventure, or otherwise just an overnight stop.
✔️ Let’s move on to the town of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park - the base for your adventurous few days of discovery at Tasman Glacier, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.
✔️ Don’t forget to set aside time to see Lake Matheson and Lake Pukaki. Aside from the hikes, waterfalls, rainforests and lakes, there are glow worm caves and glacier hot pools to enjoy also.
✔️ As you drive north to Greymouth, drop off your car and take the TranzAlpine Express back to Christchurch.