Essential New Zealand
Auckland to Christchurch
Breadcrumb
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Thrifty Tours

Essential New Zealand

From the north to the south, this journey will see you experience all the essential New Zealand destinations. Get up close and personal with the Maori culture, be amazed by the scenery onboard the TranzCoastal Train and cruise on the world renowned Milford Sound.

Currency selector
All prices are in
Tour summary and feature
Quick Itinerary Details

Independent tour (bus & coach)

This suggested tour costs from NZD$3,810 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

10 days/9 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 143 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

- Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Intercity Depot - Private Transfer
- Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation (IST)
- Private transfer Wellington Hotel to Airport (IST)
- Private transfer Christchurch Airport to your accommodation
- Private transfer accommodation to Intercity stop Lichfield St
- Dunedin Coach Stop to Accommodation Transfer with Iconic
2 lunches
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Travel to Waitomo Caves and then onto Rotorua, visit Tamaki Maori Village this evening
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Day 2: A half day Rotorua tour visiting some great attractions. The rest of the day is yours
Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Day 3: Travel south today to Wellington via Lake Taupo
Accommodation: Rydges Hotel Wellington

Day 4: Some free time in Wellington this morning before flying to Christchurch City
Accommodation: Sudima Christchurch City

Day 5: Today head south to the Edinburgh of the South - Dunedin City
Accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Day 6: Cross the Southland farmland scenery to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 7: A highlight of your trip - the world heritage area of Milford Sound
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 8: Chill out or explore the adventure capital of Queenstown
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 9: Another day to enjoy the activities and scenery of this alpine resort
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 10: Queenstown to Christchurch

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 10 day tour starting in Auckland

Day 1 - Travel to Waitomo Caves and then onto Rotorua, visit Tamaki Maori Village this evening
Essential New Zealand - Day 1
Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour via Hobbiton Movie Set

Departing from Auckland city, this is a wonderful way to get to Rotorua and include a magical journey through Middle-earth to the Hobbiton Movie Set from "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" films. Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Journey through the heritage town of Cambridge where tree-lined streets add to the English-style atmosphere. On arrival at Shire's Rest you embark on your Hobbiton movie set tour where you will see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and visit the Green Dragon Inn (where a complimentary beer, cider or ginger ale is included). At this stunning location you can take a photo at the door of Bilbo's house, Bag End, looking out over the whole of Hobbiton to the hills in the distance. At the end of your Hobbiton movie set tour you will travel on to Rotorua.

Te Pā Tū Evening Maori Cultural Experience

New Zealand’s Most Awarded Cultural Attraction, Tamaki Māori Village presents TE PĀ TŪ. Feast on song, drama, tradition, and divine seasonal kai (cuisine) within the forest Pā (village) –blanketed by towering Tawa trees, blazing bonfires, and a forest-formed amphitheatre. Te Pā Tū shares Māori history, traditions, and cultural aspirations across 4-hours of celebration and feasting. These events change with each season of the maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar. 

Your accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.
Day 2 - A half day Rotorua tour visiting some great attractions. The rest of the day is yours
Essential New Zealand - Day 2
Rotorua Duck Tours City & Lakes Tour

You haven't seen Rotorua until you've seen it from a Duck. Discover Rotorua in the most unique way possible with the City and Lakes Tour. This unique sightseeing adventure takes place on land and water, on-board a WWII amphibious Duck. Unlike any other tour in Rotorua, the duck tour is the best way to see the city and experience the beauty of the surrounding lake district all at once.
Your tour begins right in the heart of the city where you will discover the sights and sounds, and learn all about the rich history and diversity that makes Rotorua such a unique destination. With your conDUCKtor, you will venture out of town to the spectacular lakes district where you will see magnificent views of Mt Tarawera and splashdown into Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Okareka.

Rotorua afternoon at leisure

This afternoon is completely at your leisure to explore one of New Zealand most unique towns. Take a stroll along the beautiful lakefront, take a guided tour at either Wai-O-Tapu or Waimangu Volcanic Valley and experience the geothermal features Rotorua has to offer. Also not to miss is the Rotorua Duck Tour around the city and lakes providing you with history and a thrill ride.
You might also like to take a helicopter ride to view the Volcanic Peaks of Mount Tarawera at 3680 feet or cycle the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest.
You could also travel on the paddle boat, 'Lakeland Queen' on Lake Rotorua. Alternatively, you might want to try something more adventurous like zipping through a native forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours.

Your accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.
Day 3 - Travel south today to Wellington via Lake Taupo
Essential New Zealand - Day 3
Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Intercity Depot

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Intercity Coach Depot.

Rotorua to Wellington by InterCity Coach

Your coach journey from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupō and New Zealand's largest lake. The lake itself is actually a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the worlds largest ever eruptions. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand's three world heritage sites and clouds permitting you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe as this was used as the scenery of Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Heading south you pass through the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the Kapiti Coast, with its coastal seaside towns of Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton. The Kapiti Coast leads into Wellington, New Zealand's capital. Wellington 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), so exploring on foot is relatively easy. From your city centre accommodation you can easily stroll the cafes and restaurants around Courtenay Place and explore New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, which is also close by.

Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation

You will be met on arrival at Wellington airport and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Rydges Hotel Wellington

Rydges Wellington is centrally located in the heart of the city and within walking distance of great restaurants, shopping and city attractions.
Day 4 - Some free time in Wellington this morning before flying to Christchurch City
Essential New Zealand - Day 4
Wellington City

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini Melbourne, this (self-described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food, and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner-city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

Head to Te Papa Museum for a history lesson and a ticket to one of its many international exhibitions or jump aboard the Wellington Cable Car at Lambton Quay - the only running funicular railway in the country. For those with an eye for boutique, fashion wander through Cuba St to sample some of the city's best vintage stores. Break for coffee at a hipster cafe and be sure to snap a pic outside the ‘Beehive,’ New Zealand’s parliamentary debate chamber.

Go behind the scenes at Weta Workshop, the Oscar Award Winning design studio behind Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, and Avatar. We recommend a 45 minute guided tour through both the Workshop and Weta Cave. If you're a foodie at heart, a two-hour round trip to Martinborough is a must-do. Take your time as you wind through spectacular wine country, and be sure to stop in at Martinborough Wines or Ata Rangi Martinborough. For an educational day out, learn about New Zealand's native species at Zealandia - the world's first fully-fenced eco-sanctuary and home to over 40 types of endangered and native birds.

Private transfer Wellington Hotel to Airport (IST)

You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Air New Zealand flight Wellington to Christchurch

Fly from Wellington Airport to Christchurch Airport.

Private transfer Christchurch Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your accommodation: Sudima Christchurch City

Sudima Christchurch City is a brand new 5-star boutique hotel, ideally located on Victoria Street. Amidst an array of cafes, restaurants and bars, stay only a martini olive pips’ throw from beautiful Hagley Park and Christchurch’s CBD. Experience the garden city in comfort and style.
Day 5 - Today head south to the Edinburgh of the South - Dunedin City
Essential New Zealand - Day 5
Private transfer accommodation to Intercity stop Lichfield St

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to the coach stop.

Christchurch to Dunedin by InterCity Coach

Leaving Christchurch early, you will cross the vast Canterbury Plains as you head South, crossing many braided rivers that start their life as glacial melt water high in the Southern Alps. New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia crosses such an example. Pass through the towns of Timaru followed by Oamaru, most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. Continue along the coast and into the city of Dunedin.

Dunedin Coach Stop to Accommodation Transfer with Iconic

On arrival into Dunedin you will be met from your coach and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Distinction Dunedin Hotel occupies the grand Chief Post Office built in the 1930’s. This art deco inspired building has recently been transformed into a 4 star hotel with elegant décor, set in the heart of the city.
Day 6 - Cross the Southland farmland scenery to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland
Essential New Zealand - Day 6
Dunedin to Te Anau Transfer

The drive to Te Anau takes you through classic Southland farmland scenery. Pass through the tranquil river town of Balclutha, the largest town in South Otago, which hosts a range of shops and services. Balclutha is memorable for its arched concrete bridge, under which flows the mighty Clutha River. The river is open for salmon and trout fishing all year round.
As you head inland, you will pass through the small rural town of Clinton before reaching Gore, the official home of country music. It's also known for great fly fishing, with the Mataura River and many other productive streams close by. Take time to enjoy the lush farmland scenery as you journey east towards your lakeside destination of Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.

Your accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.
Day 7 - A highlight of your trip - the world heritage area of Milford Sound
Essential New Zealand - Day 7
Premium Milford Sound Small Group Tour, Cruise & Picnic Lunch

This small group, fully-guided day trip combines the amazing return journey to Milford Sound with a boutique Milford Sound Cruise aboard Cruise Milford. Led by famously passionate tour guides, notorious for bringing the journey to life by sharing their stories and rich background knowledge and run in modern, comfortable minibusses packed with extras ensuring your comfort and safety.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Meals included: Lunch

Day 8 - Chill out or explore the adventure capital of Queenstown
Essential New Zealand - Day 8
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

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. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. If you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.
Finally, if you're lucky enough to visit in winter (July-September) there are four ski resorts close by. You can head up to Coronet Peak and the Remarkables close to Queenstown, or head to Wanaka for Cardrona and Treble Cone.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere! From which you can take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.
Day 9 - Another day to enjoy the activities and scenery of this alpine resort
Essential New Zealand - Day 9
Enjoy a second day in Queenstown

With such an abundance of activities on offer, one day in Queenstown is never enough!  Today you’ll have some spare time for those things you didn’t get to do yesterday.  For more thrills you can choose from jet boating, luging, bungy jumping or a canyon swing. If golf is your game, the exceptional Millbrook Golf Course is the place for you. Explore a little further afield - nearby historic gold mining township Arrowtown, is a popular destination and features many original buildings and features. At the head of Lake Wakatipu sits Glenorchy, the scenic drive here is worth the trip alone, however arriving into this peaceful township you could easily rest the day away.  Nearby is the start of the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.  You can enjoy a section of this track as a day walk or for the ultimate wilderness adventure choose the 3 day all-inclusive fully guided option.  To really appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds this area, a scenic flight or hot air balloon ride will take your breath away.  For a slightly more grounded experience, the Skyline Gondola offers fantastic views of Queenstown and the Remarkables.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.
Day 10 - Queenstown to Christchurch
Essential New Zealand - Day 10
Queenstown to Christchurch Small Group Tour via Aoraki/Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo

This small group, fully-guided day trip combines all of the key highlights in the area with the famous Lake Tekapo, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and Tasman Glacier. The ultimate way to get from Queenstown Christchurch. Led by famously passionate tour guides, notorious for bringing your journey to life by sharing their stories and rich background knowledge and run in modern, comfortable minibuses packed with extras ensuring your comfort and safety.

Tour quick quote
Instant quote or Book this tour

Essential New Zealand

Step 1: Choose a preferred start date here
Step 2: Select number of guests and room configuration
Select number of adult per room type
Single occupancy (based on 1 adult in one room)
Double room (based on 2 adults in 1 room, 1 bed)
Twin room (based on 2 adults sharing 1 room with 2 beds)
No pricing loaded - please choose another date or contact us
Your quote for this tour:
Start date:
End date:
Guests:
Rooms:
Total cost for ALL guests is:
0
This quote is based on vehicles to accommodate your party in the vehicle type. We suggest changing the car type or contacting us for the best options.
Save and send a copy of this quote to
or

NOTE: Instant quotes are subject to availability of specific accommodation and other inclusions. Our NZ touring experts will be in touch with you regarding this. Costs quoted in currencies other than New Zealand dollars (NZ$) are based on todays exchange rate and are  subject to change. Refer to our terms and conditions.

Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise to suit your interests and timeframe. Just contact us here.

Tour departure list
See all departure dates & prices
Departure dates and prices
This tour has 173 departure dates.
All prices are in
Go to dates in
Starts Status Twin/Double (2 people sharing) Single occupancy You save  
Jul 12, 2022
(Tuesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 13, 2022
(Wednesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 14, 2022
(Thursday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 15, 2022
(Friday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 16, 2022
(Saturday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 17, 2022
(Sunday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 18, 2022
(Monday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 19, 2022
(Tuesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 20, 2022
(Wednesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 21, 2022
(Thursday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 22, 2022
(Friday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 23, 2022
(Saturday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 24, 2022
(Sunday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 25, 2022
(Monday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 26, 2022
(Tuesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 27, 2022
(Wednesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 28, 2022
(Thursday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 29, 2022
(Friday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 30, 2022
(Saturday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Jul 31, 2022
(Sunday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 1, 2022
(Monday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 2, 2022
(Tuesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 3, 2022
(Wednesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 4, 2022
(Thursday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 5, 2022
(Friday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 6, 2022
(Saturday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 7, 2022
(Sunday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 8, 2022
(Monday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 9, 2022
(Tuesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 10, 2022
(Wednesday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
Aug 11, 2022
(Thursday)
Check with us
NZD$3,810
NZD$5,820
save
NZD$0pp
Enquire Book
All prices are in
Go to dates in
Contact form
Send enquiry about this tour
Your contact information

See our privacy policy here

Tour recommendation

Some similar tours to this one

10 days Map
10 day Southern Icons
View Tour
 
10 days Map
10 day Glaciers and Overnight Fiordland
View Tour
 
10 days Map
10 day Southern National Parks
View Tour