Here you find an example of North and South Island tour, starting from Auckland.
Arrive Auckland, If you like to see and experience all of the highlights of New Zealand you may consider about visiting the Northern part of Auckland called Northland. That will add one more week to your journey and you will be making a complete tour around the islands for 35 days. Northland offers some of the most interesting and beautiful spots of the North Island. Hellensville with it’s spas and thermal springs might be a good place for you to start your tour from. As we drive towards the North you will have several opportunities for swimming or walking in Kauri forests. Kaipara harbor is so inviting for a swimming and you will probably swim in Tasman sea for the first time. The 90 mile beach is an astonishing sand beach where you can see an endless looking sand beach. Cape Reinga is the very Northern Part of New Zealand and has sand dunes where one wants to run and slide. Kerikeri has beautiful orchards, further down in the South there is Waitangi, which is the place where Waitangi treaty was signed by European New Zealanders and the Maori tribes. The botanical gardens in Whangarei few kilometers before getting to Whangarei has many different sorts of colorful flavors to watch. In Auckland you will see the Sky tower, the port and the Naval Museum nearby the harbour of luxurious yachts.
Driving to the South East you will get to Thames where gold was extracted from the ground. A small museum in Thames will guide us through the long journey when gold miners were able to make their fortunes. Coromandel Peninsula further in the East is a beauty. You may want to spend a night in Coromandel town. Karangahake Gorge is again one of the most interesting places to visit in New Zealand. The tunnels dug by the miners are now open to visitors. You can also see the derelict mining stations there. There are several exciting walking tracks where you will see the glowworms hanging on the ceilings of those dark tunnels. Waihi is a small town nearby which was also exploited for it’s mines and you will see a giant hole in the middle of the town created by the miners. Waihi beach and many other beaches will be on our way after this point. Anytime you like we will make a swimming stop and swim in the Turquoise blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. You may spend one night in Rotorua.
The next day after spending the day seeing Rotorua’s attractions head to Taupo. We will visit Huka falls and take the walking track ending at some inviting hot spring where you may want to swim before we continue walking towards Taupo Lake. Our next stop could be Turangi. Tongariro National Park on the North Island of New Zealand is centered on three active volcanoes: Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Ngauruhoe. The “Tongariro Trek” through the park includes this stunning view of the Emerald Lakes flanked by Mount Tongariro. The Tongariro Crossing track is about 17 km from Turangi and should only be attempted when the weather conditions are forecasted to be safe. Therefore your activities whilst staying in Turangi (say 3 nights) should be flexible. Taupo attractions and the Tongariro National Park attractions are all within 40 minutes of Turangi. Wanganui can be our next destination. This is a beautiful small town with beautiful streets housing English style shops.
Our next destination might be the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. In Wellington we will not miss the opportunity to visit the famous Te Papa museum and some other interesting museums by the sea. Then take the cable tram and climb to a hill from where you will have beautiful views over this overwhelming city. We will then walk downwards towards the parliament house through the Botanical gardens.
Our next destination will be the Inter islander ferry port. We will drive into this giant ferry and will go up to the passenger deck for having a bit of relaxation while watching the ferry coming out from the Wellington Harbor.
Crossing to the South Island by Ferry
Picton will be the first town you will see in the South Island. We can visit the Maritime museum nearby or simply walk in the port of Yachts. Kaikoura will be our next destination today. As we will be driving towards Kaikoura you might see seals resting on the beach. We wouldn’t want to disturb these seals so we will only have a look at them from a look out point near the road.
Christchurch is our next destination. In Christchurch we will visit the old parts of the town, the botanical gardens, take a tram tour around and visit the art galleries and the Museum. Overnight in Christchurch. Our next destination will be Dunedin. Which is a town with many Scottish characteristics. In Dunedin you will see several remarquable Victorian style buildings. We will then proceed to the South towards Milton and then make our way up to North by the gorgeous Clutha river. Alexandra is a town of orchards and we will have many opportunities for buying apricots, nectarines by the road side stalls of the orchards. On our way to Queenstown we will see many wine yards and wineries and will have opportunities to visit them. Clyde dam will be on our way and we can make a stop at the overlooking point. Just before we get to Queenstown we will have an opportunity to look for the old Kawaru Bridge which is the home of the bungee jumping. Would you like to try?
Queenstown is a beautiful city located by the Wakatipu lake. Here we will take the Gondola and climb to the heights of the city and have a luge ride? Visit a Kiwi birdlife park. Paragliding, skydiving, rafting will be some of the activities we will be able to experience in this area. Milford Sound and Mitre Peak is next. Some of the exciting walks can be done in this area. Hollyford, Greenstone, Caples tracks are some of them. Wanaka lake is our next destination. As we will drive towards north you will see Lake Hawea and again Lake Wanaka in this supreme natural beauty. We will continue our way towards Haast and visit some of the native swamp forests in some unspoiled eco-regions like Sheep Creek which is home to Elephant seals and Hector Dolphins which are under protection as they are about to extinct. Mt. Cook and then to Fox Glacier. Franz Josef, Hokitika, Abel Tasman National Park and Nelson will complete our journey in South Island and we will get back to Christchurch to fly back home.