If you are visiting New Zealand for a two week holiday, how are you going to make sure you get the very best out of it? It is a great thing to want to head to a place and travel around, be free and explore, but can it be done in two weeks? From experience, just turning up in a country and discovering it as you go means that you are going to waste a lot of your time there by organising and sorting out the things that you have discovered that you want to do.
With only two weeks to see the very best of any country, it is essential to do some planning, or, let experts do the planning for you. Here at Macs Adventure we have developed a two week trip around New Zealand that allows you to soak in all the highlights, hassle free.
We include all manner of transportation on this trip so that you are free to travel the length of the country, step outside the normal tourist spots and discover areas that are only accessible by foot. This trip really opens up New Zealand, gives you a mix of the tourist highlights and the ones that very few others will see. What are these highlights? Well, let's begin.....
Day 1: Arrive Auckland and overnight
A private transfer brings you from the airport to the centre of Auckland (20-30 mins), a city blessed with a wonderful location, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Tasman Sea to the east. It is regularly rated one of the world's top cities to live in and you will enjoy exploring it today.
Day 2: Rangitoto Island
After exploring more of Aukland in the morning, take a ferry (25 mins) to Rangitoto, a volcanic island which arose from the sea in fiery explosions a mere 600 years ago. Walk through the volcanic landscape to the summit to get an amazing view over Waitemata Harbour.
Day 3: Rental car pick up. Drive to Rotorua
Pick up your rental car and drive south to Rotorua (3H). Situated in the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua is the world’s most concentrated geothermal area, with spouting geysers, hot steaming pools, boiling mud and terraces. It also has an amazing Maori heritage and over 34% of its population is home to the Awara people.
Day 4: Waimangu Volcanic Valley Walk. Orakei Korako Geyserland and Thermal Park. Drive to Taupo
Explore Waimangu Volcanic Valley (25 mins) where you can hike through the valley and past the hot craters, springs and lakes of this unique hydrothermal and volcanic environment. This scenic reserve has an unspoilt beauty.
Next, make your way to Orakei Korako Geyserland and Thermal Park, (40 mins) also known as the Hidden Valley. There are up to 23 active natural geysers throughout the area and you can take bush walks through areas of native flora and fauna. Drive to Taupo (35 mins) and from your accommodation experience amazing views over the lake.
Day 5: Drive to Tongariro National Park. Taranaki Falls and Tama Lakes Walking Tracks
Today drive to Tongariro National Park (1H) and enjoy the stunning beauty of this volcanic UNESCO World Heritage Site. The track to Taranaki Falls has excellent mountain views and crosses a range of land forms. The upper and lower tracks form a loop with the 20m falls situated around the halfway point. Tonight stay in a lodge within the Tongariro National Park.
Day 6: Drive to Martinborough. Free time to vineyard visit on arrival
It’s a long drive today to reach the south of the North Island. (4H45) However, the scenery is excellent as you drive through rolling green farmland and in the distance you can spot snow-capped mountain peaks.
Arrive in Martinborough this afternoon, a little village surrounded by 35 vineyards where tasting the world-class Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir will be sure to tempt you to buy a few bottles.
Day 7: Drive to Wellington, explore. Afternoon flight to Queenstown
Drive to Wellington (1H) and explore New Zealand’s capital city. Even though, as cities go, it is rather small, its compact nature gives it a bigger-city vibe. Being the capital, it has plenty of museums (we recommend the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, a genuinely awesome museum. They even have a giant squid!), theatres and galleries.
Drop off your car at Wellington Airport and take a flight to Queenstown (1H20) in the South Island, then drive to Te Anau (2H).
Day 8: Milford Sound Cruise. Routeburn Track, Key Summit
Drive up to Milford Sound from Te Anau (1H45), then sit back and relax as your cruise departs from Milford Sound Wharf, and makes its way out past the iconic Mitre Peak. Be sure to keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun, pods of dolphins or rare Fiordland Crested Penguins that can be found seasonally within the region.
On your way back you should take a walk up to Key Summit. As soon as you start walking up to the peak, panoramic views of snow-capped peaks begin to unfold. The views from the top which are unforgettable.
Day 9: Drive to Wanaka via Arrowtown/Queenstown.
Today will be an amazing drive through the central Otago region and through Fiordland to Wanaka(3H), gateway to some marvellous Great Walks. It is worth visiting Arrowtown en route which is located just north of Queenstown. There is something to delay most folk here amidst quaint streets, intimate restaurants, cool bars, and historic Chinese gold settlements.
Day 10: Roy’s Peak Track
On the Roy’s Peak Track you can take in breath-taking views over Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring/Tititea and surrounding peaks after a steep climb through alpine meadows and tussock grasslands to the summit. This is a popular track and one of the best day hikes in the country, opening up vistas that many tourists never get to see.
Day 11: Drive to Glaciers region and Franz Josef.
Drive to the spectacular glaciers region of the South Island (3H). The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers cut through dramatic glacial valleys to flow into temperate rainforest. We recommend taking a day trip with a guide on the Franz Josef as you are not allowed to go onto the glacier by yourself.
Day 12: Choice of Walks, Alex Knob Track, or Robert’s Point Track
Alex Knob Track is only for experienced walkers. You will zig-zag your way up to Rata Lookout for your first views over the Franz Josef Glacier through lowland forest, sub-alpine scrub, alpine meadows and herb fields and to the Alex Knob summit. Forest birds, such as tui, bellbird, kereru (New Zealand wood pigeon), are heard regularly along the track.
An easier walking choice today (but good fitness is still required) is the Roberts Point Track, which again has great views over the surrounding landscapes.
Day 13: Drive to Greymouth. TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch
Head north (2H) to Greymouth. then after dropping off your rental car, board the TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch (4H30), one of the world’s, greatest train journey’s. This unforgettable train trip takes you through the South Island’s striking natural landscapes, traversing the Southern Alps. Then follow the Waimakariri river, cross the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury plains.
Upon arrival in Christchurch a transfer to your accommodation is included. This evening explore this world-famous 'Garden City' which has well-established expansive parks and public gardens.
Day 14: Onward Travel
A private transfer brings you to Christchurch Airport, from where you may make your onward journeys.
This itinerary gets you up close and personal with wild New Zealand, which is where the country really shines. We can customise this itinerary to suit your needs, so if you want extra nights added in, or sections removed, we are more than happy to accommodate you.