- New Zealand
- New Zealand 20 Day Fly Drive
Introducing Fly-Drive tours to the stunning islands of New Zealand. A country where snow-capped mountains, volcanic terrain and glacial lakes are surrounded by pristine coastline. New Zealand is the pinnacle of natural beauty and our carefully mapped routes guide you past the absolute highlights. With your car rental, flights, ferry and accommodation covered, it's just up to you to drive between each destination.
Depart the UK on your flight to Auckland
Continue on your flight to Auckland
Collect your rental car and drive to your hotel. Once there spend some time exploring New Zealand's largest city. Cosmopolitan and lively, Auckland has plenty of things to see and do. Visit Viaduct Harbour, full of super yachts and lined with bars and cafes, before heading towards Downtown and the Mission Bay Beach Promenade.
With the day to explore New Zealand's biggest city you're spoilt for choice. You could opt for a guided tour and climb of the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge, or check out the urban chic of regenerated places like Victoria Park Market and Britomart. Alternatively, a 40-minute ferry ride takes you to gorgeous Waiheke Island, with scenic hiking trails, vineyards and beaches.
After a morning exploring Auckland, drive to volcanic Rotorua, a town famed for its Maori culture. On the way you could stop off at Matamata, where the Hobbiton set from the Lord of the Rings is located. During the drive, pass rural pastures and rolling farmland of the Waikato before the scenery turns more volcanic in nature as you reach Rotorua. Upon arrival check into your hotel.
Your day in Rotorua should start with a visit to one of the natural hot springs which are dotted throughout the surrounding area. This part of New Zealand is one of the most actively geothermic areas in the world, with geysers and other volcanic landmarks at every turn. The town is also famed for its Maori culture and you should take time time to visit the Mitai Maori Village while you are here.
A pleasant drive southwest to the southern end of Lake Taupo takes you to the rugged setting of Tongariro National Park, the country's oldest protected park with three active volcanoes - Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. If you allow enough time you could undertake the Tongariro Crossing, billed as the finest one-day walk in New Zealand. Other options include scenic flights, kayaking, rafting and mountain biking. Or just check in to the splendid Chateau Tongariro Hotel, relax and enjoy the fantastic view of Mount Ruapehu in luxurious surroundings.
The journey to Wellington from here will take you through a large and luscious chunk of the north island, past picturesque countryside, wineries and some of New Zealand's richest farmland. After passing through some pretty coastal towns the route runs along the magnificent natural harbour of the country's capital city.
A full day and two nights in Wellington offers much to enjoy, from cultural draws like the highly recommended Te Papa Museum to natural attractions such as the wild south coast. You can take your pick from lots of outdoor and adventure experiences, or just relax at a waterfront cafe, bar or restaurant and absorb the awesome harbour views. Maybe catch the cable car from Lambton Quay up to the Botanic Garden, or take in the 360-degree panorama from the top of Mount Victoria. Downtown, the shopping and nightlife are top notch.
Drop off your car and board the ferry for the breathtaking three-hour crossing of the Cook Strait to Picton, reckoned to be one of the most scenic voyages in the world. Don't miss the section through Marlborough Sound, a magical vista of mountains, islands and crystal-clear waters. On arrival in Picton collect your new car and head to Nelson, gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park and a beautiful seaside town in its own right.
Nelson is a magnet for artists and artisans, so visit some of the many studios for an original memento. And take a trip to Abel Tasman National Park with its glorious golden beaches, forest trails and marine life including seals, penguins and dolphins. Go walking, swimming or sea kayaking or just relax and soak up the sun while enjoying some famous Nelson Bay scallops washed down with a glass of the local wine.
Enjoy the dramatic views along the coast road as it winds its way south past wild beaches on the Tasman Sea towards Punakaiki. Close by this small town at Dolomite Point are the famous Pancake Rocks, an amazing limestone formation where the sea bursts through numerous vertical blowholes at high tide.
Today is another memorable drive down the coast of Westland National Park as you head for the dramatic twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef. Along the way the route passes towering rainforests, shimmering lakes and rushing rivers before reaching Franz Josef and its main attraction - the mighty glacier, an extraordinary sight so close to sea level. There are guided walks up to and onto the glacier, or you can go a lot higher with an unforgettable helicopter flight over this wonder of nature.
The drive south towards Queenstown starts by taking you past Fox Glacier and onwards through the UNESCO World Heritage Area of Haast. Marvel at the sheer beauty of the landscape as you then travel along the shores of Lakes Hawea and Wanaka before reaching the wonderland that is Queenstown later in the day.
The stunning adventure capital of New Zealand is a place for all seasons - each one bringing breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and different delights for everyone, from adrenaline-junkies to artists, from bikers to hikers. Admire and explore the majestic scenery of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountains. Maybe catch a gondola up to Bob's Peak. Or take a wander to the compact, cosmopolitan downtown that's chilled during the day and buzzing at night.
A delightful drive takes you to the town of Te Anau - gateway to the South Island's famous Fjordland and, in particular the majestic, unmissable Milford Sound. The road to Milford from Te Anau is an experience in itself; a stunning alpine drive through valleys and tunnels to Mitre Peak, towering up from the glassy waters of Milford Sound. A cruise on the Sound is an absolute must, and breathtaking in any weather. The vertiginous cliffs, mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls are truly awe-inspiring.
Te Anau is a charming town with its own gorgeous lake and no end of activities to choose from. It's a mecca for walkers, from lakeside strollers to mountain hikers. You could enjoy the thrill of jet-boating, or a more leisurely round of golf. Perhaps a helicopter flight for unforgettable views of Fjordland. Or maybe a boat trip across Lake Te Anau to see the amazing underground Glow Worm Caves.
Today's road trip takes you through the heart of the South Island, past snow-capped peaks and huge lakes, into the Mackenzie Basin and reaching Lake Tekapo. The township looks across a beautiful turquoise coloured lake to the mountains of the Southern Alps. On the shores you'll see the lovely Church of the Good Shepherd, a popular photo spot where the altar window frames a perfect view of the Alps. At night head for the Mount John Observatory for a dazzling view of the Southern Lights (April-September).
The last, but by no means least, destination on your tour is the fine city of Christchurch, a wonderful place to explore on foot or by tram if you're short on time. There's much to enjoy, from the famous Botanic Gardens to the unique 'Cardboard Cathedral' , built to replace the church damaged by the earthquake in 2011.
Head to the airport, dropping off your car before your flight home.
British passport holders are not currently required to obtain a visa in order to travel to New Zealand. Further visa advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you to check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding required passport validity.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flights to New Zealand are with Emirates (EK), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3. Each passenger is entitled to 30kg of hold luggage and hand luggage of 7kg not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) and we recommend you change some currency before you leave the UK.