New Zealand Aotearoa Self-Drive Tour
Welcome to a truly spectacular adventure tour in New Zealand, one of the world’s top vacation destinations. New Zealand offers a variety of tourist attractions for both adventure junkies and first-time travelers looking to experience the natural wonder of New Zealand’s beauty.
The best way to experience all of the amazing attractions New Zealand has to offer is on your favorite car or motorcycle. Prepare yourself for a breathtaking ride on great roads through an amazingly beautiful country. The tour is packed with unique attractions and natural scenery which you hardly can imagine before you see them for yourself.
We ride New Zealand’s best motorcycle roads and visit all of the most spectacular attractions on the tour. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Auckland/AKL & Christchurch/CHC|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Begin at your convenience on your designated start date|
“At Explorify Tours we believe that good experiences and camaraderie are at least as important as the journey. Our goal is to fill your tour travelbag with as many positive memories as possible, so you go home with a big smile on your face. And with friends, you didn’t have before you started the tour.”
Note: Because of the time difference you will arrive home the date/day after you depart from NZ.
Day 1: The Coromandel Loop
(Driving day 1: 260 km/162 miles)
Following a late afternoon transfer down from Auckland the night before, we start our tour away from Auckland traffic by doing the Coromandel Loop – a stunning ride with many twists and turns over the miles and stunning coastal and mountain views all the way along this ride.
Day 2: Waihi to Gisborne via the Waioweka Gorge
(Driving day 2: 338 km/211 miles)
Today we head off towards the East Cape of New Zealand – first through the kiwi fruit growing area of Katikati and we then head down the stunning coastal ride of the Bay of Plenty coastline, before cutting inland to end the day riding through the endless twists and turns of the Waiweka Gorge with its amazing range of native bush. For those that wish that evening, we take in a Kapa Haka Maori show, high above Gisborne, in the natural outdoors.
Day 3: Gisborne to Lake Taupo
(Driving day 3: 328 km/205 miles)
The ride today takes us on a coastal ride through the wine-growing region of Hawkes Bay as we follow the road along the coast and through the vineyards. We have time for a lunch stop in the art deco town of Napier before we then turn and head inland towards the Central Plateau of the North Island – an afternoon ride across a remote New Zealand road, before dropping into the busy town of Taupo for a 2-night rest here.
Day 4: Lake Taupo
(Fun & rest day)
Today you have an opportunity to rest and experience what Taupo has to offer with the Huka Falls, Geothermal Parks, Boat Trips, Sky Dives, Bungee Jumps to name but a few. However, if you prefer to have a day of riding then there are wonderful day rides around Lake Taupo itself that can be done easily in a day of riding.
Day 5: Taupo to Wellington
(Driving day 4: 370 km/231 miles)
A long day of riding today and we head down off through Tongariro National Park with its 3 very distinctive volcanoes in the Central Plateau of the North Island. We then head down towards the southern tip of the North Island, spend your time cruising on relatively straight roads through the farmlands of the bottom half of the North Island, with its rolling countryside.
Day 6: Ferry crossing then Picton to Nelson
(Driving day 5: 108 km/68 miles)
Today we start off with a 3-hour ferry ride from the north to the south island – the latter half of the ferry crossing brings us in through the natural stunning beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sound, which is a wonderful cruise. Once we are at Picton we then have a short afternoon ride along with the challenging twists and turns of the Queen Charlotte Drive – a truly magnificent ride with amazing views, beaches and native bush.
Day 7: Nelson
(Fun & rest day)
We have a 2-night stay in Nelson so today is a free day to sightsee the local area of Nelson with its azure skies and wide-open spaces, beaches and lakes, spectacular national parks and unique landforms, vineyards and gourmet cafes, artists and galleries, entrepreneurs and boutique shopping experiences. If you wish to do a day of riding instead then there is a wonderful ride up to the stunning Abel Tasman Park – an approximate 200 km ride.
Day 8: Nelson to Punakaiki
(Driving day 6: 265 km/166 miles)
Today the ride takes us through the Buller Gorge – this is a wonderful ride of many more twists and turns as you follow the Buller River through the Gorge. You then head out to the coast and start down the West Coast of the South Island – our first stop on the West Coast is the stunning rock formation – Punakaiki Rocks.
Day 9: Punakaiki to Hanmer Springs
(Driving day 7: 261 km/163 miles)
Today we start to zig-zag across the South Island taking in the magnificent Southern Alp mountain passes that this country offers – we cruise through the Lewis Pass today. This is quite unlike the route through the Arthur Pass which we do in a couple of days’ time, Lewis Pass follows a meandering course along a succession of rivers so are almost constantly in a valley looking up.
Day 10: Hanmer Springs to Arthurs Pass
(Driving day 8: 258 km/161 miles)
The ride today leaves behind Hanmer Springs and takes us across the North Canterbury Plains before heading inland through the majestic mountain pass known as Arthurs Pass which is all about massive mountains and going up, up, up …then down, down, down. We spend the night in the Arthurs Pass.
Day 11: Arthurs Pss to Fox Glacier
(Driving day 9: 242 km/151 miles)
Today we ride out of the Arthurs Pass and ride down the stunning West Coast of the South Island, a beautiful coastal ride with high mountain ranges on your left and the ocean on your right. We arrive in Fox Glacier and there is enough time to take a helicopter flight up the glaciers for those that wish to see the Glaciers and Mount Cook from the air.
Day 12: Fox Glacier to Cardrona
(Driving day 10: 287 km/179 miles)
Today we take the road further south, heading through the more dramatic scenery of dense native bush and glacier valleys as we ride through the Haast Pass, past the stunning town of Wanaka on the shores of this huge lake, with some beautiful riding around the lake shores, we then head up to Cardrona for the night to be spent in this beautiful old hotel.
Day 13: Cardrona to Te Anau
(Driving day 11: 203 km/127 miles)
Today we cruise down into Queenstown for a morning of sightseeing the adventure activities of this wonderful town – for those that don’t wish to have sightseeing can take a ride out to Glenorchy along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Early afternoon we head off for the afternoon ride to the town of Te Anau – there is a wonderful evening glow worm tour offered here before dinner for those that wish. We settle for the night on the shores of the lake at Te Anau.
Day 14: Te Anau to Milford Sounds and Return
(Driving day 12: 240 km/150 miles)
Today we head off to Milford Sound – it is the same road in and out including a one-kilometer one-way tunnel. The ride has stunning mountains, glaciers, native bush and snow-clad mountain tips. Once at Milford Sound you take a 2-hour boat cruise out onto the Sound for those that wish, which is a truly spectacular cruise. We then head back for another night on the shores of the lake at Te Anau.
Day 15: Te Anau to Invercargill
(Driving day 13: 180 km/112 miles)
We have a late start today to give everyone the chance of a lie-in. Then we head off on the Southern Scenic Route to the southern town of Invercargill – once we arrive in Invercargill, we have the option of a further ride out to Bluff the southernmost point of New Zealand for those that wish. Also in this town is the Burt Munro museum which is definitely worth a visit!
Day 16: Invercargill via the Caitlins to Dunedin
(Driving day 14: 248 km/155 miles)
Today we head out back towards the East Coast of the South Island, with a beautiful ride through the stunning Caitlins region of Southland, a place of hidden waterfalls, river valleys and picturesque rocky bays where the Pacific Ocean bites into the land. We also make a visit to the Petrified Forest – 180 million years old, which is revealed at low tide at Curio Bay, this Jurassic forest, of petrified tree stumps and logs is amazing! We then head up to the Scottish-like town of Dunedin for the night.
Day 17: Dunedin to Lake Tekapo
(Driving day 15: 290 km/180 miles)
Leaving the town of Dunedin behind us we head up the coast to Oamaru where we have time to visit the penguin colony, before heading inland to the stunning lakes in the center of the Southern Alps and the South Island – Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Both of these lakes have Mount Cook as the stunning backdrop to the vividly unbelievable blue of these lakes. Tonight we spend the night on the shores of Lake Tekapo.
Day 18: Lake Tekapo via Rakaia Gorge to Christchurch
(Driving day 16: 256 km/160 miles)
Today the ride takes us back to the Garden City of Christchurch – we head off from Tekapo heading across the Canterbury Plains and through the stunning area of the Rakaia Gorge, as we head back to Christchurch – a day of relatively straight road riding after the twists and turns encountered in the last 10 days – just plain cruising home!
Note: This program is a guideline for activities and experiences on the tour. Deviations may occur, but we guarantee that our positive tour leaders will do their utmost to execute the program as described – as far as it is feasible and circumstances allow. We are continually working to improve the program, thus you may experience positive surprises.
Also: Because of the time difference travelers from Europe will arrive home the date/day after departing.