New Zealand is known for its vast countryside and distinctive natural beauty. Get familiar with the back roads as you drive south with Boutique New Zealand. Explore Napier, home to limitless outdoor adventures for the thrill seeker inside us all. Wine and dine in Martinborough, where the village square is the perfect place for a unique “walk the wineries” experience. Experience Blenheim, a cozy community with gourmet food and relaxing recreational opportunities. End in Christchuch after you’ve seen countless sprawling vistas from the front seat of your vehicle. Cruise down the Avon River or see the city from a hot air balloon. Whether you prefer high adrenaline or leisurely days, this itinerary is sure to satisfy every type of traveler.
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary.
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole – and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.
On arrival into Auckland, collect your rental vehicle from the airport depot and self-drive to your accommodation.
Auckland, ‘City of Sails’, located between two stunning harbors, enjoys a mild year-round climate. Auckland is the country’s most visited region and largest urban area, offering exciting activities and great shopping.
The city lies across a 7-mile wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbors. The Waitemata to the east opens into the Hauraki Gulf, and to the Pacific Ocean. The Manukau Harbour to the west offers many estuaries and surf beaches and opens to the Tasman Sea.
Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city. Wherever you stay in Auckland, you’re never far from breathtaking scenery, beautiful beaches, invigorating walks, idyllic holiday islands, outstanding food and wine, great shopping and exciting nightlife.
Your drive today will take approximately 5-6 hours.
Far from the world’s great population centers and from the European and American cities where 20th Century design evolved lies a small city that is unique. Napier was rebuilt in the early 1930s following a massive Richter 7.8 Earthquake. Subsequent fires destroyed most of its commercial heart. By the end of the decade, Napier was the newest city on the globe.
Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco, the style of the 20th Century – in such a concentrated area. And Napier’s Art Deco is unique, with Maori motifs and the buildings of Louis Hay, admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright.
Enhanced by palms and the angular Norfolk Island pines which are its trademark, and bounded by fertile fruit and grape growing plains, dramatic hills and the shores of the South Pacific, beautiful Napier is the center of the Hawke’s Bay region. In Napier, you can enjoy the legacy of its brave rebuilding and savor the spirit of the optimistic Art Deco era.
There is an endless variety of things to do in Hawke’s Bay ranging from theme parks and aquariums to Dolphins, Kiwis and Cape Kidnappers – the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colony in the world.
On top of that there are the wineries and outdoor adventures ranging from hot air ballooning and paragliding to windsurfing, jet skiing and canoeing across the bay. Hawke’s Bay has a reputation for trout the size most people would only dream about, and you can add to that the crayfish, snapper and other catches of the Pacific Ocean. Locals are also keen on their sports including horse racing and golf. Or you can leisurely stroll among our numerous shops and art galleries, or visit the local potters and wood turners. And after that you can enjoy the choice of world class international cuisine.
Today travel south, options include stopping at the small country towns including Greytown where you can cruise the cafes, art galleries and antique shops. Continue on to Martinborough well known for the range of vineyards in the area and its growing worldwide reputation for its Pinot Noir wine.
Step outside the square for olive grove tours and tastings, walks, crystal swimming holes and horseback views of the beautiful valley. Get out on a top-class golf course, speed across farmland on a quad bike, jet boat or clay pigeon shoot. Make the most of a day at leisure in Martinborough.
Drive to Wellington and return your rental vehicle before taking the Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton. The 50 mile journey takes little more than three hours, yet it’s one of the world’s great scenic cruises. And when you cruise across on the ferry, you’ll find a wonderful combination of entertainment and services that will make your Cook Strait crossing even more memorable.
On arrival, collect your rental car and enjoy a short 30 minute drive to the beautiful wine district of Blenheim.
Blenheim is situated on the fertile Wairau Plains in the Marlborough district, at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Marlborough’s varied attractions include its wine industry, the waterways of the Marlborough Sounds, gourmet foods, adventure activities, relaxing recreation opportunities, and so much more.
With a population of just over 25,000 citizens the city was claimed, piece by piece, from the Wairau River resulting in a street layout with spirit and character that abounds with quirky lanes and sunny gathering places.
The largest town on the Wairau Plains is Blenheim. Paved streets, graceful archways and tree-lined pavements invite you to stay awhile and explore the compact, yet comprehensive, central business district.
Beyond the town is a thriving art and craft trail. You could take home a bone carving, some fresh country preserves or a pot or painting from one of Marlborough’s talented artists.
At your leisure (4 hour drive), but allow most of the day. This is a long drive today, but the scenery is excellent and you may also like to stop off in Kaikoura to do a whale watch tour.
Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city, beautifully encapsulates the best of what New Zealand has to offer. This is a vibrant city of exciting festivals, art galleries, theatres and great shopping. Award-winning attractions are available within the city and the surrounding countryside.
Find out what variety really means; explore an unspoiled corner of the globe, where wilderness, adventure and sophisticated urban living can be found in perfect balance.
Christchurch, the city of parks and gardens, trees and beauty, is also buzzing with street life. Wine bars, street cafes and exciting entertainments give the central city vitality unique in New Zealand. Christchurch is said to be the most English city outside England. The downtown district focuses on Cathedral Square, where you’ll find buskers, speakers and the eccentric Wizard of Christchurch (who is classified as a living work of art).
You can sedately cruise the Avon River by punt, on its meandering course through town, under many bridges and past historic landmarks, or do your own thing by canoe. Vintage car, horse and carriage, hot air ballooning and guided walking tours: these are just a few ways to explore the Garden City.
Drive to the airport and drop off your rental car before boarding your departure flights.