You are here

Best of Both Islands & The Cook Islands

Ref: 3972191 Save
Beautiful Bay of Islands, with 144 islands to explore

Oh Dear!

This particular product has expired and is not available right now

See similar Journeys
Tailor-made Journey

24 days from £pp

From the tranquil waters of the Bay of Islands and the geothermal Maori heartland of the north to the awe-inspiring glaciers and adrenaline-inducing activities of the south, ...


... this self-drive holiday is full of spectacular discoveries. Enjoy the best of both islands as you immerse yourself in New Zealand’s breath-taking scenery, then discover the palm-lined beaches of the Cook Islands.

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Beautiful Bay of Islands, with 144 islands to explore
  • Spot giant sperm whales on a whale watching trip in Kaikoura
  • Watch the landscape change at every turn on the TranzAlpine Train
  • Cruise the stunning waterfall studded fjord of Milford Sound
  • Relax on the beautiful white-sand beaches of the Cook Islands

Holiday Type

  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N
Wildlife & Nature
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y

Not what you're looking for? Use our Inspiration tool to find the holiday you want.

What's included
  • Indirect international flights
  • 16 nights in 4-5* hotels
  • 15 days' car hire
  • Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton
  • Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock Cruise
  • Whale Watching in Kaikoura
  • Milford Sound Cruise with lunch
  • TranzAlpine train from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • Transfers in Christchurch
  • 4 nights at a 4* hotel in the Cook Islands
Need to know
  • Arrives: Auckland International Airport (AKL)
  • Time difference: GMT+13
  • Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a visa
  • Language: English and Maori
  • Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
  • Flying time from UK: around 27 hours
  • Plug type: 3-prong flat blade plug
  • Voltage: 240 volts/50 cycles
Your route


Days 1-2
Fly from UK to
Day 3

Take in the sights of Auckland – New Zealand’s largest city. Numerous museums and galleries sit side by side with imaginative restaurants and plenty of malls and markets. If you have a head for heights, admire the views from the iconic Sky Tower. Take a boat ride around the harbour, or catch the ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island. From shopping and dining in the city centre to exploring the diverse landscapes in the surrounding area, explore all there is to offer in this diverse city.

4.5* Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Dusk in Auckland, New Zealand
Days 4-5
Bay of Islands

Drive to the spectacular Bay of Islands, known for its stunning natural beauty and history. The Bay’s 144 islands were the setting for the establishment of some of the first Maori communities as well as New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement. Set off on a memorable Hole in the Rock Cruise where you’ll cruise the turquoise waters in search of marine life, including common and bottlenose dolphins, and stop off at Motukokako Island to see the famous Hole in the Rock.

4* Copthorne Hotel and Resort

Hole in the Rock Cruise

Day 6

Return to Auckland for a one-night stop. Enjoy a chilled-out evening soaking up the city’s attractions before your drive south tomorrow.

4.5* Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Day 7

Head for other-worldly Rotorua, the heartland of Maori culture. This unique spa city will captivate you with its bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs. You will have plenty of opportunity to explore the geothermal valley, bathe in soothing spa's or see an authentic Maori dance.

4* Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua

Champagne Pools- Rotorua, New Zealand
Day 8

Continue on to adrenaline-fuelled Lake Taupo with its numerous adventurous activities such as skydiving and bungee jumping. For something more sedate World heritage Listed Tongariro National Park’s three towering peaks offer mixed level walking trails and numerous photo opportunities.

4.5* Millennium Hotel Taupo Manuels

Lake Taupo, New Zealand
Days 9-10

Continue the picturesque drive south to Wellington, your last stop on the North Island. Don’t miss national museum Te Papa in a striking location on Wellington’s waterfront – it’s a great place to learn a little more about New Zealand’s history and Maori culture. Afterwards, wander along the picturesque harbour and soak up the café culture. There’s also plenty to captivate nature lovers, with a seal colony close by and the Botanic Gardens, which can be reached by cable car.

4.5* Distinction Wellington

Day 11

Hop aboard the ferry and sail to South Island - your first stop will be the peaceful town of Kaikoura. It’s all about the sea life here – embark on a whale watching trip (seasonal) to see the giant sperm whales that inhabit these waters or swim among the many pods of dolphins.

4* White Morph Motor Inn

Kairkoura Beach
Day 12

Spend a day in this vibrant city where a great selection of bars and restaurants await. Witness the city’s encouraging restoration and reinvention following the devastating earthquake in 2011, or relax in one of the city’s many beautiful parks.

4.5* Peppers Clearwater Resort

Whale Watch Kaikoura

Fountain in Christchurch, New Zealand
Day 13
Lake Tekapo

Drive to Lake Tekapo, which owes its striking landscape to the turquoise waters of the lake set against the mountainous backdrop of the Southern Alps. A leisurely stroll along the lake shore to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd promises a picture-perfect moment – bring your camera.

4.5* Peppers Bluewater Resort

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Days 14-15

Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, next stop Queenstown boasts some breath-taking views – best admired from the gondola cable car ride. Alternative ways to take in the epic landscape include the highest bungee jump in the country, canyon swings and skydiving. Those who prefer to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground can choose from walks through national parks, pamper experiences or local wine tasting. And don’t forget your unforgettable Milford Sound Cruise through spectacular fjords and forested mountains.

5* Peppers Beacon

Milford Sound Cruise with lunch

Milford Sound, New Zealand
Day 16
Franz Josef

Welcome to glacier country. Franz Josef and neighbouring Fox glacier are unique in that they descend from the lofty Southern Alps to terminate less than 300m above sea level amid lush tracts of rainforest. See the icy formations of the Franz Josef on foot, or even a heli-hike, which starts with an eagle’s eye view from your helicopter flight, delivering you straight to the ice for a guided hike across the pristine icy terrain. Reward yourself with a well-earned meal in the cosy village of Franz Josef where there are plenty of dining options to choose from.

4.5* 58 on Cron Motel

Day 17

Once you’ve had your fill of ice and snow, continue to the scene of the Booker Prize winning novel, The Luminaries, in Hokitika, a charming sea-side town where you’ll spend the night and get ready for your railway adventure.

4* Bella Vista Hokitika

Sunset in Hokitika, New Zealand
Day 18

From Hokitika head to Greymouth and travel on the famous TranzAlpine Railway through native beech forest, across the legendary Arthur's Pass, traversing the Southern Alps, through the gorges that line the Waimakariri River, and across the Canterbury Plains before arriving in to Christchurch, your final stop. Take some time to plunder the numerous quirky shops and boutiques for last minute souvenirs and gifts, but head out of the city too to explore the lovely coastline. Take some time to reflect at the Cardboard Cathedral - an icon of Kiwi resilience after the earthquake.

4.5* Peppers Clearwater Resort

TranzAlpine train from Greymouth to Christchurch

TranzAlpine Train, New Zealand
Days 19-22

Depart Christchurch and fly to Rarotonga. Embrace island life, recline in the sunshine, snorkel among colourful shoals of tropical fish and soak up the gorgeous beaches in this little slice of paradise. This really is a place to relax and get away from it all against a beautiful backdrop of turquoise seas and rocky coves. Perhaps pamper yourself in your hotel’s beauty salon, or set sail in the resort’s very own glass-bottomed cruiser the Moana Roa. Be careful, you might never want to leave.

4* Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Days 23-24
Depart Rarotonga and return to the UK

Select an option below to contact one of our experts now, about anything you need

Alternatively, you can email us, request a call back, or live chat with a consultant

Call free on 0800 707 6010

We're open every day from:
9:00am to 7:00pm Mon-Fri
9:30am to 6:00pm Sat
10:00am to 5:00pm Sun and Public Holidays

We're open every day from:
9:00am to 7:00pm Mon-Fri
9:30am to 6:00pm Sat
10:00am to 5:00pm Sun and Public Holidays

Send us your number and we'll call you back.

Your details

When would you like us to call you?
Your details:

Your details

When would you like us to call you?
When would you like us to call you?
Add additional information?
Speak to us about:
Discuss a Trip List
email us leave feedback live chat phone us visit us open menu