Scenic New Zealand

New Zealand Scenic Tours


A self-guided, scenic route designed for those who want to experience the beauty and off the beaten track wilderness of New Zealand’s South Island at their own pace.

Book now and explore the South Island route of “Walks, Waters, Wines, & Luxury B&B’s” with its unique activities and unspoiled sightseeing, while staying at some of our favorite small, luxury Bed & Breakfast accommodations.

Self-Drive package for two includes:

  • Roundtrip air from Los Angeles via Air New Zealand’s award-winning service
  • Meet and greet upon arrival
  • Twelve nights accommodations including breakfast and four dinners
  • Medium size air-conditioned rental car with automatic transmission, unlimited miles and daily vehicle insurance
  • Dart River Jetboat Excursion
  • Overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound
  • Watertaxi transfers to Awaroa Lodge
  • New Zealand’s 15% Goods & Services Tax

rentalcar1The following information is a highlights view of what is possible.

We are able to customise the program to make it the perfect vacation for you.


One of New Zealand’s most picturesque towns. The peaks of The Remarkables soar up to over 7,500 feet above Lake Wakatipu.

On the drive into Queenstown you might stop and visit one of the award winning wineries along the route. Maybe cruise across lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a BBQ dinner.

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and set at the base of the magnificent Remarkables, Queenstown has something to offer everyone all year round. Action-packed adventures include jet boating, bungy jumping, 4×4 trips and river rafting. Leisure seekers may opt for a bit of trout fishing, lake cruising, picturesque walks or wine tasting in the Otago wine-growing district.

Highly recommended is a trip to Milford Sound by helicopter with a Glacier Landing. The views of the glaciers will astound you, with the many crevasses, and blue ice falls. The flight ends with a sweep over the stunning Southern Lakes before returning to Queenstown.

The Haast Pass and Wanaka

Enjoy more breath-taking scenery as you head north and cross over the Haast Pass. Drive over the Crown Range Road to Wanaka (1 hr.) with a quick stop to see the Cardrona Hotel, one of NZ’s oldest pubs. Stop in Wanaka to admire the mountains, lake and cafés. Then continue over the over the Haast Pass to the West Coast

The southern West Coast

The West Coast is a world of primitive, towering rain forest; bizarre limestone landscapes, mountains and glaciers, tranquil lakes, rushing rivers, rare birds and plants and endless recreational opportunities.

UNESCO declared south west New Zealand a World Heritage area, to stand alongside the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest and other outstanding examples of our world’s heritage.

enjoy one of the short guided activities in the area – these range from:

  • Ancient Trees, Birds & Plants of the Rain Forest
  • Living in the Wilderness Environment
  • Sunset over the Tasman Sea
  • Easy Canoeing on Lake Moeraki
  • Freshwater Life – Feed the Large Eels and Trout
  • Glow worms, Morepork Owls, Freshwater Crayfish & the Southern Cross

Alternatively, you can enjoy a walk (unguided) in this world designated heritage park or a coastal walk to see Hectors Dolphins.

Franz Josef/Fox Glaciers

Take a helicopter ride over the numerous glaciers in this area, over Aoraki/Mt Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) and even land on the glacier to see it close up. Take a walk up to the Franz Josef or Fox glaciers and walk around picturesque Lake Matheson for photographs of Mt Cook reflected in its mirror-like surface.

The West Coast

Drive on what is the most scenic drive in New Zealand—along the West Coast with it’s rugged beaches; rain forests; 18 peaks over 12,000 feet; and glaciers coming down to sea level. Note: Travel book Lonely Planet has recently rated this South Island Highway as one of the world’s greatest road trips.

Stop in Hokitika which offers good shopping for West Coast crafts. (visit the Gold Store!)

15 miles south of Hokitika you can experience the West Coast Treetops Walk. An exhilarating treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants.

Experience life with the birds high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Easy access for all to enjoy along a steel platform 20 metres high and over 450 metres long. A leisurely 45 minute to one hour stroll through the beautiful West Coast rainforest tree tops.


Watch the of sunset over the thundering Tasman Sea and wind-weathered Punakaiki Rocks.

Be sure to take the 30 minute Pancake Rocks walk to see the blow holes and rugged rock formations. Walk on the beach and take the short Truman Track through rainforest to the beach. The blowholes are active at high tide – check in at the Department of Conservation Visitors Centre for times. When a heavy sea swell is running, saltwater is pushed at great force through holes in the limestone rock, exiting as a fine spray mist many meters above sea level. The blowholes at full blast are an amazing sight.

A five minute walk north from the Pancake Rocks walkway is the Punakaiki Cavern, hidden away on the eastern side of the main road. Car parking is available on the sea-side of the road, slightly north of the cavern

In the evening have a drink at the local pub and say hi to Pete the bartender.


The sunny, garden city of Nelson was settled predominantly by English immigrants and has an interesting history and culture. Nelson has a reputation for its thriving arts, particularly pottery utilising the excellent quality local clays. The area also produces some of New Zealand’s best wines from a small number of boutique vineyards, and is an established fruit and hop growing area. The Nelson Region boasts three vastly different national parks all within ninety minutes drive of each other.

The more active might opt for sea kayaking to the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Sea kayaking is an exciting way to explore the Abel Tasmania beautiful and extensive coastline, and an excellent way to get up close and personal with the local seal colony.

Experience the diverse environment as you paddle along the impressive and distinct coastline from Anchorage to visit the Tonga Island Marine Reserve, sanctuary to penguins, seabirds and a thriving seal colony.


Blenheim is at the heart of New Zealand’s wine industry with 80% of New Zealand’s grapes grown here. While you are here you could:

  • Tour some of NZ’s most famous wineries by bicycle.
  • Visit the nearby Omaka Air Museum. Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame was involved in setting up some of the displays and he owns many of the planes.
  • Visit Omaka Classic Cars with over 100 cars
  • Dine in one of the many local winery restaurants such as Herzog’s Estate Restaurant


Here, where the mountains meet the sea, you will find one of the leading eco-tourism destinations in the country. The name Kaikoura means ‘meal of crayfish’ and reflects the importance of the sea. The first European settlers were whalers, arriving in 1842.

You can take the opportunity of whale watching by either helicopter, fixed wing aircraft or boat.


Christchurch and the surrounding area offer the visitor a variety of sights and activities. Within the city of Christchurch, Cathedral Square, dominated by Christchurch Cathedral, is a hub of outdoor activity; visit art galleries, museums, the Antarctica Centre, or shop in the heart of the city. Punt on the Avon River, which meanders through the city’s center, rent a bicycle to tour this flat city at a leisurely pace, or visit the gorgeous displays of gardens, flowering trees and lawns of the Botanic Gardens.

The Dairy, Queenstown

The Dairy Boutique Hotel

A delightful 10 room Bed & Breakfast. In the centre of Queenstown and yet private and quiet. Not just a Bed and Breakfast, the property is renowned for its excellent service from the minute that you walk through the door.

Punga Grove Superior Studios, Franz Josef

Tthe natural accommodation choice for your visit, step from your room into the luxuriant rainforest, be spellbound by superb alpine and glacier views.

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

The Wilderness Lodge experience combines stylish accommodation, superb food, gracious hospitality and a fascinating programme of guided nature discovery. A stay here will be a highlight of any New Zealand travel experience and is perfect for those looking to escape the tourist trail.

Wave Watchers Retreat, Punakaiki

A private self catering, luxury two bedroom three bathroom cottage on a large private beach front site. The retreat was built with every room capturing the spectacular views of the garden, the cliffs and the beach. Both bedrooms have French Doors with panoramic views directly to the sea. Each bedroom has an ensuite. The cottage is equipped with a fireplace, flat screen television with Sky TV, CD player, telephone, desktop computer, wireless & broadband cable for laptop computers, full laundry with washing machine, drier and iron, and a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher, thermal oven, microwave and fridge-freezer. The cottage has three spacious outdoor decks, a large covered verandah, outdoor furniture, gas barbecue, a delightful garden, and an unbelievable view of sunset over the thundering Tasman Sea and wind-weathered Punakaiki Rocks.

Bronte Lodge, Nelson

Bronte Lodge is unique, it borders an estuary paradise on the historic Bronte Peninsula, an area of stunning beauty in Nelson’s Tasman Bay.

Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman

Awaroa Lodge is recognised as an all year round destination, superb for sea kayaking, and walking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of NZ’s Great Walks.

The Bell Tower, Blenheim

Purpose-built in 2001 in French country style, to accommodate four guestrooms, The Bell Tower comprises a main lodge and separate Barn adjacent. A bell tower mounted on the roof holds a replica of the East India Company’s bell high above the walled garden on the 5-hectare (12-acre) property.

The Worcester, Christchurch

This beautifully preserved heritage house is furnished in classic Victorian style, complete with a superb collection of fine art and antiques, but at the same time offers guests every modern convenience, including complimentary in-room wireless and broadband internet.

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