New Zealand: the ultimate road trip destination


Rugged coastlines, crystal clear water, soaring mountains and stunning glaciers. Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, is the perfect road trip destination. We have handpicked some of our Top Drives for you to try on your next self-drive holiday to this magical destination:

Thermal Explorer

Heading South from Auckland the Thermal Explorer Highway winds through the Waikato region, the first stop on this itinerary is the town of Hamilton where beautiful gardens and glow worms in the Waitomo Caves await. For all Hobbit fans, a small trip to Hobbiton is a must!

Continuing your drive you will come to Rotorua and find a redwood forest and thermal pools. An hour south is Lake Taupo, a massive volcanic crater. Here you can enjoy a range of geothermal, adventure and lake activities. The last stop on this itinerary is Napier, a wonderful art deco town and a great way to end to your road trip.

Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

New Zealand is notorious for great tasting wine. The Classic Wine Trail takes you on a 380km journey to more than 100 cellar doors where passionate wine-makers are ready to share their knowledge, and their drop. Starting from Napier, drive south to the summit of Te Mata Peak for panoramic views of the Hawke’s Bay region and surrounding mountain ranges.

From here, journey to Martinborough and be sure to stop at the artisan food stores and farmer’s markets along the way. Centered around Martinborough is Wairarapa, an area famed for its Pinot Noir. Follow the trail south to the culinary capital of NZ, Wellington. A vibrant city, it is said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York.

Passage across the Cook Strait by ferry and take in the scenery before arriving in Picton, gateway to the Marlborough Sounds. Here you will be in wine heaven. Famed for its Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough is home to over 142 wineries. Conclude the Classic Wine Trail here by enjoying a beautiful glass of wine, paired with the region’s local produce like mussels, salmon and wild game.

West Coast and Southern Alps

From one of the sunniest regions in NZ, commence your drive in Nelson at the top of the South Island. Drive south to the picturesque town of St Arnaud and sit on the edge of Lake Rotoiti. Continuing on to Charlestown, try cave rafting and explore rainforests before stopping at Punakaiki, famous for the ‘pancake rocks’, blow holes and walking tracks.

Head inland to the alpine town of Franz Josef and experience one of New Zealand’s most spectacular glacier World Heritage sites. The drive continues along the Haast River and then inland to Haast Pass, through part of the magnificent Mt Aspiring National Park. Stop off at Lake Matheson and then drive on to Wanaka, a popular ski destination in winter and adventurer’s delight in summer. As the route winds towards an end in Christchurch, stop off for breathtaking views of the Southern Alps and take in the sight of Mt Cook along the way.

Throughout the month of October, the land of the long white cloud is calling for you to discover it all and at your own pace. Take advantage of DriveAway Holiday’s fantastic deals and choose from one or more of the extraordinary driving routes and itineraries available.

To find the right vehicle and driving route, contact DriveAway Holidays and experience New Zealand’s many attractions, attractive scenery and delicious food and wine. Call DriveAway Holidays on 1300 363 500 or visit


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