Discover New Zealand at your own pace

Get up close with the dramatic landscape of New Zealand with a leisurely self-drive holiday. PHOTO: SOUTHERN DISCOVERIES
Get up close with the dramatic landscape of New Zealand with a leisurely self-drive holiday. PHOTO: SOUTHERN DISCOVERIES

A self-drive holiday is the best way to get to know the Land of the Long White Cloud

Majestic mountain ranges, dramatic fjords and rolling green hills studded with flocks of sheep — New Zealand boasts some of the most remarkable scenery in the world.

Travellers making their way to the South Pacific country are probably looking to get away from the city for some solitude. And the last thing you would want to do while taking in breathtaking views is to feel rushed. Embarking on a self-drive holiday around New Zealand will give you the freedom to decide where you want to explore, when you prefer to set off and how much time you would like to spend there.

Kiwiway’s Fly + Drive packages, available through travel agents Chan Brothers Travel, CTC Travel, Dynasty Travel, Jetabout Holidays, PriceBreaker and UOB Travel, feature popular places of interest in the country’s two main islands: North Island and South Island. You can choose to stay longer at a destination and add more attractions to your itinerary. Kiwiway can help to map out a travel plan tailored just for you too.

Marvel at nature in the North Island

Some of New Zealand’s most stunning attractions can be experienced in its North Island. Kiwiway’s 6D5N Iconic Fantasies self-drive package will take you to popular sight-seeing spots in Auckland, Waitomo, Rotorua and Matamata, with Auckland as your jumping-off point.

This land package, which includes a rental car, accommodation and entrance fees to attractions, enables you to embark on a hassle-free road trip over five days, without having to follow a fixed schedule.

One of the highlights of this self-drive tour is a visit to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland, where you can take a boat ride to marvel at thousands of magical glow worms as you listen to stories about the land’s rich history.

Be mesmerised at thousands of glow worms as you take a leisurely boat ride through an underground cave at Waitomo Glowworm Caves. PHOTO: CORIN WALKER BAIN

Approximately two hours away by car is Te Puia Thermal Reserve in Rotorua. Located within the 70ha Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, the park is home to mud pools, hot springs, silica formations and the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. While here, you will also get to view traditional Maori architecture and meet the Te Arawa, a local tribe of the region that dates back to more than 700 years.

Speaking of meeting the locals, you will be able to get up close with New Zealand’s most famous native bird, the kiwi, at Rainbow Springs. A short eight-minute drive from Rotorua’s central business district, the nature park is home to the National Kiwi Hatchery where visitors can observe the endangered birds in their natural habitat.

For those who associate New Zealand with stunning scenery from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata is a must-visit. The movie set, where parts of the trilogies were filmed, enables fans to step through The Shire for a day. Just under an hour’s drive from Rainbow Springs, the film location lets you tour 44 Hobbit holes dug into verdant hillside and an exclusive brewery that is modelled after the Green Dragon Pub in the movie.

Hobbiton Movie Set New Zealand
Visit The Shire for a day at the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata. PHOTO: HAMILTON & WAIKATO TOURISM

Get your adrenaline pumping in the South Island

If you are seeking thrilling experiences during your break from a busy schedule, New Zealand’s South Island has lots to offer. Kiwiway’s 6D5N Southern Wonderland self-drive package will take you to the region’s top destinations like Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook and Queenstown while satisfying your thirst for adventure.

The itinerary includes a visit to the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, where you will be able to experience minus 8 deg C weather in an indoor storm room known as the Storm Dome. You will also get to meet penguins and huskies, as well as learn more about the world’s coldest, driest and windiest place at the Antarctic Gallery.

From Christchurch, you can make your way to Milford Sound. Just over four hours from Queenstown by car, the glacier-carved fjord is best explored from the comfort of a cruise that takes you past towering mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and unique flora.

Milford Sound New Zealand
Milford Sound is a visual spectacle with its majestic glacier-carved fjords. PHOTO: MILFORD SOUND FJORDLAND NATIONAL PARK

For more excitement, book a ride on the Shotover Jet in Queenstown. The high-speed jet boat experience takes you through white water rapids and zooms past dramatic canyons at a speed of up to 90km/h. Not only will it get your heart pumping, but you’ll also get to see some of the town’s most breathtaking landscapes up close.

Shotover Jet ride South Island New Zealand
Get your adrenaline pumping with this high-speed boat ride through the Shotover Canyon in South Island. PHOTO: SHOTOVER JET

Travel in comfort with the Air New Zealand Skycouch

Your New Zealand adventure starts in the sky with Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch. The innovative Skycouch seats, which come with bedding and pillows, can be transformed into a flat surface to let you create your own cosy space. Pull up the footrests, push back the armrests and you have a comfortable lounging corner all to yourself and your travelling companions.

Air New Zealand Economy Skycouch
The Air New Zealand Economy Skycouch lets you stretch out and get comfortable as you embark on your holiday to New Zealand. PHOTO: AIR NEW ZEALAND

Simply upgrade your Economy Class seats to Economy Skycouch and you'll be able to stretch out, lie down and get comfortable as you begin your journey to New Zealand.