Ready for a little adventure? ‘The Original 4WD Tour’ is our signature journey and the jewel in the REST NZ crown. This breathtaking tour takes you to some
of the most beautiful and scenic locations in New Zealand, getting you to places that most travellers don’t ever hear about.
Drive along rugged gravel roads and muddy tracks in the beautiful lake and forest area of Lake Urewera and climb what is reputedly the highest road in New Zealand, revealing unforgettable views over this immense mountainous landscape.
Along the way, you will experience some of the most unforgettable Kiwi hospitality on offer. Including Sublime Lodge in North Otago where professionally trained wine maker and chef couple, Steve and Fenella will serve up an amazing culinary experience that you will be talking about for years to come.
On arrival in Auckland Meet & Greet by REST NEW ZEALAND TOURS. Transfer to your accommodation in Auckland and handover of travel documents. If you are not too tired, we recommend a leisurely stroll along Auckland’s waterfront.
Rental car pick up.
Before you drive up north make a side trip to Auckland’s west coast and visit a Gannet colony at black sand Muriwai Beach. Further north the interesting Kauri Museum in Matakohe is the ideal stop for lunch and prepares you for the giant Kauri trees in Waipoua Forest later on. You stay overnight in Omapere at Hokianga Harbour. For the evening we recommend a guided Maori tour to the Kauri trees from Omapere.
You cross Hokianga Harbour on the ferry and travel to the subtropical Far North. If you have time you can do the detour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northernmost point. On your way to the Bay of Islands you will pass beautiful sandy beaches and small fishing villages. Make a stop at the historic Stone Store in Kerikeri by the river.
The beauty of the Bay unfolds only on a boat tour. Whatever you choose, it will be a memorable experience: The Hole in the Rock, swimming with dolphins, with a picnic stop at one of the islands, go sailing or kayaking. Or wander around the Treaty Grounds and visit historic Treaty House in Waitangi. You can even go on a bus tour to Cape Reinga.
You head south on side roads, along the east coast, past beautiful beaches and bays until you arrive in Auckland. Explore the interesting restaurant scene of multi-cultural Auckland, stroll through the Viaduct Basin at the waterfront, take the ferry to historic Devonport or admire the Skyline from Bastion Point at Tamaki Drive or from Mount Eden.
Travel along the western shores of Coromandel Peninsula to Coromandel town. Cafés and small shops invite you for a stop. At Hot Water Beach you can dig your own thermal pool at low tide. A nice short walk from Hahei Beach takes you to the famous Cathedral Cove, one of the most interesting bays in the country. You stay overnight in Tairua. The short walk to the top of Mount Paku will reward you with a great view.
You travel along the East Coast and pass through the Kiwi growing area of Te Puke. Make a stop at the visitor centre and learn all about the national fruit of New Zealand. Later you arrive in Rotorua, the heartland of Maori culture and centre of thermal activities in New Zealand. We recommend a Maori cultural show with a
traditional Hangi for the evening.
Rotorua is a region rich in stunning landscapes. Discover 18 sparkling lakes, magnificent native and exotic forests, geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and the best of New Zealand’s fascinating Maori culture. Use today to visit some of the natural wonders of this amazing area and relax in the thermal pools under the sky in the evening.
Today you are crossing Te Urewera National Park and you will be happy to travel by 4WD. The partly gravel road takes you through dense rainforest to the secluded Lake Waikaremoana and later on to the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand, Napier at Hawkes Bay. A stroll through the city is a good contrast to the impressions of the day and will give you some insight in the interesting history of Napier. You can end the day at one of the many vineyards of this region.
Driving on a less travelled road through the centre of the North Island will give insight in rural New Zealand. Parts of this road network were used in the past to connect the inland farms with the port of Napier. Horse drawn carriages used to struggle through the difficult terrain. The road is fully sealed and goes through one of the largest sheep stations in this country. You stay overnight at the foot of Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. You can do a walk in the afternoon in this fascinating area.
Via Raetihi your tour continues to Pipiriki and along Whanganui River, the most beautiful river on the North Island. You follow the course of the river along the old Whanganui River Road to Wanganui and on to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Wellington is a vibrant city and we recommend a sightseeing tour and a walk along the waterfront to Te Papa the National Museum of New Zealand.
The tour with the Interislander ferry through picturesque Marlborough Sound is one of the highlights of your trip. In Picton you first drive along beautiful Queen Charlotte Drive and then continue through Wairau Valley. You stay overnight in St Arnaud in Nelson National Park.
A special track with some river crossings takes you from St Arnaud to Murchison. After lunch you return to the hinterland and travel on remote gravel roads through dense beech forest and cross the main divide via the Lewis Pass before civilization catches up with you again in Hanmer Springs. Relax in the thermal pools under the sky or take a walk, hire a bike or a take bungy jump.
Kaikoura is beautifully located by the sea with the snow-capped mountains of the Kaikoura Ranges in the background. Here you have the opportunity to swim with dolphins and seals and watch whales in their natural environment. Try some of the local seafood specialities like crayfish.
Drive along the coast to Garden City Christchurch, often referred to as the most English town outside England. Take a walk through Hagley Park and along the Avon River before you drive over the wide Canterbury Plains to the foot of the Southern Alps where you stay overnight.
The turquoise colour of Lake Tekapo will capture you. Take a scenic flight from Tekapo over Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. You then drive along a remote valley, covered by scarce vegetation and tussock grass. Climb across a long forgotten and rarely used mountain pass to reach your overnight destination amidst the Waitaki Valley.
You drive over another remote pass. During the New Zealand gold rush this area was one of the most populated in the country. One of the reminders of this glorious past is the tiny village of St Bathans. A handful of historic houses, a pub and a very nice man-made lake are the only witness of this era. Via the wine region of Central Otago you drive over a remote track to the Wakatipu Basin and to Queenstown.
Over 2 million visitors are drawn to Queenstown each year to experience unique scenery, search for adventure, seek out relaxation and rejuvenation, or to just breathe pure mountain air.
The region is home to plenty of hiking and biking trails, guided tours, family activities, boat cruises, and scenic flights to Milford and Doubtful Sound or spa and wellness centres. For adrenalin junkies, the selfproclaimed adventure capital of the world offers plenty to get your blood pumping: Test your limits with white water rafting, ziplining, 4x4 off-roading, paragliding and skydiving.
You cross the Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest official road, to Wanaka. Over the Haast Pass, a scenic drive with many opportunities to stop and explore, you reach the West Coast. Be impressed by the breathtaking beauty and the many different shades of green of the dense rainforest. Glaciers, rainforests and coast are close together in Westland National Park. We recommend a side trip to Monro Beach and a stop at Ship Creek Walk. During the months of October to December you might even be lucky and see penguins and hector dolphins playing in the sea.
Make one of the walks in the glacier area or book a helicopter flight with glacier landing from Fox Glacier and Franz Josef. There is a lot to see and to do. Visit the isolated Okarito at the coast and make a kayak trip through the quiet lagoon. Or a jet boat tour in Whataroa to a White Heron Colony where you can watch these rare birds. Hokitika and Greymouth are the jade centres of the country. Visit a workshop and watch the jade carvers do their art work.
You can do a side trip to the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki in the morning. The route over the main divide to Christchurch takes you along Lake Brunner and climbs over Arthur’s Pass, the only real mountain pass in New Zealand. The famous TranzAlpine Express train crosses it, too. Enjoy the many cafes and restaurants and take advantage of a last opportunity to purchase souvenirs from Aotearoa.
Drop off your vehicle at the rental car office at the airport.