21-Day Luxury Itinerary for New Zealand
Get ready for a journey of breathtaking landscapes, unforgettable activities and lavish stays with this New Zealand luxury itinerary for three weeks. Explore both the main islands of New Zealand (and then some) following this 21-day journey incorporating luxurious accommodations and tours in each exciting destination. Additionally, discover tips on how to get around New Zealand in three weeks.
So, start making your road-tripping dreams a reality with this complete New Zealand luxury itinerary for 21 days.
How to Get Around New Zealand in Three Weeks
The below luxury itinerary is best done as a self-drive itinerary. We also include a few other transport methods such as a train and ferry journey, while you may also need to book connecting flights. Transport to consider using for this three-week luxury itinerary for New Zealand includes:
- Rental car or campervan – Renting a car or a motorhome is the easiest way to achieve the below itinerary. Use a rental company that has depots in Auckland and Christchurch, then Greymouth and Christchurch, as you will be swapping rental vehicles between the TranzAlpine train journey. Start your research using The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand.
- Helicopter transfers – These provide a quick way to get between destinations when you first arrive in Auckland. Inflite and Heletranz both offer airport transfers.
- Ferries – This itinerary includes a trip on the Interislander ferry between Wellington and Picton. Find out more in The Ferry Between the North Island and South Island. There is also the option to take the ferry between Auckland and Waiheke Island, which you can learn more about in our guide to Public Transport in Auckland.
- Train – This itinerary also includes a one-way train journey on the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth. Find out more on the Train Network in New Zealand.
- Domestic flights – The below itinerary begins in Auckland and ends in Christchurch. Both cities have international airports and are well connected with domestic flights. If you’re leaving from Auckland, you will need to consider booking a domestic flight from Christchurch to Auckland.
- Escorted tours – If driving and/or organising your own trip is something you’d rather leave to the professionals, then consider taking an escorted tour of the country. Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Luxury Gold and APT offer 19 to 21-day tours of New Zealand with accommodation, some meals and some activities included. Note that they follow their own set itineraries; not the one listed below. Learn more about national tours in The Best 20+ Days Tours of New Zealand.
Finally, if you’re new to the whole road-tripping thing, make sure it runs smoothly following the 10 Ways to Relax on a Road Trip.
Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Waiheke Island
Travel time: 40 minutes drive then 40 minutes ferry or 15 minutes helicopter flight
Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand! Because these islands are far from pretty much everywhere, this itinerary begins with some time to get over the jet lag. An what better way to do that than with a wine in hand on Waiheke Island? Either take a helicopter transfer to your Waiheke Island accommodation or a combination of taxi, ferry and accommodation transfer. Ferry tickets are available on KKday.
Relax with some of the luxury experiences on Waiheke Island, from winery-hopping tours to spa retreats within luxury lodges. Get a good night’s rest, as you’ll be heading back to the mainland tomorrow where your trip really begins!
Luxury Activities on Waiheke Island
- Do a winery tour with Ananda Tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Indulge in a spa treatment at one of the island’s luxury lodges
- Zipline over vineyards and native forest with Ecozip Adventures (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Do a guided Waiheke Island art walk (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For more activity ideas, take a look at the 9 Glorious Things to Do on Waiheke Island.
Luxury Accommodation on Waiheke Island
Day 2 – Waiheke Island to Auckland
Travel time: 40 minutes ferry
After some rejuvenation on Waiheke Island, it’s time to take a scenic ferry trip through the Hauraki Gulf to Auckland Central.
In New Zealand’s largest city, why not dine in the revolving restaurant atop the Sky Tower or browse the Auckland Art Gallery? Those feeling more adventurous can experience the speed of an America’s Cup Yacht at the Waitemata Harbour. Find out more about the latter on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.
Luxury Activities in Auckland
- See the city from spectacular heights in a helicopter or seaplane tour (more details on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Rejuvenate with an indulgent spa treatment
- Hit the water for a lunch cruise or on an America’s Cup Yacht (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Try your luck at the vibrant SkyCity Casino
- Discover Auckland’s historical and cultural sites on a Maori culture tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Find out more about each experience in our 10 Luxury Activities in Auckland.
Luxury Accommodation in Auckland
Find out more about each accommodation in the 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Auckland.
Day 3 – Auckland to Rotorua (via Waitomo)
Travel time: 2h30mins (via Waitomo: 4 hours)
Pick up your rental vehicle and leave the big city behind for a road trip around the North Island. While you could drive straight to Rotorua and stop by the picturesque Hamilton Gardens (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor), we recommend taking a wee bit of a detour to Waitomo…
Waitomo is the location of New Zealand’s most famous glowworm caves; a subterranean wonderland with magnificent limestone formations teeming with glowworms. There are many ways to experience the caves, from private caving tours to boat tours. Compare your options in the 8 Best Waitomo Cave Tours and the 9 Luxury Activities in Waitomo.
Luxury Activities in Waitomo
- Do an exclusive private tour of Waitomo’s caves with Glowing Adventures (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Abseil, float and scramble through the caves with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Hike the uncrowded trails of the Waitomo Great Walk
- Unwind with a spa treatment at Waitomo Adventures
- Fish for trout with Waitomo Boutique Lodge.
For elaboration on each experience and more, see the 9 Luxury Activities in Waitomo.
Your final stop today is Rotorua, where we will get into activities tomorrow. For now, check-in at one of the town’s premium accommodations.
Luxury Accommodation in Rotorua
- Prince’s Gate Hotel
- Regent of Rotorua
- Rydges Rotorua
- Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua
- Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
Browse the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Rotorua for more information and more accommodation.
Day 4 – Explore Rotorua
You have the entire day to explore Rotorua along with its geothermal wonders and immersive Maori culture. Fly onto one of the nearby volcanoes on a unique helicopter tour with Volcanic Air (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook) or gain a greater understanding of the Maori culture of New Zealand on a private tour with Kahukiwi Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
After the day’s adventure, retreat to your accommodation or book a table at Mokoia Restaurant (at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort) or The Regent Room (at the Regent of Rotorua) for indigenous New Zealand cuisine.
Luxury Activities in Rotorua
- Visit Rotorua’s geothermal and volcanic highlights with Elite Adventures Rotorua Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Fly and land on the Mt Tarawera volcano with Volcanic Air (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Enjoy an authentic Maori tour with Kahukiwi Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Drive the 4WD challenges at Off Road NZ (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Travel to the most stunning and off-the-beaten-track forest on the North Island with Foris Eco-Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For more details on each experience, as well as other ideas, check out the 10 Luxury Activities in Rotorua.
Day 5 – Rotorua to Taupo
Travel time: 1 hour
While it’s only a short journey from Rotorua to Taupo, it’s worth breaking it up by experiencing the lunar landscape of Orakei Korako. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
After exploring the geothermal park, your final destination is Taupo on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake. Relax your road trip aches in one of the town’s premium hot pool complexes (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or check out the town’s eclectic dining scene, where we list recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Taupo.
Luxury Activities in Taupo
- Ride the Great Lake Trails on a personalised tour (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook)
- Indulge in the mineral hot pools and spa treatments of Taupo’s hot pool complexes (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See the lake and volcanoes from above on a scenic flight
- Hit the slopes of Mt Ruapehu for skiing
- Play golf on some of New Zealand’s most prestigious golf courses.
For more information on each experience and more, be sure to check out the 10 Luxury Activities in Taupo.
Luxury Accommodation in Taupo
- Huka Lodge
- Hilton Lake Taupo
- The Cove
- The Reef Resort – Heritage Collection
- Millennium Hotel Lake Taupo
For elaboration on our top recommendations, see the 11 Best Luxury Accommodations in Taupo.
Day 6 – Taupo to Napier
Travel time: 1h50mins
It’s time to travel over the hill to Napier and the Hawke’s Bay region, famous for being New Zealand’s oldest wine region, as well as for its stark art deco architecture. Leave yourself enough time in the day to jump on a premium wine tour once you get there, visiting the region’s oldest wineries. Check out the tour with Bay Tours and Charters on Viator and Tripadvisor or Vines and Views Tours, also on Viator and Tripadvisor.
For those who prefer to connect with nature, a fantastic experience is visiting New Zealand’s largest mainland gannet colony and the dramatic cliff formations of Cape Kidnappers. Join Gannet Safaris Overland for a private 4WD tour to this hard-to-reach site. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Luxury Activities in Napier
- Tour Napier in a vintage vehicle (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take a private art deco tour with the Art Deco Trust (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Get the real Maori experience with Waimarama Maori Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See New Zealand’s largest mainland gannet colony with Gannet Safaris Overland (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do raft-fishing on the Mohaka River with Raft Fish NZ (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Find out more about each experience and where to find them in the 10 Luxury Activities in Napier.
Luxury Accommodation in Napier
- Scenic Hotel Te Pania
- The County Hotel
- Art Deco Masonic Hotel
- The Dome
- Kalldeen Luxury Accommodation
For more information on our top recommendations, see the 8 Best Luxury Accommodations in Napier.
Day 7 – Napier to Wellington
Travel time: 4h20mins
Your North Island journey continues today with a drive down the Hawke’s Bay region through the Manawatu Gorge complete with stunning walks through lush native forest. Stop by Ashhurst or Palmerston North for a road trip snack. We list recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Palmerston North and The Foodie Guide to Palmerston North.
Finally, you’ll finish in New Zealand’s coolest little capital, the city of Wellington. There’s something for just about any city-lover here, from the renowned Te Papa Museum and its guided tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) to its whisky bar and craft brewery scene. On the other hand, those who prefer the wilderness will certainly get a sense of it at the Zealandia Ecosanctuary and its special night tours to see kiwi birds. Check out Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook to find out more.
Luxury Activities in Wellington
- See Wellington from a helicopter (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook)
- Play at one of Wellington’s prestigious golf courses
- Shop at Wellington’s designer boutiques
- Join a wine tour of the nearby Wairarapa wine region (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Try fine whisky at the city’s reputable whisky bars.
Find out more about each experience and others in the 10 Luxury Activities in Wellington.
Luxury Accommodation in Wellington
- InterContinental Wellington
- Rydges Wellington
- QT Wellington
- Copthorne Hotel Wellington
- James Cook Hotel
Take a look at our 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Wellington for more about each accommodation.
Day 8 – Wellington to Picton
Travel time: 3 hours ferry
Enjoy a scenic ferry journey across the Cook Strait, from the Wellington Harbour to the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Revel in the sounds landscapes while looking out for dolphins on one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys. Make your trip extra special by booking into one of the adults-only lounges with Interislander, which includes food and drink. Book your tickets on Direct Ferries, Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.
Don’t leave your arrival town on the South Island just yet, as there’s more to explore in the Marlborough Sounds. In fact, the sounds are home to some of the most prestigious resorts in New Zealand, giving you a fabulous holiday away from your holiday.
As for things to do, the sparkling waters of the Marlborough Sounds provide an idyllic backdrop to the trails of the renowned Queen Charlotte Track or a seafood cruise with the Marlborough Tour Company (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). But if none of these excites you, how about delving into our list of other premium activities in Picton and the Marlborough region?
Luxury Activities in Picton
- Hike the Queen Charlotte Track
- Enjoy a private Marlborough wine tour (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take to the skies in a scenic flight over Marlborough
- Indulge in a relaxing spa day at the Bay of Many Coves
- Sail the Marlborough Sounds.
For more details on each experience and others, see our 8 Luxury Activities in Picton.
Luxury Accommodation in Picton
Take a look at the 6 Best Luxury Accommodations in Picton for more details on our top recommendations.
Day 9 – Picton to Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park
Travel time: 1h50mins to Nelson then 55 minutes to the Abel Tasman National Park
Leave the Marlborough Sounds behind for New Zealand’s sunniest city, Nelson. There are two routes to get there from Picton, either via Blenheim where you can visit wineries (there will be more time to do this later if not today) or the winding scenic route via Queen Charlotte Drive. Both have the same travel time.
You may wish to stay in the city of Nelson, so you’re close to various eateries, wineries and have a wider selection of accommodation. Alternatively, it’s another 55 minutes to the Abel Tasman National Park where most Abel Tasman tours depart.
You have more time to explore tomorrow. For now, enjoy the luxury of your chosen accommodation.
Luxury Accommodation in Nelson
- Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco
- Rutherford Hotel
- Cable Bay Nest
- The Trailways Hotel Nelson
- Kina Beach Vineyard Cottages
For more details on our top recommendations, browse the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Nelson.
Day 10 – Explore the Abel Tasman National Park
You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled upon a tropical island when you feel your toes in the golden sand of the Abel Tasman National Park. Admire its beauty from the air on helicopter and plane charters or get a little closer to the action by sailing on a catamaran yacht. You could even take a timeout from this itinerary with a three-day sailing holiday (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Luxury Activities in Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park
- Explore Nelson and Abel Tasman by helicopter (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take a scenic flight with Golden Bay Air (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a day tour or liveaboard holiday with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Hire a private charter with Abel Tasman Charters – Day Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a small-group or private tour of Abel Tasman or Golden Bay with Wine, Art & Wilderness (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Take a look at the 8 Luxury Activities in Nelson for the finer details on each experience and more.
Day 11 – Nelson to Kaikoura
Travel time: 3h25mins
You have another chance to explore the Marlborough wine region today as you leave Nelson for the South Island’s east coast. Today’s final destination is Kaikoura, which is famous for its abundance of year-round marine wildlife.
A must-do is seeing Kaikoura’s sperm whales and playful dusky dolphins. Get a unique perspective from above on a scenic whale-watching flight. Choose from Wings Over Whales (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). Alternatively, enjoy the manoeuvrability of flying over the whales by helicopter with South Pacific Helicopters (on Viator and Tripadvisor). The latter also offers scenic flights with helicopter landings at remote alpine lakes, as shown on Viator and Tripadvisor.
There are plenty of reasons to keep your feet firmly on the ground too between the private multi-day hike of the Kaikoura Coast Track to the scenic fairways of the Kaikoura Golf Course.
Luxury Activities in Kaikoura
- Fly over the whales and dolphins on a scenic plane or helicopter flight (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Land in the majestic Kaikoura Mountains via a helicopter tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Sample fresh crayfish
- Walk the private Kaikoura Coast Track
- Tee off at the Kaikoura Golf Course.
Check out 6 Luxury Activities in Kaikoura for more information on these luxury activities.
Luxury Accommodation in Kaikoura
- The Hamptons
- The Fairways at Ocean Ridge
- Kaikoura Quality Suites
- Inn the Bay Bed & Breakfast
- Koura Bay Golf Resort
Find out more about each accommodation in our 8 Best Luxury Accommodations in Kaikoura.
Day 12 – Kaikoura to Christchurch
Travel time: 2h25mins
Head south today to the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch. You could visit the wineries of the Waipara Valley independently or wait until you reach Christchurch for a private or small-group tour (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Alternatively, take a one-hour detour to Hanmer Springs for the alpine resort town’s magnificent hot springs complex, as well as the 10 Luxury Activities in Hanmer Springs.
If you head straight to Christchurch, however, you’ll have more time to hop on a vintage VW Combi tour of the city (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Either way, this evening can be spent indulging in a four-course meal onboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday).
Remember to return your rental vehicle to the Christchurch depot today, because tomorrow you are taking the train to the West Coast.
Luxury Accommodation in Christchurch
- Heritage Christchurch
- Parkview on Hagley
- Hackthorne Gardens Luxury Accommodation
- Whitewood Suites Inner City Luxury Apartments
- Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, a DoubleTree by Hilton
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Christchurch.
Day 13 – Christchurch to Greymouth
Travel time: 4 hours train
This morning, jump onboard the TranzAlpine for one of the world’s most scenic railway journeys. Starting from the Christchurch Railway Station, the journey on “Scenic Plus Class” carriages with panoramic windows takes you through the lush Canterbury Plains to the mountainous wilderness of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Book tickets on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.
Once you arrive in Greymouth, you’ll be able to pick up a new rental vehicle before heading to your chosen accommodation. This afternoon, you will have time to take a swing at one of the local golf courses, do some boutique shopping, or drive/take a guided tour to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Luxury Activities in Greymouth
- See the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, Hokitika Gorge or other highlights with Explore West Coast (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take on the West Coast Wilderness Trail
- Play a round at one of the local golf courses
- Fly and land in the majestic Southern Alps on a helicopter tour
- Do some boutique shopping and gallery browsing in town.
For more details on each experience, see the 8 Luxury Activities in Greymouth.
Luxury Accommodation in Greymouth
Find out more about each accommodation in the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Greymouth.
Day 14 – Greymouth to Franz Josef Glacier
Travel time: 2h10mins
If the weather is clear but is forecast to be wet for the next couple of days, drive straight to Franz Josef. That way, you won’t miss out if your helicopter tour gets cancelled due to bad weather (which happens frequently). Otherwise, take your time on the way down to Franz Josef, perhaps to admire the vibrant blue pools of Hokitika Gorge or to experience the New Zealand rainforest from new heights on the West Coast Treetop Walk (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
We’ll talk more about what to do in Franz Josef tomorrow. For now, you have some fabulous accommodations to choose from.
Luxury Accommodation in Franz Josef
- Te Waonui Forest Retreat
- Franz Josef Oasis
- Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
- Holly Homestead
- Glenfern Villas
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Franz Josef.
Day 15 – Explore Franz Josef
Most travellers visit Franz Josef to set foot on the famous glacier itself. One of the most accessible and private options is a scenic helicopter flight complete with a snow landing, such as with HeliServices.NZ (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). Alternatively, join a group tour to explore the ice caves on a heli-hike with Franz Josef Glacier Guides and The Helicopter Line (on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday).
If you catch yourself in Franz Josef in bad weather, you can always soak the disappointment away at the Glacier Hot Pools (more info on Viator or Tripadvisor) or be pampered at the Amaia Luxury Spa of the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier.
Luxury Activities in Franz Josef
- Hike on the ice of the Franz Josef Glacier with Franz Josef Glacier Guides and The Helicopter Line (find out more on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday)
- Catch salmon or brown trout at Lake Mapourika with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Do one of New Zealand’s most scenic skydives with Skydive Franz Josef & Fox Glacier (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Indulge in a spa treatment at Amaia Luxury Spa
- Be treated to degustation dining amidst the rainforest at Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
See our 8 Luxury Activities in Franz Josef for more details on each experience and more.
Day 16 – Franz Josef to Queenstown
Travel time: 4h45mins
If you didn’t get the chance to fly over the glacier yesterday, this morning might be your chance. Otherwise, pray that the weather will change once you arrive in Haast where the tiny town has its own array of helicopter and fixed-wing excursions. Learn more in the 7 Luxury Activities in Haast. Otherwise, cruising down the Waiatoto River into the unspoiled Mt Aspiring National Park is a fantastic rainy day activity thanks to the all-weather jet boat design. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Down the Haast Pass, you have an array of short walks to stunning waterfalls and blue pools to enjoy independently, as listed on the Department of Conservation website.
Stop for dinner with glorious lake views in Wanaka, where we provide plenty of dining recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Wanaka and The Foodie Guide to Wanaka.
Then, enjoy a scenic drive over the Crown Range and the Cardrona Valley to the “Adrenaline Capital of New Zealand”, Queenstown. You have plenty of time to experience its tours in the upcoming days.
Luxury Accommodation in Queenstown
- Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
- The Rees Hotel
- Element Escapes Apartments
- Nugget Point
- Heritage Queenstown
Find out more about each premium accommodation in our 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Queenstown.
Day 17 – Explore Queenstown
Adrenaline, food, wine, golf, scenery, spas: whatever your vibe is, Queenstown is likely to have it. In summer, tee off at some of New Zealand’s most prestigious golf courses, while winter is when the mountains beckon for heli-skiing (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Explore one of the most dangerous roads on an exclusive private tour with Off Road 4X4 Queenstown (on Viator and Tripadvisor). And, the list goes on between the 10 Luxury Activities in Queenstown and the 10 Things to Do in Queenstown.
Luxury Activities in Queenstown
- Take a private 4WD excursion to Skippers Canyon (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Play golf at Queenstown’s glorious golf courses
- Escape the crowds with heli-skiing (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Explore the Great Walks with an expert guide (on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a wine and foodie tour (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook).
For more information on each experience, check out the 10 Luxury Activities in Queenstown.
Day 18 – Explore More of Queenstown or Fly to Milford Sound
You have plenty of time to do the Queenstown experiences you might have missed yesterday. On the other hand, today could be the day that you discover the “Eighth Wonder of the World” for yourself…
By far the most luxurious way to experience Milford Sound, getting there by plane or helicopter takes just 35 minutes. All the while, you’ll soak in the views of magnificent glacier-carved valleys, mountains, alpine lakes and vast forest. Once you arrive in Milford Sound, you can enjoy one of the two-hour cruises through the fiord, allowing you to experience the Fiordland National Park in two amazing ways. Compare flights and experiences with our 5 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown.
Day 19 – Queenstown to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Travel time: 3h10mins
You have a long yet stunning journey ahead of you today, starting with the dramatic river scenery of the Kawarau Gorge on your way to Cromwell. Do a wine tasting in Cromwell before heading north through what is deemed the most beautiful road in New Zealand, Lindis Pass. You’ll come out the other side in Omarama where a highlight includes soaking in the soothing waters of Hot Tubs Omarama.
The final leg to Aoraki Mt Cook is through the high country village of Twizel where you can stop by for a skydive with Skydive Mt. Cook (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), as well as the activities listed in the 6 Fun Things to Do in Twizel.
Follow the shores of the vibrant blue Lake Pukaki to Aoraki Mt Cook Village or to one of the luxury lodges around the lake. Devour Kiwi cuisine to the views of New Zealand’s highest mountains before calling it a night at your accommodation.
Luxury Accommodation in Mt Cook
For more details on each stay, take a look at the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Mt Cook.
Day 20 – Explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
This is your last day in the mountainous regions of the South Island so make the most of it. Take to the skies and land on a glacier in a ski plane – one of the only places in the world where you can have such an experience. Find out more on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook. If you missed out on a glacier heli-hike in Franz Josef, then you get another chance here on New Zealand’s longest glacier. Check out Viator and Tripadvisor for more details on this tour.
Luxury Activities in Mt Cook
- Land on the Tasman Glacier in a ski plane (more details on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook)
- Do a heli-hike on the Tasman Glacier (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Treat yourself to a spa day
- Do a guided hike in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
- Have a private picnic experience amongst the peak with Inflite Experiences.
See the 10 Luxury Activities in Mt Cook for more details on each experience and more.
Day 21 – Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to Christchurch Airport
Travel time: 4 hours
Your last day in New Zealand ends with one last Kiwi road trip, this time between Aoraki Mt Cook and Christchurch. Your first stop will be the lakeshores of Lake Tekapo for more mesmerising landscapes. Pick up souvenirs at the boutiques in Fairlie and, if you have time, do a horse trek in the Peel Forest just outside of Geraldine. You’ll finally journey through the pastures of the Canterbury Plains towards Christchurch Airport.
Remember to give yourself enough time to return your rental vehicle. There are connecting flights from Christchurch Airport to Auckland Airport, as well as international flights out of Christchurch.
Then it’s goodbye, New Zealand!
More About a New Zealand Luxury Itinerary for Three Weeks / 21 Days
That’s the end of our New Zealand luxury itinerary for 21 days. If this itinerary didn’t take you fancy, see our alternative 21-day itineraries:
- New Zealand in Three Weeks: Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand Family Itinerary: Three Weeks / 21 Days
- New Zealand Honeymoon Itinerary: Three Weeks / 21 Days
- New Zealand Foodie Itinerary: Three Weeks / 21 Days
- New Zealand Budget Itinerary: Three Weeks / 21 Days
- The Best 20+ Days Tours of New Zealand
- How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary