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Join us on a truly majestic driving holiday, a 2500km loop over 14 days, encompassing the best sights in the South Island, on some of the best driving roads in the world. Classic sports cars, eclectic luxury accommodation, and plenty of flexibility for you to indulge your own interests, this is indeed a Grand Tour. We’ve take care to balance destinations, driving time & optional activities to ensure a superb unhurried experience.

A Grand Tour: Top to Toe South Island 14 Day Tour

Driving Mode: Active - 2500 km over 14 days

Start Christchurch > Aoraki / Mt Cook > Arrowtown > Te Anau (Milford Sound) > Queenstown > Fox / Franz Josef Glaciers > Punakaiki > Nelson (Abel Tasman) > Blenheim > Kaikoura > Hanmer Springs > Christchurch

Highlights

  • Nelson / Abel Tasman National Park – unspoilt sand and crystal clear seas
  • Fiordland National Park – Cruise the Milford or Doubtful Sounds
  • Queenstown / Arrowtown / Wanaka – Stunning lakes and mountains
  • Fox / Franz Josef / Punakaiki – Glaciers and the wild West Coast
  • Marlborough – home to 150 wineries, plus the stunning, intricate waters of The Sounds
  • Optional extra cost activities include:
    • Wine Tasting
    • Golf Courses
    • Horse Treks
    • Steam Train
    • Sea Cruises
    • Scenic Flights

Includes   

  • 14 days classic or modern sports car hire
  • 13 nights premium accommodation & breakfasts
  • 3 group dinners
  • Discretely escorted for your peace of mind
  • Flexibility to travel at your own pace or together
  • Car insurance and roadside assistance
  • Sat Nav / GPS & bluetooth speaker hire

With a superb & rarified choice of travelling in style...

C (Characterful) Class BRONZE
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 Cars with character and panache yet also offering superb value for money.
E (exhilarating) Class Silver
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 Premium luxury Europeans with an excellent reputation for serious driving enjoyment. 
S (superlative) Class Gold
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 Few places in the world offer cars as sublime and iconic as these for self drive hire.

Tour Route

Detailed Itinerary

Click the tabs to reveal your day by day delights! Accommodation will be from one of options shown. 

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Arrive Christchurch. Meet at overnight accommodation lunchtime to collect your cars and then again in evening for a communal welcome dinner.

Christchurch Activities

Plenty of options to take a punt on the river, indulge in some serious shopping, wander museums and art galleries, or chill out (literally in one exhibit!) at the Antarctic Centre. One of our favourates though is the scenic drive…

Heritage Hotel, Christchurch

This iconic hotel has just won the World Luxury Hotel 2016 award in the Historical Hotel category for the Australasia and Oceania region. A night’s stay in this opulent Italian High Renaissance Palazzo style building and you will understand why.…

Eliza’s Manor Boutique Hotel, Christchurch

Here you have the benefits of a hotel, together with the personal service of a boutique bed and breakfast. Built in 1861, Eliza’s historic B&B was for much of its life a family home, before becoming a Boutique Hotel in…

Chateau on the Park, Christchurch

Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel is designed to provide a tranquil, resort-like stay. The 5-acre property – boasting a moat, a vineyard and a beautiful rose garden – makes our Christchurch, New Zealand hotel…

Punting in Christchurch

Video Tour Christchurch & Canterbury

The largest and most vibrant city in the South Island, its international airport and central location makes a great starting place for our tours. Video tour punting on the river, tram rides, parks, museums and theatres, and a city regenerating…

Akaroa and Banks Peninsula

Delightful French themed small township with Dolphin cruises, lots of specialty crepes and a fabulous fun hours drive from Christchurch to get there, with gorgeous views along the way.... Watch the video below for more information on Akaroa and other areas…

Optional Trip to Akaroa to get acquainted with your cars!

Drive distance: 170 km                  Driving time: 3 hrs

 

Christchurch Activities

Plenty of options to take a punt on the river, indulge in some serious shopping, wander museums and art galleries, or chill out (literally in one exhibit!) at the Antarctic Centre. One of our favourates though is the scenic drive…

Heritage Hotel, Christchurch

This iconic hotel has just won the World Luxury Hotel 2016 award in the Historical Hotel category for the Australasia and Oceania region. A night’s stay in this opulent Italian High Renaissance Palazzo style building and you will understand why.…

Eliza’s Manor Boutique Hotel, Christchurch

Here you have the benefits of a hotel, together with the personal service of a boutique bed and breakfast. Built in 1861, Eliza’s historic B&B was for much of its life a family home, before becoming a Boutique Hotel in…

Drive distance: 370 km                  Driving time: 4.5 hrs

Via the Inland Scenic Route

Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook

Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook

Nestled in the beautiful Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, The Hermitage Hotel is the perfect base, home to a selection of restaurants and bars as well as a range of activities to allow you to explore the wonder of Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Aoraki / Mount Cook Activities

All sorts from energetic hikes to scenic flights, or for those who like to look even higher for their inspiration, you’re in an International Dark Sky Reserve. The star gazing is on a clear night quite literally brilliant. Earth &…

Aoraki / Mount Cook

An iconic destination on any road trip. New Zealands tallest mountain defines the majestic Southern Alps. Burkes Pass brings us into Lake Tekapo just beforehand, with the almost equally iconic Church of the Good Shepherd overlooking the crystal clear lake.

Drive distance: 280 km                  Driving time: 3.5 hrs

Via Lake Wanaka

Arrowtown Activities

Meandering is a great one here – plenty of opportunities with boutique shops and historical buildings, (you can even pan for gold), taking in ArtHouse movies at Dorothy Browns Cinema in Arrowtown, or dining at the world famous Saffron Restaurant.

Arrowtown Boutique Hotel

Country atmosphere, city convenience – a perfect balance. Cycling & hiking trails lead directly from this luxury Queenstown bed and breakfast to vineyards, winery restaurants & lakeside Only 15 minutes from downtown-Queenstown, but a world removed.  

Wanaka / Arrowtown

Sometimes we may overnight around Lake Wanaka, sometimes at the quaint tree lined avenues of Arrowtown, but both reside in the glorious Wakatipu region of central Otago.

Wanaka Activities

There’s golf – even the club manager still gets distracted with the views apparently….! There’s also a fantastic National Transport & Toy Museum and the eclectic sofa clad Cinema Paradiso.

Arrowtown Private Hotel

Secluded and romantic, boutique but quirky, The Arrow Private Hotel provides Arrowtown boutique accommodation which is distinctive, stylish and which offers a few pleasant surprises.

Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

A luxury resort located on 500 acres of stunning countryside with a golf course….

Drive distance: 180 km                  Driving time: 2.5 hrs

 

Te Anau / Milford Sound Activities

The main reason we overnight in Te Anau is for the Milford Sound cruises just 2 hours away – along one of the best alpine drives in the world. Leave early to miss the midday crowds. Doubtful Sound Cruise is also…

Te Anau

Another gorgeous lakeside setting, Te Anau is the gateway to the Fiordland National Park. 

Distinction Hotel, Te Anau

Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas offers chic, elegant accommodation for the perfect Fiordland getaway. Surrounded by extensive, colourful gardens and overlooking spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland ranges, this 4 star hotel sets the tone for your stay…

Radfords on the Lake, Te Anau

Relax in one of our fourteen spacious,  warm and luxuriously appointed 5 star motel apartments, super king & king beds in all units, all with views of Lake Te Anau and the mountains of Fiordland National Park.

Drive distance: 410 km                  Driving time: 5.5 hrs

Optionally via Milford Sound (180 km 2.5 hours if not)

Te Anau / Milford Sound Activities

The main reason we overnight in Te Anau is for the Milford Sound cruises just 2 hours away – along one of the best alpine drives in the world. Leave early to miss the midday crowds. Doubtful Sound Cruise is also…

Te Anau

Another gorgeous lakeside setting, Te Anau is the gateway to the Fiordland National Park. 

Distinction Hotel, Te Anau

Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas offers chic, elegant accommodation for the perfect Fiordland getaway. Surrounded by extensive, colourful gardens and overlooking spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland ranges, this 4 star hotel sets the tone for your stay…

Radfords on the Lake, Te Anau

Relax in one of our fourteen spacious,  warm and luxuriously appointed 5 star motel apartments, super king & king beds in all units, all with views of Lake Te Anau and the mountains of Fiordland National Park.

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Rest day…if you want to….

Villa del Largo, Queenstown

Spectacular lake and mountain views from every suite in this peaceful lakeside hotel. Featuring its own pebbled beach and jetty, close to ski fields and vineyards and bordering the Queenstown Trail, the Villa del Lago is a 3 minute car ride…

Browns Boutique Hotel, Queenstown

This charming European styled boutique hotel combines both bed & breakfast with genuine New Zealand hospitality. Superbly situated in a quiet, central Queenstown location just three minutes walk to the shops and restaurants. You will love the stunning views of the town,…

Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Experience the sophistication of Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel, a haven of stylish 5 star accommodation for all seasons. A boutique hotel with a modern romantic style and exclusive service awaits you in the heart of New Zealand’s adventure capital. Stay…

Sofitel Hotel, Queenstown

Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa offers a refined 5-star experience in the heart of Queenstown – the French art de vivre amidst the pure dramatic grandeur of New Zealand

The Rees Hotel, Queenstown

Showcasing breathtaking panoramic lake and alpine views, The Rees Hotel Queenstown is a sophisticated five star hotel situated right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, just a gentle walk to Queenstown’s town centre. The Rees Hotel offers a variety of…

The Diary, Queenstown

Come and experience our private boutique hotel, where you can come home to relax, unwind and share your wonderful travelling experiences, whilst right in the heart of Queenstown (less than 2 minutes walk from our vibrant town centre). We take…

Steam Boat or Train, Queenstown

Sedate, stately and steam powered – the TTS Earnslaw takes you out round the lake and the Kingston Flyer takes you out round the hills. Both have tea on board – piping hot as you’d expect – how jolly civilised…. 

Gondola & Luge, Queenstown

The Gondola has the steepest ascent in the Southern Hemisphere but boy is it worth it for the views. And for those of you who always fancied yourself as James Bond On Her Majesty’s Secret Service can re-enact the final…

Golf, Queenstown

Choose from Millbrook Resort, The Hills, Kelvin Hills and Jacks Point all stunning courses that blend beautifully with the dramatic local scenery…..it’s very hard to stay focused on that minuscule little white thing….

Queenstown Activities

Where do we start? There’s the obvious adventure stuff Queenstown is known for where you can throw yourself off things (bungee jumping) or have something else feel like it’s going to throw you off things (jet boating, zip lines, mountain…

Video Tour Queenstown

Watch life at one of the worlds favourate playgrounds play out….

Drive distance: 360 km                  Driving time: 5 hrs

 

Fox / Franz Josef Glaciers

It’s rare you can get this up close and personal with glaciers anywhere else in the world…but you don’t have to don ice boots and crampons to take in their majesty. Fox is the smaller, quieter and more rural one,…

Fox / Franz Josef Glaciers Activities

The adventurous amongst you can book ice hikes or heli hikes…..or just take scenic flights to take in the views like no other. Whether you’ve got cold or not, there are some Hot Pools at Franz Josef to warm up…

Scenic Hotel, Franz Josef Glacier

Scenic 4 star Hotel Franz Josef Glacier sits at the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, and is just moments from one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier. 

Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Hotel

Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Hotel is your ideal luxury hotel accommodation in Fox Glacier village – a charming township in the beautiful alpine West Coast region of New Zealand’s South Island. Its location provides a real sense of privacy and…

Westwood Lodge, Franz Josef Glacier

This is an exceptional part of the world, to be enjoyed more deservingly from the comfort of your outstanding bed and breakfast accommodation at Westwood Lodge, in the heart of Glacier Country. Westwood Lodge is architecturally styled to reflect the…

Drive distance: 220 km                  Driving time: 3 hrs

 

Punakaiki Resort Hotel

Situated on New Zealand’s wild West Coast, 30 minutes north of Greymouth and 300m south of the famous Pancakes Rocks and Blowholes, the Resort is surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and is only a stone’s throw from the beach.…

Punakaiki Activities

One attraction here is the Pancake Rocks, although it’s appeal is somewhat dependent on the interaction of tides and sea surges.  The West Coast Tree Top Walkway 20m above the ground is worth a diversion. However the main appeal is the…

Punakaiki

Rated as one of the top drives in New Zealand to get here, it’s a small but dramatic stop off on our way to the Top of The South.

Drive distance: 270 km                  Driving time: 4 hrs

 

Mapua & Ruby Bay

Highly rated by us as it features the gorgeous coastal roads our videos were made on, also traversing nearby vineyards and gentle rolling hills, which offer an entertaining final drive. 

Mapua Activities

A small but very delectably formed lunch stop overlooking a picturesque estuary, with boutique eateries and shops. 

Nelson Luxury Yacht Cruise

It doesn't get much more dreamily desirable than this.....charter a yacht exclusively with Gourmet Sailing, and be surrounded by glorious crystal blue seas and stunning mountain vistas. Overnight accommodation is available and the crew are dedicated to providing unparalleled service…

The RentAClassic 2014 car hire fleet at Melrose House Nelson

Nelson Activities

Why not start or finish at Melrose Historic House and Gardens, which occupying a prime position in the Nelson ‘Dress Circle’ at Brougham St, offers elegant dining and superb high teas in their cafe surrounded by Victorian grandeur. Click here…

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Lovely options to go vineyard hunting, walking in the Abel Tasman National Park, or a 3 hour round trip to the tranquil Golden Bay.

 

Mapua & Ruby Bay

Highly rated by us as it features the gorgeous coastal roads our videos were made on, also traversing nearby vineyards and gentle rolling hills, which offer an entertaining final drive. 

Mapua Activities

A small but very delectably formed lunch stop overlooking a picturesque estuary, with boutique eateries and shops. 

Nelson Luxury Yacht Cruise

It doesn't get much more dreamily desirable than this.....charter a yacht exclusively with Gourmet Sailing, and be surrounded by glorious crystal blue seas and stunning mountain vistas. Overnight accommodation is available and the crew are dedicated to providing unparalleled service…

The RentAClassic 2014 car hire fleet at Melrose House Nelson

Nelson Activities

Why not start or finish at Melrose Historic House and Gardens, which occupying a prime position in the Nelson ‘Dress Circle’ at Brougham St, offers elegant dining and superb high teas in their cafe surrounded by Victorian grandeur. Click here…

Drive distance: 130 km                  Driving time: 2 hrs

 

Marlborough & The Sounds

Wine, dine and recline. With the legendary Queen Charlotte walking track, more vineyards than you can shake a vat of grapevine sticks at, and the Marlborough Sounds, a marvelous maze of inlets, coves and places to get away from it all. 

Marlborough Activities

Blenheim provides many and varied opportunities for wine tasting tours, (alternative transport provided!), cruises on the Marlborough Sounds, or just visiting gardens and the vicinity as you desire.  

Chateau Marlborough

Chateau Marlborough offers luxury 5 star Blenheim hotel accommodation in the heart of one of New Zealand’s most famous wine regions. Rated in the top ten hotels to stay in Blenheim on TripAdvisor. 

Marlborough Vinters

Marlborough Vintners Hotel which offers the highest standard in luxury accommodation in a peaceful and picturesque vineyard setting. This 5 Star Hotel has a well-earned reputation for style and sophistication delivered with warm hospitality, a stone’s throw away from some of…

Hotel D’Urville, Marlborough

Hotel D’Urville offers luxury boutique hotel accommodation in the heart of one of New Zealand’s most famous wine regions. 

Drive distance: 270 km                  Driving time: 4 hrs

Our Farewell Dinner!

 

Kaikoura

Two hours apart and both fairly small towns, they both make great use of water & hills and encompass just about my favourate drive in the whole of New Zealand, the coastal road down the east coast.

Kaikoura Activities

Whale watching is the thing to do in Kaikoura, and most trips have a pretty high success rate of spotting them.

Heritage Hotel, Hanmer Springs

Well appointed hotel set in delightful surroundings in the heart of Hanmer Springs, within walking distance to all Hanmer has to offer…..including those hot springs, open late into the evening.

Hanmer Springs Activities

Small but perfectly formed it makes a lovely stop off. Relax in the natural thermal mineral, sulphur and freshwater pools with beauty treatments and massages on site for some serious pampering.

Drive distance: 140 km                  Driving time: 2 hrs

The last short stretch…..time for a quick soak before leaving Hanmer & driving the cars to the drop off point in Christchurch early afternoon and farewells….until the next one!

 

 

Kaikoura

Two hours apart and both fairly small towns, they both make great use of water & hills and encompass just about my favourate drive in the whole of New Zealand, the coastal road down the east coast.

Kaikoura Activities

Whale watching is the thing to do in Kaikoura, and most trips have a pretty high success rate of spotting them.

Heritage Hotel, Hanmer Springs

Well appointed hotel set in delightful surroundings in the heart of Hanmer Springs, within walking distance to all Hanmer has to offer…..including those hot springs, open late into the evening.

Hanmer Springs Activities

Small but perfectly formed it makes a lovely stop off. Relax in the natural thermal mineral, sulphur and freshwater pools with beauty treatments and massages on site for some serious pampering.

Click below to see all destinations & potential accommodation & activity options at a glance

Accommodation

Activities

Destinations

Discretely escorted - it's all about you...

By your side when you need us, leaving you free if you don’t.

We drive the whole route too, and each day you’re welcome to drive along with us or head off on your own exploration and pace, spending your time as you please. At each location we recommend diverse activities you can opt in to with fellow travellers.  Tell us your interests: food, wine, gardens, walks, culture, museums, nature, art, cruises, photography, cars….and with our knowledge of living in the South Island, we’ll point you to the best experiences the locals know. Sat nav / GPS units ensure you don’t get lost, and unlike some other travel tours, we’re there to come and help out in person.

Ready to tour?

All cars come with unlimited km, comprehensive insurance & roadside assistance. We also provide a personalised familarisation session and documentation for your car. 

The car you see here is the car you’ll get. A 15% deposit using secure payment facilities reserves your unique car and dates, so why not….

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