If you are looking for a basic guide on how to tour New Zealand, here is an example of a self-drive travel itinerary, that provides you the opportunity to experience many of New Zealand's scenic attractions over say a three-week holiday period. I am assuming that you would be flying into New Zealand's main tourist entry point, Auckland, and I am estimating that the average daily driving distances would be between two to three hours.
Day One: Sight-seeing drive around Auckland – the City of Sails.
Day Two: Leisurely north north, stopping for a swim at some beautiful beaches on the way to Whangerei for your first stopover.
Day Three and Four: Keri Keri, Paihia, Russell, the Bay of Islands and the historic Waitangi Treaty House.
Day Five: Ninety Mile Beach and the North Cape lighthouse.
Day Six: Kaikohe and then travel south to visit the Kauri Museum, the Kauri Forests and back for a stopover at Auckland.
Day Seven: Travel to Tauranga / Mount Maunganui via Paeroa and Waihi and then on to Rotorua.
Day Eight and Nine: Visit Rotorua to visit various thermal wonderland attractions and the Agridome to see some New Zealand farming practices such as shearing of sheep.
Day Ten: Travel south via Taupo and Napier (famous for its art deco buildings) to Wellington, marvelling at New Zealand's unique countryside on the way.
Day Eleven: Take the Cook Straight ferry and travel to Blenheim, and then onto Christchurch via the Kaikoura coast (stop for the popular whale watching trip).
Day Twelve: Twelve and Thirteen: Christchurch, where you will see the Christchurch rebuild in progress after the recent earthquakes. The West Coast Scenic Railway from Christchurch to Wesport, and the historic town of Akaroa are great day-trips.
Day Thirteen: Travel inland to get a closer view of the Southern Alps, and then south on to Tekapo (be sure to stop off at the church of the Good Shepherd) and then on to the Hermitage Hotel at Mt Cook (Mt Aorangi) for a stop-over. Walk the beautiful Tasman Valley which takes you up to the foot of Mount Cook. If it's a fine day you will be amazed by its beauty.
Day Fourteen: Travel on to the lake-side town of Wanaka (be sure to visit Glendu Bay).
Day Fifteen, Sixteen and Seventeen: Travel via the Crown Range to Queenstown which is the Tourist Mecca of New Zealand. If you are into adventure sports than Queenstown has it all – skiing, bungy-jumping, sky diving, paragliding and jet-boating. A bus tour to Milford Sound and a trip across the lake on the historic Earnslaw (built the same year as the Titanic) are great one-day excursions.
Day Eighteen and Nineteen: Travel on to historic Dunedin, where you can visit Lanarch Castle and view the beautiful Otago Peninsula and yellow-eyed penguin colony.
Day Twenty: Travel north to view the unique Moeraki Boulders, Oamaru (great historic buildings) and Timaru.
Day Twenty One: Back to Christchurch for an overnight stay, drop off your rental car at the airport and fly home after a great holiday.
The cost of a tour like this would be around NZ $ 5,000, which includes accommodation, vehicle hire, Interisland ferry crossing and petrol.
This gives you an example of how to tour New Zealand, so that you can get to experience some of New Zealand's many and varied scenic attractions. If you would like some help to plan your self-drive New Zealand holiday, go to http://www.destinationdownunder.co.nz