If you're ready to leave the city scene, head from Auckland toward the Coromandel Peninsula, a stunning mixture of fern-covered mountains and pristine beaches. You can visit the Coromandel Forest Park and Hot Water Beach, where underground thermal activity means you can dig yourself a little bath. Also not to be missed is the 1-hour walk from Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove.
Spend a night along the lake in Queenstown and then drive towards Wanaka, where you can do the epic Roy's Peak hike. Next, head towards Twizel, passing through Landis Pass and admire the golden mountainsides, before coming to Lake Pukaki. The electric blue of the water might make you wonder if you've landed in a Photoshopped postcard, but this is the real. Driving further on to Aoraki/ Mt Cook will take you along a valley floor towards New Zealand's tallest mountain. There, walk the Hooker Valley Track and the Tasman Glacier View Track. Incredible scenery awaits.
Starting from the small beach town of Kaikoura, you might be lucky enough to see dolphins and seals. Drive up the east coast of the North Island to Blenheim, heart of the country's largest wine region. Stop at a local winery but drive responsibly! Next, carry on to sunny Nelson, the nicest place to stay if you want to see the Abel Tasman National Park. If you're adventurous, water taxi, kayak, and sky-dive are all possible ways to see this region of the country.