A dragon's tour of New Zealand

12 Days

Highlights

  • Bay of Islands
  • Film Locations
  • Wildlife

Proximity

Disney Pete's Dragon Logo

Fans of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon can imaigne themselves as Elliot the dragon on their own adventure in New Zealand.

Day 1, Queenstown

Queenstown
Kawarau Bridge Bungy , Queenstown

By AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand

Highlights

  • World-class vineyards
  • Adventure Captial
  • Paradise

Proximity

  • By plane: 1 hr 50 mins from Auckland

Queenstown is paradise for those that love beautiful, natural places. Activities like bungy jumping, jet boating and rafting offer thrills for the adrenaline seeker, while there are plenty of picturesque walking trails and sightseeing tours for those that would prefer something more mellow.

 

Day 2, Queenstown - Central Otago

Queenstown
Vineyard in Gibbston Valley, Queenstown

By Gibbston Valley Winery

Highlights

  • Gibbston Valley
  • Boutique shopping
  • Scenic drive

Proximity

Take a wine tour through a winery in nearby Gibbston Valley – this region is famous for award-winning Pinot Noir – or simply spoil yourself with some boutique shopping.

Day 3, Central Otago

Central Otago
Central Otago Rail Trail, Central Otago

By Tourism New Zealand

Highlights

  • Otago rail trail
  • Orchards & Vineyards
  • Farmland

Proximity

Experience the joys of the Otago Central Rail Trail with a fairly flat ride from Clyde to Alexandra, passing through orchards, vineyards and farmland covered with merino sheep. 

Take a break in the bustling town of Alexandra, before riding to Omakau to spend the night. 

Day 4, Central Otago – Christchurch

Christchurch - Canterbury
Christchurch city tram, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Julian Apse

Christchurch - Canterbury

Christchurch - Canterbury

Christchurch accommodation

Highlights

  • Oamaru
  • Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • Wildlife

Proximity

Enjoy breakfast in Central Otago before heading North to Christchurch. Stop in Oamaru to view the yellow-eyed penguins and explore the Victorian Precinct.

On arrival in Christchurch, if it’s a nice day, put together a quick gourmet picnic and head to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens for some fresh air. Formed more than 150 years ago, meander through more than 10 different gardens framed by mature trees and expansive lawns. Or enjoy a relaxed punt on the river Avon

Day 5, Christchurch - Kaikoura

Christchurch - Canterbury
Whale watching , Christchurch - Canterbury

By Sara Orme

Christchurch - Canterbury

Christchurch - Canterbury

Kaikoura accommodation

Highlights

  • Seafood cuisine
  • Wildlife
  • Whale watching

Proximity

Arriving in Kaikoura late morning, dine on a lunch of fresh seafood – the town’s delicacy – before taking a whale watching boat cruise in the afternoon. Kaikoura is a marinelife mecca, and whales, dolphins, seals and penguins call these waters home. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can see sperm whales up close. Don’t forget the camera! 

Day 6, Kaikoura - Marlborough

Marlborough
Queen Charlotte Track , Marlborough

By Tourism New Zealand

Highlights

  • Queen Charlotte Track
  • Greenshell Mussels
  • Wineries

Proximity

More than 140 years ago, early pioneers recognised something special in the earth surrounding Blenheim and Marlborough, choosing to plant the region’s very first vineyards. Today, Marlborough is a winemaking mecca, world-famous for its sauvignon blanc. From Blenheim, spend a day visiting a selection of the region’s most impressive vineyards. Choose to self-drive, take a guided tour by car or mix in your daily exercise with a winery cycle tour.

Just north of Blenheim, near Picton, spend a day hiking or biking the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track through Marlborough Sounds. Taking a cruise is another fabulous way to enjoy the beauty of this region - the Greenshell Mussel cruise is highly recommended. 

Day 7, Marlborough - Wellington

Wellington
View from Mount Victoria, Wellington

By Julian Apse

Highlights

  • Arts and Culture
  • Wine and food

Proximity

  • By ferry: 3hrs 30mins from Picton

The short drive to Picton takes you across the Wairau Plains past vineyards and wineries. Diversions along the way include a golf course and farm parks. Once in Picton, there are museums and interesting walks will keep you entertained until your ferry ride to Wellington.

Wellington City is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.

Day 8, Wellington

Wellington
Weta Cave and Workshop Tour, Wellington

By Wellington Tourism

Highlights

  • Weta Workshop
  • Capital City
  • Cafe scene

Proximity

Be sure to visit the national museum, Te Papa, while you're here. Other famous attractions include the Wellington Cable Car, the Houses of Parliament, Zealandia and the Wellington waterfront.

A must-do for Wellington is Weta Digital. The tours have been named one of the top 10 studio tours in the world. Film fans can meet members of the creative team and see first-hand how they create jaw-dropping special effects.

Day 9, Wellington - Rotorua

Rotorua
Cultural performance at Te Puia, Rotorua

By Fraser Clements

Highlights

  • Maori Culture
  • Te Puia
  • Redwood Forest

Proximity

Explore the best of the Maori world in Rotorua. Places such as Te Puia offer cultural experiences that combine dramatic Maori performances – singing, dancing and haka (war dances) with delicious Maori food and arts. Te Puia is also a thermal reserve featuring more than 500 springs and the famous Pohutu Geyser which erupts up to 20 times a day, spurting hot water up to 30m skyward.

Day 10, Rotorua - Auckland

Auckland
View from Devonport , Auckland

By Fullers

Highlights

  • Urban sophistication
  • Volcanic landscape
  • Harbours

Proximity

  • By car: 3hrs 15mins from Rotorua

Rotorua has long been famous for its naturally heated waters, which make it a haven for relaxation. Here you can soak in a steaming mineral pool while taking in glorious views or enjoy a wide range of treatments at one of the city’s many health spas. Treatments are influenced by Rotorua’s natural geothermal phenomenon and strong Maori influence.

Depart Rotorua for Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. Auckland is situated between two enormous harbours and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It’s a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication.

Day 11, Auckland - Tutukaka

Northland & Bay of Islands
Tutukaka coastline, Northland & Bay of Islands

By Rob

Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Tutukaka accommodation

Highlights

  • Tutukaka coast
  • Poor Knights Islands

Proximity

Begin your holiday by travelling north from Auckland to the beautiful Tutukaka coast. Gateway to the renowned Poor Knights Islands, Tutukaka is a haven for lovers of the sea. Since it was founded as a Marine Reserve in 1981, this living treasure has attracted divers and snorkelers from around the world. Take a guided snorkeling or diving tour out to the islands to discover coral gardens, kelp forests, rare fish and huge underwater cliffs.

Day 12, Tutukaka – Paihia/ Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands
Waitangi meeting house, Northland & Bay of Islands

By Waitangi National Trust

Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Paihia accommodation

Highlights

  • Maori culture
  • Waitangi
  • Bay of Islands

Proximity

Learn how Waitangi - a short drive from Paihia - set the stage for a defining moment in New Zealand’s history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, making New Zealand a British colony. Admire the intricately carved marae (meeting house) as well as the mighty waka ( Maori canoe). Before leaving, stroll the manicured lawns that overlook the Bay of Islands.

View the journey below

Where to next?

Disney's Pete's Dragon →

Film in New Zealand →

Walk in Elliot’s footprints to the real NZ locations of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon →