15 days in New Zealand Itinerary

15 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand journey builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Paihia
— 1 night
Fly
2
Auckland
— 1 night
Drive
3
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive
4
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Taupo
— 2 nights
Shuttle
6
Tongariro National Park
— 2 nights
Fly
7
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Bus
8
Te Anau
— 3 nights
Bus to Queenstown, Fly to Sydney

S M T W T F S
26
27
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31
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13
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15

Paihia

— 1 night
The main tourist town in the Bay of Islands area, Paihia gives visitors a good range of accommodations, a convenient town center, long sandy beaches, and interesting architecture.
On the 29th (Wed), stop by Paihia Bookshop and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour. On your second day here, tour the pleasant surroundings at Paihia Harbour, contemplate the long history of Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then get outside with Outdoor Activities.

To see traveler tips, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, read Paihia trip planner.

Sydney, Australia to Paihia is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Sydney to Paihia is 2 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) early enough to catch the flight to Auckland.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 30:
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Auckland

— 1 night

City of Sails

The largest and most populous city in New Zealand, Auckland combines a rich history and thriving contemporary culture in an abundance of museums, art galleries, and performance venues.
On the 31st (Fri), brush up on your military savvy at Auckland Museum, look for gifts at Pauanesia, then enjoy breathtaking views from SkyTower, and finally step off the mainland to explore Hauraki Gulf.

To find photos, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Auckland online trip builder.

Fly from Paihia to Auckland in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December in Auckland, expect temperatures between 20°C during the day and 20°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Fri) early enough to go by car to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums · Parks · Nature · Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:
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Waitomo Caves

— 1 night
Head deep beneath the surface of the earth at Waitomo Caves, a village and cave system that draws both extreme sports enthusiasts and those wanting something a little more relaxed.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Sat): Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then see the top attractions with Sightseeing Tours, and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see where to stay, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Waitomo Caves route planner.

Traveling by car from Auckland to Waitomo Caves takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sat) early enough to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 1:
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Rotorua

— 2 nights

Sulphur City

Surrounded by lakes and featuring impressive areas of geothermal landscape, the city of Rotorua offers an otherwordly landscape and a welcoming, peaceful environment, with the culture of the native Maori people very much in the foreground.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Sun): stroll through Rainbow Springs Nature Park, get outside with Outdoor Activities, and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour. On your second day here, take in the natural beauty of Te Puia, then take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then push the limits with an extreme tour, and finally trot along with a tour on horseback.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Rotorua day trip website.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Rotorua can reach 27°C, while at night they dip to 19°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to go by car to Taupo.

Things to do in Rotorua

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Adventure
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 3:
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Taupo

— 2 nights

Great Cloak of Tia

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Tue): don't miss a visit to Aratiatia Rapids, admire the sheer force of Huka Falls Walkway, and then push the limits with an extreme tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 5th (Wed): look for gifts at Souvenir Outlet & Mountain Bike Hire, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, then make a trip to Maori Rock Carvings, and finally take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

For more things to do, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Taupo day trip tool.

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Taupo takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) so you can catch the shuttle to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
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Tongariro National Park

— 2 nights
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Thu): admire the sheer force of Tawhai Falls, stroll through Whakapapa Nature Walk, then admire the sheer force of Taranaki Falls, and finally explore the activities along Tama Lakes. On the 7th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: trek along Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

For where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Tongariro National Park sightseeing tool.

Take a shuttle from Taupo to Tongariro National Park in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to fly to Queenstown.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 7:
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Queenstown

— 2 nights

Shallow Bay

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Sat): get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Kiwi Birdlife Park, and then admire the natural beauty at Queenstown Gardens. Keep things going the next day: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and finally get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour.

For ratings, maps, photos, and tourist information, go to the Queenstown trip builder.

Traveling by flight from Tongariro National Park to Queenstown takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, train, ferry, and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) to allow enough time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Fun & Games
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 9:
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Te Anau

— 3 nights
Set among the picturesque peaks and glacially carved fiords of Fiordland National Park, Te Anau offers those wishing to explore the park a great place to stay and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a small town in an enviable location.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Te Anau: Milford Foreshore Walk (in Milford) and Bowen Falls (in Milford Sound). On the 11th (Tue), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, stroll through The Chasm Walk, cast your line with a fishing tour, and look for gifts at Kowhai Gifts & Souvenirs.

To find where to stay, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Te Anau itinerary app.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Wed) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 9 — 12:
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New Zealand travel guide

4.5
Land of the Long White Cloud
Far-flung New Zealand has become known for its astounding topography, singular biodiversity, varied climate, and for marrying native Maori and post-colonial European cultures on its two main islands and the multitude of smaller landmasses dotted around them. Free-spirited New Zealanders cultivate a love of sports, sustainability, and the outdoors. Far from other landmasses, the islands existed for millions of years before being inhabited by humans, so an abundance of species have come to thrive in the thick, wild rainforest, vast and rugged backland, and extensive surrounding marine areas. While much of New Zealand tourism centers around adventures through this spectacular scenery, take time to explore the nation's rich cultural heritage as well. The traditions and history of the Maoris, and the industry and internationalism of the descendents of the first European settlers endure in fascinating attractions, ranging from museums, to farms, to places of worship.