16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Fort Lauderdale
Fly:  23​h
1
Auckland
— 1 day
Drive:  3​h
2
Paihia
— 2 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  3​h
3
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
4
Rotorua
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
Whakapapa
— 1 night
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  9​h 15​min
6
Te Anau
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
7
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly:  25​h
End: Fort Lauderdale

1
day
Auckland

Auckland ©
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 17th (Tue), see the interesting displays at Auckland War Memorial Museum and then take in panoramic vistas at Sky Tower.

To find photos, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Auckland journey planning app .

Fort Lauderdale, USA to Auckland is an approximately 23-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to New Zealand Standard Time is 17 hours. When traveling from Fort Lauderdale in December, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in Auckland: temperatures range from 64°F by day to 64°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) early enough to drive to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum

2
nights
Paihia

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.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Wed): surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, then contemplate the long history of Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 19th (Thu): identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour and then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

Plan my trip to Paihia with suggested itineraries provided by Inspirock.

You can drive from Auckland to Paihia in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
night
Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves ©
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 20th (Fri): Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, then explore the fascinating underground world of Ruakuri Cave, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Ruakuri Walk.

To see ratings, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Waitomo Caves trip planner.

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Paihia to Waitomo Caves in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave

3
nights
Rotorua

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.
Get out of town with these interesting Rotorua side-trips: Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera) and Taupo (Adrenaline & Extreme Tours & Huka Falls Walkway). Next up on the itinerary: take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, don't miss a visit to Te Puia, and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

For traveler tips, maps, reviews, and tourist information, read Rotorua route builder .

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 71°F, and evening lows to 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) to allow time to travel to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Taupo, Hobbiton Movie Set
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway

1
night
Whakapapa

Whakapapa ©
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Tue): admire the sheer force of Taranaki Falls, then admire the sheer force of Tawhai Falls, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

To find photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Whakapapa itinerary maker .

Drive from Rotorua to Whakapapa in 2.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trip

Tongariro National Park
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Taranaki Falls ©
Taranaki Falls
Tawhai Falls ©
Tawhai Falls

2
nights
Te Anau

Te Anau ©
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.
Take a break from Te Anau with a short trip to Milford Foreshore Walk in Milford, about 1h 15 min away. There's still lots to do: explore the activities along Milford Sound, trek along Hollyford Track, tour the pleasant surroundings at The Chasm Walk, and identify plant and animal life at Doubtful Sound.

For where to stay, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Te Anau travel tool .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Whakapapa to Te Anau. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can catcht the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Foreshore Walk
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

3
nights
Queenstown

Queenstown ©
Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, wildlife, nature, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, sample some tasty brews at a beer tour and tasting, see Off-Road Tours, and look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park.

To find ratings, maps, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Queenstown trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Queenstown takes 3.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline

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