17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand holiday planner

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Route & dates

17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Melbourne
Fly:  6 h
1
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Bus:  2 h 30 min
2
Wanaka
— 3 nights
+2
Bus + Foot + Fly:  6 h
3
Wellington
— 2 nights
Fly:  3 h
4
Rotorua
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h
5
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
+2
Taxi + Fly + Taxi:  3 h
6
Paihia
— 3 nights
Fly:  8 h 30 min
End: Melbourne

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.
Get in touch with nature at Arrowtown Village and Ben Lomond Track. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Queenstown Hill and Fear Factory Queenstown. There's much more to do: take the plunge with a skydiving experience, try your luck at SkyCity Queenstown Casino, have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, and get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To see other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read Queenstown day trip planner.

Melbourne, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 6-hour flight. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Melbourne to Queenstown due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) to allow enough time to take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Tours Fun & Games

Side Trip

Arrowtown Village
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Queenstown Hill ©
Queenstown Hill
Ben Lomond Track ©
Ben Lomond Track
Fishing Charters & Tours

3
nights
Wanaka

Wanaka ©
Situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka in the Otago region, Wanaka has become a popular ski and summer resort area, owing to its extensive views of the lake and its proximity to some of the best slopes in the country.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Roys Peak Track and Parasailing & Paragliding. Step out of the city life by going to Wanaka and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. There's more to do: trek along Mount Iron Track and have some family-friendly fun at Puzzling World.

To find photos, maps, reviews, and tourist information, use the Wanaka tour itinerary planning app.

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Wanaka in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) early enough to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Mount Iron Track ©
Mount Iron Track
Roys Peak Track ©
Roys Peak Track
Wanaka ©
Wanaka

2
nights
Wellington

Wellington ©
Wellington, the world's southernmost capital city and New Zealand's second most populous urban area, combines the nation's rugged history and nature with its modern and cosmopolitan present.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Wed): get engrossed in the history at Wellington Museum, then catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car, then explore the activities along Oriental Bay, and finally examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Staglands Wildlife Reserve, appreciate the history behind National War Memorial, admire the striking features of Old St Paul's, then see the interesting displays at Cable Car Museum, and finally do a tasting at Te Aro Wine.

To see more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Wellington trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Wanaka to Wellington takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or ride a ferry. In December in Wellington, expect temperatures between 22°C during the day and 15°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Thu) early enough to travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Wellington

Parks Museums Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Museum ©
Wellington Museum
Staglands Wildlife Reserve ©
Staglands Wildlife Reserve

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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave. Get outdoors at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Zipline. Explore Rotorua's surroundings by going to Huka Falls Walkway (in Taupo) and Tukairangi Gallery (in Acacia Bay). And it doesn't end there: take in the natural beauty of Kuirau Park, make a trip to Amokura Glass, identify plant and animal life at Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park, and get your game on at OGO Rotorua.

For other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, read Rotorua trip planner.

Fly from Wellington to Rotorua in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. In December, daytime highs in Rotorua are 25°C, while nighttime lows are 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Taupo, Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway

2
nights
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.
On the 4th (Mon), 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 Caveworld, and finally stroll through Ruakuri Walk. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 5th (Tue): Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, get interesting insight from Tours, then take in the dramatic scenery at Marakopa Falls, and finally take in the views from Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk.

To see traveler tips, photos, maps, and more tourist information, use the Waitomo Caves online vacation builder.

Getting from Rotorua to Waitomo Caves by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Tue) so you can travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave

3
nights
Paihia

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.
Step out of the city life by going to Paihia Harbour and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Discover out-of-the-way places like Rainbow Falls and Scuba & Snorkeling. Change things up with these side-trips from Paihia: Russell (Christ Church, Pompallier Mission and Printery, &more). There's still lots to do: steep yourself in history at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, look for gifts at Paihia Bookshop, tour the pleasant surroundings at Kororipo Pa Historic Walk, and identify plant and animal life at The Parrot Place.

To find where to stay, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Paihia online holiday planner.

Getting from Waitomo Caves to Paihia by combination of taxi and flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus and flight. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Historic Sites Wildlife Parks

Side Trips

Russell, Kerikeri
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
The Parrot Place ©
The Parrot Place
Scuba & Snorkeling
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour

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