17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand itinerary planner

Make it your trip
1
Wellington
— 1 day
Fly
2
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Taupo
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Hahei
— 1 night
Drive
6
Auckland
— 1 night
Fly
7
Picton
— 1 night
Fly
8
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Unknown
9
Stewart Island
— 1 night
Unknown
10
Queenstown
— 4 nights
Fly

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Wellington

— 1 day

Harbour Capital

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.
On the 1st (Wed), tour the pleasant surroundings at ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary, then take an in-depth tour of The Great War Exhibition, then catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car, and finally see the interesting displays at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Wellington travel planner.

Use the Route module to see travel options from your home to Wellington. In December in Wellington, expect temperatures between 22°C during the day and 15°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) to allow enough time to fly to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums · Wildlife · Parks · Transportation
Find places to stay Dec 1 — 2:

Waitomo Caves

— 2 nights
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 2nd (Thu): get a dose of the wild on Spellbound Glowworm & Cave Tours and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour. On the 3rd (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the fascinating underground world of Aranui Cave, Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, then trek along Ruakuri Walk, and finally Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

To see maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Waitomo Caves day trip planning site.

Fly from Wellington to Waitomo Caves in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) so you can drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 1 — 3:

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 (Sat): get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, grab your bike and head to Great Lake Trail, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Huka Falls Walkway, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Spa Thermal Park and Riverbank Recreational and Scenic Reserve. On the 5th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the natural beauty of Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, then find something for the whole family at Huka Prawn Park, then play a few rounds at Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary, and finally head outdoors with Outdoor Activities.

To see reviews, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Taupo trip planner.

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Taupo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 3 — 5:

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.
On the 6th (Mon), get impressive views of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then witness a stunning natural landmark at Te Puia, then stroll through Rainbow Springs Nature Park, and finally kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, then stroll through Lake Okareka Walkway, and then get outside with Outdoor Activities.

To see more things to do, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Rotorua trip planner.

Traveling by car from Taupo to Rotorua takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 25°C in December, and nighttime lows around 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can travel to Hahei.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 5 — 7:

Hahei

— 1 night
On the 8th (Wed), enjoy the sand and surf at Hot Water Beach, trek along Cathedral Cove Walk, and then explore the activities along Stingray Bay.

To see photos, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read our Hahei online trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from Rotorua to Hahei in 3 hours. Expect a daytime high around 24°C in December, and nighttime lows around 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Hahei

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Beaches

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 7 — 8:

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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Thu): wander the streets of Devonport, then contemplate the geological forces at Mount Eden, then examine the collection at Auckland Museum, and finally take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower.

To find photos, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read Auckland visit planner.

You can drive from Hahei to Auckland in 2.5 hours. While traveling from Hahei, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Auckland, ranging from highs of 20°C to lows of 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) to allow time to fly to Picton.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks · Nature · Museums · Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 9:

Picton

— 1 night

Gateway to the South Island

Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Fri): discover the deep blue sea with Waikawa Dive Centre and then contemplate the waterfront views at Marlborough Sounds.

For photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Picton vacation planner.

You can fly from Auckland to Picton in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Traveling from Auckland in December, Picton is a bit cooler at night with lows of 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can catch the flight to Christchurch.

Things to do in Picton

Wildlife · Tours · Outdoors · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 10:

Christchurch

— 2 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sat): take a tour by water with Dive HQ Christchurch, then get your game on at Velocity Karts, then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, and finally admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Make your Christchurch itinerary with Inspirock to find out what to see and where to go.

Fly from Picton to Christchurch in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Picton in December, plan for slightly colder nights in Christchurch, with lows around 12°C. On the 12th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Stewart Island.

Things to do in Christchurch

Find places to stay Dec 10 — 12:

Stewart Island

— 1 night
On the 13th (Mon), trek along Rakiura Track.

To see other places to visit, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Stewart Island tour itinerary planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Christchurch to Stewart Island. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) so you can travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Stewart Island

Outdoors · Parks · Trails
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 13:
Highlights from your trip

Queenstown

— 4 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.
Get in touch with nature at Milford Sound and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours. Get out of town with these interesting Queenstown side-trips: Te Anau (Gertrude Saddle & The Chasm Walk) and Key Summit Track (in Milford). On the 15th (Wed), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. There's still lots to do: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, stroll through Lake Marian Track, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and explore the activities along Lake Gunn.

For maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Queenstown trip planner.

Explore your travel options from Stewart Island to Queenstown with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) to allow time to fly back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 13 — 17:

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.

Coromandel Peninsula travel guide

4.3
Beaches · Hiking Trails · Thermal Spas
Jutting out into the ocean just north of Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula remains a largely uninhabited land of native rainforest and unspoiled sandy beaches. Thanks to the area's preserved wilderness and natural abundance, ecotourism in Coromandel Peninsula has gained in popularity, attracting adventurous vacationers and outdoors enthusiasts. The coastline offers many coves, diving sites, and expeditions out into the ocean for the chance to spot whales and dolphins. Hike, cycle, or kayak inland for scenic landscape largely untouched by human development and industry.

Marlborough Region travel guide

4.4
Discover the rolling hills of Marlborough Region, a premier wine-growing area located at the top of New Zealand's South Island. With bays dotted with scenic islands, native forests, and a temperate climate, you'll find you can fill your Marlborough Region itinerary with more than just famous grapes and vintages. However, if you do find yourself in the mood for a tipple, the region has over 40 cellar doors (winery tasting rooms) that you can visit through an organized wine tour, via one of the many bike trails, or on an evening stroll.