18 days in New Zealand Itinerary

18 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand travel planner

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

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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: Bowen Falls (in Milford Sound) and Milford Foreshore Walk (in Milford). On the 1st (Sat), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. Spend the 3rd (Mon) exploring at Doubtful Sound. There's still lots to do: explore the activities along Milford Sound, cast your line with a fishing tour, and hike along The Chasm Walk.

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

Melbourne, Australia to Te Anau is an approximately 8.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Melbourne to Te Anau due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) to allow enough time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:
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Queenstown

— 3 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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, tour the pleasant surroundings at Kiwi Birdlife Park, head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Queenstown road trip tool.

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Queenstown takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) to allow time to fly to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours · Breweries & Distilleries · Parks · Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 6:
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Tongariro National Park

— 2 nights
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 7th (Fri), trek along Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Keep things going the next day: hike along Silica Rapids Track, tour the pleasant surroundings at Whakapapa Nature Walk, hike along Ridge Track, then take in the dramatic scenery at Taranaki Falls, and finally admire the sheer force of Tawhai Falls.

For more things to do, where to stay, maps, and tourist information, go to the Tongariro National Park tour itinerary maker app.

Getting from Queenstown to Tongariro National Park by flight takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus, ferry, train, and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sat) so you can take a shuttle to Taupo.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 8:
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Taupo

— 3 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.
Taupo is known for nature, adventure, and theme parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, explore the striking landscape at Craters of the Moon, find something for the whole family at Huka Prawn Park, and take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Taupo travel planner.

Traveling by shuttle from Tongariro National Park to Taupo takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Tue) so you can go by car to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 11:
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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.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Wed): tour the pleasant surroundings at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, get outside with Outdoor Activities, and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour. On the 13th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the natural beauty of Te Puia, take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then push the limits with an extreme tour, and finally take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find ratings, maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Rotorua online trip itinerary maker.

Getting from Taupo to Rotorua by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. In January, daytime highs in Rotorua are 27°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Thu) early enough to drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Rotorua

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Adventure
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 13:
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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 14th (Fri): explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, make a short side trip with Day Trips, and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see ratings, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Waitomo Caves online trip builder.

Getting from Rotorua to Waitomo Caves by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Fri) so you can drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Adventure
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 14:
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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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): brush up on your military savvy at Auckland Museum, meet the residents at Auckland Zoo, and then don't miss a visit to SkyTower.

For reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Auckland trip site.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Auckland in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. In January, plan for daily highs up to 22°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) to allow time to fly to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums · Zoos & Aquariums · Parks
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 15:
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Paihia

— 2 nights
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 16th (Sun): tee off at Waitangi Golf Club, then take in nature's colorful creations at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll through Paihia Harbour, pause for some serene contemplation at St Paul's Anglican Church, and then identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas.

For other places to visit, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, read Paihia attractions planning site.

Traveling by flight from Auckland to Paihia takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 15 — 17:
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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.