22 days in New Zealand Itinerary

22 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand vacation planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Auckland
— 1 night
Drive
2
Paihia
— 2 nights
Fly
3
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Bus
4
Te Anau
— 4 nights
Bus
5
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 2 nights
Fly
6
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive
7
Tongariro National Park
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Taupo
— 3 nights
Drive
9
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
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29
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31
1
2
3
4
5
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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 19th (Sun): admire nature's wide array of creatures at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, brush up on your military savvy at Auckland Museum, then look for gifts at Pauanesia, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from SkyTower.

To find reviews, maps, photos, and tourist information, read Auckland vacation planning tool.

Tucson, USA to Auckland is an approximately 18.5-hour flight. The time zone changes from Mountain Standard Time (MST) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 19 hour difference. Traveling from Tucson in December, Auckland is much hotter at night with lows of 64°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums · Zoos & Aquariums · Nightlife · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Mon): identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, take in nature's colorful creations at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then take some stellar pictures from Opua Forest Lookout Track. Keep things going the next day: look for gifts at The Cabbage Tree Shop, then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, then admire the striking features of St Paul's Anglican Church, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour.

To see where to stay, reviews, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Paihia tour planner.

Traveling by car from Auckland to Paihia takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife · Parks · Tours · Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 21:

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.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Wed): look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park, then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and finally indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas. Here are some ideas for day two: push the limits with an extreme tour, admire the natural beauty at Queenstown Gardens, and then have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown.

For more things to do, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read our Queenstown road trip planner.

You can fly from Paihia to Queenstown in 5.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of car and ferry. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) to allow enough time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Fun & Games
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:

Te Anau

— 4 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.
Take a break from Te Anau with a short trip to Bowen Falls in Milford Sound, about 1h 5 min away. On the 25th (Sat), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. Spend the 26th (Sun) exploring at Doubtful Sound. There's lots more to do: explore the activities along Milford Sound, cast your line with a fishing tour, and hike along The Chasm Walk.

To see where to stay, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Te Anau trip planning site.

Getting from Queenstown to Te Anau by bus takes about 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) so you can take a bus to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 23 — 27:

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 2 nights
Start off your visit on the 28th (Tue): surround yourself with nature on Glacier Explorers, then get outside with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and then stroll through Sealy Tarns Track. On the 29th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: hike along Moraine Walk, then hike along Sentinel Rock Walk, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier.

To see ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) online attractions planner.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) in 7 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:

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 30th (Thu): Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then take a memorable tour with Tours, and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Waitomo Caves trip itinerary app.

Traveling by flight from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Waitomo Caves takes 8.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and car. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) early enough to drive to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

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

Tongariro National Park

— 3 nights
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 31st (Fri), hike the day away at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Spend the 1st (Sat) exploring nature at Active Outdoor Adventures. The adventure continues: admire the sheer force of Taranaki Falls, contemplate the waterfront views at Tama Lakes, and stroll through Whakapapa Nature Walk.

To see photos, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Tongariro National Park road trip planner.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Tongariro National Park in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or do a combination of taxi and train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 2:

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, witness a stunning natural landmark at Spa Thermal Park and Riverbank Recreational and Scenic Reserve, get in on the family fun at Huka Prawn Park, and take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

To find traveler tips, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Taupo online visit planner.

Drive from Tongariro National Park to Taupo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) so you can go by car to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Adventure
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 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.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Thu): let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, then take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the natural beauty of Te Puia, then take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then kick your exploration up a notch at Redwoods Treewalk, and finally take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest.

To see where to stay, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Rotorua travel route planner.

Traveling by car from Taupo to Rotorua takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 74°F in January, and nighttime lows around 61°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Rotorua

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 5 — 7:

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.