23 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

23 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Pacific trip planner
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Fly
1
Auckland, New Zealand
— 1 day
Fly
2
Christchurch, New Zealand
— 4 nights
Drive to Picton, Ferry to Wellington
3
Wellington, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Rotorua, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Fly
5
Avarua, Cook Islands
— 2 nights
Fly
6
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
— 2 nights
Fly
7
Auckland, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Fly

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Auckland, New Zealand — 1 day

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.
To find other places to visit, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Auckland day trip tool.

Milan, Italy to Auckland is an approximately 26.5-hour flight. You'll lose 11 hours traveling from Milan to Auckland due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Milan in November, plan for a bit warmer days and warmer nights in Auckland: temperatures range from 20°C by day to 20°C at night. You'll set off for Christchurch on the 5th (Sat).
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Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife
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Christchurch, New Zealand — 4 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Akaroa Guided Kayak Safari has been added to your itinerary. There's still lots to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Sumner Beach (Cave Rock).

To see reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Christchurch vacation planning site.

You can fly from Auckland to Christchurch in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train and ferry. Traveling from Auckland in November, expect a bit cooler with lows of 9°C in Christchurch. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Wed) early enough to fly to Wellington.
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Outdoors · Adventure · Tours · Parks
Side Trip
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Wellington, New Zealand — 3 nights

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.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Bolton Street Cemetery and Government House. Get outdoors at Nga Manu Nature Reserve and Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden. Explore Wellington's surroundings by going to Featherston ANZAC War Memorial (in Featherston), Cobblestones Museum (in Greytown) and Martinborough (Martinborough Brewery & Haythornthwaite Wines). There's lots more to do: admire the natural beauty at Lady Norwood Rose Garden, test your team's savvy at popular escape rooms, enjoy the sand and surf at Lyall Bay, and take in the dramatic natural features at Red Rocks Reserve.

To see ratings, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Wellington itinerary site.

You can fly from Christchurch to Wellington in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Traveling from Christchurch in November, expect somewhat warmer with lows of 13°C in Wellington. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Sun) so you can fly to Rotorua.
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Parks · Wildlife · Outdoors · Nature
Side Trips
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Rotorua, New Zealand — 3 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.
Eat Street and 3D Trick Art Gallery are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Relax by the water at Pilot Bay and Papamoa Beach. Go for a jaunt from Rotorua to Mount Maunganui to see Mount Maunganui Base Track about 1h 10 min away. Next up on the itinerary: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, hike along Okere Falls Track, steep yourself in history at Ohinemutu, and find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area.

To see ratings, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Rotorua trip itinerary site.

You can fly from Wellington to Rotorua in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In November, daytime highs in Rotorua are 23°C, while nighttime lows are 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Thu) to allow enough time to fly to Avarua.
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Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Beaches
Side Trips
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Avarua, Cook Islands — 2 nights

Here are some ideas for day two: stop by Perfumes of Rarotonga, then pause for some serene contemplation at St Joseph's Cathedral, then steep yourself in history at Wreck of the Matai, and finally cast your line with a fishing tour.

To see maps, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Avarua online travel planner.

Traveling by flight from Rotorua to Avarua takes 10 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 22 hours traveling from Rotorua to Avarua. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Rotorua in November, with highs in Avarua at 32°C and lows at 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Fri) to allow time to fly to Aitutaki.
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Historic Sites · Wildlife · Parks · Outdoors
Side Trips
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Aitutaki, Cook Islands — 2 nights

Aitutaki's triangular barrier reef surrounds a turquoise lagoon of crystal clear water.
On the 19th (Sat), identify plant and animal life at Aitutaki Adventures, then stop by T & S Artworx, then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Maungapu, and finally take some stellar pictures from Piraki Lookout. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 20th (Sun): kick back and relax at Akaiami Beach, step off the mainland to explore Moturakau, and then kick back and relax at O'otu Beach.

For traveler tips, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Aitutaki travel planner.

You can fly from Avarua to Aitutaki in 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Sun) early enough to fly to Auckland.
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Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Wildlife
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Auckland, New Zealand — 2 nights

City of Sails

Relax by the water at Orewa Beach and Takapuna Beach. Visiting Mission Bay Beach and St. Helier's Bay will get you outdoors. Explore Auckland further: learn about all things military at Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, contemplate the long history of Eden Garden, take in the spiritual surroundings of Holy Trinity Cathedral, and take an in-depth tour of Howick Historical Village.

To find more things to do, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Auckland trip planning app.

You can fly from Aitutaki to Auckland in 10.5 hours. The time zone changes from Cook Islands Standard Time (CKT) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 22 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Thu) to allow time to fly back home.
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Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Historic Sites
Side Trips
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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.
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Cook Islands travel guide

4.3
Beaches · Concerts & Shows · Scuba & Snorkeling
Scattered across a 2,200,000 sq km (849,425 sq mi) zone in the vast Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, the Cook Islands are about as remote a holiday destination as you will find. With their pristine white-sand beaches, tranquil azure lagoons, lush tropical jungles, and teeming coral reefs, the 15 islands seem plucked from a picture postcard of paradise. Relaxation comes first and foremost, for locals as much as tourists, and you will find the laid-back lifestyle of the Cook Islanders as infectious as their warm smiles. As tempting (and fulfilling) as it might be to spend all day swinging lazily in a hammock strung between shady palm trees, plenty of adventures await exploring the idyllic scenery overland, on the waves, and undersea.
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