26 days in New Zealand Itinerary

26 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand itinerary planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Bus
2
Te Anau
— 3 nights
Bus
3
Wanaka
— 4 nights
Fly
4
Paihia
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Auckland
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Taupo
Drive
8
Rotorua
— 3 nights
Drive
9
Tauranga
— 2 nights
Fly
10
Wellington
— 2 nights
Fly
11
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly

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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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Canyoning & Rappelling Tours and Fishing Charters & Tours. Change things up with a short trip to Glenorchy Lagoon Boardwalk in Glenorchy (about 48 minutes away). There's lots more to do: trek along Ben Lomond Track, see Off-Road Tours, contemplate the waterfront views at Moke Lake, and take a memorable tour with Tours.

To see ratings, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Queenstown trip planner.

Hobart, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time to New Zealand Standard Time is 2 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) early enough to catch the bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 16 — 19:

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.
On the 20th (Mon), stop by Kowhai Gifts & Souvenirs, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, look for all kinds of wild species at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, then look for all kinds of wild species at Ivan Wilson Park, then contemplate the waterfront views at Manapouri Lake, and finally Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: hike along Mirror Lakes Walk, identify plant and animal life at Milford sound Hwy, trek along Gertrude Saddle, then trek along Lake Marian Track, and finally take a memorable drive along Eglinton Valley.

To find reviews, maps, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Te Anau trip itinerary planning website.

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 4 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) so you can travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 19 — 22:

Wanaka

— 4 nights
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Roys Peak Track and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. Change things up with these side-trips from Wanaka: Lake Hawea (in Lake Hawea), Haast (Ship Creek Walks & Wharekai Te Kou) and Monro Beach (in Lake Moeraki). Next up on the itinerary: stroll through Blue Pools Track, see the interesting displays at The World of Deer Museum & Speciality Shop, take some stellar pictures from The Neck, and trek along Upper Clutha River Track.

To find maps, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Wanaka tour planner.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Wanaka in 6.5 hours. Another option is to drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 26th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 22 — 26:

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 26th (Sun): get in on the family fun at Action World. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 27th (Mon): fulfill a lifelong dream with a swim-with-the-dolphins experience, steep yourself in history at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour, then get great views at Opua Forest Lookout Track, and finally view the masterpieces at Masterpieces Art Gallery.

To find other places to visit, maps, photos, and more tourist information, use the Paihia online attractions planner.

Traveling by flight from Wanaka to Paihia takes 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and car. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Tue) so you can go by car to Auckland.

Things to do in Paihia

Parks · Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:

Auckland

— 2 nights

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.
On the 29th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll around Albert Park, see the top attractions with Sightseeing Tours, kick back and relax at Takapuna Beach, grab your bike and head to Orewa – Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway, then stroll through Orewa Beach, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Cheltenham Beach.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read Auckland online trip maker.

Drive from Paihia to Auckland in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. December in Auckland sees daily highs of 20°C and lows of 20°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:

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.
On the 31st (Fri), relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, Head underground at Footwhistle Glowworm Cave, explore the fascinating underground world of Caveworld, Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then identify plant and animal life at Spellbound Glowworm & Cave Tours, and finally don't miss a visit to Ed Hillary Walkway. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: head off the coast to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds, then relax in the rural setting at Waitomo Big Bird & Miniature Animal Petting Farm, then Head underground at Aranui Cave, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Ruakuri Walk.

For other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Waitomo Caves sightseeing planning app.

Getting from Auckland to Waitomo Caves by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sat) to allow time to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:

Taupo

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.
To see reviews, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, read Taupo trip planner.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Taupo in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. You'll set off for Rotorua on the 1st (Sat).

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:

Rotorua

— 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.
Explore hidden gems such as River Rafting & Tubing and Fancy Meow Cat Cafe. There's still lots to do: get outside with Kerosene Creek, experience rural life at aMAZEme, look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, and witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

For reviews, maps, photos, and more tourist information, read Rotorua road trip website.

Drive from Taupo to Rotorua in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 27°C during the day and 19°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Tue) early enough to drive to Tauranga.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 1 — 4:

Tauranga

— 2 nights
The largest city in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga features extensive sandy beaches, well-maintained hiking paths, and a good range of accommodations.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Tue): kick back and relax at Mt Maunganui Main Beach.

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

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Tauranga takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January in Tauranga, expect temperatures between 27°C during the day and 19°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Tauranga

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 6:

Wellington

— 2 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.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Thu): stroll through Scorching Bay, tour the pleasant surroundings at Lyall Bay, then examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, then admire the natural beauty at Wellington Botanic Garden, and finally see the sky in a new way at Space Place at Carter Observatory. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: go for a walk through Wellington Waterfront, stroll through Makara Beach, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Kaukau, then see Off-Road Tours, then take a peaceful walk through Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden, and finally admire the natural beauty at Lady Norwood Rose Garden.

For photos, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read Wellington online attractions planner.

Traveling by flight from Tauranga to Wellington takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Wellington can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) early enough to travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Wellington

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 6 — 8:

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 8th (Sat): admire all the interesting features of Taylors Mistake - Awaroa / Godley Head Walk, enjoy the sand and surf at Sumner Beach (Cave Rock), then explore and take pictures at Port Hills, then explore the striking landscape at Godley Head, and finally appreciate the history behind Bridge of Remembrance. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral.

For traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, read Christchurch trip itinerary planning site.

You can fly from Wellington to Christchurch in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and car; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Traveling from Wellington in January, Christchurch is slightly colder at night with lows of 13°C. You will have some time to spend on the 10th (Mon) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Tours
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 10:

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.