27 days in South Island & North Island Itinerary

27 days in South Island & North Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand travel planner
Make it your trip
Fly to Queenstown, Bus to Te Anau
1
Te Anau
— 4 nights
Bus
2
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly
3
Christchurch
— 3 nights
Fly
4
Wellington
— 1 night
Fly
5
Tongariro National Park
— 2 nights
Shuttle
6
Taupo
— 3 nights
Drive
7
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Drive
8
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive
9
Auckland
— 3 nights
Fly
10
Paihia
— 2 nights
Fly

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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.
Change things up with a short trip to Bowen Falls in Milford Sound (about 1 hour away). On the 6th (Tue), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. Spend the 5th (Mon) exploring at Doubtful Sound. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, trek along The Chasm Walk, get great views at Te Anau Lion Lookout Point, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Lake Gunn.

To see reviews, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Te Anau trip itinerary maker tool.

Jerusalem, Israel to Te Anau is an approximately 34.5-hour combination of flight and bus. The time zone changes from Israel Standard Time (IST) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 10 hour difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Thu) so you can take a bus to Queenstown.
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Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Wildlife
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 4 — 8:

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, wildlife, and adventure. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, identify plant and animal life at Kiwi Park, admire the natural beauty at Queenstown Gardens, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To find more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Queenstown tour itinerary planner.

Getting from Te Anau to Queenstown by bus takes about 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sun) to allow enough time to fly to Christchurch.
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Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 11:

Christchurch — 3 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Christchurch: Akaroa (Meniscus Wine Lounge, Dolphin & Whale Watching, &more). There's much more to do: walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens, enjoy breathtaking views from Christchurch Gondola, let little ones run wild at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, and explore and take pictures at Riccarton House & Bush.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Christchurch trip site.

You can fly from Queenstown to Christchurch in 2.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. December in Christchurch sees daily highs of 24°C and lows of 12°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Wed) so you can fly to Wellington.
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Parks · Museums · Outdoors · Tours
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 14:

Wellington — 1 night

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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Thu): get a sense of history and politics at New Zealand Parliament, admire the natural beauty at Wellington Botanic Garden, then steep yourself in history at Wellington Cable Car, and finally examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

To see reviews, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, read Wellington holiday planner.

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. December in Wellington sees daily highs of 22°C and lows of 15°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Thu) to allow time to fly to Tongariro National Park.
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Parks · Museums · Transportation · Historic Sites
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 15:

Tongariro National Park — 2 nights

Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 16th (Fri), hike along Tongariro Alpine Crossing. On the 17th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Ridge Track, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Taranaki Falls, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Whakapapa Nature Walk, and finally hike along Silica Rapids Track.

For traveler tips, maps, photos, and more tourist information, read our Tongariro National Park trip builder site.

Traveling by flight from Wellington to Tongariro National Park takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sat) early enough to take a shuttle to Taupo.
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Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Nature
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 17:

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, theme parks, and sightseeing. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, stop by Huka Honey Hive, make a trip to Maori Rock Carvings, and add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour.

To see other places to visit, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Taupo trip tool.

You can take a shuttle from Tongariro National Park to Taupo in 1.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Rotorua.
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Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Nature
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 20:

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.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Wed): witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, witness a stunning natural landmark at Te Puia, and then whizz through the canopy 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, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and then admire the masterpieces at Rotorua Museum.

To find where to stay, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Rotorua trip builder site.

Drive from Taupo to Rotorua in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Rotorua are 25°C, while nighttime lows are 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Waitomo Caves.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:

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.
On the 23rd (Fri), explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then explore the fascinating underground world of Caveworld, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and finally head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds.

To see more things to do, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Waitomo Caves driving holiday planner.

Getting from Rotorua to Waitomo Caves by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Fri) so you can drive to Auckland.
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Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:

Auckland — 3 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.
Dedicate the 25th (Sun) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's lots more to do: take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower, stop by Pauanesia, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Auckland Zoo, and observe the fascinating underwater world at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium.

To find traveler tips, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Auckland journey planner.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Auckland in 2.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. December in Auckland sees daily highs of 20°C and lows of 20°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Mon) early enough to catch the flight to Paihia.
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Parks · Wineries · Tours · Zoos & Aquariums
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 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 27th (Tue): discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, then deepen your understanding of the past and present with a heritage tour, and then identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Paul's Anglican Church, admire the natural beauty at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas.

To see more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, read Paihia day trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Auckland to Paihia takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Wed) so you can catch the flight back home.
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Tours · Wildlife · Outdoors · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:

South Island travel guide

4.7
Entertainment Centers · Bodies of Water · Hiking Trails
Māui's Canoe
The wilder of New Zealand's two main islands, South Island offers a feast of nature in all its glory. Extensive, untouched plains connect alpine landscapes with rugged shorelines, creating a home for an abundance of animals and vegetation, on land and in the rich surrounding waters. Renowned as a window to the natural world before man (something that scores of film directors have tapped into over the years), South Island folds its cities and townships into the surrounding landscape, their populations adding something singular to the mix. On your trip to South Island, you'll witness the awe-inspiring cultural heritage of the Maori, whose art and architecture complements the developments of the colonial legacy. The result is a land of characterful buildings, rolling vineyards, and free-spirited adventure.
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North Island travel guide

4.5
The Fish of Māui
Home to both New Zealand's capital city and its most populous one, North Island remains the more urbane and modern of the country's two main islands. With a wealth of museums and places of historical importance, the island tells the story of New Zealand's inhabitants, from the native Maoris and European settlers to the cosmopolitan and inclusive population of the modern era. Away from the industrial and cultural centers, a tour of North Island can take you through the impressive and world-renowned landscape of deep gorges, rolling rivers, enormous lakes, and areas of volcanic activity--home to an amazing biodiversity of terrestrial and marine animal and plant life. Active vacationers on North Island may appreciate the extreme sports, and don't miss a chance to relax in its hot water springs.
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