31 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand journey maker
Make it your trip
Fly
1
Paihia
— 3 nights
Fly
2
Auckland
— 1 night
Drive
3
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Taupo
— 4 nights
Shuttle
6
Tongariro National Park
— 4 nights
Fly
7
Wellington
— 1 night
Fly
8
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 3 nights
Drive
9
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Bus
10
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly

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Paihia — 3 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.
Step out of Paihia with an excursion to Phantom Sailing in Russell--about 42 minutes away. There's still lots to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour, take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Paul's Anglican Church, and let your taste buds guide you at a local gastronomic tour.

To find reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, use the Paihia route planner.

Sydney, Australia to Paihia is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Sydney to Paihia due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Thu) so you can fly to Auckland.
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Wildlife · Tours · Parks · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 22:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Fri): meet the residents at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, then brush up on your military savvy at Auckland Museum, then stop by Pauanesia, and finally make a trip to Sky Tower.

For traveler tips, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Auckland itinerary tool.

Getting from Paihia to Auckland by flight takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 20°C in December, and nighttime lows around 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) early enough to drive to Waitomo Caves.
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Museums · Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Sat): Head underground at Caveworld, then explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then explore the fascinating underground world of Footwhistle Glowworm Cave, and finally let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour. On your second day here, head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, then take in the dramatic scenery at Marakopa Falls, and finally snap pictures at Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk.

Find out how to plan Waitomo Caves trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

Getting from Auckland to Waitomo Caves by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sun) early enough to drive to Rotorua.
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Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:

Rotorua — 4 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.
Take a break from Rotorua with a short trip to Hobbiton Movie Set in Hinuera, about 1h 15 min away. The adventure continues: whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, explore the world behind art at Rotorua Museum, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Rotorua, and boost your wellbeing at a local thermal spa.

To see where to stay, photos, maps, and more tourist information, read our Rotorua online travel planner.

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 25°C in December, and nighttime lows around 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Taupo.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 29:

Taupo — 4 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: push the limits with an extreme tour, take a memorable tour with Tours, take in the dramatic natural features at Craters of the Moon, and take in the natural beauty of Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, use the Taupo online travel route planner.

You can drive from Rotorua to Taupo in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Mon) early enough to catch the shuttle to Tongariro National Park.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 2:

Tongariro National Park — 4 nights

Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 3rd (Tue), hike the day away at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. On the 6th (Fri), hike the day away at Horsemtrails. And it doesn't end there: trek along Taranaki Falls, admire the sheer force of Tawhai Falls, take in the pleasant sights at Mead's Wall, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Whakapapa Nature Walk.

For traveler tips, photos, maps, and other tourist information, read Tongariro National Park trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by shuttle from Taupo to Tongariro National Park takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Fri) to allow time to fly to Wellington.
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Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 6:

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 7th (Sat): get a sense of history and politics at New Zealand Parliament, then take in nature's colorful creations at Wellington Botanic Garden, then catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car, and finally see the interesting displays at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

For more things to do, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Wellington trip itinerary planning website.

Getting from Tongariro National Park to Wellington by flight takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of taxi and train. In January, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) early enough to fly to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).
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Museums · Parks · Historic Sites · Transportation
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 7:

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) — 3 nights

Explore Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)'s surroundings by going to Franz Josef Glacier (in Franz Josef) and Fox Glacier (ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery & Fox Glacier South Side Walk).

To see traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) trip planner.

Getting from Wellington to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: fly; or ride a ferry; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can travel to Te Anau.
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Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Nature
Side Trips
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 10:

Te Anau — 5 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.
Get out of town with these interesting Te Anau side-trips: Milford Sound (Bowen Falls & Milford sound Hwy). Spend the 14th (Sat) exploring at Doubtful Sound. On the 12th (Thu), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. And it doesn't end there: explore the activities along Milford Sound, hike along The Chasm Walk, look for gifts at Kowhai Gifts & Souvenirs, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Lake Marian Track.

To see traveler tips, photos, ratings, and tourist information, read Te Anau online travel route planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Te Anau. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) to allow time to take a bus to Queenstown.
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Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Wildlife
Side Trips
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 15:

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, get interesting insight from Tours, look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Park, and get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour.

To find photos and tourist information, read our Queenstown online travel planner.

Take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 4 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Wed) early enough to catch the flight back home.
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Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Jan 15 — 18:

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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