32 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

32 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Pacific tour planner
Make it your trip
Fly
1
Auckland, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Fly
2
Rotorua, New Zealand
— 4 nights
Drive
3
Taupo, New Zealand
— 4 nights
Fly
4
Wellington, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Fly
5
Christchurch, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu), New Zealand
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Queenstown, New Zealand
— 6 nights
Fly to Rarotonga International Airport, Drive to Muri
8
Muri, Cook Islands
— 3 nights
Drive to Rarotonga International Airport, Fly to Aitutaki
9
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
— 3 nights
Fly

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Auckland, New Zealand — 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 3rd (Mon), contemplate the geological forces at Mangere Mountain, get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, then head off the coast to Hauraki Gulf, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from SkyTower. Keep things going the next day: learn about all things military at Auckland Museum, explore the world behind art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Muriwai Gannet Colony.

To find reviews, photos, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Auckland trip tool.

Calgary, Canada to Auckland is an approximately 19.5-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 19 hours traveling from Calgary to Auckland. Traveling from Calgary in October, Auckland is much hotter at night with lows of 16°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) so you can fly to Rotorua.
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Parks · Museums · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums
Side Trip
Find places to stay Oct 2 — 4:

Rotorua, New Zealand — 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.
Explore Rotorua's surroundings by going to Western Bay Museum (in Katikati), Canyoning & Rappelling Tours (in Waitomo Caves) and Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera). Next up on the itinerary: kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, contemplate the geological forces at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and explore the striking landscape of Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool.

To see other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Rotorua driving holiday planner.

Traveling by flight from Auckland to Rotorua takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Auckland in October, expect nights in Rotorua to be a bit cooler, around 13°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) early enough to drive to Taupo.
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Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay Oct 4 — 8:

Taupo, New Zealand — 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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Taupo: Taranaki Falls (in Tongariro National Park) and Tama Lakes (in Whakapapa). There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Huka Falls Walkway, take a memorable tour with Tours, race across the water with a speed boat tour, and make a trip to Aratiatia Rapids.

To see maps, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Taupo online trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Rotorua to Taupo by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Wed) so you can catch the flight to Wellington.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Theme Parks
Side Trip
Find places to stay Oct 8 — 12:

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.
Wellington is known for museums, sightseeing, and classes. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, get great views at Mount Victoria, go from sight to sight with Wellington Cable Car, and test your problem-solving skills at popular escape rooms.

To see photos, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Wellington trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Taupo to Wellington takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In October, daily temperatures in Wellington can reach 19°C, while at night they dip to 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) early enough to fly to Christchurch.
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Parks · Museums · Wildlife · Shopping
Side Trip
Find places to stay Oct 12 — 15:

Christchurch, New Zealand — 2 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Sun): make a trip to Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, appreciate the history behind Diminish and Ascend, then take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, then let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, and finally make a trip to Cardboard Cathedral. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in panoramic vistas at Christchurch Gondola, get to know the resident critters at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, and then see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre.

For ratings, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Christchurch vacation planner.

Fly from Wellington to Christchurch in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and car; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Traveling from Wellington in October, Christchurch is slightly colder at night with lows of 6°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).
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Parks · Museums · Transportation · Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Oct 15 — 17:
Start off your visit on the 18th (Tue): hike along Red Tarns Track, make a trip to Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and then stroll through Hooker Valley Track. On the 19th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: trek along Terrace Walk, take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, then look for all kinds of wild species at West Coast Wildlife Centre, and finally explore the striking landscape at Franz Josef Glacier.

To find where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) travel itinerary planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Christchurch to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu). Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) so you can travel to Queenstown.
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Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature
Side Trip
Find places to stay Oct 17 — 19:

Queenstown, New Zealand — 6 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.
Get out of town with these interesting Queenstown side-trips: Te Anau (Lake Te Anau & Te Anau Glowworm Caves). There's lots more to do: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, sample some tasty brews at a beer tour and tasting, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

To see where to stay, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Queenstown day trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Queenstown. You will have some time to spend on the 25th (Tue) before leaving for Muri.
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Tours · Parks · Outdoors · Nature
Side Trip
Find places to stay Oct 19 — 25:

Muri, Cook Islands — 3 nights

Raratonga's lagoon measures widest and deepest around Muri, attracting large numbers of tourists to swim, snorkel, dive, and boat in the turquoise water filled with tropical sea life.
Muri is known for nightlife, spas, and wineries. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: take a memorable tour with Tours, do a tasting at Koteka Winery, see exotic creatures in open habitats at Raro Mountain Safari Tour, and look for gifts at Tivaevae Collectables.

To see photos, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Muri trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Queenstown to Muri. The time zone difference moving from New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) to Cook Islands Standard Time (CKT) is minus 22 hours. In October, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) so you can travel to Aitutaki.
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Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife
Side Trips
Find places to stay Oct 24 — 28:

Aitutaki, Cook Islands — 3 nights

Aitutaki's triangular barrier reef surrounds a turquoise lagoon of crystal clear water.
Aitutaki is known for beaches, nature, and wildlife. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: head off the coast to One Foot Island, take a memorable tour with Tours, kick back and relax at Akaiami Beach, and take some stellar pictures from Piraki Lookout.

For other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Aitutaki trip itinerary app.

Explore your travel options from Muri to Aitutaki with the Route module. On the 31st (Mon), you're off to home.
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Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature
Find places to stay Oct 28 — 31:

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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