36 days in New Zealand Itinerary

36 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand vacation planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 4 nights
Bus
2
Te Anau
— 4 nights
Drive
3
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly
5
Wellington
— 1 night
Fly
6
Tongariro National Park
— 3 nights
Shuttle
7
Taupo
— 4 nights
Drive
8
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Drive
9
Waitomo Caves
— 3 nights
Drive
10
Hamilton
— 2 nights
Drive
11
Auckland
— 2 nights
Fly
12
Paihia
— 3 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
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Queenstown

— 4 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.
On the 17th (Fri), dedicate a day to the elevated beauty of The Remarkables Ski Area. There's lots more to do: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, get outside with Outdoor Activities, push the limits with an extreme tour, and take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

To see more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Queenstown trip itinerary planner.

Sydney, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 6-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) is 2 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Winter Sports
Find places to stay Sep 13 — 17:
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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.
Step out of Te Anau with an excursion to Boat Tours & Water Sports in Milford Sound--about 1 hour away. Spend the 20th (Mon) exploring at Doubtful Sound. And it doesn't end there: explore the activities along Milford Sound, get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Trout Observatory, take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, and indulge in some personalized pampering at Fiordland Massage Clinic.

To find reviews, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Te Anau trip planning site.

Take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 4 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Sep 17 — 21:
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Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 3 nights
Get out of town with these interesting Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) side-trips: Fox Glacier (Minnehaha Walk, Helicopter Tours, &more) and Franz Josef Glacier (in Franz Josef).

To see more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) trip maker site.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Te Anau to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu). Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Sep 21 — 24:
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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 25th (Sat): examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, experience the excitement of Velocity Karts, then take an in-depth tour of Canterbury Museum, and finally walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens. On the 26th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take a memorable ride with TranzAlpine Train.

To find out how to plan a trip to Christchurch, use our trip itinerary maker.

Explore your travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Christchurch with the Route module. In September, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 16°C, while at night they dip to 5°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) to allow enough time to fly to Wellington.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Transportation · Museums · Outdoors
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 26:
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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.
On the 27th (Mon), get engrossed in the history at The Great War Exhibition, then take in nature's colorful creations at Wellington Botanic Garden, then take a memorable ride with Wellington Cable Car, and finally see the interesting displays at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

To find reviews, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, use the Wellington trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Christchurch to Wellington takes 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 September, Wellington is somewhat warmer at night with lows of 10°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) early enough to catch the flight to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums · Parks · Transportation · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Find places to stay Sep 26 — 27:
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Tongariro National Park

— 3 nights
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
Tongariro National Park is known for trails, nature, and winter sports. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get impressive views of Mount Ruapehu, admire the sheer force of Tawhai Falls, contemplate the waterfront views at Tama Lakes, and make a trip to Mead's Wall.

To see more things to do, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Tongariro National Park trip maker tool.

You can fly from Wellington to Tongariro National Park in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and taxi. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) so you can catch the shuttle to Taupo.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Winter Sports · Nature
Find places to stay Sep 27 — 30:
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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, adventure, and theme parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: admire the sheer force of Huka Falls Walkway, have fun at Huka Prawn Park, head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, and make a trip to Maori Rock Carvings.

To find more things to do, ratings, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Taupo route maker app.

Getting from Tongariro National Park to Taupo by shuttle takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) early enough to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Find places to stay Sep 30 — Oct 4:
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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.
Rotorua is known for nature, adventure, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get outside with Outdoor Activities, explore the world behind art at Rotorua Museum, get impressive views of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Rotorua online route maker.

Drive from Taupo to Rotorua in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In October in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 21°C during the day and 13°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Fri) so you can drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Oct 4 — 8:
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Waitomo Caves

— 3 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.
Waitomo Caves is known for nature, adventure, and wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and snap pictures at Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk.

For more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Waitomo Caves trip itinerary builder app.

You can drive from Rotorua to Waitomo Caves in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Hamilton.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Tours
Find places to stay Oct 8 — 11:
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Hamilton

— 2 nights

Tron

On the banks of the Waikato River lies Hamilton, a pretty, active city on North Island.
On the 12th (Tue), walk around Hamilton Gardens, don't miss a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set, and then head outdoors with The Don Rowlands Centre Lake Karapiro. On the 13th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: examine the collection at Waikato Museum, then head outdoors with Raglan Rock, and then explore the activities along Lake Te Koutu.

For reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, use the Hamilton route planning website.

Getting from Waitomo Caves to Hamilton by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Wed) so you can drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Hamilton

Outdoors · Parks · Museums · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Oct 11 — 13:
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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.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Thu): learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Auckland Zoo, get impressive views of Mount Eden, then look for gifts at Pauanesia, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from SkyTower. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the world behind art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, see the interesting displays at Auckland Museum, and then stroll around Auckland Domain.

For reviews, photos, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Auckland day trip planning tool.

Drive from Hamilton to Auckland in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. October in Auckland sees daily highs of 17°C and lows of 16°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Fri) so you can catch the flight to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks · Museums · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Oct 13 — 15:
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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.
Paihia is known for parks, wildlife, and adventure. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the long history of Waitangi Treaty Grounds, tee off at Waitangi Golf Club, pause for some serene contemplation at St Paul's Anglican Church, and get close to the beloved marine mammals with a swim-with-the-dolphins experience.

To see reviews, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Paihia vacation maker.

Traveling by flight from Auckland to Paihia takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Mon) early enough to catch the flight back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife · Parks · Outdoors · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Find places to stay Oct 15 — 18:
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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.