53 days in New Zealand Itinerary

53 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand travel route builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Auckland
— 5 nights
Drive
2
Paihia
— 6 nights
Fly
3
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly
4
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Bus
5
Te Anau
— 6 nights
Bus
6
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 4 nights
Fly
7
Wellington
— 2 nights
Fly
8
New Plymouth
— 1 night
Drive
9
Waitomo Caves
— 3 nights
Drive
10
Tongariro National Park
— 5 nights
Drive
11
Taupo
— 5 nights
Drive
12
Rotorua
— 5 nights
Drive
13
Whitianga
— 2 nights
Shuttle to Auckland, Fly to Tucson

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Auckland

— 5 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.
Auckland is known for nature, museums, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: don't miss a visit to SkyTower, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Auckland Zoo, head off the coast to Waiheke Island, and identify plant and animal life at Tiritiri Matangi Visitor Centre.

To find ratings, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, read Auckland journey app.

Tucson, USA to Auckland is an approximately 18.5-hour flight. Traveling from Tucson to Auckland, you'll lose 19 hours due to the time zone difference. Plan for warmer nights when traveling from Tucson in December since evenings lows in Auckland dip to 64°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums · Museums

Side Trips

Paihia

— 6 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.
Get out of town with these interesting Paihia side-trips: Russell (Pompallier Mission and Printery & Tapeka Point Track) and Whangarei (Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve & Bream Head Coast Walks). Spend a day of island exploring on the 26th (Sun) at Urupukapuka Island. The adventure continues: admire all the interesting features of Waitangi Treaty Grounds, take in the pleasant sights at Opua Forest Lookout Track, admire the striking features of St Paul's Anglican Church, and hike along Kerikeri River Track.

To see maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Paihia itinerary planner.

Getting from Auckland to Paihia by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: fly; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Paihia

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Historic Sites

Side Trips

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 30th (Thu): catch a ride on Christchurch Gondola, get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, then walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and finally let little ones run wild at Margaret Mahy Family Playground. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: catch a ride on TranzAlpine Train.

For more things to do, maps, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Christchurch itinerary app.

Traveling by flight from Paihia to Christchurch takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. In December, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 70°F, while at night they dip to 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Fri) to allow time to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation · Tours · Parks · Museums

Queenstown

— 5 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, adventure, and wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink, explore the activities along Lake Wakatipu, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To see maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Queenstown driving holiday site.

Fly from Christchurch to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) so you can catch the bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours · Parks · Outdoors · Breweries & Distilleries

Side Trip

Te Anau

— 6 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 7th (Fri), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. Spend the 8th (Sat) exploring at Doubtful Sound. The adventure continues: explore the activities along Milford Sound, hike along Gertrude Saddle, identify plant and animal life at Ivan Wilson Park, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Lake Gunn.

For maps, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Te Anau trip planner.

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Tue) so you can take a bus to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Trails

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 4 nights
Change things up with these side-trips from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu): Fox Glacier (ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery, Gillespies Beach, &more) and Sentinel Rock Walk (in Franz Josef).

To find traveler tips, photos, ratings, and tourist information, read Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) takes 7 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sat) so you can travel to Wellington.

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

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Beaches

Side Trips

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.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Sun): get a sense of history and politics at New Zealand Parliament, then admire the natural beauty at Wellington Botanic Garden, then catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car, and finally examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 17th (Mon): get engrossed in the history at Wellington Museum, identify plant and animal life at ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary, and then take an in-depth tour of The Great War Exhibition.

To find photos, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Wellington online route planner.

You can fly from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Wellington in 5.5 hours. Other options are to ride a ferry; or do a combination of bus, train, and ferry. Expect a daytime high around 70°F in January, and nighttime lows around 59°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to New Plymouth.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums · Parks · Wildlife · Transportation

Side Trip

New Plymouth

— 1 night
Where other cities run, New Plymouth prefers to stroll.
On the 18th (Tue), get all the information you need at Puke Ariki, go for a walk through New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, then stop by Giles Chocolatier, and finally get to know the resident critters at Pukekura Park.

To see more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our New Plymouth trip itinerary planning site.

Traveling by flight from Wellington to New Plymouth takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in New Plymouth

Childrens Museums · Museums · Zoos & Aquariums · Parks

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, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and admire the sheer force of Marakopa Falls.

For traveler tips, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Waitomo Caves trip builder.

You can drive from New Plymouth to Waitomo Caves in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or do a combination of flight and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Fri) early enough to drive to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trip

Tongariro National Park

— 5 nights
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 22nd (Sat), hike the day away at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Spend the 23rd (Sun) exploring nature at Active Outdoor Adventures. There's lots more to do: stroll through Taranaki Falls, trek along Tongariro Northern Circuit, take in the dramatic scenery at Tawhai Falls, and explore the activities along Tama Lakes.

To see ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Tongariro National Park road trip website.

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Tongariro National Park takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of taxi and train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Taupo

— 5 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: push the limits with an extreme tour, don't miss a visit to Maori Rock Carvings, take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway, and identify plant and animal life at Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave.

For traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, read our Taupo holiday planner.

Drive from Tongariro National Park to Taupo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

Rotorua

— 5 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 Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera) and Hamilton Gardens (in Hamilton). There's lots more to do: whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, steep yourself in history at Te Puia, and look for all kinds of wild species at Rainbow Springs Nature Park.

To find ratings, reviews, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Rotorua trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Taupo to Rotorua in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. January in Rotorua sees daily highs of 74°F and lows of 61°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Whitianga.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

Whitianga

— 2 nights
Whitianga is a town on the Coromandel Peninsula, in the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North Island. On the 6th (Sun), boost your wellbeing at The Lost Spring and then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: wander the wide-open spaces of Twin Oaks Riding Ranch, trek along Cathedral Cove Walk, and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Hot Water Beach.

To see where to stay, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, read Whitianga itinerary planning app.

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Whitianga takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. February in Whitianga sees daily highs of 75°F and lows of 62°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Whitianga

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Spas

Side Trips

New Zealand travel guide

4.5
Specialty Museums · Hiking Trails · Landmarks
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.