12 days in New Zealand Itinerary

12 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand tour planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Auckland
— 1 day
Drive
2
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Taupo
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Tongariro National Park
— 1 night
Fly
5
Paihia
— 3 nights
Fly to Queenstown, Bus to Te Anau
6
Te Anau
— 2 nights
Bus
7
Queenstown
— 1 night
Fly

S M T W T F S
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29

Auckland

— 1 day

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 13th (Thu), brush up on your military savvy at Auckland Museum and then take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower.

To see maps, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Auckland trip planner.

Sydney, Australia to Auckland is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. The time zone changes from Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 2 hour difference. When traveling from Sydney in January, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Auckland: temperatures range from 22°C by day to 22°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can fly to Rotorua.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums

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 14th (Fri): push the limits with an extreme tour, take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then look for all kinds of wild species at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and finally take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the natural beauty of Te Puia, then trot along with a tour on horseback, and then get interesting insight from Tours.

To see ratings, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Rotorua trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Auckland to Rotorua takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Auckland in January: highs in Rotorua hover around 27°C, while lows dip to 19°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sat) so you can go by car to Taupo.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors

Taupo

— 2 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.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Sun): see the interesting displays at Taupo Museum, take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway, and then get interesting insight from Tours. Here are some ideas for day two: look for gifts at Huka Honey Hive, get in on the family fun at Huka Prawn Park, then get interesting insight from Tours, and finally make a trip to Maori Rock Carvings.

To find photos, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Taupo journey planner.

You can drive from Rotorua to Taupo in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Mon) early enough to catch the shuttle to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Theme Parks

Tongariro National Park

— 1 night
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 18th (Tue), trek along Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

For photos, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read Tongariro National Park trip planner.

Getting from Taupo to Tongariro National Park by shuttle takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Tue) to allow time to fly to Paihia.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks · Trails · Outdoors
Highlights from your trip

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 wildlife, historic sites, and adventure. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: steep yourself in history at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, get great views at Opua Forest Lookout Track, identify plant and animal life at The Parrot Place, and admire the landmark architecture of The Stone Store & Kemp House - Kerikeri Mission Station.

For traveler tips, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Paihia trip itinerary maker site.

Getting from Tongariro National Park to Paihia by flight takes about 5 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of train and bus. On the 21st (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife · Parks · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trip

Te Anau

— 2 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.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Sat): explore the activities along Doubtful Sound. On your second day here, get interesting insight from Tours and then contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound.

To see reviews, photos, ratings, and tourist information, read our Te Anau trip builder tool.

Do a combination of flight and bus from Paihia to Te Anau in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun) to allow time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trip

Queenstown

— 1 night

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 24th (Mon), push the limits with an extreme tour, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, then look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park, and finally get your game on at Skyline Queenstown.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Queenstown tour itinerary maker website.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Fun & Games · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

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.