15 days in New Zealand Itinerary

15 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand tour itinerary planner

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

S M T W T F S
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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.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park and then have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 11th (Sat): glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and finally push the limits with an extreme tour.

For photos, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Queenstown attractions planner.

Melbourne, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. Traveling from Melbourne to Queenstown, you'll lose 2 hours due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Fun & Games

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.
Family-friendly places like Milford Sound and Hollyford Track will thrill your kids. Step out of Te Anau to go to Milford Sound and see Bowen Falls, which is approximately 1h 5 min away. Next up on the itinerary: hike along Lake Marian Track, tour the pleasant surroundings at The Chasm Walk, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Gunn, and look for all kinds of wild species at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.

For where to stay, ratings, maps, and tourist information, use the Te Anau tour planner.

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

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.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Thu): head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds, then scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and then explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Keep things going the next day: Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, then get interesting insight from Tours, then Head underground at Caveworld, and finally explore the fascinating underground world of Footwhistle Glowworm Cave.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Waitomo Caves travel route builder site.

Getting from Te Anau to Waitomo Caves by combination of bus and flight takes about 8 hours. Other options: do a combination of ferry and car; or do a combination of bus, train, and ferry. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors · Tours · Nature · Parks

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 18th (Sat): push the limits with an extreme tour, then take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway, and then explore the striking landscape at Spa Thermal Park and Riverbank Recreational and Scenic Reserve. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stop by Huka Honey Hive, try out the rides at Huka Prawn Park, and then paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour.

For reviews, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Taupo itinerary planner.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Taupo in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Adventure

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.
On the 20th (Mon), relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, then delve into the lush surroundings at Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Here are some ideas for day two: witness a stunning natural landmark at Te Puia, take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then trot along with a tour on horseback, and finally stroll through Okere Falls Track.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, read Rotorua itinerary planner.

You can drive from Taupo to Rotorua in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 25°C in December, and nighttime lows around 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) to allow enough time to fly to Auckland.

Things to do in Rotorua

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Nature

Side Trip

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 22nd (Wed): enjoy a live performance at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, then take an in-depth tour of Auckland Museum, then look for gifts at Pauanesia, and finally don't miss a visit to SkyTower.

To see traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, use the Auckland trip planning app.

Traveling by flight from Rotorua to Auckland takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Rotorua in December, expect nights in Auckland to be about the same, around 20°C, while days are slightly colder, around 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) to allow time to fly to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums · Parks · Nightlife · Zoos & Aquariums

Paihia

— 2 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.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Thu): steep yourself in history at KeriKeri New Zealand, get in on the family fun at Action World, then identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour, and finally get interesting insight from Tours. Keep things going the next day: pause for some serene contemplation at St James Anglican Church, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then steep yourself in history at Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, read our Paihia road trip planning tool.

Traveling by flight from Auckland to Paihia takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can catch the flight back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours · Parks

Side Trip

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.