16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand trip maker

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Paihia
— 4 nights
Fly
2
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly to Christchurch, Bus to Kaikoura
3
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Bus to Christchurch, Fly to Rotorua
4
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive to Tauranga, Fly to Tampa

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Paihia

— 4 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.
Visiting Whangarei Falls and Swim with Dolphins will get you outdoors. Get some historical perspective at Pompallier Mission and Printery and The Stone Store & Kemp House - Kerikeri Mission Station. Change things up with these side-trips from Paihia: Town Basin (in Whangarei) and Russell (Flagstaff Hill Historic Reserve & Christ Church). There's still lots to do: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, take in the dramatic scenery at Rainbow Falls, identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour, and get a bird's-eye view with Skydive Bay of Islands.

For maps, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Paihia holiday planner.

Tampa, USA to Paihia is an approximately 25-hour flight. You'll lose 17 hours traveling from Tampa to Paihia due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Paihia

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Queenstown

— 3 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.
Escape the urban bustle at Arrowtown Village and The Cardrona. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Ben Lomond Track and Fishing Charters & Tours. There's still lots to do: take the plunge with a skydiving experience, trek along Queenstown Hill, do a tasting at Chard Farm Winery, and contemplate the waterfront views at Arrow River.

To find more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, use the Queenstown tour itinerary app.

Traveling by flight from Paihia to Queenstown takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) so you can travel to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Adventure

Side Trips

Kaikoura

— 2 nights
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Sun): hike along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, identify plant and animal life at Peninsula Seal Colony, and then trek along Ohau Stream Walk. On the next day, stop by Kaikoura Cheese, then don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony, and then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find reviews, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Kaikoura trip website.

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Queenstown to Kaikoura in 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Mon) early enough to travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Wildlife

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.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Government Gardens and Eat Street. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Mount Maunganui Base Track. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Rotorua: Aerius Helicopters (in Tauranga) and Mt Maunganui Main Beach (in Mount Maunganui). There's lots more to do: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, take in the natural beauty of Kuirau Park, push the limits with an extreme tour, and get interesting insight from Tours.

For photos, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Rotorua online trip builder.

Do a combination of bus and flight from Kaikoura to Rotorua in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. In December, daily temperatures in Rotorua can reach 71°F, while at night they dip to 59°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) so you can drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Outdoors · Tours · Nature

Side Trip

Waitomo Caves

— 1 night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sat): get the lay of the land with Glowing Adventures, Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, and then Head underground at Caveworld.

To find other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Waitomo Caves route planner.

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Waitomo Caves takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Nature · Parks · Tours · Wildlife

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.