23 days in New Zealand Itinerary

23 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Pacific trip builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Auckland
— 1 night
Drive
2
Birkenhead
— 1 day
Drive
3
Rotorua
— 1 night
Drive
4
Tongariro National Park
— 1 night
Drive
5
New Plymouth
— 1 night
Drive
6
Wellington
— 1 night
Ferry to Picton, Drive to Kaikoura
7
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Drive
8
Akaroa
— 1 night
Drive
9
Lake Tekapo
— 1 night
Bus
10
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 1 night
Bus
11
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Drive
12
Invercargill
— 1 night
Bus
13
Te Anau
— 2 nights
Bus
14
Wanaka
— 2 nights
Bus
15
Fox Glacier
— 1 night
Drive
16
Arthur's Pass National Park
— 1 day
Drive
17
Christchurch
— 3 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
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31
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12

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.
You've added Auckland Zoo, SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, Rangitoto Island, and other attractions to your itinerary. On the 19th (Wed), enjoy the thrill of live dance at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, tour the pleasant surroundings at Piha Beach, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Auckland Zoo, learn about all things military at Auckland Museum, then get impressive views of Rangitoto Island, and finally take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower.

For where to stay, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Auckland road trip app.

Perth, Australia to Auckland is an approximately 10-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Western Standard Time to New Zealand Standard Time is 4 hours. Expect colder weather when traveling from Perth in January: highs in Auckland hover around 22°C, while lows dip to 22°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can travel to Birkenhead.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Museums · Beaches

Side Trip

Birkenhead

— 1 day
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Thu): trek along Okura Bush Walkway, do a tasting at Soljans Estate Winery, then enjoy the sand and surf at Browns Bay Beach, then look for all kinds of wild species at Smiths Bush Reserve, and finally stroll around Little Shoal Bay Reserve.

For where to stay, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, read Birkenhead trip itinerary tool.

Birkenhead is very close to Auckland. In January, daytime highs in Birkenhead are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 22°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Birkenhead

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Wildlife

Side Trips

Rotorua

— 1 night

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.
To find ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Rotorua vacation tool.

You can drive from Birkenhead to Rotorua in 3 hours. When traveling from Birkenhead in January, plan for somewhat warmer days and little chillier nights in Rotorua: temperatures range from 27°C by day to 19°C at night. On the 21st (Fri), you'll travel to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Rotorua

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Wildlife

Tongariro National Park

— 1 night
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 21st (Fri), hike along Silica Rapids Track, then hike along Whakapapa Nature Walk, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Taranaki Falls, and finally stroll through Tongariro Northern Circuit.

For photos, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Tongariro National Park road trip website.

Getting from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to drive to New Plymouth.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Trails · Outdoors · Parks · Nature

New Plymouth

— 1 night
Where other cities run, New Plymouth prefers to stroll.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Sat): get to know the resident critters at Pukekura Park, explore the engaging exhibits at Puke Ariki, then view the masterpieces at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre, then make a trip to Clock Tower, and finally hike along Ratapihipihi Scenic Reserve Walk.

For where to stay, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our New Plymouth travel planner.

Drive from Tongariro National Park to New Plymouth in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of train and bus. You will have some time to spend on the 23rd (Sun) before leaving for Wellington.

Things to do in New Plymouth

Museums · Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Childrens Museums

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 23rd (Sun), catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car, take a stroll through Cuba Street, and then examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

To see maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Wellington planner.

Traveling by flight from New Plymouth to Wellington takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Wellington can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) so you can travel to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums · Neighborhoods · Shopping · Transportation

Kaikoura

— 1 night
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 24th (Mon), get engrossed in the history at Kaikoura Museum and then identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Kaikoura sightseeing planner.

You can do a combination of ferry and car from Wellington to Kaikoura in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Akaroa.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Museums

Akaroa

— 1 night

Long Harbour

The French heritage and colonial architecture of Akaroa has broad appeal to anthropologists, historians, architects--and just about anyone with an eye for beautiful, historical buildings and a palate for fine dining.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Tue): do a tasting at Meniscus Wines, then take in nature's colorful creations at The Giants House, then take an in-depth tour of Akaroa Museum, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas.

To see more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, use the Akaroa trip planner.

Traveling by car from Kaikoura to Akaroa takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and taxi; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Akaroa can reach 25°C, while at night they dip to 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Akaroa

Museums · Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife

Lake Tekapo

— 1 night
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
On the 26th (Wed), pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, look for all kinds of wild species at Gem Alpaca Stud, then see Off-Road Tours, and finally explore the activities along Lake Tekapo.

To find where to stay and other tourist information, read Lake Tekapo trip planner.

Drive from Akaroa to Lake Tekapo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Thu) early enough to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Parks · Wildlife · Tours · Outdoors

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Thu): hike along Glencoe Walk, then look and learn at Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, then get a dose of the wild on Glacier Explorers, and finally stroll through Hooker Valley Track.

For more things to do, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) online trip builder.

You can take a bus from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Queenstown.

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

Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Museums

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.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Peregrine Wines and Three Miners Vineyard. Visiting Zipline and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours will get you outdoors. Change things up with a short trip to Roaring Wine Tours in Cromwell (about 56 minutes away). The adventure continues: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, get interesting insight from Tours, trek along Ben Lomond Track, and do a tasting at Chard Farm Winery.

For maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Queenstown sightseeing tool.

You can take a bus from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Queenstown in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Invercargill.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours · Outdoors · Wineries · Parks

Side Trips

Invercargill

— 1 night
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. On the 31st (Mon), take an in-depth tour of E Hayes and Sons - The World's Fastest Indian, then admire the masterpieces at Southland Museum and Art Gallery, then delve into the distant past at Invercargill Brewery, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Oreti Beach.

To see reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Invercargill trip planner.

Drive from Queenstown to Invercargill in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Tue) to allow time to travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Invercargill

Beaches · Outdoors · Parks · Museums

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.
On the 1st (Tue), examine the collection at Fiordland Vintage Machinery Museum, tee off at Te Anau Golf Club, and then get great views at Te Anau Lion Lookout Point. Here are some ideas for day two: take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, explore the activities along Milford Sound, then identify plant and animal life at Milford sound Hwy, and finally contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Gunn.

For reviews, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read Te Anau day trip site.

Traveling by bus from Invercargill to Te Anau takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Thu) so you can travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Te Anau

Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Golf

Side Trips

Wanaka

— 2 nights
Situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka in the Otago region, Wanaka has become a popular ski and summer resort area, owing to its extensive views of the lake and its proximity to some of the best slopes in the country.
On the 3rd (Thu), do a tasting at Rippon Vineyard and then scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Mount Iron Track, see what you can catch with a fishing tour, then see the interesting displays at National Transport and Toy Museum, and finally fly down the slopes at Wanaka.

For maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Wanaka trip builder website.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Wanaka in 6.5 hours. Another option is to drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sat) to allow enough time to take a bus to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Museums

Fox Glacier

— 1 night
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Sat): view the masterpieces at ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery, go for a walk through River Walk, then hike along Fox Glacier South Side Walk, and finally take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, go to the Fox Glacier tour itinerary maker tool.

You can take a bus from Wanaka to Fox Glacier in 5.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) so you can travel to Arthur's Pass National Park.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Trails · Outdoors · Parks · Museums

Arthur's Pass National Park

— 1 day
On the 6th (Sun), take in the architecture and atmosphere at Arthur's Pass Chapel, then stroll through Devils Punchbowl Walking Track, and then hike along Arthur's Pass Walking Track.

To find reviews, maps, and tourist information, read our Arthur's Pass National Park itinerary maker site.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Fox Glacier to Arthur's Pass National Park. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sun) early enough to travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Arthur's Pass National Park

Trails · Outdoors · Parks · Historic Sites
Highlights from your trip

Christchurch

— 3 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
On the 7th (Mon), admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, then take a stroll around The Arts Centre, then see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre, and finally take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: trek along Crater Rim Walkway, wander the streets of Port Hills, then stroll through Rapaki Track, then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, and finally explore the landscape on two wheels at Christchurch to Little River Railtrail.

To find photos, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Christchurch journey builder.

Explore your travel options from Arthur's Pass National Park to Christchurch with the Route module. In February, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 26°C, while at night they dip to 13°C. You'll have a few hours on the 9th (Wed) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Historic Sites

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.

Taranaki Region travel guide

4.3
Zoos · Scenic Walking Areas · Art Galleries
Under the watchful eye of Mount Taranaki, wild Taranaki Region welcomes visitors seeking an adventure holiday. The rugged coast boasts great surfing opportunities, while the quaint alpine towns offer slower-paced Taranaki vacation ideas. Head down one of the region's many rivers for a day of rafting or kayaking, or enjoy a gentle stroll along the coast. Then, of course, there's the small matter of the mountain, encouraging you to climb it (or at least venture up a little bit of the way).

Fiordland National Park travel guide

4.4
World heritage site · Bodies of Water · Caves
Place of Greenstone
As the heart of World Heritage-listed Wahipounamu, Fiordland National Park makes a great base for those wanting an adventure holiday packed full of wildlife-spotting expeditions, alpine climbs, and chances to enjoy New Zealand's national pastime--hiking. Over 500 km (310 mi) of hiking trails lead you through the native forest, up to the snow-capped peaks of the mountains, and along verdant valleys. Sea kayaking also ranks among the top things to do in Fiordland National Park, letting you explore the waters and get close to some of the protected animals here, including penguins, bottlenose dolphins, and seals. Formed over a period of 100,000 years, the fiords offer fantastic viewpoints and photo opportunities.