35 days in New Zealand Itinerary

35 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand visit planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Paihia
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Auckland
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Taupo
— 5 nights
Drive
6
Tongariro National Park
— 5 nights
Fly
7
Wellington
— 2 nights
Fly
8
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 3 nights
Drive
9
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Bus
10
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly

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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.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Phantom Sailing and Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Paihia: Tapeka Point Track (in Russell) and Whangarei (Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve & Bream Head Coast Walks). There's much more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour, stop by Paihia Bookshop, admire the landmark architecture of St Paul's Anglican Church, and get in on the family fun at Action World.

For photos, reviews, and tourist information, read Paihia trip itinerary maker.

Sydney, Australia to Paihia is an approximately 8-hour flight. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Sydney to Paihia due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) early enough to drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife · Parks · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

Auckland

— 2 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.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Fri): make a trip to SkyTower, examine the collection at New Zealand Maritime Museum, then enjoy a live performance at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, and finally admire the masterpieces at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. On the 18th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Auckland Zoo, then learn about all things military at Auckland Museum, and then kick back and relax at Cheltenham Beach.

To find more things to do, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, use the Auckland holiday planner.

Getting from Paihia to Auckland by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: fly; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Auckland can reach 20°C, while at night they dip to 20°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) so you can go by car to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums · Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Nightlife

Side Trip

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.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Sun): head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, then explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and finally stroll through Ruakuri Walk. On the next day, snap pictures at Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, then explore the fascinating underground world of Caveworld, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and finally Head underground at Footwhistle Glowworm Cave.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, use the Waitomo Caves journey planner.

Drive from Auckland to Waitomo Caves in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Nature

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.
Kids will enjoy Zipline and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Go for a jaunt from Rotorua to Hinuera to see Hobbiton Movie Set about 1h 20 min away. There's still lots to do: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, explore the world behind art at Rotorua Museum, relax in the rural setting at Agrodome, and delve into the lush surroundings at Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest.

To see traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Rotorua holiday builder website.

Getting from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 25°C in December, and nighttime lows around 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Tours · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trips

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.
Family-friendly places like Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Kayaking & Canoeing will thrill your kids. There's still lots to do: trek along Huka Falls Walkway, explore the striking landscape at Spa Thermal Park and Riverbank Recreational and Scenic Reserve, don't miss a visit to Aratiatia Rapids, and contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Taupo.

To see ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Taupo trip builder.

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Taupo takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can go by car to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Tongariro National Park

— 5 nights
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
Bring the kids along to Tongariro Alpine Crossing and Tama Lakes. Spend the 31st (Fri) exploring nature at Active Outdoor Adventures. On the 2nd (Sun), hike the day away at Horsemtrails. There's much more to do: trek along Taranaki Falls, stroll through Ridge Track, get to know the fascinating history of Ohakune Old Coach Road, and don't miss a visit to Mead's Wall.

To find where to stay, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read our Tongariro National Park trip maker website.

You can drive from Taupo to Tongariro National Park in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) to allow time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature

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.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Tue): take an in-depth tour of Corrections' Heritage Centre, take in nature's colorful creations at Wellington Botanic Garden, ponder the world of politics at New Zealand Parliament, then take an in-depth tour of Wellington Museum, and finally take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour. Here are some ideas for day two: look for all kinds of wild species at ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary, then pause for some photo ops at John Plimmer Statue, then catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car, and finally examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

To find maps, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Wellington online trip planner.

You can fly from Tongariro National Park to Wellington in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of taxi and train. In January, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Wellington

Parks · Museums · Wildlife · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 3 nights
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Gillespies Beach and Aoraki/Mt. Cook. Explore Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)'s surroundings by going to Fox Glacier (Moraine Walk & Helicopter Tours).

For other places to visit, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) attractions planner.

You can fly from Wellington to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) in 5.5 hours. Other options are to ride a ferry; or do a combination of ferry, train, and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sat) so you can travel to Te Anau.

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

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Beaches

Side Trip

Te Anau

— 5 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 Hollyford Track and Milford Sound will thrill your kids. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Te Anau: Milford Sound (Bowen Falls & Milford sound Hwy). Spend the 11th (Tue) exploring at Doubtful Sound. And it doesn't end there: hike along Lake Marian Track, stroll through Gertrude Saddle, identify plant and animal life at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, and cast your line with a fishing tour.

To find ratings, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read our Te Anau tour planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Te Anau. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Thu) early enough to catch the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Wildlife

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.
Kids will enjoy Skyline Queenstown and Zipline. There's still lots to do: push the limits with an extreme tour, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and explore the activities along Lake Wakatipu.

For where to stay, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, use the Queenstown trip itinerary site.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours · Parks · Outdoors · Nature

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.