12 days in New Zealand Itinerary

12 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Auckland
Drive:  2​h
1
Matamata
— Few hours
Drive:  1​h
2
Rotorua
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
Waitomo Caves
— Few hours
Drive:  2​h
4
Taupo
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
5
Whakapapa
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
6
Raetihi
— Few hours
Drive:  4​h
7
Wellington
— 2 nights
ferry + Drive:  5​h
8
Nelson
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
9
Punakaiki
— Few hours
Drive:  1​h
10
Greymouth
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
11
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h
12
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h 15​min
End: Auckland

few
hours
Matamata

Matamata ©
Matamata is a town in the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North Island. On the 18th (Wed), don't miss a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set and then admire the sheer force of Wairere Falls.

To find other places to visit, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Matamata online trip itinerary builder .

Auckland to Matamata is an approximately 2-hour car ride. Traveling from Auckland in December, you will find days in Matamata are somewhat warmer (25°C), and nights are a bit cooler (17°C). Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Rotorua.

Things to do in Matamata

Nature Parks

Side Trips

Hobbiton Movie Set, Wairere Falls
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Hobbiton Movie Set ©
Hobbiton Movie Set
Wairere Falls ©
Wairere Falls

1
night
Rotorua

Rotorua ©
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 day-by-day itinerary now includes Hells Gate. On the 18th (Wed), take in the natural beauty of Hells Gate.

To see other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Rotorua trip tool .

Traveling by car from Matamata to Rotorua takes an hour. In December in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 25°C during the day and 17°C at night. On the 19th (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Hells Gate
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Redwoods Treewalk ©
Redwoods Treewalk
Hells Gate ©
Hells Gate

few
hours
Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves ©
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.
You've now added Waitomo Glowworm Caves to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 19th (Thu): Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

To find photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Waitomo Caves trip builder app .

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

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Nature Parks
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves

1
night
Taupo

Taupo ©
The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Great Lake Taupo. Start off your visit on the 20th (Fri): take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway and then explore the activities along Great Lake Taupo.

To find photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Taupo day trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Taupo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 20th (Fri), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Taupo

Nature Parks Trails
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway

1
night
Whakapapa

Whakapapa ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing has been added to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 20th (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Whakapapa online trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Taupo to Whakapapa takes 1.5 hours. On the 21st (Sat), you're off toRaetihi.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Trails Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing

few
hours
Raetihi

Raetihi ©
You've now added Bridge to Nowhere to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 21st (Sat): explore and take pictures at Bridge to Nowhere.

To see reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Raetihi trip planner.

Drive from Whakapapa to Raetihi in an hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Raetihi

Trails Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Bridge to Nowhere
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Bridge to Nowhere ©
Bridge to Nowhere

2
nights
Wellington

Wellington
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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Wellington Botanic Garden.

For more things to do, photos, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Wellington holiday maker website .

You can drive from Raetihi to Wellington in 4 hours. December in Wellington sees daily highs of 22°C and lows of 15°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 23rd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Nelson.

Things to do in Wellington

Parks Wildlife Museums

Side Trip

Wellington Botanic Garden
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
ZEALANDIA Sanctuary ©
ZEALANDIA Sanctuary
Wellington Botanic Garden ©
Wellington Botanic Garden

1
night
Nelson

Nelson ©
Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
For other places to visit, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Nelson trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by flight from Wellington to Nelson takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of ferry and car. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 24th (Tue) to allow time for travel to Punakaiki.

Things to do in Nelson

Parks
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Founders Park ©
Founders Park
Centre of New Zealand ©
Centre of New Zealand

few
hours
Punakaiki

Punakaiki ©
Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth. Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk has been added to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 23rd (Mon): explore the striking landscape at Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk.

To see ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Punakaiki tour planner .

You can drive from Nelson to Punakaiki in 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) to allow time to drive to Greymouth.

Things to do in Punakaiki

Nature Trails Parks
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk ©
Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk

1
night
Greymouth

Greymouth ©
Greymouth is the largest town in the West Coast region in the South Island of New Zealand, and the seat of the Grey District Council. Shantytown Heritage Park has been added to your itinerary. On the 25th (Wed), steep yourself in history at Shantytown Heritage Park.

For other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read Greymouth trip planner.

Drive from Punakaiki to Greymouth in an hour. You will have some time to spend on the 25th (Wed) before leaving for Christchurch.

Things to do in Greymouth

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Shantytown Heritage Park ©
Shantytown Heritage Park

2
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Christchurch Cathedral as well as Velocity Karts. Kick off your visit on the 25th (Wed): don't miss a visit to 185 Empty White Chairs - Earthquake Memorial, pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Christchurch Cathedral.

For other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Christchurch route planner .

Traveling by car from Greymouth to Christchurch takes 3.5 hours. In December, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 12°C. You will have some time to spend on the 27th (Fri) before leaving for Queenstown.

Things to do in Christchurch

Fun & Games Outdoors Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Velocity Karts ©
Velocity Karts
Christchurch Cathedral ©
Christchurch Cathedral

2
nights
Queenstown

Queenstown ©
Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
You've now added Shotover Jet to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 27th (Fri): race across the water with Shotover Jet, get interesting insight from Tours, and then get your game on at Skyline Queenstown. On the 28th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: head outdoors with Arrowtown Village and then stop by The Remarkable Sweet Shop - Arrowtown Shop.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read our Queenstown holiday planner .

Traveling by flight from Christchurch to Queenstown takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. You will leave for home on the 29th (Sun).

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Fun & Games Tours

Side Trip

Arrowtown
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Shotover Jet ©
Shotover Jet
Zipline

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