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:  3​h 15​min
1
Taupo
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Palmerston North
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
3
Wellington
— 2 nights
ferry + bus:  6​h 45​min
4
Kaikoura
— 1 night
bus:  3​h
5
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h
6
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h 15​min
End: Auckland

2
nights
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Huka Prawn Park and Huka Honey Hive. Explore Taupo's surroundings by going to Rotorua (Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Amokura Glass, & more). There's still lots to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Tongariro Alpine Crossing, admire the sheer force of Huka Falls Walkway, and push the limits with an extreme tour.

To see reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Taupo trip planner .

Auckland to Taupo is an approximately 3-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to travel to Palmerston North.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Rotorua, Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway

2
nights
Palmerston North

Palmerston North ©
Palmerston North is a city in the North Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Manawatu-Wanganui region. On the 21st (Sat), see the interesting displays at Te Manawa, examine the collection at New Zealand Rugby Museum, then admire the natural beauty at Victoria Esplanade Gardens, and finally enjoy some diversion at Lido Aquatic Centre. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the striking features of Palmerston North Clock Tower and then have fun at Levin Adventure Park.

To see maps, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the Palmerston North travel route planner .

Do a combination of flight and taxi from Taupo to Palmerston North in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 19°C in December, and nighttime lows around 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) so you can travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Palmerston North

Fun & Games Parks Museums

Side Trip

Levin Adventure Park
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Levin Adventure Park ©
Levin Adventure Park
Te Manawa ©
Te Manawa
Lido Aquatic Centre ©
Lido Aquatic Centre

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.
To see traveler tips, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Wellington online trip maker .

You can drive from Palmerston North to Wellington in 2 hours. Traveling from Palmerston North in December, expect nights in Wellington to be a bit cooler, around 15°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) so you can travel to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Wellington

Parks Wildlife Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
ZEALANDIA Sanctuary ©
ZEALANDIA Sanctuary
Wellington Zoo ©
Wellington Zoo

1
night
Kaikoura

Kaikoura ©
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 24th (Tue), look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese, don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony, then stroll through Ohau Stream Walk, and finally try for a hole-in-one at The Emporium. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 25th (Wed): hike along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway and then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Kaikoura tour itinerary maker .

You can do a combination of flight and train from Wellington to Kaikoura in 6 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry and train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to take a bus to Christchurch.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Trails Parks
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Ohau Stream Walk ©
Ohau Stream Walk

2
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
On the 26th (Thu), see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre, then let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, and finally take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Keep things going the next day: get to know the resident critters at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, have some family-friendly fun at Velocity Karts, and then catch a ride on TranzAlpine Train.

To find photos, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Christchurch day trip tool .

Traveling by bus from Kaikoura to Christchurch takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 12°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation Tours Museums
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Velocity Karts ©
Velocity Karts
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum

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.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, then cool off at Alpine Aqualand, and finally steep yourself in history at Fallen Soldiers Memorial.

To find where to stay, reviews, maps, and tourist information, go to the Queenstown trip itinerary builder website .

Traveling by flight from Christchurch to Queenstown takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Tours Fun & Games
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Zipline
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

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