13 days in New Zealand Itinerary

13 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Auckland
1
Auckland
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
Waitomo Caves
— Few hours
Drive:  2​h
3
Taupo
— 1 night
Bus:  1​h
4
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Fly + Drive:  7​h
5
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Bus:  6​h 15​min
6
Te Anau
— 1 night
Bus:  3​h 15​min
7
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Bus:  2​h 30​min
8
Wanaka
— 1 night
Bus:  5​h 30​min
9
Franz Josef
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
10
Greymouth
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
End: Christchurch

1
night
Auckland

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 21st (Sat): stroll through Browns Bay Beach, then kick back and relax at Bethells Beach, and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To see ratings, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Auckland day trip website .

If you are flying in from Singapore, the closest major airports are Auckland International Airport and Hamilton International Airport. In December, plan for daily highs up to 20°C, and evening lows to 20°C. On the 22nd (Sun), you're off toWaitomo Caves.

Things to do in Auckland

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Browns Bay Beach
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Bethells Beach ©
Bethells Beach

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.
On the 22nd (Sun), surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour and then explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

For reviews, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read Waitomo Caves trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Auckland to Waitomo Caves takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:
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.
On the 23rd (Mon), get all the equipment you need at Souvenir Outlet & Mountain Bike Hire, admire the sheer force of Huka Falls Walkway, then take a memorable tour with Tours, and finally explore the activities along Lake Taupo.

To find out how to plan a trip to Taupo, use our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Taupo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) so you can take a bus to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors Nature Parks

Side Trip

Lake Taupo
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Lake Taupo ©
Lake Taupo

2
nights
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.
On the 23rd (Mon), identify plant and animal life at Redwoods Treewalk. Keep things going the next day: get impressive views of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Papamoa Beach.

To see photos, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Rotorua itinerary planner.

Take a bus from Taupo to Rotorua in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. In December, daily temperatures in Rotorua can reach 25°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 25th (Wed) to allow time for travel to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Papamoa Beach, River Rafting & Tubing, Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Redwoods Treewalk ©
Redwoods Treewalk
River Rafting & Tubing
Papamoa Beach ©
Papamoa Beach

2
nights
Lake Tekapo

Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Thu): pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, then get outside with AquaNorts, then enjoy breathtaking views from Mount John University Observatory, and finally see Off-Road Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the activities along Lake Tekapo, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Mount John Summit Circuit Track, and then identify plant and animal life at Gem Alpaca Stud.

Plan a Lake Tekapo trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

You can do a combination of flight and car from Rotorua to Lake Tekapo in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of car and ferry. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to catcht the bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Gem Alpaca Stud
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Off-Road Tours
Gem Alpaca Stud ©
Gem Alpaca Stud
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo

1
night
Te Anau

Te Anau ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary and then identify plant and animal life at Doubtful Sound.

To find ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Te Anau trip maker tool .

You can take a bus from Lake Tekapo to Te Anau in 6.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) to allow enough time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Wildlife Nature
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Te Anau Bird Sanctuary ©
Te Anau Bird Sanctuary

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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sun): scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour and then grab your bike and head to Queenstown Trail. Keep things going the next day: get your game on at Dark Ride, then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then see what you can catch with a fishing tour.

To find reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Queenstown online trip itinerary builder .

Getting from Te Anau to Queenstown by bus takes about 3.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to catcht the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Queenstown Trail ©
Queenstown Trail
Fishing Charters & Tours
Zipline

1
night
Wanaka

Wanaka
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.
To see photos, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Wanaka trip itinerary builder .

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Wanaka takes 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Tue) to allow time for the bus ride to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:

1
night
Franz Josef

Franz Josef ©
Located in the World Heritage Site that is home to its eponymous glacier, the town of Franz Josef provides a comfortable and welcoming rest spot for adventurers after a long day out on the ice.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Wed): explore the striking landscape of Fox Glacier and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Sentinel Rock Walk.

For photos, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Franz Josef trip planner .

Take a bus from Wanaka to Franz Josef in 5.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can travel to Greymouth.

Things to do in Franz Josef

Parks Trails Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Sentinel Rock Walk ©
Sentinel Rock 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. To see maps, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Greymouth trip website .

You can drive from Franz Josef to Greymouth in 2.5 hours. You'll have a few hours on the 2nd (Thu) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Greymouth

Shopping Parks Trails
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Garth Wilson Jade ©
Garth Wilson Jade
Woods Creek Track ©
Woods Creek Track

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