13 days in North Island Itinerary

13 days in North Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock North Island tour planner

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Route & dates

13 days in North Island Itinerary

Start: Auckland
1
Auckland
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Napier
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Taupo
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
5
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
6
New Plymouth
— 1 night
Fly:  3​h 15​min
7
Paihia
— 1 night
Drive:  7​h
8
Turangi
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
End: Auckland

1
day
Auckland

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.
On the 22nd (Sun), awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, brush up on your military savvy at Auckland War Memorial Museum, and then take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower.

For traveler tips, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Auckland trip maker website .

The Route module shows you all the different ways you can get to Auckland. In December in Auckland, expect temperatures between 20°C during the day and 20°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) so you can go by car to Rotorua.

Things to do in Auckland

Tours Museums
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland Museum ©
Auckland Museum
Wine Tours & Tastings

2
nights
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), whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then explore and take pictures at Te Puia, and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. On the 24th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: relax in the rural setting at Agrodome, delve into the lush surroundings at Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, then take a memorable tour with Tours, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at St Michael's Catholic Church.

For maps, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Rotorua day trip tool .

Traveling by car from Auckland to Rotorua takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. Traveling from Auckland in December, you will find days in Rotorua are a bit warmer (25°C), and nights are a bit cooler (17°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Napier.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Zipline

1
night
Napier

Enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of 1930s design in Napier, one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Wed): observe the fascinating underwater world at National Aquarium of New Zealand, then awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, and then don't miss a visit to Marine Parade.

To see where to stay, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Napier itinerary planner.

You can drive from Rotorua to Napier in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Taupo.

Things to do in Napier

Tours Zoos & Aquariums Parks
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
National Aquarium of New Zealand ©
National Aquarium of New Zealand
Marine Parade ©
Marine Parade

3
nights
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Taupo is known for nature, adventure, theme parks, parks, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, witness a stunning natural landmark at Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, laugh and play at Huka Prawn Park, and paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour.

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

You can drive from Napier to Taupo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Huka Prawn Park ©
Huka Prawn Park

1
night
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 29th (Sun), explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then explore the fascinating underground world of Ruakuri Cave, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and finally stroll through Ruakuri Walk.

To find where to stay, maps, photos, and more tourist information, use the Waitomo Caves trip maker .

You can drive from Taupo to Waitomo Caves in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) so you can go by car to New Plymouth.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves

1
night
New Plymouth

New Plymouth ©
Where other cities run, New Plymouth prefers to stroll.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Mon): go for a walk through New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, then engage your brain at Puke Ariki, and then learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Pukekura Park.

To find other places to visit, maps, photos, and other tourist information, go to the New Plymouth driving holiday site .

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to New Plymouth in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and flight. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Paihia.

Things to do in New Plymouth

Childrens Museums Zoos & Aquariums Parks
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Puke Ariki ©
Puke Ariki
Pukekura Park ©
Pukekura Park
New Plymouth Coastal Walkway ©
New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

1
night
Paihia

Paihia ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 31st (Tue): surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, then explore and take pictures at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find photos, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Paihia travel route planner .

Traveling by flight from New Plymouth to Paihia takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to go by car back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours

2
nights
Turangi

Turangi ©
Turangi is a small town on the west bank of the Tongariro River, 50 kilometres south-west of Taupo on the North Island Volcanic Plateau of New Zealand. Turangi is known for adventure, wildlife, nature, trails, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: tour the pleasant surroundings at Tongariro Alpine Crossing, admire the sheer force of Taranaki Falls, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and stroll around Mt Ngauruhoe.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Turangi day trip planning website .

Traveling by car from Paihia to Turangi takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Turangi

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Tongariro National Park
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
River Rafting & Tubing
Ohakune Old Coach Road ©
Ohakune Old Coach Road

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