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: Sydney
Fly:  8​h
1
Rotorua
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Whakapapa
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
3
Auckland
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
4
Paihia
— 3 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  3​h
5
Waitomo Caves
— 3 nights
Fly:  8​h 45​min
End: Sydney

3
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.
Get out of town with these interesting Rotorua side-trips: Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera), Dog and Sheep Shaped Corrugated Metal Buildings (in Tirau) and Taupo (Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Huka Falls Walkway, & more). Next up on the itinerary: take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and take a memorable tour with Tours.

For reviews, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read Rotorua trip itinerary builder tool .

Sydney, Australia to Rotorua is an approximately 8-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight and car. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Sydney to Rotorua due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Sydney in December, things will get a bit cooler in Rotorua: highs are around 25°C and lows about 17°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to travel to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Taupo, Hobbiton Movie Set, Dog and Sheep Shaped Corrugated Metal Buildings
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway

2
nights
Whakapapa

Whakapapa ©
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Tue): admire the sheer force of Tawhai Falls, trek along Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and then hike along Taranaki Falls. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Ohakune Old Coach Road and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To see ratings, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, read Whakapapa road trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Whakapapa takes 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) so you can travel to Auckland.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Tongariro National Park, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
River Rafting & Tubing
Ohakune Old Coach Road ©
Ohakune Old Coach Road

1
night
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 19th (Thu), indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink, take an in-depth tour of Auckland War Memorial Museum, and then take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower.

For maps, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Auckland trip planner .

Drive from Whakapapa to Auckland in 4.5 hours. In December in Auckland, expect temperatures between 20°C during the day and 20°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can go by car to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Tours Museums
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Wine Tours & Tastings

3
nights
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.
Take a break from Paihia with a short trip to Pompallier Mission and Printery in Russell, about 42 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: contemplate the long history of Waitangi Treaty Grounds, glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, make a trip to KeriKeri New Zealand, and discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Paihia trip itinerary maker .

Getting from Auckland to Paihia by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

KeriKeri New Zealand, Pompallier Mission and Printery
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Scuba & Snorkeling
Dolphin & Whale Watching

3
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Mon): explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, then explore the fascinating underground world of Ruakuri Cave, and finally trek along Ruakuri Walk. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the views from Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, admire the sheer force of Marakopa Falls, then Head underground at Caveworld, and finally relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Waitomo Caves trip planning website .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Paihia to Waitomo Caves in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. On the 25th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
River Rafting & Tubing
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk

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