15 days in New Zealand Itinerary

15 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Auckland
Fly + Drive:  7​h 30​min
1
Stewart Island
— 1 night
Travel:  3​h 30​min
2
Invercargill
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Dunedin
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
4
Queenstown
— 2 nights
bus:  2​h 30​min
5
Wanaka
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Mt. Cook Village
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
7
Lake Tekapo
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
8
Timaru
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
9
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
10
Hanmer Springs
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
11
Kaikoura
— 1 night
12
Nelson
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 30​min
End: Auckland

1
night
Stewart Island

Stewart Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Tue): step off the mainland to explore Ulva Island and then trek along Rakiura Track.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Stewart Island holiday maker tool .

Auckland to Stewart Island is an approximately 7.5-hour combination of flight and car. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Tue) so you can travel to Invercargill.

Things to do in Stewart Island

Parks Outdoors Trails
Find places to stay May 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Ulva Island ©
Ulva Island
Rakiura Track ©
Rakiura Track

1
night
Invercargill

Invercargill ©
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. Kick off your visit on the 6th (Wed): let the kids burn off some steam at Dig This Invercargill, then take a memorable drive along Southern Scenic Route, and then view the masterpieces at City Gallery.

To find photos, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Invercargill online travel planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Stewart Island to Invercargill. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Wed) so you can travel to Dunedin.

Things to do in Invercargill

Outdoors Scenic Drive Fun & Games
Find places to stay May 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Dig This Invercargill ©
Dig This Invercargill

1
night
Dunedin

Dunedin ©
With its history proudly stemming from the Scottish settlers who came here during the colonial era, Dunedin's streets are lined with well-preserved examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, while a new culture of nightlife and fine dining takes hold around them.
On the 7th (Thu), explore the historical opulence of Larnach Castle & Gardens, pause for some photo ops at Robert Burns Statue, view the masterpieces at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, then steep yourself in history at Olveston Historic Home, and finally make a trip to The World's Steepest Street.

To find other places to visit, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read Dunedin road trip planner .

You can drive from Invercargill to Dunedin in 3 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Queenstown.

Things to do in Dunedin

Historic Sites Museums Shopping
Find places to stay May 6 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Larnach Castle & Gardens ©
Larnach Castle & Gardens
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum ©
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
Olveston Historic Home ©
Olveston Historic Home

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.
On the 8th (Fri), have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and finally steep yourself in history at Fallen Soldiers Memorial. Keep things going the next day: whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then pause for some photo ops at William Gilbert Rees Statue, then get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour, and finally view the masterpieces at Silver Fern Gallery.

For reviews, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Queenstown trip site .

You can drive from Dunedin to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) so you can catcht the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Fun & Games
Find places to stay May 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Spas
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

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.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Sun): explore the activities along Lake Wanaka and then explore the striking landscape of Mount Aspiring National Park.

For more things to do, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Wanaka online travel planner .

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Wanaka in 2.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sun) so you can travel to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Wanaka

Nature Parks
Find places to stay May 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Wanaka ©
Lake Wanaka

1
night
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Mon): get outside with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, then trek along Hooker Valley Track, and then trek along Kea Point Track.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Mt. Cook Village online journey maker .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Wanaka to Mt. Cook Village. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Mt. Cook Village

Outdoors Trails Parks

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Find places to stay May 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Kea Point Track ©
Kea Point Track

1
night
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo ©
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
On the 12th (Tue), explore the activities along Lake Tekapo, take in the architecture and atmosphere at The Church of the Good Shepherd, then take in panoramic vistas at Mount John University Observatory, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Burkes Pass Gallery.

To see maps, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Lake Tekapo trip itinerary website .

Getting from Mt. Cook Village to Lake Tekapo by car takes about an hour. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Timaru.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trip

Burkes Pass Gallery
Find places to stay May 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
The Church of the Good Shepherd ©
The Church of the Good Shepherd
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo
Mount John University Observatory ©
Mount John University Observatory

1
night
Timaru

Timaru ©
Timaru is a port city in the southern Canterbury region of New Zealand, located 157 kilometres southwest of Christchurch and about 196 kilometres northeast of Dunedin on the eastern Pacific coast of the South Island. On the 13th (Wed), see the interesting displays at South Canterbury Museum, then relax in the rural setting at Famlan Farm Park, then kick back and relax at Caroline Bay Beach, and finally relax in the rural setting at Blueberry Haven.

To find other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, use the Timaru trip itinerary builder app .

Traveling by car from Lake Tekapo to Timaru takes 1.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Wed) so you can travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Timaru

Outdoors Museums Beaches
Find places to stay May 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Caroline Bay Beach ©
Caroline Bay Beach
Famlan Farm Park ©
Famlan Farm Park
South Canterbury Museum ©
South Canterbury Museum

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 14th (Thu), get around town with TranzAlpine Train, then admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and then pause for some photo ops at Chalice Sculpture. Keep things going the next day: enjoy breathtaking views from Christchurch Gondola, then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, then examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, and finally make a trip to Cardboard Cathedral.

For where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read Christchurch trip maker site .

Traveling by car from Timaru to Christchurch takes 2.5 hours. May in Christchurch sees daily highs of 17°C and lows of 5°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Fri) early enough to drive to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation Tours Museums
Find places to stay May 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum

1
night
Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs ©
Action and relaxation are the reasons that most people head to Hanmer Springs, where natural thermal pools bubble among dramatic alpine surroundings.
On the 16th (Sat), stop by The Decadent Fudge Company, then take in the exciting artwork at Majuba Gallery, then head outdoors with Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre, and finally witness a stunning natural landmark at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa.

To find more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Hanmer Springs day trip planning app .

You can drive from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sat) so you can drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Outdoors Nature Spas
Find places to stay May 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre ©
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa ©
Majuba Gallery ©
Majuba Gallery

1
night
Kaikoura

Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Sun): stroll through Ohau Stream Walk, hike along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and finally look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Kaikoura trip website .

Getting from Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Sun) early enough to travel to Nelson.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Trails Parks
Find places to stay May 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Ohau Stream Walk ©
Ohau Stream Walk

1
night
Nelson

Nelson ©
Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Mon): make a trip to Broadgreen Historic House, see the interesting displays at World of WearableArt & Classic Car Museum, then examine the collection at Nelson Provincial Museum, and finally look for gifts at Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith.

To see reviews, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Nelson trip builder website .

Do a combination of train and bus from Kaikoura to Nelson in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Nelson

Museums Shopping
Find places to stay May 17 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Nelson Provincial Museum ©
Nelson Provincial Museum
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith ©
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith

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