17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Sao Paulo
Fly + Bus:  27​h
1
Te Anau
— 1 night
Bus:  3​h 15​min
2
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Fly:  5​h 30​min
4
Paihia
— 1 night
Taxi + Fly:  4​h 15​min
5
Rotorua
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
6
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
7
Auckland
— 2 nights
Fly:  20​h
End: Sao Paulo

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.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Mon): hike along The Chasm Walk, then explore the activities along Milford Sound, and then identify plant and animal life at Milford sound Hwy. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the activities along Lake Te Anau, then Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves, and then take a memorable tour with Tours.

For traveler tips and tourist information, you can read our Te Anau trip planner.

Sao Paulo, Brazil to Te Anau is an approximately 27-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. The time zone changes from Brasilia Time to New Zealand Standard Time, which is usually a 15 hour difference. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can catcht the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Kayaking & Canoeing, Milford sound Hwy
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
The Chasm Walk ©
The Chasm Walk
Milford sound Hwy ©
Milford sound Hwy
Lake Te Anau ©
Lake Te Anau

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 11th (Wed), hike along Ben Lomond Track, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and then hike along Queenstown Hill. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: identify plant and animal life at Kiwi Birdlife Park, have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, then have some family-friendly fun at Dark Ride, and finally identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas.

To see ratings, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, use the Queenstown online itinerary planner .

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Ben Lomond Track ©
Ben Lomond Track
Queenstown Hill ©
Queenstown Hill
Safaris

2
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Fri): trek along Tunnel Beach Track, then look for all kinds of wild species at Penguin Place, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Waikouaiti Beach, and finally admire the natural beauty at Dunedin Botanic Garden. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Sat): steep yourself in history at Olveston Historic Home, see the sky in a new way at Otago Museum, don't miss a visit to The World's Steepest Street, then identify plant and animal life at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at First Church of Otago.

To see traveler tips, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Dunedin travel itinerary planner .

You can drive from Queenstown to Dunedin in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trip

Waikouaiti Beach
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Penguin Place ©
Penguin Place
Orokonui Ecosanctuary ©
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Tunnel Beach Track ©
Tunnel Beach Track

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 15th (Sun): admire the sheer force of Rainbow Falls, then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, then take in nature's colorful creations at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour. On the 16th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, steep yourself in history at Pompallier Mission and Printery, and then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Paihia visit planner .

Getting from Dunedin to Paihia by flight takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of bus and flight. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Russell, Rainbow Falls
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Rainbow Falls ©
Rainbow Falls
Scuba & Snorkeling
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour

3
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.
Visiting River Rafting & Tubing and Waimangu Volcanic Valley will get you outdoors. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park and Kuirau Park. Explore Rotorua's surroundings by going to Taupo (Huka Falls Walkway & Adrenaline & Extreme Tours). The adventure continues: take in the natural beauty of Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, steep yourself in history at Government Gardens, trek along Tikitapu Nature Walk, and stroll through Blue Lake Track.

For ratings, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Rotorua trip planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Paihia to Rotorua in 4.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive. In December in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 25°C during the day and 17°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Taupo
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Waikite Valley Thermal Pools ©
Waikite Valley Thermal Pools
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Redwoods Treewalk ©
Redwoods Treewalk

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Fri): take in the views from Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, explore the fascinating underground world of Piripiri Cave Walk, take in the dramatic scenery at Marokopa Falls Walk, then Head underground at Caveworld, then Head underground at Footwhistle Glowworm Cave, and finally explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 21st (Sat): get interesting insight from Tours, then head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds, then Head underground at Aranui Cave, and finally Head underground at Ruakuri Cave.

For ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Waitomo Caves trip planner .

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Waitomo Caves takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Aranui Cave
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Marakopa Falls ©
Marakopa Falls
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave

2
nights
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 22nd (Sun): see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then step off the mainland to explore Tiritiri Matangi Island. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy breathtaking views from Sky Tower, look for all kinds of wild species at Muriwai Gannet Colony, then stroll through Waitakere Ranges, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Piha Beach.

To find ratings, photos, and other tourist information, read our Auckland planner .

Drive from Waitomo Caves to Auckland in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 20°C in December, and nighttime lows around 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Piha, Muriwai Gannet Colony
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Muriwai Gannet Colony ©
Muriwai Gannet Colony
Arataki Visitor Centre ©
Arataki Visitor Centre

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