21 days in New Zealand Itinerary

21 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand sightseeing planner

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Route & dates

21 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Melbourne
Fly + bus:  9​h 30​min
1
Te Anau
— 3 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
2
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 15​min
3
Wellington
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
4
Whakapapa
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Auckland
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
7
Paihia
— 3 nights
Fly:  8​h 30​min
End: Melbourne

3
nights
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.
Step out of Te Anau to go to Milford and see Milford Foreshore Walk, which is approximately 1h 15 min away. And it doesn't end there: explore the activities along Milford Sound, stroll through Lake Gunn, get great views at Te Anau Lion Lookout Point, and trek along Hollyford Track.

For more things to do, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Te Anau road trip planner.

Melbourne, Australia to Te Anau is an approximately 9.5-hour combination of flight and bus. The time zone changes from Australian Eastern Standard Time (Victoria) (AEST) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 2 hour difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) to allow enough time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Foreshore Walk
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

3
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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, wildlife, nature, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, identify plant and animal life at Kiwi Birdlife Park, get interesting insight from Tours, and get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour.

To see traveler tips, ratings, photos, and tourist information, use the Queenstown trip planner.

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Queenstown takes 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Fun & Games
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline

2
nights
Wellington

Wellington
Wellington, the world's southernmost capital city and New Zealand's second most populous urban area, combines the nation's rugged history and nature with its modern and cosmopolitan present.
On the 15th (Wed), ponder the world of politics at New Zealand Parliament, admire the natural beauty at Wellington Botanic Garden, then take a memorable ride with Wellington Cable Car, and finally examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. On the 16th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take an in-depth tour of Wellington Museum, take an in-depth tour of The Great War Exhibition, and then look for all kinds of wild species at ZEALANDIA Sanctuary.

To see traveler tips, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Wellington vacation planner.

Traveling by flight from Queenstown to Wellington takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car and ferry. In January, daytime highs in Wellington are 24°C, while nighttime lows are 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can travel to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Wellington Botanic Garden
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Botanic Garden ©
Wellington Botanic Garden
Wellington Cable Car ©
Wellington Cable Car

3
nights
Whakapapa

When in Whakapapa, make a side trip to see River Rafting & Tubing in Turangi, approximately 34 minutes away.

To see ratings, photos, and tourist information, read Whakapapa journey builder tool .

You can drive from Wellington to Whakapapa in 4.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Tongariro National Park, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Ohakune Old Coach Road ©
Ohakune Old Coach Road

4
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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Rotorua: Waitomo Caves (Ruakuri Walk & Waitomo Glowworm Caves), Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera) and Taupo (Huka Honey Hive, Huka Falls Walkway, & more). There's much more to do: take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, delve into the lush surroundings at Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, look for all kinds of wild species at Redwoods Treewalk, and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

For maps, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Rotorua day trip website .

Traveling by car from Whakapapa to Rotorua takes 2.5 hours. In January, plan for daily highs up to 27°C, and evening lows to 19°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Thu) early enough to drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Rotorua

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Taupo, Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton Movie Set
Find places to stay Jan 19 — 23:
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
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.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Fri): indulge your senses at some of the top wineries in the area, then learn about all things military at Auckland War Memorial Museum, and then enjoy breathtaking views from SkyTower. On your second day here, stop by Pauanesia, then learn about winemaking at Foxes Island, then step off the mainland to explore Waiheke Island, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Cheltenham Beach.

For more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Auckland trip planner.

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Auckland takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. Traveling from Rotorua in January, you will find days in Auckland are little chillier (22°C), and nights are about the same (22°C). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to drive to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trip

Cheltenham Beach
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Wine Tours & Tastings

3
nights
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.
Paihia is known for wildlife, historic sites, nature, adventure, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: steep yourself in history at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, find something for the whole family at Action World, discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and look for gifts at Paihia Bookshop.

To see maps, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Paihia trip maker site .

Traveling by car from Auckland to Paihia takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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