25 days in New Zealand Itinerary

25 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

25 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Auckland
Drive:  3​h
1
Paihia
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
2
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
Rotorua
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Turangi
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h 30​min
5
Napier
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
6
Wellington
— 1 night
Ferry + Bus:  6​h 45​min
7
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 45​min
8
Fox Glacier
— 2 nights
Bus:  4​h 45​min
9
Wanaka
— 3 nights
Bus:  2​h 30​min
10
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Bus:  3​h 15​min
11
Te Anau
— 3 nights
Bus:  5​h 15​min
12
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Fly:  5​h 15​min
End: Auckland

2
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Paihia Harbour and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Get some cultural insight at Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Waitangi National Trust & Treaty House. Venture out of the city with trips to Taupo Bay Beach (in Taupo Bay) and Wairere Boulders (in Horeke). There's lots more to do: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, pause for some serene contemplation at St James Anglican Church, and admire the striking features of St Paul's Anglican Church.

To find more things to do, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Paihia vacation planner .

Auckland to Paihia is an approximately 3-hour car ride. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Paihia

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Wairere Boulders, St James Anglican Church, Waitangi National Trust & Treaty House, Taupo Bay Beach, Waitangi Mountain Bike Park
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Scuba & Snorkeling
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour

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.
For maps, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Waitomo Caves day trip site .

Getting from Paihia to Waitomo Caves by combination of taxi and flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. You will leave for Rotorua on the 19th (Thu).

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Parks Tours
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:

1
night
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 19th (Thu), let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, then look for all kinds of wild species at Redwoods Treewalk, then contemplate the geological forces at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and finally get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

To see other places to visit, photos, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Rotorua day trip planning site .

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 25°C in December, and nighttime lows around 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Fri) so you can drive to Turangi.

Things to do in Rotorua

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Redwoods Treewalk ©
Redwoods Treewalk

1
day
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. Start off your visit on the 20th (Fri): grab your bike and head to Tongariro River Trail, then identify plant and animal life at Tongariro National Trout Centre, and then hike along Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Turangi itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Turangi takes 2 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Napier.

Things to do in Turangi

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trip

Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tongariro National Trout Centre ©
Tongariro National Trout Centre
Tongariro River Trail ©
Tongariro River Trail

3
nights
Napier

Enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of 1930s design in Napier, one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Moana Park Winery and Linden Estate Winery. Get outdoors at River Rafting & Tubing and Te Ana and Tangoio Falls tracks. Step out of Napier with an excursion to Ocean Beach in Hastings--about 36 minutes away. There's lots more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Gannet Colony, do a tasting at Junction Wines, tour the pleasant surroundings at Puketapu Loop - Hawke's Bay Trails, and see the interesting displays at Faraday Centre.

To see ratings, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, read Napier trip planning app .

Getting from Turangi to Napier by car takes about 2.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) so you can travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Napier

Parks Outdoors Wineries

Side Trips

Gannet Colony, De La Terre Winery, Ocean Beach
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Gannet Colony ©
Gannet Colony
Moana Park Winery ©
Moana Park Winery

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Tue): see exotic creatures in open habitats at a safari tour, then see the interesting displays at National War Memorial, then delve into the lush surroundings at Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden, and finally stroll the grounds of Bolton Street Cemetery.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Wellington route planning app .

Traveling by flight from Napier to Wellington takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December in Wellington, expect temperatures between 22°C during the day and 15°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to travel to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Wellington

Wildlife Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Safaris
Bolton Street Cemetery ©
Bolton Street Cemetery

1
night
Kaikoura

Kaikoura ©
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 25th (Wed), surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, then steep yourself in history at Fyffe House, and finally get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 26th (Thu): explore the fascinating underground world of Maori Leap Cave, then browse the exhibits of Art & Design Gallery, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Ohau Stream Walk, and finally get engrossed in the history at Kaikoura Museum.

To see ratings, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Kaikoura vacation builder tool .

You can do a combination of flight and train from Wellington to Kaikoura in 6 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry and train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Thu) early enough to drive to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Ohau Stream Walk ©
Ohau Stream Walk
Nature & Wildlife Tours

2
nights
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
On the 27th (Fri), stroll through Hooker Valley Track, trek along Peters Pool Walk, then identify plant and animal life at West Coast Wildlife Centre, and finally see the world from above with a helicopter tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Fox Glacier, then take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier, then go for a walk through Tatare Tunnels Walk, and finally take in the pleasant sights at Callery Gorge Walk.

Start your trip to Fox Glacier by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

You can drive from Kaikoura to Fox Glacier in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, bus, and flight; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trips

Franz Josef, Hooker Valley Track
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Helicopter Tours
West Coast Wildlife Centre ©
West Coast Wildlife Centre

3
nights
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Roys Peak Track and Roys Bay Recreational Reserve. Step off the beaten path and head to Fishing Charters & Tours and Bendigo Historic Reserve. And it doesn't end there: hike along Rob Roy Track, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, play a few rounds at Wanaka Golf Course, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Isthmus Peak Track.

Discover how to plan a Wanaka trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

Getting from Fox Glacier to Wanaka by bus takes about 5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to catcht the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trip

Bendigo Historic Reserve
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Roys Peak Track ©
Roys Peak Track
Bendigo Historic Reserve ©
Bendigo Historic Reserve

3
nights
Queenstown

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Arrowtown Chinese Settlement and Vesta Design Boutique. Get in touch with nature at Fishing Charters & Tours and Jacks Point Golf Course Queenstown. Get out of town with these interesting Queenstown side-trips: Tobins Track (in Arrowtown), Wooing Tree Vineyard (in Cromwell) and Mt Difficulty Wines Cellar Door (in Bannockburn). There's lots more to do: trek along Lake Hayes Walkway, explore the landscape on two wheels at Queenstown Trail, get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, and look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park.

To find where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Queenstown holiday site .

Traveling by bus from Wanaka to Queenstown takes 2.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) so you can catcht the bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Arrowtown, Cromwell
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Lake Hayes Walkway ©
Lake Hayes Walkway
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement ©
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement

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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Mirror Lakes Walk and Milford sound Hwy. Visiting Milford Sound and Te Anau Bird Sanctuary will get you outdoors. Change things up with a short trip to Bowen Falls in Milford Sound (about 1h 05 min away). And it doesn't end there: add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, hike along Gertrude Saddle, explore the activities along Doubtful Sound, and stroll through Lake Marian Track.

To find maps, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Te Anau journey planner.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau takes 3.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to take a bus to Dunedin.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Milford sound Hwy ©
Milford sound Hwy
Mirror Lakes Walk ©
Mirror Lakes Walk

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.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Tue): look for all kinds of wild species at Shag Point Nature Reserve, then identify plant and animal life at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at First Church of Otago. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 8th (Wed): identify plant and animal life at The Royal Albatross Centre, steep yourself in history at Harrington Point, then cast your line with a fishing tour, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at St. Paul's Cathedral.

To see photos, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read Dunedin trip maker website .

Getting from Te Anau to Dunedin by bus takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Dunedin

Wildlife Parks Tours

Side Trip

Shag Point Nature Reserve
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Orokonui Ecosanctuary ©
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
First Church of Otago ©
First Church of Otago
St. Paul's Cathedral ©
St. Paul's Cathedral

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