26 days in New Zealand, Sydney & Cairns Itinerary

26 days in New Zealand, Sydney & Cairns Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in New Zealand, Sydney & Cairns Itinerary

Start: Austin, United States
Fly:  15​h 30​min
1
Auckland, New Zealand
— 1 day
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Hamilton, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
3
Taupo, New Zealand
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h
4
Wellington, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Fly + Drive:  5​h 45​min
5
Greymouth, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h 15​min
6
Queenstown, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
7
Christchurch, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Fly:  6​h 15​min
8
Sydney, Australia
— 2 nights
Fly:  6​h
9
Cairns, Australia
— 4 nights
Fly:  6​h
10
Sydney, Australia
— 2 nights
Fly:  6​h 45​min
11
Auckland, New Zealand
— 1 night
Fly:  20​h 30​min
End: Austin, United States

1
day
Auckland, New Zealand

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 4th (Mon), stroll through Takapuna Beach and then enjoy the sand and surf at Browns Bay Beach.

For where to stay, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Auckland day trip planning site .

Austin, USA to Auckland is an approximately 20.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car and flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Austin to Auckland is 18 hours. Traveling from Austin in November, expect nights in Auckland to be somewhat warmer, around 63°F, while days are a bit cooler, around 64°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Mon) so you can drive to Hamilton.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Browns Bay Beach
Find places to stay Nov 4 — 5:

3
nights
Hamilton, New Zealand

Hamilton ©
On the banks of the Waikato River lies Hamilton, a pretty, active city on North Island.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Mon): appreciate the extensive heritage of Sapper Horace Moore-Jones commemorative statue. Keep things going the next day: examine the collection at Waikato Museum, admire the natural beauty at Taitua Arboretum, then stroll around Hamilton Lake Domain, and finally stroll around Victoria on the River.

For other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Hamilton road trip planner .

Traveling by car from Auckland to Hamilton takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Auckland in November, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in Hamilton, with lows of 55°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Thu) early enough to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Hamilton

Parks Museums Trails

Side Trip

Waitomo Caves
Find places to stay Nov 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Waikato Museum ©
Waikato Museum

1
night
Taupo, New Zealand

Taupo ©
The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Thu): take in the natural beauty of Spa Thermal Park and Riverbank Recreational and Scenic Reserve, then kick back and relax at Kinloch Beach, and then admire the sheer force of Huka Falls Walkway. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool and then get impressive views of Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

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

You can drive from Hamilton to Taupo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool, Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Find places to stay Nov 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool ©
Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool

3
nights
Wellington, New Zealand

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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Sat): kick back and relax at Peka Peka Beach, look for all kinds of wild species at Nga Manu Nature Reserve, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Paraparaumu Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: take an exotic tour of a safari tour and then delve into the lush surroundings at Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden.

For other places to visit, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Wellington trip planner .

You can fly from Taupo to Wellington in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of bus and flight. In November, daytime highs in Wellington are 63°F, while nighttime lows are 53°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 11th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Greymouth.

Things to do in Wellington

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Waikanae, Paraparaumu Beach
Find places to stay Nov 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Safaris
Nga Manu Nature Reserve ©
Nga Manu Nature Reserve
Lyall Bay ©
Lyall Bay

2
nights
Greymouth, New Zealand

Greymouth ©
Greymouth is the largest town in the West Coast region in the South Island of New Zealand, and the seat of the Grey District Council. On the 12th (Tue), look for gifts at Shades Of Jade, trek along Coal Creek Track, hike along Point Elizabeth Walkway, then steep yourself in history at Shantytown Heritage Park, then stroll through Woods Creek Track, and finally make a trip to St Patrick's Parish.

To find more things to do, maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Greymouth tour itinerary planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Wellington to Greymouth. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Wed) early enough to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Greymouth

Trails Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Coal Creek Track
Find places to stay Nov 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Point Elizabeth Walkway ©
Point Elizabeth Walkway
Woods Creek Track ©
Woods Creek Track
St Patrick's Parish ©
St Patrick's Parish

3
nights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Get in touch with nature at Fishing Charters & Tours and Queenstown Trail. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Mt Crichton Loop Track and Parasailing & Paragliding. Next up on the itinerary: hike along Lake Hayes Walkway, learn about winemaking at Mt Rosa Wines, don't miss a visit to Fallen Soldiers Memorial, and play a few rounds at Jacks Point Golf Course Queenstown.

To see where to stay, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Queenstown journey maker .

Drive from Lake Tekapo to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 17th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Trails Parks

Side Trips

Lake Hayes Walkway, Parasailing & Paragliding
Find places to stay Nov 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Lake Hayes Walkway ©
Lake Hayes Walkway
Parasailing & Paragliding

2
nights
Christchurch, New Zealand

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 17th (Sun): steep yourself in history at Riccarton House & Bush and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

For where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read our Christchurch trip builder website .

Fly from Queenstown to Christchurch in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In November in Christchurch, expect temperatures between 66°F during the day and 46°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Mon) so you can travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours Outdoors Adventure
Find places to stay Nov 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Riccarton House & Bush ©
Riccarton House & Bush
Nature & Wildlife Tours

2
nights
Sydney, Australia

Sydney ©
Lent iconic status as a result of its famous bridge and opera house, Sydney has a down-to-earth charm that enhances its spectacular setting and functional efficiency.
On the 19th (Tue), enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarama Beach, stroll through Bronte Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Camp Cove, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Balmoral Beach, Mosman.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Sydney trip website .

Getting from Christchurch to Sydney by flight takes about 6.5 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Christchurch to Sydney. In November, Sydney is a bit warmer than Christchurch - with highs of 77°F and lows of 62°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Wed) early enough to travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Bronte Beach, Tamarama Beach, Balmoral Beach, Mosman
Find places to stay Nov 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Bronte Beach ©
Bronte Beach
Balmoral Beach, Mosman ©
Balmoral Beach, Mosman
Tamarama Beach ©
Tamarama Beach

4
nights
Cairns, Australia

A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing.
Let the collections at The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum and Bones and Jones capture your imagination. Discover out-of-the-way places like Atherton Tablelands and Opal Reef. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Cairns: Spy & Camera Museum (in Herberton), Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery (in Mossman) and Horses in Port (in Port Douglas). Next up on the itinerary: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, enjoy the sand and surf at Yorkeys Knob Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Esplanade Boardwalk, and don't miss a visit to Captain Cook Highway Rock Stacks.

For traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Cairns trip builder website .

Traveling by flight from Sydney to Cairns takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Sydney in November; daily highs in Cairns reach 87°F and lows reach 72°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Sun) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Port Douglas, Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, Spy & Camera Museum, Yorkeys Knob Beach
Find places to stay Nov 20 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Atherton Tablelands ©
Atherton Tablelands
Michaelmas Cay ©
Michaelmas Cay

2
nights
Sydney, Australia

Sydney ©
On the 25th (Mon), wander the streets of The Rocks, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Bondi Beach, and then hike along Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Sydney online trip planner .

Fly from Cairns to Sydney in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Cairns in November, with highs in Sydney at 77°F and lows at 62°F. You'll have a few hours on the 26th (Tue) to wrap things up before traveling to Auckland.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Nov 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk ©
The Rocks ©
The Rocks

1
night
Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland ©
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Wed): learn about all things military at Auckland War Memorial Museum, then contemplate the long history of Howick Historical Village, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Bethells Beach.

To find photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Auckland journey builder .

Fly from Sydney to Auckland in 7 hours. Traveling from Sydney to Auckland, you'll lose 2 hours due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Sydney in November, plan for slightly colder days in Auckland, with highs around 64°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 63°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Nov 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Bethells Beach ©
Bethells Beach
Howick Historical Village ©
Howick Historical Village

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