29 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

29 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Pacific trip planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours

Route & dates

1
Christchurch, New Zealand
— 4 nights
2
Akaroa, New Zealand
— 1 night
3
Milford Sound, New Zealand
— 2 nights
4
Queenstown, New Zealand
— 5 nights
5
Wellington, New Zealand
— 2 nights
6
Rotorua, New Zealand
— 4 nights
7
Auckland, New Zealand
— 3 nights
8
Avarua, Cook Islands
— 3 nights
9
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
— 3 nights

4
nights
Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
On the 3rd (Fri), spend the day riding on TranzAlpine Train. And it doesn't end there: admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, don't miss a visit to Cardboard Cathedral, appreciate the history behind William Sefton Moorhouse Statue, and see the interesting displays at Quake City.

To find traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Christchurch trip itinerary maker app.

Newark, USA to Christchurch is an approximately 23-hour combination of car and flight. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 17 hour difference. Traveling from Newark in December, expect nights in Christchurch to be a bit warmer, around °F, while days are much hotter, around °F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to drive to Akaroa.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation Tours Museums
Find places to stay Dec 2 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Christchurch Gondola ©
Christchurch Gondola

1
night
Akaroa, New Zealand

Akaroa ©
The French heritage and colonial architecture of Akaroa has broad appeal to anthropologists, historians, architects--and just about anyone with an eye for beautiful, historical buildings and a palate for fine dining.
Pohatu penguins/Plunge NZ Ltd has been added to your itinerary. On the 6th (Mon), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Catholic St. Patrick's Akaroa, thentake in nature's colorful creations at The Giants House, and then get a new perspective on things with Pohatu penguins/Plunge NZ Ltd. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 7th (Tue): take in the architecture and atmosphere at Saint Peter's Anglican Church, thenpause for some photo ops at Banks Peninsula War Memorial and Grounds, thentake an in-depth tour of Akaroa Museum, and finally stop by Pot Pourri.

For maps, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Akaroa trip app.

You can drive from Christchurch to Akaroa in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Akaroa are °F, while nighttime lows are °F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can travel to Milford Sound.

Things to do in Akaroa

Wildlife Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Pohatu penguins/Plunge NZ Ltd ©
Pohatu penguins/Plunge NZ Ltd
Banks Peninsula War Memorial and Grounds ©
Banks Peninsula War Memorial and Grounds
The Giants House ©
The Giants House

2
nights
Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound ©
Carved by glaciers into a land of sheer cliffs, impressive waterfalls, and lush, meandering fjords, Milford Sound remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand.
Lake Marian Track has been added to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 8th (Wed): admire the sheer force of Bowen Falls, thentrek along Mirror Lakes Walk, thentrek along Lake Marian Track, and finally hike along Lake Gunn. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: trek along Routeburn Track.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Milford Sound planning site.

Traveling by flight from Akaroa to Milford Sound takes 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Milford Sound

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Routeburn Track
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Routeburn Track ©
Routeburn Track
Lake Marian Track ©
Lake Marian Track
Mirror Lakes Walk ©
Mirror Lakes Walk

5
nights
Queenstown, New Zealand

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 10th (Fri), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. Next up on the itinerary: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, see Off-Road Tours, experience rural life at Buzzstop, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For more things to do, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, read our Queenstown online attractions planner.

You can fly from Milford Sound to Queenstown in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Hollyford Track
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

2
nights
Wellington, New Zealand

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.
Wellington is known for museums, wildlife, and classes. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, meet the residents at Wellington Zoo, get engrossed in the history at Wellington Museum, and take in nature's colorful creations at Wellington Botanic Garden.

To see more things to do, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Wellington trip itinerary website.

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

Things to do in Wellington

Parks Museums Wildlife

Side Trip

Wellington Botanic Garden
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Wellington Cable Car ©
Wellington Cable Car
ZEALANDIA Sanctuary ©
ZEALANDIA Sanctuary

4
nights
Rotorua, New Zealand

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: Taupo (Souvenir Outlet & Mountain Bike Hire, Huka Falls Walkway, &more). There's still lots to do: get interesting insight from Tours, don't miss a visit to Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, stroll through Lake Okareka Walkway, and take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest.

To see more things to do, maps, photos, and tourist information, use the Rotorua online trip itinerary maker.

Getting from Wellington to Rotorua by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. December in Rotorua sees daily highs of °F and lows of °F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Taupo
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

3
nights
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.
Auckland is known for nature, museums, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: don't miss a visit to SkyTower, admire the masterpieces at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, brush up on your military savvy at Auckland Museum, and observe the fascinating underwater world at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium.

To see traveler tips, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, use the Auckland visit planner.

Getting from Rotorua to Auckland by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: fly; or take a bus. Traveling from Rotorua in December, you will find days in Auckland are slightly colder (°F), and nights are about the same (°F). On the 23rd (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Avarua.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Museums
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland Museum ©
Auckland Museum
Auckland Zoo ©
Auckland Zoo

3
nights
Avarua, Cook Islands

Avarua ©
Avarua is known for shopping, historic sites, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Cook Island Christian Church (CICC), take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Te Rua Manga (The Needle), contemplate the long history of Cook Islands Cultural Village, and browse the eclectic array of goods at Punanga Nui.

To see where to stay, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read Avarua online trip itinerary planner.

You can fly from Auckland to Avarua in 8 hours. Traveling from Auckland to Avarua, you'll gain 22 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Auckland in December, things will get somewhat warmer in Avarua: highs are around °F and lows about °F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can travel to Aitutaki.

Things to do in Avarua

Historic Sites Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Rarotonga, Boat Tours & Water Sports
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Cook Island Christian Church (CICC) ©
Cook Island Christian Church (CICC)
Boat Tours & Water Sports
Muri Lagoon ©
Muri Lagoon

3
nights
Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki ©
Aitutaki's triangular barrier reef surrounds a turquoise lagoon of crystal clear water.
On the 26th (Sun), take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, head off the coast to One Foot Island, and then stop by T & S Artworx. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the awesome beauty at Mount Maungapu, thenkick back and relax at Aitutaki Lagoon, and then stroll through O'otu Beach.

To see photos, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Aitutaki trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Avarua to Aitutaki by flight takes about 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Aitutaki

Outdoors Parks Tours
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Aitutaki Lagoon ©
Aitutaki Lagoon
Akaiami ©
Akaiami
One Foot Island ©
One Foot Island

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