29 days in New Zealand Itinerary

29 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

29 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Lihue, Kauai
Fly:  16​h 45​min
1
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Fly:  3​h
2
Wellington
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h
3
Blenheim
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
Akaroa
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
6
Dunedin
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
7
Queenstown
— 4 nights
bus:  2​h 30​min
8
Wanaka
— 4 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  8​h
9
Russell
— 1 night
Drive + Fly:  22​h 15​min
End: Lihue, Kauai

4
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Mount Maunganui Base Track. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Mt Maunganui Main Beach and Volcanic Hills Winery. Explore Rotorua's surroundings by going to Ohope Beach (in Whakatane) and McLaren Falls Park (in Tauranga). There's still lots to do: trot along with a tour on horseback, steep yourself in history at Buried Village of Te Wairoa, take in the natural beauty of Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, and identify plant and animal life at Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park.

To find more things to do, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, use the Rotorua trip planning tool .

Lihue, USA to Rotorua is an approximately 17-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone difference when traveling from Lihue to Rotorua is 22 hours. Prepare for cooler weather when traveling from Lihue in September: high temperatures in Rotorua hover around 61°F and lows are around 48°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sat) so you can travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Tauranga, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, Ohope Beach, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Sep 2 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Redwoods Treewalk ©
Redwoods Treewalk
Mt Maunganui Main Beach ©
Mt Maunganui Main Beach
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley

3
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.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Old St Paul's and Bolton Street Cemetery. Discover out-of-the-way places like Staglands Wildlife Reserve and Wellington Museum. Change things up with a short trip to Southward Car Museum in Paraparaumu (about 48 minutes away). There's still lots to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Oriental Bay, pause for some photo ops at Paddy the Wanderer Monument, examine the collection at Cable Car Museum, and get a sense of history and politics at New Zealand Parliament.

To find photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Wellington driving holiday planning tool .

Fly from Rotorua to Wellington in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. In September in Wellington, expect temperatures between 57°F during the day and 48°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) early enough to drive to Blenheim.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Southward Car Museum
Find places to stay Sep 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Museum ©
Wellington Museum
Staglands Wildlife Reserve ©
Staglands Wildlife Reserve
Oriental Bay ©
Oriental Bay

2
nights
Blenheim

Blenheim ©
Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
On the 11th (Wed), savor the flavors at Food & Drink, then examine the collection at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, and then learn about winemaking at Wither Hills Cellar Door. Here are some ideas for day two: learn about winemaking at Seresin Estate Limited, explore the activities along Queen Charlotte Sound, then take an in-depth tour of Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, and finally explore the activities along Picton Sound.

To find maps, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Blenheim road trip planner .

Drive from Wellington to Blenheim in 4 hours. In September, daytime highs in Blenheim are 57°F, while nighttime lows are 48°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Blenheim

Tours Parks Nature

Side Trips

Picton, Seresin Estate Limited
Find places to stay Sep 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ©
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Edwin Fox Maritime Museum ©
Edwin Fox Maritime Museum
Queen Charlotte Sound ©
Queen Charlotte Sound

2
nights
Kaikoura

Kaikoura ©
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Fri): look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese, tour the pleasant surroundings at Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, then don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony, and finally hike along Ohau Stream Walk. Keep things going the next day: steep yourself in history at Fyffe House, identify plant and animal life at Peninsula Seal Colony, and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To see traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read Kaikoura day trip planner.

Traveling by car from Blenheim to Kaikoura takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can drive to Akaroa.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Scuba & Snorkeling
Peninsula Seal Colony ©
Peninsula Seal Colony

2
nights
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.
On the 15th (Sun), get interesting insight from Tours, then admire the natural beauty at The Giant's House, and then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. On the 16th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take an in-depth tour of Akaroa Museum, paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour, and then enjoy the sea views from Akaroa Lighthouse.

To see ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read Akaroa trip site .

Drive from Kaikoura to Akaroa in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and taxi; or take a bus. In September, plan for daily highs up to 57°F, and evening lows to 40°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Mon) so you can drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Akaroa

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Swim with Dolphins
Kayaking & Canoeing
Akaroa Museum ©
Akaroa Museum

3
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.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like First Church of Otago and Olveston Historic Home. Discover out-of-the-way places like Penguin Place and Steampunk HQ. Get out of town with these interesting Dunedin side-trips: Oamaru (Moeraki Boulders Beach, Oamaru's Victorian Precinct, & more). There's much more to do: trek along Tunnel Beach Track, look and learn at Otago Museum, and tour in style with a train tour.

To see photos, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, read our Dunedin online travel route planner .

Drive from Akaroa to Dunedin in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of bus and train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Queenstown.

Things to do in Dunedin

Museums Tours Parks

Side Trip

Oamaru
Find places to stay Sep 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Otago Museum ©
Otago Museum
Penguin Place ©
Penguin Place
Steampunk HQ ©
Steampunk HQ

4
nights
Queenstown

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 Arrowtown Village and Coronet Peak. Discover out-of-the-way places like Glenorchy-Queenstown Road and Safaris. When in Queenstown, make a side trip to see Little Paradise Dream Garden in Mount Creighton, approximately 32 minutes away. The adventure continues: trek along Queenstown Hill, get to know the fascinating history of Arrowtown Chinese Settlement, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, and have some family-friendly fun at Dark Ride.

To see photos, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Queenstown trip itinerary builder .

Getting from Dunedin to Queenstown by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) to allow enough time to take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Arrowtown, Little Paradise Dream Garden
Find places to stay Sep 19 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Safaris
Queenstown Hill ©
Queenstown Hill
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement ©
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement

4
nights
Wanaka

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.
Visiting Roys Peak Track and Mount Iron Track will get you outdoors. Get some cultural insight at Rippon Vineyard and The Picture Lounge. There's much more to do: hit the slopes at Wanaka, get interesting insight from Tours, take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, and take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

For photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Wanaka trip itinerary planner .

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Wanaka in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to travel to Russell.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Tours
Find places to stay Sep 23 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Wanaka ©
Wanaka
Roys Peak Track ©
Roys Peak Track
Mount Iron Track ©
Mount Iron Track

1
night
Russell

Russell ©
Russell, formerly known as Kororāreka, was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand. Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): steep yourself in history at Pompallier Mission and Printery, then look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour, and then stroll through Kororipo Pa Historic Walk. On the next day, get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Christ Church, then steep yourself in history at Flagstaff Hill Historic Reserve, and finally steep yourself in history at KeriKeri New Zealand.

To see other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Russell trip maker website .

Explore your travel options from Wanaka to Russell with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Russell

Wildlife Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trips

Kerikeri, Paihia Harbour
Find places to stay Sep 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Christ Church ©
Christ Church

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