31 days in New Zealand Itinerary

31 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

31 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Auckland
Drive:  2​h 45​min
1
Waitomo Caves
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
2
Rotorua
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Napier
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
4
Blenheim
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Bus:  3​h
6
Christchurch
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h
7
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Bus:  2​h 30​min
8
Wanaka
— 4 nights
Bus:  5​h 30​min
9
Dunedin
— 3 nights
Fly:  5​h
10
New Plymouth
— 3 nights
Fly + Bus:  2​h 45​min
End: Auckland

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.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Wed): get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. Here are some ideas for day two: snap pictures at Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, take in the dramatic scenery at Marakopa Falls, then explore the fascinating underground world of Caveworld, then Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, and finally hike along Ruakuri Walk.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Waitomo Caves trip itinerary builder app .

Auckland to Waitomo Caves is an approximately 3-hour car ride. You can also take a bus; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave
Caveworld ©
Caveworld
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk

5
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to River Rafting & Tubing and Mt Maunganui Main Beach. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Rotorua: Mount Maunganui Base Track (in Mount Maunganui), Monmouth Redoubt (in Tauranga) and Aratiatia Rapids (in Taupo). The adventure continues: steep yourself in history at Government Gardens, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Rotorua, witness a stunning natural landmark at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, and experience rural life at Agrodome.

To see photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Rotorua trip itinerary maker .

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 27°C in January, and nighttime lows around 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can drive to Napier.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Tauranga, Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, Aratiatia Rapids, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Mt Maunganui Main Beach ©
Mt Maunganui Main Beach
Aratiatia Rapids ©
Aratiatia Rapids

2
nights
Napier

Enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of 1930s design in Napier, one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Wed): indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink, then explore and take pictures at Te Mata Peak, and then admire the natural beauty at Osmanthus Gardens. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: browse the exhibits of Birdwoods Gallery, do a tasting at Mission Estate Winery, then take some stellar pictures from Bluff Hill Lookout, then admire the natural beauty at Clive Square, and finally make a trip to Marine Parade.

To find ratings, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read Napier trip planner.

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Napier takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to travel to Blenheim.

Things to do in Napier

Tours Parks Nature

Side Trips

Hastings, Birdwoods Gallery
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Te Mata Peak ©
Te Mata Peak
Bluff Hill Lookout ©
Bluff Hill Lookout

2
nights
Blenheim

Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
On the 10th (Fri), 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. On your second day here, take an in-depth tour of Marlborough Museum, then contemplate the waterfront views at Queen Charlotte Sound, then steep yourself in history at Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, and finally stroll around Pollard Park.

To see traveler tips and more tourist information, read our Blenheim online itinerary planner .

Getting from Napier to Blenheim by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of car and ferry. In January, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sat) early enough to drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Blenheim

Tours Parks Museums

Side Trip

Picton
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ©
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Pollard Park ©
Pollard Park

2
nights
Kaikoura

Kaikoura ©
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Sun): trek along Ohau Stream Walk, then make a trip to Ohau Point Seal Colony, then hike along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, and finally look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese. On your second day here, take a memorable tour with Tours, identify plant and animal life at Peninsula Seal Colony, and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find ratings, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Kaikoura trip planner .

You can drive from Blenheim to Kaikoura in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) early enough to take a bus to Christchurch.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Scuba & Snorkeling
Ohau Point Seal Colony ©
Ohau Point Seal Colony

3
nights
Christchurch

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Swim with Dolphins and Quake City. Change things up with these side-trips from Christchurch: Akaroa (The Giants House & Dolphin & Whale Watching). The adventure continues: take in the pleasant sights at Banks Peninsula, go from sight to sight with Christchurch Gondola, have fun at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, and stroll around Hagley Park.

To see ratings, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Christchurch vacation app .

Traveling by bus from Kaikoura to Christchurch takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 26°C in January, and nighttime lows around 13°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Christchurch

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trip

Akaroa
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Swim with Dolphins
Banks Peninsula
Banks Peninsula

5
nights
Queenstown

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Lake Te Anau and Off-Road Tours. Get out of town with these interesting Queenstown side-trips: Little Paradise Dream Garden (in Mount Creighton) and The Chasm Walk (in Te Anau). Next up on the itinerary: learn the secrets of beer at a beer tour and tasting, have some family-friendly fun at Fear Factory Queenstown, take the plunge with a skydiving experience, and trek along Queenstown Hill.

To see photos, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Queenstown journey planner .

You can fly from Christchurch to Queenstown in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can catcht the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Arrowtown, Te Anau, Little Paradise Dream Garden, Lake Gunn
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Off-Road Tours
Lake Te Anau ©
Lake Te Anau
Ben Lomond Track ©
Ben Lomond Track

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Routeburn Track and Mount Iron Track. There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Roys Peak Track, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, and fly down the slopes at Wanaka.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Wanaka vacation website .

Getting from Queenstown to Wanaka by bus takes about 2.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can catcht the bus to Dunedin.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trip

Routeburn Track
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Routeburn Track ©
Routeburn Track
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours
Wanaka ©
Wanaka

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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Dunedin Botanic Garden and Otago Museum. Step out of Dunedin to go to Oamaru and see Moeraki Boulders Beach, which is approximately 1h 30 min away. And it doesn't end there: identify plant and animal life at Penguin Place, steep yourself in history at Harrington Point, stroll through Tunnel Beach Track, and take in nature's colorful creations at Lady Thorn Rhododendron Dell.

To see ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Dunedin holiday planning site .

Traveling by bus from Wanaka to Dunedin takes 5.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to New Plymouth.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Moeraki Boulders Beach
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Dunedin Botanic Garden ©
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Penguin Place ©
Penguin Place
Otago Museum ©
Otago Museum

3
nights
New Plymouth

New Plymouth ©
Where other cities run, New Plymouth prefers to stroll.
Explore hidden gems such as New Plymouth Coastal Walkway and Tawhiti Museum. Get out of town with these interesting New Plymouth side-trips: Forgotten World Highway (in Stratford) and Mount Taranaki (in Egmont National Park). And it doesn't end there: learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Pukekura Park, see the interesting displays at Hurworth Cottage, get curious at Puke Ariki, and take in nature's colorful creations at Pukeiti.

For photos, reviews, and tourist information, read our New Plymouth trip planner .

Fly from Dunedin to New Plymouth in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in New Plymouth

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Tawhiti Museum, Mount Taranaki, Forgotten World Highway
Find places to stay Jan 28 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Pukekura Park ©
Pukekura Park
New Plymouth Coastal Walkway ©
New Plymouth Coastal Walkway
Tawhiti Museum ©
Tawhiti Museum

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