38 days in New Zealand Itinerary

38 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

38 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Launceston
Fly:  11​h 15​min
1
Paihia
— 5 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  3​h
2
Waitomo Caves
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
3
Rotorua
— 6 nights
Fly:  3​h
4
Wellington
— 4 nights
+2
Fly + bus + train:  6​h
5
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Akaroa
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
7
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
8
Dunedin
— 3 nights
bus:  5​h 30​min
9
Wanaka
— 5 nights
bus:  2​h 30​min
10
Queenstown
— 6 nights
Fly:  8​h 30​min
End: Launceston

5
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to The Kauri Museum and Christ Church. Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Pompallier Mission and Printery will appeal to history buffs. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Paihia: Tane Mahuta Walk (in Opononi), Whangarei Falls (in Whangarei) and Flagstaff Hill Historic Reserve (in Russell). There's much more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour, contemplate the long history of Akeake Historic Reserve Track, admire the striking features of The Stone Store & Kemp House - Kerikeri Mission Station, and get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

To find photos, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Paihia travel route builder tool .

Launceston, Australia to Paihia is an approximately 11.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Launceston to Paihia is 2 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) so you can travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Historic Sites Outdoors

Side Trips

Kerikeri, Russell, Whangarei Falls, The Kauri Museum, Signal Station Track
Find places to stay Sep 1 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
The Kauri Museum ©
The Kauri Museum
Scuba & Snorkeling
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour

3
nights
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Ruakuri Walk. Visiting Ngarunui Beach and Ruakuri Cave will get you outdoors. And it doesn't end there: explore the fascinating underground world of Caveworld, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, take in the views from Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, and admire the sheer force of Marokopa Falls Walk.

For ratings and tourist information, refer to the Waitomo Caves trip itinerary builder site .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Paihia to Waitomo Caves in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Wed) so you can drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Ngarunui Beach
Find places to stay Sep 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Ngarunui Beach ©
Ngarunui Beach
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave

6
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.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Government Gardens and St Michael's Catholic Church. Get a sense of the local culture at Ohinemutu and the Zeus Gallery. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Rotorua: Papamoa Beach (in Papamoa), Ohope Beach (in Whakatane) and Mount Maunganui (Mt Maunganui Main Beach, Mount Maunganui Base Track, & more). The adventure continues: get impressive views of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and do a tasting at Volcanic Hills Winery.

To find reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Rotorua day trip planning website .

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In September in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 19°C during the day and 10°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Tue) so you can travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Tauranga, Ohope Beach, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, River Rafting & Tubing, Papamoa Beach
Find places to stay Sep 9 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Mt Maunganui Main Beach ©
Mt Maunganui Main Beach
Papamoa Beach ©
Papamoa Beach
River Rafting & Tubing

4
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Safaris and Peka Peka Beach. National War Memorial and Southward Car Museum are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Get out of town with these interesting Wellington side-trips: Haythornthwaite Wines (in Martinborough), Greytown (Schoc Chocolates & Cobblestones Museum) and Foxton Beach (in Foxton). Next up on the itinerary: take an in-depth tour of The Great War Exhibition, identify plant and animal life at Nga Manu Nature Reserve, and catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car.

For reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Wellington trip itinerary builder website .

You can fly from Rotorua to Wellington in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. In September, daytime highs in Wellington are 16°C, while nighttime lows are 10°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Wellington

Outdoors Museums Wildlife

Side Trips

Waikanae, Greytown, Haythornthwaite Wines, Foxton Beach, Southward Car Museum
Find places to stay Sep 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
The Great War Exhibition ©
The Great War Exhibition
Safaris
National War Memorial ©
National War Memorial

2
nights
Kaikoura

Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 20th (Sun), steep yourself in history at Fyffe House, get engrossed in the history at Kaikoura Museum, then trek along Ohau Stream Walk, and finally identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the fascinating underground world of Maori Leap Cave, then look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese, then browse the exhibits of Art & Design Gallery, and finally get interesting insight from Tours.

For ratings, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Kaikoura trip site .

You can do a combination of flight and train from Wellington to Kaikoura in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry and train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Mon) so you can drive to Akaroa.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Sep 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Ohau Stream Walk ©
Ohau Stream Walk
Dolphin & Whale Watching

1
night
Akaroa

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 22nd (Tue), take in the spiritual surroundings of Catholic St. Patrick's Akaroa, pause for some serene contemplation at Saint Peter's Anglican Church, then get engrossed in the history at Akaroa Museum, then look for gifts at Pot Pourri, and finally identify plant and animal life at Hinewai Reserve.

To find more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Akaroa trip maker website .

Traveling by car from Kaikoura to Akaroa takes 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 16°C, and evening lows to 5°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Tue) to allow time to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Akaroa

Historic Sites Parks Museums
Find places to stay Sep 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Saint Peter's Anglican Church ©
Saint Peter's Anglican Church
Akaroa Museum ©
Akaroa Museum
Hinewai Reserve ©
Hinewai Reserve

2
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Corsair Bay, then take a stroll through Port Hills, then pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral, and finally stroll around Groynes. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Thu): take an in-depth tour of Canterbury Museum, explore the striking landscape at Sumner Beach (Cave Rock), and then contemplate the long history of Taylors Mistake - Awaroa / Godley Head Walk.

For maps and tourist information, refer to the Christchurch road trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Akaroa to Christchurch takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In September in Christchurch, expect temperatures between 16°C during the day and 5°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Thu) early enough to drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites
Find places to stay Sep 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Port Hills ©
Port Hills
Sumner Beach (Cave Rock) ©
Sumner Beach (Cave Rock)
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury 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.
Appreciate the collections at Whitestone City and Happy Hens. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Orokonui Ecosanctuary and First Church of Otago. Get out of town with these interesting Dunedin side-trips: Katiki Point Lighthouse (in Moeraki), Grainstore Gallery (in Oamaru) and Shag Point Nature Reserve (in Palmerston). Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at St Clair Beach and stroll through Aramoana Beach.

To find ratings, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Dunedin day trip site .

Getting from Christchurch to Dunedin by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: fly; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Sun) so you can catcht the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks Wildlife Museums

Side Trips

Oamaru, Shag Point Nature Reserve, Katiki Point Lighthouse
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Orokonui Ecosanctuary ©
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Katiki Point Lighthouse ©
Katiki Point Lighthouse
First Church of Otago ©
First Church of Otago

5
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.
Get some cultural insight at Bendigo Historic Reserve and The World of Deer Museum & Speciality Shop. Get in touch with nature at Monro Beach and Blue Pools Track. Venture out of the city with trips to Haast (Knights Point Lookout, Ship Creek Walks, & more), Lindis Pass (in Omarama) and Kurow Museum and Information Centre (in Kurow). The adventure continues: trek along Isthmus Peak Track, get outside with Oxbow The Adventure Co., admire the sheer force of Fantail Falls, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Rob Roy Track.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Wanaka trip tool .

Take a bus from Dunedin to Wanaka in 5.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Fri) to allow enough time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Haast, Bendigo Historic Reserve, Kurow Museum and Information Centre, Monro Beach, Fantail Falls
Find places to stay Sep 27 — Oct 2:
Highlights from your plan
Monro Beach ©
Monro Beach
Ship Creek Walks ©
Ship Creek Walks
Bendigo Historic Reserve ©
Bendigo Historic Reserve

6
nights
Queenstown

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 discover tucked-away gems like Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Area. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery and Wooing Tree Vineyard. Change things up with these side-trips from Queenstown: Tobins Track (in Arrowtown), Roxburgh (Roxburgh Gorge Trail & Clutha Gold Trail) and The Chasm Walk (in Te Anau). There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Queenstown Trail, contemplate the long history of Vesta Design Boutique, explore the galleries of Ivan Clarke Gallery, and get your game on at Dark Ride.

For where to stay, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Queenstown vacation planner.

Traveling by bus from Wanaka to Queenstown takes 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Thu) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Roxburgh, Arrowtown, The Chasm Walk, Wooing Tree Vineyard
Find places to stay Oct 2 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Coronet Peak ©
Coronet Peak
The Chasm Walk ©
The Chasm Walk
The Remarkables Ski Area ©
The Remarkables Ski Area

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