55 days in New Zealand Itinerary

55 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

55 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Geneva
Fly + bus:  34​h
1
Te Anau
— 5 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
2
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
Mt. Cook Village
— 4 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
4
Fox Glacier
— 4 nights
Drive:  5​h
5
Christchurch
— 4 nights
Fly:  3​h
6
Wellington
— 4 nights
Fly:  2​h 45​min
7
Taupo
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
8
Whakapapa
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
9
Waitomo Caves
— 3 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
10
Hamilton
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
11
Auckland
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h
12
Paihia
— 8 nights
Fly:  31​h
End: Geneva

5
nights
Te Anau

Te Anau ©
Set among the picturesque peaks and glacially carved fiords of Fiordland National Park, Te Anau offers those wishing to explore the park a great place to stay and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a small town in an enviable location.
Take a break from Te Anau with a short trip to Milford Foreshore Walk in Milford, about 1h 15 min away. On the 26th (Sat), hike the day away at Routeburn Track. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves, trek along Lake Gunn, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Hollyford Track.

Before you visit Te Anau, use our trip planner to discover what you can do and see there.

Geneva, Switzerland to Te Anau is an approximately 34-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone difference when traveling from Geneva to Te Anau is 11 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Sun) to allow time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Foreshore Walk, Routeburn Track
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

5
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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, wildlife, nature, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park, see Off-Road Tours, and do a tasting at Peregrine Wines.

For more things to do, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Queenstown day trip planning site .

Take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Parks
Find places to stay Dec 27 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline

4
nights
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
Step out of Mt. Cook Village to go to Lake Tekapo and see Lake Tekapo, which is approximately 58 minutes away. There's much more to do: get outside with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, look and learn at Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, hike along Mueller Hut Route, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Glencoe Walk.

For other places to visit, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Mt. Cook Village trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Queenstown to Mt. Cook Village takes 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Tue) early enough to drive to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Mt. Cook Village

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu), Lake Tekapo
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Mueller Hut Route ©
Mueller Hut Route

4
nights
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Fox Glacier is known for nature, trails, beaches, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Fox Glacier, take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, stroll through Fox Glacier Hiking Trails, and hike along Copland Track.

For maps, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, go to the Fox Glacier trip app .

Traveling by car from Mt. Cook Village to Fox Glacier takes 5.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sat) early enough to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Franz Josef
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Fox Glacier ©
Fox Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Gillespies Beach ©
Gillespies Beach

4
nights
Christchurch

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Explore Christchurch's surroundings by going to Dolphin & Whale Watching (in Akaroa), Little River Gallery (in Little River) and Geraldine Observatory (in Geraldine). And it doesn't end there: take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, and take a memorable ride with Christchurch Gondola.

To find more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, read Christchurch trip planner .

You can drive from Fox Glacier to Christchurch in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. January in Christchurch sees daily highs of 26°C and lows of 13°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Wed) early enough to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours Transportation Museums

Side Trips

Geraldine Observatory, Ohinetahi Garden, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Little River Gallery
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train

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.
Explore Wellington's surroundings by going to Picton (Queen Charlotte Track & Marlborough Sounds). There's much more to do: see the interesting displays at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, get outside with Great Alpine Highway, get a sense of history and politics at New Zealand Parliament, and go from sight to sight with Wellington Cable Car.

To find maps, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Wellington trip itinerary planning tool .

You can fly from Christchurch to Wellington in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train and ferry. Traveling from Christchurch in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Wellington, with lows of 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Taupo.

Things to do in Wellington

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Picton, Wellington Botanic Garden, Great Alpine Highway
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Botanic Garden ©
Wellington Botanic Garden
Wellington Cable Car ©
Wellington Cable Car

5
nights
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Venture out of the city with trips to Rotorua (Lady Knox Geyser, Te Puia, & more). Next up on the itinerary: push the limits with an extreme tour, make a trip to Maori Rock Carvings, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, and take in nature's colorful creations at Lava Glass.

For more things to do, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Taupo vacation builder .

Fly from Wellington to Taupo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks Tours Outdoors

Side Trip

Rotorua
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway

4
nights
Whakapapa

Step out of Whakapapa to go to Turangi and see River Rafting & Tubing, which is approximately 34 minutes away.

For reviews, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Whakapapa trip planning site .

Drive from Taupo to Whakapapa in 1.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Tue) so you can travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Tongariro National Park, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Jan 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Horsemtrails ©
Horsemtrails

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.
Waitomo Caves is known for nature, adventure, wildlife, trails, and outdoors. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, take in the dramatic scenery at Marakopa Falls, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds.

To find photos, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Waitomo Caves trip itinerary maker website .

Drive from Whakapapa to Waitomo Caves in 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Fri) to allow enough time to take a bus to Hamilton.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Kapiti Island, Aranui Cave
Find places to stay Jan 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
River Rafting & Tubing
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk

2
nights
Hamilton

Hamilton ©
On the banks of the Waikato River lies Hamilton, a pretty, active city on North Island.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Sat): take in nature's colorful creations at Hamilton Gardens, head outdoors with Raglan Rock, and then admire the sheer force of Bridal Veil Falls. Keep things going the next day: relax in the rural setting at Ruakura Berry Farm, don't miss a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set, and then take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

For reviews, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Hamilton driving holiday planner .

Getting from Waitomo Caves to Hamilton by bus takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Sun) early enough to go by car to Auckland.

Things to do in Hamilton

Tours Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Raglan, Helicopter Tours, Hobbiton Movie Set
Find places to stay Jan 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Hobbiton Movie Set ©
Hobbiton Movie Set
Hamilton Gardens ©
Hamilton Gardens
Raglan Rock ©
Raglan Rock

4
nights
Auckland

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.
Get out of town with these interesting Auckland side-trips: Orewa Lookout (in Orewa) and Wine Tours & Tastings (in Waiheke Island). Next up on the itinerary: take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower, get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Auckland Zoo, and head off the coast to Waiheke Island.

To find reviews, ratings, maps, and tourist information, read our Auckland trip planner .

Traveling by car from Hamilton to Auckland takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 22°C in January, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Thu) early enough to drive to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Nature Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Cheltenham Beach, Wine Tours & Tastings, Orewa Lookout
Find places to stay Jan 31 — Feb 4:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Wine Tours & Tastings

8
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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Paihia: Russell (Pompallier Mission and Printery & Tapeka Point Track) and Whangarei (Bream Head Coast Walks & Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve). There's still lots to do: admire the natural beauty at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour, get in on the family fun at Action World, and get interesting insight from Tours.

To find ratings, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Paihia tour website .

Getting from Auckland to Paihia by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Kerikeri, Whangarei, Russell, Kauri Cliffs
Find places to stay Feb 4 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Bream Head Coast Walks ©
Bream Head Coast Walks
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Scuba & Snorkeling

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