16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Auckland
Drive:  3​h
1
Paihia
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
2
Auckland
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Rotorua
— 3 nights
Fly:  4​h
4
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
5
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Bus:  3​h 45​min
6
Wanaka
— 1 day
Bus:  2​h 30​min
7
Queenstown
— 4 nights
Fly:  4​h 15​min
End: Auckland

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Mon): look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour.

To see ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Paihia driving holiday planner.

Auckland to Paihia is an approximately 3-hour car ride. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Paihia

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Kerikeri
Find places to stay Mar 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour
Scuba & Snorkeling
Haruru Falls ©
Haruru Falls

2
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.
On the 11th (Wed), learn about all things military at Auckland Museum, tour the pleasant surroundings at Takapuna Beach, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Browns Bay Beach.

To see photos, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Auckland online road trip planner .

Traveling by car from Paihia to Auckland takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. In March, daytime highs in Auckland are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 22°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can go by car to Rotorua.

Things to do in Auckland

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Browns Bay Beach
Find places to stay Mar 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Auckland Museum ©
Auckland Museum

3
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.
Visiting Redwoods Treewalk and Fishing Charters & Tours will get you outdoors. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at River Rafting & Tubing and Mount Maunganui Base Track. Get out of town with these interesting Rotorua side-trips: Papamoa Beach (in Papamoa) and Huka Falls Walkway (in Taupo). There's still lots to do: trek along Blue Lake Track, witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, pause for some photo ops at Arawa War Memorial Statue, and identify plant and animal life at Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre.

To find ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Rotorua travel route planner .

You can drive from Auckland to Rotorua in 3 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or fly. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Auckland in March: highs in Rotorua hover around 26°C, while lows dip to 18°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) to allow time to travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Okere Falls, Taupo, Papamoa Beach, Mount Maunganui Base Track
Find places to stay Mar 12 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Papamoa Beach ©
Papamoa Beach
River Rafting & Tubing

2
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Port Hills and Riccarton House & Bush. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Kayaking & Canoeing and Velocity Karts. Take a break from Christchurch with a short trip to Hinewai Reserve in Akaroa, about 1h 05 min away. Next up on the itinerary: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, steep yourself in history at Taylors Mistake - Awaroa / Godley Head Walk, and appreciate the history behind Chalice Sculpture.

To find maps, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Christchurch trip builder app .

Fly from Rotorua to Christchurch in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car and ferry. Traveling from Rotorua in March, things will get slightly colder in Christchurch: highs are around 23°C and lows about 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Christchurch

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Akaroa
Find places to stay Mar 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Velocity Karts ©
Velocity Karts
Port Hills ©
Port Hills
Kayaking & Canoeing

2
nights
Lake Tekapo

Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Wed): see Off-Road Tours, identify plant and animal life at Gem Alpaca Stud, then pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, and finally contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Tekapo. On your second day here, play a few rounds at The Cairns Golf Course, trek along Mount John Summit Circuit Track, then look for all kinds of wild species at Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Burkes Pass Gallery.

To find ratings, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read our Lake Tekapo online tour planner .

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can catcht the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Fairlie
Find places to stay Mar 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Off-Road Tours
Gem Alpaca Stud ©
Gem Alpaca Stud
The Church of the Good Shepherd ©
The Church of the Good Shepherd

1
day
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.
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Fri): hike along Rob Roy Track and then learn about winemaking at Aitken's Folly Vineyard.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Wanaka trip itinerary website .

You can take a bus from Lake Tekapo to Wanaka in 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) to allow time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Mar 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Aitken's Folly Vineyard ©
Aitken's Folly Vineyard

4
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.
Visiting Ben Lomond Track and Fishing Charters & Tours will get you outdoors. Arrowtown Chinese Settlement and Queenstown Arts Centre are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Take a break from Queenstown with a short trip to The Chasm Walk in Te Anau, about 1h 35 min away. There's much more to do: grab your bike and head to Queenstown Trail, steep yourself in history at Fallen Soldiers Memorial, stroll through Mt Crichton Loop Track, and kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Queenstown using our trip planner.

Traveling by bus from Wanaka to Queenstown takes 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Arrowtown, The Chasm Walk
Find places to stay Mar 20 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Ben Lomond Track ©
Ben Lomond Track
The Chasm Walk ©
The Chasm Walk
Fishing Charters & Tours

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