33 days in New Zealand Itinerary

33 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand trip planner

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Route & dates

33 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Brisbane
Fly:  6​h 45​min
1
Auckland
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
Hahei
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
3
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
4
Rotorua
— 1 night
Drive:  30​min
5
Waimangu
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
6
Taupo
— 1 day
Drive:  1​h 30​min
7
Whakapapa
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 15​min
8
Wellington
— 1 night
Fly:  2​h 15​min
9
Nelson
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
10
Abel Tasman National Park
— 2 nights
car:  5​h 30​min
11
Punakaiki
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
12
Hokitika
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h
13
Franz Josef
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h
14
Lake Tekapo
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
15
Mt. Cook Village
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
16
Wanaka
— 2 nights
bus:  2​h 30​min
17
Queenstown
— 4 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
18
Te Anau
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  6​h 30​min
19
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly:  6​h 45​min
End: Brisbane

3
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.
Auckland is known for nature, museums, nightlife, parks, and zoos & aquariums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: make a trip to SkyTower, tour the pleasant surroundings at Cheltenham Beach, contemplate the geological forces at Mount Eden, and stop by Pauanesia.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, read our Auckland tour itinerary maker website .

Brisbane, Australia to Auckland is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of train, bus, and flight. Traveling from Brisbane to Auckland, you'll lose 2 hours due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Brisbane in December, plan for slightly colder days in Auckland, with highs around 20°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Hahei.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Nature Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Cheltenham Beach
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland Zoo ©
Auckland Zoo

1
night
Hahei

Hahei ©
To see more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Hahei holiday planner.

You can drive from Auckland to Hahei in 2.5 hours. Traveling from Auckland in December, you will find days in Hahei are somewhat warmer (24°C), and nights are little chillier (17°C). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) to allow time to travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Hahei

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

RAPAURA Watergardens, Hot Water Beach
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Hot Water Beach ©
Hot Water Beach
Cathedral Cove Walk ©
Cathedral Cove Walk
RAPAURA Watergardens ©
RAPAURA Watergardens

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and finally trek along Ruakuri Walk.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Waitomo Caves fast, fun, and easy.

Drive from Hahei to Waitomo Caves in 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 12th (Thu): kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, admire all the interesting features of Te Puia, and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: identify plant and animal life at Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park, then do a tasting at Volcanic Hills Winery, then delve into the lush surroundings at Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, and finally trot along with a tour on horseback.

Use Inspirock's suggestions to plan your Rotorua trip and find the best activities and attractions for your vacation.

Drive from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 25°C during the day and 17°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) early enough to drive to Waimangu.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Zipline

2
nights
Waimangu

Waimangu ©
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Sat): contemplate the geological forces at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, then admire the sheer force of Tarawera Falls, then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Rotomahana, and finally explore the wealth of natural beauty at Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool.

To see maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Waimangu tour itinerary planning tool .

Waimangu is just a stone's throw from Rotorua. In December, daily temperatures in Waimangu can reach 25°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sun) so you can drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Waimangu

Nature Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool, Tarawera Falls
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Tarawera Falls ©
Tarawera Falls
Lake Rotomahana ©
Lake Rotomahana

1
day
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
On the 15th (Sun), don't miss a visit to Aratiatia Rapids, have fun at Huka Prawn Park, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Huka Falls Walkway, and finally get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To see ratings, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, use the Taupo day trip app .

You can drive from Waimangu to Taupo in an hour. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) early enough to drive to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors Parks Fun & Games
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Huka Prawn Park ©
Huka Prawn Park

1
night
Whakapapa

Kick off your visit on the 16th (Mon): take in the dramatic scenery at Tawhai Falls, hike along Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and then stroll through Taranaki Falls. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the landscape on two wheels at Ohakune Old Coach Road and then get interesting insight from Tours.

To find maps, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read Whakapapa attractions planner.

Traveling by car from Taupo to Whakapapa takes 1.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Tongariro National Park, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Ohakune Old Coach Road ©
Ohakune Old Coach Road

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Wed): examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, get engrossed in the history at The Great War Exhibition, and then admire the natural beauty at Wellington Botanic Garden.

Plan my trip to Wellington with suggested itineraries provided by Inspirock.

Getting from Whakapapa to Wellington by car takes about 4.5 hours. In December, daily temperatures in Wellington can reach 22°C, while at night they dip to 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Nelson.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums Parks

Side Trip

Wellington Botanic Garden
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Botanic Garden ©
Wellington Botanic Garden
The Great War Exhibition ©
The Great War Exhibition

1
night
Nelson

Nelson ©
Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
Start off your visit on the 19th (Thu): get engrossed in the history at Nelson Provincial Museum, look for gifts at Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, then pause for some serene contemplation at Christ Church Cathedral, and finally kick back and relax at Tahunanui Beach. On the 20th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in nature's colorful creations at Queen's Gardens, don't miss a visit to Centre of New Zealand, then see the interesting displays at World of WearableArt & Classic Car Museum, and finally have some family-friendly fun at Pro Karts.

To see more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, use the Nelson driving holiday planning website .

Traveling by car from Picton to Nelson takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Fri) so you can travel to Abel Tasman National Park.

Things to do in Nelson

Museums Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Nelson Provincial Museum ©
Nelson Provincial Museum
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith ©
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith

2
nights
Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park ©
Pristine blue water, immaculate white sand, and a thick, temperate rainforest make Abel Tasman National Park a natural jewel on the northern coast of Tasmania's South Island.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Sat): enjoy the sand and surf at Kaiteriteri Beach and then trek along Abel Tasman Coast Track.

For maps, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Abel Tasman National Park route builder .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) to allow enough time to take a bus to Punakaiki.

Things to do in Abel Tasman National Park

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trip

Kaiteriteri Beach
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Abel Tasman Coast Track ©
Abel Tasman Coast Track

1
night
Punakaiki

Punakaiki ©
Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth. On the 22nd (Sun), explore the striking landscape of Paparoa National Park, tour the pleasant surroundings at Truman Track, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk.

To find traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Punakaiki trip itinerary planning website .

Traveling by bus from Abel Tasman National Park to Punakaiki takes 5.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Hokitika.

Things to do in Punakaiki

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Paparoa National Park
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk ©
Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk
Truman Track ©
Truman Track
Paparoa National Park ©
Paparoa National Park

1
day
Hokitika

Hokitika ©
Hokitika is a township in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island, 40km south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River. On the 23rd (Mon), contemplate the long history of Shantytown Heritage Park, stroll through Hokitika Beach, then push the limits with Westcoast Treetop Walk & Cafe, and finally identify plant and animal life at Hokitika Gorge Walk.

For where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Hokitika trip planner .

Getting from Punakaiki to Hokitika by car takes about 1.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Hokitika

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trip

Shantytown Heritage Park
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Hokitika Gorge Walk ©
Hokitika Gorge Walk
Shantytown Heritage Park ©
Shantytown Heritage Park
Hokitika Beach ©
Hokitika Beach

1
night
Franz Josef

Franz Josef ©
Located in the World Heritage Site that is home to its eponymous glacier, the town of Franz Josef provides a comfortable and welcoming rest spot for adventurers after a long day out on the ice.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Tue): look for all kinds of wild species at Fox Glacier and then explore the striking landscape at Franz Josef Glacier.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Franz Josef online trip planner .

Traveling by car from Hokitika to Franz Josef takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Franz Josef

Nature Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Fox Glacier
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Fox Glacier ©
Fox Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier

1
night
Lake Tekapo

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 25th (Wed): take in panoramic vistas at Mount John University Observatory, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at The Church of the Good Shepherd, then experience rural life at Gem Alpaca Stud, and finally explore the activities along Lake Tekapo.

To find reviews, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Lake Tekapo day trip website .

Traveling by car from Franz Josef to Lake Tekapo takes 6 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Parks Historic Sites Nature

Side Trip

Gem Alpaca Stud
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo
The Church of the Good Shepherd ©
The Church of the Good Shepherd
Mount John University Observatory ©
Mount John University Observatory

2
nights
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
On the 26th (Thu), get outside with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, stroll through Hooker Valley Track, and then trek along Kea Point Track.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Mt. Cook Village holiday app .

Traveling by car from Lake Tekapo to Mt. Cook Village takes an hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Mt. Cook Village

Outdoors Trails Parks

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Kea Point Track ©
Kea Point Track

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Fri): skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka. Keep things going the next day: appreciate the history behind Wanaka War Memorial and then hike along Roys Peak Track.

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

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Mt. Cook Village to Wanaka. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) so you can take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Roys Peak Track ©
Roys Peak Track
Lake Wanaka ©
Lake Wanaka
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, wildlife, nature, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, take a memorable tour with Tours, push the limits with an extreme tour, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Queenstown journey planner .

Take a bus from Wanaka to Queenstown in 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Fun & Games
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 2:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline

3
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.
When in Te Anau, make a side trip to see Milford Foreshore Walk in Milford, approximately 1h 15 min away. Next up on the itinerary: explore the activities along Milford Sound, trek along Hollyford Track, identify plant and animal life at Doubtful Sound, and Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Te Anau day trip planner .

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 3.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Foreshore Walk
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

2
nights
Christchurch

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Christchurch: Akaroa (Lava & Dolphin & Whale Watching). There's lots more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, catch a ride on Christchurch Gondola, make a trip to 185 Empty White Chairs - Earthquake Memorial, and pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral.

To find out how to plan a trip to Christchurch, use our trip itinerary maker.

You can do a combination of bus and flight from Te Anau to Christchurch in 6.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 26°C, and evening lows to 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation Tours Museums

Side Trip

Akaroa
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train

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