36 days in New Zealand Itinerary

36 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

36 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Missoula
Fly + Drive:  28​h
1
Paihia
— 3 nights
Fly:  5​h 15​min
2
Queenstown
— 4 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
3
Te Anau
— 4 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
4
Mt. Cook Village
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h
5
Christchurch
— 3 nights
6
Wellington
— 3 nights
Fly:  2​h 45​min
7
Taupo
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
8
Whakapapa
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
9
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
10
Hamilton
— 1 night
11
Auckland
— 2 nights
Fly:  25​h
End: Missoula

3
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.
When in Paihia, make a side trip to see Bream Head Coast Walks in Whangarei, approximately 1h 35 min away. There's still lots to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, find something for the whole family at Action World, identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour, and learn about winemaking at Byrne Northland Wines.

To see traveler tips, maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Paihia trip planner .

Missoula, USA to Paihia is an approximately 28-hour combination of flight and car. You'll lose 19 hours traveling from Missoula to Paihia due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) so you can travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Paihia

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Bream Head Coast Walks, Byrne Northland Wines
Find places to stay Feb 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Bream Head Coast Walks ©
Bream Head Coast Walks
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour

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, spas, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, learn about winemaking at Chard Farm Winery, explore the activities along Lake Wakatipu, and race across the water with a speed boat tour.

Plan a trip to Queenstown easily and quickly by telling Inspirock to suggest an itinerary.

Traveling by flight from Paihia to Queenstown takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car and ferry. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) early enough to catcht the bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Feb 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Speed Boats Tours
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

4
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.
Go for a jaunt from Te Anau to Milford to see Milford Foreshore Walk about 1h 15 min away. There's much more to do: explore the activities along Milford Sound, trek along The Chasm Walk, stroll through Kepler Track, and appreciate the history behind Quintin Mackinnon Monument.

For more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Te Anau tour itinerary maker .

Getting from Queenstown to Te Anau by bus takes about 3.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sun) early enough to travel to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Foreshore Walk
Find places to stay Feb 26 — Mar 1:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

3
nights
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
Explore Mt. Cook Village's surroundings by going to Franz Josef Glacier (in Franz Josef) and Fox Glacier (Gillespies Beach, Helicopter Tours, & more). There's still lots to do: trek along Hooker Valley Track, tour the pleasant surroundings at Glencoe Walk, and get outside with Aoraki/Mt. Cook.

To see photos, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Mt. Cook Village trip planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Te Anau to Mt. Cook Village. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Wed) so you can travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Mt. Cook Village

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu), Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier
Find places to stay Mar 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Fox Glacier ©
Fox Glacier

3
nights
Christchurch

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Change things up with these side-trips from Christchurch: Akaroa (Kayaking & Canoeing & Dolphin & Whale Watching). The adventure continues: walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens, take in nature's colorful creations at Ohinetahi Garden, let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, and catch a ride on TranzAlpine Train.

To find photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Christchurch visit website .

You can drive from Mt. Cook Village to Christchurch in 4 hours. Expect a daytime high around 68°F in March, and nighttime lows around 50°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours Transportation Outdoors

Side Trips

Akaroa, Ohinetahi Garden
Find places to stay Mar 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train

3
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.
Wellington is known for museums, wildlife, classes, nature, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: see the interesting displays at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, get engrossed in the history at Wellington Museum, catch a ride on Wellington Cable Car, and get great views at Mount Victoria.

To find photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Wellington road trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Christchurch to Wellington takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train and ferry. Traveling from Christchurch in March, expect a bit warmer with lows of 57°F in Wellington. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Taupo.

Things to do in Wellington

Parks Museums Wildlife

Side Trips

Catchpool Loop Walk, Hapuka Estuary Walk, Wellington Botanic Garden, Pataka Art + Museum
Find places to stay Mar 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Botanic Garden ©
Wellington Botanic Garden
Wellington Cable Car ©
Wellington Cable Car

4
nights
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Taupo: Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera) and Rotorua (Zipline, Redwoods Treewalk, & more). There's lots more to do: get interesting insight from Tours, tour the pleasant surroundings at Huka Falls Walkway, take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, and don't miss a visit to Aratiatia Rapids.

For photos, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Taupo planner .

Getting from Wellington to Taupo by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Rotorua, Hobbiton Movie Set
Find places to stay Mar 10 — 14:
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

Change things up with a short trip to River Rafting & Tubing in Turangi (about 34 minutes away).

To see other places to visit, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, read Whakapapa journey app .

Getting from Taupo to Whakapapa by car takes about 1.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) 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 Mar 14 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Ohakune Old Coach Road ©
Ohakune Old Coach Road

2
nights
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 19th (Thu): explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and finally stroll through Ruakuri Walk. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the views from Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, admire the sheer force of Marokopa Falls Walk, then experience rural life at Roselands Farm Park, then get outside with Waitomo Clay Birds, and finally Head underground at Caveworld.

For more things to do, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Waitomo Caves day trip planning website .

Traveling by car from Whakapapa to Waitomo Caves takes 2.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to catcht the bus to Hamilton.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Parks Nature
Find places to stay Mar 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk

1
night
Hamilton

Hamilton ©
On the banks of the Waikato River lies Hamilton, a pretty, active city on North Island.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Sat): get to know the resident critters at Hamilton Zoo, examine the collection at Waikato Museum, and then walk around Hamilton Gardens.

To see where to stay, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Hamilton trip website .

Traveling by bus from Waitomo Caves to Hamilton takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Sat) early enough to go by car to Auckland.

Things to do in Hamilton

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Museums
Find places to stay Mar 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Hamilton Gardens ©
Hamilton Gardens
Waikato Museum ©
Waikato Museum
Hamilton Zoo ©
Hamilton Zoo

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.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): explore the activities along Devonport, then brush up on your military savvy at Auckland War Memorial Museum, and then enjoy breathtaking views from Sky Tower. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon): awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, enjoy some music at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, and then stroll through Cheltenham Beach.

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

Getting from Hamilton to Auckland by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. In March, daytime highs in Auckland are 67°F, while nighttime lows are 67°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Tours Museums

Side Trip

Cheltenham Beach
Find places to stay Mar 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Sky Tower ©
Sky Tower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Wine Tours & Tastings

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