40 days in New Zealand Itinerary

40 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

40 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly:  15​h 30​min
1
Auckland Central
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
2
Whangarei
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
Thames
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
4
Hawera
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
5
Wellington
— 2 nights
ferry:  3​h 15​min
6
Picton
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
Collingwood
— Few hours
Drive:  1​h 15​min
8
Abel Tasman National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h
9
Hokitika
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
10
Fox Glacier
— 1 night
drive:  4​h
11
Wanaka
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
12
Milford Sound
— 2 nights
bus:  6​h
13
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
14
Invercargill
— 2 nights
Travel:  3​h 30​min
15
Stewart Island
— 2 nights
Fly:  12​h 15​min
16
Dunedin
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 15​min
17
Akaroa
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
18
Christchurch
— 2 nights
+2
Fly + bus + ferry:  6​h 15​min
19
Waiheke Island
— 2 nights
Fly:  16​h 45​min
End: San Francisco

2
nights
Auckland Central

Auckland Central ©
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 3rd (Sat), shop like a local with Ponsonby, then steep yourself in history at Howick Historical Village, then look and learn at Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, and finally wander the streets of Parnell. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 4th (Sun): learn about all things military at Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, then stroll through Takapuna Beach, and then kick back and relax at Orewa Beach.

For reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Auckland Central trip planner .

San Francisco, USA to Auckland Central is an approximately 15.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of subway and flight; or do a combination of train and flight. Traveling from San Francisco to Auckland Central, you'll lose 20 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from San Francisco in November, Auckland Central is a bit warmer at night with lows of 63°F. On the 5th (Mon), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Whangarei.

Things to do in Auckland Central

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Orewa Beach, Torpedo Bay Navy Museum
Find places to stay Nov 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Orewa Beach ©
Orewa Beach
Takapuna Beach ©
Takapuna Beach
Howick Historical Village ©
Howick Historical Village

3
nights
Whangarei

Whangarei ©
Whangarei is the northernmost city in New Zealand and the regional capital of Northland Region. Get outdoors at Bream Head Coast Walks and Ocean Beach. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Claphams Clocks - The National Clock Museum. Go for a jaunt from Whangarei to Waipu to see Waipu Cave about 36 minutes away. The adventure continues: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Manaia Track.

To see where to stay, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Whangarei attractions planner.

You can drive from Auckland Central to Whangarei in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or fly. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Thu) early enough to travel to Thames.

Things to do in Whangarei

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Waipu Cave, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Ocean Beach
Find places to stay Nov 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Bream Head Coast Walks ©
Bream Head Coast Walks
Ocean Beach ©
Ocean Beach
Stand-Up Paddleboarding

2
nights
Thames

Thames ©
Thames is a town at the southwestern end of the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand's North Island. Kick off your visit on the 8th (Thu): enjoy the sand and surf at Pauanui Beach and then admire the verdant scenery at Wentworth Valley. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the long history of Burke Street Wharf, then examine the collection at Thames School of Mines and Mineralogical Museum, then view the masterpieces at The Little Gallery, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Moko Artspace.

To find where to stay, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Thames vacation planner.

Traveling by car from Whangarei to Thames takes 3.5 hours. In November in Thames, expect temperatures between 66°F during the day and 55°F at night. You will have some time to spend on the 10th (Sat) before leaving for Hawera.

Things to do in Thames

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Lemon & Paeroa Bottle, Wentworth Valley, Pauanui Beach, The Little Gallery, Moko Artspace
Find places to stay Nov 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Pauanui Beach ©
Pauanui Beach
Moko Artspace ©
Moko Artspace
Wentworth Valley ©
Wentworth Valley

3
nights
Hawera

Hawera ©
Hawera is the second-largest town in the Taranaki region of New Zealand's North Island, with a population of. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see the interesting displays at Tawhiti Museum, don't miss a visit to Cape Egmont Lighthouse, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Oakura Beach.

To see reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Hawera trip planning tool .

You can drive from Thames to Hawera in 5.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Tue) early enough to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Hawera

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Opunake Beach, Oakura Beach, Percy Thomson Gallery, Cape Egmont Lighthouse, Aotea Utanganui - Museum of South Taranaki
Find places to stay Nov 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Tawhiti Museum ©
Tawhiti Museum
Cape Egmont Lighthouse ©
Cape Egmont Lighthouse

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Tue): see the interesting displays at Southward Car Museum and then explore the different monuments and memorials at Bolton Street Cemetery. Here are some ideas for day two: examine the collection at National War Memorial, then enjoy the sand and surf at Scorching Bay, then steep yourself in history at Government House, and finally take in nature's colorful creations at Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden.

To see ratings, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Wellington trip planner .

Traveling by car from Hawera to Wellington takes 4 hours. Expect a daytime high around 63°F in November, and nighttime lows around 53°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 15th (Thu) to allow time for travel to Picton.

Things to do in Wellington

Parks Historic Sites Museums

Side Trip

Southward Car Museum
Find places to stay Nov 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Scorching Bay ©
Scorching Bay
Southward Car Museum ©
Southward Car Museum
National War Memorial ©
National War Memorial

2
nights
Picton

Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
On the 15th (Thu), go for a stroll along the water at Picton Sound. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate the long history of Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, get interesting insight from Tours, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve.

To find maps, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Picton vacation planner .

Getting from Wellington to Picton by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: ride a ferry; or do a combination of flight and bus. In November, daily temperatures in Picton can reach 63°F, while at night they dip to 53°F. You will have some time to spend on the 17th (Sat) before leaving for Collingwood.

Things to do in Picton

Tours Adventure Outdoors

Side Trip

Havelock
Find places to stay Nov 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Edwin Fox Maritime Museum ©
Edwin Fox Maritime Museum
Picton Sound ©
Picton Sound

few
hours
Collingwood

Collingwood
Collingwood is a town in the north-west corner of the South Island of New Zealand along Golden Bay. Start off your visit on the 17th (Sat): trek along Pupu Hydro Walkway.

For where to stay, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Collingwood trip itinerary maker .

Drive from Picton to Collingwood in 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Sun) to allow time for travel to Abel Tasman National Park.

Things to do in Collingwood

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Nov 17 — 18:

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.
On the 18th (Sun), hike along The Grove Scenic Reserve. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 19th (Mon): admire all the interesting features of Split Apple Rock and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park.

To see other places to visit, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Abel Tasman National Park trip planner .

Explore your travel options from Collingwood to Abel Tasman National Park with the Route module. You will leave for home on the 20th (Tue).

Things to do in Abel Tasman National Park

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trips

Kaiteriteri, The Grove Scenic Reserve
Find places to stay Nov 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park ©
Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park
The Grove Scenic Reserve ©
The Grove Scenic Reserve
Split Apple Rock ©
Split Apple Rock

2
nights
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. Start off your visit on the 20th (Tue): choose your vessel at West Coast Scenic Waterways, view the masterpieces at Hokitika Craft Gallery Co-op, then view the masterpieces at Bonz 'N Stonz, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Hokitika Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the sheer force of Dorothy Falls, trek along Tunnel Terrace Walk, look for gifts at Garth Wilson Jade, trek along Woods Creek Track, then hike along Coal Creek Track, and finally stroll through Point Elizabeth Walkway.

For maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Hokitika travel route builder website .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Abel Tasman National Park to Hokitika. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Thu) to allow time to drive to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Hokitika

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Greymouth, Coal Creek Track
Find places to stay Nov 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
West Coast Scenic Waterways ©
West Coast Scenic Waterways
Hokitika Beach ©
Hokitika Beach
Bonz 'N Stonz ©
Bonz 'N Stonz

1
night
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Thu): go for a walk through River Walk, tour the pleasant surroundings at Minnehaha Walk, then view the masterpieces at ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery, and finally kick back and relax at Gillespies Beach.

For traveler tips, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Fox Glacier travel route builder website .

You can drive from Hokitika to Fox Glacier in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 23rd (Fri) to allow time for the bus ride to Wanaka.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Franz Josef
Find places to stay Nov 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Gillespies Beach ©
Gillespies Beach
Tatare Tunnels Walk ©
Tatare Tunnels Walk
Minnehaha Walk ©
Minnehaha Walk

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.
For reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Wanaka trip itinerary builder tool .

Traveling by bus from Fox Glacier to Wanaka takes 4 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sun) so you can travel to Milford Sound.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks Trails Outdoors
Find places to stay Nov 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Roys Peak Track ©
Roys Peak Track
Warbirds & Wheels ©
Warbirds & Wheels

2
nights
Milford Sound

Milford Sound ©
Carved by glaciers into a land of sheer cliffs, impressive waterfalls, and lush, meandering fjords, Milford Sound remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand.
Get outdoors at Monkey Creek and Eglinton Valley. Discover out-of-the-way places like Southern Discoveries - Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory and Humboldt Falls. There's much more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Milford sound Hwy, take in the views from Tutoko Suspension Bridge, and get great views at Pops View Look Out.

To see maps, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, read our Milford Sound tour itinerary builder website .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Wanaka to Milford Sound. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Tue) so you can catcht the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Milford Sound

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Nov 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Humboldt Falls ©
Humboldt Falls
Monkey Creek ©
Monkey Creek

3
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.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Wed): view the masterpieces at Ivan Clarke Gallery, admire the masterpieces at Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery, then stroll through Arrowtown Chinese Settlement, and finally explore the activities along Arrow River. On your second day here, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour and then tee off at Jacks Point Golf Course Queenstown.

For maps, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Queenstown holiday builder website .

You can take a bus from Milford Sound to Queenstown in 6 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Invercargill.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Arrowtown
Find places to stay Nov 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement ©
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement
Arrow River ©
Arrow River
Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery ©

2
nights
Invercargill

Invercargill ©
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. On the 30th (Fri), indulge your thirst for a good beer at Invercargill Brewery.

For reviews, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Invercargill attractions planner .

Drive from Queenstown to Invercargill in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) so you can travel to Stewart Island.

Things to do in Invercargill

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Find places to stay Nov 30 — Dec 2:
Highlights from your plan
Oreti Beach ©
Oreti Beach
Classic Motorcycle Mecca ©
Classic Motorcycle Mecca
Demolition World ©
Demolition World

2
nights
Stewart Island

On the 2nd (Sun), step off the mainland to explore Ulva Island, then see the interesting displays at Rakiura Museum, and then paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour. Here are some ideas for day two: trek along Rakiura Track.

To see reviews, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Stewart Island trip maker .

Explore your travel options from Invercargill to Stewart Island with the Route module. You will leave for Dunedin on the 4th (Tue).

Things to do in Stewart Island

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Dec 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Ulva Island ©
Ulva Island
Rakiura Track ©
Rakiura Track

1
night
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.
To find other places to visit, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Dunedin attractions planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Stewart Island to Dunedin. You will leave for Akaroa on the 5th (Wed).

Things to do in Dunedin

Tours Outdoors Parks
Find places to stay Dec 4 — 5:

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.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Wed): take in the spiritual surroundings of Catholic St. Patrick's Akaroa, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Saint Peter's Anglican Church, 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. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 6th (Thu): play a few rounds at Akaroa Golf Club.

To find traveler tips and more tourist information, read Akaroa trip maker site .

You can drive from Dunedin to Akaroa in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train, bus, and car. Expect a daytime high around 69°F in December, and nighttime lows around 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Akaroa

Golf Outdoors Parks
Find places to stay Dec 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Akaroa Golf Club ©
Akaroa Golf Club
Hinewai Reserve ©
Hinewai Reserve
Saint Peter's Anglican Church ©
Saint Peter's Anglican Church

2
nights
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 6th (Thu): take in the exciting artwork at Christchurch Art Gallery (Te Puna o Waiwhetu). On the next day, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find more things to do, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Christchurch road trip planner .

You can drive from Akaroa to Christchurch in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December in Christchurch, expect temperatures between 70°F during the day and 51°F at night. You'll have a few hours on the 8th (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling to Waiheke Island.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours Adventure Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Riccarton House & Bush ©
Riccarton House & Bush

2
nights
Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island ©
Head to Waiheke Island, a place of white sandy beaches, palm trees, great wine, and relaxation, just 35 minutes off the coast of Auckland.
For where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Waiheke Island online trip itinerary maker .

Traveling by combination of flight and ferry from Christchurch to Waiheke Island takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from Christchurch in December since evenings lows in Waiheke Island dip to 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 10th (Mon) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Waiheke Island

Wineries Museums Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Goldie Estate ©
Goldie Estate
Connells Bay Sculpture Park ©
Connells Bay Sculpture Park
Kennedy Point Vineyard ©
Kennedy Point Vineyard

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