41 days in New Zealand Itinerary

41 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

41 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Johannesburg
Fly + Drive:  25 h
1
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
+2
Train + Bus + Fly:  7 h
2
New Plymouth
— 4 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
3
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h
4
Rotorua
— 6 nights
Fly + Taxi:  4 h 15 min
5
Paihia
— 2 nights
Fly:  5 h 30 min
6
Dunedin
— 5 nights
Bus:  5 h 15 min
7
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Bus:  3 h 15 min
8
Queenstown
— 6 nights
Bus:  2 h 30 min
9
Wanaka
— 6 nights
Drive + Fly:  26 h
End: Johannesburg

2
nights
Kaikoura

Kaikoura ©
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Sun): Head underground at Maori Leap Cave, then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, then get in on the family fun at Fyffe View Ranch Adventure Park, and finally look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese. Keep things going the next day: test your problem-solving skills at The Emporium, get engrossed in the history at Kaikoura Museum, and then observe the fascinating underwater world at Kaikoura Marine Aquarium.

To see reviews, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Kaikoura online trip itinerary planner .

Johannesburg, South Africa to Kaikoura is an approximately 25-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone changes from South Africa Standard Time to New Zealand Standard Time, which is usually a 10 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) to allow time to travel to New Plymouth.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Parks Wildlife Outdoors
Find places to stay May 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Kaikoura Marine Aquarium ©
Kaikoura Marine Aquarium
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Fyffe View Ranch Adventure Park ©
Fyffe View Ranch Adventure Park

4
nights
New Plymouth

New Plymouth ©
Where other cities run, New Plymouth prefers to stroll.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Paritutu Rock and Huatoki Walkway. Bring the kids along to Back Beach and Pouakai Zoo. There's lots more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Pukeiti, walk around Tupare, examine the collection at Hurworth Cottage, and stroll through Ratapihipihi Scenic Reserve Walk.

To find ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, read our New Plymouth itinerary planner.

You can do a combination of train and flight from Kaikoura to New Plymouth in 7 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train, bus, and flight; or do a combination of train, ferry, and flight. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in New Plymouth

Parks Outdoors Trails
Find places to stay May 4 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Pukeiti ©
Pukeiti
Te Henui Walkway ©
Te Henui Walkway
Huatoki Walkway ©
Huatoki Walkway

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.
On the 9th (Sat), relax in the rural setting at Waitomo Big Bird & Miniature Animal Petting Farm, engage your brain at Te Awamutu Space Centre, then take a peaceful walk through Yarndley's Bush, then take in nature's colorful creations at Te Awamutu Rose Gardens, and finally get your game on at Kiwiana Leisure Park. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the fascinating underground world of Footwhistle Glowworm Cave, appreciate the history behind Statue of shearer, see the interesting displays at The Gallagher Meads Brothers Exhibition, then take in the dramatic scenery at Waitanguru Falls, then experience rural life at Piopio Berry Orchard, and finally don't miss a visit to Sir Colin Meads Statue.

To see maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Waitomo Caves journey planning tool .

Traveling by car from New Plymouth to Waitomo Caves takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of flight and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Sun) early enough to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Te Kuiti, Piopio, Te Awamutu, Otorohanga, Te Awamutu Space Centre
Find places to stay May 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Footwhistle Glowworm Cave ©
Footwhistle Glowworm Cave
Te Awamutu Space Centre ©
Te Awamutu Space Centre
Yarndley's Bush ©
Yarndley's Bush

6
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.
Relax by the water at Mt Maunganui Main Beach and Papamoa Beach. Visiting Redwoods Treewalk and Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre will get you outdoors. Get out of town with these interesting Rotorua side-trips: Monmouth Redoubt (in Tauranga) and Mount Maunganui Base Track (in Mount Maunganui). There's lots more to do: identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Rotorua, push the limits with an extreme tour, and witness a stunning natural landmark at Kuirau Park.

Start your trip to Rotorua by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. May in Rotorua sees daily highs of 20°C and lows of 11°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sat) so you can travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Tauranga, Papamoa Beach, Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool
Find places to stay May 10 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Mt Maunganui Main Beach ©
Mt Maunganui Main Beach
Papamoa Beach ©
Papamoa Beach

2
nights
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 17th (Sun): indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, then cast your line with a fishing tour, and then admire the striking features of St Paul's Anglican Church. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 18th (Mon): find something for the whole family at Action World, hike along Puketi Nature Trail, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Manginangina Kauri Walk, and finally identify plant and animal life at Aroha Island Ecological Centre.

To see more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Paihia trip itinerary planning site .

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Rotorua to Paihia takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Dunedin.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Kerikeri
Find places to stay May 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Aroha Island Ecological Centre ©
Aroha Island Ecological Centre
Manginangina Kauri Walk ©
Manginangina Kauri Walk

5
nights
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.
Bring the kids along to Karitane Beach and St Clair Beach. Get in touch with nature at Orokonui Ecosanctuary and Fishing Charters & Tours. Get out of town with these interesting Dunedin side-trips: Oamaru (Grainstore Gallery, Whitestone City, &more) and Shag Point Nature Reserve (in Palmerston). And it doesn't end there: get great views at Signal Hill, hike along Sandfly Bay Track, don't miss a visit to Bellamys Gallery, and kick back and relax at Aramoana Beach.

To see ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Dunedin trip planner.

Getting from Paihia to Dunedin by flight takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of flight and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Oamaru, Shag Point Nature Reserve
Find places to stay May 18 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Orokonui Ecosanctuary ©
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Shag Point Nature Reserve ©
Shag Point Nature Reserve
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Mirror Lakes Walk and Punanga Manu o Te Anau. Get in touch with nature at Milford sound Hwy and Gertrude Saddle. Change things up with these side-trips from Te Anau: Bowen Falls (in Milford Sound) and Manapouri (Manapouri Lake & Wild Wool Gallery). There's lots more to do: take a memorable tour with Tours, contemplate the waterfront views at Ivan Wilson Park, look for all kinds of wild species at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, and take some stellar pictures from Te Anau Lion Lookout Point.

To see photos, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Te Anau trip builder.

Getting from Dunedin to Te Anau by bus takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Thu) to allow time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Manapouri, Milford Sound
Find places to stay May 23 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Mirror Lakes Walk ©
Mirror Lakes Walk
Milford sound Hwy ©
Milford sound Hwy
Kayaking & Canoeing

6
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.
Family-friendly places like Alpine Aqualand and Cheeki Cherries the home of Dam good fruit will thrill your kids. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Ben Lomond Track and Queenstown Trail. Explore Queenstown's surroundings by going to Wooing Tree Vineyard (in Cromwell), Tobins Track (in Arrowtown) and Mt Difficulty Wines Cellar Door (in Bannockburn). And it doesn't end there: grab your bike and head to Lake Hayes Walkway, hike along Mt Crichton Loop Track, take a memorable tour with Tours, and learn about winemaking at Amisfield Winery.

To see photos, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, use the Queenstown trip tool .

Getting from Te Anau to Queenstown by bus takes about 3.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Wed) so you can catch the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Arrowtown, Cromwell, Roxburgh Gorge Trail
Find places to stay May 28 — Jun 3:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Hayes Walkway ©
Lake Hayes Walkway
Ben Lomond Track ©
Ben Lomond Track
Queenstown Trail ©
Queenstown Trail

6
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.
Get outdoors at Monro Beach and West Matukituki Track. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Blue Pools Track and Thunder Creek Falls. Venture out of the city with trips to Haast (Ship Creek Walks & Wharekai Te Kou). Next up on the itinerary: tour the pleasant surroundings at Rob Roy Track, explore and take pictures at Haast Pass, see the interesting displays at The World of Deer Museum & Speciality Shop, and admire the sheer force of Fantail Falls.

To find traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read our Wanaka travel tool .

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Wanaka in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 9th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Haast, Haast Pass, Monro Beach, Fantail Falls
Find places to stay Jun 3 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Haast Pass ©
Haast Pass
Monro Beach ©
Monro Beach
Blue Pools Track
Blue Pools Track

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