Auckland to Christchurch adventure itinerary
With this memorable New Zealand itinerary, you'll discover a world of beauty and adventure. Swimming with dolphins, exploring enchanting glowworm caverns, gazing at geothermal wonders, bungy jumping from tremendous heights, and crossing old glaciers are just a few of the activities available.
Day 1 - 2: Auckland
When you arrive in Auckland, spend some time to walk along the waterfront, from the Viaduct to Wynyard Quarter. Start the next day with a trip to the top of the landmark Sky Towe, where you may take a Skywalk or Skyjump. Take a harbour cruise or kayak to Rangitoto Island, Auckland's largest volcanic cone, to get out on the ocean. Drive out to Auckland's west coast beaches, which are both gorgeous and rough. Walking is the ideal way to explore this stunning stretch of shoreline, or follow one of the many paths into the Waitakere Ranges' picturesque native forest.
Rangitoto IslandRangitoto Island, Auckland, New Zealand
AucklandAuckland, New Zealand
Day 3 - 4: Auckland - Bay of Islands
Make your way north to the magnificent Bay of Islands, passing through the city of Whangarei. Spend the afternoon in Paihia exploring. A short ferry journey will take you to Russell, a beautiful beachfront community, or up to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand's birthplace. On day two, board a cruise boat for a dolphin-watching expedition among the region's various islands; if you're lucky, you might even be able to join them for a swim. In the afternoon, rent a kayak and paddle through the crystal blue waters of the harbour. Alternatively, spend the day scuba diving at one of the many dive sites in the area.
Bay Of IslandsBay Of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
Day 5: Hokianga - Auckland
From Paihia, head west to Hokianga, where large sand dunes are ideal for sandboarding. Stop to see the magnificent Tane Mahuta as you pass through Waipou Forest. This 2000-year-old kauri giant towers over the forest canopy and is well worth the trip. Continue south, stopping in Matakohe to see the Kauri Museum or Maungaturoto and Paparoa to browse vintage and craft shops before returning to Auckland.
HokiangaHokianga, Northland, New Zealand
Day 6: Auckland - Rotorua via Waitomo
Travel south from Auckland to the Waitomo Caves via undulating farmland. Abseil into the depths of the spectacular Lost World cave or watch as a swarm of glowworms light up the stone ceiling like stars in the night sky. Leave Waitomo and proceed across the Mamaku Range to Rotorua, a thermal resort town. If you're looking to unwind after a long day of exploration, head to the Polynesian Spa, which features naturally heated mineral pools with views of Lake Rotorua.
Waitomo CavesWaitomo Caves, New Zealand
Day 7: Spend the day in Rotorua
Spend the day discovering Rotorua's many geothermal wonders, such as the iconic Pohutu geyser, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Hells Gate, and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the world's youngest geothermal eco-system. Try the famed Skyline luge, bungy jumping, or zip-lining through the forest canopy for the more daring. The Whakarewarewa Forest offers an unrivaled combination of mountain riding trails. Finish the day with a Maori cultural evening.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley587 Waimangu Road, Rotorua 3073, New Zealand
Day 8: Auckland - Queenstown
Return to Auckland in the morning to catch your flight to Queenstown, New Zealand's most beautiful city. Explore Queenstown's gorgeous lakefront and busy eateries in the evening.
QueenstownQueenstown, New Zealand
Day 9: Spend the day in Queenstown
Queenstown offers a wide range of sports to get your heart racing. Experience the rush of a jet boat ride, touch the deep blue of the Kawarau River at the world's first bungy site, or embrace the fear of a 15,000-foot skydiving. The region is also ideal for sightseeing. Hike into the mountains on one of the many hiking trails or rent a bike and ride through wine country. Enjoy an unparalleled stargazing experience in the evening.
Gibbston ValleyGibbston Valley, Gibbston, New Zealand
Chard Farm205 Chard Road, Gibbston 9371, New Zealand
Day 10: Milford Sound day trip
Set out early from Queenstown on an adventure to Milford Sound that will last a lifetime. Drive through the Eglington Valley, which is known for its ancient alpine forests and cascading waterfalls. Along the journey, don't miss the stunning Mirror Lakes. Scenic flights from Queenstown take you on an exciting excursion through the highlands while listening to the noises. Board a tour boat at Milford Sound to marvel at the fiord's glacier-scarred granite cliffs and hundreds-of-meter-high waterfalls, or rent a kayak and paddle the calm waters. For the night, return to Queenstown.
Milford Sound / PiopiotahiMilford Sound / Piopiotahi, Southland 9679, New Zealand
Day 11: Queenstown - Franz Josef
Leave Queenstown early and take your time as you journey to the World Heritage Westland National Park via Lake Wanaka and the iconic Haast Pass. Continue up the West Coast, past breathtaking mountain ranges, native forests, and lakes, to Franz Josef Glacier. Spend the evening visiting this stunning glacial region. Helicopter trips with glacier landings are really memorable and highly recommended.
Franz Josef GlacierFranz Josef Glacier, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Day 12: Franz Josef - Christchurch via Greymouth
Travel north to Greymouth, a little town on the west coast. Before entering the beautiful Southern Alps, ascend through thick beech forests and past the mountain town of Arthur's Pass. If you have time, take a break from driving and stroll to the magnificent Devil's Punchbowl Falls, which are only an hour's walk from Arthurs Pass hamlet. Continue on to Christchurch, where you'll spend your final night in New Zealand.
GreymouthGreymouth, New Zealand
Day 13: Spend the day in Christchurch
Spend your last day exploring the Christchurch, New Zealand's 'garden city'. Visit the Botanical Gardens or take a relaxing trip down the Avon River aboard a punt boat. Ride the historic tramway to see the city's various shopping and eatery precincts before catching your flight home.
ChristchurchChristchurch, New Zealand
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