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Ultimate New Zealand journey

25 places · 26 days
Go New Zealand ·last month
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Discover New Zealand on this 32-day plan that takes you from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island, as well as a variety of other locations. Begin in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, then travel to the North Island's gorgeous beaches, geothermal attractions, and wineries before crossing the Cook Strait to the South Island. As you travel the length of the South Island, you'll encounter intriguing species, see ancient glaciers and breathtaking fiords, and partake in exhilarating experiences.

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Itinerary
Day 1: Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, is surrounded by 48 extinct volcanic cones and is positioned between two vast harbours. Marine experiences, wine trails, forest treks, and urban elegance may all be found here. Take a ferry to Rangitoto, or Waiheke, to see the island volcano of Rangitoto, popularly known as the 'Island of Wine.' Alternatively, you might like to immerse yourself in some inner-city culture. Visit the Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery, as well as the shops and restaurants in downtown Auckland.

Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand
Day 2 - 5: Bay of Islands & Cape Reinga
Paihia, a vacation town, is a great place to start exploring the Bay of Islands. Take a dolphin-spotting excursion to the outer islands. Alternatively, take the ferry to Russell, a picturesque township where you may tour New Zealand's first capital's historic structures. Historic structures such as the Stone Store and the Mission House can be found in adjacent Kerikeri. The ancient Treaty House in Waitangi is well worth a visit; it commemorates New Zealand's founding as a nation; take a guided tour to learn more. Take a trip to Cape Reinga, New Zealand's highest point and a Maori sacred site, if you have the time. On the famous 90 Mile Beach, you can attempt sandboarding or off-road driving while you're there.

Bay Of Islands

Bay Of Islands, Northland, New Zealand

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga, New Zealand
Day 6 - 7: Hokianga & Waipoua Forest
Travel east from Paihia to Omapere/Opononi, where you may take in spectacular views of the Hokianga Harbour. The magnificent Waipoua Forest, which is home to New Zealand's largest kauri trees, is an excellent spot to learn about Maori myth and folklore. Take a tour of these massive trees with a guide. Dargaville is the best way to go back to Auckland. Trounson Kauri Park offers extra opportunities for treegazing along the road, and the Kai Iwi Sand Lakes are ideal for swimming. Visit the kauri museum in Matakohe to learn about the district's unique history, or stop in Maungaturoto to browse the local antique and craft shops.

Hokianga

Hokianga, Northland, New Zealand

Waipoua Forest

Waipoua Forest, New Zealand
Day 8 - 10: Coromandel & Rotorua
Coromandel Town, formerly a hub for gold mining and lumber, is now a haven for artists, crafters, and environmentalists. There's a lot to see and do, including a train ride through the woods at Driving Creek. Whitianga is a wonderful base for seeing Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, two of the region's must-see sights. The road south passes past Whangamata, a surf town, and the beautiful Karangahake Gorge.
You'll have the opportunity to explore Hobbiton Movie Set, where Peter Jackson brought the Shire to life in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, before heading to Rotorua. Rotorua is a place with stunning geothermal activity, Maori culture, and plenty of adventure.

Coromandel

Coromandel, New Zealand

Rotorua

Rotorua, New Zealand
Day 11 - 13: Taupo & Napier
Taupo is an excellent site for boat trips, kayaking, jet boating, and fishing because it is located on the edge of New Zealand's largest lake. Learn about the history of the area by taking a tour of the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay. Hikers go to Tongariro National Park, which is close by. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a must-see attraction. Napier was rebuilt in the style of the time after a 1931 earthquake practically leveled the city, and it is today a center of Art Deco design. The Hawke's Bay region is also noted for its exceptional vineyards, many of which are easily accessible by bike. The gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, as well as the nearby renowned golf course, are also worth seeing.

Taupō

Taupō, New Zealand

Napier

Napier, New Zealand
Day 14 - 15: Wairarapa & Wellington
The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail leads south to Wairarapa, a collection of quaint colonial villages with a mix of boutique shops, art galleries, antique stores, cafes, and restaurants. The area's family-owned vineyards produce some of New Zealand's greatest pinot noir, so it's no surprise that it's a popular destination for visitors who appreciate quality wines and vineyard cafes. Travel to Wellington, New Zealand's capital, via the Remutaka Ranges. This tiny and sophisticated city has a lot of personality and is great for walking around.

Wairarapa

Wairarapa, New Zealand

Wellington

Wellington, New Zealand
Day 16 - 18: Marlborough & Kaikoura
The crossing of Cook Strait to the South Island is one of the world's most picturesque boat rides. Enjoy the scenery as it passes through the Marlborough Sounds on its way to Picton. It's only a short drive from here to Blenheim, the hub of Marlborough's wine-growing region. There are more than 20 wineries nearby, so take a wine tour or explore the area by bike, kayak, or on foot along one of the hiking paths. Kaikoura, further south, is all about wildlife encounters. Whales, dolphins, orcas, and fur seals can all be seen here.

Marlborough

Marlborough, New Zealand

Kaikōura

Kaikōura, New Zealand
Continue to Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island, where you will spend the night.
Day 19 - 21: The West Coast
Today, you'll travel across the South Island via Arthur's Pass. The passage was first utilized by Maori tribes going to the west coast, and it is now home to Arthur's Pass National Park, which is an excellent area to walk. Greymouth, the region's main settlement, is your first stop on the West Coast. Greymouth, once a gold mining town, is steeped in history. Shantytown Heritage Park, which is close by, offers a flavor.

The West Coast Pie Co

The West Coast Pie Co Palmerston Street, West...
Day 22 - 24: Queenstown & Wanaka
As you leave the shore and go to Wanaka over Haast Pass, take in the splendor of waterfalls and rivers. You'll discover a pleasing blend of upscale living, family enjoyment, and adventure here. Hiking, cycling, boat excursions, and 4WD safaris are just a few of the activities available to explore this stunning region. There are also interesting attractions like as Puzzling World and the bizarre Paradiso Cinema.

Wanaka

Wanaka, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand's mountain resort, is vibrant, smart, and breathtakingly beautiful. It's where you may find practically any type of activity, such as bungee jumping, jet boating, horseback riding, skydiving, and rafting. It's also a place to go for high-end activities like gourmet cuisine and drink, spa treatments, and relaxing golf games.

Queenstown

Queenstown, New Zealand
Day 25: Milford Sound & Te Anau
Milford Sound, once dubbed the "eighth natural wonder of the world" by Rudyard Kipling, provides a tranquil contrast to Queenstown. It takes some time to get there, but once you're out on the water of the Sounds, it's well worth it. Enjoy the stunning blue skies, green mountains, crystal-clear water, and cascading waterfalls by taking a boat tour or renting a kayak.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound, Southland, New Zealand
Alternatively, departing from Queenstown, take a flightseeing trip of the Sounds. Spend the night at Te Anau, where you can go glowworm cave-hunting.

Te Anau

Te Anau, New Zealand
Day 26 - 27: Southland & Stewart Island
The longer, wilder route to Invercargill takes you via magnificent Lake Manapouri and on to Riverton, one of the country's oldest communities. The shorter route passes through Lumsden, which has several excellent bicycle trails. Invercargill is the southernmost city in New Zealand. Take a stroll through Queens Park's gardens, aviary, and duck ponds, or visit the local museum's tuatara house. You'll cross Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island from here. Much of the island is protected as a national park, making it a great area to experience nature at its most natural. Spotting kiwis on Ocean Beach, wandering among the birds on Ulva Island, and climbing the park's pathways are all highlights.

Stewart Island

Stewart Island, Southland, New Zealand
Day 28 - 29: The Catlins & Dunedin
The Catlins' rough environment awaits you on the way north to Dunedin. In Curio Bay, you can witness seals and sealions, Hector's dolphins, various penguin species, and a petrified forest. Dunedin accumulated an astounding amount of extravagant Victorian architecture in the late nineteenth century. There was no expense spared. Historic public structures, massive cathedrals, magnificent residences, and ornate hotels can all be found today. There's even a castle on the premises. The other side of Dunedin is eco-tourism; see penguin, albatross, and seal colonies on the Otago Peninsula.

The Catlins

The Catlins, New Zealand

Dunedin

Dunedin, New Zealand
Day 30 - 31: Waitaki & Aoraki Mount Cook
Follow the coast north to Oamaru, stopping to see the enigmatic Moeraki Boulders along the way. Oamaru has a wonderful collection of historic whitestone houses, as well as a Steampunk museum and a colony of small blue penguins. Omarama, further inland, attracts gliding enthusiasts. The Northwest Arch, a thermal that may transport glider pilots above 10,000 meters, is formed by a steady northwesterly breeze. The Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's highest mountain and longest glacier, is your next stop. This is a place begging to be explored by mountain climbers and hikers.

Waitaki

Waitaki, New Zealand

Aoraki / Mount Cook

Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand
Day 32: Lake Tekapo & Christchurch
Today, on your route back to Christchurch, make a pit break in Tekapo, a lakeside hamlet where you may partake in a variety of activities. Fishing, kayaking, biking, and horseback riding are just a few of the activities available. Great photo opportunities can be found at the Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheepdog statue. Christchurch, your final destination, is an exciting mix of refined living and cultural excitement. The Avon River meanders through the city and neighboring Hagley Park, ancient buildings contain a vibrant artists community, and restored trams make getting around easy.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
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