19 Days on North and South Islands of New Zealand

Updated: May 6

Route: Auckland - Bay of Islands - Cape Reinga - Auckland - Waitomo - Hobbiton - Rotorua - Wai-O-Tapu - Huka falls - Lake Taupo - Tongariro NP - Wellington - Picton - Kaikoura - Hanmer Springs - Greymouth - Fox glacier - Queenstown - Dunedin - Mt Cook - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch

Description: If you are lucky enough to have 3 weeks in New Zealand you're welcome to use this itinerary. Not many worth visiting places are left behind, so, when you come back home you'll proudly say that have seen almost everything in Aotearoa. Another advantage of this itinerary - you can alter it easier to reduce the duration of your tour. We wish you an awesome trip!

Lake Tekapo in summer time is wonderful!

Day 1

Place: Auckland

Itinerary: Arrival in New Zealand. Pick-up a vehicle and make your way to a hotel. Today tt's better to have a rest after a long flight.

Day 2

Place: Auckland

Itinerary: 10:00 – 10:30 There are plenty of options to explore the City of Sails but we advise you to take a private tour with a guide. It will give you a chance to ask all questions about New Zealand and your upcoming trip through the country. Meeting with a guide in a hotel, transfer to Domain park.

10:30 – 12:00 Visiting of Auckland museum.

12:00 – 12:40 Driving to Soljans winery located in Kumeu.

12:40 – 14:00 Lunch at a local restaurant.

14:00 – 15:00 Winery tour and wine tasting are available in this beautiful place. The tour costs 12 NZD per person, wine tasting - 6 NZD per person (you'll try 5 wines). You'll get 100% discount for a wine tasting per person if you buy one bottle of wine per person after it.

15:00 – 15:20 Driving to Muriwai beach.

15:20 – 16:20 Gannet colony lives on Muriwai beach. Observe the birds.

16:20 – 17:00 Driving to Mt Eden.

17:00 – 18:00 Mt Eden is a dormant volcano. This is a perfect spot to see the city panorama and take photos of the crater.

18:00 – 18:15 Driving to Albert Park.

18:15 - 19:00 Albert park is the oldest and the smallest park in Auckland. It is located in front of The University of Auckland. University's clock tower is one of the city's visit card.

19:00 – 19:30 Driving to Sky Tower, lift to the 92nd floor.

19:30 – 21:00 3 Course Dinner at the Revolving Orbit Restaurant. Diners also enjoy complimentary Sky Tower admission and discounted parking.

Auckland city view from Mt Victoria (Devonport)

Day 3

Place: Auckland - Whangarei - Paihia (Bay of Islands)

Itinerary: Make your way to the tropical North. Don't miss out 800-years old kauri tree in Parry Kauri Park and the Honey centre in Warkworth. Eat your lunch on the quay of Whangarei town and reach Paihia in the afternoon. Relaxed evening on a beach.

Day 4

Place: Paihia (Bay of Islands)Ninety Mile BeachCape ReingaPaihia (Bay of Islands)

Itinerary: 08:00 – 19:00 Coach Tour Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach (return ex Paihia).

Light house on Cape Reinga

Day 5

Place: Paihia (Bay of Islands)Auckland

Itinerary: 08:00 – 12:00 Dolphin Eco Experience (return ex Paihia). You may swim with friendly dolphins or just remain a spectator. During the cruise, you'll visit the famous Hole in the Rock.

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch at a local cafe.

13:00 – 18:00 Coming back to Auckland. Don't miss out Kerikeri historical site.

Enjoy swimming with dolphins in Bay of Islands

Day 6

Place: Auckland - Waitomo - Hobbiton - Rotorua

Itinerary:

08:00 – 12:00 Way to Waitomo (196 km).

12:00 – 13:00 Waitomo Glowworm Caves. You'll see the underground Milki Way made by glowworms.

13:00 – 14:30 Way to Hobbiton (88 km)

15:00 – 17:00 Tour to Hobbiton ex Shire's Rest Cafe. Imagine to see the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins!

Welcome to Hobbiton!

17:00 – 18:00 Driving to Rotorua (70 km).

18:00 - 18:30 Check-in to Maori village tour.

18:30 – 21:30 Mitai Maori Village Experience. Please, pay your attention that in wintertime this tour starts at 17:30.

OR you may to choose Indigenous Evening Experience at Te Puia to see the highest geyser in Australasia in action.

Day 7

Place: Rotorua

Itinerary:

09:00 – 10:00 Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua Day Experience. Attached to each tree are living decks, offering visitors a unique, and birds-eye perspective of this world-renowned forest.

10:00 – 11:00 Self-guided tour around the city centre. We recommend to visit Government gardens and the lake quay. Alternative options from 09:00 to 12:00

- Active Volcano Landing and Walking Tour by Helicopter

- White Island/ Mount Tarawera by Floatplane

- Mount Tarawera/ Volcanic Landing by Helicopter

- Crater Lakes Flight by Floatplane 15 min

11:00 – 12:30 Driving to Skyline Rotorua, lift the mountain by Gondola and enjoy a spectacular lake and town views. Skyline Gondola & Buffet Lunch.

Lunch at Stratosfare restaurant with delicious meal and great view

12:30 - 13:00 Driving to Agrodome.

13:00 – 15:00 Tour to Agrodome tourist farm: you will see the sheep shearing show and have a chance to pet and feed cows, sheep, deers, and llamas.

15:00 - 16:00 Shopping at Agrodome. Here you can buy high-quality woollen clothes. Driving to rainbow Springs bird park.

16:00 - 17:30 Visit to Rainbow Springs park where you'll encounter lot's of New Zealand endemics including a funny kiwi bird.

18:10 – 18:20 Driving to Polynesian SPA.

18:30 till late: soak in thermal water of Polynesian Lake Spa.

Day 8

Place: Rotorua - Wai-O-Tapu - Huka falls - Taupo

Itinerary:

08:00 – 08:30 Driving to Wai-O-Tapu (31 km)

08:30 – 10:00 Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Completely unique and totally surreal, Wai-O-Tapu is Maori for ‘Sacred Waters’, named in recognition of the mana (spiritual power) embodied in it, but we just know it as a thermal wonderland. Well defined tracks take you around the volcanic features, the mud pools and to the Lady Knox Geyser.

10:00 – 10:15 Make your way to Lady Knox Geyser.

10:15 – 10:30 Observation of Lady Knox Geyser eruption.

Champagne pool got its name because of numerous small bubbles sparkling on the lake surface

10:30 – 11:30 Driving to Huka Falls Jet (47 km).

11:30 – 12:00 Huka Falls Jet Ride. Hold on tight!

12:00 – 13:00 Try delicious king prawns at the restaurant of Huka Prawn Park. It's on the doorstep of Huka Falls Jet.

13:00 – 13:15 Driving to Taupo Marina, 65 Redoubt Street.

13:30 – 15:30 Enjoy Cruise to Maori Rock Carvings. Complementary tee, coffee and muffins are on board.

Free evening in Taupo. We advise you to take Evening on the Lake kayaking tour or relax in blue healing waters of Wairakei Terraces.

Day 9

Place: Taupo

Itinerary:

Spend the day on the lake. Take one of these tours:

- Mountain Bike and Kayak: Maori Rock Carvings Package

- Kayak and Geothermal Adventure

Another option is more thrilling - bungy!

- Solo Taupo Bungy Jump 47m

- Tandem Taupo Bungy Jump 47m

- Solo Extreme Swing. Taupo Cliffhanger.

- Tandem Extreme Swing. Taupo Cliffhanger.

- Bungy & Swing Combo

If you'd like to reduce the duration of your NZ tour, you may easily remove this day from an itinerary.

Day 10

Place: Taupo - Tongariro NP - Wellington

Itinerary:

09:00 – 11:00 Driving to Tongariro national park.

11:00 – 13:00 Taranaki waterfalls trail. These are the most picturesque waterfalls in the region. If you'd like to make the Tongariro Crossing you should leave Taupo at 6 am. This hiking route takes at least 7 hours.

12:00 – 17:00 Driving to Wellington.

Lake Taupo views

Day 11

Place: Wellington

Itinerary: Self-guided tour of the capital of New Zealand. Visit Parliament building (Beehive), ride the cable car, walk through Botanic gardens, explore exhibitions of Te Papa Tongarewa museum.

In the afternoon take the tour Weta Cave: The Full Experience.

Meet Gollum in Weta Cave

Day 12

Place: Wellington - Picton - Kaikoura

Itinerary:

09:00 – 12:00 3-hours ferry journey through Cook strait will lead you to South Island of New Zealand.

12:00 – 12:30 Pick-up your luggage and a new vehicle.

12:30 – 15:00 Driving to Kaikoura (156 km).

15:00 – 15:30 Check-in the tour.

15:30 – 19:00 Whale Watch Boat Tour OR Heli Whalewatch (30 min).

It's better to watch whales from the air

Day 13

Place: Kaikoura - Hanmer Springs - Greymouth - Fox glacier

Itinerary: 08:00 – 19:00 Day on the road. You will cross the Southern Alps with gorgeous views. Take a rest in hot pools of Hanmer Springs, have your lunch in Greymouth. We advise you the tour Shantytown Experience with Gold Panning.

Shantytown Herritage Park

Day 14

Place: Fox glacier - Queenstown

Itinerary:

If you are an early bird we recommend you to meet the sunrise near the Matheson lake which is called "a mirror lake". Don't miss out great photo opportunities!

08:50 – 13:00 Fox Glacier Heli Hike.

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch at a local cafe.

14:30 – 20:00 Driving to Queenstown. The road is fantastic! You'll stop frequently to watch lakes, mountains, waterfalls.

Amazing caves from blue ice

Day 15

Place: Queenstown

Itinerary:

07:45 – 16:30 Dart River Funyaks (return ex Queenstown). It is an amazing journey from Glenorchy deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park. Get up-close with nature with a gentle paddle on sparkling waters.

Alternative options:

- Ziptrek Ecotours: 4 lines Moa Tour

- Ziptrek Ecotours: 6 lines Kea Tour

- Gold Heritage 4WD: Skippers Canyon

- Queenstown Quad Safari

More options on the page All Activities.

18:00 – 22:00 TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Dinner.

This steam boat is over 110 years old

Day 16

Place: Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown - Dunedin

Itinerary:

10:00 – 14:00 Milford Sound Fly/Scenic Cruise/Fly. Visit one of the most picturesque places on the planet.

14:00 – 18:00 Driving to Dunedin (282 km).

Enjoy the dramatic views of the fjords!

Day 17

Place: Dunedin - Mt Cook

Itinerary:

08:30 – 10:00 Self-guided city tour. Visit Octagon square, historic railway station, Otago University.

10:00 – 10:30 Driving to Larnach castle.

10:30 – 11:30 Tour with Audio Guide at Larnach Castle. This is the single castle in the country!

11:30 – 12:30 Lanch at Ball Room Cafe.

12:30 – 13:15 Driving to Penguin Place

13:15 – 14:45 Dunedin Penguin Tour.

14:45 – 15:45 Driving to the Moeraki beach.

15:45 – 16:45 Spend an hour on the beach with mysterious Moeraki boulders.

16:45 – 20:00 Driving to Mt Cook village (243 km).

Day 18

Place: Mt Cook - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch

Itinerary:

09:30–12:00 Boat tour to Abel Tasman glacier. You'll see the edge of the ancient glacier that flows from the highest New Zealand peak - Mt Cook and will touch icebergs drifted in the smoky waters of Tasman Lake.

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch at a local cafe.

13:00 - 18:00 Driving to Christchurch. You'll pass blue-blue Lake Tekapo with Church of the Good Shepherd on the shore.

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Day 19

Place: Christchurch

Itinerary:

You are leaving New Zealand today. You can depart from Christchurch international airport or should take a domestic flight to Auckland or Wellington to catch your international flight. If you have time in the morning we advise you to take one of these tours:

- Christchurch Tram Tour

- Christchurch Botanic Gardens Tour

- Christchurch Punting on the River Avon

- International Antarctic Centre inc 4D Shows and Hagglund Rides

The End

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