36 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Klarna Trips New Zealand trip planner
Make it your trip
Fly
1
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Whitianga
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Taupo
— 4 nights
Shuttle
4
Tongariro National Park
— 3 nights
Fly
5
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Drive
6
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Wanaka
— 5 nights
Drive
8
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Drive
9
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Fly
10
Christchurch
— 3 nights

S M T W T F S
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18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
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2
3
4
5
6
7
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9
10
11
12
13
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15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27

Rotorua — 4 nights

Sulphur City

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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Mt Maunganui Main Beach and Rotorua Museum. Get out of town with these interesting Rotorua side-trips: Mount Maunganui Summit Track (in Mount Maunganui) and the Zeus Gallery (in Tauranga). There's much more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, and don't miss a visit to Fancy Meow Cat Cafe.

To see maps, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Rotorua tour itinerary planner.

Christchurch to Rotorua is an approximately 3.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Traveling from Christchurch in December, Rotorua is a bit warmer at night with lows of 17°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Thu) early enough to go by car to Whitianga.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 21:
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Whitianga — 2 nights

Whitianga is a town on the Coromandel Peninsula, in the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North Island. Start off your visit on the 22nd (Fri): get a taste of life in the country at Twin Oaks Riding Ranch and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Keep things going the next day: take in the pleasant sights at Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve, take in the natural beauty of Hot Water Beach, then trek along Cathedral Cove Walk, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Hahei Beach Walk.

For maps, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Whitianga day trip planning app.

You can drive from Rotorua to Whitianga in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sat) to allow time to drive to Taupo.
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Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Beaches
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
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Taupo — 4 nights

Great Cloak of Tia

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Spellbound and Aratiatia Rapids. Take a break from Taupo with a short trip to River Rafting & Tubing in Turangi, about 42 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: tour the pleasant surroundings at Huka Falls Walkway, take a memorable tour with Tours, take in the natural beauty of Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, and take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Taupo visit planner.

Drive from Whitianga to Taupo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and flight. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) early enough to take a shuttle to Tongariro National Park.
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Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 27:
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Tongariro National Park — 3 nights

Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
On the 28th (Thu), hike the day away at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. There's still lots to do: admire the sheer force of Taranaki Falls, hike along Ridge Track, tour the pleasant surroundings at Silica Rapids Track, and contemplate the waterfront views at Tama Lakes.

To find maps, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, read Tongariro National Park travel route builder site.

Traveling by shuttle from Taupo to Tongariro National Park takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sat) so you can catch the flight to Queenstown.
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Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 30:
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Queenstown — 5 nights

Shallow Bay

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Otago Central Rail Trail and Chard Farm Winery. Explore Queenstown's surroundings by going to Glenorchy-Queenstown Road (in Mount Creighton), Old Fashioned Costume Photography (in Arrowtown) and Cheeki Cherries the home of Dam Good Fruit. (in Cromwell). There's lots more to do: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, push the limits with an extreme tour, look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Park, and make a trip to Arrowtown Village.

For maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Queenstown tour itinerary app.

Fly from Tongariro National Park to Queenstown in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, train, ferry, and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Thu) so you can drive to Lake Tekapo.
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Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Breweries & Distilleries
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 4:
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Lake Tekapo — 2 nights

Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Fri): take in the architecture and atmosphere at The Church of the Good Shepherd, then see Off-Road Tours, then see the world from above with a helicopter tour, and finally contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Tekapo. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the activities along Lake Pukaki, then make a trip to Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and then stroll through Glencoe Walk.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Lake Tekapo vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

You can drive from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo in 3 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sat) so you can travel to Wanaka.
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Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 6:
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Wanaka — 5 nights

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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Roys Peak Track and Wanaka. And it doesn't end there: take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, hike along Mount Iron Track, and stroll through Blue Pools Track.

To see photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Wanaka online journey planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Lake Tekapo to Wanaka. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Te Anau.
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Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Trails
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 11:
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Te Anau — 5 nights

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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Kepler Track and Kowhai Gifts & Souvenirs. Spend the 13th (Sat) exploring at Doubtful Sound. On the 15th (Mon), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, hike along Lake Gunn, and Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves.

To see photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Te Anau online holiday planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Wanaka to Te Anau. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Tue) to allow time to travel to Dunedin.
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Side Trip
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 16:
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Dunedin — 2 nights

Edinburgh of the South

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.
On the 17th (Wed), examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and then explore the striking landscape at Otago Peninsula. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 18th (Thu): tour the old-fashioned way with a train tour, don't miss a visit to The World's Steepest Street, and then take in nature's colorful creations at Dunedin Botanic Garden.

To see ratings, photos, and other tourist information, use the Dunedin trip itinerary tool.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Te Anau to Dunedin. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) so you can catch the flight to Christchurch.
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Parks · Wildlife · Nature · Tours
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 18:
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Christchurch — 3 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Explore hidden gems such as Quake City and Margaret Mahy Family Playground. Step out of Christchurch with an excursion to Dolphin & Whale Watching in Akaroa--about 1h 20 min away. The adventure continues: take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Cardboard Cathedral, see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre, and don't miss a visit to 185 Empty White Chairs - Earthquake Memorial.

To find where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Christchurch tour itinerary builder website.

You can fly from Dunedin to Christchurch in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 26°C, while at night they dip to 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sun) so you can travel back home.
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Museums · Parks · Tours · Wildlife
Side Trip
Find places to stay Jan 18 — 21:
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New Zealand travel guide

4.5
Land of the Long White Cloud
Far-flung New Zealand has become known for its astounding topography, singular biodiversity, varied climate, and for marrying native Maori and post-colonial European cultures on its two main islands and the multitude of smaller landmasses dotted around them. Free-spirited New Zealanders cultivate a love of sports, sustainability, and the outdoors. Far from other landmasses, the islands existed for millions of years before being inhabited by humans, so an abundance of species have come to thrive in the thick, wild rainforest, vast and rugged backland, and extensive surrounding marine areas. While much of New Zealand tourism centers around adventures through this spectacular scenery, take time to explore the nation's rich cultural heritage as well. The traditions and history of the Maoris, and the industry and internationalism of the descendents of the first European settlers endure in fascinating attractions, ranging from museums, to farms, to places of worship.
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