16 days in North Island Itinerary

16 days in North Island Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in North Island Itinerary

Start: Dublin
Fly + bus:  28​h
1
Hamilton
— 1 day
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Whakapapa
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
Taupo
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
5
Paihia
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
6
Auckland
— 3 nights
Fly:  27​h
End: Dublin

1
day
Hamilton

Hamilton ©
On the banks of the Waikato River lies Hamilton, a pretty, active city on North Island.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Sat): learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Hamilton Zoo and then stroll around Hamilton Gardens.

To find photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Hamilton online trip planner .

Dublin, Ireland to Hamilton is an approximately 28-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train, flight, and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Dublin to Hamilton is 12 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Hamilton

Parks Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Hamilton Gardens ©
Hamilton Gardens
Hamilton Zoo ©
Hamilton Zoo

2
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Sun): explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, then explore the fascinating underground world of Ruakuri Cave, and finally trek along Ruakuri Walk. Keep things going the next day: Head underground at Caveworld, then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and then head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds.

For reviews, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Waitomo Caves trip planner .

You can take a bus from Hamilton to Waitomo Caves in 1.5 hours. Another option is to drive. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Mon) so you can travel to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk

2
nights
Whakapapa

Whakapapa ©
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Tue): hike along Whakapapa Nature Walk, admire the sheer force of Taranaki Falls, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the striking landscape of Tongariro Crossing Shuttles, then hike along Horsemtrails, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Tawhai Falls.

For where to stay, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Whakapapa road trip tool .

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Whakapapa takes 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Tongariro National Park
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Horsemtrails ©
Horsemtrails
Taranaki Falls ©
Taranaki Falls

3
nights
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Get out of town with these interesting Taupo side-trips: Rotorua (Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Te Puia, & more). There's still lots to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway, witness a stunning natural landmark at Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley, push the limits with an extreme tour, and get in on the family fun at Mind Junction.

For photos, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, use the Taupo trip planner .

Traveling by car from Whakapapa to Taupo takes 1.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Sat) early enough to travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Rotorua
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

3
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.
Take a break from Paihia with a short trip to Pompallier Mission and Printery in Russell, about 42 minutes away. There's still lots to do: contemplate the long history of Waitangi Treaty Grounds, look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour, glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To see ratings, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Paihia day trip app .

Traveling by flight from Taupo to Paihia takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) early enough to drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Pompallier Mission and Printery
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Nature & Wildlife Tours

3
nights
Auckland

Auckland ©
The largest and most populous city in New Zealand, Auckland combines a rich history and thriving contemporary culture in an abundance of museums, art galleries, and performance venues.
On the 30th (Wed), learn about all things military at Auckland War Memorial Museum, then explore the activities along Devonport, then get your game on at Sky Screamer Reverse Bungy, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from SkyTower. On your second day here, kick back and relax at Cheltenham Beach, then step off the mainland to explore Waiheke Island, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Nelson Street Cycleway, and finally stop by Pauanesia.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Auckland trip planner .

You can drive from Paihia to Auckland in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. In December in Auckland, expect temperatures between 20°C during the day and 20°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Fri) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trip

Cheltenham Beach
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Devonport ©
Devonport

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