17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Chicago
Fly:  20​h 15​min
1
Auckland
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
2
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
3
Rotorua
— 3 nights
bus:  1​h
4
Taupo
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Tongariro National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
6
Napier
— 4 nights
Fly:  20​h 15​min
End: Chicago

2
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 1st (Sun), make a trip to Sky Tower. Keep things going the next day: head off the coast to Hauraki Gulf.

For maps, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Auckland trip planner .

Chicago, USA to Auckland is an approximately 20.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 18 hours traveling from Chicago to Auckland. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Chicago in November: highs in Auckland hover around 64°F, while lows dip to 63°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 2nd (Mon) to allow time for the car ride to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Auckland

Nature Parks
Find places to stay Nov 30 — Dec 2:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Hauraki Gulf ©
Hauraki Gulf

2
nights
Waitomo Caves

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.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 3rd (Tue): tour the pleasant surroundings at Ruakuri Walk, Head underground at Ruakuri Cave, Head underground at Footwhistle Glowworm Cave, then explore the fascinating underground world of Caveworld, and finally explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

For traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read Waitomo Caves online sightseeing planner .

Drive from Auckland to Waitomo Caves in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Dec 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave
Caveworld ©
Caveworld

3
nights
Rotorua

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.
On the 5th (Thu), appreciate the history behind Arawa War Memorial Statue, then take in nature's colorful creations at Government Gardens, then make a trip to Te Puia, and finally kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Mount Maunganui Base Track.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Rotorua trip itinerary tool .

Traveling by car from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 71°F during the day and 59°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 7th (Sat) to allow enough time to take a bus to Taupo.

Things to do in Rotorua

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Mount Maunganui Base Track, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Dec 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Zipline

2
nights
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Sat): push the limits with an extreme tour. On your second day here, see the interesting displays at Taupo Museum, admire the natural beauty at Waipahihi Botanical Gardens, and then cast your line with a fishing tour.

To find more things to do, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Taupo road trip planner.

You can take a bus from Rotorua to Taupo in an hour. Another option is to drive. On the 9th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Huka Falls
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Huka Falls ©
Huka Falls

2
nights
Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park ©
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Mon): take in the dramatic scenery at Tawhai Falls. On the next day, hike along Whakapapa Nature Walk, tour the pleasant surroundings at Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and then take in the pleasant sights at Mead's Wall.

To find other places to visit, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Tongariro National Park route planner .

Traveling by car from Taupo to Tongariro National Park takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and car; or do a combination of bus and car. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 11th (Wed) to allow time for the car ride to Napier.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Tangiwai Rail Disaster Memorial
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tawhai Falls ©
Tawhai Falls
Whakapapa Nature Walk ©
Whakapapa Nature Walk

4
nights
Napier

Enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of 1930s design in Napier, one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Wine Tours & Tastings and Sunken Gardens. Take a break from Napier with a short trip to Te Mata Peak in Hastings, about 32 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: take a memorable tour with Tours, do a tasting at Askerne Vineyards, admire the natural beauty at Botanical Gardens, and appreciate the history behind Pania of the Reef Statue.

For where to stay, reviews, maps, and tourist information, go to the Napier trip site .

You can drive from Tongariro National Park to Napier in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car, shuttle, and bus; or do a combination of car and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 15th (Sun) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Napier

Tours Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Te Mata Peak, Askerne Vineyards, Gentle Annie Highway, Gannet Colony
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Wine Tours & Tastings
Te Mata Peak ©
Te Mata Peak

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