26 days in New Zealand Itinerary

26 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly:  21​h 15​min
1
Auckland
— 1 day
Drive:  3​h
2
Paihia
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
3
Taupo
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Tongariro National Park
— 3 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + bus:  12​h
5
Fox Glacier
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
6
Mt. Cook Village
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
7
Te Anau
— 3 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
8
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 15​min
9
Wellington
— 1 night
Fly:  23​h
End: Washington DC

1
day
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.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Tue): brush up on your military savvy at Auckland War Memorial Museum, then look for gifts at Pauanesia, and then make a trip to Sky Tower.

To find ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Auckland route planner.

Washington DC, USA to Auckland is an approximately 21.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of subway, bus, and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 17 hours traveling from Washington DC to Auckland. While traveling from Washington DC, expect a bit warmer days and warmer nights in Auckland, ranging from highs of 64°F to lows of 64°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Paihia.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Pauanesia ©
Pauanesia

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.
Paihia is known for parks, wildlife, nature, adventure, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in nature's colorful creations at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, find something for the whole family at Action World, and take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Paihia online tour itinerary maker .

You can drive from Auckland to Paihia in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Fri) so you can travel to Taupo.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Scuba & Snorkeling

4
nights
Taupo

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
Venture out of the city with trips to Rotorua (Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Te Puia, & more), Waitomo Glowworm Caves (in Waitomo Caves) and Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera). And it doesn't end there: get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, stop by Huka Honey Hive, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, and take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway.

For traveler tips, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Taupo itinerary tool .

Fly from Paihia to Taupo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Tongariro National Park.

Things to do in Taupo

Tours Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Rotorua, Hobbiton Movie Set, Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway

3
nights
Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park ©
Tongariro National Park has a long history of preserving New Zealand's pristine alpine landscape.
Tongariro National Park is known for trails, nature, winter sports, and outdoors. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: tour the pleasant surroundings at Tongariro Alpine Crossing, hike along Whakapapa Nature Walk, take in the dramatic scenery at Taranaki Falls, and take in the pleasant sights at Mead's Wall.

For ratings, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Tongariro National Park online holiday planner .

Drive from Taupo to Tongariro National Park in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and car; or do a combination of bus and car. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to travel to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Horsemtrails ©
Horsemtrails
Ohakune Old Coach Road ©
Ohakune Old Coach Road

2
nights
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Fox Glacier is known for nature, trails, beaches, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: explore the striking landscape of Fox Glacier, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, trek along Minnehaha Walk, and explore the activities along Lake Matheson Walk.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Fox Glacier holiday planner .

Traveling by combination of taxi, train, flight, and bus from Tongariro National Park to Fox Glacier takes 12 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, train, flight, and car. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Franz Josef Glacier
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Fox Glacier ©
Fox Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Gillespies Beach ©
Gillespies Beach

3
nights
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
Mt. Cook Village is known for childrens museums, wildlife, outdoors, trails, and winter sports. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: head outdoors with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, trek along Hooker Valley Track, stroll through Red Tarns Track, and hit the slopes at Ski The Tasman.

To see maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Mt. Cook Village visit planning tool .

You can drive from Fox Glacier to Mt. Cook Village in 5.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Thu) early enough to travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Mt. Cook Village

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Mueller Hut Route ©
Mueller Hut Route

3
nights
Te Anau

Te Anau ©
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.
Change things up with a short trip to Milford Foreshore Walk in Milford (about 1h 15 min away). The adventure continues: explore the activities along Milford Sound, appreciate the history behind Quintin Mackinnon Monument, stroll through The Chasm Walk, and hike along Lake Gunn.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Te Anau trip maker website .

Explore your travel options from Mt. Cook Village to Te Anau with the Route module. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) so you can catcht the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Foreshore Walk
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

3
nights
Queenstown

Queenstown ©
Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, wildlife, spas, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, steep yourself in history at Fallen Soldiers Memorial, sample some tasty brews at a beer tour and tasting, and learn about winemaking at Peregrine Wines.

To see maps, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Queenstown road trip website .

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Queenstown takes 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline

1
night
Wellington

Wellington
Wellington, the world's southernmost capital city and New Zealand's second most populous urban area, combines the nation's rugged history and nature with its modern and cosmopolitan present.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): get engrossed in the history at The Great War Exhibition, then take in nature's colorful creations at Wellington Botanic Garden, then take a memorable ride with Wellington Cable Car, and finally see the interesting displays at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

To find photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Wellington journey builder tool .

Traveling by flight from Queenstown to Wellington takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car and ferry. In January, daily temperatures in Wellington can reach 70°F, while at night they dip to 59°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums Parks Transportation

Side Trip

Wellington Botanic Garden
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Botanic Garden ©
Wellington Botanic Garden
Wellington Cable Car ©
Wellington Cable Car

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