14 Days

Highlights

  • Sunny Nelson beaches
  • West Coast glaciers
  • Glowworms in Waitomo

Entfernung

  • By car: Total trip distance: 2,444km
  • By car: Begin your journey in Auckland

Discover some of New Zealand’s most scenic spots with this 12-day highlights itinerary.

Discover some of New Zealand’s most scenic spots with this 12-day highlights itinerary. Gaze in awe at glowworm filled caves and geothermal wonders. Wander through world-class museums and galleries in Wellington.

Relax on sunny beaches in Nelson and explore glaciers and forests of the wild West Coast, before visiting New Zealand’s adventure capital Queenstown and the truly majestic Milford Sound. 

Day 1: Spend the day in Auckland

Auckland
Helikopterflug über Auckland, Auckland

Von Alistair Guthrie

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN AUCKLAND

Find out more

Highlights

  • Boat cruises
  • Sky tower
  • Auckland Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira

With a mix of natural wonder and adventure, Auckland is a great place to start your New Zealand journey. Take in the panoramic views from the iconic Sky Tower.

Discover world-class food and wine in Auckland’s many eateries and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant nightlife. 

If you have time visit one of the Hauraki Gulf's many glittering islands to walk through beautiful native bush or take a magical vineyard tour.

Day 2: Auckland - Waitomo Caves

Hamilton - Waikato
Waitomo Caves, Hamilton - Waikato

Von Shaun Jeffers

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN WAIKATO

Find out more
Hamilton - Waikato

Hamilton - Waikato

Waikato Accommodation

Highlights

  • Glowworm caves
  • Blackwater rafting
  • Botanical gardens

Travel south over rolling hills to the city of Hamilton, where you can wander tranquil botanic gardens or visit the Hamilton Zoo and see the giant free flight aviary. As you continue south you’ll come to Otorohanga Kiwi House, a chance to meet New Zealand’s national symbol.

The Waitomo Caves is famous for its subterranean splendour. Beneath the surface of this ancient limestone region is a series of vast cave systems decorated with glow-worms. Choose your level of adventure, from a gentle boat cruise to blackwater rafting or abseiling into the abyss.

Day 3: Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

Rotorua
Hells Gate, Rotorua

Von Fraser Clements

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN ROTORUA

Find out more

Highlights

  • Geothermal attractions
  • Maori villages and culture
  • Agroventures

Entfernung

  • By car: 2 hours from Waitomo
  • By car: 3 hrs from Auckland
  • By plane: 45 mins from Auckland

Your journey to Rotorua will take you through a fascinating mixture of farmland, lakeland and forest. Walkers can stop to explore the many trails of beautiful Pureora Forest Park, home to several rare bird species. Trout fanciers may like to try their luck at Lake Whakamaru.

Rotorua itself is packed with activities from relaxing in hot pools to bungy jumping and mountain biking. See more must do experiences in Rotorua.

 

Day 4: Spend the day in Rotorua

Rotorua
Te Puia, Rotorua

Von Fraser Clements

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN ROTORUA

Find out more

Highlights

  • Maori Culture
  • Theme & leisure parks
  • Zoos & wildlife parks
Rotorua

Rotorua

Find out more about Maori Culture in New Zealand

Evidence of volcanic activity greet you at every turn in Rotorua, from bubbling mud pools, to giant geysers and relaxing hot pools. Explore the region's many geothermal wonders or discover unique Maori culture with a cultural performance and delicious hangi.

For the more adventurous, try the famous Skyline luge, bungy jumping, mountain biking or zip-lining through the forest canopy.

Day 5: Rotorua - Taupo

Lake Taupo
Mine Bay, Lake Taupo

Von Alistair Guthrie

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN LAKE TAUPO

Find out more

Highlights

  • Hot pools & health spas
  • Boat cruises and fishing
  • Mine Bay Maori rock carvings

Entfernung

The geothermal sights continue as you travel towards the resort town of Lake Taupo. Take a side road to a Orakei Korako Cave and thermal park, where you’ll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud. At Huka Falls take a break and watch the raging water plumet over the falls at 220,000 litres of water per second.

Lake Taupo is well stocked with sizeable trout, a must for fly-fishers. Or take a boat cruise or kayak on the lake to visit the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, an excellent way to learn about the history of the area.

Day 6: Taupo - Wellington

Wellington
Wellington City, Wellington

Von Julian Apse

Highlights

  • Tongariro National Park
  • Kapiti Island
  • Heritage attractions in Wellington

Entfernung

  • By car: 4 hrs 45 mins from Taupo
  • By plane: 1 hr from Taupo

The drive from Taupo to Wellington is a stunning mixture of volcanoes, rivers valleys and wide open plains. Along the way take time to stop in Turangi, the trout fishing capital of New Zealand or the nearby hot springs of Tokaanu. If you have time you can try rafting the Tongariro River.

In Waiouru, the QE2 Memorial Museum is well worth a look and is the stunning Mangaweka Gorge. From here make your way through the Wairarapa and down the beautiful Kapiti Coast and in to Wellington, the world's coolest little capital. 

Day 7: Spend the day in Wellington

Wellington
Dining in Wellington City, Wellington

Von Julian Apse

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN WELLINGTON

Find out more

Highlights

  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Zealandia Ecosanctuary
  • Weta Workshop's
Wellington

Wellington

More about Wellington, the coolest little capital.

Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot.  

Spend the morning visiting the city's many art galleries and museums, including the stunning national Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. Discover the secrets behind The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies with a Weta Cave Workshop Tour.

In the afternoon walk to the summit of Mount Victoria for 360-degree city views and take the chance to soak up Wellington's lively cafe scene.

Day 8: Wellington - Picton - Nelson

Marlborough
Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough

Von Mike Heydon

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN NELSON

Find out more

Highlights

  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Galleries
  • Walking and hiking

Entfernung

Travel across the Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds in one of the world's most scenic ferry trips. From the picturesque seaside town of Picton travel west to Nelson. Enjoy a bush walk or swim at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve or stop at one of the many vineyards that make this region so famous for wine.

Nelson is a great place to organise join an eco-adventure, become immersed in the local creative culture, or simply relax on one of the many stunning beaches.

Day 9: Nelson - Greymouth

West Coast
Rapahoe Beach, West Coast

Von Julian Apse

Highlights

  • Punakaiki
  • Blackwater Cave & Zipline Adventure
  • Shantytown Heritage Park

Entfernung

  • By car: 4 hours from Nelson

From Nelson you will travel up the Motueka River Valley past magical scenery and tiny settlements. Pan for gold in Lyell Creek before you navigate the awesome Buller Gorge.

Continue on towards the coast where spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea follow you to Greymouth. Don't miss the spectacular pancake rocks and booming blowholes in Punakaiki, centrepiece of the Paparoa National Park.

In Greymouth, discover the region's long gold mining history with a trip to the local museum or nearby Shantytown.

Day 10: Greymouth - Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier

West Coast
Franz Josef Gletscher entdecken, West Coast

Von Fraser Clements

Highlights

  • Walk on the glacier
  • Helicopter Flights
  • Nearby rainforests, waterfalls and lakes

Entfernung

  • By car: 2 hours 20 mins from Greymouth

As you make your way down the West Coast to Franz Josef Glacier, take time to visit the fascinating town of Hokitika, famous for its annual Wild Food Festival. Wander through the forest canopy at the nearby Treetops Walk.

A mere 10 minutes walk from Franz Josef town centre you will find the glacier terminal. To get up close join a guided walk or heli-flight and walk on the ice itself. A short drive south from Franz Josef, takes you to Fox Glacier. The road crosses ancient moraines from earlier advances and retreats. See more must do experiences in West Coast.

Day 11: Fox Glacier - Wanaka

Wanaka
Lone Tree, Wanaka

Von Tourism New Zealand

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN QUEENSTOWN

Find out more

Highlights

  • Walking and hiking
  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World

Entfernung

Waterfalls and river scenery greet you as you leave the coast journey into Haast Pass. The road snakes through the Aspiring National Park, and the vegetation becomes more sparse as you travel inland.

The lakeside town of Wanaka has a variety of unique attractions for you to discover. Puzzling World and the quirky Paradiso Cinema are worth a visit. Or take a walk along one of the region's many trails, make sure you check out the famous Wanaka tree growing from the lake.

Day 12: Wanaka - Queenstown

Queenstown
Queenstown, Queenstown

Von AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN QUEENSTOWN

Find out more

Highlights

  • Jet Boating, bungy jumping
  • Arrowtown gold mining history
  • Winery tours

Entfernung

The short one hour drive from Wanaka to Queenstown has plenty of break points along the way. Visit the vineyards of the Gibbston area or stop to watch bungy jumpers leap from the Kawarau River Bridge.

Queenstown itself is an exciting mix of sophistication, stunning scenery and adventure. It is the perfect place to try bungy jumping, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and skydiving. Or for something a little more relaxing, indulge in some luxury with gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf

Day 13: Queenstown - Milford Sound

Fiordland
Milford Sound, Fiordland

Von Alistair Guthrie

Highlights

  • Boat Cruises
  • Scenic Flights
  • Walking & Hiking

Entfernung

The first part of the drive to Milford Sound clings scenically to the edge of Lake Wakatipu. On the shores of Lake Te Anau sits Te Anau township, where you can find an impressive array of eateries for lunch.

Continue along the Milford Road, through beech forest, the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes, until finally the rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound. The amazing 22km-long fiord is dominated by Mitre Peak and scattered with waterfalls, vertical rock faces and unique wildlife.

To fully immerse yourself in the experience of the sounds, take an overnight cruise.

Day 14: Milford Sound - Queenstown

Queenstown
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown Trail, Queenstown

Von Miles Holden

DISCOVER EXPERIENCES IN QUEENSTOWN

Find out more

Highlights

  • Te Anau Glowworm Caves
  • Hiking and cycling
  • Food and wine
Queenstown

Queenstown

Queenstown Accommodation

Before heading back to Queenstown, take the time to explore Te Anau. Cruise on the lakes, walk the tracks and visit the Department of Conservation wildlife centre. The Te Ana-au Caves are also an excellent adventure.

Make your way through Kingston and alongside Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown, where you can indulge in some shopping or end your journey with a sumptuous meal in one of Queenstown’s many quality-eating establishments.

View the journey below

Experience another adventure

Relax and Rejuvenate from Auckland to Christchurch →

Rotorua to Waitomo Itinerary →

Top New Zealand trips →