New Zealand Top to Toe Itinerary

23 Days


Auckland Central to Christchurch


  • Giant kauri trees
  • Mountain scenery
  • Kiwi birds in the wild

Best time of year

All year

This extensive itinerary provides a total view of New Zealand, taking in all the essential attractions. In the North Island you’ll discover beautiful beaches, kauri forests, caves and phenomenal geothermal activity. In the South Island the emphasis is on grand mountain scenery, adventure activities, historic architecture and wildlife encounters.

Throughout the country there are vineyards and natural wonderlands to discover, while the cities present you with cultural entertainments and world-class cuisine. By the end of your holiday, you’ll know New Zealand from top to toe.


Whangarei's central Quay is lined with cafes, galleries and shops.

Photo by Destination Northland

Day 1 / 23

Auckland - Whangarei - Paihia

2 hrs

52 mins

228 km

142 mi


At the beginning of your journey, you’ll drive over the Auckland Harbour Bridge towards the bays and beaches of Auckland’s North Shore. The motorway will quickly sweep you northward, until the suburban scenery gives way to peaceful farmland.

Driving north, you’ll pass Hatfield’s Beach before coming across Waiwera, which means ‘hot water’ in Maori. The hot springs are the main attraction in this small, seaside village.

Whangarei is a subtropical city on the edge of a beautiful harbour. At the Quayside Town Basin complex you'll find stylish cafes and restaurants, as well as museums, art galleries and shops.

Take a rest stop in Kawakawa, because it has a remarkable public toilet designed by Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser.

The resort town of Paihia makes an excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands.

Skyline view from Devonport

Auckland Central

This is the heart of Auckland, with a relaxed coastal living vibe by day and a night-time energy shared by the inner-city suburbs that surrounds it.

Things to see and do

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