13 days in North Island Itinerary

13 days in North Island Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in North Island Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  8​h
1
Paihia
— 2 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  3​h
2
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Whakapapa
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
Taupo
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h
5
Rotorua
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Auckland
— 1 night
Fly:  6​h 45​min
End: Sydney

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Wed): surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, then admire all the interesting features of Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour. On your second day here, fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For maps, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read Paihia online vacation planner .

Sydney, Australia to Paihia is an approximately 8-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. Traveling from Sydney to Paihia, you'll lose 2 hours due to the time zone difference. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) so you can travel to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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.
On the 24th (Fri), get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, then explore the fascinating underground world of Ruakuri Cave, then Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and finally hike along Ruakuri Walk. On the 25th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the views from Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, then admire the sheer force of Marakopa Falls, then Head underground at Caveworld, and finally let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Waitomo Caves sightseeing app .

Getting from Paihia to Waitomo Caves by combination of taxi and flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to travel to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk

2
nights
Whakapapa

Whakapapa ©
On the 26th (Sun), take in the dramatic scenery at Tawhai Falls, trek along Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and then hike along Taranaki Falls. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the landscape on two wheels at Ohakune Old Coach Road and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Whakapapa day trip planner.

Getting from Waitomo Caves to Whakapapa by car takes about 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Tongariro National Park, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Ohakune Old Coach Road ©
Ohakune Old Coach Road
River Rafting & Tubing

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.
On the 28th (Tue), take in the dramatic natural features at Craters of the Moon, get in on the family fun at Huka Prawn Park, then take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway, and finally push the limits with an extreme tour. Keep things going the next day: make a trip to Aratiatia Rapids, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then don't miss a visit to Maori Rock Carvings.

For where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, go to the Taupo trip maker tool .

You can drive from Whakapapa to Taupo in 1.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) early enough to catcht the bus to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Jan 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Kayaking & Canoeing

3
nights
Rotorua

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.
Step out of Rotorua to go to Hinuera and see Hobbiton Movie Set, which is approximately 1h 20 min away. There's much more to do: take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, identify plant and animal life at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To find photos, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, read Rotorua day trip planning app .

You can take a bus from Taupo to Rotorua in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. In January, daily temperatures in Rotorua can reach 27°C, while at night they dip to 19°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sat) so you can go by car to Auckland.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Hobbiton Movie Set
Find places to stay Jan 29 — Feb 1:
Highlights from your plan
Hobbiton Movie Set ©
Hobbiton Movie Set
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Zipline

1
night
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 2nd (Sun), take an in-depth tour of Auckland War Memorial Museum, explore the activities along Devonport, then stop by Pauanesia, and finally make a trip to SkyTower.

To see maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Auckland trip planner .

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Auckland takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. Traveling from Rotorua in February, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Auckland, with lows of 26°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums Nature Parks
Find places to stay Feb 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Devonport ©
Devonport

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