20 days in New Zealand Itinerary

20 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock North Island trip planner

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Route & dates

20 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: Brisbane
Fly:  7​h 30​min
1
Wellington
— 1 day
Fly:  2​h 30​min
2
New Plymouth
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Whakapapa
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
Taupo
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
5
Waimangu
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
6
Hahei
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
7
Auckland
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
8
Waitomo Caves
— 3 nights
Drive:  6​h
9
Russell
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
10
Kerikeri
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h
11
Rotorua
— 4 nights
Fly:  8​h 15​min
End: Brisbane

1
day
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.
On the 29th (Sun), get a sense of history and politics at New Zealand Parliament, then admire the natural beauty at Wellington Botanic Garden, then get around town with Wellington Cable Car, and finally see the interesting displays at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

To find reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Wellington travel route planner.

Brisbane, Australia to Wellington is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of flight, taxi, and train. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland) to New Zealand Standard Time is 2 hours. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Brisbane in December: high temperatures in Wellington hover around 22°C and lows are around 15°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) early enough to travel to New Plymouth.

Things to do in Wellington

Museums Parks Transportation

Side Trip

Wellington Botanic Garden
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Wellington Botanic Garden ©
Wellington Botanic Garden
Wellington Cable Car ©
Wellington Cable Car

1
night
New Plymouth

New Plymouth ©
Where other cities run, New Plymouth prefers to stroll.
On the 30th (Mon), stop by Giles Chocolatier, then go for a walk through New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, then get curious at Puke Ariki, and finally get to know the resident critters at Pukekura Park.

To find reviews, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, use the New Plymouth road trip planner.

You can fly from Wellington to New Plymouth in 2.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Mon) so you can travel to Whakapapa.

Things to do in New Plymouth

Museums Zoos & Aquariums Childrens Museums
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Puke Ariki ©
Puke Ariki
Pukekura Park ©
Pukekura Park
New Plymouth Coastal Walkway ©
New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

1
night
Whakapapa

Whakapapa ©
On the 31st (Tue), take in the dramatic scenery at Tawhai Falls, trek along Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Taranaki Falls.

For where to stay, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Whakapapa day trip tool .

Traveling by car from New Plymouth to Whakapapa takes 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Taupo.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trip

Tongariro National Park
Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Taranaki Falls ©
Taranaki Falls
Tawhai Falls ©
Tawhai Falls

1
night
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 1st (Wed): make a trip to Aratiatia Rapids, stroll around Huka Prawn Park, then admire the sheer force of Huka Falls Walkway, and finally get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To see reviews, maps, and tourist information, go to the Taupo tour planner .

Traveling by car from Whakapapa to Taupo takes 1.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can drive to Waimangu.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Huka Prawn Park ©
Huka Prawn Park

1
night
Waimangu

Waimangu ©
On the 2nd (Thu), get impressive views of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, tour the pleasant surroundings at Tarawera Falls, then explore the activities along Lake Rotomahana, and finally explore the wealth of natural beauty at Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool.

For traveler tips, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Waimangu road trip planning app .

Drive from Taupo to Waimangu in an hour. Expect a daytime high around 27°C in January, and nighttime lows around 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can travel to Hahei.

Things to do in Waimangu

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool, Tarawera Falls
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Tarawera Falls ©
Tarawera Falls
Lake Rotomahana ©
Lake Rotomahana

1
night
Hahei

Hahei ©
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Fri): take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Paku, then view the masterpieces at The Little Gallery, then witness a stunning natural landmark at Hot Water Beach, and finally trek along Cathedral Cove Walk.

To find ratings, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Hahei trip itinerary app .

You can drive from Waimangu to Hahei in 3.5 hours. In January, daytime highs in Hahei are 26°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) so you can drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Hahei

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Tairua, Hot Water Beach
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Hot Water Beach ©
Hot Water Beach
Cathedral Cove Walk ©
Cathedral Cove Walk
Mount Paku ©
Mount Paku

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.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Sat): examine the collection at Auckland War Memorial Museum, then contemplate the waterfront views at Devonport, then stop by Pauanesia, and finally take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower. Here are some ideas for day two: awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area and then get to know the resident critters at Auckland Zoo.

For ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Auckland travel planner.

You can drive from Hahei to Auckland in 2.5 hours. When traveling from Hahei in January, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in Auckland: temperatures range from 22°C by day to 22°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Tours
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Wine Tours & Tastings

3
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.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Mon): experience rural life at Roselands Farm Park, then explore the fascinating underground world of Ruakuri Cave, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Ruakuri Walk. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 7th (Tue): explore the striking landscape at Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, take in the dramatic scenery at Marakopa Falls, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and finally identify plant and animal life at Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park.

To find maps, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Waitomo Caves trip builder site .

Traveling by car from Auckland to Waitomo Caves takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Wed) to allow time for travel to Russell.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Waitomo Glowworm Caves ©
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
River Rafting & Tubing
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk

2
nights
Russell

Russell, formerly known as Kororāreka, was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand. Kick off your visit on the 9th (Thu): steep yourself in history at Pompallier Mission and Printery, then stroll through Tapeka Point Track, and then take a memorable excursion with Day Trips. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the architecture and atmosphere at Christ Church, then examine the collection at Russell Museum, then hike along Nancy Fladgate Track, and finally steep yourself in history at Flagstaff Hill Historic Reserve.

To find maps, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Russell tour planner.

Getting from Waitomo Caves to Russell by car takes about 6 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and flight. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Kerikeri.

Things to do in Russell

Outdoors Historic Sites Tours

Side Trip

Dolphin & Whale Watching
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Pompallier Mission and Printery ©
Pompallier Mission and Printery
Christ Church ©
Christ Church

2
nights
Kerikeri

Kerikeri ©
Kerikeri, the largest town in Northland New Zealand, is a popular tourist destination about three hours drive north of Auckland, and 80 km north of the northern region's largest city, Whangarei. Kick off your visit on the 11th (Sat): take in the dramatic scenery at Haruru Falls, explore and take pictures at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour. On the next day, look for all kinds of wild species at Paihia Harbour, then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and then contemplate the long history of KeriKeri New Zealand.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Kerikeri trip builder website .

Drive from Russell to Kerikeri in 1.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) early enough to travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Kerikeri

Parks Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Paihia
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Waitangi Treaty Grounds ©
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours

4
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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera) and Dog and Sheep Shaped Corrugated Metal Buildings (in Tirau). And it doesn't end there: witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, don't miss a visit to Te Puia, take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, and have some family-friendly fun at OGO Rotorua.

To find other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Rotorua holiday builder site .

You can fly from Kerikeri to Rotorua in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or drive. In January, daytime highs in Rotorua are 27°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. On the 16th (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Hobbiton Movie Set, Dog and Sheep Shaped Corrugated Metal Buildings, River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Jan 12 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Hobbiton Movie Set ©
Hobbiton Movie Set
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Zipline

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