With one week in New Zealand, you can indulge in the finer things in life while admiring soaring mountains, lush vineyards, and turquoise lakes. Focusing on either the North Island or South Island ensures you have plenty of time to explore, and you can take your pick between a wellness escape, an off-the-beaten-path adventure, or an itinerary featuring wineries and farm-fresh cuisine. Other options include a luxury road trip from Christchurch to Queenstown and a highlights of the North Island tour.

Itinerary #1: New Zealand South Island Luxury Getaway

New Zealand's South Island is renowned for its dramatic scenery, and this luxury highlights itinerary gets you out exploring the best of it in style. Perfect for travelers eager to experience must-see sights but away from the crowds, you'll embark on numerous private tours, including by plane, helicopter, jet boat, and cruise. With 5-star accommodations in Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, and Queenstown, you'll be treated to superb views and touches of luxury that further enhance your stay.

Wraparound views of Lake Wakatipu from your Queenstown luxury lodge (photo courtesy of Azur Lodge)
Wraparound views of Lake Wakatipu from your Queenstown luxury lodge (photo courtesy of Azur Lodge)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Christchurch, Punting on the Avon River / Ōtākaro Christchurch
Day 2 Scenic Drive to Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park Aoraki / Mount Cook 
Day 3 Cass Valley 4WD Tour & High Altitude Whisky Hut Helicopter Trip Aoraki / Mount Cook 
Day 4 Drive to Queenstown, Evening Onsen Hot Pools Session Queenstown
Day 5 Milford Sound / Piopiotahi by Air & Water, Shotover River Jet Boat  Queenstown
Day 6 Skippers Canyon 4WD Tour, TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Dinner Queenstown
Day 7 Depart Queenstown  

Welcome to New Zealand! Your adventure begins in Christchurch, where you'll collect a rental car and check into the luxury Otahuna Lodge. After refreshing, head out for a scenic punting trip along the Avon River / Ōtākaro and explore the city by a heritage-era tram. The next morning, set your GPS to the village of Aoraki / Mount Cook, and four hours later, you'll arrive at the Mount Cook Lakeside Retreat. This high-end accommodation provides the perfect place to unwind between excursions, which include a scenic flight, a private 4WD journey, and a helicopter ride to the world's highest whisky hut. 

Midway through your trip, you'll hit the road to Queenstown—New Zealand's adventure capital. Check into the lavish Azur Lodge, then pull yourself away from the floor-to-ceiling views to visit Onsen for a Japanese-inspired soak. Rise early the next day and embark on a scenic flight and cruise combo to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, followed by an adrenaline-pumping jet boat ride along the Shotover River. On your final full day, tick off a daring 4WD experience in Skippers Canyon before celebrating the end of your trip over a decadent dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Luxury Highlights of New Zealand's North Island

Experience New Zealand's luxurious side on this North Island highlights tour of its rugged coastlines and lush, volcanic-scarred interior. Wildlife enthusiasts and lovers of fine wine will especially find this itinerary an ideal fit, with a gannet safari, a visit to a kiwi hatchery, and numerous vineyard tours on the agenda. Other carefully selected highlights include a soak at the Wai Ariki Spa, a vintage car tour in Napier, and a scenic drive to Peka Peka on the Kapiti coast.

See gannet colonies on the dramatic clifftops of Cape Kidnappers (photo courtesy of Rosewood Cape Kidnappers)
See gannet colonies on the clifftops of Cape Kidnappers (photo courtesy of Rosewood Cape Kidnappers)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Auckland, Four-Course Ahi Restaurant Gourmet Feast Auckland
Day 2 Drive to Rotorua, Kiwi Hatchery Tour & Wai Ariki Spa Session Rotorua
Day 3 Scenic Flight & Geothermal Tour, Pounamu Carving Visit Rotorua
Day 4 Visit a Māori Community, Drive to Napier, Art Deco Vintage Car Tour Napier
Day 5 4WD Gannet Safari & Hawke's Bay Vineyards Tour Napier
Day 6 Drive to Peka Peka, Explore the Kapiti Coast Peka Peka
Day 7 Drive to Wellington, Depart  

Upon arrival in Auckland, delve straight into New Zealand's unique brand of luxury while settling into the swank Park Hyatt Auckland and dining at the renowned Ahi Restaurant. Then, collect a rental car the following morning and drive south to the geothermal city of Rotorua. The native bushland-surrounded Treetops Lodge and Estate is your accommodation here, and after checking in, you'll delight in a private tour of National Kiwi Hatchery and relaxation time at Wai Ariki Spa. The next day, experience volcanic terrain while onboard a floatplane, and round off your stay by crafting your own jade necklace.

On Day 4, bid farewell to Rotorua and continue south to Napier, where you'll settle into the lavish Roseland Cape Kidnappers. Later, immerse yourself in a bygone era with a 1930s vintage car tour led by an expert guide, and spend the following day discovering the region's fertile landscapes, first by private 4WD and second by winery hopping. Then, after another restful evening, your road trip brings you west to Peka Peka on the Kapiti Coast. Spend the afternoon as you please, hiking, relaxing on the beach, or booking a massage before prepping for the next day's departing flight from Wellington. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Luxury New Zealand Wellness Escape

Crafted for travelers seeking a rejuvenating escape amid New Zealand's pure landscapes, this South Island getaway is all about unwinding and recharging. Through gentle nature experiences and pampering spa sessions, you'll quickly forget about life's little hassles and instead embrace nature's serene pace. In addition, stays at the Maruia River Retreat, Westhaven Retreat, and Pihopa Retreat ensure your nights are wrapped in quiet luxury.

Enjoy luxury at Otahuna Lodge, in Christchurch (photo courtesy of Otahuna Lodge)
Enjoy historic elegance at Otahuna Lodge in Christchurch (photo courtesy of Otahuna Lodge)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Christchurch, Explore the Garden City Christchurch
Day 2 Drive to Maruia, Explore & Relax at Maruia River Retreat Murchison
Day 3 Free Day at Maruia River Retreat Murchison
Day 4 Scenic Drive to Collingwood, Settle into Westhaven Retreat Collingwood
Day 5 Free Day to Explore or Relax at Westhaven Retreat Collingwood
Day 6 Drive to Nelson, Abel Tasman Sailing Trip Nelson
Day 7 Depart Nelson  

Your luxury wellness getaway begins in Christchurch, nicknamed the Garden City for its abundant greenery, where you'll refresh at Otahuna Lodge before embarking on a serene punting trip on the Avon River / Ōtākaro. Bid farewell to the city the next morning and drive north to Maruia, a region renowned for its healing hot springs, where you'll check into the luxurious Maruia River Retreat. With two nights here, you'll leave the bustling world behind and immerse yourself in the retreat's meditation, yoga, and massage offerings. In between, delight in farm-fresh cuisine and enjoy unmatched views of the surrounding Southern Alps.

While it's hard to compete with the first days of your adventure, the second half certainly comes close, if not surpassing, with a two-night stay at the remote Westhaven Retreat. Tucked between Kahurangi National Park and Westhaven Bay, you'll quickly fall into the rhythm of nature while joining nature tours and rejuvenating at the on-site hydrotherapy spa. Afterward, continue to Nelson and devote an afternoon to a sailing trip around Abel Tasman National Park's scenic Tasman Bay. You'll also enjoy a night at the 5-star Pihopa Retreat before catching your onward flight. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Luxury Food, Wine & Landscapes of New Zealand's South Island

Slow down and embrace the finer things in life on this immersive culinary tour of New Zealand's South Island. With a rental car on hand and minimal travel time, you'll enjoy focusing on the country's superb farm-to-table food and boutique wines while fitting in plenty of small adventures. Notable highlights include wine tasting in the famous Marlborough region, joining a private chef-led cooking class, exploring by helicopter and small plane, and sailing the calm waters of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Visit farms and vineyards and take whale watching flights from Kaikōura
Visit farms and vineyards and take whale watching flights from Kaikōura
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Christchurch, Tour the Garden City Christchurch
Day 2 Drive to Kaikōura, Mount Fyffe Heli-Picnic & Matai Peak Coastal Farm Tour Kaikoura
Day 3 Hapuku Kitchen Cooking Class & Whale Watching Flight Kaikoura
Day 4 Drive to Blenheim, Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui Mail Boat Cruise Blenheim
Day 5 Marlborough Vineyards Tour & Wine Tasting Blenheim
Day 6 Drive to Nelson, Explore the Region's Food, Craft Brews & Wine Nelson
Day 7 Depart Nelson  

Straight off the plane in Christchurch, you'll collect your rental car and venture to the luxury Otahuna Lodge. Spend the rest of your evening exploring this resilient little city alongside a private guide; then, it's back on the road the next morning for a 2.5-hour drive north to Kaikōura. Your accommodation here is the Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses, and with hot tub and spa facilities, it's the perfect place to return to after a private helicopter tour and a buggy ride. Your second day in Kaikōura promises to be just as exciting, with a chef-led cooking class and a whale watching by plane experience on the agenda. 

The second half of your itinerary kicks off with a drive to Blenheim, where you'll check into Marlborough Boutique Hotel and Vineyard. Take time to explore the picturesque property and dedicate the afternoon to a boat trip on Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui. Of course, you can't come to Blenheim without sampling wines, so the next day is all about winery hopping and indulging in farm-to-table cuisine. Then, on the morning of Day 6, continue to Nelson and spend your final full day relaxing at your boutique accommodation, Pihopa Retreat, before prepping for your departing flight. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Off-the-Beaten-Track Luxury in New Zealand's South Island

New Zealand's South Island is home to snowcapped mountains, glassy fjords, and thundering waterfalls, and tucked between them, remote world-class boutique lodges can be found. This off-the-beaten-track adventure features the best of them, including the exclusive Minaret Station, which is reachable only by helicopter. In addition to their breathtaking settings, these lodges also offer incredible activities, such as guided hikes, scenic plane rides, and 4WD tours, and this itinerary ensures you'll have plenty of time to tick off your favorites. 

Explore Mount Aspiring National Park from your base at the 5-star Minaret Station (photo courtesy of Minaret Station)
Explore Mount Aspiring National Park from your base at the 5-star Minaret Station (photo courtesy of Minaret Station)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Christchurch, Explore the City's English Heritage Christchurch
Day 2 Drive to Ōmarama, Scenic Flight, 4WD Tour & Whisky Hut Ōmarama
Day 3 Free Day to Explore the Luxurious Lindis Lodge Ōmarama
Day 4 Drive to Wānaka, Fly to the Exclusive Minaret Station Wānaka
Day 5 Sightseeing or Outdoor Activities at Minaret Station Wānaka
Day 6 Drive to Queenstown, Discover Milford Sound / Piopiotahi by Air & Water Queenstown
Day 7 Depart Queenstown  

Your weeklong journey begins with a drive from Christchurch airport to rural Taitapu, where you'll check into the stately Otahuna Lodge. Spend the afternoon exploring the city via a punting trip and tram ride, then hit the road the following morning to the small town of Ōmarama. Your time here is filled with thrilling excursions, including a scenic flight over Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, a 4WD tour through the Mackenzie Region, and a private helicopter tour. You'll also have the opportunity to explore the surroundings of Lindis Lodge, your secluded accommodation, and book a stargazing experience.

The second leg of your adventure kicks off with a scenic drive to Wānaka, and upon arrival, you'll be whisked by helicopter to the exclusive Minaret Station. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and admiring Mount Aspiring National Park views. Then, delve into your surroundings, first during a helicopter tour, followed by activities of your choice, which can include backcountry fishing, guided hikes, and mountain biking tours. Next, continue by car to Queenstown, and wrap up with a memorable afternoon touring Milford Sound / Piopiotahi and relaxing at the 5-star Blanket Bay. Learn more

More Great 1-Week New Zealand Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to New Zealand? Check out these other one-week New Zealand itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


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Map of 1 Week in New Zealand - 5 Luxury Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in New Zealand - 5 Luxury Itinerary Ideas