Itinerary #1: North to South New Zealand Family Trip
This two-week adventure is perfect for first-time visitors to the country as it takes you and your family on a highlights tour of the North and South Islands. Experience Auckland's city skyline from the Sky Tower, take a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set in Rotorua, ride the cable car in Wellington, then journey to the South Island to enjoy a river safari in Queenstown, the hot springs in Lake Tekapo, and a dolphin tour from Christchurch.
|Day 1||Arrive in Auckland, Sky Tower Dinner||Auckland|
|Day 2||Driving Creek Railway & Potteries||Auckland|
|Day 3||Drive to Rotorua, Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves||Rotorua|
|Day 4||Rotorua Forest Canopy Tour, Te Pā Tū Māori Feast||Rotorua|
|Day 5||Drive to Tongariro National Park, Forgotten World Rail Cart Tour||Tongariro|
|Day 6||Drive to Wellington, Wellington Cable Car, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary||Wellington|
|Day 7||The Lord of the Rings Full-Day Tour, Explore Wellington||Wellington|
|Day 8||Fly to Queenstown, Gondola & Buffet Dinner||Queenstown|
|Day 9||Dart River Safaris, Half-Day Macetown 4WD Tour||Queenstown|
|Day 10||Drive to Lake Tekapo, Tekapo Springs Hot Pools||Lake Tekapo|
|Day 11||Braemar Station Backcountry Tour, Dark Sky Project Summit Experience||Lake Tekapo|
|Day 12||Drive to Christchurch, Historic Tram Dinner||Christchurch|
|Day 13||Swim with Dolphins in Akaroa||Christchurch|
|Day 14||Depart Christchurch|
Land in Auckland, and if the kids of energy to burn, hike Mount Eden, take a boat to nearby Waiheke Island, or head to the top of the Sky Tower. Collect your rental car and explore the Coromandel Peninsula before driving to Rotorua. Fans of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogies will enjoy a tour of the movie set in Hobbiton, whereas nature-centered families will marvel at the wonders of Waitomo Caves. Zip line through the treetops of the Rotorua Redwoods, then indulge in a three-course hākari (feast) at Te Pa Tu Māori village. Continue to Tongariro National Park and hike the child-friendly Taranaki Falls Loop.
Visit Taumarunui to travel along the Forgotten World Railway and stop at Lauren's Lavender Farm for a romp in the fields. Spend two nights in Wellington. Ride the cable car, visit the Space Place at Carter Observatory, and spend a few hours in the Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary. Fly to Queenstown, where older children can enjoy thrilling activities such as sky diving and bungee jumping. Take a family jet boat ride in Mount Aspiring National Park, then venture to the Aqua Play Area in Tekapo Springs. Admire the night sky from Mount John Observatory before a memorable dolphin tour in Akaroa. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Nature-Packed New Zealand Family Road Trip: Wellington & the South Island
This nature-centered and kid-friendly road trip focuses on the classic highlights of New Zealand's South Island. Begin with a two-day adventure in the capital of Wellington on the North Island, then spend the next twelve days whale watching in Kaikōura, soaking in the hot pools in Tekapo, and riding the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown.
|Day 1||Arrive in Wellington, Cable Car & Carter Observatory||Wellington|
|Day 2||Wētā Cave Workshop, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary||Wellington|
|Day 3||Interislander Ferry, Drive to Kaikōura & Whale Watching||Kaikōura|
|Day 4||Swim with Dolphins, Whale Watching Tour||Kaikōura|
|Day 5||Drive to Christchurch, International Antarctic Centre||Christchurch|
|Day 6||Akaroa & Harbor Cruise||Christchurch|
|Day 7||Drive to Lake Tekapo, Hot Pools & Stargazing||Lake Tekapo|
|Day 8||Drive to Aoraki / Mount Cook, Explore Mount Cook Village||Mount Cook Village|
|Day 9||Glacier Explorers Expedition||Mount Cook Village|
|Day 10||Drive to Wānaka, Explore & Hike, Lavender Farm||Wānaka|
|Day 11||Mou Waho Island & Puzzling World||Wānaka|
|Day 12||Drive to Queenstown via Arrowtown||Queenstown|
|Day 13||Lake Cruise, Walter Peak Farm, Skyline Gondola & Luge||Queenstown|
|Day 14||Depart New Zealand|
Begin your adventure in Wellington at the Te Papa Museum, ride the cable car, and let the kids blow off steam in the Botanic Gardens. Take the Interislander ferry to Picton, drive through the wineries in Marlborough and arrive in Kaikōura. With the kids in tow, board a scenic flight to see whales from above or opt for a sightseeing cruise instead. Families with children over the age of eight can also enjoy swimming with dolphins. For an educational trip, visit the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch before continuing the fun at the Children's Bay animal sculpture path.
Drive to Tekapo and visit the Cheese Factory at Barry's Bay, soak in the thermal hot pools and saunas at Tekapo Springs, and spend the evening spotting the Milky Way on a stargazing expedition. Gather the crew and head to Mount Cook Village and spend Days 8 and 9 in the breathtaking national park. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, take a boat trip around Tasman Glacier, and conclude with a scenic flight over Aoraki National Park. Travel through Twizel on your way to Wanaka and let the kids feed the animals and indulge in delicious ice cream at Wānaka Lavender Farm. Learn more
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Itinerary #3: New Zealand Family Explorer from North to South
Perfect for families looking to squeeze every moment out of their trip, this carefully planned two-week itinerary offers the best of both the North and South Islands. It swaps out Tongariro National Park, Wellington, and Lake Tekapo for Taupō, Napier, Mount Cook Village, and Franz Josef / Waiau. Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy the Waipa Mountain Bike Park and the Mitai Māori Village on the North Island, whereas families seeking a more adventurous itinerary will relish the thrilling activities such as a heli-flight over Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and a ride on the TranzAlpine train in the South.
|Day 1||Arrive in Auckland, Optional Boat or Bus Tour||Auckland|
|Day 2||Drive to Rotorua via Hobbiton, Mitai Māori Village||Rotorua|
|Day 3||Redwoods Treewalk, Waipa Mountain Bike Park, Polynesian Day Spa||Rotorua|
|Day 4||Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Drive to Taupō, Lake Cruise||Taupō|
|Day 5||Drive Taupō to Napier, Art Deco Tour||Napier|
|Day 6||Cape Kidnappers Gannet Safari||Napier|
|Day 7||Fly to Christchurch, Optional Activities||Christchurch|
|Day 8||Drive to Mount Cook Village, Hike & Glacier Flight||Mount Cook Village|
|Day 9||Drive to Queenstown, Skyline Gondola & Luge||Queenstown|
|Day 10||Milford Sound Full-Day Adventure||Queenstown|
|Day 11||Glenorchy Safari Tour, TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Farm Tour||Queenstown|
|Day 12||Drive to Franz Josef / Waiau, Trekking & Glacier Heli-Flight||Franz Josef / Waiau|
|Day 13||Drive to Greymouth, TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch||Christchurch|
|Day 14||Depart Christchurch|
Head straight on a whale and dolphin-watching safari in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park from Auckland. Drive south to Rotorua, pay a visit to Hobbiton, then spend the evening learning about Māori culture at the Mitai Maori Village. Catering to families passionate about the great outdoors, choose from a relaxed walk along the Redwoods in Whakarewarewa Forest or venture on an action-packed day in the Waipa Mountain Bike Park. Admire the geothermal wonders at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, then travel to Napier for an Art Deco tour or a visit to the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Fly to Christchurch and, depending on the family's interests, run off steam in Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens, or the Margaret Mahy Playground. Journey to Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park and embark on several hiking trails suitable for all abilities. In Queenstown, consider a bungee jump over the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge or soar above the city on the Skyline Gondola. Take a heli-flight over Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, then drive to Greymouth to catch the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch. Voyage through Arthur's Pass National Park and the Canterbury Plains before departing New Zealand. Learn more
Itinerary #4: Family Nature & Culture Trip in the North Island
This two-week itinerary is dedicated solely to the highlights of the North Island, focusing on the abundant nature and culture that can be seen on a whale watching tour in Auckland, a kayaking excursion in the Coromandel, and at the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal wonder. The whole family can learn about and soak up the fantastic Māori culture of New Zealand with a Mitai cultural dinner in Rotorua and exciting Māori rock carvings in Taupō.
|Day 1||Arrive in Auckland, Free Day & Dinner Cruise||Auckland|
|Day 2||Whale & Dolphin Eco-Safari||Auckland|
|Day 3||Drive to Waitakere Ranges & Explore||Waitakere Ranges|
|Day 4||Drive to Coromandel, Cathedral Cove Kayaking||Coromandel|
|Day 5||Driving Creek Railway Tour, Hot Water Beach||Coromandel|
|Day 6||Explore Coromandel Town, Hahei & Cathedral Cove||Coromandel|
|Day 7||Drive to Rotorua, Te Puia Tour & Māori Arts||Rotorua|
|Day 8||Forest Canopy Tour, Mitai Cultural Experience & Dinner||Rotorua|
|Day 9||Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Zorb Rides||Rotorua|
|Day 10||Drive to Taupō, Lake Cruise to Māori Rock Carvings||Taupō|
|Day 11||Forgotten World Rail Tour & Tongariro Evening Walk||Taupō|
|Day 12||Drive to Wellington, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary||Wellington|
|Day 13||Cable Car & Carter Observatory, Wētā Cave Workshop||Wellington|
|Day 14||Depart Wellington|
Explore the Viaduct Harbour, the child-friendly New Zealand Maritime Museum, and the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland. On a wildlife cruise in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, spot whales, dolphins, and seabirds, before making your way into the Waitakere Ranges to spot more dramatic nature spots such as waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and mountain landscapes. Snap some pictures at Cathedral Cove and help the kids dig their own thermal pool at Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel. In Rotorua, see the sulfur pools, rippling mud baths, and erupting geysers at Te Puia Springs, then tour the Redwoods Nightlights.
Kids and adults will love the exciting natural landscapes of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, as well as the Craters of the Moon geothermal reserve near Lake Taupō. Train fanatics of any age will enjoy a journey along the Forgotten World Railway, and outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate a sunset walk in Tongariro National Park to finish the day. Conclude the trip with a visit to the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, a tour of the Wētā Workshop to see your favorite characters from "The Lord of the Rings," and a ride on the cable car to Kelburn Lookout in Wellington before leaving New Zealand. Learn more
Itinerary #5: New Zealand Family Nature & Wildlife Tour: Christchurch to Queenstown
Ideal for animal-loving families looking to immerse themselves in the vast and varied landscapes of New Zealand's South Island, this 14-day nature and wildlife tour offers the chance to swim with dolphins and play with penguins in Christchurch, a brilliant stargazing opportunity in Lake Tekapo, and the chance to spot rare and elusive kiwi birds near Queenstown.
|Day 1||Arrive in Christchurch, Bus Tour, Historic Tram Dinner||Christchurch|
|Day 2||Punting, Gondola, Māori Experience & Kiwi Tour||Christchurch|
|Day 3||International Antarctic Centre, Drive to Akaroa||Akaroa|
|Day 4||Swim with Dolphins, Evening Penguin Tour||Akaroa|
|Day 5||Drive to Lake Tekapo, Dark Sky Project Summit Experience||Lake Tekapo|
|Day 6||Braemar Station Backcountry Tour, Tekapo Springs||Lake Tekapo|
|Day 7||Drive to Dunedin, Explore Dunedin City||Dunedin|
|Day 8||Otago Peninsula Cruise, Larnach Castle & Penguin Place||Dunedin|
|Day 9||Drive to Te Anau via Invercargill, Explore Te Anau||Te Anau|
|Day 10||Milford Sound Tour||Te Anau|
|Day 11||Drive to Queenstown, Kiwi Park, Gondola & Buffet Dinner||Queenstown|
|Day 12||Gondola & Luge, Dart River Jet Boat Safari||Queenstown|
|Day 13||TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Farm Tour||Queenstown|
|Day 14||Depart New Zealand|
Arrive in Christchurch and enjoy a trifecta of top sights: the gondola, the tram, and punting on the Avon River / Ōtākaro. In the evening, learn about Māori culture at the Ko Tane Living Māori Village. Embark on a dolphin cruise in Akaroa and visit the little penguin colony in Pohatu—sure to delight the whole gang. Then drive through Mackenzie Country toward Lake Tekapo to go stargazing. Kids will enjoy the many farm animals at Braemar Station, and adults can relax in Tekapo Springs. Pass through Ōmarama and the Moeraki Boulders on your way to Dunedin, where kids can stretch their legs at the Botanic Gardens after the long drive.
Board a wildlife cruise around Taiaroa Head and spot royal albatross, fur seals, dolphins, sea lions, and more. Explore the only castle in New Zealand, Larnach Castle, and conclude the day with a visit to Penguin Place to see the rarest penguin in the world. Pile into the car and drive to Te Anau on Day 9 via the Catlins and Invercargill, then take a Milford Sound Cruise to see the mighty Mitre Peak and an abundance of wildlife. Journey to Queenstown, ride the luge and conclude your holiday with a ride on the TSS Earnslaw, stopping at the Walter Peak High Country Farm for dinner. Learn more
More Great 2-Week New Zealand itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to New Zealand? Check out these other two-week New Zealand itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.