Itinerary #1: New Zealand Self-Drive Tour
This eight-day itinerary allows you to explore New Zealand on a self-drive tour from the North Island to the South Island and provides a classic route option. See Auckland's impressive skyline, cave tube in the glowworm caves of Waitomo, enjoy views of the Franz Josef Glacier on a helicopter tour, and experience adventure in Queenstown—bungee jump anyone?
|Day 1||Arrive in Auckland||Auckland|
|Day 2||Waitomo Adventure Tour & Drive to Rotorua||Rotorua|
|Day 3||Day Trip to Matamata||Rotorua|
|Day 4||Fly to Christchurch||Christchurch|
|Day 5||Drive to Franz Joseph Glacier Region||Franz Josef Glacier|
|Day 6||Franz Joseph Heli-Hike Tour||Franz Josef Glacier|
|Day 7||Drive to Queenstown||Queenstown|
|Day 8||Depart Queenstown|
Start in the bustling city of Auckland and explore the picturesque waterfront or stroll through the city's downtown area and grab a bite to eat before hiking to the summit of Mount Eden for impressive views of the city below. Drive to the Waikato region and embark on an adventure tour of the Waitomo Caves to see the bioluminescent glowworms in their natural habitat. Take a day trip to Hobbiton and relax in the thermal hot pools of Te Puia Geothermal Reserve before flying to Christchurch the following day.
Explore the Botanical Gardens, Cathedral Square, and the Avon River, and then drive to the Franz Josef Glacier region. Go on a guided hike, mountain bike through the lush rainforest, or paddle through the glacial river. Rise early the next day and see the glacier from the vantage of a helicopter, and experience the excitement of a heli-hike tour. Afterward, indulge in the Glacier Hot Pools Spa before visiting Queenstown to participate in adventure-based activities such as zip lining, mountain biking, and bungee jumping. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Self-Drive New Zealand: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers
Explore the natural beauty of the South Island on this self-drive eight-day itinerary beginning and ending in Christchurch. Seek "Lord of the Rings" sights and adventures in and around Queenston, visit Mount Cook, the country's tallest mountain, marvel at glaciers like Franz Josef, and cross the Southern Alps via the TranzAlpine Train.
|Day 1||Arrive in Christchurch City||Christchurch|
|Day 2||Drive From Christchurch to Mount Cook Village||Mount Cook Village|
|Day 3||Drive From Mount Cook Village to Queenstown||Queenstown|
|Day 4||Explore Queenstown & Surrounds||Queenstown|
|Day 5||Drive From Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier||Franz Josef Glacier|
|Day 6||Cross the Southern Alps to Christchurch on the TranzAlpine Train||Christchurch|
|Day 7||Christchurch Free Day with Dinner on Board the Christchurch Tram||Christchurch|
|Day 8||Depart Christchurch|
Arrive in Christchurch and explore the sights on a double-decker hop-on/hop-off bus. Drive to Mount Cook Village via the Canterbury Plains, the quaint town of Geraldine, and cover the winding roads of Burkes Pass. Take in the breathtaking view of the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Aoraki Mount Cook, and spend the evening in the village before driving to Queenstown the following day. Bungee jump from Kawarau Bridge, take in the sights of the Remarkables mountain range and ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola for more astounding views.
Make your way to Mt Aspiring National Park via Wanaka and continue toward the Wild West Coast until you reach the regions of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. Here you can take a helicopter ride or sink into the relaxing hot pools to soothe your body and get ready for more adventures. Then on Day 6, board the TranzAlpine Train at Greymouth Train Station and cross through Arthur's Pass National Park to arrive in Christchurch. Take a tour of Monteith's Brewery, go punting on the Avon River, or take a winery tour in Waipara before departing New Zealand. Learn more
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Itinerary #3: New Zealand North Island Road Trip: Auckland to Wellington
On this eight-day itinerary, you'll focus solely on the North Island, from Auckland to Wellington at the southern tip. Walk amid giant tree ferns in the rainforests of Waitakere Ranges, snap pics of Middle-earth, take a geothermal walk of Hell's Gate, hike dormant volcanoes in Tongariro National Park, and visit Martinborough wine country.
|Day 1||Arrive in Auckland, Evening Kayak & Barbecue Excursion||Auckland|
|Day 2||Explore Urban Auckland & the Waitakere Ranges||Auckland|
|Day 3||Drive to Rotorua via Hobbiton||Rotorua|
|Day 4||Rotorua Crater Walk Experience & Sulphur Spas||Rotorua|
|Day 5||Drive to Tongariro National Park||Tongariro National Park|
|Day 6||Ten Tunnel Rail Cart Tour & Whakapapa Village||Tongariro National Park|
|Day 7||Drive to Wellington & Explore the Capital||Wellington|
|Day 8||Depart Wellington|
Begin your trip in the metropolis of Auckland and enjoy the city's highlights, such as the Sky Tower and the Wynyard Quarter, or head to nearby Waiheke Island to see its beautiful beaches and wineries. Spend an afternoon immersed in the rainforests of the Waitakere Ranges and walk along native kauri trees to discover the best of New Zealand's nature. Depart Auckland and drive to Rotorua, stopping at Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves, and Te Pā Tū (formally called Tamaki Māori Village) to learn about Māori culture, history, and traditions through food and stories shared by locals.
On Day 4, take a walk on the wild side as you traverse through Waimangu, the world's youngest geothermal valley, which was created by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. The next day, embark on one of the many hiking trails in Tongariro National Park, then begin Day 6 in Taumarunui and board a rail cart to see the historic tracks of the abandoned railway. Visit Lauren's Lavender Farm on your return journey and continue toward Wellington the following day to ride its landmark cable car, shop for vintage clothes on Cuba Street, and experience a wealth of history at the Te Papa Museum. Learn more
Itinerary #4: A Taste of New Zealand: Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua & Auckland
Another cross-country adventure, with only four stops, has you spending three nights in Queenstown, where you'll get to explore Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park. A quick flight to the North Island gets you to Wellington in time for museums, art galleries, and gardens before you're off to the Waiotapu geothermal area to see Lady Knox Geyser and enjoy a Māori cultural experience. Then it's glowworms in Waitomo and a swim at one of Auckland's beaches.
|Day 1||Arrive in Queenstown, Walter Peak Dinner & Farm Tour||Queenstown|
|Day 2||Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Flight & Cruise Tour||Queenstown|
|Day 3||Queenstown Free Day||Queenstown|
|Day 4||Fly to Wellington, Visit Museums & Wellington Cable Car||Wellington|
|Day 5||Drive to Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland||Rotorua|
|Day 6||Polynesian Spa & Te Pā Tū Evening Māori Cultural Experience||Rotorua|
|Day 7||Drive to Auckland via Waitomo Glowworm Caves||Auckland|
|Day 8||Depart Auckland|
Commence your eight days in New Zealand in Queenstown, where you'll drink and dine at Colonel's Homestead Restaurant and then take a scenic cruise of Lake Wakatipu on the "TSS Earnslaw" steamship. Fly to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park and enjoy the views from the sky, then spot wild penguins, seals, and dolphins in the fjord on a spectacular Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Then enjoy Queenstown at your own leisurely pace on Day 3 and ride the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere, the Skyline Gondola, or take a trip to the nearby towns of Wanaka and Arrowtown.
Fly to Wellington to check out the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum and ride the Wellington Cable Car to admire stunning city views from Kelburn Lookout. Drive from Wellington to Rotorua via Tongariro National Park, where you can see "Mount Doom" (Mount Ruapehu) from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Continue on a nature-inspired tour to visit the Craters of the Moon and the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area and observe the geysers, hot springs, sulfur ponds, and mud pools. Last, enjoy a stop at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves before departing from Auckland. Learn more
More Great 8-Day New Zealand itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to New Zealand? Check out these other eight-day New Zealand itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.