This action-packed itinerary dives into New Zealand's South and North Islands for a wide variety of landscapes and attractions. Kicking off in the adrenaline capital of the world, you'll kayak through the Milford Sound, explore the scenic capital (Wellington), take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments, tour Hobbiton, and finish the adventure in the cosmopolitan city of Auckland.
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Few destinations ignite the imagination the way New Zealand does. The diminutive two-island nation is filled with scenery best described as epic (think craggy peaks, vast beaches, dense forest, and crystalline fjords). And with the diversity of landscape come plentiful ways to take advantage of the great outdoors—hiking and biking are just the tip of the iceberg here. In one trip, you can sea kayak in Tasman National Park, taste wine in the vineyards of Martinborough, and take a whale watching tour off the coast of Christchurch.
How long should you spend in New Zealand?
Whether your travels take you to New Zealand for one week, two weeks, a month, or more (and believe us, there's plenty to fill that time), you'll have lots of options for getting around. Tackle one of the country's famous "Great Walks," multi-day treks through dramatic landscapes immortalized by Lord of the Rings. Get up close with the Waimakariri River gorge and the snowy Southern Alps on a relaxing South Island train journey. Or rent some wheels and road trip from Auckland to Milford Sound, utilizing an inter-island ferry. The country may be small, but the possibilities are endless.
Getting Around New Zealand
Most international travelers arrive by flying into either Auckland or Christchurch. Domestic flights serve every large and medium-sized city in the country, while self-driving allows access to more remote areas such as national parks and mountainous regions. To travel between the North and South Islands, you'll need to fly or take the ferry between Wellington and Picton. Learn more
Traverse New Zealand on this two-week adventure-packed trip, covering the highlights of North and South Island. Discover diverse landscapes, from world-class surfing beaches, volcanic islands, and fern forests to geothermal waters, glacial fiords, and imposing mountains. Along the way, you'll visit historic mining towns, go wine tasting and hike, paddle, and fly your way across the country.
Perfect for first-timers, this 13-day itinerary covers an epic variety of landscapes and activities that only New Zealand could offer. Starting in Auckland, you'll head south passing through glowworm caves, natural mud baths, and famous film sets. Stay a few nights in Wellington before continuing to the South Island for the country's highest peaks, incredible natural wonders (like Milford Sound), and—if you so choose—a range of adrenaline sports to amp up this "Kiwi" adventure.
Travel through New Zealand's beautiful South Island, getting to know its cultural hotspots, famous landscapes and public gardens, and sprawling vineyards along the way. Over 12 days, you'll enjoy the cafes and fine art of Nelson, spend two days sipping wine in Marlborough, hike near beautiful Lake Wanaka and the famous Milford Sound, and more.
This self-drive itinerary hits the highlights of New Zealand's North Island with a wide array of activities and landscapes. Along the way, you'll explore Auckland's best neighborhoods, sip pours from local wineries, go swimming and kayaking, and take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments and Maori culture—all within the span of a week.
Explore the beauty of New Zealand's North Island, from the foodie's haven of Wellington to stunning Tongariro National Park. This seven-day tour starts in Wellington and ends in Auckland, with a variety of local activities including hiking, visiting Lord of the Rings' filming locations, touring wine country, and spotting local wildlife.
December is the start of summer, and the peak season, in New Zealand. The weather can be great, or it can be cooler and wetter than later in the summer. New Zealand schools are...
March is the first month of autumn in New Zealand, but summery conditions tend to linger, and in many parts of the country March is almost as warm and sunny as February. The...
November is the last month of spring in New Zealand, and that means the weather can be quite summery, although temperatures may not be as consistently hot as in summer. It's...
April is the middle of autumn in New Zealand. In some parts of the country, that means the leaves on the trees turn orange and the air is crisp and cool. In others, especially...
In one week, you can discover just the North Island, just the South Island, or cross over into both. By landing and departing in major cities (like Christchurch, Auckland, and Wellington), each trip ensures you can do some standard sightseeing. In the North Island, hit scenic stops like geothermal Rotorua and Tongariro National Park, while the South Island is home to Aoraki/Mt Cook, Wanaka, and Akaroa. Learn more with our trip ideas below.
Five days may seem short, but allows for an eventful adventure through New Zealand. Since there is not much time, it is ideal to travel within the South Island or the North Island—which budgets for a successful road trip with a few scenic stops. Anchoring the itinerary in a major city like Auckland allows for day trips to go kiwi spotting, wine tasting, and island hopping (if you’re not on the open road). Explore geothermal Rotorua, Aoraki/Mount Cook, the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa, and so much more in the five trip plans that follow.
With two weeks in New Zealand, there is plenty to discover on the South Island. Begin in Queenstown for some wine tasting, bungee jumping, scenic flights, and hot-pool soaks. Then, visit a glowworm cave in Te Anau, followed by hiking in Mt Aspiring National Park and more wine tasting in Wanaka. Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are next, along with a stop at the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki. Then, spend two days discovering Abel Tasman National Park, do more wine tasting in Blenheim, go sea kayaking in Akaroa, and wind down with a full day of sightseeing in Christchurch.
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Lord of the Rings and Scenic Sights · New Zealand - Jun 29 - Jul 7, 2019
Thanks so much to Valentin for planning our amazing trip. Everything was so well organised and our trip flowed seamlessly. Our trip incorporated everything we wanted to see and more. The accommodation Valentin chose for us were all fantastic, the hosts made us feel right at home. Looking forward to booking our next trip with Kim Kim.
A short adventure from Auckland NZ · New Zealand - Apr 20 - Apr 26, 2019
We traveled a lot and It was our first time to try a self guided tour. It’s an amazing experience since we have our time and choices to maneuver which places we like and explore. It’s an adventure that time is not pressured but it’s laid out for you to venture. As long as your provided SIM card is activated then everything is easy. Our best unforgettable adventure is the hike to Mt Tarawera by kaitiaki adventure which was arranged by Kimkim and the thermal spa . Breakfast was substantial... read more
Trip to New Zealand · New Zealand - Feb 21 - Mar 9, 2019
Everyone we interacted with from the beginning of our trip planning to wrapping up was excellent. Valentin helped us build the perfect trip and patiently answered all of our questions along the way. Each and every bed & breakfast owner was extremely professional, welcoming, and helpful and we also found KimKim's partner company in NZ to be well-regarded. This trip was the perfect way to view the beautiful country of New Zealand and so much of what it has to offer. At one point, we had in our... read more