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Introducing New Zealand

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 immerse yourself in Māori culture in Rotorua, taste wine in the vineyards of Martinborough, and take a whale-watching tour off the coast of Christchurch. 

Where should I go in New Zealand?
New Zealand is split between the North Island and the South Island, each offering something different. While the North Island is more densely populated and famed for authentic immersion into Māori culture near Rotorua, it is also known for the bustling city of Auckland, stunning beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula, and famous landmarks from the Lord of the Rings movies such as Hobbiton. In contrast, the South Island is better known for the “adventure capital of the world,” Queenstown, and the surrounding natural beauty found among must-visit sites such as Mount Cook, the Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, and the fjords of Milford Sound.

When is the best time to visit? 
New Zealand’s rugged landscapes, natural beauty, and adventure-filled activities make it a spectacular destination to visit year-round. Between the months of December and March, you can expect bright and sunny days with temperatures ranging between 60°F and 75°F—the perfect weather to enjoy beaches, hiking, and other outdoor activities. New Zealand also makes for an exciting getaway between June and September, when snow arrives to beckon skiers and other winter adventurers to the South Island and the mountains of the North Island. Learn more

Things to do in New Zealand
Travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to adventure in New Zealand. Cruise the iconic fjords of Milford Sound, Bungy jump off a bridge in Queenstown, immerse yourself in local Māori culture, or hike the skyscraping peaks of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Take a guided tour of the Franz Josef glacier, catch a glimpse of seal pups playing in the waters of Abel Tasman National Park, whale-watch in Kaikōura, or see the stars like never before at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve—the largest gold-standard Dark Sky Reserve in the world. 

How many days do I need in New Zealand?
Whether your travels take you to New Zealand for one week, two weeks, a month, or more (and 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. Learn more

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 car-friendly ferry between Wellington and Picton. Learn more

Ready to start planning your trip to New Zealand? 
Get started by telling us a bit about your ideal trip, and we will connect you to a local specialist to work out all the details.

Explore trips by duration: 5 days · 6 days · 7 days · 8 days · 9 days · 10 days · 11 days · 12 days · 13 days · 14 days · 15 days · 21 days

New Zealand Tours & Itineraries

Get inspired by trips other travelers have loved
Fiordland National Park
Map of Highlights of New Zealand - 10 Days
Highlights of New Zealand - 10 Days

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.

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Map of Best of New Zealand’s South Island - 10 Days
Best of New Zealand’s South Island - 10 Days

This 10-day road trip in the South Island combines the best New Zealand has to offer. Discover jaw-dropping scenery here, including Lake Tekapo and its turquoise waters, Mt. Cook and the surrounding glaciers, the peaks of Mt. Aspiring National Park and the magnificent fjords. You will also enjoy more intimate and off-the-beaten-path experiences, including the exploration of the Banks Peninsula, with its active wildlife setting, as well as immersing yourself in the historical gold rush of the small town of Clyde.

Surf at Ngarunui beach in Raglan
Map of Highlights of New Zealand: From North to South - 15 Days
Highlights of New Zealand: From North to South - 15 Days

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, hike, paddle, and fly your way across the country.

Finish the trip in Queenstown for a slew of activities
Map of New Zealand's Ultimate Tour - 13 Days
New Zealand's Ultimate Tour - 13 Days

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.

Check out the thermal lakes in Rotorua
Map of New Zealand's North Island Adventure - 7 Days
New Zealand's North Island Adventure - 7 Days

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.

Viticulture in Marlborough, New Zealand
Map of South Island Highlights & New Zealand Wines - 12 Days
South Island Highlights & New Zealand Wines - 12 Days

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.

Make the Most of Your Time in New Zealand

Have a fixed number of days? Maximize the things to see and do during your visit
Aoraki / Mount Cook
How Many Days to Spend in New Zealand

Ten days is a great amount of time for a New Zealand trip: you'll easily be able to experience the top highlights of both islands—North and South—plus outdoor activities and...

New Zealand Travel Advice

Read our detailed insights to make sure you have the best trip

Our Latest New Zealand Content

Adorable kid in colorful coat looking at water from the touring boat, Te Anau, New ZealandFamily frolicking in the sea near Auckland
2 Weeks in New Zealand - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

With two weeks in New Zealand, you can experience the entire country on a family-friendly, fast-paced highlights tour with cultural excursions in Rotorua, a ride on the TranzAlpine train in Christchurch, and exciting adventures in Queenstown. Alternatively, spend two weeks on the North Island and visit the Coromandel, the Maori Rock Carvings in Taupo, and the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington. Or dedicate the whole time to the South Island, swimming with dolphins in Akaroa and penguin-spotting in Dunedin.

Travel through the rugged, rocky outcrops of Castle Hill Scenic Reserve
Map of 3 Weeks in New Zealand - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
3 Weeks in New Zealand - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

In three weeks, you can take your time road-tripping across the South Island, from cities to caves to glaciers. Or move at a faster pace and hit the highlights of both islands, including a scenic ferry ride between the two. Alternatively, you can do a combo tour with Australia and visit New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria in addition to Maori cultural experiences and outdoor adventures in Auckland, Rotorua, and Queenstown.

Serene Milford Sound
Map of 12 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
12 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With 12 days, you can take a slower pace to focus on one New Zealand island or speed things up and hit the highlights of both, like a classic Auckland to Queenstown route, perfect for first-timers. Meanwhile, the South Island offers glacier hikes and fjord cruises, while the North Island appeals to those interested in Rotorua's geothermal activity and Maori culture. Avid skiers can opt for the Otago and Southland itinerary, combining a few days on the slopes with Queenstown bungee jumping and Oamaru penguin sightings.

New Zealand Travel Maps

Get the lay of land, and understand distances between the places you want to visit
New Zealand map: 10 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
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New Zealand map: 5 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
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New Zealand map: 7 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
7 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
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Meet our Local Travel Specialists

Experienced travel agents with a passion for New Zealand
Travel specialist Liz Neal
active 14 hours ago

Liz Neal

I have been involved in the travel industry since my first job out of college, working for hotels, travel companies and for the last 4 years in Springboard Vacations. I approach my customer's...

read more...
Travel specialist Franck Lemaitre
active 13 hours ago

Franck Lemaitre

My name is Franck I am the founder of Once Upon a Trip and I am originally French. We had our honeymoon in NZ back to 2003, we felt in love with the country, then we decided to come back in 2009...

read more...
Travel specialist Ruth Grau
active 1 day ago

Ruth Grau

I grew up in small outback towns in South Australia before starting in the travel industry in Adelaide. After working many years in Sales & Marketing with tour companies, wholesalers and airlines,...

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Travel specialist Eloise Le Bout

Eloise Le Bout

I have been living in Auckland, New Zealand for more than three years. What made me fall in love right from day one was not only the beautiful wildlife and breathtaking scenery, but also the...

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Why travelers love kimkim

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Trip Reviews for New Zealand

The latest reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim

Phoebe and her team at Zip Line were amazing....
New Zealand | Jan 2 - Jan 17, 2023

K
Karenr R.
Australia | Reviewed on Jan 24, 2023

Phoebe and her team at Zip Line were amazing. Phil on the jet boat at Lake Taupo was particularly good with the younger children. The bus trip to the north of the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga were enjoyable but too long a day. Accommodation was all good. read more

Phoebe and her team at Zip Line were amazing. Phil on the jet boat at Lake Taupo was particularly good with the younger children. The bus trip to the north of the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga were enjoyable but too long a day. Accommodation was all good.

Hotel Reviews
Arista of Rotorua
Rotorua

Small hotel run by owners was extremely well run, very clean, well located and staff very helpful.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Admiral's View Lodge
Paihia

The owner made us very welcome with a broad knowledge of the locale, restaurants and things to do locally. the hotel was very well situated for all the tourist activities.

Authenticity & Character
It was a small and pleasant beachside town.
Location
Locale was excellent
Staff
Very efficient
Cleanliness & Comfort
Excellent
Nesuto Stadium Auckland
Auckland

We felt there was a shortage of trained staff.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Good
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Free Day in Auckland
Auckland

Mostly we were recovering from the long overnight flight from Perth.

Quality of Experience
Good
Guides, Drivers and Staff
A good friendly driver collected at 06.00hrs and gave us some verbal guidance
Transport
Good size vehicle for six tired people.
Hole in the Rock Cruise
New Zealand

Everybody enjoyed the experience in spite of inclement weather.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Bay of Islands & Township of Russell
New Zealand

The weather was appalling so we gave it a miss

Quality of Experience
The weather
Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach
New Zealand

The length of the all day trip was too long

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Explore Russell
New Zealand

The weather was too bad and we stayed in Paihia

Quality of Experience
Didn't happen
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Can't comment
Transport
The weather
Explore Rotorua on Your Own
Rotorua

We went to the geo thermal park. Spent time at the luge park. Just generally enjoyed being being in Rotorua for several days.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
The staff at Zip Line were very professional and caring
Transport
Rotorua Forest Canopy Tour
Rotorua

The organisation was superb and the staff exceptional most notably Phoebe and her crew.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Hukafalls Jet
New Zealand

The jet boat and the staff were very experienced and caring for individual situations from Children to mature adults

Quality of Experience
The excitement
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Phil was excellent
Transport
Very safe and well monitored
Explore the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
New Zealand

We were given a detailed explanation of the history and the local Maori involvement

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Depart New Zealand
New Zealand

We had a final short overnight stay and very early flights

Quality of Experience
Transport
Returning car rental was a challenge at the airport
Local specialist: Chelsea Lodge
Chelsea
Chelsea Lodge
Local specialist in Wanaka | Reviewed on Jan 24, 2023

Hi Karen,
Thank you very much for your feedback and I am so pleased that you and the family had a wonderful time in New Zealand.

Thank you
Chelsea

This was a trip of a lifetime for my husband ...
New Zealand | Dec 14 - Jan 5, 2023

Caley
Caley V.
Denver, CO | Reviewed on Jan 12, 2023

This was a trip of a lifetime for my husband and I. Sabina developed the most action-packed 23 days in New Zealand's south island. We did all of the helicopter items, mountain biking, hiking, canyoning, jet boating, kayaking, and stargazing. Our cups were full by the end of the trip. In fact we didn't want to leave!

Local specialist: Sabina Din
Sabina
Sabina Din
Local specialist in Wanaka | Reviewed on Jan 13, 2023

Thanks for the lovely reply, I'm so glad you and your husband had the best time here! :D

Archer's Trip to New Zealand Dec 16, 2022 - Jan 1, 2023 (from Miami, FL)
New Zealand | Dec 18 - Jan 1, 2023

J
Jennifer A.
Doral, FL | Reviewed on Jan 09, 2023

Trip was fabulous. We so enjoyed the natural and cultural beauty of the country, both the North and South Island. The drivers, guides and activities made the trip so enriching and comprehensive.
All hotels were excellent. We slept so well with comfortable and top rate beds and accommodations, and we had great views in all the important places, with spectacular views of Mt. Cook and also Auckland and Queenstown. We enjoyed all activities, particularly the range of activities. ... read more

Trip was fabulous. We so enjoyed the natural and cultural beauty of the country, both the North and South Island. The drivers, guides and activities made the trip so enriching and comprehensive.
All hotels were excellent. We slept so well with comfortable and top rate beds and accommodations, and we had great views in all the important places, with spectacular views of Mt. Cook and also Auckland and Queenstown. We enjoyed all activities, particularly the range of activities. Special mention regarding Chuki, the Maori guide to the Tarawera crater, Craig, the guide to Milford, and Stu, the driver guide to Kaikoura. Top-rated activities were being in, hiking and spending Christmas at Mt. Cook National park, Tarawera crater walk, despite terrible weather (the only bad weather day), swim with the dolphins (too cold for Jennifer but John enjoyed being in the water while Jennifer enjoyed from the boat), jet ski safari, Earnslaw SSS steamboat and sheep demonstration outing and renting/riding e-bikes in Gibbston Valley to ride along the Arrow river gorge and the wineries. Work staff in many locations was notably affected - restaurants opened short hours and sometimes only on certain days - we discussed with the locals who explain the confluence of factors emerging from Covid that resulted in the labor shortage. Aukland airport hotel was the only downer of a hotel really - it was New Year's Even and the place was mediocre and the eating/drinking options were not open. The trip was aggressive at the beginning and a little unsure about a few details initially because we had to be on target for making the schedule early in the trip, but everything worked out well and we communicated with both Liz and the in country support agent Sharon to ask a few questions and sort out a few minor details. Many thanks to Liz for all her hard work on the trip to provide a very customized and comprehensive itinerary. New Zealand is a naturally beautiful country with hospitable people and good food and coffee. We look forward to a future trip to Australia as well. Cheers, Jennifer Archer

Hotel Reviews
M Social Auckland
Auckland

Staff were extremely helpful in Jennifer obtaining her backpack from the uber and in preparing the special take away breakfast in the morning. Room configuration and room design was a little strange with the shower open to view from the other parts of the room.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Pullman Rotorua
Rotorua
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Rutherford Hotel Nelson
Nelson
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
It felt a little weird because we felt like one of only less than a handful of guests there and the restaurants and other parts of the hotel were not fully functional (probably due to the staffing shortage and the season). But is was a lovely top older hotel and had a washer and dryer which was much appreciated
Crowne Plaza Christchurch
Christchurch Central
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The room was small and only a single chair.
Hermitage Hotel
Mount Cook Village
Authenticity & Character
Location
Stellar view - one of the best in our lives
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa
Gibbston
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
The staff who were there were helpful and professional; there was clearly a staff shortgage as many of the operations were not opened or fully functional (e.g., dining capacity and other shop/restaurant venues) again due to staff shortages. Villas were top rate!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Sudima Auckland Airport
Auckland
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Auckland to Rotorua visiting Hobbiton
Auckland

Driver to Hobbiton was extremely knowledgeable and dexterous driving and imparting so much history and Maori tradition/history of the area to us passengers.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Tu Te Ra - Maori Cultural Dining Experience
Rotorua

An important experience to have to learn about Maori culture.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Did not care for the cheesy humor of the bus driver to the site
Transport
Half Day Mt Tarawera Crater Walk Experience
Rotorua

Tested my comfort zones but a really cool experience. Weather was cold, windy and cloudy/foggy but still a really cool experience. A little scary but having 2 guides was so important. We felt accomplished at the end.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Twilight Glow Worm Kayak Experience - 3 hour guided
Rotorua
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Beaches, Bays & Seals Guided Kayaking Trip
New Zealand
Quality of Experience
We enjoyed the kayaking but perhaps could have seen more wildlife or gone further.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Punting on the Avon
Christchurch
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
N A
Full Day Kaikoura & Swim With Dolphins
Christchurch

Beautiful weather on whole trip except the day in Rotorua and spectacular for day in Kaikoura. The volume and acrobatics of the dusky dolphins was so interesting to watch! We saw them jump and 360s in unison of the whole pod which was really unique and cool. Saw an albatross or 2 as well. John really enjoyed the in water activity. Water too cold for Jennifer, but enjoyed watching the dolphins from the boat. as much from the boat. Also driver stopped to see some more fur seals. Learned about the sperm whales from the movie and demonstration boards at the whaling outfit.

Quality of Experience
Food
It was Christmas Eve which made it hard I think - we did not recieve the afternoon tea or the wine tasting. We did have the lunch with tea or coffee at Kaikoura cafe.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Big Sky Stargazing Adventure
New Zealand

Was canceled due to the southern sky being obscured - although we noted that a good portion of the sky was clear. We should receive a refund for this activity.

Half Day Wilderness Safari - Jetboat
Queenstown (NZ)
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Really unique experience and love seeing Mt. Aspiring National Park.
Walter Peak Farm and Gourmet Barbecue Lunch
New Zealand

A must do activity in Queenstown.

Quality of Experience
Loved the sheep dog and sheep shearing experience particularly and the piano playing on the boatride back. Wish the sheep demonstration was longer.
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise from Queenstown (2 days, 1 night)
Queenstown (NZ)

The bus driver tour guide Craig gave us a special drive to Milford informing us about the history, geology, flora and fauna the whole way and stopping at a few special places, including the historic locomotive in Kingston. We had a special bonding with the 2 other couples that shared the bus ride as well. stopped at wildlife sanctuaries to see the extremely endangered Takahe birds along with the Kea, Antipides parrot, and Kaka. Another beautiful day, it was special to see the bottlenose dolphin pod and all the beec-tree covered fiords and water cascades and glaciers along with Tutoko and Mr. Meiner and other famous peaks. From the plan ride home were were able to see the vastness of the entire Fiordland National Park.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Liz Neal
Liz
Liz Neal
Local specialist in Sydney-Auckland-Los Angeles | Reviewed on Jan 09, 2023

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for the very comprehensive review !! I love it, it gives us good feedback as well as lots of information for other future clients. I love your attention to detail ! I was very happy to read you were able to see dolphins jumping because seeing wildlife was at the top of the list. I'm glad the dolphins got my message to jump when you were there... :)

I am also happy to have read that you might have made friends in the Milford Trip. That is always a highlight of my trips... read more

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for the very comprehensive review !! I love it, it gives us good feedback as well as lots of information for other future clients. I love your attention to detail ! I was very happy to read you were able to see dolphins jumping because seeing wildlife was at the top of the list. I'm glad the dolphins got my message to jump when you were there... :)

I am also happy to have read that you might have made friends in the Milford Trip. That is always a highlight of my trips to meet other nice people and hopefully visit with them in the future.

I'll look into the Stargazing refund for bad weather.
Thanks again, I enjoyed our zoom meetings and It would be a pleasure for me to organize your trip to Australia in the near future.

Cheers
Liz