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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 · 16 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.

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.

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.

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 experience the top highlights of both islands—North and South—plus outdoor activities and themed...

New Zealand Travel Advice

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

New Zealand Hotel Advice

Unique places to stay, curated by kimkim specialists
Rotorua
Regent of Rotorua
4.8
(6)
· Luxury
Regent of Rotorua is a boutique hotel offering a modern stay near the city's main attractions. Rotorua Lakefront Broadwalk is an 8-minute walk from the hotel, and Kuirau Park is just a 12-minute walk away. When you're not out exploring the city, you can enjoy the hotel's eclectic mix of stylish...
Photo courtesy of Eliza's Manor
Christchurch
Eliza's Manor
5.0
(3)
· Luxury
Enjoy a comfortable stay at Eliza's Manor, a charming, eco-friendly heritage hotel in Central Christchurch. Located in a suburban area, this certified green hotel is also a historic building that maintains its heritage, making it a standout choice for travelers seeking a blend of old-world charm...
Photo courtesy of M Social Auckland
Auckland
M Social
4.6
(5)
· Luxury
M Social Auckland is a modern and chic hotel overlooking the lively Princes Wharf and surrounded by an array of dining, entertainment, and shopping experiences. Here, you'll be ideally situated in downtown Auckland and near some of the city's top attractions, such as the Halsey Street Wharf, an...

Best Experiences in New Zealand

Unique things to do, curated by kimkim specialists
Queenstown (NZ)
Skyline Gondola Ride
4.7
(6)
15 minutes
·
Ride in the Southern Hemisphere's highest cable car on the Skyline Gondola. Located at the edge of Queenstown, this gondola will take you up 1,476 feet (450 m) to the viewpoint at Bob's Peak, where you can soak in panoramic views extending to Coronet Peak and Walter Peak across Lake Wakatipu. For...
Queenstown (NZ)
Soak in the Onsen Natural Outdoor Hot Tubs
5.0
(2)
1 hour
·
Small group
Relax in style at the Onsen Hot Pools, a peaceful cliffside retreat overlooking the Shotover River Canyon. These cedar-lined tubs are filled with pure mountain water heated up to offer a soothing space where you can decompress with the best views in Queenstown. This self-guided visit includes...
Queenstown (NZ)
Historic Steamship Cruise to Walter Peak Farm + BBQ Dinner
5.0
(2)
4 hours
·
Small group
Travel back in time on this excursion to the historic Walter Peak High Country Farm, an 1850s sheep farm nestled in the foothills of Walter Peak. The journey begins aboard the TSS Earnslaw Steamship, a vintage steamer from 1912, which takes you from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm. A...

Our Latest New Zealand Content

Drive to some of the most scenic areas of the South Island on this adventure
Map of New Zealand Outdoor Adventure: Fiords, Glaciers & Mountains - 13 Days
New Zealand Outdoor Adventure: Fiords, Glaciers & Mountains - 13 Days

This 13-day New Zealand itinerary covers both islands using a variety of transportation methods, including a rental car. Start in Auckland, where you'll see otherwordly Rotorua and the Waitomo Caves. Then fly to Christchurch and take the TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Greymouth to pick up your car. After choosing between scenic tours at Franz Josef Glacier, head to Queenstown for horseback riding before cruising along Milford Sound to spot wildlife and get drenched under waterfalls.

Hiking with a view in Mount Cook area
Map of Active Highlights of New Zealand's South Island - 14 Days
Active Highlights of New Zealand's South Island - 14 Days

Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, this two-week New Zealand trip embraces the wild beauty of the South Island. Start in the adventure capital of Christchurch and catch a ride on the TranzAlpine Train across the island. Then, it's time for a road trip, as you collect a rental car to reach Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, and Aoraki / Mount Cook. Along the way, you'll kayak, jet boat, hike, cruise, and helicopter your way through ever-shifting landscapes.

Spot sheep in the snow-covered farmland of New Zealand's South Island
Map of New Zealand Winter Discovery - 14 Days
New Zealand Winter Discovery - 14 Days

If you plan to visit New Zealand in June, July, or August, this two-week winter trip includes the best of the North and South islands, with seasonal adventures like skiing and whale watching adding a layer of richness. Your self-drive journey begins in Queenstown with a snow day and a Milford Sound / Piopiotahi tour. Journey north to Picton via Aoraki / Mount Cook, Christchurch, and Kaikoura, then cross between the islands by ferry to see the best of temperate Wellington, Rotorua, and Auckland.

New Zealand Travel Maps

Get the lay of land, and understand distances between the places you want to visit
Map 10 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
View article
Map 7 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
7 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
View article
Map 2 Weeks in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
2 Weeks in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
View article

Meet our Local Travel Specialists

Experienced travel agents with a passion for New Zealand
Travel specialist Liz Neal
active 2 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 8 years in Springboard Vacations. I approach my customer's...

read more...
Travel specialist Franck Lemaitre
active 9 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 Connie Campos
active 13 mins ago

Connie Campos

I have travel to Australia and New Zealand every year, and I've been to all the places you are looking to visit so I can speak to you from experience and first-hand knowledge.

read more...
Travel specialist Vickie Parrack
active 14 hours ago

Vickie Parrack

Originally from England I have been working as a travel agent in Australia and New Zealand for the past 6 years. I love the unique culture and nature of this side of the globe. New Zealand is now...

read more...

Related Destinations

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Why travelers love kimkim

Custom trips for independent travelers who are too busy to plan

Customize your trip with the help of a local travel specialist

Kimkim has handpicked the world’s top local travel specialists so you will have peace of mind and an unforgettable trip that meets your exact requirements.

Authentic travel experiences

Kimkim’s local specialists ensure that you will have the best experience based on up-to-date local insights. On top of that, the vast majority of your money will go straight to support and grow local economies.

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Local support during your trip

You can always reach your local specialist with a quick message or call in case you hit a snag during your trip, or simply want some great local recommendations.

100% satisfaction guarantee
Kimkim offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied with us, we’ll work with you to make it right.
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A portion of every kimkim trip goes toward the removal of carbon from the atmosphere. Learn more
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Kimkim is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.

Seller of Travel Registration number: CST #2136279-40.
Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Trip Reviews for New Zealand

The latest reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim

We took a 2-week trip to New Zealand planned ...
New Zealand | Jan 23 - Feb 5, 2024

Ann
Ann A.
Tampa, FL | Reviewed on Feb 12, 2024
We took a 2-week trip to New Zealand planned especially for us by kimkim. NZ is big and spread out- very overwhelming for first-timers to plan where, when and how. Kimkim knew all the best things to do based on our interests and we stayed in great hotels, saw amazing things and had fabulous adventures. We saw and did things we might have overlooked if we’d been on our own- and we loved it all! I never knew I’d get so excited gazing at a newly hatched kiwi chick- but it was thrilling to... Read more

We took a 2-week trip to New Zealand planned especially for us by kimkim. NZ is big and spread out- very overwhelming for first-timers to plan where, when and how. Kimkim knew all the best things to do based on our interests and we stayed in great hotels, saw amazing things and had fabulous adventures. We saw and did things we might have overlooked if we’d been on our own- and we loved it all! I never knew I’d get so excited gazing at a newly hatched kiwi chick- but it was thrilling to see a bird that is slowly being brought back from near extinction. Have you ever held a chunk of an iceberg? Taken a trip on a coal-fired tramp steamer? Gasped at the beauty of unspoiled mountains and mirror clear lakes? Swung on the world’s largest swing (70m drop, 300m swing)? Slathered yourself with silky smooth volcanic mud? We did all that and more.
Checklist for my next vacay:
Passport ✔️ Visa✔️ Contact kimkim✔️

Hotel Reviews
The Hotel Britomart
Auckland

One of, if not the, most fabulous hotels I've ever stayed in! Absolutely beautiful. The bath & body products in the room are soooo nice I bought some to take home. I took pix of the shower so I can remodel mine like theirs- I loved the rough hewn herringbone tile, the shelf instead of a niche, and the horizontal drain, just in case you're curious what I found so special in a hotel shower! I hated to leave. I'll def stay here the next time I'm in Auckland.

Hermitage Hotel
Mount Cook Village

Historic hotel. My room had a breathtaking view of Mt. Cook. Staff is great- the chef was circulating the buffet & showed me how to eat a green-lipped mussel & explained the bigger mussels are female & sweeter, smaller ones are male & not as sweet (I couldn't tell a difference in taste).

The White Morph - Heritage Collection
Kaikoura

Darling beachy hotel.

Hotel Ibis Rotorua

Not my favorite, old & dated. There is a Novotel next door that looked much nicer. Great location though, 5 minute walk to bars & restaurants.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Shotover River Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Shotover River Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Queenstown (NZ)

Don't miss this! It would NEVER be allowed in the USA. A very hairaising ride- at times I thought we'd for sure crash into the canyon walls or flip on rocks in the river but the boat driver was very good.

Milford Sound Full-Day Adventure
Milford Sound Full-Day Adventure
Queenstown (NZ)

Unfortunately we had to drive back instead of fly back because of weather. Our flight was promptly refunded. I'm sure it's spectacular from the air...

AJ Hackett Nevis Swing
AJ Hackett Nevis Swing
Queenstown (NZ)

Loved it! Not as scary as bungee jumping with a rope.

Glacier Explorers - Mount Cook
Glacier Explorers - Mount Cook
Aoraki / Mount Cook Village

Pretty amazing! One of the few places in the world where a glacier feeds into a lake - and the lake is accessible!

TSS Earnslaw Farm Tour & Dinner
TSS Earnslaw Farm Tour & Dinner
Queenstown (NZ)

Interesting coal-fired tramp steamer ride. Best buffet of the trip! Sheep shearing with Quinn and his dog Mist was fun.

Swim with the Dolphins Tour
Swim with the Dolphins Tour
Kaikoura

Where else can you swim with hundreds of dolphins in the OPEN OCEAN??

Visit the Te Papa Museum
Visit the Te Papa Museum
Wellington

Fabulous museum! Don't miss the preserved giant squid. The Gallipoli exhibit (think of it as New Zealand's Dunkirk) is absolutely incredible.

Hells Gate - Hell's Gate Experience (Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath, Sulphur Spas)
Hells Gate - Hell's Gate Experience (Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath, Sulphur Spas)
Rotorua

Don't miss a dip in the mud baths. The mud is luxuriously silky smooth. Listen to their instructions- they said don't wear jewelry for 48 hrs afterward, it will tarnish. I scoffed. I was wrong- see photo of the sterling silver earrings I put on that evening! They polished up nicely once I got home, however.

Redwoods - Nightlights
Redwoods - Nightlights
Rotorua

It was tons of fun walking across narrow suspension bridges high in the treetops in the dark by the glow of beautiful lanterns.

National Kiwi Hatchery Tour
National Kiwi Hatchery Tour
Rotorua

I'm not into birds at all but the hatchery was very interesting, it was thrilling to see newly hatched kiwi chicks and learn how this unique bird is being brought back from near extinction.

Te Pō - Indigenous Evening Experience
Te Pō - Indigenous Evening Experience
Rotorua

The Māori are a proud people, eager to share their heritage with outsiders. I was afraid the show would be touristy and cheesy, but it definitely was not!

Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise
Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise
Auckland

It was by sailboat not motorboat, which was extra special. The commentary was really interesting- we sailed right by the entire New Zealand navy, 8 boats, one with a gun! The crew was great. Meal was a bit strange, served in bowls, but the guys were so enthusiastic it was a fun excursion.

Local specialist: Laurel Thachuk
Laurel
Laurel Thachuk
Local specialist in Wanaka, New Zealand | Replied on Feb 14, 2024

Hi Ann,

Thanks so much for the review. I love the detail too regarding each accommodation and activity. This level of detail really helps us to evaluate the products and services we use and get first hand feedback. It surely is a diverse country and I'm glad you enjoyed the unique experiences we have to offer.

Kind Regards
Sabina
(On behalf of Laurel)

New Zealand 14 day trip
New Zealand | Jan 23 - Feb 5, 2024

Lori
Lori M.
Orlando, FL | Reviewed on Feb 08, 2024
Kim Kim put a wonderful jam packed vacation together for us in New Zealand. We wanted to do so much in our 14 days time in the county we they were able to fit in all our requests and more. Questions and concerns were always handled quickly. With so much to do and see I would have never been able to put our itInerary together. Way to many logistics and moving parts. I love how the vacation was tailored to us. We had about 17 different activities in our 14 days and all of our reservation,... Read more

Kim Kim put a wonderful jam packed vacation together for us in New Zealand. We wanted to do so much in our 14 days time in the county we they were able to fit in all our requests and more. Questions and concerns were always handled quickly. With so much to do and see I would have never been able to put our itInerary together. Way to many logistics and moving parts. I love how the vacation was tailored to us. We had about 17 different activities in our 14 days and all of our reservation, transportation and accommodation went as planned. Only a few things canceled but that was due to weather and we got a full refund. Every guide we had was welcoming and professional. Big shout out to Shaun at Altitude for our trip to Milford Sound and Iveta with Cheeky Kiwi. What a wonder beautiful county New Zealand it. This was a once in a lifetime trip. Thanks to Sabin and Laurel.

Hotel Reviews
Hotel Ibis Rotorua

Rooms were very dark and carpet seemed dirty. I would not stay here again. Staff was nice tough

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The Hotel Britomart
Auckland

Probably one of my favorite hotels I have stayed in. very clean and quaint.

Authenticity & Character
Location
great location
Staff
very friendly
Cleanliness & Comfort
The White Morph - Heritage Collection
Kaikoura

Cute, quite and clean!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Laurel Thachuk
Laurel
Laurel Thachuk
Local specialist in Wanaka, New Zealand | Replied on Feb 08, 2024

Hi Lori,

Thanks so much for the lovely review. It has been a delight working with you so I am so glad you have had a wonderful trip!

Sabina

Fantastic trip! We'll be back!
New Zealand | Jan 21 - Jan 29, 2024

D
Dylan T.
San Jose, CA | Reviewed on Feb 03, 2024

Our trip was fantastically planned by Connie. Connie was amazingly fast to respond and had answers to every little question that my wife and I had.

The events that had been planned were a blast and we got as much in as we could. The only thing I wish was that I had planned to be there for more time.

If you need help organizing a trip, Connie was absolutely amazing. I'm sure we'll be using Kimkim again and will reach out to Connie in the future!

Local specialist: Connie Campos
Connie
Connie Campos
Local specialist in Washington and New Zealand | Replied on Feb 03, 2024

Dyland and Rachel,

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such an excellent review! We are thrilled that you had a seamless and stress-free experience with us. Your kind words are a great testament to the hard work and dedication we invest in each job.
I agree with you, it is always too short... We hope to serve you with another great trip shortly.

Thank you very much

Connie