Best of Auckland

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Auckland
New Zealand’s largest city straddles two natural harbors, just part of how it earned its nickname of the “City of Sails.” In addition to its world-class shopping and food scene, Auckland is surrounded by wine regions, native bush, rain forests, and beaches. Explore the suburbs of Parnell and Ponsonby with their upmarket galleries, back-alley wine bars, and trendy eateries, venture out to the rural community of Clevedon, or explore one of over 800 regional parks with deserted beaches, waterfalls and forest walks.


Previous kimkim travelers have tried their hand at sailing an America’s Cup yacht in the Viaduct Harbour or ferried out to Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience. Picnic atop Mount Eden, Auckland’s highest volcano; if you’d like to get even higher, head up to the top of the Sky Tower or scale the Harbour Bridge, where you can jump (harnessed, of course) off the top of either (or simply stop at the top of the tower for the meal at the revolving restaurant).
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Auckland
Map of Ultimate Auckland Tour - 5 Days
Ultimate Auckland Tour - 5 Days

Enjoy an eventful five days in Auckland on this active itinerary. Upon arrival in the “Big Little City,” explore the town’s best shopping nooks, restaurants, museums, and parks. Then, go kiwi spotting on a day-to-night nature tour, followed by a wine tasting trip to Waiheke Island. The vacation concludes with a ferry ride to Rangitoto Island to explore the scenic volcanic destination and its lava tunnels.

Rotorua
Map of New Zealand: Auckland and Rotorua - 5 Days
New Zealand: Auckland and Rotorua - 5 Days

On this active, five-day tour, experience two different cities in New Zealand. Begin in Auckland, and stroll the trendy neighborhoods, followed by a day outdoors, including a dolphin and whale watching excursion. Then, travel to Rotorua, a geothermal destination. Explore the cultural and historical sites, dip into the hot springs, bike through the Redwoods Forest, and visit the famous Polynesian Spa. 

A road through the North Island's Waitakere Ranges
Map of Nature-Filled North Island Road Trip - 7 Days
Nature-Filled North Island Road Trip - 7 Days

Experience the great outdoors of New Zealand's North Island on this week-long, road trip itinerary. Loop your way south from Auckland to spot whales in Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, hike through the lush rainforests of the Waitakere Ranges, and glimpse the real Middle-earth in Matamata. Discover the geothermal marvels of Wai-O-Tapu in Rotorua, take an evening kayak tour into the glowworm canyons of Tauranga, and end your adventure back in Auckland with a sunset harbor dinner cruise.

Family holiday New Zealand
Map of New Zealand North Island Family Adventure: Dolphins, Glowworms & Hobbiton - 7 Days
New Zealand North Island Family Adventure: Dolphins, Glowworms & Hobbiton - 7 Days

Discover New Zealand's family-friendly North Island on this seven-day road trip. Breathe in the fresh sea air on a dolphin and whale watching safari from Auckland, and explore the Hobbiton set from the "The Lord of the Rings" with its grassy mounds and big round doors. Enter the "sulfur city" of Rotorua and imagine you're on another planet as you pass erupting geysers and boiling mud pools before descending into the glittering glowworm cave at Footwhistle.

Cape Reinga in New Zealand's Bay of Islands
Map of Unwind in New Zealand's Winterless North - 9 Days
Unwind in New Zealand's Winterless North - 9 Days

Experience the best of New Zealand's North Island, known for its rich Maori culture, subtropical beaches, and buzzing city life. Launch your nine-day tour in Auckland with a bungee jump off the Sky Tower and a dinner cruise around its twinkling harbor. Then road trip your way north to the tropical paradise of the Bay of Islands to discover pristine beaches, charming coastal towns, and the magical Waipoua Forest.

A hobbit hole in Matamata's Hobbiton on New Zealand's North Island
Map of New Zealand's North Island - 6 Days
New Zealand's North Island - 6 Days

From Auckland to Taupo, this six-day itinerary presents the highlights of the North Island's diverse and dramatic landscapes. You'll trek amid emerald lakes and ancient volcanoes, explore The Shire from "Lord of the Rings," and discover the sacred thermal waters of Wai-O-Tapu.

Redwoods Forest, Rotorua
Map of New Zealand: Auckland, Rotorua, & Napier - 7 Days
New Zealand: Auckland, Rotorua, & Napier - 7 Days

On this weeklong tour of New Zealand, explore three entirely different areas of the country. Begin in Auckland, the "Big Little City," to do some sightseeing, kiwi spotting, and island touring. Then, drive to Rotorua to explore the famous geothermal areas and go mountain biking in the Redwoods Forest. Next, make your way to Napier, nestled on Hawke's Bay, and rich with Art Deco culture.

Visit the Hobbiton set in Matamata
Map of New Zealand's North Island Nature & Middle-earth Family Tour - 10 Days
New Zealand's North Island Nature & Middle-earth Family Tour - 10 Days

Movie-loving families can step right into the world of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" on New Zealand's North Island. This fun 10-day itinerary combines Middle-earth highlights like the Hobbiton movie set and Weta Cave Workshop with a range of other active, outdoorsy adventures that parents and kids will love. Go zip lining on Waiheke Island, check out Rotorua's geothermal attractions, meet farm animals in Tauranga, and much more.

View over Piha Beach, Auckland
Map of North Island Active Family Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Napier & Wellington - 10 Days
North Island Active Family Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Napier & Wellington - 10 Days

This 10-day itinerary is the perfect match for adventurous families looking to experience the great outdoors of New Zealand's North Island. Starting in Auckland, you'll drive south to Wellington via Rotorua and Napier. Immerse yourself in nature along the way, experiencing native bush, bird, and animal life. Explore some of New Zealand's most intriguing land and cityscapes, including those of the imagination: a tour of the famous Weta Workshop will be a highlight for kids and adults alike.

Explore the redwoods of Rotorua
Map of  New Zealand Nature for Families: Geysers, Glowworms & Lavender Fields  - 10 Days
New Zealand Nature for Families: Geysers, Glowworms & Lavender Fields - 10 Days

Explore the very best of New Zealand's natural wonders in this family-oriented 10-day trip. Begin by immersing yourself in Hobbit life at the Hobbiton film set, after which you will be taken to a vast underground network of caves lit up by glowworms. Take a nighttime walk among gigantic redwood trees along a lantern-lit path, and learn about Maori culture during a hearty feast in a natural forest amphitheater. Finally, ride a rail cart to some of New Zealand's most beautiful lavender fields.

Lakeside in Queenstown
Map of Family Adventure in New Zealand: Jet Boats, Whale Safaris & Māori Culture - 7 Days
Family Adventure in New Zealand: Jet Boats, Whale Safaris & Māori Culture - 7 Days

With boat rides, bungee jumps, and Maori immersion experiences, this action-packed seven-day adventure across New Zealand will appeal to even hard-to-please teens. Bring the family together with an ocean safari in Auckland, and relive "The Lord of the Rings" during a tour of Hobbiton. Immerse yourself in traditional Maori culture and gastronomy in Rotorua, then head to Queenstown's "adventure capital" to brave the thrill of a jet boat ride through the stunning Mount Aspiring National Park.

Te Mata Peak
Map of New Zealand North Island Highlights: Culture, Wine & Wildlife - 11 Days
New Zealand North Island Highlights: Culture, Wine & Wildlife - 11 Days

Nature lovers, film buffs, and wine connoisseurs: get ready to experience 11 days of New Zealand's top cultural and natural highlights. Sample the country's finest wines paired with delicious food during a vineyard tour of Hawke's Bay, and follow in the footsteps of Frodo and Samwise in a "The Lord of the Rings" filming locations tour. Traverse spectacular countryside by car and train as you spot rare wildlife like gannets, kiwis, and even the rare tuatara—New Zealand's living dinosaur.

The ocean-side train journey through New Zealand's Canterbury region
Map of New Zealand by Rail: Scenic South to North Island Adventure - 11 Days
New Zealand by Rail: Scenic South to North Island Adventure - 11 Days

Experience three breathtaking train journeys on this 11-day New Zealand adventure. Sit back and enjoy the views as you make your way from Queenstown to Auckland—traversing the windswept Canterbury Plains, winding along the Pacific coast, and cruising the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. Along the way, you'll stand in awe of the mighty Franz Joseph Glacier, search for kiwis and glowworms in the forests of Wellington, and step into movie magic in the rolling hills of Hobbiton.

New Zealand's powerful Huka Falls
Map of North Island Road Trip: Auckland, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Napier & Wellington - 11 Days
North Island Road Trip: Auckland, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Napier & Wellington - 11 Days

Perfect for nature lovers and thrill-seekers, this 11-day, self-drive itinerary lets you discover the wonders of New Zealand's North Island at your own pace. Start in Auckland for panoramic views from the top of the Sky Tower, then head to the Bay of Islands to learn about Maori culture and relax on its many beaches. Explore geothermal geysers and ancient forests in Rotorua, go wine tasting and gannet spotting around Napier, then step into the world of film with a visit to Wellington's Weta Workshop.

Wellington's iconic century-old furnicular
Map of New Zealand North Island Road Trip: Auckland to Wellington - 8 Days
New Zealand North Island Road Trip: Auckland to Wellington - 8 Days

See the North Island from top to bottom on this eight-day New Zealand road trip. Get to know the "City of Sails" in Auckland, then set out into the rainforests of Waitakere and the lush farmland of Waikato. Visit Hobbit houses in the real Middle-earth and venture into glowworm-illuminated caves, then follow the smell of sulfur to Rotorua and its geothermal wonders. After hiking to the dormant volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, end your adventure among the quirky urban charm of Wellington.

Exploring the forests of Rotorua
Map of Family Fun on New Zealand's North Island: Wildlife, Culture & Hobbiton - 7 Days
Family Fun on New Zealand's North Island: Wildlife, Culture & Hobbiton - 7 Days

The goal of a good family vacation is for everyone to have a great time. That's sure to happen on this week-long, self-drive adventure through the North Island of New Zealand. Starting in Auckland and traveling down to Waitomo, Hobbiton, Rotorua, and Tauranga, kids of all ages will love the range of natural and cultural attractions on offer. Explore glowworm caves, go dolphin watching, learn about Maori culture, and much more.

New Zealand's Hole in the Rock
Map of Northern New Zealand: Auckland, Bay of Islands & Matakana - 5 Days
Northern New Zealand: Auckland, Bay of Islands & Matakana - 5 Days

On this short-yet-eventful tour of New Zealand, experience both the city and island life. Begin in Auckland, and take a scenic dinner cruise along the local harbors and marinas. Then, travel to the Bay of Islands and enjoy time in Paihia. Swim with dolphins, lounge on Te Ti Beach, and visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a guided history tour and a cultural performance. The trip concludes with an excursion into the Waipoua Forest, with its famous trees and acclaimed Matakohe Kauri Museum.

Abel Tasman National Park
Map of Highlights of the North Island and Top of the South, New Zealand - 11 Days
Highlights of the North Island and Top of the South, New Zealand - 11 Days

This 11-day adventure explores New Zealand's North Island, as well as one of the most popular regions of the upper South Island. Start in Auckland, and take a short scenic flight to Great Barrier Island, where you can hike, bathe in natural hot pools, or relax on the beach. Continue to Rotorua, with its geothermal waters and the Tongariro volcanoes, before making your way to Wellington. From there, you'll finish with Golden Bay, Abel Tasman National Park, and Nelson—the sunniest town in New Zealand.

A winding road in the Marlborough Sounds
Map of New Zealand Ultimate North to South Island Road Trip - 9 Days
New Zealand Ultimate North to South Island Road Trip - 9 Days

Brimming with adventure, spectacular nature, and lively cities, this nine-day road trip dives into the best of New Zealand's North and South Islands. Visit cosmopolitan Auckland and sample Waiheke Island's best beaches and wineries, then head to Rotorua for thrill-seeking activities, Maori villages, and natural hot springs. After a breathtaking ferry ride across Marlborough Sounds, your trip ends with whale watching and a scenic drive along the Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch.

Maori house in Rotorua
Map of New Zealand North Island Explorer - 9 Days
New Zealand North Island Explorer - 9 Days

Ideal for adventure lovers and active travelers, this nine-day, self-drive itinerary features the best of New Zealand's North Island. Board an ocean safari for dolphin watching in the Bay of Islands, explore New Zealand's rich Maori history, and experience the mighty power of the Pacific Ocean at Cape Reinga. After beachcombing and snorkeling time at Snells Beach, head inland to Rotorua for rejuvenating geothermal pools, a Maori cultural dinner, and sparkling glowworm caves.

View of the Mount Maunganui suburb from the summit of the dormant volcano Mauao
Map of Explore New Zealand's North Island: Auckland to Wellington - 11 Days
Explore New Zealand's North Island: Auckland to Wellington - 11 Days

Experience New Zealand's eclectic mix of city and country, fantasy and reality on this 11-day journey across the North Island. Travel from the bustling harbors of Auckland to the steaming geysers of Rotorua, ride cable cars up Wellington's hills, and kayak across Lake McLaren. Along the way, catch glimpses of sites made famous by the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, like Hobbiton, the Putangirua Pinnacles, and Weta Cave.

Sunset on Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park
Map of Best of New Zealand's North Island: Adventure, Culture & Relaxation - 13 Days
Best of New Zealand's North Island: Adventure, Culture & Relaxation - 13 Days

Ideal for those who want a road trip with a taste of everything, this itinerary will take you from the city lights of Auckland Harbour to the luminescence of Lake McLaren's glowworm canyon. Pamper yourself with a luxurious spa one day, then challenge yourself with whitewater rafting or an alpine hike the next. Experience Maori culture and art, then relax after digging your own beachside hot pool. Whether you choose to dine in Hobbit or Sky Tower-style, this trip will be unforgettable.

Get up close to the Māori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo
Map of Ultimate New Zealand & Australia Adventure  - 15 Days
Ultimate New Zealand & Australia Adventure - 15 Days

This is the perfect trip for first-timers to Australia and New Zealand. Kick off the tour in Sydney and Melbourne with a few days to experience each city, plus nearby attractions like the Great Ocean Road. Then fly to New Zealand's South Island for a range of outdoor activities in the adventure capital of the world. Next is a road trip on the North Island, where you'll see spouting geysers, glowworm caves, and Maori rock art—ending with a whale- and dolphin-watching cruise off the coast of Auckland.

Lady Elizabeth Bownen Falls, New Zealand
Map of New Zealand's North & South Islands: Culture, Nature & Adventure – 6 Days
New Zealand's North & South Islands: Culture, Nature & Adventure – 6 Days

If you're short on time but ready to explore New Zealand, this action-packed itinerary ticks off the best of the North and South Islands in just six days. Witness the volcanic wonders of Rotorua, venture to the real Middle-earth, eat around Auckland, cruise the magical fjords of Milford Sound, feast with a local Maori tribe, and get your thrills in Queenstown. In between it all, every turn offers breathtaking landscapes and incredible scenery that leave you wanting more.

Overlooking Lake Tekapo
Map of New Zealand's North & South Islands: Auckland to Queenstown - 12 Days
New Zealand's North & South Islands: Auckland to Queenstown - 12 Days

Discover a paradise for adventure seekers and nature lovers on this 12-day tour through New Zealand's North and South Islands. Take a cruise across Auckland's scenic harbors, enter the magical world of Hobbiton, and stand in awe at Rotorua's geysers. Experience the remarkable stillness of Milford Sound, then head into the backcountry to find Lake Tekapo and take a zip line ride over Wanaka before heading back to civilization in the second city of Christchurch.

Wind through the hills of Rotorua
Map of  New Zealand North Island Road Trip: Auckland to Wellington - 12 Days
New Zealand North Island Road Trip: Auckland to Wellington - 12 Days

Journey the length of New Zealand's North Island on this self-drive road trip from Auckland to Wellington. In between kayaking with glowworms, exploring the Pacific "Ring of Fire" in Rotorua, sitting down to a Maori feast, and stepping into the worlds of Middle-earth and Hobbiton, this whimsical 12-day adventure leaves you with plenty of time to relax on the Bay of Islands' beaches and sample some of the country's best pinot noirs.

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.

Matamata
Map of New Zealand: From South Island to North Island - 7 Days
New Zealand: From South Island to North Island - 7 Days

Enjoy one week in New Zealand, from the South Island to the North Island. Begin in Christchurch on a fun sightseeing tour. Then, pick up your rental car and make a stop for a soak in Hanmer Springs, followed by a whale watching tour in Kaikoura. Next, drive from Picton, with a wine tasting stop along the way, and hop the Interislander Ferry to Wellington to tour the museum and native species. Head to Taupo for an incredible jet boating excursion to Huka Falls, tour the geothermal region of Rotorua by floatplane, visit a lush movie set in Matamata, and take a grand finale cruise around Auckland Harbour.

Auckland City
Map of Highlights of Australia & New Zealand: Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Sydney, Melbourne & Cairns - 14 Days
Highlights of Australia & New Zealand: Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Sydney, Melbourne & Cairns - 14 Days

This two-week crossover trip takes you from New Zealand to Australia with plenty of adventure laced throughout. From Auckland, visit the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the movie set of Hobbiton. Next, explore the volcanic landscape of Rotorua, followed by an entertaining dinner with the Maori. Go jet boating and wine tasting in Queenstown and tour the stunning Milford Sound. Then, fly to Sydney to go sightseeing and cruising around Sydney Harbour and embark on a day trip to the stunning Blue Mountains. In Melbourne, bookmark the hip neighborhoods and cafés and visit kangaroos and koalas in the wild. The tour concludes in Cairns with free time and an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.

Explore the treetops of Rotorua
Map of North to South New Zealand Family Trip: Nature, Cities & Adventure - 14 Days
North to South New Zealand Family Trip: Nature, Cities & Adventure - 14 Days

Start your family trip in New Zealand off on a high with a three-course meal atop the 1,000-foot Sky Tower in Auckland. Zip through Rotorua's native forest via zip lines, swing bridges, tree platforms, and trails, before taking a rail cart tour through farm country, at the end of which you'll be treated to a plowman's lunch and a visit to lavender fields. Introduce your children to the night sky at a stargazing workshop, and finish your trip by swimming with dolphins in Akaroa.

Hike with kids in New Zealand
Map of Family Nature & Culture Trip in the North Island: Auckland to Wellington - 14 Days
Family Nature & Culture Trip in the North Island: Auckland to Wellington - 14 Days

Strike a good balance between cultural and natural highlights on this family-focused two-week tour of New Zealand's North Island. Starting in the biggest city, Auckland, you'll travel south through the Coromandel Peninsula and the geothermal heartland around Rotorua and Taupo before ending in the cool little capital of Wellington. Along the way, participate in a range of adventures that will appeal to everyone in the family: snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching, Maori cultural experiences, and much more.

Wai-O-Tapu in Rotorua
Map of New Zealand: North to South - 14 Days
New Zealand: North to South - 14 Days

Discover the best of New Zealand on this 14-day road trip, covering highlights from north to south, as well as the lesser-known regions. Immerse yourself in varied landscapes, including the spectacular surfing spots of Raglan, geothermal areas of Rotorua, and glacial fjords in Te Anau. Along the way, you will also visit vineyards and encounter native wildlife as you hike, paddle, and fly your way across the country.

Rotorua
Map of Self-Drive New Zealand: The North Island Bucket List - 8 Days
Self-Drive New Zealand: The North Island Bucket List - 8 Days

Experience the highlights of New Zealand's North Island on this 8-day self-drive adventure from Auckland to Wellington. Explore national parks and hot springs, see real Hobbit homes, and immerse yourself in the rich indigenous culture and history. This journey includes many options for an adrenaline rush, as well as relaxing spa treatments to unwind and rejuvenate. This is the best way to see the North Island at your own pace!

Franz Josef Glacier
Map of New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Franz Joseph & Queenstown - 8 Days
New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Franz Joseph & Queenstown - 8 Days

Explore the highlights of New Zealand's North and South Islands on this self-drive adventure. Start in cosmopolitan Auckland before passing by the expansive cave system of Waitomo on your way to Rotorua. Here, you'll visit Tolkien's "Shire" and dip in thermal pools. Then, you'll fly over to South Island, where you'll drive yourself around Christchurch, explore the Glacier Region, and end in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world.

Enjoy a two-hour boat cruise across Milford Sound
Map of A Taste of New Zealand: Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua & Auckland  - 8 Days
A Taste of New Zealand: Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua & Auckland - 8 Days

For those that like a trip to include thrills, food, and natural wonders, this eight-day itinerary should check off all the boxes. New Zealand is known for its hospitality, and you'll experience the very best of it at a mountaintop farm, a lakeside spa, and a multicourse Maori feast. Along the way, you'll get to see a fjord from a plane, glowworms from a boat, and Wellington's cityscape from a century-old funicular railway.

Explore New Zealand's oldest park, Tongariro National Park
Map of New Zealand North & South Island Road Trip - 15 Days
New Zealand North & South Island Road Trip - 15 Days

From the cosmopolitan cities and raw geothermal activity of the North Island to the stunning landscapes and heart-pumping thrills of the South, this 15-day self-drive itinerary squeezes the best experiences out of New Zealand. Fly over Milford Sound, helicopter over an active volcano, and ride the scenic TranzAlpine train with this luxury itinerary packed with adventure.

Milford Sound
Map of New Zealand Highlights by Road, Rail & Air - 15 Days
New Zealand Highlights by Road, Rail & Air - 15 Days

Discover everything from trendy cities and staggering countryside to award-winning wines and gourmet food tours on this far-reaching 15-day trip around New Zealand's North and South Islands. Float over the Canterbury Plains at first light in a hot air balloon, be helicoptered up to the Franz Josef Glacier, and sit back while you enjoy a cruise through the breathtaking Milford Sound.

Waiheke Island vineyard, New Zealand
Map of New Zealand North & South Island Road Trip Highlights: Auckland to Queenstown - 15 Days
New Zealand North & South Island Road Trip Highlights: Auckland to Queenstown - 15 Days

Travel New Zealand from top to tail on this 15-day self-drive adventure. Start in the North Island, where you'll explore Maori culture and geothermal landscapes and tour the Hobbiton film set from "The Lord of the Rings." Next, take the Interislander ferry to the South Island for whale watching and glacier tours, followed by a trip to the country's adventure capital, Queenstown. The journey ends with a cruise of the famous, UNESCO-listed Milford Sound.

You'll visit New Zealand's best wine regions between Auckland and Queenstown
Map of New Zealand North & South Islands Food & Wine Road Trip  - 15 Days
New Zealand North & South Islands Food & Wine Road Trip - 15 Days

Best for food and wine lovers, this self-guided road trip spans nearly the entire length of New Zealand for the adventure of a lifetime. From Auckland, you'll make your way south through key wine regions while partaking in meals on land, tram, and boat, including a traditional Maori feast and a farm dinner on the South Island. The itinerary also visits top natural attractions with free time to enjoy activities ranging from easy hiking trails to paragliding over Queenstown.

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.

This unique tour includes an overnight cruise in the Milford Sound
Map of Best of New Zealand's North & South Islands - 10 Days
Best of New Zealand's North & South Islands - 10 Days

This exciting itinerary combines top highlights in New Zealand's North and South Islands. Spend your first night in Auckland with a dinner cruise facing the twinkling skyline, then hit the road toward volcanoes, spouting geysers, and glow worm caves. Drop your car in Wellington, the nation's capital, and fly to Queenstown for adrenaline sports (if you choose), an overnight cruise in Milford Sound, and a wine tour to finish the adventure.

The road to Mount Cook National Park on New Zealand's South Island
Map of New Zealand Scenic Self-Drive Tour: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Canterbury & Otago - 11 Days
New Zealand Scenic Self-Drive Tour: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Canterbury & Otago - 11 Days

One of the best ways to experience New Zealand's diverse geography and wildlife is to get on the road and see it for yourself. This 11-day itinerary forges a path from the rolling hills, limestone caves, and Hobbit holes of the North Island to the whale-friendly coasts, fjords, and gorges of the South Island. Along the way you'll visit with native birds, fly over a glacier in a helicopter, and unwind at a geothermal spa.

New Zealand's mix of country and city will inspire you to explore
Map of Epic New Zealand Road Trip: Auckland to Queenstown - 21 Days
Epic New Zealand Road Trip: Auckland to Queenstown - 21 Days

On this 21-day adventure by air, land, and sea, you don't have to pick between New Zealand's North and South Islands—see the best of both. Experience the glowworm caves of Waitomo and the country's largest glacier on Lake Tasman. Let your taste buds guide you to a Maori village feast and the wines of Martinborough. Cross the scenic Cook Straight by boat, and see behind the scenes of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" in the Weta Workshop in Wellington.

The Southern Alps overlooking Lake Tekapo
Map of New Zealand's Natural Wonders: Auckland to Queenstown - 12 Days
New Zealand's Natural Wonders: Auckland to Queenstown - 12 Days

Experience what New Zealand is known for—its natural beauty—on this luxurious 12-day road trip. View gulfs and glaciers from seaplanes and helicopters, and breathe in the sulfurous fumes of Hell's Gate Thermal Valley in Rotorua. Hike between towering volcanoes in the Tongariro National Park before soaking in mountain-water hot tubs with nothing but the birds, mountains, and lakes for company. Finish off your stay in one of the world's top lodges overlooking the snowcapped Southern Alps.

Walk along Lake Wakatipu in the early morning, Queenstown
Map of New Zealand North & South Islands Road Trip: Auckland to Queenstown - 13 Days
New Zealand North & South Islands Road Trip: Auckland to Queenstown - 13 Days

Get to know New Zealand's cities, towns, and stunning landscapes on this 13-day road trip. Begin in the North Island, where you'll explore Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, and Hobbiton, the film set of "The Lord of the Rings." Continue to Taupo for bungee jumping and hiking, then visit Rotorua to see Waiotapu's geothermal wonders. Next, move on to Christchurch and the South Island, where you'll hike, dine, cruise, and fly your way around Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, and the Franz Josef / Waiau Glacier.

A road along Hawea Lake in New Zealand's South Island
Map of Ultimate New Zealand Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, & More - 14 Days
Ultimate New Zealand Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, & More - 14 Days

Spend two weeks in New Zealand on this eventful road trip. From Auckland, drive through the Coromandel Peninsula to Whitianga. Then, stop in Tauranga before hitting geothermic Rotorua, followed by Art Deco-inspired Napier. Drive through gorges and vineyards toward Wellington, and ferry to Picton prior to arriving in Nelson. Cruise through beautiful Te Anau before closing out the journey in Christchurch.

Mother and child looking at mountains in New Zealand
Map of New Zealand Family Explorer from North to South - 14 Days
New Zealand Family Explorer from North to South - 14 Days

Whether you have younger or older kids, this two-week itinerary includes various outdoor and adventure-focused activities to keep everyone interested and entertained. While many travelers to New Zealand only focus on one island, this carefully planned itinerary includes both the North and South Islands by making use of a domestic flight. Explore the geothermal attractions of the North Island as well as the rugged mountains and glaciers of the South Island—and lots more.

Other popular travel destinations in New Zealand
Christchurch · North Island · South Island