Best of Queenstown (Nz)

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Queenstown (NZ)
Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu amid towering mountains, alpine Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, but it has so much more to offer. Bike the Gibbston Valley wine trail, which is especially known for its Otago pinot noirs, or take a 100-year-old steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, across the lake. If you want to venture further afield, the Fiordland National Park, gold mining settlement of Arrowtown, and resort town of Wanaka are closeby. 

Previous kimkim travelers have taken flight out to the snow-capped mountains surrounding Queenstown on helicopter tours. A Milford Track Encounter Day Walk will take you along Lake Wakatipu and down to Lake Te Anau, where you’ll take a boat ride to the northern end of the lake and the start of the Milford Track. Follow this Great Walk trail for just 1 mile (1.6 km) to a historic house where you’ll enjoy lunch and a small museum, followed by a guided walk along the Clinton River.
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New Zealand's Shotover River Canyon, Queenstown
Map of Mini South Island Adventure - 6 Days
Mini South Island Adventure - 6 Days

Adventure awaits on this self-driving tour of some of New Zealand's most sought-after natural wonders and attractions. Your six-day exploration starts in Queenstown, where you can view the city via gondola or take a jet boat through nearby Shotover River Canyons. From there, you'll cruise scenic Milford Sound, then hit the road toward Lake Tekapo. The tour wraps up with a visit to Christchurch City, where you'll stroll through botanical gardens, take a tram ride, or go punting on the Avon River.

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.

See New Zealand's Milford Sound /  Piopiotahi by boat and plane
Map of Highlights of Australia & New Zealand - 15 Days
Highlights of Australia & New Zealand - 15 Days

This 15-day itinerary perfectly blends beauty, culture, and thrilling adventures across Australia and New Zealand. Begin in Sydney, exploring its famous landmarks and the stunning Blue Mountains. Fly to Palm Cove, a tropical paradise home to the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest. Cross over to New Zealand, landing in the adventure capital of Queenstown. Cruise the majestic Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, and finish in the vibrant city of Auckland.

Meet New Zealand's local wildlife
Map of New Zealand South Island Family Trip: Nature, Thrills & Culture - 7 Days
New Zealand South Island Family Trip: Nature, Thrills & Culture - 7 Days

This week of family fun starts in Queenstown with gondola rides, luge runs, and 360-degree spins on a jet boat through the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park. Bring down the adrenaline with a gentle afternoon getting up close and personal with kiwi birds before heading to the glittering glowworm caves at Te Anau. Spark your children's nature-loving side on a cruise through the majestic Milford Sound, and finish your trip with a gourmet barbecue dinner on an old-fashioned country farm.

Wraparound views of Lake Wakatipu from your Queenstown luxury lodge (photo courtesy of Azur Lodge)
Map of New Zealand South Island Luxury Getaway - 7 Days
New Zealand South Island Luxury Getaway - 7 Days

This luxury South Island road trip takes you from Christchurch to Queenstown in a relaxed fashion, enjoying exclusive tours and 5-star stays along the way. Soar above Mount Cook National Park and Milford Sound / Piopiotahi on scenic flights, take a helicopter to New Zealand's highest-altitude whisky bar, and explore the unspoiled Mackenzie region by 4WD. Other highlights include steaming onsen baths beneath the stars, exhilarating jet boat rides, and Kiwi barbecue feasts.

Ski with spectacular views in New Zealand's Queenstown
Map of Ultimate New Zealand Ski & Scenery Tour - 11 Days
Ultimate New Zealand Ski & Scenery Tour - 11 Days

For adventure and nature lovers, this 11-day ski and scenery tour across New Zealand is a dream. Kicking off in vibrant Auckland, you'll explore the rainforest and coastlines of the Waitakere Ranges before heading to Rotorua. From here, fly to the South Island to visit Christchurch and spend two days skiing or snowboarding in Queenstown. End your trip with a boat ride across the peaceful Milford Sound / Piopiotahi and a helicopter tour above glaciers.

Discover Queenstown and nearby Te Anau and Wānaka
Map of New Zealand Queenstown Area Highlights - 8 Days
New Zealand Queenstown Area Highlights - 8 Days

Get to know the Queenstown area's natural wonders on this eight-day trip. Beginning in Queenstown, you'll explore the town and enjoy a number of activities: bungee jumping, jet boating, wine touring, and soaking in hot pools. Then head to Te Anau to visit glowworm caves, go hiking, and cruise the scenic Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. Finish in Wanaka with hiking, a happy hour cruise, and more outdoor adventures before returning home.

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 who 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 Māori 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.

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.

Golden leaves on the vines of a vineyard in Otago, New Zealand
Map of Christchurch to Queenstown Wine & Adventure Tour - 6 Days
Christchurch to Queenstown Wine & Adventure Tour - 6 Days

Wine lovers and adventure-seekers can get all bases covered on New Zealand's South Island with this six-day itinerary. Space out your wine tasting with activities, including gondola rides, ziplining, and canyon river rafting. You'll also have time for leisurely walks through Mount Cook National Park. A scenic road trip portion offers opportunities to get out and see the glaciers and mountain ranges that make this region a must-visit spot for extreme sports enthusiasts.

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.

Cruise Doubtful Sound
Map of New Zealand South Island Adventure: Christchurch, Mount Cook, Queenstown & Franz Josef - 9 Days
New Zealand South Island Adventure: Christchurch, Mount Cook, Queenstown & Franz Josef - 9 Days

Encounter snowy peaks and lush rainforests in this nine-day road trip around New Zealand's South Island. Start by sampling a four-course meal on a colonial-style tram ride around Christchurch. Pick up your rental car, and get ready for breathtaking scenery over the next week as you drive through "The Lord of the Rings" country, with stop-offs that include glacial hot pools, boat rides, gourmet barbecues, and a scenic train ride.

Views across Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown
Map of New Zealand Discovery Tour: Auckland to Queenstown - 9 Days
New Zealand Discovery Tour: Auckland to Queenstown - 9 Days

Beginning in the vibrant capital of Auckland, this adventure-packed nine-day itinerary starts with a sail under the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Then, it's on to explore geothermal Rotorua and historic Christchurch and visit the spectacular Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park for stargazing and a glacier cruise. You'll finish with many options in Queenstown, from bungee jumping to a jet boat ride to vineyard tours.

Full moon rising over Soho Basin at Cardrona Alpine Resort at sunrise
Map of South Island Self-Drive Tour & Ski Adventure: Otago & Southland - 12 Days
South Island Self-Drive Tour & Ski Adventure: Otago & Southland - 12 Days

Take to New Zealand's South Island on a road trip from Queenstown, the country's adventure capital. Drive along the rocky bluffs of the Southern Scenic Route, take a pit stop to bungee jump at Kawarau Bridge, and cross the highest sealed road in the country as you make your way around the Otago and Southland regions to the ski field at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

A father snaps pics of his children on holiday in the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand
Map of New Zealand Family Road Trip: South Island Mountains & Lakes  - 7 Days
New Zealand Family Road Trip: South Island Mountains & Lakes - 7 Days

This itinerary leads your family through some of the South Island's most striking scenery, with plenty of fun along the way. As you make your way from Christchurch to Queenstown, kids and adults alike will love getting up close to native seabirds, meeting farm animals, and swimming in thermal pools. Gondola, boat, and plane trips will further pack your week with family-friendly adventure!

The South Island's Lake Wanaka
Map of New Zealand South Island Road Trip: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers - 7 Days
New Zealand South Island Road Trip: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers - 7 Days

This week-long itinerary takes you on a scenic road trip through the South Island's most spectacular landscapes. Starting in Christchurch, set off across the Canterbury Plains to skirt the turquoise lakes of Tekapo and Pukaki and reach the towering Mount Cook. After two nights exploring the adventure capital of Queenstown, head north along the rugged West Coast to Franz Joseph Glacier. Take a break from driving for the final leg of your journey and return to Christchurch via a breathtaking train journey.

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.

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.

In Kaikōura, the mountains meet the ocean
Map of Wild New Zealand: Auckland, Tongariro, Wellington, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Mount Cook & Queenstown - 16 Days
Wild New Zealand: Auckland, Tongariro, Wellington, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Mount Cook & Queenstown - 16 Days

Enjoy some of New Zealand's most beautiful and exhilarating wilderness experiences on this 16-day tour of both the North and South Islands. Starting in Auckland, you'll head down to the Tongariro National Park for off-the-beaten-path hiking and biking adventures. Pass through Wellington on your way to the South Island, where majestic mountains await. Spot whales in Kaikoura, hike in the Southern Alps, stargaze in some of the darkest skies in the world, and much more.

 Aoraki / Mount Cook
Map of Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook & Queenstown: Best Itinerary Ideas
Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook & Queenstown: Best Itinerary Ideas

Most people visiting Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, and Queenstown spend about 11 to 14 days in New Zealand, which usually includes some time in Auckland and Rotorua as well. If you're only headed to Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, and Queenstown, you can enjoy a comfortably-paced trip in six to nine days. Even travelers with limited time can see the highlights in as few as five days. For the best itineraries, including Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, and Queenstown, keep reading below.

Māori carvings in Rotorua
Map of Best of New Zealand: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook & Queenstown - 16 Days
Best of New Zealand: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook & Queenstown - 16 Days

A 16-day tour of New Zealand is just the right length to appreciate the beauty and diversity of its two main islands, the North and South Islands. Start in Auckland, experiencing its big-city attractions and natural charm. Continue to geothermal Rotorua, a heartland of Maori culture. Fly south to Christchurch for a few days around the Garden City before driving into the mountains. Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, and Milford Sound / Piopiotahi offer some of the country's most stunning scenery.

Rotorua's Champagne Pool is a highlight of the area's geothermal wonders
Map of Contrasts of New Zealand: North & South Islands Tour - 17 Days
Contrasts of New Zealand: North & South Islands Tour - 17 Days

New Zealand is truly a land of contrasts: sandy subtropical beaches and high snowcapped mountains, Maori culture and colonial architecture, frozen glaciers, and bubbling mud pools. Experience a bit of everything on this fun-filled 17-day tour of both the North and South Islands. Complement self-driving with well-planned day tours, domestic flights, and scenic train journeys to make the most of your time on the islands of Aotearoa, which may look small on a map but pack in plenty of variety.

Rotorua's towering redwood forest
Map of Discover Sydney & New Zealand - 18 Days
Discover Sydney & New Zealand - 18 Days

Witness Australia and New Zealand's abundant beauty on this far-reaching 18-day tour. Start in Sydney and take day trips to the Hunter Valley's vineyards and the Blue Mountains. Leave for Queenstown to discover the adventure capital of New Zealand, fly over Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, and head to Wellington to learn about native wildlife. Witness the geysers of Rotorua and get lost in its massive redwood forests. Celebrate the end of your trip in Auckland with dinner at the top of the Sky Tower.

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.

Walk under the canopy of giant fern trees in Waitakere Ranges in Auckland
Map of Active Adventure in New Zealand – 11 Days
Active Adventure in New Zealand – 11 Days

Get your adrenaline pumping on this 11-day adventure tour of New Zealand. You'll travel from the North Island to the South, stopping to admire Auckland's black-sand beaches, Rotorua's geothermal pools, and Mount Tarawera's craters. Along the way, bounce down hillsides in an inflatable Zorb, hike and kayak across the South Island, and enjoy high-octane quad biking and jet-boating tours in New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown.

You'll drive alongside striking turquoise Lake Tekapo on the South Island
Map of Self-Drive New Zealand: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers - 8 Days
Self-Drive New Zealand: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers - 8 Days

Explore the beauty of New Zealand's South Island at your own pace with this self-drive tour. You'll start in Christchurch and drive through incredible villages to Queenstown. Next, you'll explore national parks before taking one of the world's greatest train journeys back to Christchurch. Get your adrenaline rush in along the way by bungee jumping, heli-skiing, and mountain biking!

Trek the icy terrain atop Tasman Glacier on this eight-day itinerary
Map of New Zealand Snow & Soak Adventure: Christchurch to Queenstown - 8 Days
New Zealand Snow & Soak Adventure: Christchurch to Queenstown - 8 Days

Enjoy plenty of outdoor activities on this scenic, wintry eight-day journey through New Zealand. Start by exploring Christchurch's urban gardens, then head to Lake Tekapo for a glacier hike and stargazing. Visit Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park and cruise on Tasman Glacier Lake as you drive to Twizel. Next, continue to Wanaka for a hot tub experience, ski trip, and happy hour cruise. Finish off in Queenstown, where you can try bungee jumping, jet boating, and wine tasting.

The Remarkables Ski Resort on New Zealand's South Island
Map of New Zealand's South Island Ski Safari - 15 Days
New Zealand's South Island Ski Safari - 15 Days

This 15-day ski safari dashes between six of the best ski slopes on New Zealand's South Island. Wake to fresh powder at The Remarkables, Coronet, Cardrona, Treble Cone, Mt Hutt, and Roundhill ski fields. Between snow days, you'll soak in natural thermal pools, go hiking, and experience the best après-ski in the country.

The Church of the Good Shepherd with the Milky Way in the background.
Map of South Island Self-Drive City & Nature Highlights - 12 Days
South Island Self-Drive City & Nature Highlights - 12 Days

There's no shortage of iconic destinations on New Zealand's South Island, from nature reserves to bustling metropolises. Explore a few of the best spots on this 12-day, self-drive itinerary across the island. Get your fill of cosmopolitan cafés, museums, and architecture in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown, and connect with nature and the boundless night sky at Lake Tekapo, Wanaka, and the Otago Peninsula.

Sydney Harbour
Map of Best of New Zealand & Australia: Queenstown, Cairns, Sydney & More - 15 Days
Best of New Zealand & Australia: Queenstown, Cairns, Sydney & More - 15 Days

This fun two-week tour allows you to experience some of the highlights of New Zealand's South Island, as well as Australia's east coast. Begin in Christchurch, then travel across the mountains to explore mountains, glaciers, fiords, and the 'Adventure Capital of New Zealand', Queenstown. Traveling across to Australia, snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, visit one of the oldest rainforests in the world at the Daintree National Park, have fun at a theme park on the Gold Coast, see the highlights of Sydney, and marvel at the unparalleled natural beauty of the Blue Mountains. This tour fits a lot of varied sights and experiences into two action-packed weeks. 

The Glenorchy wharf pier on New Zealand's South Island
Map of Epic Self-Drive Adventure in New Zealand - 17 Days
Epic Self-Drive Adventure in New Zealand - 17 Days

See the best of New Zealand's two islands with this 17-day self-drive itinerary. Starting in Auckland, you'll hit the road south to see geothermal wonders in Rotorua and the capital, Wellington. Skip to the South Island, where Christchurch and charming Akaroa await. Ride the TranzAlpine Train to the West Coast, where you'll heli-hike the Franz Josef Glacier, seek thrills in Queenstown, and fly over the magnificent Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. Return to Auckland and road trip out to the Bay of Islands to finish the trip.

Explore New Regent Street's cafés and shops, Christchurch, New Zealand
Map of Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown & Franz Josef / Waiau: Best Itinerary Ideas
Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown & Franz Josef / Waiau: Best Itinerary Ideas

Eight to nine days is a great length for a New Zealand trip, with stops in Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, and Franz Josef / Waiau. If you don't mind a fast-paced journey, you can see the highlights of this route in less time—as few as seven days. Or, extend your trip and explore more of the country—some of the best-loved trip extensions include Te Anau or Wanaka. Keep reading for more inspiring Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, and Franz Josef / Waiau itineraries.

Cruise across remote Doubtful Sound on New Zealand's South Island
Map of New Zealand Panorama:  Auckland to Christchurch - 17 Days
New Zealand Panorama: Auckland to Christchurch - 17 Days

This 17-day New Zealand adventure ticks off the best of the North and South islands with extreme thrills, cultural connections, and unusual destinations and experiences. Land in Auckland, then drive south to Rotorua for a Maori feast and zorbing adventure. Swap to the South Island to experience Fiordland National Park, then chase thrills with bungee jumping, swings, and a jet boat in Queenstown. Helicopter to the Fox Glacier, then board the TranzAlpine Scenic Train for Christchurch.

A quiet backroad near Lake Tekapo
Map of New Zealand Cities, Mountains & Lakes Road Trip - 17 Days
New Zealand Cities, Mountains & Lakes Road Trip - 17 Days

Experience a bit of everything on this 17-day self-drive tour through New Zealand's North and South Islands. Strike out from Auckland on an epic road trip south, traveling through the North Island's agricultural, geothermal, and wine-producing heartland. Along the way, stop for wine-tasting, glowworm kayaking, and a Maori cultural experiences. From Wellington, take the ferry to the South Island, where you'll hike on glaciers, cruise on remote waterways, and enjoy the vastness of the empty landscape.

Steam and Sulphur fill the air around the volcanic lakes of Rotorua
Map of Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch & Queenstown: Best Itinerary Ideas
Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch & Queenstown: Best Itinerary Ideas

Travelers to New Zealand typically plan a trip for 11 to 14 days when combining Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, and Queenstown with Aoraki / Mount Cook. If you're only headed to Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, and Queenstown, you can enjoy a comfortably-paced trip in 11 to 12 days. Even travelers with limited time can see the highlights in as few as 9 or 10 days. Check out the below favored Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, and Queenstown trips.

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.

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.

Father with his daughter at the Dunedin Railway Station
Map of New Zealand Family Nature & Wildlife Tour: Christchurch to Queenstown - 14 Days
New Zealand Family Nature & Wildlife Tour: Christchurch to Queenstown - 14 Days

This action-packed, two-week South Island itinerary offers a wealth of wildlife and nature-based experiences that families will enjoy, whether the kids are toddlers or teens. Swim with (or just look at) rare dolphins near Christchurch, explore mountainous farmland in the Southern Alps, see colonies of albatross and penguins near Dunedin, take a glowworm tour in Te Anau, and see the great outdoors in Queenstown with luging and jet boating adventures.

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.

Pause in Dunedin for spectacular coastal scenery and a castle and cruise tour
Map of New Zealand South Island Explorer: Southern Alps, Glaciers, Lakes & Fjords - 14 Days
New Zealand South Island Explorer: Southern Alps, Glaciers, Lakes & Fjords - 14 Days

Buckle up for an epic 14-day self-drive adventure through New Zealand's South Island. Cruise Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, spot fur seals in Otago Harbor, and land on a snow-covered glacier. You'll also ride a jet boat on the Shotover River, meet penguins, explore glowworm caves in Te Anau, and paddle a Maori canoe. But it's not all nature and aquatics. There's also time for a wineries tour, food safari, and the historic Larnach Castle before ending with a world-class train trip over the Southern Alps.

See Milford Sound / Piopiotah by boat and plane on a scenic, all-day adventure
Map of New Zealand North to South Highlights - 14 Days
New Zealand North to South Highlights - 14 Days

Eager to explore the vast beauty of New Zealand without driving? This two-week itinerary uses convenient transfers, buses, and flights to ensure you experience the country's top highlights, from cities to countryside. Start in Auckland and travel south to the wonders of Rotorua before flying to the South Island. Take a dramatic bus trip from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo, then continue to Queenstown and Franz Josef / Waiau Glacier. Finally, ride the TranzAlpine Scenic Train back to the city.

Aoraki/Mount Cook
Map of New Zealand: Fjords, Glaciers & Mountains Self-Drive Tour - 10 Days
New Zealand: Fjords, Glaciers & Mountains Self-Drive Tour - 10 Days

This 10-day road trip through New Zealand takes you through fjords, glaciers, and mountains abound. Begin in Christchurch on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, then drive to Mount Cook National Park to embark on two excursions to discover Haupapa / Tasman Glacier and the surrounding peaks. Next is another eventful drive—with stops along the way—to Te Anau, including a visit to a glowworm cave and a day cruise through Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. Explore Queenstown, board a dinner cruise, visit Wānaka and Franz Joseph Glacier, and drop off your car before riding the exhilarating TranzAlpine Scenic Train back to Christchurch.

Ride the chair lift in Queenstown
Map of Active South Island Family Vacation: Christchurch to Queenstown - 10 Days
Active South Island Family Vacation: Christchurch to Queenstown - 10 Days

New Zealand's South Island is a dream destination for active families, with a variety of adventure sports, outdoor activities, and nature reserves that will keep every member of the family entertained. This 10-day itinerary that starts in Christchurch and ends in Queenstown will take you through the Southern Alps, where you can stargaze at Aoraki / Mount Cook, cruise on Milford Sound, see glowworms at Te Anau, ride the luge in Queenstown, and more.

See New Zealand's little blue penguins
Map of South Island Active Family Adventure - 10 Days
South Island Active Family Adventure - 10 Days

Families with active older kids will love the range of outdoor, nature-focused, and adventurous excursions available on this 10-day South Island itinerary. Start in Queenstown for exhilarating, family-friendly activities like luging and jet boating. Explore the vast fjords of Fiordland National Park and glowworm caves at Te Anau, then hit the road and loop north toward Christchurch, spotting penguins in Oamaru, hiking to waterfalls in the Catlins, and whale watching in Kaikoura along the way.

Visit stunning wineries in several locations, starting with Waiheke Island
Map of New Zealand Road Trip: Local Food, Wine, Culture & Nature  - 19 Days
New Zealand Road Trip: Local Food, Wine, Culture & Nature  - 19 Days

Get ready for an authentic road trip exploring New Zealand's charm, natural beauty, and local food and wine scene. Over 19 days, you'll savor New Zealand's finest vineyards in Hawke's Bay and Queenstown, cruise across serene Lake Taupo and the stunning Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, and explore geothermal wonders in Rotorua. You'll also hike majestic mountains and dine well in Auckland, Napier, and Christchurch for a trip of a lifetime.

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.

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.

Explore the remote beaches in Invercargill, New Zealand's southernmost city
Map of New Zealand Outdoor Adventure: Queenstown to Auckland - 20 Days
New Zealand Outdoor Adventure: Queenstown to Auckland - 20 Days

This epic 20-day journey will take you to the best outdoor attractions of New Zealand's South and North Islands. Begin in Queenstown with a scenic dinner cruise and jet-boating and biking excursions. Next is a road trip, where you'll spot wildlife on Stewart Island and kayak at Franz Josef / Waiau Glacier. Switch your car for the scenic TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch to sightsee and swim with dolphins. Then fly to Rotorua to relax in thermal hot springs before finishing in Auckland with a full-day tour.

Enjoy free time to make detours to places like the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki
Map of New Zealand South Island Road Trip: Christchurch to Dunedin - 20 Days
New Zealand South Island Road Trip: Christchurch to Dunedin - 20 Days

This fast-paced 20-day road trip takes you through the best of New Zealand's South Island for travelers who want to see it all. Tram through Christchurch, relax at a spa in Hanmer Springs, explore the Marlborough wine region, and kayak in Abel Tasman National Park. Then enjoy some trekking at Franz Josef / Waiau Glacier, go skydiving in Wānaka, and try out bungee jumping in Queenstown. You'll also visit Stewart Island, Dunedin, and the Otago Peninsula, before returning to Queenstown.

Scenic View of Mount Cook in New Zealand
Map of Ultimate New Zealand Self-Drive Adventure - 16 Days
Ultimate New Zealand Self-Drive Adventure - 16 Days

This 16-day New Zealand self-drive itinerary brings out the best of the North and South islands combining nature and adventure with relaxation. Start in Auckland, tick off Rotorua and Wellington, then cross to the South Island. Drink wine in Marlborough, see Kaikoura Coast wildlife, and pass by Christchurch on your way to Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. Hike the Haupapa / Tasman Glacier, chase thrills in Queenstown, and join a luxury overnight cruise on Milford Sound / Piopiotahi.

Let someone else drive as you sit back and take in the views of both islands
Map of A Taste of New Zealand - 11 Days
A Taste of New Zealand - 11 Days

This fun and fast-paced tour takes you across New Zealand's South and North Islands for a wide range of epic landscapes and distinct activities. Kick off the trip in Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of the world, and cruise through Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. Then, hit the highlights in Christchurch and Wellington before heading north through geothermal wonders and glowworm caves. Ride to the top of Auckland's Sky Tower in time for a sunset drink to finish the adventure.

Hike through some of New Zealand's most spectacular natural parks, like Mount Cook / Aoraki
Map of The Wonders of New Zealand's South Island: Hiking, National Parks & Nature - 17 Days
The Wonders of New Zealand's South Island: Hiking, National Parks & Nature - 17 Days

Nature unfolds at every turn on this unforgettable 17-day journey through New Zealand's South Island. This itinerary is designed for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and avid hikers, ticking off the best destinations with self-guided and guided hikes. Plus, you'll kayak across glacial lakes, heli-hike Franz Josef Glacier, and enjoy the serenity of an overnight cruise on Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. Embrace the wild beauty of the South Island with this unique expedition.

Brave the ultimate New Zealand experience with a bungee jump off Kawarau Bridge
Map of Active Adventure on New Zealand's North & South Islands  - 16 Days
Active Adventure on New Zealand's North & South Islands - 16 Days

Adventure seekers rejoice—this action-packed odyssey through New Zealand delivers plenty of excitement as you wind your way through the country's most stunning natural scenery by car, train, and ferry. Go bungee jumping and skydiving over the adventure capital of Queenstown, cruise under waterfalls in Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, and go heli-hiking on Franz Josef Glacier. After ziplining over Rotorua's forest canopy, finish with a SkyWalk on top of Auckland's Sky Tower.

 New Zealand's Lake Te Anau waterfront and marina
Map of Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, Te Anau & Franz Josef / Waiau: Best Itinerary Ideas
Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, Te Anau & Franz Josef / Waiau: Best Itinerary Ideas

Most travelers will find that 10 to 11 days is perfect for a well-paced New Zealand trip with stops in Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, Te Anau, and Franz Josef / Waiau. With more time, you can enjoy extra activities at each stop or a few days in another region like Dunedin, Wānaka, or Hokitika. See more ideas for Christchurch, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Queenstown, Te Anau, and Franz Josef / Waiau itineraries below.

Driving towards Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak
Map of New Zealand: Ultimate South Island Road Trip - 12 Days
New Zealand: Ultimate South Island Road Trip - 12 Days

Explore New Zealand's South Island in style on this unforgettable 12-day road trip. Starting and finishing in the alpine adventure capital of Queenstown, this route circumnavigates the Southern Alps as you drive through a land of dramatic peaks, ancient glaciers, and pristine lakes. By day you'll embark on adventurous excursions and discover spectacular scenery, while nights are spent relaxing in a series of luxurious boutique hotels and lodges.

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.

Milford Sound
Map of Highlights of New Zealand's South Island: Kaikoura, Mt. Cook, Queenstown & More - 12 Days
Highlights of New Zealand's South Island: Kaikoura, Mt. Cook, Queenstown & More - 12 Days

The 12-day itinerary includes some of the South Island's greatest experiences. It begins in Nelson, at the top of the South Island, and ends in Queenstown, near the bottom. Between these two towns you'll get the chance to try some of New Zealand's finest wine in its largest wine-producing region, Marlborough; spot whales in Kaikoura; see glaciers and glacial lakes at Mt. Cook; cruise on iconic Milford Sound; try adventure sports in the adrenaline capital of New Zealand, Queenstown; and much more.

Kick off your adventure exploring North Island treasures like Waiheke Island
Map of Highlights of Aotearoa: New Zealand's North & South Islands - 18 Days
Highlights of Aotearoa: New Zealand's North & South Islands - 18 Days

With this action-packed 18-day itinerary, there's no need to choose between New Zealand's North and South Islands—you can do them both. Start in Auckland, the "City of Sails," before moving through the North Island's rural and geothermal heart to Wellington. Take the ferry to the South Island, where you'll travel by train down the east coast to Christchurch, cut through the Southern Alps, and take a guided road trip down the West Coast to Queenstown.

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.

Road leading to Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, South Island
Map of Self-Drive New Zealand: South Island Food & Nature Adventure - 13 Days
Self-Drive New Zealand: South Island Food & Nature Adventure - 13 Days

Experience the finest food and nature New Zealand has to offer on this 13-day South Island tour. Drive a loop of the island, stopping to cruise glacier lakes and paper-flat sounds, stay in a wilderness lodge, and spot seals on the Otago Peninsula. You'll even soar over Queenstown at sunrise in a hot air balloon. Along the way, dine on a historic tram in Christchurch, taste famous ales at Speights Brewery, and indulge in a traditional Kiwi feast at High Country Farm.

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.

See plenty of sheep as you explore the coastline from Christchurch
Map of Discover New Zealand's South Island from Coast to Coast - 13 Days
Discover New Zealand's South Island from Coast to Coast - 13 Days

Discover New Zealand's South Island on this 13-day road trip, suited for the intrepid traveler. Starting and ending in Christchurch, you'll soar over the city in a hot-air balloon, then drive the open road to Aoraki / Mount Cook and Haupapa / Tasman Glacier. Visit Dunedin, the Edinburgh of South Island, cruise along the Otago Peninsula to see giant Albatrosses, and take to Dart River's glacier-fed rapids in a jet boat. The tour wraps up with a heli-hike to Franz Josef Glacier and a trip riding the TranzAlpine Scenic Train.

Take a guided hike to Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park
Map of New Zealand Self-Drive Wilderness Tour - 19 Days
New Zealand Self-Drive Wilderness Tour - 19 Days

Active types can explore the diverse landscapes of New Zealand's North and South islands with this stunning 19-day road trip itinerary. Highlights include full-day hikes in Tongariro National Park, Queenstown, and Abel Tasman National Park. You'll also enjoy coastal scenes of the Coromandel Peninsula, cruise Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, and see the Franz Josef / Waiau Glacier up close.

Cruise the glassy waters of Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, a fjord on New Zealand's South Island
Map of Road Trip New Zealand's North & South Islands - 15 Days
Road Trip New Zealand's North & South Islands - 15 Days

Cover New Zealand's North and South Islands' highlights, starting in Auckland before discovering the geothermal activity of Rotorua. Next, you'll reach Napier and wine taste at Hawke Bay, followed by a Wellington city tour and meeting native kiwis. Cross the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island, see whales in Kaikōura, and hike Aoraki / Mount Cook. Then, cruise Milford Sound / Piopiotahi before ending your trip with a scenic ride aboard the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch.

Explore Mount Aspiring National Park from your base at the 5-star Minaret Station (photo courtesy of Minaret Station)
Map of Off-the-Beaten-Track Luxury in New Zealand’s South Island - 7 Days
Off-the-Beaten-Track Luxury in New Zealand’s South Island - 7 Days

Step off the beaten track and explore remote corners of New Zealand's South Island with this weeklong luxury tour. On this self-drive adventure, travel from Christchurch to Queenstown, staying at far-flung, 5-star lodges where gourmet cuisine, heli-tours, and hot tubs beneath the stars await. Discover natural gems like Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, the Mackenzie Region, and Milford Sound / Piopiotahi by air, 4WD, and boat, traveling as far as the country's highest-altitude whisky hut.

Travel at your own pace as you explore national parks, like Aoraki / Mount Cook
Map of New Zealand Self-Drive Loop in the South Island - 20 Days
New Zealand Self-Drive Loop in the South Island - 20 Days

Spend 20 unforgettable days driving around one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world: New Zealand's South Island. You'll begin the loop in Christchurch, then continue to scenic Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki for stargazing and outdoor adventures. Visit the Scottish-style city of Dunedin before moving on to the island of Te Anau. Enjoy urban sightseeing in adrenaline-fueled Queenstown before exploring glaciers and hot springs on the island's north end to finish the itinerary.

Discover geothermal landscapes in Rotorua
Map of Self-Drive  & Discover New Zealand’s Landscapes: Winelands, Glaciers, Fjords & Geothermal Wonders - 20 Days
Self-Drive & Discover New Zealand’s Landscapes: Winelands, Glaciers, Fjords & Geothermal Wonders - 20 Days

Explore New Zealand's diverse landscapes on this 20-day tour. Start on the North Island, where the lush vineyards of Waiheke and the geothermal wonders of Rotorua await. Wander Hawke's Bay's beaches and spot kiwi birds at Zealandia before sailing to the South Island. Here, you'll discover the mighty Tasman and Franz Josef glaciers by helicopter and boat, then cruise UNESCO-listed Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. End with a ride on the TranzAlpine, one of the world's most spectacular railway journeys.

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.

View from Lake Pukaki toward Aoraki / Mount Cook
Map of Nature-Packed New Zealand Family Road Trip: Wellington & the South Island - 14 Days
Nature-Packed New Zealand Family Road Trip: Wellington & the South Island - 14 Days

This two-week New Zealand adventure is perfect for families who love wildlife and the outdoors. Starting at Wellington's groundbreaking nature sanctuary, head south through Kaikoura, Christchurch, Tekapo, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Wanaka, and Queenstown. Along the way, you'll climb glaciers, swim with dolphins, stargaze, whale watch, and have a whole lot of fun!

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.

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.

Discover New Zealand's diverse flora and fauna on this road trip
Map of New Zealand's South Island: Luxury Self-Drive Tour - 15 Days
New Zealand's South Island: Luxury Self-Drive Tour - 15 Days

Experience the wilderness and wildlife of New Zealand's South Island on this 15-day self-drive itinerary. By day, you'll drive through breathtaking landscapes and embark on outdoor adventures, while nights are spent in a series of secluded luxury lodges. Setting off from Christchurch, enjoy alpine walks in Mount Cook National Park, discover rich marine life on the Otago Peninsula, and cruise through the remote Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park. After adrenaline sports in Queenstown and a memorable trek across the Franz Josef Glacier, the scenic TranzAlpine train whisks you back to Christchurch.

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.

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.

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.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a full-day hike on the North Island
Map of New Zealand Culture & Nature Tour: Auckland to Queenstown - 16 Days
New Zealand Culture & Nature Tour: Auckland to Queenstown - 16 Days

Active types will love this 16-day road trip, where you'll discover the diversity, cultural heritage, and thrilling adventures that make New Zealand a truly remarkable destination. First, bounce from the vibrant city of Auckland to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua. Then hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing before flying to the South Island to experience the glow worms of Te Anau. Finish with a fjord cruise, followed by two nights in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world.

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.

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.

Spend a few days hiking and biking around Wānaka
Map of Active Road Trip on New Zealand's South Island - 18 Days
Active Road Trip on New Zealand's South Island - 18 Days

Explore the wonders of New Zealand's South Island with this action-packed 18-day road trip. Journey at your own pace through breathtaking landscapes such as Milford Sound / Piopiotahi and Hokitika Gorge. Try adrenaline-pumping activities in Queenstown—like bungee jumping—and join a heli-hike to the Franz Josef / Waiau Glacier. You'll also bike on the West Coast Wilderness Trail and catch a scenic train to Christchurch to finish the adventure.

Swing bridge over Hokitika Gorge
Map of Drive & Cycle New Zealand's South Island - 9 Days
Drive & Cycle New Zealand's South Island - 9 Days

Explore New Zealand by car and bike as you enjoy the freedom of the open road and trail. Learn some of Christchurch's history before you pedal around Lake Tekapo. Enjoy the scenic drive into Queenstown and discover bike trails along Lake Wanaka. Take a helicopter ride over Franz Josef Glacier and land on it for stunning views. Take in all the shades of blue at Hokitika Gorge, followed by a full day of mountain biking near Lake Kaniere, then hop aboard the TranzAlpine Train to return to Christchurch.

Enjoy views of Mount Cook , the highest mountain in New Zealand
Map of Self-Driving Tour of New Zealand's Nature & Culture:  Auckland to Queenstown - 18 Days
Self-Driving Tour of New Zealand's Nature & Culture: Auckland to Queenstown - 18 Days

New Zealand was practically made for self-driving vacations, and you'll get to experience the best of the North and South Islands on this 18-day itinerary. Starting in Auckland, head to the beaches of the Coromandel and the geothermal wonders of Rotorua before flying south to Christchurch. Then it's off into the Southern Alps, where you'll see some of New Zealand's highest mountains, hike some of its finest trails, and cruise to its most spectacular viewpoints.

Spot whales off New Zealand's East Coast in Kaikoura
Map of Auckland to Christchurch Road Trip: Food, Wine & Nature Trail - 20 Days
Auckland to Christchurch Road Trip: Food, Wine & Nature Trail - 20 Days

Get a taste of New Zealand's rich food, wine, and natural wonders on this 20-day adventure. Travel from Auckland to Christchurch, stopping to enjoy food tours and cooking classes, feast on barbecue at a Queenstown farm, and visit Kumeu's world-famous vineyards. Natural highlights include captivating glowworm caves, Rotorua's geothermal landscapes, and the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. You'll also take an overnight cruise across the serene waters of Doubtful Sound.

Discover the wild coastline of the Otago Peninsula on this 21-day road trip
Map of New Zealand: Ultimate South Island Self-Drive - 21 Days
New Zealand: Ultimate South Island Self-Drive - 21 Days

This 21-day road trip carves a figure-eight through New Zealand's South Island. From Christchurch, travel through the Mackenzie Country to Aoraki / Mount Cook, then on to Otago and Dunedin. Explore remote Doubtful Sound before heading north to Queenstown and the West Coast Glaciers, then cross the Southern Alps to enjoy a night in Arthur's Pass National Park. After exploring the Marlborough wine region and the golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park, end your trip with a scenic train journey back to Christchurch.

Fly over and explore the Tasman Glacier in Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park
Map of Best of the South Island Road Trip: Glaciers, Mountains, Coasts & Fjords - 21 Days
Best of the South Island Road Trip: Glaciers, Mountains, Coasts & Fjords - 21 Days

Explore the entire length of New Zealand's South Island on this exciting 21-day road trip. Start in the tranquil coves of Abel Tasman National Park before following the coastline to Kaikoura for some whale watching. Continue through Christchurch and Dunedin as you make your way to the deep, cold waters of Fiordland National Park and the frozen peaks of the Southern Alps.

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.

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.

Drive to Cape Kidnappers for impressive views of the coast and a gannet colony
Map of Ultimate New Zealand East Coast Road Trip: Queensland to Auckland - 13 Days
Ultimate New Zealand East Coast Road Trip: Queensland to Auckland - 13 Days

Embark on a 13-day whirlwind tour of New Zealand's North and South Islands as you follow the east coast. Begin in Queenstown, a southern city known for extreme adventure sports, then make your way up as you visit wine regions like Wanaka and Kaikoura and see glaciers in Aoraki / Mount Cook. Take a ferry to North Island, stopping in Wellington, the capital, before visiting volcanic landscapes and Maori villages in Rotorua. The tour finishes with a tour of Waitomo Caves and Auckland, the country's largest city.

Other popular travel destinations in New Zealand
Auckland · Christchurch · Rotorua · Wellington · Aoraki / Mount Cook Village · Franz Josef Glacier · Wānaka · Lake Tekapo · Kaikoura · South Island · Picton · North Island