Experience the highlights of New Zealand's North Island on this eight-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!
Best of Wellington
Previous kimkim travelers have boarded the Megisti, a 42-foot catamaran, for a cruise through Wellington Harbor with panoramic views of the city and occasional visits from little blue penguins, dolphins, and even orcas. A twilight tour of the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary, gets travelers up close with some of New Zealand’s rarest native species, including playful kākā parrots, endangered hihi (stitchbirds), tīeke (saddlebacks), kākāriki and kiwi, as they settle into their nests for the evening.
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Most people visiting Auckland, Rotorua, and Wellington spend about 10 to 11 days in New Zealand, which usually includes some time in Queenstown as well. If you're not interested in Queenstown, 8 to 10 days is enough for your Auckland, Rotorua, and Wellington trip. Even travelers with limited time can see the highlights in as few as seven days. For the best itineraries, including Auckland, Rotorua, and Wellington, keep reading below.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Experience the best of New Zealand's North Island on an exciting 11-day independent road trip. Start in Auckland, the country's largest and most famous city, known for its perfect marriage of cosmopolitan and natural offerings. Then, drive south to see volcanoes and geysers in Rotorua and Tongariro National Park. Enjoy a Maori feast and performance before continuing to the vineyards of Martinborough, the country's premier wine country. Finish the tour in the small but thrilling capital city, Wellington.
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.
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.
Foodies and oenophiles will love this relaxed—and delicious—self-guided road trip that traverses the heart of New Zealand. From the compact capital, Wellington, make your way north to Napier and Hawke's Bay and then back south through Martinborough, Blenheim, and finally, Christchurch as you partake in famous wine regions and gourmet meals on land, tram, and cruise. The itinerary includes plenty of free time for hiking, biking, and whale watching off the Kaikoura Coast if you so choose.
About two weeks is the most popular trip length for New Zealand travelers interested in visiting Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown, especially when also including Aoraki / Mount Cook, Kaikoura, and Franz Josef / Waiau. If you're only headed to Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown, you can enjoy a comfortably-paced trip in 11 to 14 days. Read on for the best itineraries, including Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, and beyond.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From glaciers and natural pools to kayaking and whale watching, this epic 20-day road trip through New Zealand has something for everyone. Discover the country's best from north to south, beginning in Auckland and finishing on the island of Te Anau. Highlights along the journey include wineries, wildlife tours, a three-day mountain trek, glowworm caves, lake and fjord cruises, stargazing excursions, and so much more!