45 days in New Zealand Itinerary

45 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Picton
— 1 night
Fly
2
Taupo
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Rotorua
— 5 nights
Fly
4
Paihia
— 7 nights
Fly to Christchurch, Bus to Kaikoura
5
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Akaroa
— 3 nights
Drive
7
Dunedin
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Queenstown
— 8 nights
Bus
9
Te Anau
— 6 nights
Bus
10
Wanaka
— 4 nights
Bus
11
Fox Glacier
— 2 nights
Drive

S M T W T F S
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Picton

— 1 night

Gateway to the South Island

Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
For where to stay, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Picton driving holiday planner.

Christchurch to Picton is an approximately 4.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Picton can reach 22°C, while at night they dip to 15°C. You will leave for Taupo on the 14th (Tue).

Things to do in Picton

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 14:

Taupo

— 3 nights

Great Cloak of Tia

The resort town of Taupo lies on the banks of Lake Taupo, the largest body of water in the whole of Australasia.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Huka Falls and Craters of the Moon. There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Huka Falls Walkway, kick back and relax at Kinloch Beach, take in nature's colorful creations at Waipahihi Botanical Gardens, and admire all the interesting features of Spa Thermal Park and Riverbank Recreational and Scenic Reserve.

To find more things to do, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Taupo trip planner.

Fly from Picton to Taupo in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and car; or do a combination of ferry and bus. On the 17th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Taupo

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 14 — 17:

Rotorua

— 5 nights

Sulphur City

Surrounded by lakes and featuring impressive areas of geothermal landscape, the city of Rotorua offers an otherwordly landscape and a welcoming, peaceful environment, with the culture of the native Maori people very much in the foreground.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Ohope Beach and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Change things up with a short trip to Papamoa Beach in Papamoa (about 56 minutes away). There's lots more to do: wander the streets of Eat Street, witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Rotorua, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For reviews, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Rotorua travel itinerary planner.

You can drive from Taupo to Rotorua in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Rotorua can reach 25°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. On the 22nd (Wed), you'll travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Beaches

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 17 — 22:

Paihia

— 7 nights
The main tourist town in the Bay of Islands area, Paihia gives visitors a good range of accommodations, a convenient town center, long sandy beaches, and interesting architecture.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Paihia Harbour and Taupo Bay Beach. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Paihia: Russell (Russell Nature Walks, Oneroa Bay, &more) and Butler Point Whaling Museum (in Mangonui). There's lots more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, view the masterpieces at Masterpieces Art Gallery, and look for gifts at Paihia Bookshop.

For reviews, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Paihia day trip website.

Getting from Rotorua to Paihia by flight takes about 5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Wed) to allow time for travel to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Paihia

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Beaches

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 22 — 29:

Kaikoura

— 2 nights
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Wed): look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese.

To find more things to do, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Kaikoura trip maker app.

Traveling by combination of flight and bus from Paihia to Kaikoura takes 9.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Fri) early enough to go by car to Akaroa.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Wildlife · Trails · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:

Akaroa

— 3 nights

Long Harbour

The French heritage and colonial architecture of Akaroa has broad appeal to anthropologists, historians, architects--and just about anyone with an eye for beautiful, historical buildings and a palate for fine dining.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Boat Tours & Water Sports and Akaroa Museum. Next up on the itinerary: take in nature's colorful creations at The Giants House, do a tasting at French Peak Wines, don't miss a visit to Orion Powerhouse Gallery, and identify plant and animal life at Hinewai Reserve.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Akaroa sightseeing planning site.

You can drive from Kaikoura to Akaroa in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train and taxi; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Akaroa can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 12°C. On the 3rd (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Akaroa

Parks · Museums · Shopping · Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:

Dunedin

— 3 nights

Edinburgh of the South

With its history proudly stemming from the Scottish settlers who came here during the colonial era, Dunedin's streets are lined with well-preserved examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, while a new culture of nightlife and fine dining takes hold around them.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Tue): trek along Sandfly Bay Track, then pause for some serene contemplation at First Church of Otago, then pause for some serene contemplation at St. Paul's Cathedral, and finally see the interesting displays at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at St Clair Beach.

For reviews, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Dunedin trip maker.

You can drive from Akaroa to Dunedin in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of bus and flight. You'll set off for Queenstown on the 6th (Thu).

Things to do in Dunedin

Historic Sites · Parks · Outdoors · Museums
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 6:

Queenstown

— 8 nights

Shallow Bay

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Step off the beaten path and head to Off-Road Tours and Arrowtown Chinese Settlement. Explore Queenstown's surroundings by going to Cromwell (Cromwell Heritage Precinct, Misha's Vineyard Tasting Room, &more). The adventure continues: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, hike along Mt Crichton Loop Track, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To see photos, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Queenstown planner.

Getting from Dunedin to Queenstown by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. You'll set off for Te Anau on the 14th (Fri).

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Wineries · Trails

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 6 — 14:

Te Anau

— 6 nights
Set among the picturesque peaks and glacially carved fiords of Fiordland National Park, Te Anau offers those wishing to explore the park a great place to stay and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a small town in an enviable location.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Mirror Lakes Walk and Milford sound Hwy. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Te Anau: Southern Discoveries - Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory (in Milford Sound) and Manapouri (Manapouri Lake & Wild Wool Gallery). On the 19th (Wed), do a day of sightseeing from above with a helicopter tour. There's lots more to do: take a memorable tour with Tours, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Gunn, trek along Lake Marian Track, and indulge in some personalized pampering at Fiordland Massage Clinic.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Te Anau trip itinerary planning app.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau takes 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Tours · Nature · Outdoors

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 14 — 20:

Wanaka

— 4 nights
Situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka in the Otago region, Wanaka has become a popular ski and summer resort area, owing to its extensive views of the lake and its proximity to some of the best slopes in the country.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Lake Wanaka and Wanaka. And it doesn't end there: hike along Mount Iron Track, examine the collection at The World of Deer Museum & Speciality Shop, learn about winemaking at Rippon Vineyard, and explore and take pictures at Haast Pass.

To find ratings, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Wanaka attractions planning app.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Wanaka in 6.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) early enough to catch the bus to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Wineries

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 20 — 24:

Fox Glacier

— 2 nights
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Tue): explore the striking landscape at Franz Josef Glacier, trek along Sentinel Rock Walk, then hike along Peters Pool Walk, and finally cast your line with Glacier Country Lake Tours. Here are some ideas for day two: hike along Fox Glacier South Side Walk, take in the pleasant sights at Lake Matheson Walk, and then see the world from above with a helicopter tour.

To find maps, ratings, photos, and tourist information, go to the Fox Glacier holiday planning website.

Getting from Wanaka to Fox Glacier by bus takes about 5.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can go by car back home.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 24 — 26:

New Zealand travel guide

4.5
Specialty Museums · Hiking Trails · Landmarks
Land of the Long White Cloud
Far-flung New Zealand has become known for its astounding topography, singular biodiversity, varied climate, and for marrying native Maori and post-colonial European cultures on its two main islands and the multitude of smaller landmasses dotted around them. Free-spirited New Zealanders cultivate a love of sports, sustainability, and the outdoors. Far from other landmasses, the islands existed for millions of years before being inhabited by humans, so an abundance of species have come to thrive in the thick, wild rainforest, vast and rugged backland, and extensive surrounding marine areas. While much of New Zealand tourism centers around adventures through this spectacular scenery, take time to explore the nation's rich cultural heritage as well. The traditions and history of the Maoris, and the industry and internationalism of the descendents of the first European settlers endure in fascinating attractions, ranging from museums, to farms, to places of worship.