No trip to New Zealand is complete without exploring all the elements of what this wondrous country has to offer. From Auckland in the north to Dunedin in the south, you’ll learn about Māori culture, get lost in nature, and sample some of the country’s best cities. Revel in the snow-capped beauty of the Milford Sound, experience the cool charm of Wellington, and hike the Franz Josef Glacier—your tour has it all.
Land in Auckland, New Zealand’s magical port city. Start your morning with a hike up Mount Eden and look across the cityscape of a city whose breezy charm has helped it earn the accolade as one of the world’s most liveable cities. After a hike, take a ferry to Waiheke Island and visit the vineyards—just don’t forget to have a glass of white. Auckland charms wherever you go.
Your next stop is all about nature. Filled with hot springs, geysers, and tons of beaches, Rotorua is all about the outdoors. Dip your toes in the water at the Champagne Pool at the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, and feel the disconnection. Head to Okere Falls and kayak down a river in one of the most isolated parts of the country.
For being New Zealand’s capital, Wellington has a nonchalant air to it that will provide the perfect balance to your previous two destinations. Start with a walk on Cuba Street and visit some of its diverse shops, drinking a flat white as you walk shop through some thrift stores. Enjoy a sumptuous turn at the Botanical Garden, where plants native to New Zealand create gorgeous seasonal displays. Have a glass of wine in the evening by the harbor and see the sunset over this breezy city.
Your next destination is the perfect place to sample the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc. In Blenheim, you’ll be hardpressed not to have at least one glass of this renowned wine. Hit as many wineries as you can as you explore the Marlborough region, and enjoy the epic scenery that adorns it. Return to the town and explore its quaint atmosphere on foot—and go for a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center, a homage to military aircraft from the First World War.
The city of Christchurch is next on the menu. Start your day here by hopping on the tram and hitting the Botanic Gardens for a revitalizing morning walk. Hit up the Christchurch Art Gallery next—after a nice pub lunch, of course—and see some of the country’s finest exhibitions. A walk to the Christchurch Cathedral is also worthwhile, not to mention an afternoon exploration of the Canterbury Museum, the perfect way to explore New Zealand’s cultural heritage.
The small town of Twizel is next up, perfect for exploring the surrounding Mackenzie Basin and the Mount Cook National Park. Lose yourself in the wild here: take a dip in the lake, kayak your way through the mountains, and hike the trails of the Mackenzie Basin. In the evening, relax in in Twizel after a long day out in the wild.
Situated to the southeast of the South Island, Dunedin is often called the “Edinburgh of New Zealand,” a reference to its Scottish heritage. Visit the Larnach Castle—the country’s only castle—and you’ll see why. If you’re looking for something more cultural, don’t miss out on the Otago Museum, the perfect opportunity to learn about the South Island’s Maori people. For something more remote, finish the day at the Taiaroa Head, which provides one of the most stunning views in all the land.
8. Lake Te Anau
Next up is a highlight of your trip: Lake Te Anau. To say that this natural landmark is one of the most beautiful in New Zealand would be an understatement—and it doesn’t matter whether you start at the limestone caves or on the shores of the lake itself. A simple snapshot of the fjords around the lake will last a lifetime—take a stroll and capture the sunset.
Queenstown is the next stop on your adventure. A trip to the Milford Sound or Glenorchy (one of the set locations for the Lord of the Rings trilogy) also explains why the city is often called the adventure capital of the world—not to mention the adrenaline-packed activities you can do here, including bungee jumping, rafting, and paragliding. Cool down with a glass of white at the Gibbston Wine Region.
10. Franz Josef
The quaint western town of Franz Josef has a few hundred permanent residents, but the beauty of its glacier attracts thousands of tourists a day. Today, spend your time admiring this snow-capped peak with a guided walk or a helicopter tour—and don’t forget to also check out the Fox Glacier, located 1,000 feet above sea level.
The small town of Punakaiki on the western coast of New Zealand’s South Island is your next stop. Explore the Papora National Park and the famous Pancake Rocks at your leisure. Go for a stroll through the limestone caves at the Metro Cave, a staple of the karst landscape which has continually adapted ecologically over 200,000 years. Let the nature around Punakaiki enrapture you one last time before returning to the city tomorrow.
What better way to finish your trip in New Zealand than with a stroll down New Regent Street? Indulge in the carefree charm of Christchurch one last time with a cafe on this buzzing street, which is renowned for its Mission Revival architecture. Hop on the heritage tram one last time on your way back to the hotel, and enjoy your final evening in this city.
Combined, our team of Travel Experts have:
Tailored more than 10,000 dream vacations
Visited more than 100 countries
More than 35 nationalities
Offset more than 40,000 tons of CO2
Add additional meals or beverages.
From wine tasting to 4x4 safari tours.
From luxury hotels to rustic campsites.
Select a transfer to and from the airport.
Book With Confidence
Flexible rebooking and cancellation with TourlaneCare.