Itinerary: New Zealand

March 2019

With only two weeks to explore New Zealand, we knew it would be an impossible task to see everything. After doing preliminary reading, it was clear people do not recommend a two week trip to see both North and South islands and to instead focus on one. Since we both had a feeling this would not be our last visit to New Zealand, we decide this trip would be a highlight reel from both islands. We started planning by pinning locations on Google maps that we wanted to see and the hoped that an organic itinerary would come together.

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As hoped, our pins provided a natural flow and driving gave us the flexibility to accomplish as much or as little as we wanted. We started on the South Island in Queenstown, drove north through Mt Cook then continued north up the east coast until we hit the ferry to transfer to the North Island. From the capital of Wellington, we continued north towards Auckland making many stops along the way. We were so proud and excited with our itinerary- an incredible 2,070km (1286 miles) of driving through New Zealand.

Upon our return, it is easy why people recommend focusing on one island but even two weeks would not be enough time to see everything on one island. Since we had such limited time, we knew there was a high risk of our itinerary experiencing changes. Many of our activities were weather dependent and there are many other factors that are out of our control. In the outline below, the italics represent the original itinerary while the column next to it shows what we actually did. As you can see, we ended up having to change quite a bit around! We were very happy with our trip and I already have ideas for our next New Zealand adventure.

 

Two Week New Zealand Itinerary

Day Time Planned Itinerary Activity Food Lodging
Friday 

Feb 22

Evening

Flight to LAX 2PM

Land LAX 5:17PM

Flight LAX 8:55PM

Saturday Feb 23 Day

Crossing the international date line

Sunday

Feb 24

Morning

Land AKL 6:45AM

Flight AKL 8:40AM

Land ZQN 10:35AM

Afternoon Check into Airbnb

Explore Queenstown

Check into Airbnb

AJ Hackett Bungy Jump

Rehab  

 

Queenstown

Evening Explore Queenstown Taco Medic

Speight’s Ale House 

Monday

Feb 25

Morning Hike Tiki Trail–> Ben Lomond Tiki Trail  

 

 

Queenstown

Afternoon Queenstown Wine Trail Tour Gibbston Cheesery
Evening Explore Queenstown Blue Kanu

Patagonia Ice Cream

Tuesday

Feb 26

Morning

Pick up car

Patagonia  

 

 

 

Twizel

Afternoon Mildford Sound Flight and Cruise Drive to Mt Cook Fergbakery
Evening Drive to Twizel

Check into Airbnb

Hooker Valley Trail

Check into Airbnb

Fergburger
Wednesday

Feb 27

Morning Drive to Mt Cook

Hike Hooker Valley Trail

Drive to Tekapo

Drive to Fairlie

Fairlie Bakehouse  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ-church

Afternoon Hike Tazman Glacier Trail Drive to Christ-church

Botanical Gardens

The Little High Eatery
Evening Drive to Christ-church

Check into Airbnb

Check into Airbnb
Thursday Feb 28 Morning Botanical Gardens

Drive to Kaikoura

Drive to Kaikoura Copenhagen Bakery  

 

 

 

 

Kaikoura

Afternoon

Peninsula hike

Kaikoura Seafood BBQ Kiosk
Evening

Check into Airbnb

Explore Kaikoura

The Top Shop
Friday March 1 Morning Explore Kaikoura

Drive to Picton

Drive to Picton

Picton Ferry at 10:45 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wellington

Afternoon Picton ferry at 2:15PM

Arrival at Wellington 5PM

Arrival at Wellington 1:30PM

Check into Airbnb

Evening Check into Airbnb

Explore Wellington

Weta Workshop Tour Shed 5
Saturday March 2 Morning

Weta Cave

Te Papa Museum

Te Papa Museum The Hanger

Wills Kitchen

 

 

 

 

Adventure Lodge

Afternoon Drive to Tongariro Pastaria
Evening Drive to Tongariro

Check into lodge

Check into lodge
Sunday March 3 Morning

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

 

Adventure Lodge

Afternoon
Evening
Monday March 4 Morning

Drive to Taupo

Skydive Taupo

 

 

 

 

 

Rotorua

Afternoon Hike Huka Falls Spa Thermal Park

Huka Falls Lookout

Evening

Drive to Rotorua

Check into Airbnb

Urbano Bistro
Tuesday March 5 Morning

Hobbiton Tour

Hobbiton Cafe  

 

 

 

Rotorua

Afternoon

Skyline Luge

Evening Thermal Pools/Kuirai Park

Polynesia Spa

Eat Street
Wednesday March 6 Morning

Redwoods Treewalk

Sequoia Eatery  

 

Rotorua

Afternoon

White Water Rafting

Sequoia Eatery
Evening

Te Puia Experience

Thursday March 7 Morning

Drive to Waitomo

Lost World Epic Cave Tour

 

 

Auckland

Afternoon On tour
Evening

Drive to Auckland

Check into Airbnb

On tour
Friday March 8 Morning

Drop off car

 

 

Auckland

Afternoon

NZ Wine Pro Tour

On tour
Evening

Explore Auckland

Giapo

Cotto

Saturday March 9 Morning Explore Auckland Auckland War Memorial Museum La Cigale French Market
Afternoon

SkyBus to Airport

Wu & You
Evening

Flight AKL 7:30PM

Land LAX 10:35AM

Flight LAX 3:15PM

Land Home

Read the full trip details!

North Island

South Island

What to Expect

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