Perfect Two Week Itinerary for New Zealand
New Zealand moved high on the “big trip” list when my brother came back from a trip in 2018. His pictures and videos were simply stunning! We had to go and I could not wait.
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.
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. Do not miss other tips on what to expect when visiting New Zealand!
We ended up having to change quite a bit around from the originally planned itinerary to accommodate. The biggest thing we planned for that got canceled was a trip out to Milford Sound. Since it is an 8 hours drive from Queenstown, we opted to treat ourselves by booking a plan ride since 16 hours of driving alone would eat up a large portion of the trip. Little did we know, the plane barely flies due to weather conditions at the Sound. While we were disappointed, we ended up moving Mt Cook a day up and have a much better weather day than the day we originally scheduled so it all worked out. Something to look forward to next time!
Even over a year later, we are still smiling over how incredible this trip was and I already have ideas for our next New Zealand adventure.
|Evening||Flight to LAX 2PM
Land LAX 5:17PM
Flight LAX 8:55PM
| Day 2
|Day||Crossing the international date line|
|Morning||Land AUC 6:45AM
Flight AUC 8:40AM
Land QNS 10:35AM
|Afternoon||Check into Airbnb
AJ Hackett Bungy Jump
|Evening||Explore Queenstown||Taco Medic
Seight’s Ale House
|Day 4Monday||Morning||Tiki Trail||On hike (pack)||Queenstown|
|Afternoon||Queenstown Wine Trail Tour||Gibbston Cheesery|
Patigonia Ice Cream
|Morning||Pick up car||Patagonia||Twizel|
|Afternoon||Drive to Mt Cook||Fergbakery|
|Evening||Hike Hooker Valley Trail
Check into airbnb
|Morning||Drive to Tekapo
Drive to Fairlie
|Afternoon||Drive to Christchurch
|Evening||Check into Airbnb|
|Morning||Drive to Kaikoura||Copenhagen Bakery||Kaikoura|
|Afternoon||Peninsula hike||Kaikoura Seafood BBQ Kiosk|
|Evening||Check into Airbnb
|The Top Shop|
|Morning||Drive to Picton
Picton Ferry at 10:45 AM
|Afternoon||Arrival at Wellington 1:30PM
Check into Airbnb
|Evening||Weta Workshop Tour||Shed 5|
|Morning||Te Papa Museum||The Hanger
|Afternoon||Drive to Tongariro||Pasteria|
|Evening||Check into lodge|
|Morning||Hike Tongariro Alpine Crossing||On hike (pack)||Tongariro Park|
|Morning||Drive to Taupo||Rotorua|
|Afternoon||Spa Thermal Park
Huka Falls Lookout
Drive to Rotorua
Check into Airbnb
|Morning||Hobbiton Tour||Hobbitant Cafe||Rotorua|
|Morning||Redwoods Treewalk||Sequoia Eatery||Rotorua|
|Afternoon||White Water Rafting||Sequoia Eatery|
|Evening||Te Puia Experience|
|Morning||Drive to Waitomo||Auckland|
|Evening||Drive to Auckland (2.5 hours)
Check into Airbnb
|Morning||Drop off car||Auckland|
|Afternoon||NZ Wine Pro Tour||On tour|
|Morning||Auckland Memorial Museum||Parnell Open French Market|
|Afternoon||Bus to Airport||Wu and You|
|Evening||Flight AUC 7:30PM
Land LAX 10:35AM
Flight LAX 3:15PM
Read the full trip details!
If you have been to New Zealand before, let me know what I missed and what your favorites are!