New Zealand 21 Day Itinerary

To help you get out the most from your trip to New Zealand and discover the incredible sights and natural attractions that the country has to offer, we've put together our recommended New Zealand Itinerary. 

This is a 21 night trip schedule that assumes you will be driving yourself. With limited public transport options, New Zealand is a great country best explored by road.

21 Night Itinerary

Destination Duration Drive Time  Itinerary Highlights
1.Christchurch  2 Nights  Arrive The 'Garden City'. Highlights: Hagley Park, Botanical Gardens, River Avon Punting, Gondola, Banks Peninsula & Akaroa, Sumner and New Brighton beaches.
2. Arthur's Pass 1 Night 2 hours Dramatic National Park. Highlights: Stunning East Coast to West Coast Drive, Arthur's Pass National Park, Castle Hill, Cave Stream Scenic Reserve, Lake Pearson, Arthur's Pass Village, Devil's Punchbowl Falls walk. More Info.
3. The Glaciers  1 Night 3 hours Glacier Hiking. Highlights: Stay overnight in Franz Josef (more accommodation options). Book a guided hike or a helicopter flight and landing on the glacier. Stop off at Fox Glacier the next day which is 30 minutes drive further south and also Haast Beach, further along on the way to Wanaka.
4. Wanaka  1 Night 3.5 hours Lake & Mountain resort. Highlights: Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka, Mt Iron Walk, Lake Cruise, Puzzling World. Local Tip - when leaving, the drive over The Crown Range to Queenstown is shorter and more scenic. More Info.
5. Queenstown  4 Nights 1 hour Adventure Capital. Highlights: Bungy, Jet Boating, Paragliding, Gondola Ride, Ziptrek, Lake Cruise, Skydiving. Historic Arrowtown, Gibbston wineries, top golf courses. We recommend booking a Fly-Cruise-Fly return trip to Milford Sound. Local tip - Moke Lake Walk. More Info.
6. Mount Cook 1 Night 2.5 hours Awesome Mountain Scenery. Highlights: Incredible scenic drive. Central Otago landscape, Lindis Pass, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki. Mount Cook National Park. Activity Options = Glacier Explorer Tour, Scenic Flight, 4WD, Stargazing. Walking trails. More Info.
7. Kaikoura 1 Night 6 hours Whale Watching Capital of NZ. Highlights: Whale Watching, Fyffe House, Seal Colony, Coastal Walkway. More Info
Option   3.5 hours Golden Beaches & Lakes. Highlights: If you have a couple of extra days, drive from Picton to Abel Tasman National Park and the stunning beaches. Recommend staying in Motueka. We also suggest visiting Nelson Lakes National Park (Head to Saint Arnaud Village).
8. Picton / Wellington 2 Nights 4.5 hours Capital of Cool. Catch ferry from Picton. 3.5 hour crossing. Highlights: Wellington Cable Car, Te Papa Museum, Wellington Botanic Gardens, Zealandia, Oriental Bay, Mt Victoria lookout, Weta Cave, Cuba Street, cafe culture, Lambton Quay shopping. More Info
9. Taupo 1 Night 4.5 hours Lake Taupo. Highlights: Huka Falls, Orakei Korako Geothermal Attraction, Craters of The Moon, Tongariro National Park. More Info.
10. Rotorua 2 Nights 1 hour Geothermal Activity & Maori Culture. Highlights: The Redwoods Forest, Geothermal Attractions, Maori Culture (Villages and dinner shows), scenic lakes, Zorbing, Polynesian Spa, Gondola. More Info
Option 0 Nights 1 hour Lord of The Rings. Option to stop off at Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings movie set) on the way to The Coromandel (it's on the way)
11. The Coromandel  2 Nights 2 hours Picturesque Coastline. Highlights: Recommend staying 1 night in Coromandel Town. Driving Creek Railway, Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove, Hahei Beach. More Info.
12. Auckland 3 Nights 2 hours 'City Of Sails'. Highlights: Skytower, Viaduct Harbour, Devonport, Rangitoto Island, Waiheke Island, Piha Beach & Waitakere Ranges. More Info.
Total 21 Nights   Depart Auckland.

More Info:

For detailed guide information and everything you need to know about the best areas of New Zealand, visit our My Guide New Zealand sites: