An itinerary of New Zealand in 10 days on the trip, Pacifying the Pacific.
New Zealand has a reputation for having some of the most scenic landscapes in the world. It is also a great family destination and a perfect chance for me to share the experience with some loved ones. After careful research and planning, we arrived at this two week itinerary which is just enough to get a taste of what the diverse north and south islands have to offer. Follow this trip for exotic wildlife, spectacular panoramas, and cultural capitals!
With many international flights New Zealand is easy to reach. Australians can visit New Zealand without a visa, so I entered the countries with no worries and made New Zealand country 165!
The trip starts with a roundtrip drive in south island then a flight up to Tauranga to explore the north island.
Day 1: Christchurch to Dunedin
Christchurch is the largest city on the south island and the third most populous in New Zealand. The airport is a good hub for international flights and where we started our trip. We took a brief detour to see the beautiful seaside town of Akaroa, before driving directly to Oamaru to spot the smallest species of penguin at dusk. After a long day of driving we eventually arrived in Dunedin where we would spend the night.
Day 2: Dunedin to Invercargill
The laid back city of Dunedin has quite a few attractions like historic buildings and even the steepest street in the world. Tunnel Beach is famous for its sandstone cliffs and carved tunnel passage to the beach. We drove along the coast to Nugget Point to see rock formations that seem to have crumbled into the sea. Further along the coast is Curio Bay and the Petrified Forest of fossilized trees. Finally we ended our day in Invergargill.
Day 3: Invercargill to Queenstown
On the third day we drove up to Queenstown’s airport to hop onto a flight to Milford Sound. The flight itself was one of the most picturesque flights I’ve ever taken. We also took a boat tour of the fjord before heading back to Queenstown and settling in for the day.
Day 4: Queenstown
As one of the most popular tourism cities, Queenstown is full of activities. We opted to take a ride on the historic steamship the TSS Earnslaw which included a fine dining lunch and sheep sheering demonstration. I also had a chance bungee jump for the first time from Kawarau Bridge where commercialized bungee all started! For dinner we went to Wanaka for a view of the lake.
Day 5: Queenstown to Rotorua
The fifth day was primarily a travel day though we have a pleasant drive and saw the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki on the way to Christchurch. From Christchurch, we caught a flight to Tauranga and drove down to Rotorua.
Day 6: Rotorua
Rotorua is a hotbed of geothermic activity which draws tourists from all over the world. We started the day with the Redwoods Tree Walk before a session of dirt biking. Then we explored the historic town center.
Day 7: Rotorua to Taupo
In the morning, we started with a visit to Te Puia, an attraction park featuring geysers, mud pools, kiwis and Maori culture. Then we continued to Taupo where we visited Huka Falls before taking a swim in Lake Taupo with some curious black swans.
Day 8: Taupo to Auckland
Our last day of travel started with a visit to the Waitomo Caves where we abseiled, zip lined and floated through the glow worm caves. We continued up to Hamilton to visit the famed gardens before completing the trip and arriving in Auckland.
Day 9 – 10: Auckland
The city of sails is the largest and most populated city of the country that boasts plenty of sights. We visited Sky Tower for a view over the city, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Auckland Art Gallery, and the modern center. If I had another day I would have recommended Waiheke Island for a wine tasting tour.
There’s only so much that you can pack into a 10 day schedule. I would have liked to visit Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, if I had another few days. Besides that, this intense itinerary took us through most of the countries highlights!