23 days in New Zealand & Hamilton Island Itinerary

23 days in New Zealand & Hamilton Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Pacific vacation maker
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Fly
1
Auckland, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Fly
2
Hamilton Island, Australia
— 1 night
Fly to Auckland International Airport, Drive to Waitomo Caves
3
Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Rotorua, New Zealand
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Napier, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Fly
6
Christchurch, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Fly
7
Dunedin, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Drive
8
Queenstown, New Zealand
— 4 nights
Fly

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Auckland, New Zealand — 3 nights

The largest and most populous city in New Zealand, Auckland combines a rich history and thriving contemporary culture in an abundance of museums, art galleries, and performance venues.
Change things up with a short trip to Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth (about 56 minutes away). The adventure continues: take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower, contemplate the geological forces at Rangitoto Island, head off the coast to Tiritiri Matangi Visitor Centre, and test your problem-solving skills at popular escape rooms.

To find other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Auckland road trip planner.

Brisbane, Australia to Auckland is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. Traveling from Brisbane to Auckland, you'll lose 2 hours due to the time zone difference. While traveling from Brisbane, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Auckland, ranging from highs of 18°C to lows of 18°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Thu) early enough to catch the flight to Hamilton Island.
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Parks · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums · Museums
Side Trip
Find places to stay May 1 — 4:

Hamilton Island, Australia — 1 night

A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Fri): take in the waterfront activity at Hamilton Island Marina and then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To see ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Hamilton Island travel planner.

Fly from Auckland to Hamilton Island in 9.5 hours. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Auckland to Hamilton Island due to the time zone difference. Plan for somewhat warmer temperatures traveling from Auckland in May, with highs in Hamilton Island at 28°C and lows at 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Fri) early enough to travel to Waitomo Caves.
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Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay May 4 — 5:

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand — 2 nights

Head deep beneath the surface of the earth at Waitomo Caves, a village and cave system that draws both extreme sports enthusiasts and those wanting something a little more relaxed.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sat): explore the fascinating underground world of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, stroll through Ruakuri Walk, and then relax in the rural setting at Waitomo Big Bird & Miniature Animal Petting Farm. On the 7th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: surround yourself with nature on Spellbound Glowworm & Cave Tours and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see ratings, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Waitomo Caves trip planner.

Explore your travel options from Hamilton Island to Waitomo Caves with the Route module. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 2 hours traveling from Hamilton Island to Waitomo Caves. On the 8th (Mon), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Rotorua.
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Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks
Side Trip
Find places to stay May 6 — 8:

Rotorua, New Zealand — 4 nights

Surrounded by lakes and featuring impressive areas of geothermal landscape, the city of Rotorua offers an otherwordly landscape and a welcoming, peaceful environment, with the culture of the native Maori people very much in the foreground.
Venture out of the city with trips to Hamilton Gardens (in Hamilton), Taupo (Huka Honey Hive, Huka Falls Walkway, &more) and Hobbiton Movie Set (in Hinuera). There's much more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, get interesting insight from Tours, and do a tasting at Volcanic Hills Winery.

To find maps, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Rotorua trip planner.

You can drive from Waitomo Caves to Rotorua in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. May in Rotorua sees daily highs of 20°C and lows of 11°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 12th (Fri) to allow time for the car ride to Napier.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Side Trips
Find places to stay May 8 — 12:

Napier, New Zealand — 2 nights

Enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of 1930s design in Napier, one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 13th (Sat): learn about winemaking at Craggy Range, do a tasting at Elephant Hill, and then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Te Mata Peak.

For reviews, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Napier trip planning website.

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Napier takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sun) to allow time to fly to Christchurch.
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Wineries · Tours · Parks · Nature
Side Trips
Find places to stay May 12 — 14:

Christchurch, New Zealand — 3 nights

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Take a break from Christchurch with a short trip to Dolphin & Whale Watching in Akaroa, about 1h 25 min away. Next up on the itinerary: admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, take in the pleasant sights at Banks Peninsula, have fun at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, and meet the residents at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

To find where to stay, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Christchurch online trip planner.

Getting from Napier to Christchurch by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. May in Christchurch sees daily highs of 17°C and lows of 5°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Wed) to allow enough time to fly to Dunedin.
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Parks · Outdoors · Museums · Trails
Side Trips
Find places to stay May 14 — 17:

Dunedin, New Zealand — 2 nights

With its history proudly stemming from the Scottish settlers who came here during the colonial era, Dunedin's streets are lined with well-preserved examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, while a new culture of nightlife and fine dining takes hold around them.
On the 18th (Thu), get curious at Otago Museum, examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and then hike along Tunnel Beach Track. On the 19th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: steep yourself in history at Larnach Castle & Gardens, don't miss a visit to The Royal Albatross Centre, then take in nature's colorful creations at Glenfalloch Gardens Cafe and Restaurant, and finally make a trip to The World's Steepest Street.

To see reviews, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Dunedin sightseeing planning website.

Traveling by flight from Christchurch to Dunedin takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Fri) early enough to drive to Queenstown.
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Museums · Parks · Wildlife · Historic Sites
Find places to stay May 17 — 19:

Queenstown, New Zealand — 4 nights

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Explore Queenstown's surroundings by going to Te Anau (The Chasm Walk, Milford Sound, &more). And it doesn't end there: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, browse the exhibits of Queenstown Arts Centre, and look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Park.

To find traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Queenstown tour itinerary site.

You can drive from Dunedin to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Tue) so you can fly back home.
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Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Trails
Side Trip
Find places to stay May 19 — 23:

New Zealand travel guide

4.5
Specialty Museums · Landmarks · Hiking Trails
Land of the Long White Cloud
Far-flung New Zealand has become known for its astounding topography, singular biodiversity, varied climate, and for marrying native Maori and post-colonial European cultures on its two main islands and the multitude of smaller landmasses dotted around them. Free-spirited New Zealanders cultivate a love of sports, sustainability, and the outdoors. Far from other landmasses, the islands existed for millions of years before being inhabited by humans, so an abundance of species have come to thrive in the thick, wild rainforest, vast and rugged backland, and extensive surrounding marine areas. While much of New Zealand tourism centers around adventures through this spectacular scenery, take time to explore the nation's rich cultural heritage as well. The traditions and history of the Maoris, and the industry and internationalism of the descendents of the first European settlers endure in fascinating attractions, ranging from museums, to farms, to places of worship.
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