16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in New Zealand Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly:  18​h
1
Rotorua
— 2 nights
Fly + Drive:  11​h
2
Fox Glacier
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
Queenstown
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
4
Te Anau
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  8​h
5
Paihia
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
6
Auckland
— 2 nights
Fly:  15​h 30​min
End: San Francisco

2
nights
Rotorua

Rotorua ©
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.
Family-friendly places like Rainbow Springs Nature Park and Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park will thrill your kids. Visiting Huka Falls Walkway and Te Puia will get you outdoors. Step out of Rotorua with an excursion to Adrenaline & Extreme Tours in Taupo--about 1h 05 min away. There's much more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, identify plant and animal life at Redwoods Treewalk, and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To find photos, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, use the Rotorua trip planning website .

San Francisco, USA to Rotorua is an approximately 18-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference moving from Pacific Standard Time to New Zealand Standard Time is 20 hours. Traveling from San Francisco in February, things will get somewhat warmer in Rotorua: highs are around 75°F and lows about 62°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trip

Taupo
Find places to stay Jan 31 — Feb 3:
Highlights from your plan
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Zipline
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

1
night
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
On the 4th (Tue), enjoy the sand and surf at Gillespies Beach and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Moraine Walk. Here are some ideas for day two: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Fox Glacier, then take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier, and then take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

To see other places to visit, maps, photos, and tourist information, go to the Fox Glacier online trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by combination of flight and car from Rotorua to Fox Glacier takes 11 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Queenstown.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Franz Josef Glacier
Find places to stay Feb 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Gillespies Beach ©
Gillespies Beach
Fox Glacier ©
Fox Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier

2
nights
Queenstown

Queenstown ©
Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
On the 6th (Thu), push the limits with an extreme tour, then fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and then get interesting insight from Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park, then have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, and then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

For other places to visit, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Queenstown sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Fox Glacier to Queenstown in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) so you can take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours Outdoors Adventure
Find places to stay Feb 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Kiwi Birdlife Park ©
Kiwi Birdlife Park
Zipline

3
nights
Te Anau

Te Anau ©
Set among the picturesque peaks and glacially carved fiords of Fiordland National Park, Te Anau offers those wishing to explore the park a great place to stay and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a small town in an enviable location.
Get in touch with nature at Milford Sound and Hollyford Track. Go for a jaunt from Te Anau to Milford to see Milford Foreshore Walk about 1h 15 min away. And it doesn't end there: explore the activities along Doubtful Sound, stroll through The Chasm Walk, Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves, and trek along Lake Gunn.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Te Anau trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Queenstown to Te Anau by bus takes about 3.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) early enough to travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Foreshore Walk
Find places to stay Feb 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

2
nights
Paihia

The main tourist town in the Bay of Islands area, Paihia gives visitors a good range of accommodations, a convenient town center, long sandy beaches, and interesting architecture.
Get in touch with nature at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Parasailing & Paragliding. There's lots more to do: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, see what you can catch with a fishing tour, get in on the family fun at Action World, and identify plant and animal life at Paihia Harbour.

To see maps, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Paihia travel route app .

Do a combination of bus and flight from Te Anau to Paihia in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of ferry and car. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Auckland.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Feb 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour

2
nights
Auckland

Auckland ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Fri): observe the fascinating underwater world at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, brush up on your military savvy at Auckland War Memorial Museum, and then enjoy breathtaking views from Sky Tower.

For other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Auckland trip maker tool .

Getting from Paihia to Auckland by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. In February, daytime highs in Auckland are 72°F, while nighttime lows are 72°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Auckland

Museums Parks Nightlife
Find places to stay Feb 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
SkyTower ©
SkyTower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum
SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium ©
SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

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