• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

New Zealand in 4 Weeks

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson. A comprehensive bespoke itinerary exploring both the North and South Islands. Four weeks in New Zealand provides time to explore most of the key attractions – and at a comfortable pace.

Summary

New Zealand in 4 weeks

Four weeks in New Zealand provides time to explore most of the key attractions – and at a comfortable pace. The following plan provides an idea of how a bespoke or tailor made four week trip in New Zealand could take shape.

Day 1: Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel

Day 8: Rotorua

Day 10: Napier

Day 12: Wellington

Day 14: Abel Tasman

Day 17: Punakaiki

Day 18: ArthursPass

Day 20: Fox Glacier

Day 22: Wanaka

Day 23: Te Anau

Day 25: Queenstown

Day 27: LakeTekapo

Day 28: Christchurch

Day 29: Depart New Zealand

Description

Description

Four weeks in New Zealand provides time to explore most of the key attractions – and at a comfortable pace. The following plan provides an idea of how a four week tailor made or bespoke holiday could take shape.

Day 1: Auckland

Most journeys will start in Auckland, enabling you to explore the NorthIsland first, followed by the South Island.  We usually suggest doing it in this order as both Islands are beautiful in their own way, but it is the South Island that offers the rugged dramatic scenery so often seen in photos and worth working up to!  Auckland is quite a large city by New   Zealand standards, and certainly the busiest you will come across.  Attractions include the Skytower, the ViaductBasin, various museums and possibly a day out to WaihekeIsland.  The ViaductBasin was built to host the Americas Cup a few years ago – and there are Americas Cup yachts in the basin that offer sailing trips out into the Hauraki Gulf.

Two nights Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

The very northern tip of the NorthIsland is well worth a visit. The towns of Paihia and Russell are on opposite sides of the estuary, and from a base here, you might like to explore CapeReinga and Ninety-mileBeach. The Waitangi Treaty was signed near Paihia.

Three nights Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel Peninsula

Coming south through Auckland, and then to the east is the Coromandel Peninsula.  This is home to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, and has some lovely scenery, with rain forest in the central spine.  There is some old mining history here for those interested, and good sea fishing as well.

Two nights Coromandel

Day 8: Rotorua

Rotorua was the original tourist destination in the 1800’s, featuring the extraordinary pink and white terraces, which were destroyed in a volcanic eruption in the 1880’s.  Visit the Museum where you can learn about the devastating eruption, followed by a visit to Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Craft Centre.  Te Puia is also home to Whakawerawera thermal reserve.  Follow this with a visit to the BuriedVillage – the remains of the devastation of the 1880’s, and finally LakeTarawera.  There are also a number of other thermal parks around the area.

Two nights Rotorua

Day 10: Napier

Hawke Bay is surrounded by a circle of rugged hills, giving it its unique micro-climate, and making it the perfect location for vineyards and market gardens.  CapeKidnappers is here, if birds are of interest to you and there are some good views to be had from Te Mata Peak.  Napier itself suffered a major earthquake in the 1930’s and was rebuilt in Art Deco style.

Two nights Napier

Day 12: Wellington

This is the capital city and apart from the parliament buildings and botanical gardens, it is also home to the wonderful Te Papa Museum. It is also a unique building in that the foundations are built like a sponge and sit squarely on a major fault.  They are built to withstand quite a sizeable tremor.

Two nights Wellington

Day 14: Abel Tasman National Park

Take the ferry across to Picton on the South Island, and drive around to Abel Taman. This northern tip of the South Island is so often overlooked, but it is one of our favourites.  It is here that you’ll see the crescent shaped beaches backed by lush greenery – easy to spend a full day in the park, using the water taxis to get about, and perhaps walking one of the many trails in the park.

Three nights Abel Tasman

Day 17: Punakaiki

Coming down the west coast, it is nice to break the journey with an overnight stop at Punakaiki.  This is the home of the Pancake Rocks – a strange rock formation, and the overnight stop simply allows you to take your time as these roads are so scenic that you will simply have to keep stopping for more pictures.

One night Punakaiki

Day 18: Arthurs Pass

Turning inland to the central spine of mountains that run through the South Island, this is alpine scenery at its very best.  There are plenty of walking opportunities in the area with stunning views all around.

Two nights Arthurs Pass

Day 20: Fox Glacier and Franz Josef

Returning to the west coast, the next place of interest are the two glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.  Take time to visit one or both glaciers, the beautiful LakeMatheson and the dramatic coast at GillespieBeach.  From here also, you can take a sightseeing flight, with or without a glacier landing and hike, and hopefully good views of Mount Cook.

Two nights Fox Glacier

Day 22: Wanaka

The route to Wanaka takes you through the HaastPass and past Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.  Simply beautiful – this little town is surrounded by mountains and is the Queenstown of yesteryear.  Where Queenstown has developed, Wanaka has remained delightfully small.

One night Wanaka

Day 23: Te Anau

Te Anau is the gateway to FjordlandNational Park – for both Milford and Doubtful Sounds. For either, you can visit for a day, or take an overnight cruise. Of the two, Milford offers the more dramatic scenery but is busier. Doubtful Sound has fewer tourists and lovely scenery, but it’s not quite so dramatic.

Two nights Te Anau

Day 25: Queenstown

Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a sizeable town with activities for every adrenalin junkie!  Here you will find bungy jumping, sky diving, a luge and plenty more.  Much of the Lord of the Rings was filmed in this area, and although the sets had to be removed, the scenery will seem familiar!  For those not into extreme sports, a drive to Glenorchy is beautiful.

Two nights Queenstown

Day 27: Lake Tekapo

This is the home of the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog Memorial often features in brochures. This is also a great place for stargazing as it is a ‘designated dark sky’ area.

One night Lake Tekapo

Day 28: Christchurch

Coming further north is the city of Christchurch. After the earthquakes of recent years Christchurch is still rebuilding, but is still well worth a stay. Punt along the river, visit the botanical gardens or take a tram ride around the town centre. Unique attractions to pop up since the earthquakes include Re:Start – a shopping centre comprised of shipping containers, and the Cardboard Cathedral.

One night Christchurch

Day 28: Depart New Zealand

Lake Tekapo

Courtesy of Angie Watson

Mount Cook New Zealand

Courtesy of Angie Watson

Little Gems

Little Gems

A stunning lodge in Arthurs Pass called Wilderness Lodge is a real treat and a highlight – located in stunning Alpine scenery and with friendly hosts that are incredibly knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna.

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