Day 1: Auckland
Arrive in Auckland:
Once you arrive in Auckland, get a sim card from one of the booths at the airport so that you can have access to the internet and maps, and you’re set to go! But if that’s not possible by any chance, you can always get it from outside in the city. There are a few options for you to get downtown such as taking a taxi, Uber, and the SkyBus. The best way to get to the city is by taking the SkyBus, which is cheaper than taxis and you pay a cheaper price when you buy it online. You can also rent a car from the airport if you want to drive around, yourself. There is a lot to see and do in Auckland, so it's best if you can spend a day or two here.
Things to Do:
The Sky Tower is a significant part of the skyline and you definitely want to see it. You can pay and go up in the tower to get a view of the city from 220 meters high above the street level. Not only that, but you can also get panoramic 360˚ views up to 80 kilometers in every direction and spot key landmarks, volcanoes, and other historical locations within the greater Auckland area. There are also other things to do near SkyTower and Auckland central if you have some spare time to spend.
Head to the Auckland Waterfront to experience some mind-blowing design and architecture, recreational opportunities, facilities, and events. It is made up of three main areas- Wynyard Quarter, Viaduct, and Queens Wharf. You can stroll along the waterfront from Queens Wharf, past Viaduct Harbor, and into the Wynyard Quarter.
Explore the pretty streets in Downtown
Visit Albert Park
Where to Stay in Auckland:
Where to Eat in Auckland:
Blue Breeze Inn
The Grove Restaurant
Day 2: Waiheke Island
Go to Waiheke Island during the day time. You can either spend the night there or take a day trip. Waiheke Island is one of the most popular day or weekend trip destinations from the city. It is only a 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland, which starts running early in the morning so that you can get a head start to your day, and is located around 10 miles away from the downtown. You can catch a glimpse of all the other islands in the harbor on your way there. Waiheke Island is known to be a little more expensive compared to mainland New Zealand. You can rent bikes and scooters and roam around the island or book tours, which includes ferry tickets for a round trip to and from the island, olive tasting, winery tours, food, and sightseeing.
Ferry Costs: Waiheke Return - Adult $42.00
Waiheke One Way - Adult $31.00
Things to Do:
Where to Stay in Waiheke Island:
Te Whau Lodge
Onetangi Beach Apartments
Watermark Holiday Studios
Koi Roc Waiheke Island Accommodation
Where to Eat in Waiheke Island:
Day 3-4: Piha
Take the ferry from Waiheke Island back to Auckland and then to the Piha region. Piha is just a 45-minute drive from Auckland if you rent a car. If you can spend some time here, there is a lot to do.
Things to Do in Piha:
Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is an ideal place for picturesque walks while you are in Piha. This park is over 40,000 acres and offers a great mix of black sandy beaches and a bustling forest life . You will be able to walk through beautiful trails of natural bushes, streams, and waterfalls all within a short period of time.
Kitekite Falls is an amazing 3 tier waterfall that you can hike up to and swim in. The hike to Kitekite falls is about 1-2 hours of easy trail. Once you reach the waterfall you will be able to swim in the water. It is deep enough for you to swim with your head under the water. If you want more of a secluded experience, head to the top of the fall and dip into testing your nerves, and swim by the edge of the pool.
After you are done enjoying all the scenic natural experience of Piha, New Zealand, head over to the Museum of Transport and Technology for an interactive and educating experience. This museum offers a large collection of civilian and military aircraft.
Where to Stay in Piha:
Where to Eat in Piha:
The Piha Cafe
Day 5: Waitomo
From Piha go to the Waitomo region
Things to Do in Waitomo:
Waitomo Glowworm Caves is one of the best natural attractions New Zealand can offer. This cave has been the most popular and world-renown tourist attraction spot for over 100 years for glowworm’s starry night illusions within the cave. Waitomo Glowworm Caves offer different ways of experiencing by boat, water rafting, or just simply by walking the trail within the cave.
Ruakuri Cave is one of the longest caves in the Waitomo area. It is also well known for the glow worm experience. Not only that, but this cave is also home to beautiful limestone formations and crystal tapestries.
Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park offer a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the native bird of New Zealand, a kiwi bird. Not only will you get to see the kiwi birds, but you’ll also get the full zoo experience with other creatures like reptiles and different kinds of birds.
Where to Stay in Waitomo:
Kiwi Paka Waitomo
Juno Hall - BBH
Waitomo Lodge Motel
Glow Worm Motel
Where to Eat in Waitomo:
Waitomo General Store
Day 6-7: Taranaki
From Waitomo go to the Taranaki region which should be around 3 hours drive.
Things to Do in Taranaki:
Egmont National Park, also known as Mount Taranaki, is one of the most perfectly formed mountains in New Zealand that formed around 120,000 years ago and last erupted in 1775. This park offers various hiking options from 15-minute hikes to a 3-day hiking experience.
Where to Stay in Taranaki:
Where to Eat in Taranaki:
Three Pillars Cafe
Day 8: Whanganui
From Taranaki, go to the Whanganui region. It should be around 1 h 45 mins.
Things to Do in Whanganui:
Where to Stay in the Whanganui region:
Braemar House - B&B and YHA Hostel Whanganui
Hikurangi Stay Place
College House Backpackers - BBH
Whanganui Seaside Holiday Park
Where to Eat in the Whanganui region:
Thai House Express 2
141 Bakery & Coffee Shop
Day 9-10: Wellington
From Wanganui, go to Wellington and spend 2 days here. The drive should be around 4 h 15 min.
Things to Do in Wellington:
If you are a Lord of the Ring fan or the Hobbit, you need to stop by The Weta Cave. Here, you will be able to see the replica of props of the film the Weta team has worked on and an exclusive behind the scene documentary. They are also known for their amazing gift shop. Admission is free.
Where to Stay in Wellington:
Where to Eat in Wellington:
Crepes a Go-Go
Best Ugly Bagels
Day 11: Tongariro National Park
From Wellington to Tongariro National Park. You can drive (3.5 hours) there or take the train and bus (5 hours).
Things to Do in Tongariro National Park:
Macrocarpa Cafe is located on the outskirts of the Tongariro National Park, operates every day from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. They offer fresh baked goods to all-day breakfast, and lunch, and dinner.
Where to Stay in Tongariro National Park:
Adventure Lodge & Motel
Chateau Tongariro Hotel
Skotel Alpine Resort
The Crossing Backpackers
Where to Eat in Tongariro National Park:
The Station Cafe
The Park Hotel Ruapehu
Day 12: Taupo
From Tongariro National Park, head to Taupo. The easiest way to get there is to drive, which is around 1h 10mins.
Things to Do in Taupo:
For all the seafood lovers, Huka Prawn Park offers some fun activities along with some various selection of prawn dishes (or none if you prefer) at a restaurant located within the park. They recommend your first stop to be at a Hatchery/Aquarium to get a closer look at prawns and learning about them. After that, you can hop on the fishing boat and catch your very own prawns! The admission ticket prices are very generous ranging from adults: $29.50 to children: $16.00.
If you are up for some scenic view of waterfalls after Huka Prawn Park, head over to Huka Falls, just a 6-minute drive away. You will be greeted with a crystal blue river waterfall that will take your breath away!
Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings is a sculpture carved into the rock on the edge of Lake Taupo. It has a beautiful eye capturing scenic view you cannot miss while you are enjoying your time in Taupo. You can reach the destination by cruise, kayak, or by sailing. Whichever floats your boat!
Where to Stay in Taupo:
Utopian Motel Taupo
Barrington Motel Taupo
Mountain View Motel
Where to Eat in Taupo:
The Fish Box
Day 13-14: Rotorua
From Taupo, drive an hour to Rotorua.
Things to Do in Rotorua:
Wai-O-Tapu, also called a “Thermal Wonderland” awaits you in Rotorua just 37 minutes away from Taupo, New Zealand. There are well-defined trails here that you can follow to enjoy and take in the beauty of the geothermal activity of Wai-O-Tapu. Just keep in mind to use the toilet before entering the park since there will be no bathroom within the vicinity.
Te Puia allows you to take a deeper dive into learning about the Maori Arts and Crafts after dipping your toe in from “Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings” located in Taupo. Te Puia offers a day trip that allows you to see the biggest, active geyser in the southern hemisphere, and kiwi birds' (the national bird of New Zealand) house for viewing. You will also be able to see the masters carving and weaving Maori’s traditional arts live, and to wrap everything up, you will be lead to a gift shop for keepsake.
Where to Stay in Rotorua:
Rock Solid Backpackers - TBG
Rotorua Downtown Backpackers - BBH
Cosy Cottage Thermal Holiday Park
Funky Green Voyager - BBH
Holiday Inn Rotorua
Where to Eat in Rotorua:
Day 15-16: Coromandel Peninsula
From Rotorua, drive 3 hours and 15 mins and go to the Coromandel Peninsula, The Pinnacles.
Things to Do in Coromandel:
Driving Creek is an all in one tourist spot that offers railway tours, zipline tours, pottery classes, and conservation tours. During the railway tour, your train driver will give you fun facts about Driving Creek and Barry Brickell (the founder of Diving Creek)
Where to Stay in the Coromandel Peninsula:
Where to Eat in the Coromandel Peninsula: