You might not be able to see all of New Zealand’s best spots in just two weeks. But you can definitely make the most out of your time there! So take it easy, relax, and get ready to have the time of your life. Here’s my ultimate itinerary for two unforgettable weeks in New Zealand:
After arriving in Auckland airport head straight to Matamata. You can either explore Waitomo caves (for the fans of glowworms) or simply visit small towns on the way to Matamata. Don’t rush and enjoy the ride. The views will be beautiful, but believe me, it’s just the beginning…
Start your day in Hobbiton. Head out there for the earliest tour possible, so that you can avoid the crowds and enjoy the Shire. Hobbiton was one of my favorite experiences in New Zealand. Even if you have never watched The Lord of The Rings trilogy, you will still equally enjoy it.
Visit Maori village for an authentic experience. Why not to learn a little bit more about New Zealand’s native people?
In the evening check out the lights on the Treewalk. If you want to get the most out of it, then go there before 8 pm, since afterwards it’s packed and believe me, it’s not a lot of fun. To be completely honest with you, I enjoyed the Treewalk during the daytime much more rather than at night.
Explore the wondrous Waiotapu and all of its hot springs, geysers, and mud pools. Be ready, it’s gonna get hot!
Huka falls maybe isn’t the biggest waterfall, but it sure is impressive.
Napier is a little cute town near the oceanfront. If you love seafood, then you don’t wanna miss Napier’s restaurant scene.
The only reason I would suggest to stop in Wellington is to visit Weta workshop.
I was impressed by the talented and hard-working people at the Weta workshop. I couldn’t contain my excitement once I found out about all the movies they did special effects for. Some of those movies have won Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects: The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Avatar, and The Jungle Book. NO BIG DEAL.
Photos or videos are not allowed inside the workshop, so you have to see it all for yourself. It’s worth it!
Day 5 – 7
Take a flight from Wellington to Queenstown. I wouldn’t be able to describe all the things you have to do in Queenstown in a few sentences, so I dedicated the whole post to it. All the details on how to spend your 3 days in Queenstown and its surroundings are here.
What is the best way to start your day? Bungee jump! Located just 30mins outside Queenstown it’s the perfect stop on your way to Wanaka.
You might have heard about the “lone tree of lake Wanaka”. Well, it looks more impressive in pictures (most probably the most photographed tree in New Zealand). If you don’t mind a little detour from the main road, then sure do visit it.
Tekapo is one of my favorite lakes in New Zealand. The area near the lake is recognized as the dark sky reserve, and if you’re there during the new moon, you’ll have one of the best stargazing experiences in your life. Spend the most romantic night enjoying the stars in Lake Tekapo.
Don’t limit your time in Lake Tekapo to nighttime, experience the lake while horse trekking in the morning.
Visit Lake Pukaki which is equally charming and has vivid turquoise water.
If you want to take your own picture with the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd and the night sky (it’s almost on every other postcard from New Zealand), then you need to book a tour. However, you can also visit the church for free during the day and explore its grounds.
Go to Ashburton Lakes for gorgeous scenery, fewer crowds, and LOTR movie locations.
When at Arthur’s pass you can go either for a 1hr or 8hrs hike. Anyway, the views are stunning and the trails are exciting.
Besides the fact that it rains a lot on the West Coast (almost all the time), Hokitika Gorge is an absolute must when in New Zealand. Try to go there when it’s not raining for even better scenery.
The rocks shaped like pancakes! You might think that I’m obsessed with food (which is true). But in this case, no one can argue the look of Punakaiki rocks. Just watch it for yourself. Oh, and scientists still can’t agree on the reasons why they are shaped like that.
Take a flight from Christchurch back to Auckland and spend the rest of the day in Auckland War Memorial Museum that will take you through the history and culture of New Zealand and its neighbors.
Head out to Waiheke Island for a perfect day trip to the wine wonderland. Spend your day visiting different wineries and learning more about New Zealand’s culture of wine. If you don’t like wine, then you can enjoy beautiful beaches and trails of Waiheke. Either way, you won’t be bored.
What is the best way to end your trip to New Zealand? Hiking and taking in the most gorgeous views. Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is the place to be. Checkout Tasman lookout and realize how lucky you are to see what you’re seeing.
From my personal experience, I would advise spending as little time as possible in the big cities like Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch. Rather head out to the remote locations where you can fully enjoy the charm and wilderness of New Zealand. Are you ready for the great adventure?
What place are you most excited to visit in New Zealand?