There’s nowhere else on earth quite like New Zealand. Embark an epic journey through this beautiful country, exploring the stunning landscapes and vibrant cities of both the North and South Islands with this 1 month New Zealand itinerary that brings together the best experiences for an unforgettable adventure.

This itinerary begins on the North Island, which is far less remote and smaller than its southern counterpart, and takes you from Wellington to the capital city of Auckland, with all the must-visit places along the way.

Day 1 – 2: Wellington

Wellington is the first stop on your 1 month New Zealand itinerary, the political and cultural capital. Immerse yourself in culture at the Museum of New Zealand, stroll through the vibrant Cuba Street, and take the historic cable car to Wellington Botanical Gardens.

Wellington - 1 month Zealand itinerary

Day 3 – 4: Napier

Next head to Napier on the east coast, famous for its art deco style. Take a self-guided tour of the unique buildings, visit wineries in Hawkes Bay, and explore the town’s street art scene. Don’t miss the Bluff Hill Lookout for panoramic views.

Napier - 1 month New Zealand tinerary

Day 5 – 7: Lake Taupo

Discover the wonders of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Soak in the Otumuheke Spa Park, witness the power of Huka Falls, and explore the Craters of the Moon geothermal park. There’s also plenty of other activities to enjoy here such as mountain biking, kayaking and hiking.

Lake Taupo - 1 month New Zealand itinerary

Day 8: Tongariro National Park (Day trip)

Take a day trip to Tongariro National Park from Taupo to hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or if you’re feeling especially adventurous experience white water rafting on the Tongariro River.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing - 1 month New Zealand itinerary

Day 9 – 10: Rotorua

Rotorua is best known for its geothermal landscapes. Visit the famous Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park or Kuirau Park in Rotorua itself. Other key attractions of Rotorua include the Polynesian Spa, the night market and the Skyline where you can mountain bike, take on the zipline or Luge circuit.

Rotorua - 1 month New Zealand itinerary

Day 11: Hobbiton and/or Waitomo Caves (Day trip from Rotorua)

If you’re a big fan of Lord of the Rings then a day trip to Hobbiton near Hamilton is a must. At just over an hour away, you can easily book a half-day return tour from Rotorua or simply drive there yourself.

Alternatively, you can spend the day visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. There are many day return tours from Rotorua that include a tour of the caves and a boat ride through the grotto.

If you fancy visiting both of these, you can book a combined day tour that takes you to both attractions, or just hire a car and do it all yourself. Alternatively you can spend an extra day exploring the Taupo region, Auckland or Wellington.

Waitomo Glowworms Cave - 1 month New Zealand itinerary

Day 12 – 13: Auckland

Conclude the North Island leg of your 1 month itinerary in Auckland, New Zealand’s capital city. Explore the Sky Tower, hike Mount Eden, and shop on Karangahape Road. There are also day trips you can take from here to the Coromandel Peninsula to visit Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.

Auckland Light Path - 2 week New Zealand North Island itinerary

Day 14 – 15: Christchurch

Fly to Christchurch and and kick off your South Island adventure. Must visits whilst exploring the city include the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Riverside Market, and Botanical Gardens.

Christchurch - 1 month New Zealand Itinerary

As the South Island is more remote, the best way to make the most of your time here is by hiring a campervan or car. Therefore the rest of this itinerary has been created with the idea you’ll have your own means of transport!

Day 16: Lake Tekapo

Wake up early, pick up your campervan or car and hit the road! Your first stop is Lake Tekapo, a stunning blue lake surrounded by the Southern Alps. Here you can visit the Church of the Good Shepherd, enjoy the beautiful lupins (if visiting in spring or summer), and relax in the Tekapo Hot Springs. There are many beautiful walks around Lake Tekapo where you can take in the scenery including the walk to Pine Beach, Mount John summit and the Cowan’s Hill Walkway.

Lake Tekapo New Zealand

Day 17 – 18: Lake Pukaki and Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

The next stop on your South Island itinerary is Lake Pukaki. This is one of the most underrated lakes in New Zealand, on a clear day you can see to Aoraki/Mount Cook in the distance on the northern shore.

After spending the morning at Lake Pukaki, continue along the iconic Route 80 to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Here you can hike the Hooker Valley Track, explore Tasman Glacier & Lake walks, and experience stargazing in the Dark Sky Reserve.

You might also like: Even more top things to do at Lake Pukaki

Hooker Valley Trail, Mount Cook, Mackenzie District

You might also like: Best places to visit in Mackenzie District, South Island

Day 19 – 20: Wanaka

Continue your journey to Wanaka, a resort town surrounded by the Southern Alps with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Hike Mount Iron or Roy’s Peak, mountain bike along Gledhu Bay track and paddleboard or kayak on the lake. If you feel like a more relaxing couple of days here, there are also wineries to explore or just spend some time sat by the lake taking in the beautiful landscapes.

Wanaka 1 month New Zealand Itinerary

Day 21 – 23: Queenstown

Next up on your 1 month New Zealand itinerary is Queenstown. Nestled between The Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown is in the south island’s adventure capital. There is an abudance of activities on offer, from extreme sports like bungee jumping and sky diving to hiking and biking. Highlights include the Skyline Complex, the Shotover and a day visit to Glenorchy, as well as hikes such as the Tiki Trail, Queenstown Hills and Ben Lomond Track.

Queenstown - 2 week New Zealand South Island Itinerary

Day 24: Milford Sound (Day trip)

A day trip to Milford Sound is essential to explore the stunning waterfalls and mountains of Fjordland National Park. There are lots of coach or helicopter day tours that operate from Queenstown. Alternatively, if you want to drive there yourself, you can pick up a cruise directly at Milford Sound.

Fur Seal - 2 week New Zealand South Island Itinerary

Day 25: Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers

The next stop on your 1 month New Zealand itinerary after Queenstown is Glacier country. Set off from Queenstown early, as it’s half a days drive to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Here you can opt for a glacier helicopter ride, visit Lake Matheson, and enjoy scenic highlights along Haast Pass.

Glacier Country - 2 week New Zealand South Island Itinerary

Day 26: Arthur’s Pass National Park

Wake up early and continue to Arthur’s Pass. Discover the alpine wonders of this national park. Hike to Otira Falls Lookout, spot the TranzAlpine Train, and marvel at Devil’s Punchbowl. Keep an eye out for the Kea, the world’s only endangered alpine parrot.

Arthur's Pass - 2 week New Zealand South Island Itinerary

Day 27 – 28: Marlborough Sounds

Continue to Marlborough Sounds. Made up of waterways, rugged coastline, forests and bushland, this area on the northern tip of the southern island offers plenty for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Kayak through the intricate waterways and secluded coves. Or hike along the Queen Charlotte Track, which offers breathtaking views of the sounds and surrounding lush greenery.

Marlborough Sounds

Day 29: Kaikoura

End your trip in Kaikoura, where mountains meet the ocean. Highlights include whale-watching tours, hiking the Kaikoura Peninsula, the resident fur seal colony and Point Kean.

Kaikoura - 2 week New Zealand South Island Itinerary

Day 30: Kaikoura, then back to Christchurch

Spend the morning exploring Kaikoura before starting your final drive back to Christchurch to drop off your campervan.

Driving the campervan

Visiting New Zealand?

Read even more New Zealand posts here

You might also enjoy: