14 Day New Zealand Tour Itinerary | A Complete Travel Guide

14 Day New Zealand Tour Itinerary | A Complete Travel Guide
Reading Time: 14 minutes


If you’re looking to explore all the best that New Zealand has to offer, then this 14-Day New Zealand Travel Itinerary is perfect for you. Starting in Auckland, your first stop will be Magical Mangawhai before making your way to the Coromandel Peninsula, after you’ll pass through Taupo. Take a pit stop in Wellington and pop across to Picton to marvel at the beauty the top of the South Island has to offer.

There are so many beautiful spots in New Zealand and two weeks isn’t quite enough to explore it all properly but this 14 day New Zealand Travel itinerary highlights some of the best spots without trying to squeeze too much into your holiday!

There are so many reasons why New Zealand should be at the top of your Travel Bucket List. From its stunning landscapes and gorgeous beaches to its world-class wine and food, New Zealand has something for everyone.

But what really sets New Zealand apart is its incredible culture. The Kiwis are some of the friendliest people on the planet, and they love nothing more than welcoming visitors into their homes. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable travel experience, New Zealand should definitely be at the top of your list.



How to get around New Zealand

Quick disclaimer, for this 14 day New Zealand Travel itinerary you are definitely going to want to hire a car. Reason being, some of the BEST places in New Zealand are quite remote which means public transport won’t take you there.

Or it’ll take you some of the way there, and you’ll end up having to get a taxi the rest of the way which will end up hurting your wallet.

Be sure to look into hiring a car before you arrive in New Zealand. There has been a recent influx of tourists post covid (which is super awesome!) but it means some car rental companies are struggling to keep up. So to avoid missing out, best to be prepared.

PS – Useful Travel Resources to use while heading to New Zealand to tick off this 14 Day New Zealand Itinerary


14 Day New Zealand Travel Itinerary

Pin this New Zealand Trip Planner featuring an exhaustive 2 week New Zealand Tour Itinerary


Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

After arriving in New Zealand’s biggest city, spend a day getting your bearings. Head to the Sky Tower for unbeatable views, take a walk through Auckland Domain and learn about New Zealand’s history at Auckland Museum.

Relax in the sun at the Viaduct for happy hour and grab a bite to eat. There is an awesome array of restaurants to choose from, some of the best in the city.

Auckland | Photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash

If you’re feeling a little bit fancy and want to kick your holiday off right, Soul Bar is a popular choice. For something a bit more laid back try Hello Beasty or White and Wongs, both incredible Asian Fusion restaurants. I’m not exaggerating when I say the food is to die for, especially Hello Beasty. I’d happily eat there any day!

For a slightly cheaper night out Coops is a good option, or Dr Rudi’s is well known for their delicious pizzas.

Wherever you decide to go, you can’t really go wrong at the viaduct!


Day 2 and 3: Auckland – Mangawhai

Start your day with a short drive north to Mangawhai Heads. They don’t call it Magical Mangawhai for nothing and it’s a summer hotspot you definitely want to check out.

Go for a swim at beautiful Mangawhai Beach, explore the quaint shops and cafes in the village and take a walk along the estuary.

In the afternoon, head to Te Arai Point for some surf or relaxation time on the golden sand beaches. Be sure to walk around to the beach to the right of Te Arai, it gives off massive Europe vibes and is so beautiful.

Te Arai

It’s very easy to spend a day or two enjoying the slower pace of Mangawhai beach town. The locals are incredibly friendly and due to Mangawhai’s growing popularity, there are quite a few boutique shops to explore.


Day 4: Mangawhai – Coromandel Peninsula

Wake up early and drive to the Coromandel Peninsula, you’ll probably end up staying here for 3 or 4 days as there is plenty to do.

In fact you could probably spend your whole two weeks in the Coromandel and be quite content! However this New Zealand Travel itinerary is all about taking you to the best bits, so what hotspots do you need to hit?

  • Cathedral Cove
  • Hot Water Beach
  • Hahei Beach
  • New Chums Beach
  • Opito Bay
  • Crayfish Bay
  • Otama Beach

That might sound like a lot but luckily Cathedral Cove, Hahei Beach and Hot Water Beach are all pretty close to one another. Same goes for Opito Bay, Crayfish Bay and Otama Beach so you could probably knock out this list in 3 days (4 if you want more time relaxing at each place).


Day 5: Cathedral Cove and Hahei Beach

Let’s start with Cathedral Cove, one of New Zealand’s most iconic beaches. This place looks like something straight out of a movie set with its dramatic cliffs and the famous rock archway.

Cathedral Cove

To beat the summer heat (and the crowds) you’ll want to head off early. The best way to get there is by walking. Cathedral Cove is also accessible by boat but walking is definitely the most popular option. With a distance of 2.5 kilometres and a walking time of 1 hour and 30 minutes return, it’s a pretty easy trek and so worth it once you get there!

Along the way, you’ll get some incredible views and there are plenty of photo opportunities. Be sure to swing by Stingray Bay, it’s usually pretty quiet and a real hidden gem.

Stingray Beach

Once you arrive at Cathedral Cove, take some time to explore and swim in the clear blue water. It really is as beautiful as it looks in pictures!

In the afternoon, walk back to Hahei Beach for a spot of sunbathing or swimming. This place is pretty popular due to being another stunning beach and one that is a bit more accessible than Cathedral Cove. However, it’s still worth a visit to see New Zealand’s stunning east coast.

Hahei Beach


Day 6: Hot Water Beach and New Chums Beach

In the morning of your sixth day of this 14 Day New Zealand Travel Itinerary, you’ll want to make your way to Hot Water Beach. This beach gets its name from the natural hot springs that run underneath it and as you can probably guess by its name, it’s a great spot for a hot soak!

Hot Water Beach

All you need to do is dig a hole and voila, you have your very own hot tub! The perfect way to relax after a long day of exploring.

Hot Water beach is only a short drive from Cathedral Cove and Hahei Beach so it’s easy to include in your itinerary before making your way out to New Chums Beach.

Just be sure to go 2 hours on either side of low tide so you can actually access the hot water, this will largely dictate when you’re able to squeeze it into your itinerary.

In the summer months, it’s great to visit in the early morning or late afternoon so you can enjoy the heat of the water. During the day while the sun is beating down you’ll probably want to give it a miss but the beach is still worth a visit if you have time.

After you’ll make your way to Whangapoua Beach as this is where you’ll start the New Chums Beach Walk from. New Chums Beach is New Zealand’s most isolated beach and because of this, it’s also one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets.

The walk itself should take around 30 minutes. You will pass over some rocks and uneven ground, even a stream right at the start too but it isn’t a difficult walk and most people should be completely fine.

Instead of gunning it straight for the beach once you arrive at New Chums, take the extra time to walk to the top of the lookout. It’s a rather steep climb but the views certainly won’t disappoint, trust me!

New Chums Beach Lookout

After conquering the lookout, make your way to the beach and take some time to relax. New Chums Beach is the perfect place to kick back and really enjoy New Zealand’s beautiful landscape.

Make your way to Kuaotunu afterwards for a central place to stay. If you don’t feel like cooking Luke’s Kitchen has some delicious cuisine to choose from and the restaurant has an awesome laidback coastal vibe.

If you’re lucky and get a table outside you’ll be able to see the sunset. Sometimes live music is played over the weekends in the summer months.



Day 7: Otama Beach, Optio Bay and Crayfish Bay

Day 7 is all about relaxing at the beach and they are pretty gorgeous beaches! You’ll be quite happy lounging about and swimming all day.

Start your day off at Otama Beach, it’s a great place for swimming or sunbathing. The pohutukawa trees at the edge of the beach provide some much-needed shade.

Otama Beach

Out of the 3 beaches, Otama is the place with the most waves and has a rather steep gradient, perfect for running and diving straight into the ocean. In saying that it is still a very safe swimming beach.

It’s also pretty secluded so if you arrive in the morning, don’t be surprised if you’re the only ones here!

Once you feel like a change of scenery, make your way to Opito Bay. This is the perfect spot if you want to go kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding as the water here is usually very calm.

Opito Bay

Lastly, end your day at Crayfish Bay for some incredible views. Located just a short 10-minute walk from Opito Bay it’s definitely not to be missed.

Crayfish Bay

Instead of beautiful golden sand, this unique beach is stony and has some pretty dramatic rock formations to the right-hand side of the bay. Walk round the rocks for some spectacular views of the sparkling blue water.

If you’re feeling brave, there’s a cliff jump down into the water. If you visit in summer you’ll likely see others jumping from the rocks.

There are metal bars mounted into the rocks to help you climb back up after your jump or you can simply swim back to shore.

Whether you jump or not, Crayfish Bay is definitely worth a visit.


Day 8: Coromandel Peninsula to Taupo

It’s time to leave the Coromandel Peninsula and make your way to Taupo.

The journey will take you about 3 and a half hours so best to get on the road early to make the most of your time in Taupo. Matamata is a good halfway point to grab a bite to eat.

Taupo is located in New Zealand’s North Island and is well-known for its incredible scenery and geothermal activity. There are plenty of things to do in Taupo, from hiking and biking to swimming and fishing.

Taupo | Photo by Brandon Weekes on Unsplash

You can also visit the thermal pools or go whitewater rafting on the Waikato River. The activities you choose to do here will all depend on what kind of holiday you’re after.

When it comes to food and drinks, Taupo is definitely the place to be. From fine dining restaurants to trendy cafes, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant town.


Day 9: Explore Taupo

There is so much to do in Taupo that you may as well take an extra day to explore at a bit of a slower pace.

During the day drive around the lake and discover unique swimming spots. If you get a chance, I’d recommend hiring a kayak and checking out the Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay. It’s a beautiful sight and definitely worth a visit. Of course, it’s amazing spending time on the lake as well cause it is a stunner.

Make sure to take in the stunning views of New Zealand’s North Island from Huka Falls too. The thundering cascade is something that shouldn’t be missed.


Day 10: Taupo to Wellington

Next it’s time to make the trek from Taupo to Wellington. At 4 hours and 40 minutes, it’s nothing too crazy and totally doable within a day.

There isn’t a lot to see on the way down so it’s a good idea to just get on the road and head straight there. Of course stop for a quick toilet break or some food when you need it.

Wellington | Photo by Jil Beckmann on Unsplash

When you arrive in New Zealand’s capital, there’ll be plenty of things to do. From visiting Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum to checking out the library or chilling at one of the beaches Wellington has to offer.

If you’re into shopping, head on over to Lambton Quay for some retail therapy or Cuba Street for some awesome bars, cafes and street art.


Day 11: Wellington to Picton

In the morning, catch the Interislander across Cook Strait to travel to the top of the South Island.

Make sure to book the ferry well in advance as over the summer months and particularly over the Christmas break the boats fill up fast. You’re also more likely to get stuck with the less desirable travel times the longer you leave it (think 2am in the morning!).

The ferry will drop you in Picton, a gorgeous little seaside town that people tend to pass straight on through. I recommend spending the night here so you can explore the area and catch one of the incredible sunsets in the evening.

Grab a bite to eat from a nearby cafe or bakery before making your way to Bob’s Bay. Even if it’s not hot enough to swim this picturesque bay is worth a visit.

The walk from the marina is pretty easy, it takes just 30 minutes and is known as the “lower track”. There is an “upper track” you can explore as well if you wish.

Enjoy an afternoon swim at the bay and watch some of the ships coming in. With toilet facilities and a picnic table, it’s got everything you need for a lazy afternoon.

In the evening, make your way down to the marina to watch the sunset. If you’re lucky the sky will turn into a gorgeous array of pinks and oranges. Take a picnic rug with you to sit down and relax on the grass.

Once the sun has gone down, wander around the collection of restaurants at the marina to find a bite to eat. Being a pretty small town there isn’t a ton of choice but you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy.


Day 12: Picton to Nelson

Picton is the gateway to New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds, a stunning collection of islands and waterways that are perfect for kayaking or boat trips. Spend the morning of day 12 doing a cruise through the Marlborough Sounds.

Marlborough Sounds

A cruise is a great option to discover some of the hidden bays and possibly spot some sea life such as dolphins and seals.

As an alternative to doing a cruise, you can also rent bikes and take them around Queen Charlotte Drive which is a fun way to explore the area and get some amazing views of the sounds.

Soon it’ll be time to make your way to Nelson, it’s worth stopping in Blenheim on the way if you’ve got time.

The region is known for its wine so it’d be rude not to try some! Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay and Villa Maria are just some of the top-rated vineyards in the area. Pop in for a glass of wine, or two and enjoy some delicious food.

After lunch, continue driving to the picturesque town of Nelson. This journey will take you through some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, so be sure to make some stops along the way.



Day 13: Nelson

Nelson is a beautiful town in New Zealand that is known for its wine and stunning scenery. Visit the Abel Tasman National Park for a look at some of the most beautiful coastline in the country.

Spend the morning walking the coastal track, admiring the lush native bush and rugged limestone cliffs. It’s possible to just walk some of the track and then catch a boat back to the start so you don’t need to worry about booking any overnight huts.

Then, in the afternoon head to Kaiteriteri Beach for a refreshing swim. You can also take a walk through the city centre or visit one of the art galleries and museums.


Day 14: Nelson to Auckland

Day 14 sadly means your holiday has come to an end. Catch a flight from Nelson back to the city of Auckland where you’ll farewell New Zealand.

If you have time before your flight, take a stroll around the Wynyard Quarter, New Zealand’s waterfront district. Stop off for a coffee at one of the many cafes in the area before you make your way to the airport.

Your New Zealand adventure may be over, but it’s sure to be an experience that you’ll never forget!


Best Hotels and Resorts in New Zealand

If you are wondering, where to stay in New Zealand, you can simply enter your dates, and hit the search button in the box below, to search and compare prices for the Best Hotels and Resorts in New Zealand, based on your needs.



What is the best time of year to visit New Zealand?

Photo by Sarah Evans on Unsplash

New Zealand features four distinct seasons, each bringing its own unique set of experiences. The New Zealand summer (December to February) is usually the best time for travellers who are looking for hot weather, long days and plenty of outdoor activities.

Spring (September to November) is a great time for hiking, seeing the incredible New Zealand landscapes in bloom, and spotting some of New Zealand’s wildlife.

Autumn (March to May) is an ideal time for wine tasting, and the cooler temperatures make it a great time for mountain biking or trekking.

Finally, winter (June to August) brings snow-covered mountains, ski resorts and lots of hot thermal springs to explore. No matter which season you choose, New Zealand is sure to be an unforgettable experience.


14 Day New Zealand Itinerary – Summary


Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

Day 2 and 3: Auckland – Mangawhai

Day 4: Mangawhai – Coromandel Peninsula

Day 5: Cathedral Cove and Hahei Beach

Day 6: Hot Water Beach and New Chums Beach

Day 7: Otama Beach, Optio Bay and Crayfish Bay

Day 8: Coromandel Peninsula to Taupo

Day 9: Explore Taupo

Day 10: Taupo to Wellington

Day 11: Wellington to Picton

Day 12: Picton to Nelson

Day 13: Nelson

Day 14: Nelson to Auckland

No matter what you decide to do during your 14 days in New Zealand, it’s sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and experiences.

Enjoy discovering the stunning New Zealand scenery, getting up close with some of New Zealand’s unique wildlife, and indulging in New Zealand’s delicious food and wine. New Zealand is sure to leave you wanting more!

Don’t forget to Pin this New Zealand Travel Guide and New Zealand Trip Planner featuring an exhaustive 14 Day New Zealand Travel Itinerary, carefully crafted and curated by a local, which will help you in planning for your trip to New Zealand.

14 Day New Zealand Travel Guide and Itinerary | New Zealand Tour


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