Home » A Relaxing 16 Day New Zealand Itinerary

A Relaxing 16 Day New Zealand Itinerary

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A New Zealand itinerary doesn’t have to be all go go go all of the time. This 16-day New Zealand itinerary is a self-drive tour that allows for lots of downtime and lots of relaxation. If you want a visit to New Zealand and focus on its scenic views, enjoy the fresh mountain air then itinerary is certainly for you!

Highlights Include:

  • Wine tasting on Waiheke Island
  • A visit to ones of NZ’s best spas – Hell’s Gate
  • Trip to White Island, New Zealand’s only marine volcano in style
  • Embarking on NZ’s best day walk in the Tongariro National Park (because you know, exercise is important!)
  • Swimming with dolphins in Akaroa.
  • Picnicking in Queenstown

Top Tip: If you want more information on each particular region/destination that we mention then do click on the hyperlinks within this article as it will link you through to our much more in-depth articles on that particular region/destination.

Please Note: All views are our own, this is not a sponsored post and as we have done the majority of these activities that is why we can confidently recommend the suppliers and the activities to you!

Not got 16 days? Or want a bit more adventure? That is okay, we got you covered – check out our other itineraries here.

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

Upon arrival into Auckland for ease organise a meet and greet from the airport that takes you directly to the hotel of your choice. In the evening head out and celebrate in style with dinner up Sky Tower in Auckland.

sky tower goingnz
A Must Do: Aucklands’s Sky Tower

Day 2: Relax in Auckland

Have the morning free to enjoy the ‘city of sails’ at your leisure.

Our morning suggestions are:

In the afternoon jump on the fast ferry to Waiheke Island, a wine connoisseur’s paradise. This afternoon wine tour will include a visit to 4 wineries and lunch. Return on the ferry to the city at your own leisure (ferries run as late as 11pm).

Day 3: Travel to Rotorua

Pick up your hire car and travel to Rotorua (2.5 hours’ drive) in time for an afternoon at Hell’s Gate enjoying an afternoon of massages, mud baths and spa therapies – private couples massages can be organised here, it’s pretty messy but good fun!

Day 4: Explore White Island

Get ready to be amazed, visit White Island NZ’s only marine volcano and enjoy a guided tour of the island, this place is like nothing you have ever seen before!

White Island, or is it the Moon?

Day 5: Tongariro National Park

Travel to Tongariro National Park (3-hour drive) to explore what the volcanic region of NZ has to offer.  Stay in a Bookabach (like AirBnB but better) to really get off the beaten path.

Day 6: Relax in the National Park

Why not make it two nights here? Check out our Tongariro Travel Guide for suggestions of what to do in this stunning region of the North Island.

tongariro goingnz
A waterfall in the National Park

Day 7: Visit Wellington

Travel to Wellington (4 hour drive) and explore the city at your own pace. 

Check out our Wellington Travel Guide for more information on our favourite city in New Zealand.

Day 8: South Island here we come!

Take the Interislander Ferry to the South Island (around 3 hours) enjoying a journey through the incredible Marlborough Sounds as you approach Picton. Upon arrival to the South Island travel to Kaikoura (2 hour drive) in the afternoon catch the last cruise to do a spot of whale watching.

Day 9: Relax in Akaroa

Escape from it all in Akaroa. Akaroa is a small region just west of Christchurch, enjoy a 2-night stay at a Bookabach – just the two of you… and the sheep!

Day 10: And relax!

Enjoy the stunning views from your Bookabach or take an afternoon trip and swim with the dolphins.

Day 11: Travel to Tekapo

Travel to Lake Tekapo (3 hours drive), a lakefront resort such as Peppers Bluewater Resort is a relaxing spot for a swim and a spa afternoon. In the evening enjoy the Mount John Observatory tour – stargazing like you never have done before.


Day 12: MT Cook National Park

Travel to Mt Cook National Park (1-hour drive) to explore the Tasman Glacier terminal lake, NZ’s largest glacier or take a hike and breath in the fresh air!

Day 13: Relax in Queenstown

Travel to Queenstown (3-hour drive) and explore the town at your own leisure. Queenstown will be your base for your final 3 nights in NZ.

Suggestions Include: A trip Arrowtown Otago’s historic gold mining town and learn about the history of gold mining in the area or simply stroll the lakefront in Queenstown centre and take in the scenery or enjoy some downtime in one of Queenstown many cafes and restaurants.

Queenstown Going NZ
Your options are truly endless in Queenstown

Day 14: Visit Milford Sound

The Milford Sound Day Excursion will be a day you won’t forget in a hurry. The fly-cruise-fly option the best way to see The Fiordland National Park. All transfers and lunch can be included for ease.

Day 15: Soak up the views in Queenstown

Enjoy the scenery and some quality time together. Over The Top Helicopters offer rides with a difference. Let them transport you to a peak where it is just you and your loved one and a breathtaking view. After being left alone for lunch call your pilot and they will pick you up and take you back to Queenstown. Now that’s something to write home about…or Instagram about!

Day 16: Goodbye New Zealand!

Return your hire car to Queenstown Airport in time for connecting flight back to Auckland. With this 16 day New Zealand itinerary, we guarantee you will leave New Zealand with memories that will last a lifetime.