30 days in New Zealand

New Zealand Itinerary For 4 Weeks

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If you are looking for a holiday destination, look no further than the beautiful Oceania country of New Zealand. Forbes recently named New Zealand as one of The 20 Best Places to Travel in 2021. Whether you enjoy visiting beaches or mountains, cities or small towns, lakes or rivers, WWB Writer Daphne has created us a New Zealand itinerary for 4 weeks has something for everybody. 

Here is an overview of all the amazing places that you will be able to visit in just a month in New Zealand:

  • Day 1-2 Auckland
  • Day 3-5 Coromandel Peninsula – Hahei, Whangamata & Whakatane
  • Day 6-7 Rotorua & Hobbiton
  • Day 8-9 Taupo
  • Day 10 Napier
  • Day 11 Wellington
  • Day 12-15 West Coast – Westport, Franz Josef, Haast
  • Day 16-17 Wanaka
  • Day 18-19 Queenstown
  • Day 20-21 Milford Sound & Te Anau
  • Day 22 Dunedin
  • Day 23-24 Mount Cook
  • Day 25 Lake Tekapo
  • Day 26 Christchurch
  • Day 27-28 Taranaki
  • Day 29 Waitomo
  • Day 30 Auckland

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Why Should You Visit New Zealand?

New Zealand is a beautiful country and there are so many things to see and do on both the North and South Islands. 

The North Island is famous for its sandy beaches, volcanoes, geothermal parks, and not forgetting Hobbiton for Lord of the Rings enthusiasts

The South Island has glaciers, magnificent fiords, and the highest mountain in New Zealand

New Zealand Itinerary For 4 Weeks

The best way to explore New Zealand is by renting a car or campervan and driving yourself as this gives you the most flexibility. We will talk about the best transportation options later in the article.

This New Zealand itinerary for 4 weeks loops through both the North Island and the South Island. 

Day 1-2 Auckland

4 weeks in New Zealand
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Most international flights to New Zealand land in Auckland so it makes sense to kick off your 4 weeks in New Zealand by exploring The City of Sails. Apart from exploring the city, you can also choose a day trip or two across the water to nearby islands.

What To See And Do:

Central Auckland

Visit the Sky Tower and do a SkyJump ($225) or a SkyWalk ($150)192 meters above the ground. 

You could also take a free walking tour to explore the city with a knowledgeable guide. Don’t forget to check out the variety of food offerings to suit every taste bud. 

Waiheke Island 

Take a 40-minute ferry ride to Waiheke (return fare: $21) to check out the wineries, fine dining, art galleries, and beaches. Nature-lovers should check out Whakanewha National Park with its unique flora and fauna.

Adventure seekers can zipline through the treetops at speeds of up to 50km/h.

Rangitoto Island

Take a ferry (return fare: $39) or a sea kayaking trip to the youngest dormant volcano in Auckland. Follow the Rangitoto Summit Track for a 1-hour walk through lava fields for great views of Auckland and take a short detour to visit the lava caves. 

Don’t forget to bring snacks and drinks with you as there are no shops on the island. No point going hungry on your New Zealand itinerary for 4 weeks trip!

Day 3-5 Coromandel Peninsula – Hahei, Whangamata & Whakatane

NEW ZEALAND ITINERARY 4 WEEKS
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Today, you will be heading to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula where you will be able to spend some time on the beaches, go surfing or paddleboarding, and learn about Maori culture.

What To See And Do:

Cathedral Cove 

You might recognize the arch of Cathedral Cove from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian or the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Can’t Hold Us video.

The 1-hour 30-minute return walk takes you along the coast past Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay before coming to Cathedral Cove. You can also take a boat ride ($100) or kayak ($125) to the spot.

Hot Water Beach 

Visit Hot Water Beach during low tide to access the hot springs that are located below the surface. You can rent or borrow a spade to dig your own personal spa pool to relax in and enjoy the beautiful beach. 

This is a highlight of the New Zealand itinerary 4 weeks trip!

Whangamata 

Go surfing at Whangamata which is renowned for its surfing breaks.

Take a break from surfing to visit the Coromandel Forest Park and follow the Wentworth Falls walk for views of the waterfall or the Mines walk to see the mine shafts and the river.

Whakatane 

Learn about Maori culture when you visit Mataatua Wharenui which is one of New Zealand’s most significant Maori meeting houses. Visit Ohope Beach to catch some rays or to do some paddleboarding or surfing. 

Day 6-7 Rotorua & Hobbiton

NEW ZEALAND ITINERARY 4 WEEKS
Picture by Holger Offermann on Unsplash

Rotorua is a must-visit when you are in New Zealand. 

The geothermal activity in the area means that there are a lot of unique places to check out. Learn more about Maori culture while you are here and take a trip to Hobbiton to indulge your Lord of the Rings fantasies. 

What To See And Do:

Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland 

Visit this colorful and unique geothermal park ($33) to see the hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, and mud pools that seem out of this world. Some of the highlights to check out are the Lady Knox Geyser and the Champagne Pool. Be warned that there is a distinct sulfur smell throughout the area.

Natural Hot Pools 

Relax at natural hot pools, there are paid and free ones in the area. Head over to Kerosene Creek or The Secret Spot to find some of the free natural hot pools. 

Maori Culture 

Learn about Maori culture when you visit Tamaki Maori Village ($110) or Te Puia ($60). Watch mesmerizing performances, partake in a Hangi (a traditional Maori meal), and listen to stories of the history of the Maori.

This will be an opportunity for you to really learn about the beautiful Maori culture on your New Zealand itinerary 4 weeks trip.

Hobbiton 

A visit to Hobbiton ($89) is a must for fans of Lord of the Rings. You have to take a guided tour so choose from a variety of packages to find the perfect experience. The tour also includes a visit to the Green Dragon Inn.

No New Zealand itinerary 4 weeks trip is complete without stoping by Hobbiton.

Day 8-9 Taupo

NEW ZEALAND ITINERARY 4 WEEKS
Picture by Holgi on pixabay

Head next to Taupo where you are going to spend the next couple of days exploring mountains, waterfalls, geothermal activity, and more beautiful scenery than you could imagine. 

What To See And Do:

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 

This is one of the most popular day hikes in New Zealand and is a stop for many visitors. This full-day trek will take you across a volcanic landscape that may sometimes seem as if it is out of this world. It can be challenging in some parts so be prepared and be careful.

Huka Falls 

You’ll definitely hear the falls before you see them as the sheer volume of water that pours over the ravine is incredible. You will be awed by the sight of the waters rushing over and will probably want to spend more time than you planned just watching and listening to the falls.

Note- If you don’t want to expire prematurely on your New Zealand itinerary 4 weeks trip, please don’t jump in!

Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings 

This carving located on the western section of Lake Taupo can only be visited by boat, kayaking ($110) to the spot is an amazing experience and allows you to appreciate the carving up close. 

Orakei Korako 

Take a short ferry ride over Lake Ohakuri to visit this unique geothermal attraction ($39). You will find beautiful geysers, terraces, and a geothermal cave. Follow the 90-minute walking track around the terraces that this spot is known for.

Day 10 Napier

4 weeks in New Zealand
Picture by Makalu on pixabay

Napier is on the eastern coast of the North Island and is located in the Hawke’s Bay region which is well known for producing wine, particularly pinot gris and syrah. 

What To See And Do:

Wine Tour 

Since you are in wine country, why not go on a wine tour ($120) or two? Visit beautiful vineyards, do some wine-tasting, and enjoy the experience. 

Art Deco 

After a massive earthquake in 1931, Napier was rebuilt with beautiful Art Deco buildings that have been well-maintained. Take a self-guided walk around the city to enjoy the beautiful architecture and buildings.

Bluff Hill 

Head to the Bluff Hill Lookout by foot or by car to take in the views of Hawke’s Bay, the city, and the port. The climb is a bit steep in some areas but you can rest at a couple of benches along the way. 

Day 11 Wellington

4 weeks in New Zealand
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Welcome to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand! Spend some time exploring the city before taking the ferry to Picton or a flight to Christchurch to begin your adventures in the South Island.

What To See And Do:

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarew 

Visit the national museum of New Zealand to learn about the history of the people and the country as well as the local flora and fauna. Depending on when you visit, you may be able to catch some famous short term exhibits. 

Cable Car

Ride the Wellington Cable Car from Lambton Quay to Kelburn ($5-$9) to get a great view over the city and the harbor. Check out the Wellington Botanical Gardens and Cable Car Museum once you get to the top. 

Mount Victoria Lookout 

Choose between a longer 1-hour 30-minute loop or a 45-minute loop depending on how much time you have. You will be able to see panoramic views of the city, the harbor, and the ocean. 

Day 12-15 West Coast – Westport, Franz Josef, Haast

4 weeks in New Zealand
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Your journey on the South Island starts as you head towards the West Coast. 

This region is filled with breathtaking natural formations and you are going to be able to check out quite a few as you make your way further south.

What To See And Do:

Pancake Rocks 

Located in Punakaiki, prepare to be amazed by the limestone rocks that resemble stacks of pancakes. Watch the water surge up through the blowholes and marvel at the force of nature that formed these over the years.

Hokitika Gorge 

Take a short detour to Hokitika to visit the Hokitika Gorge. Take a walk through a forest until you reach the viewing platform where you can feast your eyes on the gorgeous blues of the water below. Keep going over a couple of bridges and take a moment to relish the beauty around you.

Lake Matheson 

Visit the small glacier lake that is not far from the Fox Glacier to see the mirror-like reflection of the mountains and trees in the lake. Visit early in the morning as that is when the lake tends to be calmer.

Glaciers

Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier are both located on the West Coast and are a unique experience for a lot of people. Take a heli-hike tour ($450) to get up close and personal with the glaciers. 

Day 16-17 Wanaka

30 days in New Zealand
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You are now halfway through your 30 days in New Zealand and you will be spending the next 2 days exploring Wanaka.

 If the name Wanaka sounds familiar, it might be because of That Wanaka Tree.

What To See And Do:

Blue Pools Walk 

On your way to Wanaka, make sure to stop at the Blue Pools Track. It is a 1-hour return walk through a beech forest that brings you over a swingbridge to the unbelievably blue waters of the Blue Pools that are a part of the Makarora River. 

Roys Peak Track 

The amazing views of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps from Roy’s Peak makes this one of the most popular and most photographed spots in New Zealand. The return trip will take you about 5-6 hours and is quite an easy walk. Start early so that you can catch the sunrise from the peak.

Lake Wanaka 

Take a walk around the lake or just hang out by the lakeshore. The reflection of the sun on the crystal clear waters of the lake will keep you mesmerized and unwilling to leave. Try to find the famous Wanaka tree but be ready to wait in line for that perfect shot as this is one of the most visited spots in Wanaka.

Go skiing or snowboarding 

If you are visiting New Zealand in the winter, take advantage of the slopes at Cardrona and Treble Cone. Both locations have suitable activities for beginner and advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Day 18-19 Queenstown

30 days in New Zealand
Picture by Ridoe on pixabay

You are now in the adventure capital of the world with adrenaline-pumping activities around every corner. Spend a couple of days trying a variety of activities and taking in the beautiful nature around you.

What To See And Do:

Jet Boating and Whitewater Rafting 

Some popular ways to explore the Kawarau River or the Shotover River are by jet boating ($160) and whitewater rafting ($200). Whether this is your first time or you have a lot of experience, there are suitable adventures for your level. 

Skiing and Snowboarding 

Some of the best ski fields in New Zealand are located in Queenstown and it is a popular destination for a lot of winter visitors. There are four snow resorts and they all provide suitable activities for different levels. 

Bungy Jumping  

Queenstown is the home of the world’s first bungy and there are multiple places that you can bungy jump from ($200). Some of the most popular bungys in Queenstown are Nevis Bungy, Kawarau Bridge Bungy, and Ledge Bungy

Day 20-21 Milford Sound & Te Anau

30 days in New Zealand
Picture by Makalu on pixabay

Milford Sound is yet another spectacular sight that you will see in New Zealand. This magnificent fiord is located in the southeast of the island and will take your breath away with its beauty. 

On your way to or back from Milford Sound, stop by the town of Te Anau for more exploring.

What To See And Do:

Milford Sound 

The best way to explore Milford Sound is by water, join a cruise ($65) or go sea-kayaking ($130). Keep an eye out for Mitre Peak, one of the most well-known and recognizable peaks in the country. If you’re lucky, you might catch sight of some penguins as well.

Key Summit Track 

This 3-hour return track will show you some of the best views of Milford Sound. Be prepared to see a variety of scenery such as rainforests and mountain views. Pack a picnic so you can take a break at the top before returning.

Lake Gunn Track 

If you are looking for a short walk in Fiordland, look no further than this 45-minute loop. Walk through the forest with its red beeches and walk along the lakeshore. 

Mirror Lakes 

Stop at the Mirror Lakes to stretch your legs as you are driving to or back from Milford Sound. On clear days, the reflection of the Earl Mountains on the lakes will show you how the lakes got their name.

Te Anau 

The gateway to Milford Sound, a lot of people choose to use Te Anau as a base. But it deserves some exploring in itself. Spend some time enjoying the serenity of the lake or visit some glow worm caves ($99).

Day 22 Dunedin

30 days in New Zealand
Picture by Simon on pixabay

Dunedin is located on the southeast coast of the South Island and is known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. While you are here, you will be able to check out unique stone formations and maybe catch a glimpse of some rare wildlife. 

What To See And Do:

Larnach Castle 

Spend some time visiting New Zealand’s only castle (from $17.50). Explore the gardens and climb up the castle tower to get some lovely views of the surrounding area. You can even have high-tea in the old ballroom if you’re feeling fancy.

Tunnel Beach Track 

This easy 1-hour walk will give you amazing views of the coast and through the archway that gives the beach its name. There are caves that you can explore but be mindful of the tide and make sure that you stay safe.

Moeraki Boulders 

Stop off at Koekohe Beach to see the Moeraki Boulders. These spherical stones that are scattered on the beach are a unique sight and will leave you mesmerized and curious. As with other phenomena in New Zealand, there is an interesting Maori legend behind them. 

Day 23-24 Mount Cook

30 days in New Zealand
Photo by MemoryCatcher on pixabay

The drive to Mount Cook is one of the most beautiful routes in New Zealand, with the vivid blue waters of Lake Pukaki on one side and the magnificent Southern Alps ahead of you. 

The next two days will give you time to explore the amazing walks and hikes at Mount Cook and will be a highlight of your 30 days in New Zealand. Most of these tracks start at the White Horse Hill campground and car park.

What To See And Do:

Hooker Valley Track 

Set aside 3 hours for an easy return walk that will take you past views of the Mueller Glacier, over 3 swing bridges, and to the glacier lake where you can feast your eyes on Mount Cook and the Hooker Glacier. Go early to avoid crowds as this is one of the most popular walks at Mount Cook.

Kea Point Track 

This easy 1-hour return walk gives you amazing views of Mount Cook, Mount Sefton, the Mueller Glacier lake, and moraine. Wander through this walk as it leads you through subalpine grasslands and ends at a lookout point. 

Tasman Lake Track 

If you would like to get a closer view of the Tasman Glacier terminal lake, you should check out this easy 1-hour return walk. Follow the signs and the rocky path to the lake. You may be able to catch a glimpse of icebergs floating on the lake in the warmer months.

Sealy Tarns Track 

If you enjoy climbing stairs, this 3-4 hour return track is for you. Walk up 2,200 steps to the Sealy Tarns, which are freshwater lakes. Be prepared to have your breath taken away by the views of the Hooker Glacier and Mount Cook, and of course from climbing all those steps.

Mueller Hut Route 

This track is suitable for more experienced trampers. It takes about 3-5 hours to get to the hut and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the mountains, glaciers, and much more. Build a few more hours in for your return or get permission to spend the night at the hut.

Day 25 Lake Tekapo

30 days in New Zealand
Picture by rana88888 on pixabay

Make a stop at Lake Tekapo to check out the brilliant turquoise lake, a couple of landmarks, and to do some stargazing. 

What To See And Do:

Lake Tekapo 

Take a walk by the lake, check out the Church of the Good Shepherd, an iconic church built in 1935, and visit the Mackenzie sheepdog status that is by the church. Visit in spring to be captivated by the contrast of the pink, purple, and yellow lupins against the vibrant blue waters of Lake Tekapo.

Stargazing 

Tekapo is located within the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve and is an excellent spot for stargazing. The night skies are clear and appear to stretch endlessly. Find a spot to view the skies or join a tour ($75) for a guided experience. 

Day 26 Christchurch

NEW ZEALAND ITINERARY 4 WEEKS
Picture by Sharonang on pixabay

Before you head back to the North Island, spend some time in Christchurch and explore the city and the countryside around. The city suffered devastating damage in the 2011 earthquake but is recovering from the effects.

What To See And Do:

Botanic Gardens 

Check out the Botanic Gardens while you are in Christchurch. Depending on the season that you visit, you will be able to see different types of plants in all their glory. Check out the various other attractions as well such as the conservatories, paddling pool, memorial rotunda, and much more.

City Walking Tour 

Explore the city by joining a free walking tour that will take you through various landmarks and interesting places in the city. The tour takes about 2 hours and your knowledgeable guide will tell you about the history of Christchurch and significant events and locations.

Godley Head  

An easy 3-hour loop walk will show you amazing coastal views, World War 2 military remains, and even a penguin colony. You may even be able to see some sea creatures such as dolphins, seals, and even whales.

Day 27-28 Taranaki

NEW ZEALAND ITINERARY 4 WEEKS
Picture by Yoann Laheurte on Unsplash

Make your way back to the North Island by taking the ferry from Picton to Wellington or catching a flight from Christchurch to Wellington. Head north to Taranaki where the famous volcano that the town is named after is located. 

What To See And Do:

Mount Taranaki 

Often called the most perfectly formed volcano in New Zealand due to its symmetricity. The main climbing route takes about 8-hours for a return trip. It is worth the time and suitable for most people in spring, summer, and autumn. In winter, you should be experienced in snow and ice climbing as it can be too dangerous otherwise.

Coastal Walkway 

Walk along the coast and stop at various landmarks and take in the view around you. You will pass through the unique structure of the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, various beaches, and the Taranaki Velodrome.

Dawson Falls 

The waterfall which is located on the slopes of Mount Taranaki is an easy 10-minute walk to the lookout point. You can also stop to visit one of the world’s oldest continuously operating generators. There are also other walks that you can take around the area.

Day 29 Waitomo

NEW ZEALAND ITINERARY 4 WEEKS
Picture by Alimison on pixabay

As you continue heading North, stop by Waitomo to visit some magical glow worm caves, spectacular waterfalls, and limestone formations. Take some time to go for some walks and enjoy the scenery. 

What To See And Do:

Glow Worm Caves 

Take a black-water tubing trip or a boat ride ($50)  through the caves in order to see the other-worldly phosphorescent glow of the glow worms. It can be a very awe-inspiring and peaceful experience.

Ruakuri Bush Walk 

This 45-minute loop will take you through various limestone formations. Walk through the natural tunnel of a high-ceiling cave which has the river flowing through it and pass by cliffs and a gorge. 

Marokopa Falls 

A short 20-min return walk will take you to the viewing platform of one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. These falls are very high and wide and worth the visit.

Day 30 Auckland

a month in New Zealand
Photo by Partha Narasimhan on Unsplash

It’s the final day of the New Zealand itinerary for 4 weeks and you would have spent the last month exploring this beautiful country. You are now back in Auckland with a few hours to spare before your flight. If you have time, grab one last meal and a walk in the city before heading to the airport.

What To See And Do:

Mount Eden 

Take an easy 1-hour walk to the top of the highest volcano in Auckland to get a 360-degree view of the city. When you get to the summit, you will also be able to see the 50-foot deep crater from the last eruption more than 15,000 years ago.

Cornwall Park 

If you need more green in the middle of the city, head over to Cornwall Park, a spot that is popular with the locals. Take time to check out the unique birds and trees in the park. If you time your visit right, you might be able to join a workshop or see an exhibition as there are a lot of activities that often take place in the park.

Westhaven Promenade Loop 

Walk along the Auckland waterfront and take in the views of the harbor and the city. If you visit after dark, you can catch the Vector Lights on the Harbour Bridge. 

What Is The Best Month To Visit New Zealand?

New Zealand is beautiful year-round and you will be able to find many things to do in a month in New Zealand regardless of when you visit. 

Choosing the right time of the year will be largely dependent on what you plan to do while you are visiting. Here are some highlights for each season:

  • Summer (December – February)
    • water sports 
    • outdoor activities
    • warmer weather
  • Autumn (March – May)
    • shoulder season – fewer people, more deals
    • beautiful autumn colors especially in Central Otago
    • cooler weather is perfect for walks and hikes
  • Winter (June – August)
    • winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding
    • snow-covered views
  • Spring (September – November)
    • shoulder season – fewer people, more deals
    • lots of waterfalls from the melting snow
    • cooler weather is perfect for walks and hikes
    • new lambs and flowers

Best Transportation Options

A lot of people who visit New Zealand choose to rent cars or campervans and you will be able to find any number of companies with rentals that best meet your needs. 

Some popular car and campervan rental companies in New Zealand are Jucy, Omega, and Apex. You can use car rental comparison websites like Rentalcars.com or EasyTerra to find suitable car or campervan rentals for your trip.

Here are some tips for renting and driving cars or campervans in New Zealand:

  • You can use your current driver’s license from your home country or an international driver’s permit to drive in New Zealand.
  • Some rental companies may require you to be above 25 years old or may charge a surcharge if you are not.
  • You can choose different insurance coverage options when you are renting a car or campervan. 
  • Make an effort to learn the road rules in New Zealand as they may be difference than in your home country.

If you prefer not to drive, you can check out other transportation options like the InterCity bus system or the train system.

Unique Tips to Know When Visiting New Zealand 

People 

The people of New Zealand, often called Kiwis, are some of the most friendly people that you will ever meet. A lot of people are always willing to lend a helping hand or tell you the best spots to go. 

iSite Centers 

New Zealand’s official visitor information centers can be found in most cities and towns in New Zealand. Apart from providing information on where to go and how to get there, iSite Centers can also help you with booking activities, accommodation, and transport. Visit them if you need more ideas or support on your trip.

Four Seasons In One Day 

The weather in New Zealand can be very uncertain and can change very quickly. It is important to make sure that you are prepared for these changes, especially if you are walking, hiking, or doing other outdoor activities.

If you don’t want to fall sick on your New Zealand itinerary 4 weeks trip, pack or wear layers to help you be more prepared for changing temperatures.

Department of Conservation website 

Walking, tramping, and hiking are the most popular best ways to explore New Zealand.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation maintains tracks and provides facilities and resources all over the country. Check out the Things to Do section on the website for guidance and details on various activities.

Conclusion

I hope that you find this New Zealand itinerary for 4 weeks helpful and that you are excited to start planning your trip to this beautiful country. 

There are so many beautiful places to visit and so many fun activities to do while you are there.

If you have other favorite places that you would recommend to visit in New Zealand, please do let me know in the comments section – it would be lovely to hear from you.

New Zealand Itinerary for 4 weeks 

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