2 Weeks in New Zealand North Island: Sample Itinerary

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2 Weeks in New Zealand

2 Weeks in New Zealand: North Island

In the newest addition to our popular itinerary series we give you a fantastic sample itinerary for 2 Weeks in New Zealand – North Island which guarantees you all the major highlights of this amazing island!

This itinerary is designed to be done while self-driving through the country as this is the absolute best way to see and experience the magnificence of this tiny island nation.

Of course, these sample itineraries are just a guide and you depending on what type of traveller you are, you can modify these to suit your own style.

Make sure to check out our photo tour of New Zealand’s North Island for more travel inspiration!

New Zealand

Travelling through New Zealand has always been a lifelong dream of mine. Glaciers, snow capped-mountain ranges, tranquil lakes, thundering waterfalls and otherworldly fjords are my idea of heaven. Of course, as a diehard Lord of the Rings fan my wanderlust was supercharged after Peter Jackson showcased his stunning homeland in legendary form.

You can read about us checking out awesome Lord of the Rings locations while in New Zealand in this popular post.

New Zealand is without question one of the most picturesque countries in the world offering some of the most beautiful views you’ll ever see

We hope you enjoy this sample itinerary for 2 Weeks in New Zealand and that you have a fantastic time in one of my all time favourite countries!

Let’s begin!

2 Week Itinerary

“The Highlights” – Auckland, Coromandel, Hobbiton, Rotorua, Tongariro National Park, Cape Palliser, Wellington

Days 1-2: Auckland

  • Get yourself on the Hop on, Hop Off – Explorer Bus and see some of the major sites of the city such as the promenade and Auckland Museum.
  • We highly recommend going out for dinner in the Ponsonby area as there are heaps of trendy restaurants and bars.
  • If you have the budget, check out the views from the Sky Tower which is Auckland’s most recognizable city icons.
  • If you can time your visit with the rugby season, do whatever you can to watch the All Blacks play on their home field, Eden Park.

Where we stayed: We had a 5 week housesitting assignment in Auckland. Read all about house sitting in our post, “How We Saved Over $20,000 on Accommodations”.

All Blacks in Eden Park

Day 3-4: Coromandel

  • Set out early from Auckland and enjoy the rolling green hills and stunning coastal drive to Coromandel (2.5 hours).
  • Head to Hot Water Beach where you can dig yourself your own thermal pool right on the beach for free! 
  • The next morning head to Cathedral Cove walk through one of the North Island’s most photographed locations.

Hot water beach New Zealand

Day 5: Hobbiton & Rotorua

  • After enjoying the beauty of Coromandel, head directly to Matamata (2 hours) to check out perhaps the world’s most popular and my own personal favourite movie set, Hobbiton. For more info check out Hobbiton Tours.
  • In the evening, budget permitting, check out one of the most famous spas in the world at the Polynesian Spa. You can pay a bit more and have your own thermal pool.

Where we stayed: Kiwi Raka Guesthouse – $46 USD per night (private room, shared toilet)

Us at Hobbiton

Days 6-7: Rotorua & Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Pools

  • Head to Wai-O-Tapu and spend a few hours exploring New Zealand’s most colourful and remarkable volcanic lakes.
  • Check out Kerosene Creek, the best free thermal pool in the area. For more of the best free things to do in the North Island, check out our post.
  • Spend an hour or two playing paintball or zombie laser tag at Zombieland Paintball. We had an absolute blast here!

Where we stayed: Kiwi Raka Guesthouse – $46 USD per night (private room, shared toilet)

Waiotapu New Zealand

Days 8-9: Tongariro National Park

  • Get a good night sleep before getting up early to trek the mountain that stood in as “Mount Doom” in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • During the right season, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered by many as the best one day hike in the world. For more information check this out.

Where we stayed: Urchin Campground – Free (no facilities)

Tongariro National Park

Days 10-11: Cape Palliser

  • Get up early and head to Cape Palliser in the far south of the island. We consider this spot to be the North Island’s greatest hidden gem.
  • This spot is one of the best spots in all of New Zealand to have a close encounter with seals and penguins and best of all, you usually have it all to yourself!
  • Make sure to spend a few hours trekking to the Putangirua Pinnacles, a fantastic collection of jagged limestone cliffs that was used as a shooting location for Lord of the Rings. For more shooting locations in New Zealand check out our post.

Where we stayed: Ngawi Campground – Free (toilet across the street)

2 Weeks in New Zealand

Days 12-14: Wellington

  • Explore Cuba Street, Wellington’s trendiest and most lively street featuring buskers, pubs and great restaurants.
  • Spend a half day at the Weta Cave Workshop who are the geniuses who created costumes, miniatures and special effects for movies like Elysium, King Kong and Lord of the Rings. 
  • Take a ride on the Wellington Cable Car and enjoy the views from the last stop at the top.
  • Check out the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa which is widely considered to be the best museum in all of New Zealand. Best of all it’s free to enter!

Where we stayed: Couchsurfed – Free (Check out our post on couchsurfing for more information)

Weta Cave Wellington

We spent close to three months in New Zealand travelling from the Northern most point to the Southern most point. It was a dream come true and although we feel like we saw almost everything we wanted to see, we still feel like we could head back there again. That’s how amazing this tiny country is!

In fact, when people ask me where I think I could live other than Canada my first responses is always New Zealand. I love it.

It is a diverse as it is beautiful and any number of superlatives I could use to describe its beauty would fall short. My only hope is that if you follow our itinerary you will understand why we always speak so highly of this country to other travellers.

I hope these sample itineraries for 2 weeks in New Zealand have helped you plan out your NZ adventure. If you have any questions for us feel free to leave a comment below as we’re happy to help in any way we can.

Make sure to check out our lists of the absolute best FREE things to do in New Zealand for both the North and South Islands.

We thank you in advance for liking and/or sharing this post if you enjoyed it.

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2 Weeks in New Zealand North Island

Cheers,

Ross & Alyse

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Ross

Lover of travel, photography, nature, movies, and nachos. If you love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings we'll probably become best friends.
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