Two Weeks in New Zealand
Collected by Liz Carlson, AFAR Local Expert
Two weeks is a good period of time in New Zealand, in order to explore both the North and South Islands. Start in Auckland, rent a car and head south to settle in at Rotorua and Taupo. Enjoy the capital Wellington before making your way to the South Island. Ensure Queenstown is your "go to" place and from there you can explore Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Wanaka, skifields and wineries before signing off on the best two week New Zealand holiday you've ever had.
Rangitoto Island, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
In the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island is just a short, not to mention highly enjoyable, 25-minute ferry ride from Auckand. The unpopulated island is actually a shield volcano that is the youngest (only 600 years old!) in the Auckland Volcanic...
585 Waitomo Caves Rd, Waitomo 3977, New Zealand
Waitomo, on New Zealand’s North Island, is known mostly for its glowworms. This is one of the few places in the world where they exist and millions of visitors descend onto the village every year to walk through the dark caves and see the sparkly...
126 Broadway, Matamata 3400, New Zealand
Welcome to Middle Earth in the South Pacific, and an ideal stop for traveling fans of the author J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies. Near the rural town of Matamata—itself a destination for its LOTR-inspired...
Lake Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand
On the shores of New Zealand's largest lake sits the holiday town of Taupo, in the center of the North Island. Popular with vacationers and adventure travelers, there is plenty for everyone. An ancient volcanic crater, nowadays Taupo is a...
Wellington, New Zealand
I still owe my best friend millions for introducing me to Wellington's Cafe L'Affare while I was working in New Zealand. Founded in 1990, this quintessential cafe is cozy, delicious and gourmet ground breaking. What are your food choices, you ask?...
Wellington Ferry Terminal 1 Aotea Quay, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Perhaps one of the most iconic kiwi experiences to be had in New Zealand is to catch the ferry between Wellington and Picton. While the Cook Strait doesn't seem too big, it actually takes around three hours to negotiate the occasionally rough seas...
South Island, New Zealand
New Zealand’s mountains are nothing short of majestic. Sir Edmund Hillary honed his craft on the country’s highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook, before conquering Everest. The Southern Alps are the spine of the South Island with such ranges as...
Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
As if New Zealand couldn't be more picturesque, in the summertime (roughly December through February), the South Island is covered with incredible pink and purple lupines. The best place to see the fields of lupines are around Lake Tekapo in the...
Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo is one of those places in New Zealand that is instantly recognizable but few know its name. Bright blue with clear water surrounded by pink and purple lupines in the summer, it's the perfect background for these blooming flowers. A...
State Highway 6, Gibbston Valley, Queenstown 9384, New Zealand
Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand, so if you're going to try it anywhere in the world, shouldn't it be at the world's first commercial bungee site? With a 140-foot drop from an old bridge straddling a beautiful turquoise river, the...
Milford Track, Fiordland National Park 9679, New Zealand
Steve from Trips and Tramps makes a great tour guide through the Milford Track. The guided half-day hike, an easy seven miles on a well-groomed trail, was just a tease—given the time, the full four-day, 33-mile track would be well worth it. We...
63 Cron Street, Franz Josef Glacier 7859, New Zealand
If there is one activity not to be missed in New Zealand, it's getting to explore Franz Josef Glacier in the South Island. One of the only glaciers in the world that drops down into a temperate rainforest, Franz Josef is a wonder to behold. The...
Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
This huge, single-day hike is in the running for the "Best Day Hike in the World" contest. If you're spending time in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand and you love a challenging hike with unbelievable topography, be sure to give yourself a...
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