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Jacey & Scott
Fort Collins

New Zealand

2 weeks in New Zealand?

My husband and I are planning to visit New Zealand in February for 2 weeks but are having a hard time determining what we should do and what we can do in that time.  We are open to relaxing, adventure, city-life-just maybe not camping!  If anyone has a few tips or an basic itinerary, I would love to hear it!

6 Answers

top answer by
Paul from Farnham


First of all - great decision to head to NZ.

2 weeks isn't a huge amount of time to explore the whole place, although it is possible if you grab a campervan and plan in advance. Or, do one island ata  time and plan to come back in a couppe of years tio do the other one ;0)

If you want to really experience the whole NZ thing, then spend a couple of days in Auckland and enjoy the cafe culture - but also get out to the islands such as Waiheke for a bit of bohemian lifestyle and amazing wineries. Also the west coast beaches like Piha are worth a visit.

Then head north to the subtropcial bit - Bay Of Islands is a good place. Kerikeri (pop in on my Mum - she loves surprises) and Russell are both pretty and historic.

The Coromandel Peninsula is beautiful, but can be omitted from a whole-country tour. Rotorua for thermal and tourist Mitai Maori Village experiences and then Taupo and Tongariro National Park for the great outdoors.

from there you can head east to Napier for art deco like you've never seen or head south along the desert road to Wellington for more great cafe culture before jumping on the ferry to the south island. 

Once your'e down there, the options are endless. both coasts offer something different - gentler plus whales in the east or rugged down the west. if your'e big readers you can drop in on Hokitika on the west coast where The Luminaries is set (Man Booker prize winning novel). Further down the west are the glaciers and then head inland for Queenstown and some true adventure. If you want to go tramping (walking/trekking) then either Abel Tasman National Park for a stunning coastal walk or any of the tracks further south for tougher inland routes.

As I say, it's a lot to fit in just 2 weeks, so maybe decide on one island for now and do it well and then promise to return another time for the other.

Good luck and have a great trip whatever you decide.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Auckland (city)
  2. Bay Of Islands (region)
  3. Kerikeri (attraction)
  4. Coromandel Peninsula (attraction)
  5. Mitai Maori Village (attraction)
  6. Taupo (city)
  7. Tongariro National Park (attraction)
  8. Napier (city)
  9. Wellington (city)
  10. Hokitika (city)
  11. Queenstown (city)
  12. Abel Tasman National Park (park)
  13. Rotorua (city)
  14. Russell (city)
12 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Sue from Yorba Linda
There are several must do's on the south island... my top vote would be to book two nights on a sheep station or a homestay. It was a wonderful view into how NZ'ers live, and to get a good look at rural life. It was the highlight of our trip! I echo the Queenstown experience... history and adventure are there. The fjords at Milford Sound Milford Sound are amazing!

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are also interesting to see. I think you'll be amazed with all of the diversity you'll see in small country like New Zealand!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Queenstown (city)
  2. Milford Sound (attraction)
  3. Waitomo Glowworm Caves (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Breanna from Minneapolis

I would start out in Auckland because it's the most populated and it's very easy to get around from here. The bus is a very affordable option and also comforting with the very windy streets. It's a very metropolitan place so easy to wander around and go to museums and down to the wharf. Rotorua has something for everyone. It smells like sulfur, but once you get over that it's beautiful. The Polynesian Spa in Rotorua has a lot of hot springs which this area is known nfor. You can get a massage and hang out in the pools for as long as you want. There is also the highest commercially used waterfall in the world in Rotorua that you can white water raft. Tongariro Crossing is an excellent day hike. 

In the South Island you can take a wine tour in Nelson and then head to Abel Tasman National Park the next day. This is another hike and it's GORGEOUS. Franz Josef glacier is also a beautiful hike. It's amazing to see all of these climates so close together. I would round out with Queenstown which is a smaller city with a lot of cute restaurants and also thrills such as bungee jumping and skydiving. And lastly Milford Sound for more beautiful scenery. Hope this helps start the planning!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Auckland (city)
  2. Rotorua (city)
  3. Polynesian Spa (attraction)
  4. Tongariro Crossing (attraction)
  5. Nelson (city)
  6. Abel Tasman National Park (park)
  7. Franz Josef (city)
  8. Queenstown (city)
  9. Milford Sound (attraction)
4 thankscomments (2)

answered by
David from Sydney
The two main islands of New Zealand are quite different in scenery - the North is more populated, with miles and miles of green rolling hills. The South Island is spectacular - snow capped mountains and rugged coastline. My tips are:
North Island: AucklandBay Of IslandsNapier(if you're into art-deco architecture), Matamata(if you're a Tolkien fan).
South: QueenstownWest Coast New Zealand.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Auckland (city)
  2. Bay Of Islands (region)
  3. Napier (city)
  4. Matamata (city)
  5. Queenstown (city)
  6. West Coast New Zealand (region)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jeremy from Ponsonby

February is the end of the NZ summer so I'd recommend you will want a spot that has lots of outside activities. This could be Queenstown with adventure tourism, wineries, etc or the Bay Of Islands/Coromandel where there are loads of beaches and places to visit and experience. The options are diverse. What are your interests and budget?

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Queenstown (city)
  2. Bay Of Islands (region)
  3. Coromandel (city)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Joe from Houston

We spent 16 days in January and lucked out with good weather on all but 2 days. We spent some time on the N Island and most on the S Island. We used the services of - Donna Thomas was extremely helpful.

No idea of your budget or likes. There is much to do and too much to do in 2 weeks. Hawke's Bay, west coast of the S Island, and a few high end lodges were our highlights.

You cannot go wrong on a visit there. The NZ Tourist Board has a great website and Lonely Planet and others have good guide books to start getting a sense of what to do.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hawke's Bay (region)
2 thankscomments (1)

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