A Classic Kiwi Summer Holiday

New Zealand shines in summer. It's a time for swimming and picnics, sailing and kayaking, hiking in the hills and holiday houses by the water. In the North Island native pohutukawa trees are blooming crimson, while the South Island lakes and rivers are freshly topped up with snowmelt. The whole country is in relaxation mode.

If you're planning to visit New Zealand in summer, this itinerary is designed to deliver sunny holiday satisfaction. It's a north-to-south adventure that covers a lot of ground.

7 to 9 days
1AucklandDay 1
A couple shopping in Britomart, Auckland.
Shopping at Britomart, Auckland

After landing at Auckland airport, settle into central city accommodation that makes it easy to explore beaches, islands and vineyards. From the CBD you can catch a ferry, find a vineyard tour and stroll around the restaurant precincts of Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter.

Things to see and do

  • Auckland is often called 'the city of sails', so make sure you get out into the Hauraki Gulf. Sailing cruises give you a chance to experience the joy of yachting or you can look for whales and dolphins aboard a luxury catamaran.
  • Catch a ferry to an island – Rangitoto for an amazing volcanic summit walk, Tiritiri Matangi for close-up birdlife encounters or Waiheke for wine, beaches and shopping.
  • Relax with wonderful food and wine in central city restaurant areas. Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter restaurants are reliably top notch, while eateries in Ponsonby and Parnell are known for culinary creativity.
  • Book a hotel

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  • Need to rent a car?

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1AucklandDay 2
Couple on Muriwai Beach Coastal Walk, Auckland, New Zealand.
Muriwai Beach, Auckland

Take a guided tour, or pick up a rental car and hit the road! Venture out west to explore the forested Waitakere Ranges and black sand beaches. It's a gorgeously scenic journey with big views over Auckland. If you'd rather not drive, personalised tour operators can get you there. Make sure your phones fully charged – your camera will be busy today.

Things to see and do

  • Visit Muriwai Beach to see the gannet colony. In summer the parent birds are raising their chicks, so there's a lot of activity. After meeting the gannets, take a hike along the dramatic black sand surf beach or swim in the waves between the lifeguard flags.
  • Kitekite Falls near Piha is a stunning three-tier waterfall you can reach after an easy 45-minute hike through beautiful native forest. If you want to extend this adventure, there's a track leading to the top of the falls.
  • Head to Piha Beach late afternoon for fish and chips, then watch the sunset. Look for the green flash – it happens sometimes just as the sun dips below the horizon. If you're feeling adventurous, follow the track up Lion Rock.

    Drive from Auckland to Coromandel Coast.

    2 hours 20 mins
    2CoromandelDay 3
    Woman relaxing in a hammock, The Coromandel, New Zealand.
    The Coromandel

    If you prefer to leave your rental car in Auckland hop on a coach, otherwise grab your car and experience the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula, a paradise for people who love sun, surf and sand. From Whangamata to Whangapoua you'll find one glorious white sand ocean beach after another. And some of these beaches have special surprises!

    Things to see and do

    • Start your Coromandel experience at Hot Water Beach. For two hours either side of low tide, you can dig your own naturally-heated spa pool. There's a geothermal spring beneath the sands! Spades can be hired at the local café.
    • From Hahei you can walk to Cathedral Cove - a magical white sand beach framed by a naturally-formed archway. Nearby is Gemstone Bay, where you can follow a snorkelling trail to explore the undersea world.
    • If you really want to get away from it all, drive to Whangapoua and find the track to New Chums Beach (Wainuiototo). It's been voted one of the world's top 10 beaches.

    Drive from Whitianga to Tauranga. Coach transfer also available.

    2 hours 40 mins
    3Bay of PlentyDay 4
    Mt Maunganui steps, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
    Mount Maunganui

    The Bay of Plenty is loved for its incredible beaches, juicy kiwifruit and relaxed way of life. Kiwis treasure this part of the world, where white sand beaches coexist with ancient volcanoes. To immerse yourself in the bay's beachy lifestyle, stay at Mount Maunganui (aka 'The Mount'), a resort town with surf and sand as far as the eye can see.

    Things to see and do

    • Hike up the Mount to capture the iconic 'top of the Mount' Instagram shot. Several tracks lead to the summit for panoramic views of the harbour and Pacific Ocean, or you can walk around the base of the mountain.
    • At the Tauranga Bridge marina you can find a cruise to get you up close and personal with some of the 40,000+ dolphins that live and play in the waters of the Bay of Plenty.
    • Learn to surf or try body surfing at a patrolled area of beach. The Mount Maunganui lifeguard service is there to make sure you have an exhilarating-yet-safe surf swimming experience.
    • Eat fish and chips at Pilot Bay while you watch the fishing boats return after a day at sea, then watch the sun set over the Kaimai Range.

    Take a flight from Tauranga to Wellington.

    1 hour 20 mins
    4WellingtonDay 5
    Wellington bay and harbour, New Zealand
    Oriental Bay on a sunny day in Wellington

    The flight down the North Island is extraordinary on a clear day. You'll land at spectacular Wellington Airport, which juts out into the harbour. From a scenery point of view, you're winning before you even get out of the plane. To explore New Zealand's capital, you won't need a rental car. Wellington's best cultural attractions and shopping precincts are walkable within the compact city centre.

    Things to see and do

    • Take a half-day tour of Wellington that includes a ride on the historic cable car and a drive up Mount Victoria. Both locations provide panoramic views of the city and harbour.
    • Wander along the beautiful city waterfront promenade to Oriental Bay. Along the way, you'll find cafés, bars, ice cream vendors, parks and sculptures. Make the adventure even more fun by hiring a two or four-seater bike.
    • Catch a bus or taxi to Zealandia, the world's first fully-fenced urban eco-sanctuary. You'll see some of New Zealand's rarest birds, reptiles and insects living wild in their natural environment. Or visit Wellington Zoo for a close encounter with a cheetah – you're going to love hearing these big cats purr.
    • Book a hotel

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    Take a flight from Wellington to Nelson.

    40 mins
    5Nelson / Abel Tasman National ParkDay 6
    Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand.
    Abel Tasman National Park

    About an hour's drive from Nelson is Abel Tasman National Park, which is like no park you've seen before. It's a sanctuary area where native forest reaches right to the edge of the ocean. We recommend you dedicate a day to exploring the bays, beaches and trails of this gorgeous piece of New Zealand.

    Things to see and do

    • Discover the park's coastline on a personalised cruise with a local operator. Kayaking and swimming can be part of the adventure.
    • Arrange for a local water taxi to drop you into the park, and then hike back to Marahau along the coastal trail.
    • Explore the park's edge by sea kayak, so that you can meet the seals and dolphins who often play in the coastal waters. You'll find Split Apple rock, as well as other amazing granite formations.

    Take a flight from Nelson to Christchurch.

    50 mins
    6ChristchurchDay 7
    New Regent Street, Christchurch.
    New Regent Street, Christchurch

    Fast-changing and funky, but with a back story of heritage and culture, Christchurch is the South Island's largest city and a great summer destination. Whatever you feel like doing, you'll find it here or nearby. Stay in the central city and you can walk, bike or catch a bus to wherever you want to go.

    Things to see and do

    • Explore your new surroundings by joining a guided bike tour, or rent a vintage bike and guide yourself around the city. If you'd rather sit back and relax, hop on a double-decker bus for great views and informative commentary.
    • Christchurch is often called the Garden City, so you're in for a treat at Hagley Park. This huge swathe of beautiful green space includes the botanic gardens, the Avon River and cricket grounds. An inspired way to see the park is on an authentic Edwardian punting tour.
    • Catch a bus to Sumner, one of Christchurch's best beaches for swimming and walks. From Scarborough Park, at the western end of the beach, you can walk up to the cliffs for massive views of the ocean and coast.
    • Book a hotel

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    Take a flight back to Auckland or take a direct flight to Singapore with Singapore Airlines.

    1 hour 50 mins

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