30-Day Luxury Itinerary for New Zealand
It’s the trip of a lifetime; travelling one of the world’s most aesthetically diverse countries for one entire month! Make it extra special with luxury in mind by staying at premium lodges, resorts and hotels. Indulge in fine food and experience once-in-a-lifetime activities at some of New Zealand’s must-visit destinations. It’s all here in this New Zealand luxury itinerary for one month.
This New Zealand luxury itinerary for 30 days is ideal for the independent traveller who enjoys the privacy of travelling in a rental car (or motorhome) at their own pace. Nevertheless, we give plenty of tips on alternative ways to travel the country should driving not entice you. Discover a month of excitement, indulgence and luxury in this complete one-month New Zealand itinerary for luxury travellers.
How to Get Around New Zealand in One Month
The below itinerary is best done as a self-driven experience. There are plenty of rental vehicle options in New Zealand, from electric cars to luxury motorhomes. We also incorporate a few other transport methods into this itinerary such as a train journey and connecting flights.
- Rental car or campervan – This itinerary is best done by driving yourself in a rental vehicle. Use a rental company that has depots in Auckland and Christchurch, then Greymouth and Christchurch, as you will be swapping rental vehicles between the TranzAlpine train journey. Get more advice by using The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand.
- Helicopter transfers – Use a helicopter transfer as a quick way to get between destinations when you first arrive in Auckland. Inflite and Heletranz both offer airport transfers.
- Ferries – This itinerary includes a trip on the Interislander ferry between Wellington and Picton (i.e. the North Island and the South Island). Find out more in The Ferry Between the North Island and South Island. There is also the option to take the ferry between Auckland and Waiheke Island, where you can learn more in our guide to Public Transport in Auckland.
- Train – This itinerary includes a one-way train journey on the TranzAlpine. Find out more on the Train Network in New Zealand.
- Domestic flights – The below itinerary begins in Auckland and ends in Christchurch. Both cities have international airports and are well connected with domestic flights. If you’re leaving from Auckland, you will need to consider booking a domestic flight from Christchurch to Auckland.
- Escorted tours – Finally, if driving and organising your own trip is something you’d rather leave to the professionals, then consider taking an escorted tour of the country. Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours offer 24-day tours of New Zealand with accommodation, some meals and activities included. Note that they will follow their own set itinerary; not the one listed below.
And if you’re new to the whole road tripping thing, be sure to make it as smooth as possible following the 10 Ways to Relax on a Road Trip.
Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Waiheke Island
Travel time: 40 minutes drive then 40 minutes ferry or 15 minutes helicopter flight
Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand! If you’re staying here for a month, chances are you have come from far. With that in mind, we recommend getting over the jet lag with a wine in hand on Waiheke Island. Either take a helicopter transfer to your Waiheke accommodation for a quick and easy way to get to the island or take a taxi then a ferry then an accommodation transfer.
On Waiheke Island, relax with some of the luxury experiences available, from winery-hopping tours to spa retreats within the luxury lodges. Get a good night’s rest, as you’ll be heading back to the mainland tomorrow where your trip really begins!
Luxury Activities on Waiheke Island
- Do a winery and olive grove tour with Ananda Tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Indulge in a spa treatment at one of the island’s luxury lodges
- Zipline over vineyards and native forest with Ecozip Adventures (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Do a guided Waiheke Island art walk (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For more inspiration, take a look at the 9 Glorious Things to Do on Waiheke Island.
Luxury Accommodation on Waiheke Island
Day 2 – Waiheke Island to Whangarei
Travel time: 40 minutes ferry then 2h30mins drive
After some rejuvenation on Waiheke Island, it’s time to take a scenic ferry trip through the Hauraki Gulf to Auckland Central (ferry tickets are available on KKday). There, you can get your car rental delivered to the ferry terminal then hit the road northward to Whangarei. Just outside of the city, you’ll find one of the best scuba diving sites at the Poor Knights Islands, as well as an array of luxury experiences at Helena Bay Lodge.
Plan more of your visit using The Luxury Guide to Whangarei.
Luxury Activities in Whangarei
- Enjoy a farm experience and indulge in spa treatments at Helena Bay Lodge
- Dive at the famous Poor Knights Islands (more info on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Test your swing at the stunning Waipu Golf Club
- Tour Northland in a private 4WD with Rogue Pony (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Indulge in fine dining at TopSail, Tonic and more.
Get more details on each experience and more in the 8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei.
Luxury Accommodation in Whangarei
Discover our top picks in the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Whangarei.
Day 3 – Whangarei to the Bay of Islands
Travel time: 1h5mins
Not too far from Whangarei is Paihia and the Bay of Islands – a beautiful bay scattered with 144 islands. There are many glorious ways to enjoy this sub-tropical part of New Zealand between private cruises and thrilling skydives. Choose your style of experience from the list below and don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to do more exquisite experiences tomorrow.
Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands
- Fly over the Bay of Islands with Salt Air (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Indulge in a spa day at one of the luxury hotels
- Skydive from 20,000ft with Skydive Bay of Islands (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Get a tailored experience of the Bay on a private charter with Sea Shuttle Bay of Islands (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Have a swing at the Kauri Cliffs Golf Course.
Discover more about each experience in the 8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands.
Luxury Accommodation in the Bay of Islands
- Paihia Beach Resort & Spa Hotel
- Treghan Luxury Lodge
- Magic Cottages at Takou River
- Copthorne Hotel & Resort
- Eagles Nest
For more information on our top picks, see the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in the Bay of Islands.
Day 4 – Explore the Bay of Islands
Experience the Bay of Islands your way, whether it’s a day trip to one of the stunning golf courses like Kauri Cliffs or simply kicking back with gorgeous views at your accommodation.
If there’s nothing listed from yesterday that takes your fancy, how about the following?
Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands
- Do a winery-hopping tour in a Jeep or Mustang with Rogue Pony (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Soar over the islands on a private parasailing charter with Flying Kiwi Parasail (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Treat yourself to one of the fine dining restaurants or wineries.
Discover more about each experience in the 8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands.
Day 5 – Bay of Islands to Auckland
Travel time: 3h20mins (or 4h50mins via the east coast)
Do any morning activities you might have missed yesterday before setting off southbound for Auckland following State Highway 1. Alternatively, take the scenic route via Omapere and the Kauri Coast, which allows you to stop at natural marvels such as the largest kauri tree in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta. Better yet, stop by the Kauri Museum for a private tour to learn about the significance of these trees. Find out more about tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.
You’ll then arrive in Auckland Central, New Zealand’s largest city. Why not dine in the revolving restaurant atop the Sky Tower or browse the Auckland Art Gallery? Those feeling more adventurous can experience the speed of an America’s Cup yacht at the Waitemata Harbour. Find out more about the latter on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.
Luxury Activities in Auckland
- See the city from spectacular heights in a helicopter or seaplane tour (more details on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Rejuvenate with an indulgent spa treatment
- Hit the water for a lunch cruise or on an America’s Cup yacht (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Try your luck at the vibrant SkyCity Casino
- Discover Auckland’s historical and cultural sites on a Maori culture tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Find out more about each experience in our 10 Luxury Activities in Auckland.
Luxury Accommodation in Auckland
Find out more about each accommodation in the 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Auckland.
Day 6 – Auckland to Rotorua (via Waitomo)
Travel time: 2h30mins (via Waitomo: 4 hours)
Leave the big city behind for a road trip down the North Island. While you could drive straight to Rotorua, stopping by the picturesque Hamilton Gardens (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor), we recommend taking a wee bit of a detour to Waitomo…
Waitomo is the location of New Zealand’s most famous glowworm caves, a subterranean underworld with magnificent limestone formations teeming with glistening glowworms. There are many ways to experience the caves, from private caving tours to boat tours. Compare your options in the 8 Best Waitomo Cave Tours and the 9 Luxury Activities in Waitomo.
Luxury Activities in Waitomo
- Delve on an exclusive private tour of Waitomo’s caves with Glowing Adventures (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Abseil, float and scramble through the caves with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Hike the uncrowded trails of the Waitomo Great Walk
- Relax with a spa treatment at Waitomo Adventures
- Fish for rainbow and brown trout with Waitomo Boutique Lodge.
For elaboration on each experience and more, see the 9 Luxury Activities in Waitomo.
Your final stop today is Rotorua, which we will get into more in tomorrow’s listing. For now, check-in at one of the premium accommodations in Rotorua.
Luxury Accommodation in Rotorua
- Prince’s Gate Hotel
- Regent of Rotorua
- Rydges Rotorua
- Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua
- Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
For elaboration on our top recommendations, browse the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Rotorua.
Day 7 – Explore Rotorua
You have the entire day to explore Rotorua, its geothermal wonders and immersive Maori culture. Fly onto one of the nearby volcanoes on a unique helicopter tour with Volcanic Air (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook) or gain a greater understanding of the New Zealand culture on a private Maori tour with Kahukiwi Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
After the day’s adventure, retreat to your accommodation or book a table to do some fine dining, New Zealand style, at Mokoia Restaurant (at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort) or Regent Room (at the Regent of Rotorua).
Luxury Activities in Rotorua
- Visit Rotorua’s geothermal and volcanic highlights with Elite Adventures Rotorua Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Fly and land on the Mt Tarawera volcano with Volcanic Air (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Enjoy an authentic Maori tour with Kahukiwi Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Drive the 4WD challenges at Off Road NZ (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See one of the most stunning and off-the-beaten-track forests with Foris Eco-Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For more details on each experience, as well as other ideas, check out the 10 Luxury Activities in Rotorua.
Day 8 – Rotorua to Taupo
Travel time: 1 hour
While it is only a short journey from Rotorua to Taupo, it’s worth breaking it up by exploring the lunar landscape of Orakei Korako. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Afterwards, your final destination is Taupo on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake. Relax your road trip aches in one of the town’s premium hot pool complexes or check out the town’s eclectic dining scene, where we list recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Taupo. You’ll have time to do some more meaty activities tomorrow. For now, indulge in a couple of nights at Taupo’s most lavish accommodations.
Luxury Accommodation in Taupo
- Huka Lodge
- Hilton Lake Taupo
- The Cove
- The Reef Resort – Heritage Collection
- Millennium Hotel Lake Taupo
For elaboration on our top recommendations, see the 11 Best Luxury Accommodations in Taupo.
Day 9 – Explore Taupo
There are countless ways to experience Taupo, so you’re sure to find something to suit your style. It could be relaxing on a private fishing charter catching rainbow trout or jumping out of a perfectly good plane in an adrenaline-fuelled skydive (find out more about the latter on Viator and Tripadvisor). If neither suits, then there’s a lot more on offer as shown in the list below.
Luxury Activities in Taupo
- Ride the Great Lake Trails on a personalised tour (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook)
- Indulge in the mineral hot pools and spa treatments of Taupo’s premium hot pool complexes (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See the lake and volcanoes from above on a scenic flight
- Hit the ski slopes of Mt Ruapehu
- Play golf on some of New Zealand’s most prestigious golf courses.
For more information on each experience and more, be sure to check out the 10 Luxury Activities in Taupo.
Day 10 – Taupo to Napier
Travel time: 1h50mins
It’s time to travel over the hill to Napier and the Hawke’s Bay region, famous for its unusual art deco architecture and for being New Zealand’s oldest wine region. Leave yourself enough time in the day to jump on a premium wine tour, visiting the region’s oldest wineries. Check out the tour with Bay Tours and Charters on Viator and Tripadvisor or Vines and Views Tours, also on Viator and Tripadvisor.
For those who prefer to connect with nature, a fantastic experience is witnessing New Zealand’s largest mainland gannet colony and the dramatic cliff formations of Cape Kidnappers. Join Gannet Safaris Overland for a private 4WD tour to this hard-to-reach site. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Luxury Activities in Napier
- Tour Napier in a vintage vehicle (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take a private art deco tour with the Art Deco Trust (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Get the real Maori experience with Waimarama Maori Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See New Zealand’s largest mainland gannet colony with Gannet Safaris Overland (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do raft fishing on the Mohaka River with Raft Fish NZ (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Find out more about each experience and its location in the 10 Luxury Activities in Napier.
Luxury Accommodation in Napier
- Scenic Hotel Te Pania
- The County Hotel
- Art Deco Masonic Hotel
- The Dome
- Kalldeen Luxury Accommodation
For more information on our top recommendations, see the 8 Best Luxury Accommodations in Napier.
Day 11 – Napier to Palmerston North
Travel time: 2h20mins
Your North Island journey continues today with a drive down the Hawke’s Bay region through the Manawatu Gorge complete with stunning walks through lush native forest. The main hub of the area is Palmerston North, which is nearby some exciting experiences, such as horse trekking in the Ruahine Ranges and kite landboarding at Foxton Beach.
Luxury Activities in Palmerston North
- Experience sublime scenery on a horse trek at Makoura Lodge
- Tee off at Palmerston North’s premium golf courses
- Do some boutique shopping
- Tackle unique beach sports at Foxton Beach
- Indulge in a luxury spa day.
For elaboration on each experience and more, see the 6 Luxury Activities in Palmerston North.
Luxury Accommodation in Palmerston North
- Distinction Palmerston North Hotel
- Copthorne Hotel Palmerston North
- Quest Palmerston North
- Distinction Coachman Hotel
- Hiwinui Country Estate
For more information on our top picks, take a look at the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Palmerston North.
Day 12 – Palmerston North to Wellington
Travel time: 2 hours
Today’s destination is New Zealand’s coolest little capital, the city of Wellington. There’s something for just about any city-lover here, from the renowned Te Papa Museum and its guided tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) to its whisky bar and craft brewery scene. On the other hand, those who prefer the wilderness will certainly get a sense of it at the Zealandia Ecosanctuary and its special night tours to see kiwi birds. Check out Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook to find out more about these night tours.
We’ll go through some more things to do in tomorrow’s listing. In the meantime, enjoy a night in the city with one of these premium stays…
Luxury Accommodation in Wellington
- InterContinental Wellington
- Rydges Wellington
- QT Wellington
- Copthorne Hotel Wellington
- James Cook Hotel
Find out more about each accommodation in our 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Wellington.
Day 13 – Explore Wellington
Explore the city of Wellington along with its designer boutiques and trendy bars. If you want to get away from it all or see it from a new angle, however, Wellington Helicopters can help with their deluxe tours. Fly to the Whaekauhau Country Estate set among lush countryside and rolling hills where you’ll indulge in a five-course gourmet lunch. Alternatively, explore the outskirts of Wellington, including its seal colonies, the Cook Strait and the Karori Rock Lighthouse on the Wellington South Coast Discovery tour. Learn more about Wellington Helicopters on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.
If taking to the skies is not your vibe, then there are also the following experiences.
Luxury Activities in Wellington
- Play at one of Wellington’s prestigious golf courses
- Explore Wellington’s designer boutiques
- Join a wine tour of the Wairarapa wine region (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Try fine whisky at the city’s reputable whisky bars
- See Wellington from a helicopter tour (on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook).
Find out more about each experience and much more in the 10 Luxury Activities in Wellington.
Day 14 – Wellington to Picton
Travel time: 3 hours ferry
Enjoy a scenic journey across the Cook Strait through Wellington Harbour to the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Revel in the sounds landscape while looking out for dolphins while on one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys. Make your trip extra special by booking into one of the adults-only lounges with Interislander with food and drink included. Book tickets on Direct Ferries, Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.
We don’t recommend that you leave your arrival town on the South Island just yet, as there’s more to explore in the Marlborough Sounds. In fact, the sounds are home to some of the most prestigious resorts in New Zealand, giving you a fabulous holiday away from your, well, holiday.
Luxury Accommodation in Picton
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 6 Best Luxury Accommodations in Picton.
Day 15 – Explore Picton and the Marlborough Sounds
The sparkling waters of the Marlborough Sounds are ever enticing from the trails of the renowned Queen Charlotte Track or a seafood cruise with the Marlborough Tour Company (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). However, if you need a reason to travel inland, we’ll give you one: the Marlborough wine region. Marlborough is the largest wine region in New Zealand, notorious for its Sauvignon Blanc that can be sipped in exorbitance on a private wine tour with Hop n Grape Wine Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
But if none of those excites you, how about delving into our list of other premium activities in Picton and the Marlborough region?
Luxury Activities in Picton
- Hike the Queen Charlotte Track
- Enjoy a private Marlborough region wine tour (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take to the skies in a scenic flight over Marlborough
- Indulge in a relaxing spa treatment at the Bay of Many Coves
- Sail the Marlborough Sounds.
For more details on each experience and others, see our 8 Luxury Activities in Picton.
Day 16 – Picton to Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park
Travel time: 1h50mins to Nelson then 55 minutes to the Abel Tasman National Park
Leave the Marlborough Sounds behind for New Zealand’s sunniest city, Nelson. There are two routes to get there from Picton, either via Blenheim where you can visit wineries if you haven’t done so yet or the winding scenic route via Queen Charlotte Drive. Both have the same driving time.
You may want to base yourself in the city of Nelson, so you’re close to various eateries, wineries and have a wider selection of accommodation. Alternatively, it’s another 55 minutes to the Abel Tasman National Park where most Abel Tasman tours depart.
You have more time to explore tomorrow. For now, enjoy the luxury of your chosen accommodation.
Luxury Accommodation in Nelson
- Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco
- Rutherford Hotel
- Cable Bay Nest
- Kina Beach Vineyard Cottages
- The Trailways Hotel Nelson
For more details on our top recommendations, browse the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Nelson.
Day 17 – Explore the Abel Tasman National Park
You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered onto a tropical island when you put your feet in the golden sands of the Abel Tasman National Park. Admire its beauty from the air on helicopter and plane charters or get a little closer to the action by sailing on a catamaran yacht. You could even take a timeout from this itinerary with a three-day sailing holiday – learn more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Luxury Activities in Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park
- Explore Nelson Tasman by helicopter (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take a scenic flight with Golden Bay Air (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a day tour or liveaboard holiday with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Hire a private charter with Abel Tasman Charters – Day Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a small-group or private tour of Abel Tasman or Golden Bay with Wine, Art & Wilderness (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For the finer details on each experience and others, take a look at the 8 Luxury Activities in Nelson.
Day 18 – Nelson to Kaikoura
Travel time: 3h25mins
You have yet another chance to explore the Marlborough wine region today as you leave Nelson for the South Island east coast. Today’s final destination is Kaikoura, which is famous for its abundance of year-round marine wildlife.
Mark your arrival with a mandatory meal of crayfish in New Zealand’s seafood capital. We have recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Kaikoura. Then unwind at your luxury lodge, hotel or boutique bed & breakfast.
Luxury Accommodation in Kaikoura
- The Hamptons
- The Fairways at Ocean Ridge
- Kaikoura Quality Suites
- Inn the Bay Bed & Breakfast
- Koura Bay Golf Resort
Find out more about each accommodation in our 8 Best Luxury Accommodations in Kaikoura.
Day 19 – Explore Kaikoura
A must-do is watching Kaikoura’s magnificent sperm whales and playful dusky dolphins. Experience this from a unique perspective on a scenic whale-watching flight. Tours are available with Wings Over Whales (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). Alternatively, enjoy the manoeuvrability of flying over the whales by helicopter with South Pacific Helicopters (on Viator and Tripadvisor). The latter also offers scenic flights with helicopter landings at remote alpine lakes. Check out South Pacific Helicopters’ offerings on Viator and Tripadvisor.
There are plenty of reasons to keep your feet firmly on the ground too between the private multi-day hike of the Kaikoura Coast Track to the scenic fairways of the Kaikoura Golf Course.
Luxury Activities in Kaikoura
- Fly over the whales and dolphins on a scenic plane or helicopter flight (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Land in the majestic Kaikoura Mountains via a helicopter tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Sample fresh crayfish at one of the restaurants
- Walk the private Kaikoura Coast Track
- Play golf on the Kaikoura Golf Course.
For more information on these luxury activities, check out the 6 Luxury Activities in Kaikoura.
Day 20 – Kaikoura to Christchurch
Travel time: 2h25mins
Head south to the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch. You could visit the wineries of the Waipara Valley independently or wait until you reach Christchurch for a small-group tour (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Alternatively, take a one-hour detour to Hanmer Springs for the alpine resort town’s magnificent hot springs complex, as well as any of the 10 Luxury Activities in Hanmer Springs.
If you head straight to Christchurch, however, you’ll have more time to hop onto a vintage VW Combi tour of the city (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Whatever you decide to do throughout the day, this evening can be spent indulging in a four-course meal onboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday).
Return your rental vehicle to the Christchurch depot today, because tomorrow you are taking the train to the West Coast.
Luxury Accommodation in Christchurch
- Heritage Christchurch
- Parkview on Hagley
- Hackthorne Gardens Luxury Accommodation
- Whitewood Suites Inner City Luxury Apartments
- Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, a DoubleTree by Hilton
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Christchurch.
Day 21 – Christchurch to Greymouth
Travel time: 4 hours train
This morning, jump onboard the TranzAlpine for one of the world’s most scenic railway journeys. Starting from the Christchurch Railway Station, the journey with “Scenic Plus Class” carriages featuring panoramic windows takes you through the lush Canterbury Plains to the mountainous wilderness of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Check out tickets on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.
Once you arrive in Greymouth, you’ll be able to pick up a new rental vehicle and head to your chosen accommodation. This afternoon, you will have time to take a swing at one of the local golf courses, do some boutique shopping or take a guided tour to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Luxury Activities in Greymouth
- See the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, Hokitika Gorge or other highlights with Explore West Coast (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail
- Play a round at one of the local golf courses
- Fly and land in the majestic Southern Alps on a helicopter tour
- Do some boutique shopping and gallery browsing in town.
For more details on each experience, see the 8 Luxury Activities in Greymouth.
Luxury Accommodation in Greymouth
Find out more about each accommodation in the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Greymouth.
Day 22 – Greymouth to Franz Josef Glacier
Travel time: 2h10mins
If the weather is favourable but forecast to be wet for the next couple of days, drive straight to Franz Josef so you don’t miss out on their helicopter and/or glacier hiking experiences. Otherwise, take our time on the way down to Franz Josef, perhaps to admire the vibrant blue pools of Hokitika Gorge or to experience the New Zealand rainforest from a different perspective on the West Coast Treetop Walk (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
We’ll talk more about what to do in Franz Josef tomorrow. For now, you have some fabulous stays to choose from.
Luxury Accommodation in Franz Josef
- Te Waonui Forest Retreat
- Franz Josef Oasis
- Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
- Holly Homestead
- Glenfern Villas
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Franz Josef.
Day 23 – Explore Franz Josef
Most travellers visit Franz Josef to set foot on a glacier. One of the most accessible and private options is a scenic helicopter flight complete with a snow landing, such as with HeliServices.NZ (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). Alternatively, join a group tour to do a heli-hike on the glacier with Franz Josef Glacier Guides and The Helicopter Line (on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday).
If you catch yourself in Franz Josef in bad weather, however, you can always soak the disappointment away at the Glacier Hot Pools (more info on Viator or Tripadvisor) or be pampered at the Amaia Luxury Spa of the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier.
Luxury Activities in Franz Josef
- Hike on the ice of the Franz Josef Glacier with Franz Josef Glacier Guides and The Helicopter Line (find out more on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday)
- Catch salmon or brown trout at Lake Mapourika with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Do one of New Zealand’s most scenic skydives with Skydive Franz Josef & Fox Glacier (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Indulge in a spa treatment at Amaia Luxury Spa
- Be treated to degustation dining amidst the rainforest at Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
For more details on each experience and more, see our 8 Luxury Activities in Franz Josef.
Day 24 – Franz Josef to Wanaka
Travel time: 3h40mins
If you didn’t get the chance to fly over the glacier yesterday, today might be your chance. Otherwise, pray that the weather will change once you arrive in Haast where the tiny town has its own array of helicopter and fixed-wing excursions, as listed in the 7 Luxury Activities in Haast. Otherwise, cruising down the Waiatoto River into the remote Mt Aspiring National Park is a fantastic rainy day activity thanks to the all-weather jet boat design. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Down the Haast Pass, you have an array of short walks to stunning waterfalls and blue pools to enjoy, as listed on the Department of Conservation website.
Because today was a long drive with plenty of action along the way, we’ll give you some things to do in Wanaka tomorrow… For now, fall onto your bed at your luxury apartment, lodge or resort.
Luxury Accommodation in Wanaka
For more information about each accommodation, see the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Wanaka.
Day 25 – Wanaka to Queenstown
Travel time: 1h5mins
Before you make for Queenstown today, see if there’s anything else you want to do in Wanaka other than gaze upon its majestic lake and mountain scenery.
Luxury Activities in Wanaka
- See Milford Sound in style via a scenic flight (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Gallop through the stunning Cardrona Valley on horseback (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Enjoy Wanaka’s most exclusive picnic spot accessed via 4WD (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Land on a glacier by helicopter (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Try out paragliding to experience the scenery in a unique way (on Viator or Tripadvisor).
Find out more about each experience and much more in the 10 Luxury Activities in Wanaka.
Then, enjoy a scenic drive over the Crown Range and the Cardrona Valley to the “Adrenaline Capital of New Zealand”, Queenstown. You have plenty of time to experience its tours in the upcoming days. For now, you might like to indulge in its restaurants with million-dollar views. Check out dining recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Queenstown.
Luxury Accommodation in Queenstown
- Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
- The Rees Hotel
- Element Escapes Apartments
- Nugget Point
- Heritage Queenstown
Find out more about each premium accommodation in our 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Queenstown.
Day 26 – Explore Queenstown
Adrenaline, food, wine, golf, scenery, spas: whatever your vibe is, Queenstown is likely to have it. In summer, tee off at some of New Zealand’s most prestigious golf courses, while winter is when the mountains beckon for uncrowded heli-skiing (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Explore the stunning surrounding of Queenstown on an exclusive private tour with Off Road 4X4 Queenstown (on Viator and Tripadvisor). The list goes on between the 10 Luxury Activities in Queenstown and the 20 Things to Do in Queenstown.
Luxury Activities in Queenstown
- Take a private 4WD excursion to Skippers Canyon (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Play golf at Queenstown’s prestigious courses
- Escape the crowds with heli-skiing (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or at Queenstown’s private ski field
- Explore the Great Walks with an expert guide on a guided hike (on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a wine and foodie tour (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook).
For more information on each experience, check out 10 Luxury Activities in Queenstown.
Day 27 – Explore More of Queenstown or Fly to Milford Sound
You have plenty of time to do the Queenstown experience you might have missed so far. On the other hand, today could be the day that you discover the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.
By far the most luxurious way to experience Milford Sound is by plane or helicopter. What usually takes around four hours to drive to by car or bus takes just 35 minutes by plane, while incorporating views of magnificent glacier-carved valleys, mountains, alpine lakes and vast forest. Once you arrive in Milford Sound, you can enjoy one of the two-hour cruises through the fiord, allowing you to experience the Fiordland National Park in two of the best ways. Compare flights and experiences with our 5 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown.
Day 28 – Queenstown to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Travel time: 3h10mins
You have a long yet stunning journey ahead of you today, starting with the dramatic river scenery of Kawarau Gorge on your way to Cromwell. Do a wine tasting in Cromwell before heading north through what is deemed the most beautiful road in New Zealand, Lindis Pass. You’ll come out the other side in Omarama where a highlight includes soaking in the tubs of Hot Tubs Omarama.
The final stint to Aoraki Mt Cook is through the high country village of Twizel where you can stop by for a skydive with Skydive Mt. Cook (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Follow the vibrant blue waters of Lake Pukaki to Aoraki Mt Cook Village or to one of the luxury lodges around the lake. Devour Kiwi cuisine to the views of New Zealand’s highest mountains before calling it a night at your accommodation.
Luxury Accommodation in Mt Cook
For more details on each stay, take a look at the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Mt Cook.
Day 29 – Explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
This is your last day in the mountainous regions of the South Island so make the most of it. Take to the skies and land on a glacier in a ski plane – one of the only places in the world where you can have this experience. Find out more on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook. If you missed out on a glacier heli-hike in Franz Josef, then you get another chance here in Mt Cook on New Zealand’s longest glacier. Check out Viator and Tripadvisor for more details on this tour.
Luxury Activities in Mt Cook
- Land on the Tasman Glacier in a ski plane (more details on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook)
- Do a heli-hike on New Zealand’s longest glacier (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Treat yourself to a spa day
- Do a guided hike in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
- Have a private picnic experience amongst the peak with Inflite Experiences.
For more details on each experience and more, see the 10 Luxury Activities in Mt Cook.
Day 30 – Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to Christchurch Airport
Travel time: 4 hours
Your last day in New Zealand ends with one last Kiwi road trip; this time between Aoraki Mt Cook and Christchurch. Your first stop will be the lakeshores of Lake Tekapo for more mesmerising lake and mountain landscapes. Pick up souvenirs at the boutiques in Fairlie and, if you have time, do a horse trek in the Peel Forest just outside of Geraldine. The final leg of your journey is through the Canterbury Plains.
Remember to give yourself enough time to return your rental vehicle at Christchurch Airport. There are connecting flights from Christchurch Airport to Auckland Airport, as well as international flights out of Christchurch.
After one month in New Zealand travelling in luxury, it’s time to say herae rā and goodbye!
More About a New Zealand Luxury Itinerary for One Month / 30 Days
That’s the end of our New Zealand luxury itinerary for 30 days. If this itinerary didn’t take you fancy, see our alternative 30-day itineraries:
- New Zealand in a Month: Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand Family Itinerary: One Month / 30 Days
- New Zealand Honeymoon Itinerary: One Month / 30 Days
- New Zealand Foodie Itinerary: One Month / 30 Days
- New Zealand Budget Itinerary: One Month / 30 Days
- How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary