14-Day Luxury Itinerary for New Zealand
Drive, fly, drink, skydive, hike, taste, treat and pamper your way through the North Island and South Island with this New Zealand luxury itinerary for two weeks. If you have the luxury to splurge on a treat-yourself vacation but don’t have the luxury of time, then this 14-day luxury New Zealand itinerary will help you plan an eventful trip across both of the country’s main islands. However, we strongly recommend that you use your two weeks to explore just one of the main islands rather than both. That way, you can incorporate plenty of relaxation into your luxury New Zealand vacation too.
See our North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days and South Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days for alternative itineraries.
How to Get Around New Zealand in Two Weeks
The below luxury itinerary has been specially designed to be self-driven. It also incorporates a few other transport methods such as a train journey and connecting flights. Transport to consider using for this two-week luxury itinerary for New Zealand includes:
- Rental car or campervan – Renting a car or a motorhome is the easiest way to achieve this itinerary. Use a rental company that has depots in Auckland and Wellington, then Greymouth and Christchurch, as you will be swapping rental vehicles between the TranzAlpine train journey. Start your research using The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand.
- Train – This itinerary includes a one-way train journey on the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth. Find out more on the Train Network in New Zealand.
- Domestic flights – The below itinerary begins in Auckland and ends in Queenstown. Both cities have international airports and are well connected with domestic flights. If you’re leaving from Auckland, you will need to consider booking flight connections.
- Escorted tours – If driving and/or 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 and APT offer 10-14-day tours of both islands of New Zealand with accommodation, some meals and some activities included. Note that they follow their own set itinerary; not the one listed below. Find out more in The Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand.
Finally, if you’re new to the whole road-tripping thing, make sure it runs smoothly by following the 10 Ways to Relax on a Road Trip.
Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Rotorua (via Waitomo)
Travel time: 2h30mins (via Waitomo: 4 hours)
Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand! With only two weeks to explore both islands, you, unfortunately, don’t have much time to relax. Pick up your rental vehicle and leave Auckland for Rotorua. While you could drive straight to Rotorua and stop by the picturesque Hamilton Gardens (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor), we recommend taking a wee bit of a detour to Waitomo… This is a road trip, after all!
Waitomo is home to New Zealand’s most famous glowworm caves, a subterranean wonderland with magnificent limestone formations decorated with 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 private Waitomo Great Walk
- Indulge in 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 has a wealth of exciting experiences that we’ll get into tomorrow. For now, check-in at one of the geothermal city’s premium accommodations.
Luxury Accommodation in Rotorua
- Prince’s Gate Hotel
- Regent of Rotorua
- Rydges Rotorua
- Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua
- Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
Browse the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Rotorua for elaboration on our top recommendations.
Day 2 – Explore Rotorua
You have the entire day to explore Rotorua along with 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 insight into the Maori culture of New Zealand on a private tour with Kahukiwi Experiences (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
After the day’s adventure, retreat to your accommodation or book a table at Mokoia Restaurant (at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort) or The Regent Room (at the Regent of Rotorua) for indigenous New Zealand cuisine.
Luxury Activities in Rotorua
- Visit Rotorua’s geothermal and volcanic highlights with Elite Adventures Rotorua Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Fly onto 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 3 – Rotorua to Taupo
Travel time: 1 hour
While it’s only a short journey from Rotorua to Taupo, break up the journey with a visit to the bubbling and colourful landscape of Orakei Korako. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
After exploring the geothermal wonderland, 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 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or check out the town’s eclectic dining scene. We list recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Taupo.
Luxury Activities in Taupo
- Cycle 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 DeBretts Spa Resort (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.
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 4 – Taupo to Napier
Travel time: 1h50mins
This morning, travel over the hill to Napier. The main hub of the Hawke’s Bay region, Napier is famous for being New Zealand’s oldest wine region, as well as for its art deco architecture.
Discover more about the Hawke’s Bay wine region by jumping on a premium wine tour with Bay Tours and Charters on Viator and Tripadvisor or Vines and Views Tours, also on Viator and Tripadvisor. We’ll go over more of Napier’s attractions tomorrow.
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 5 – Explore Napier
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.
Day 6 – Napier to Wellington
Travel time: 4h20mins
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. Stop by Ashhurst or Palmerston North for a road trip snack, where we list recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Palmerston North and The Foodie Guide to Palmerston North.
Finally, you’ll finish in 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 (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) to its whisky bar and craft brewery scene.
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 7 – Explore Wellington
Wellington offers an array of experiences, from movie set tours to golf courses and much more. 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.
Remember to return your rental vehicle in Wellington, as tomorrow you’ll be taking a flight to Christchurch.
Luxury Activities in Wellington
- See Wellington from a helicopter tour (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook)
- Play at one of Wellington’s prestigious golf courses
- Explore Wellington’s designer boutiques
- Join a wine tour of the Wairarapa wine region (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Try fine whisky at the city’s reputable whisky bars.
Find out more about each experience and much more in the 10 Luxury Activities in Wellington.
Day 8 – Wellington to Christchurch
Travel time: 1h5mins flight
With only two weeks in New Zealand, you’ll have to skip the top of the South Island and head straight to Christchurch. Take a flight from Wellington to Christchurch then take a taxi, airport transfer or shuttle to your accommodation. If your flight is in the morning, you’ll have time this afternoon to explore the South Island’s largest city. You could be touring the city in a vintage VW Combi (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or getting over your flight with a luxurious spa treatment.
Luxury Activities in Christchurch
- See the sights of Christchurch in a VW Combi (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Treat yourself to a Waipara wine tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Feast on a four-course dining experience on the historic Christchurch Tramway Restaurant (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday)
- Take a timeout with a luxury spa day
- Discover the fine dining scene in the city centre.
See the 10 Luxury Activities in Christchurch for elaboration on each experience.
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 9 – Christchurch to Greymouth
Travel time: 4 hours train
This morning, jump aboard the TranzAlpine for one of the world’s most scenic railway journeys. Starting from the Christchurch Railway Station, the journey featuring “Scenic Plus Class” carriages with panoramic windows takes you through the expansive Canterbury Plains to the mountainous wilderness of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Book 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. You will also have time to take a swing at one of the local golf courses, do some boutique shopping, or drive/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 on a guided experience with Explore West Coast (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Sample cycling on 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 10 – Greymouth to Franz Josef Glacier
Travel time: 2h10mins
If the weather is good but it is forecast to be wet for the next couple of days, drive straight to Franz Josef if you plan to do a helicopter flight. That way, you won’t miss out on these tours that get regularly cancelled. Otherwise, take your time on the way down to Franz Josef, perhaps to admire the vibrant blue pools of Hokitika Gorge or 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 accommodations 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 11 – Explore Franz Josef
Most travellers visit Franz Josef to set foot on the famous glacier itself. 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 explore the ice caves on a heli-hike with Franz Josef Glacier Guides and The Helicopter Line (on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday).
If you catch yourself in Franz Josef in bad weather, 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 the country’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 12 – Franz Josef to Queenstown
Travel time: 4h45mins
If you didn’t get the chance to fly over the glacier yesterday, try again this morning. 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. Learn more in the 7 Luxury Activities in Haast. Otherwise, cruising down the Waiatoto River into the unspoiled 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 independently, as listed on the Department of Conservation website.
Stop for dinner with glorious lake views in Wanaka, where we provide plenty of dining recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Wanaka and The Foodie Guide to 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.
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 13 – Explore Queenstown
Whatever your vibe is, Queenstown is likely to have it: adrenaline, food, wine, golf, scenery, spas… In summer, tee off at some of New Zealand’s most prestigious golf courses, while winter is when the mountains beckon for heli-skiing (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Explore the infamous Skippers Canyon road on an exclusive private tour with Off Road 4X4 Queenstown (on Viator and Tripadvisor). And, the list goes on between the 10 Luxury Activities in Queenstown and the 10 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 pristine courses
- Escape the crowds with heli-skiing (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- 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 the 10 Luxury Activities in Queenstown.
Day 14 – Explore More of Queenstown or Fly to Milford Sound
Book your flight out of Queenstown for the late afternoon or evening so that you have plenty of time to do more Queenstown experiences or take a scenic flight to Milford Sound and back.
What usually takes around four hours to drive to by car or bus takes just 35 minutes by plane to get to Milford Sound. What’s more, you’ll get outstanding views of 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, before returning to Queenstown Airport and connecting with your flight.
There are connecting flights from Queenstown Airport to Auckland and Christchurch. Queenstown also has connecting flights to Australia. Find out more in The Travellers’ Guide to New Zealand Airports.
Then, after two luxurious weeks, it’s goodbye to New Zealand!
More About a New Zealand Luxury Itinerary for Two Weeks / 14 Days
That’s the end of our New Zealand luxury itinerary for 14 days. If this itinerary didn’t take you fancy, see our alternative 14-day itineraries:
- New Zealand in Two Weeks: Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand Family Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days
- New Zealand in Two Weeks: Honeymoon Itinerary
- New Zealand Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days
- New Zealand Budget Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days
- The Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand
- How to Travel New Zealand in 10 Days
- How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary