Four-City Tour of New Zealand with Two Nights in Honolulu
New Zealand lies on the boundary between the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates. Interactions between these tectonic plates have created a number of volcanoes, hot springs, and other areas of geothermal activity throughout the country. On this self-guided tour, you’ll get a chance to visit several of New Zealand’s most popular geothermal destinations before spending two nights in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The trip includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) on Hawaiian Airlines, hotel accommodations, and a shared rental car in New Zealand. View the full itinerary.
Days 1–2: Board a morning flight in Los Angeles or San Francisco and fly to Auckland, New Zealand, with a connection in Honolulu. Spend one night at Copthorne Hotel Auckland City.
Days 3–4: Drive about 3 hours south to Rotorua, with two nights at the Copthorne Hotel Rotorua.
Geysers, steaming mud pools, and thermal springs can be found in the hills surrounding Rotorua. The region is also home to several large volcanoes, including Mount Tarawera, which you can tour by helicopter, four-wheel-drive vehicle, or mountain bike.
Days 5–6: Drive about 5 hours south to Wellington for two nights at the Kingsgate Hotel Wellington.
New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, has more bars, cafés, and restaurants per capita than New York—one of the reasons why Lonely Planet named it a top-10 city in 2011. For some of the best views of the city and its harbor, ride the Wellington Cable Car up to Kelburn Village.
Days 7–8: Drive about 4.5 hours north to Taupo, where you’ll spend one night at the Millennium Hotel and Resort Manuels Taupo. The following afternoon, return to Auckland, about 3 hours north of Taupo, and spend one more night at Copthorne Hotel Auckland City.
Taupo sits on the shores of Lake Taupo, the country’s largest lake. The lake was created nearly 2,000 years ago during a massive volcanic eruption that sent plumes of ash as far as Europe and China. Today, it’s a peaceful spot where you can parasail, kayak, and fly-fish for rainbow trout.
Auckland, often called the City of Sails, sits right on the Waitemata Harbour in northern New Zealand and has more boats per capita than any other city in the world. One of the best ways to see Auckland is from Waitemata Harbour; head to one of the city’s many docks to take a harbor tour or simply hop on a docile sea turtle. You can also visit the observation deck of the Auckland Sky Tower to get a 360-degree view of the city from more than 1,000 feet in the air.
Days 9–11: After spending the day exploring Auckland, you’ll return your rental car at the airport and board a flight to Honolulu, Hawaii in the evening. You’ll then spend two nights at the Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki hotel (or similar property). Hotel transfers are not included.
Just a few blocks from your Honolulu hotel is a 1.5-mile stretch of white sand and turquoise waters known as Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. Head to nearby Diamond Head State Monument to spend a few hours hiking around a 300,000-year-old volcanic crater that has stunning views of the city and the Pacific Ocean.