15 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

15 days in New Zealand & Cook Islands Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Pacific trip planner

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Rotorua, New Zealand
— 4 nights
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Avarua, Cook Islands
— 1 night
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Aitutaki, Cook Islands
— 2 nights
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Queenstown, New Zealand
— 4 nights
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Rotorua, New Zealand

— 4 nights

Sulphur City

Surrounded by lakes and featuring impressive areas of geothermal landscape, the city of Rotorua offers an otherwordly landscape and a welcoming, peaceful environment, with the culture of the native Maori people very much in the foreground.
Escape the urban bustle at Huka Falls Walkway and Zipline. Change things up with these side-trips from Rotorua: Taupo (Kinloch Beach & 9 Hole Golf Course) and Waitomo Caves (Caveworld, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, &more). Next up on the itinerary: contemplate the geological forces at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, identify plant and animal life at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, and whizz through the canopy at Redwoods Treewalk.

To see other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Rotorua trip itinerary builder website.

Singapore, Singapore to Rotorua is an approximately 16-hour flight. The time zone changes from Singapore Standard Time (SGT) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 4 hour difference. Plan for much colder temperatures traveling from Singapore in July, with highs in Rotorua at 17°C and lows at 7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to travel to Avarua.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jul 1 — 6:

Avarua, Cook Islands

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Mon): indulge your thirst for a good beer at Matutu Brewery, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Titikaveka Beach, and then kick back and relax at Muri Lagoon. On the 7th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Black Rock Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Aroa Beach, then stop by Tivaevae Collectables, and finally take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Avarua trip maker site.

Getting from Rotorua to Avarua by flight takes about 10 hours. The time zone changes from New Zealand Standard Time to Cook Islands Standard Time, which is usually a -22 hour difference. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Rotorua in July: highs in Avarua hover around 29°C, while lows dip to 23°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can travel to Aitutaki.

Things to do in Avarua

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jul 5 — 7:

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

— 2 nights
Aitutaki's triangular barrier reef surrounds a turquoise lagoon of crystal clear water.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at O'otu Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Aitutaki Lagoon, then stop by T & S Artworx, and finally see what you can catch with a fishing tour. Keep things going the next day: get outside with Akaiami, step off the mainland to explore One Foot Island, and then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Maungapu.

For photos, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Aitutaki day trip planning app.

You can fly from Avarua to Aitutaki in 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Aitutaki

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Nature
Find places to stay Jul 7 — 9:

Queenstown, New Zealand

— 4 nights

Shallow Bay

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Visiting The Remarkables Ski Area and Coronet Peak will get you outdoors. Explore Queenstown's surroundings by going to Milford Sound (in Te Anau) and Milford Foreshore Walk (in Milford). Next up on the itinerary: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, do a tasting at Chard Farm Winery, play a few rounds at Queenstown Golf Club, and identify plant and animal life at Kiwi Birdlife Park.

To see other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Queenstown holiday maker.

You can fly from Aitutaki to Queenstown in 13 hours. The time zone changes from Cook Islands Standard Time (CKT) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 22 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 15th (Wed) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Winter Sports

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jul 10 — 15:

New Zealand travel guide

4.5
Specialty Museums · Hiking Trails · Landmarks
Land of the Long White Cloud
Far-flung New Zealand has become known for its astounding topography, singular biodiversity, varied climate, and for marrying native Maori and post-colonial European cultures on its two main islands and the multitude of smaller landmasses dotted around them. Free-spirited New Zealanders cultivate a love of sports, sustainability, and the outdoors. Far from other landmasses, the islands existed for millions of years before being inhabited by humans, so an abundance of species have come to thrive in the thick, wild rainforest, vast and rugged backland, and extensive surrounding marine areas. While much of New Zealand tourism centers around adventures through this spectacular scenery, take time to explore the nation's rich cultural heritage as well. The traditions and history of the Maoris, and the industry and internationalism of the descendents of the first European settlers endure in fascinating attractions, ranging from museums, to farms, to places of worship.

Cook Islands travel guide

4.2
Beaches · Concerts & Shows · Scuba & Snorkeling
Scattered across a 2,200,000 sq km (849,425 sq mi) zone in the vast Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, the Cook Islands are about as remote a holiday destination as you will find. With their pristine white-sand beaches, tranquil azure lagoons, lush tropical jungles, and teeming coral reefs, the 15 islands seem plucked from a picture postcard of paradise. Relaxation comes first and foremost, for locals as much as tourists, and you will find the laid-back lifestyle of the Cook Islanders as infectious as their warm smiles. As tempting (and fulfilling) as it might be to spend all day swinging lazily in a hammock strung between shady palm trees, plenty of adventures await exploring the idyllic scenery overland, on the waves, and undersea.