New Zealand

10 days New Zealand itinerary, without renting a car

(Last Updated On: 21/02/2023)

Visiting New Zealand wasn’t even my dream.

The country was so far away, so exotic and so incredibly beautiful that I figured it’s beyond my abilities and didn’t even think I can travel there.

Moreover, everyone kept telling me you need to have a car to travel around New Zealand – as a person who enjoys solo travels and doesn’t even have a driver’s license I felt this is not the destination for me.

But then my dear friends moved to New Zealand and I promised I will visit them.

Shortly after I found a really good deal on flights to Auckland and booked them right away.

I knew I need to visit my friends in Twizel but since I was about to travel to the other side of the world (literally!) I wanted to see as many New Zealand highlights as possible!

I spent long hours researching and finally managed to prepare the best New Zealand itinerary without the car.

I had only 10 days in the Kiwi land – not too much but I still managed to see the best of New Zealand!

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Wanaka

Here is my 10 days in New Zealand itinerary.

I don’t think I could do anything better – it was literally the best plan I could do in such a little time.

I managed to see some of the best places NZ has to offer, I could witness how diverse the country is and I could fall in love with its incredible nature.

Before I didn’t really believe that this is the most beautiful place on Earth, after my 10 days in New Zealand I’ve joined the crowd that thinks so!

I’m very well aware that 10 days in New Zealand is way too little. But that’s all I could afford with my days off from work.

I’m more than grateful that I could go there even for such a short time, I don’t know when I will have a chance to travel to the other side of the world again (especially that there are still so many places to see!)

So yes, it was crazy but definitely worth all the effort!

New Zealand essentials

Planning a trip to New Zealand? Here are the services I always use and personally recommend:

  • Accommodation: I always book a place to stay on
  • Tours: when I decide to go on a tour I either use Viator
  • To save money on exchange rates I’ve been using Revolut card for years now. Order your bank card here.
  • Get insured for your trip to New Zealand with SafetyWing

Day 0 Auckland -> Christchurch

I don’t really count that day as I arrived in Auckland in the early afternoon (around 2 pm) and had a domestic flight further to Christchurch around 7 pm.

I didn’t even leave the airport, I spent these hours sitting on the bench outside the terminal and catching some sun.

I’ve thought I will be exhausted after the long journey (I left Zagreb, Croatia on Sunday morning and arrived in NZ on Tuesday afternoon) but I think the adrenaline was buzzing in my blood as I was pinching myself I really am in New Zealand.

Already there I could experience how extremely friendly and hospitable Kiwi people are.

I seriously haven’t met that nice people anywhere, even in Iran that is known for the extreme hospitality!

After a quick chat during the flight from Auckland to Christchurch, I was already invited to a dinner by a fellow passenger!

As I learned over the next days this was no exception. People are really that nice there.

I arrived at my hostel in Christchurch late in the evening and I was hoping I will get some proper sleep. I did fall asleep right away only to wake 2 hours later at 1 am…

Jetlag is an evil thing and 11 hours difference is a lot!

Where I stayed: I’ve decided to stay at YMCA Christchurch mostly for its very central location, just few steps away from the Intercity Bus stop and near numerous attractions of Christchurch.

The hostel has the rating of 8.2/10 on Booking. The private room I got was big and very comfortable, with the bathroom just outside the door.

Everything was super clean and even if I stayed there only for a few hours it was a perfect place to relax after the long journey. Click here to check the current deals and opinions about YMCA Christchurch!

Other recommended places:

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Christchurch

New Zealand itinerary – Day 1 Christchurch -> Tekapo -> Twizel

That’s when I started properly my 10 days in New Zealand!

At 8:30 am I had the InterCity bus directly to Twizel.

The weather was rather gloomy so I didn’t really mind sleeping for half of the journey.

Before going to NZ I was trying to find how I can visit Tekapo, even for a day from Twizel, but nothing really seemed to work out.

And then, halfway through my journey on that day, I’ve learned that we will have a 50 minutes stop in Tekapo, enough to see the lakeshore and the famous Church of the Good Shepherd.

Of course, I could have spent more time in the town, walking along the Lake Tekapo and enjoying the nature around but Tekapo itself seemed to be a bit touristy and these 50 minutes I had to see most important bits of it were enough for me.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Tekapo

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Tekapo

40 minutes later I was already in Twizel, reunited with my friends.

The weather was still pretty terrible so we just spent the rest of the day catching up and it was pretty awesome.

Where I stayed: at my friends’ obviously but if I had to recommend a place to stay in Twizel it would be 34 Mackenzie Apartments which is in the very center of Twizel, next to where my friends used to live and has rating of 9.0/10 on Booking.

You can check the details and current deals here!

Another good options are Mountain Chalets Motel, next to the main road and with 8.5/10 rating on Booking and Mahina Cottage close to Lake Ruataniwha and with rating 9.7/10 on Booking.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary

Day 2 Twizel

I was still pretty exhausted with the jetlag (evil thing!) so I took things easy and spent a day in Twizel: walking around, drinking coffee in a local cafe and enjoying long conversations with my friend.

Once my friend had to go to work I went for a walk to a nearby Lake Ruataniwha which turned out to be just stunning!

Blue sky, green colors around and snow capped mountains are just the most beautiful combination!

The lake is some 5kms away from Twizel’s center and I was ready to walk back to the town but after literally one minute a friendly man stopped and asked if I need a ride – I couldn’t say no to such an offer!

Twizel turned out to be such a charming place!

Kind of reminded me of towns like Stars Hollow in “Gilmore Girls” with one main square and everything you need around it.

I admit I fell in love with the town a bit and I really think it’s a perfect base to see some of the most stunning places in New Zealand. It’s so much less touristy than Tekapo!

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Twizel

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Twizel

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Twizel

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Twizel

Day 3 Twizel – Mt Cook – Twizel

Being based in Twizel I was just a short ride away from Mt Cook and Hooker Valley – the most beautiful hike I’ve ever done!

I found one company that offers transfers from Twizel to Mt Cook village in the morning and back in the afternoon, giving you around 6 hours to enjoy the place – that’s enough to do an Mt Cook hike (it took me 4,5 hours but I was slow as I took so many pictures along the way).

The place was so beautiful it hurts, I felt like walking in the Photoshop for most of the day! This is definitely one of the most beautiful National Parks in New Zealand.

It was the most rewarding hike ever, the difficulty vs. views ratio is pretty good here!

I was tempted to squeeze in the Kia Point hike too but after returning from the Hooker Valley the jet lag kicked me big time and I was almost stand sleeping.

After returning to Twizel I did my best to stay up late-ish and enjoy the last evening with my friends but at 11 pm my body gave up and I fall dead asleep (and after the proper night’s sleep I was done with the jet lag for the rest of my trip).

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Mt Cook hike

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Mt Cook hike

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Mt Cook hike

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Mt Cook hike

Day 4 Twizel -> Queenstown

After a lazy morning and the last coffee in Twizel it was time for me to move on and see other amazing destinations in New Zealand.

I could have easily spent the whole 10 days in New Zealand in Twizel and the area only, I liked it there so much, but let’s face it – that would be just plain stupid of me.

I border the Intercity bus with mixed feelings – I was so sad to leave Twizel and my friends behind but at the same time I was excited about the next destination – Queenstown!

The city is known as New Zealand’s capital of adventure and adrenaline rush and attracts lots of tourists every single day.

I’m usually not a big fan of this kind of places but since I had a rather limited time in Queenstown I kind of enjoyed it!

As soon as I arrived and left my backpack in my hostel I headed to probably the biggest attraction of Queenstown – Skyline.

The gondola ride to the top takes few minutes only but the view from the upper station is spectacular!

Queenstown and the surrounding area is just stunning, no wonder it’s such a popular place!

The viewing platform might be busy as everyone wants to score the best picture so prepare yourself for that.

You should plan some extra time up there and instead of taking the next cable car down go for a walk around.

There are few walking paths marked, I randomly chose one and after a short walk up I could enjoy beautiful nature, amazing mountains and a complete silence with no one around (that was a nice change after the busy town).

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Queenstown

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Queenstown

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Queenstown

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Queenstown

You can easily spend a few solid hours just walking and hiking around but as it was already late afternoon I headed back to the town to enjoy the sunset at the Lake Wakatipu shore.

The place had a completely different vibe than the upper station of the Skyline.

It was busy and bustling with people. All the lakeshore restaurants, as well as the small beach, were full.

Everyone, including me, was there to admire the beautiful sunset and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

In Queenstown be sure to eat at Fergburger. The place is somehow iconic and even if the line is always long it’s definitely worth the wait!

Some even claim the best burgers in the world can be found here!

Where I stayed: at The Black Sheep Backpackers. I reserved a private cabin and it was small but cozy, good for one person.

The hostel was just a few minutes walk from the downtown and the lake shore, in the quiet area. It was good for socializing but also you could easily relax there.

The Booking rating is 7.5/10.

I’d avoid staying in the very downtown of Queenstown as the place is just madness.

Other recommended places:

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Queenstown

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Queenstown

Day 5 Queenstown -> Milford Sound -> Queenstown

I used Queenstown as a base to go for a day trip to Milford Sound.

There are numerous companies that offer this tour but since I was already familiar and satisfied with Intercity services I’ve decided to go with them. And it was a good day!

It’s quite a journey to get from Queenstown to Milford Sound (around 300kms one way) and the whole tour lasts around 12 hours but it’s definitely worth all the effort!

On the way to Milford Sound there are few scenic stops: in Te Anau, at Mirror Lakes plus picture-perfect field just before them and at The Chasm waterfall.

It’s fascinating how, as soon as we were getting closer to Milford Sound and were about to cross the mountains via Homer Tunnel, the weather changed drastically.

From the beautiful sunny day (that I was really hoping for) we got into cold, grey and windy weather.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound tour

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound tour

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound tour

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound tour

The highlight of the day was the Milford Sound cruise.

Despite the freezing wind, I did stay on the top deck for the whole journey (including a really big close-up to the waterfall that left me soaking wet but at least it was fun) as the place was too stunning to miss it!

But I must admit I was slightly disappointed.

Many people claim Milford Sound to be the most beautiful place in New Zealand and I guess I had my expectations too high.

Could be the so-so weather or my new love for Mt. Cook (seriously, the most breathtaking and stunning place I’ve ever seen!) but Milford Sound didn’t blow me away all that much.

I still loved it though! The scenery and nature around were incredible and I definitely can see why so many people fall for this place!

Once I was back in Queenstown I went to the lakeshore again to enjoy another sunset in this beautiful location.

Click here to read more about the Milford Sound tour departing from Queenstown.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Milford Sound

Day 6 Queenstown -> Wanaka

I left Queenstown early in the morning and went to Wanaka. It’s a short ride and already at 10 am, I was there.

I had only this one full day in Wanaka but since I was limited transport-wise I thought I will focus only on the town, walk around the Lake, admire the famous That Wanaka Tree and maybe go to the Mt Iron – the most accessible track in Wanaka.

My dream was, of course, Roys Peak as pictures from it were the main reason why I’ve decided to include Wanaka in my New Zealand itinerary.

Realistically speaking I knew I won’t make it there – not only you need to get somehow to the beginning of the trail but also my shape isn’t the best (still I did surprisingly good in NZ) and this hike is rather challenging.

But still, deep down I really regretted I couldn’t make it there.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Wanaka

I arrived to my guest house still before the noon, just wanting to leave my backpack before exploring the town.

The lovely owner asked me about my plans and very quickly suggested I shouldn’t waste my time on Mt. Iron but go to Diamond Lake instead.

And since I didn’t have a car she offered her son would take me there, I would just have to hitch-hike back.

I couldn’t have missed such an opportunity so shortly after I was already on the trail, hiking to Diamon Lake and afterward to the viewpoint.

It wasn’t the easiest hike for my poor shape but also not too difficult and the views were so rewarding!

I was tempted to go all the way to Rocky Mountain but what I could see from the viewpoint was already stunning and I still wanted to have some time to enjoy Wanaka itself.

Once I was back in the parking lot I didn’t have any problems to find the ride back to the town, the first people I asked – a lovely Belgian couple – took me there even if I had to lie down on the bed in the back of the car for all the way to the town.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Wanaka

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Wanaka

I thought that after Diamon Lake and Rocky Mountain track the views can’t get any better but the lakeshore in Wanaka is pretty amazing and once the sun was out the area looked gorgeous!

I walked a bit around and eventually was back (for the third time in that day) at That Wanaka Tree – a perfect ending of my perfect day in Wanaka!

Where I stayed: at Altamont Lodge and I can’t recommend it enough!

The place is some 10 minutes walking from That Wanaka Tree, offers spacious rooms, big kitchen and is perfect to relax. It has the rating of 9.1/10 on Booking.

But the biggest asset of this place are amazing owners who really have made my stay in Wanaka so much better than I expected!

Click here to check the current rates and opinions about Altamont Lodge.

Other recommended accommodation:

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Wanaka

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Wanaka

Day 7 Wanaka -> Fox Glacier

After a lazy morning my Intercity bus took me to Fox Glacier, with two stops (next to the waterfall and for lunch in another beautiful location) along the way.

I arrived at my destination around 3 in the afternoon and didn’t really know what to do.

First of all I can’t explain why I chose Fox Glacier and not Franz Josef (if you know me well you would now I so should go to the second one, just for its name, honoring the Austrian emperor who basically created the Central Europe legacy I adore so very much), it seemed like in both towns the glaciers are rather far away and not reachable if you have limited time and no transportation options.

But I had to choose one place to break the journey.

Later on, in Queenstown, I learned from the American couple I met that in Fox Glacier there is a picture-perfect spot – Lake Matheson – with a beautiful reflection of the mountains and the glacier. That was my option for the day.

But then again I learned that it’s actually only some 6kms to get to the glacier viewpoint so suddenly I had to decide what to do in Fox Glacier in my very limited time!

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Fox Glacier

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Fox Glacier

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Fox Glacier

“Fortunately” on that day the weather has decided for me as it was rather poor and you barely could see the mountains.

As soon as I arrived to the hostel and checked in I left to the glacier!

It was a pleasant walk as big part of it was through the forest (at that point I was already in love with New Zealand’s forests as they are so different from what I know in Europe) and then I could see my destination – it literally took my breath away (or maybe it was because I was walking fast?)!

From the parking lot, it was some 1km walk to the viewpoint – the trail was going through was used to be (and sometimes still is) riverbed and I must say it felt weird to walk there.

Eventually, after really steep last meters, I got to the viewpoint and oh wow!

Even if I barely could see the mountains and even if everything was so grey the place still impressed me, a lot.

I think that’s the closest I’ve ever been to the glacier and it was really unforgettable, especially the moment when I was there all alone, only with the amazing nature around me.

I was ready to walk back to the town and the hostel but shortly after leaving the parking lot the car has stopped next to me and a fellow tourist, from the US, offered me a ride – I really couldn’t say no!

Where I stayed: at Ivorytowers Backpacker Lodge. It was good, probably the best budget friendly option in Fox Glacier.

It has the Booking rating of 8.2/10.

The place was located few steps away from the bus stop and near the entrance of the trail leading to Fox Glacier. Click here to check the current deals and opinions.

Other recommended accommodation:

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Fox Glacier

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Fox Glacier

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Fox Glacier

Day 8 Fox Glacier -> Greymouth -> TranzAlpine train -> Christchurch

I spent the whole day traveling but it still was pretty exciting!

I took the early morning bus from Fox Glacier to Greymouth where I changed for the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch.

But the adventure has started even before I left Fox Glacier and showed me one more time how amazing people in New Zealand are.

The bus started the route from Fox Glacier, I was at the stop some 20 minutes before the departure but since I was the only passenger and we still had some time the driver offered to take me to the viewpoint so I could see the glacier and the mountains again.

It was an amazing view! After seeing the glacier from really close I could admire it from the distance and see how massive it really is.

But seriously, it was the first and probably the last time I had a private tour with the regular bus! How cool and nice is that?!

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Fox Glacier

Another surprise was the stop on the way, in Hokitika.

Until that moment I didn’t know such a place even exist but it turned out to be a charming little town, at the shore of the Tasman Sea.

We had almost one hour break there so it was a perfect place to relax a bit, grab lunch and stretch the legs.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Hokitika

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Hokitika

The biggest highlight of the day and one of the best adventures of my 10 days in New Zealand was about to happen afterward.

I’ve heard that TranzAlpine is considered one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world so I was really excited and had my expectations high. And it was beautiful!

At first, I was a bit disappointed but the further along the journey, the views were more and more amazing!

Green fields and blooming yellow flowers and bushes just added up to the overall beauty.

But the best thing about the journey was the last carriage, the one I spent 95% of the trip in, designed for everyone who wanted to take pictures.

It’s the best invention ever and I believe every scenic train should have one of those carriages!

There were no windows, just open space you could look through and take pictures of the scenery, without this annoying reflex you often get when photographing from the moving train.

It felt incredible to be there, look outside and feel the wind in my hair or on my face – this feeling is one of the reasons why I love train journeys so much!

After arriving in Christchurch I headed to my hostel, the one I heard so much about I just had to book myself there.

I spent my last night on South Island in jail!

Where I stayed: at Jailhouse Accommodation. A former jail was turned into the hostel and it’s such a cool place to spend the night at!

It has the Booking rating of 8.4/10.

I had a private cell and it felt kind of weird to sleep there. The whole place looks pretty cool and for me it was probably one of the most interesting accommodation ever.

Click here to see current deals and opinions.

Other recommended places:

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - TranzAlpine train

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - TranzAlpine train

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - TranzAlpine train

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - TranzAlpine train

Day 9 Christchurch -> Auckland

I had the whole day for exploring Christchurch before catching my evening flight back to Auckland.

It was perfect sunny weather but as much as I enjoyed it, it also got me pretty tired at some point.

Or maybe I was still overwhelmed after seeing the incredible and magnificent nature in the past few days and I didn’t really switch to the city mood.

I was really hoping to like Christchurch and in different circumstances, I think I would.

I’m a city girl and Christchurch has everything I’d normally fall for: street art, great cafes, interesting architecture as well as dark recent history.

The city is still recovering after the tragic earthquake that hit Christchurch in February 2011, much of the center is under construction, containers replaced shopping center and there are still so many holes showing where the houses used to be.

The most moving place is the memorial to the victims of the earthquake – 185 empty white chairs, one for each of the victims…

It’s good to spend at least few hours in Christchurch and see the city but let’s face it – this is not why you visit New Zealand.

Where I stayed: after landing in Auckland late in the evening I went directly to my accommodation for the night – Kiwi International Hotel.

It was good value for the money with the Booking rating of 7.2/10. With great location.

The hotel is located on Queen Street next to the hipster-ish part of the city and not far from the downtown I can definitely recommend this place.

Click here to see the current prices and details.

Other recommended places:

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Christchurch

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Christchurch

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Christchurch

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Christchurch

Day 10 Auckland

I spent my last day in New Zealand in Auckland and, contrary to Christchurch, I liked it much better than I expected.

I’ve never heard many good things about the biggest city in New Zealand so I just treated it as a stopover (at some point I was even wondering if I should have maybe used this day better, spending it in another gorgeous destination) but I actually enjoyed it surprisingly much.

Part of it is thanks to my dear readers, Sam and Richard, who I met with in Auckland and who showed me some of the best places the city has to offer.

Besides the downtown and waterfront I could also see Auckland War Memorial Museum with the interesting exhibitions about Pacific cultures (that I sadly know so little about) and super fascinating Maori cultural performance (they did the haka dance!) or the alternative area at the crossroads of Queen Street and Karangahape Road.

It was such a fun day and a perfect ending of my 10 days in New Zealand!

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Auckland

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Auckland

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Auckland

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Auckland

Is it worth going to New Zealand for 10 days only?

No matter how crazy that sounds I think it’s definitely worth it!

New Zealand really is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to and I’d go there again in a heartbeat!

But everything also depends on how lucky you are with the weather as it’s pretty unpredictable and you can get all four season in one day.

I was really lucky here, I had really good weather for most of the time and it didn’t rain even once (although forecasts were predicting heavy rains in Fox Glacier and Auckland).

10 days in New Zealand is not a lot but if you plan your New Zealand itinerary well you really can see a lot of spectacular places!

And don’t let anyone tell you it’s impossible to visit New Zealand without renting a car – I’m a walking example that it’s perfectly doable!

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Mt Cook hike

How to travel around New Zealand without a car?

There are few bus companies but I’ve decided to use InterCity as their schedule and routes worked the best for me.

The schedule, however, is rather limited with usually only one trip per day so you need to plan everything around that.

But in any place, I didn’t feel like I don’t have enough time for what I want to see and do when I missed some activities or had to make some tough choices it was because of my busy itinerary in general.

After planning all my connections I’ve decided to get the 25 hours pass for 209 NZD.

It counts the hours from the timetable so even if the bus is delayed (happened to me only once and it was only 15 minutes delay, in Twizel when I was about to depart to Queenstown) you don’t need to worry about taking the extra minutes from your pass.

The pass is valid for a year so if I manage to return to New Zealand before the end of September I can technically still use those few hours I have left on it.

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - TranzAlpine train

Planning and booking connections are super easy.

You just need to log in on the Intercity website and search the route you’d like to take. Then you just add it to your cart and voila, you’re done.

Even if none of the buses I took were full I still wouldn’t leave the booking for the last moment, especially in the summer months, just to be on a safe side.

Before the trip, you need to be at the bus stop 15 minutes before the departure time and then just give your name to the driver for the check-in, once he verifies you’re booked to this connection you are free to board the bus.

The bus journeys were all good, comfortable, with wifi and great drivers who were talking a lot during the trip: telling about the places we were passing by/about to reach or sharing the interesting stories.

There were also some photo stops in beautiful places along the way.

Overall it was so much better experience than with most of the buses I’ve ever taken and I can definitely recommend it to everyone visiting New Zealand who don’t want to / can’t rent a car!

10 days in New Zealand itinerary - Queenstown

And here is the map of all the places I visited during my 10 days in New Zealand

Travel resources

Revolut bank card is the best way to save money when traveling. It’s a pre-paid service that offers very good exchange rates and no fees for ATM’s use. Click here to learn more and order your Revolut card.

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in New Zealand

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for New Zealand here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.

For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

  • Sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Bloglovin to get updates about the new posts
  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to New Zealand too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!


10 days in New Zealand itinerary

Disclaimer: during my trip to New Zealand I was hosted by InterCity. As always all opinions and experiences described above remain my own.

love, kami 2

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  • Reply
    29/05/2018 at 00:36

    I love this. Thank you! I’m planning NZ in a few months and was wondering about not having a car. This post was super helpful.

    • Reply
      31/05/2018 at 07:57

      I’m glad I could help! It really is possible to visit NZ without a car, it requires some planning but it’s definitely doable!

  • Reply
    29/05/2018 at 09:11

    I agree, having a friend in a foreign country is great.
    You’ll be able to visit them while enjoying the place.
    Thanks for this very informative blog. Your photos are all fantastic.
    I also want to visit New Zealand one of this days. :)

    • Reply
      31/05/2018 at 08:02

      Thank you! I hope you will visit New Zealand one day, it’s really amazing!

  • Reply
    Rajendera Sodhi
    30/05/2018 at 04:14

    Excellent pictures and information…

    • Reply
      31/05/2018 at 08:03

      thank you!

  • Reply
    15/11/2018 at 16:51

    Very useful post with amazing photos! May I know which month did you visit NZ? Am planning to head there this December…

    • Reply
      15/11/2018 at 19:23

      Thank you! I was there at the end of October and beginning of November so December must be even better (but also busier…). You will love NZ for sure, it’s amazing! Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    15/01/2019 at 05:38

    It’s really well written and wide guide. Thanks for that. It helped with organizing our trip. We done all points mentioned + Glenorchy, Hokitika George and Athur’s Pass. It was wonderful time there!!!

    • Reply
      27/01/2019 at 15:45

      I’m glad I could help and that you enjoyed your trip. Happy travels!

  • Reply
    19/03/2019 at 12:03

    How did you cope with jetlag? I almost died from it after visiting Australia :D

    • Reply
      05/04/2019 at 20:10

      I managed to sleep 2 hours/night for some 2-3 days and then I got myself so tired at Hooker Valley that I fell asleep sitting at 10pm and finally slept for 12 hours straight – and all was fine since then :) it wasn’t actually that bad to be honest, I was expecting more struggle with 11 hours difference

  • Reply
    22/07/2019 at 16:31

    So glad I bumped into your page. The photos of NZ are gorgeous. You have convinced me that it is possible to go around NZ without renting a car. Phew. Thank goodness. But seriously.. the photos of NZ = amazing.

    • Reply
      24/07/2019 at 06:31

      Thank you! It is definitely possible to travel around without a car! It requires some planning as sometimes there is only one bus connection per day, but is definitely doable!

  • Reply
    17/10/2019 at 07:53

    New Zealand comprise 3 islands. A North and South Island and Stewart Island. This report is 10 days virtually in a part of the south island. I wouldn’t therefore classify it as a 10 day visit of New Zealand. Sorry, but the report is seriously misleading.

    • Reply
      06/11/2019 at 22:32

      The majority of attractions tourists are interested in are in South Island and with 10 days only one has to choose what to see. But you are welcome to give other suggestions here, in the comments, so other travelers can use them. Cheers!

  • Reply
    27/11/2019 at 04:40

    Hi Kami! Planning to travel to NZ next year on Feb and my initial travel IT is trashed now after seeing your Itinerary. My friends and I might just go along with what you did. Your experience and THE photos are so beautiful! Do you mind sharing how much you spent for 10 days? Are the sights free or is there any entrance fee? Hope to hear from you :)

    • Reply
      27/11/2019 at 07:34

      Hi Karyll, I’m sure you will enjoy NZ, it is such a beautiful country! I don’t think I could plan my 10 days there any better, to be honest – it was busy but I loved every place! Unfortunately I don’t remember how much I’ve spent but I remember it was less than I expected – I was expecting Scandinavian prices but it was more like Western Europe. The only tickets I remember I had to pay were for the cable car in Queenstown and the boat on Milford Sound, everything else was free. Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    Milet Miranda
    28/01/2020 at 18:54

    Hey Kami! Thanks a lot for this super detailed guide to NZ. My friend and I will be traveling to NZ in March, and just like you, we don’t plan to rent a car (no driver license and driving skills lol). It’s great to know that getting around using public transportation is easy. I’m really excited to see NZ nad to do a lot of hikes :) Thanks again! Milet of Project Gora

    • Reply
      11/02/2020 at 16:43

      I’m sure you will have a great trip, NZ is such an amazing country! Public transport is really easy but it requires some planning as the buses don’t run very often. But it’s definitely doable! Have a great time in NZ!

  • Reply
    24/01/2022 at 01:55

    We are headed to NZ in 2023 for our 50th. I have been doing research and loved your adventure. Lots of names have been in my research. Do you have a post for Australia? We were looking at a tour but with your help I think we may go it alone. I so appreciate your share!!!

    • Reply
      03/02/2022 at 19:56

      I’m glad you found my article useful. Unfortunately I haven’t been to Australia yet, it’s really high on my bucket list though! I’m sure you will enjoy NZ, such a wonderful and beautiful country!

  • Reply
    30/10/2022 at 05:37

    Kami, I loved your article! I’m a Kiwi-born gal from Auckland, and like you thought it would be hard to travel around NZ without a car or through tour companies (I drive myself) but your article proves one can do it through Intercity! Only one thing i was surprised at reading that it was suggested you hitchhike back in one area. I wouldn’t have advised that at all, it’s not safe especially in rural areas. But so glad you loved our beautiful country, and hope you will visit again! I agree a lot of those places are stunning, we visited a lot of them in the last two years as we were unable to travel overseas due to borders being closed.

    • Reply
      26/11/2022 at 21:13

      Thank you for your comment, Lynette. It’s interesting that you say hitchhiking is not safe as the only reason why I’ve decided to do it was because everyone, especially locals, encouraged me to do that. But of course, like everywhere else, it’s crucial to trust your instincts in such situations. I really enjoyed NZ and I really hope to return there one day! All the best!

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