The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary for a Quick New Zealand Trip

If you are having a hard time deciding what parts of New Zealand you should see, I have one of the most perfect itineraries for you right here!

I planned a short trip to New Zealand which was the way it was because I was on my way to spend a week in the Cook Islands.

I had to fly through New Zealand as it was, so why not make the most out of it?

In 3 days, you can see Auckland, natural hot springs, go hiking, and some other surprises that I am including.

*This will work best if you fly into Auckland or into the North Island.

Here is how to spend 3 days in New Zealand:

  1. Take a Road Trip to Putaruru

When you arrive, don’t head right into the city. Auckland Airport is about 45 minutes away (and south) of downtown. Get a car rental and begin your journey south. Remember, left-side driving here!

Head to Putaruru where you can go on a 3 hour hike, see the Blue Spring, and explore the cute town. Driving around is fun enough as you will pass many scenic routes on the way.

The Blue Spring is what provides majority of the bottled water in NZ. You can’t swim in it, but it is worth seeing and strolling around.

Get dinner at the Putaruru Food Court in the center of town or grab some beers at The Cook where the music goes late and the locals are having a good time. Many other local restaurants here offer a cozy atmosphere, such as The Wooden Farmer.

There is a local college (check for rugby games), a theatre, and a waterpark in town as well.

2. Head to Okoroire Hot Springs & Hobbitown

On Day 2, you can start to drive back up north a bit.

Okoroire is only about a 10-15 minute ride. Put in the Okoroire Hote Springs Hotel as your locaton in the GPS. There, you can gain complimentary entrance into the hot springs for dipping and relaxation.

Next, head to Hobbiton and book the 4 hour tour of the set. You will ride into the actual set that the movies were filmed on. The tour is long, so be sure to get tickets ahead of time and know when you will spend those hours at this attraction.

Afterwards, head to the downtown area of Matamata and walk along the many shops and streets.

3. Explore Auckland

Sometimes it’s fun to do things in reverse, isn’t it?

On Day 3, before you head back to the airport, visit downtown Auckland.

Head to the top of the Sky Tower for a view of the city below you. Bungee jump from there if you are into extreme adventure!

Walk along the waterfront and if you have enough time, grab a day ferry to explore one of the islands. Waiheke Island has great wineries and is always a top recommendation from visitors.

The city is full of attractions such as the Auckland Zoo, Botanic Gardens, museums. and memorials.

Depending on when your flight gets in and departs, you may need to tweak your schedule a bit. When I visited in April, it was autumn. Therefore, it was getting dark near 530pm. The days were short and the evenings were lost for sightseeing in the light. Take this into account and make sure you make the most out of your day.

What would you add to this itinerary?