Planning to travel to New Zealand but have limited spare time? Perhaps you plan to stop over in New Zealand for a short vacation between travels elsewhere? Although New Zealand’s popular tourist attractions are spread throughout the country, it is possible to have an unforgettable experience within driving distance of the countries largest city, Auckland. If you have 48 hours to spend in the Land of the Long White Cloud, consider an itinerary that lets you experience a bit of everything.

Day 1
Prepare yourself for a busy day with breakfast at one of Auckland’s bustling inner city cafés. New Zealand prides itself on its coffee culture, so it’s hard to go wrong when choosing a place to pick up your morning caffeine fix. If you like your meals with a sea view, take a ferry from downtown Auckland to the picturesque North Shore suburb of Devonport. The suburb’s historic centre contains a multitude of cafés and artisan shops, and those feeling adventurous wander up Mount Victoria or North Head for a panoramic view of the city.

Following breakfast, drive north to the Bay of Islands. An incredible area of New Zealand consisting of over a hundred islands, the Bay of Islands was the first place in the country to be settled by Europeans.

Take a ferry to Russell, the original capital of New Zealand,

to visit New Zealand’s oldest church and climb Flagstaff Hill. Russell’s views of the sea and surrounding islands are worth the climb!

Ensure you learn something about the country’s fascinating culture and history by visiting the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the birthplace of a united New Zealand through the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Visitors may experience a traditional M?ori H?ngi and cultural performance (during the summer), visit the Museum of Waitangi to learn more about the Treaty and its importance to New Zealand, or explore the grounds and simply feel the rich history they hold.

Stay in Paihia, one of the main towns in the Bay of Islands. There are plenty of restaurants to eat at, and the town itself is worth strolling around after dinner.

Day 2
Head back to Auckland (the city is a decent base for trips further afield, and there is much to explore within the city itself).

Waitomo Caves is located several hours south of Auckland by car, but visitors can opt to take a tour bus, which takes a little longer. The caves are inhabited by glowworms, and on a boat trip along the Waitomo River visitors can discover thousands of the incredible species lighting up the caves.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, take a black water rafting tour or try your luck with caving.

Are you a fan of the Lord of the Rings series? Rest assured that Hobbiton is a short trip away from the caves, and can easily be visited in the same day!

If trying local intoxicants is more your style, consider a trip to Waiheke Island instead. Just a short ferry ride away from Auckland’s city centre, the island is a haven for wine connoisseurs. Vineyards are abundant, as are award-winning restaurants. Consider renting an electric bicycle if you’re planning on exploring more than the vineyards; the island’s hidden beaches are worth the trip, but the terrain of the island means that they may be somewhat difficult to reach on foot.

Have a last dinner at one of Auckland’s many restaurants. Auckland’s large international population means that the city is a haven for food from all over the world. Try quirky Karangahape Road for a diverse selection to choose from!

Many tourists believe that the best time to visit New Zealand attractions is during the southern hemisphere’s summer, which runs from December to February, but the country’s unique landscape can easily be explored in any season. If you’re landing in New Zealand’s largest city, consider hiring an Auckland Airport rental car so that you can get in as much exploration as possible during your stay.


Banner image: Devonport