36 days in South Pacific, South America & United States Itinerary

36 days in South Pacific, South America & United States Itinerary

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Route & dates

36 days in South Pacific, South America & United States Itinerary

Start: Auckland, New Zealand
1
Auckland, New Zealand
— 1 night
2
Hamilton, New Zealand
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Tauranga, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
4
Rotorua, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
Napier, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
6
Wellington, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Fly + Drive:  5​h
7
Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 15​min
8
Dunedin, New Zealand
— 2 nights
Fly:  24​h
9
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
— 3 nights
Fly:  18​h 15​min
10
Las Vegas, United States
— 2 nights
Fly:  12​h 30​min
11
Lahaina, United States
— 1 night
Fly:  3​h 15​min
12
Honolulu, United States
— 3 nights
Fly:  7​h 15​min
13
Nadi, Fiji
— 1 night
Fly:  2​h 30​min
14
Neiafu, Tonga
— 1 night
Fly:  3​h 15​min
15
Apia, Samoa
— 2 nights
Fly:  18​h 30​min
16
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
— 1 night
Fly:  8​h 15​min
17
Paihia, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
End: Auckland, New Zealand

1
night
Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland ©
The largest and most populous city in New Zealand, Auckland combines a rich history and thriving contemporary culture in an abundance of museums, art galleries, and performance venues.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Sat): enjoy some music at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, brush up on your military savvy at Auckland War Memorial Museum, and then take in panoramic vistas at Sky Tower. Here are some ideas for day two: look for all kinds of wild species at Butterfly Creek, then get to know the resident critters at Auckland Zoo, and then kick back and relax at Cheltenham Beach.

To find more things to do, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read our Auckland online trip builder .

If you are flying in from New Zealand, the closest major airports are Auckland International Airport and Hamilton International Airport. In December, daytime highs in Auckland are 20°C, while nighttime lows are 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) early enough to drive to Hamilton.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Museums

Side Trip

Cheltenham Beach
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Auckland Zoo ©
Auckland Zoo
Sky Tower ©
Sky Tower
Auckland War Memorial Museum ©
Auckland War Memorial Museum

1
night
Hamilton, New Zealand

Hamilton ©
On the banks of the Waikato River lies Hamilton, a pretty, active city on North Island.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Mon): meet the residents at Hamilton Zoo, examine the collection at Waikato Museum, and then walk around Hamilton Gardens.

For other places to visit, photos, ratings, and tourist information, read Hamilton trip app .

Drive from Auckland to Hamilton in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Tauranga.

Things to do in Hamilton

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Museums
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Hamilton Gardens ©
Hamilton Gardens
Hamilton Zoo ©
Hamilton Zoo
Waikato Museum ©
Waikato Museum

2
nights
Tauranga, New Zealand

Tauranga ©
The largest city in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga features extensive sandy beaches, well-maintained hiking paths, and a good range of accommodations.
On the 17th (Tue), hike along Mount Maunganui Summit Track, get your game on at Virtual Reality Experience, and then contemplate the geological forces at White Island Volcano. On the 18th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: trek along Mount Maunganui Base Track, then take in the dramatic scenery at McLaren Falls Park, and then don't miss a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Tauranga trip simple and quick.

You can drive from Hamilton to Tauranga in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December in Tauranga, expect temperatures between 25°C during the day and 17°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Rotorua.

Things to do in Tauranga

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trips

Whakaari White Island Volcano, Hobbiton Movie Set
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Whakaari White Island Volcano ©
Whakaari White Island Volcano
McLaren Falls Park ©
McLaren Falls Park
Virtual Reality Experience ©
Virtual Reality Experience

3
nights
Rotorua, New Zealand

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.
Family-friendly places like Huka Prawn Park and Huka Honey Hive will thrill your kids. Get out of town with these interesting Rotorua side-trips: Taupo (Helicopter Tours, Huka Falls Walkway, & more). There's lots more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, identify plant and animal life at Redwoods Treewalk, don't miss a visit to Te Puia, and trot along with a tour on horseback.

To see photos, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Rotorua trip itinerary maker website .

Getting from Tauranga to Rotorua by car takes about an hour. Other options: take a bus. In December in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 25°C during the day and 17°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Napier.

Things to do in Rotorua

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Taupo
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Huka Prawn Park ©
Huka Prawn Park

2
nights
Napier, New Zealand

Napier ©
Enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of 1930s design in Napier, one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
On the 22nd (Sun), do a tasting at Trinity Hill Winery, then take in the awesome beauty at Te Mata Peak, and then cool off at Splash Planet. On the next day, get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at National Aquarium of New Zealand, then look for all kinds of wild species at Cape Kidnappers, and then learn about winemaking at Elephant Hill Estate Winery.

To find photos, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Napier online trip itinerary maker .

Getting from Rotorua to Napier by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) to allow time to travel to Wellington.

Things to do in Napier

Parks Wildlife Theme Parks

Side Trips

Hastings, Cape Kidnappers, Elephant Hill Estate Winery
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Te Mata Peak ©
Te Mata Peak
Splash Planet ©
Splash Planet
Cape Kidnappers ©
Cape Kidnappers

2
nights
Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington ©
Wellington, the world's southernmost capital city and New Zealand's second most populous urban area, combines the nation's rugged history and nature with its modern and cosmopolitan present.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Tue): examine the collection at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, steep yourself in history at Kotuku School Memorial, then explore the striking landscape at Pinnacles Track, and finally hike along Catchpool Loop Walk. Keep things going the next day: take an in-depth tour of Wellington Museum, get outside with Bruce Bay, and then get outside with Great Alpine Highway.

To see ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Wellington trip itinerary planner.

You can fly from Napier to Wellington in 3.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Wellington are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Wellington

Outdoors Parks Museums

Side Trips

Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu), Catchpool Loop Walk
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Bruce Bay ©
Bruce Bay
Wellington Museum ©
Wellington Museum

1
night
Hanmer Springs, New Zealand

Hanmer Springs ©
Action and relaxation are the reasons that most people head to Hanmer Springs, where natural thermal pools bubble among dramatic alpine surroundings.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Thu): relax and rejuvenate at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa and then get outside with Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre.

To find ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Hanmer Springs online trip maker .

Traveling by combination of flight and car from Wellington to Hanmer Springs takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of ferry and car. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Outdoors Parks Nature
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre ©
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa ©
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

2
nights
Dunedin, New Zealand

Dunedin ©
With its history proudly stemming from the Scottish settlers who came here during the colonial era, Dunedin's streets are lined with well-preserved examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, while a new culture of nightlife and fine dining takes hold around them.
On the 27th (Fri), get a new perspective on nature at Otago Museum, step into the grandiose world of Larnach Castle & Gardens, and then make a trip to The Royal Albatross Centre. On the 28th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: contemplate the long history of Olveston Historic Home, then see the interesting displays at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tunnel Beach Track.

To find other places to visit, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Dunedin attractions planner.

Drive from Hanmer Springs to Dunedin in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car and flight. On the 28th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Rio de Janeiro.

Things to do in Dunedin

Museums Parks Childrens Museums
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Otago Museum ©
Otago Museum
The Royal Albatross Centre ©
The Royal Albatross Centre
Tunnel Beach Track ©
Tunnel Beach Track

3
nights
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro ©
Bustling with samba music and all-night street parties, no city encapsulates the spirit of Brazil better than Rio de Janeiro.
Bring the kids along to Copacabana Beach and Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. And it doesn't end there: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Pao de Acucar, enjoy the sand and surf at Pedra do Arpoador, take some stellar pictures from Leblon Beach, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Praia de Ipanema.

For where to stay, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read our Rio de Janeiro trip planner .

Getting from Dunedin to Rio de Janeiro by flight takes about 24 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Dunedin to Rio de Janeiro is minus 15 hours. In December, plan for daily highs up to 36°C, and evening lows to 27°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) to allow time to travel to Las Vegas.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Pao de Acucar ©
Pao de Acucar
Copacabana Beach ©
Copacabana Beach
Praia de Ipanema
Praia de Ipanema

2
nights
Las Vegas, United States

Las Vegas ©
Nicknamed the "Entertainment Capital of the World," Las Vegas sits in the middle of a desert in the southern section of Nevada.
Kids will enjoy Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and The Roller Coaster. There's lots more to do: ponder the design of Fountains of Bellagio, have some family-friendly fun at Dig This, examine the collection at The Mob Museum, and have fun at Battlefield Vegas.

To find traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Las Vegas trip maker .

Getting from Rio de Janeiro to Las Vegas by flight takes about 18.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone changes from Brasilia Time to Pacific Standard Time, which is usually a -5 hour difference. Traveling from Rio de Janeiro in January, expect Las Vegas to be cooler, temps between 17°C and 5°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) so you can travel to Lahaina.

Things to do in Las Vegas

Parks Shopping Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Battlefield Vegas ©
Battlefield Vegas
The Roller Coaster ©
The Roller Coaster

1
night
Lahaina, United States

Lahaina ©
Once the booming capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the tropical paradise of Lahaina still remains one of Maui's top vacation attractions, providing both culture and recreation.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Sat): kick back and relax at Ka'anapali Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: don't miss a visit to Lahaina Banyan Court, then observe the fascinating underwater world at Maui Ocean Center, then immerse yourself in nature at Iao Valley, and finally examine the collection at Hale Ho'ike'ike at the Bailey House.

For ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Lahaina trip itinerary planner.

You can fly from Las Vegas to Lahaina in 12.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight and ferry. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time to Hawaii Standard Time, which is usually a -2 hour difference. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Las Vegas in January: highs in Lahaina hover around 30°C, while lows dip to 22°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sun) early enough to travel to Honolulu.

Things to do in Lahaina

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Wailuku
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Maui Ocean Center ©
Maui Ocean Center
Iao Valley ©
Iao Valley
Ka'anapali Beach ©
Ka'anapali Beach

3
nights
Honolulu, United States

Honolulu ©
In many ways much more Asian than American, Honolulu is Hawaii's largest city and its center of government, transportation, commerce, and tourism.
Bring the kids along to USS Arizona Memorial and Diamond Head State Monument. Explore Honolulu's surroundings by going to Sunset Beach Park (in Haleiwa) and Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau State Monument (in Pupukea). Next up on the itinerary: enjoy the sand and surf at Waikiki Beach, contemplate the waterfront views at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, steep yourself in history at Battleship Missouri Memorial, and admire the sheer force of Manoa Falls.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Honolulu vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

Getting from Lahaina to Honolulu by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of ferry and flight; or do a combination of bus and flight. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in January, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) early enough to travel to Nadi.

Things to do in Honolulu

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Sunset Beach Park, Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau State Monument
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Diamond Head State Monument ©
Diamond Head State Monument
Waikiki Beach ©
Waikiki Beach
USS Arizona Memorial ©
USS Arizona Memorial

1
night
Nadi, Fiji

Nadi ©
Home to the country's primary international airport, Nadi serves as the gateway to Fiji.
On the 10th (Fri), take in the waterfront activity at Port Denarau Marina, then take in nature's colorful creations at Garden of the Sleeping Giant, and then explore the striking landscape at Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool.

To see other places to visit, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, read Nadi trip app .

You can fly from Honolulu to Nadi in 7.5 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 22 hours traveling from Honolulu to Nadi. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from Honolulu in January; daily highs in Nadi reach 36°C and lows reach 27°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can travel to Neiafu.

Things to do in Nadi

Parks Nature

Side Trip

Port Denarau Marina
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Garden of the Sleeping Giant ©
Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool ©
Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool
Port Denarau Marina ©
Port Denarau Marina

1
night
Neiafu, Tonga

Neiafu
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sat): take in the awesome beauty at Mt Talau and then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find where to stay and other tourist information, read our Neiafu trip itinerary maker app .

Fly from Nadi to Neiafu in 2.5 hours. The time zone difference when traveling from Nadi to Neiafu is 1 hour. In January, daily temperatures in Neiafu can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Apia.

Things to do in Neiafu

Tours Wildlife Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 11:

2
nights
Apia, Samoa

The Samoan capital of Apia serves as the first port of call for most visitors, and it plays home to a number of historic sites, a laid-back seaside promenade, and a range of hotels and restaurants keeping tourists entertained.
On the 12th (Sun), stroll through Salamumu Beach, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral, and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Lefaga Beach, then look for gifts at Mailelani Samoa, then cast your line with a fishing tour, and finally take in the dramatic scenery at Waterfall Sauniatu.

To see reviews, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Apia trip planner .

You can fly from Neiafu to Apia in 3.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) so you can travel to Aitutaki.

Things to do in Apia

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Waterfall Sauniatu
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Lefaga Beach ©
Lefaga Beach

1
night
Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki ©
Aitutaki's triangular barrier reef surrounds a turquoise lagoon of crystal clear water.
For traveler tips, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Aitutaki trip planner.

You can fly from Apia to Aitutaki in 18.5 hours. Traveling from Apia to Aitutaki, you'll gain 23 hours due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Paihia.

Things to do in Aitutaki

Parks Beaches Nature
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Aitutaki Lagoon ©
Aitutaki Lagoon
One Foot Island ©
One Foot Island

3
nights
Paihia, New Zealand

The main tourist town in the Bay of Islands area, Paihia gives visitors a good range of accommodations, a convenient town center, long sandy beaches, and interesting architecture.
Paihia is known for parks, wildlife, nature, adventure, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get in on the family fun at Action World, admire the natural beauty at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, hike along Kororipo Pa Historic Walk, and take a memorable tour with Tours.

To find reviews, other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Paihia vacation website .

Fly from Aitutaki to Paihia in 8.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone changes from Cook Is. Time to New Zealand Standard Time, which is usually a 22 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Sat) to allow time to drive back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Kororipo Pa Historic Walk
Find places to stay Jan 15 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Parasailing & Paragliding

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