South Island Spectacular (14 Days) – From £2,595
Departures throughout the year.
Prices are per person based on twin-share:
Tour only from £2,595
Tour and flight from £3,595
- Meet & greet at Christchurch airport
- Private transfer to your Christchurch hotel
- 13 nights accommodation in quality Hotels and B&Bs
- Breakfast each day
- Intermediate car hire with unlimited kilometres & daily insurance
- TranzAlpine rail journey over Southern Alps
The South Island deserves its own tour, so much is there to see and do. From the action packed adventure playground of Queenstown to the remote tranquillity of Milford Sound, and the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps, this is a memorable journey through some of New Zealand’s most iconic landscapes.
- Visit an open artists workshops where you’ll find carved jade and other Maori crafts on offer
Board the TranzAlpine train for one of the world’s great rail journeys, across the Southern Alps to the West Coast.
Arrive in Greymouth and collect your rental vehicle for an afternoon drive along the rugged coastline to Hokitika. This gold mining era town still has a frontier feel.
- Embark on a guided Franz Josef heli-hike into the dramatic alpine landscape
Travel to Westland National Park, an amazing area where ice meets rainforest at the foot of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
Walk the trail to the glacier or wow yourself with a scenic flight over the rivers of ice.
- Book a table for dinner at Relishes restaurant It’s highly recommended!
On a clear morning the forty minute drive to Fox Glacier and beautiful Lake Matheson is rewarded with unforgettable reflections of the Mt Cook range in the still waters. Continue south over the Haast Pass into Mt Aspiring National Park. Arrive in Wanaka and enjoy a lakeside walk or a stroll around this pretty town.
- Enjoy a cruise aboard the steamship TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu
There are experiences and activities to suit every thrill-level and budget in and around Queenstown. Hire a bike to explore local routes that are part of New Zealand’s National Cycle Trail. Throw yourself off a bridge whilst tied to a piece of elastic: this is the home of bungee jumping!
- Try one of the many excellent restaurants to sample some local specialities including Venison, Lobster and Seafood
It is almost impossible to visit South Island and not make the pilgrimage to Milford Sound, one of the most remotely beautiful places in the world. Most visitors opt for a coach trip, to avoid the challenging drive deep into Fiordland National Park. On your return, overnight at Te Anau.
- Take the special walkway through the Little Blue Penguin colony where these smallest penguins in the world nest in sandy burrows and run the gauntlet of fur seals before reaching the open sea
Head out to the Otago peninsula, which protects the city from southern storms and gives shelter to penguins, seals and – uniquely – the Royal Albatross. Taiaroa Heads is this majestic bird’s only mainland nesting site in the world.
About 30 pairs nest every year, and as the cycle from egg-laying to fledgling takes almost 12 months, there is always fascinating behaviour to observe.
- Take a flight over Mount Cook to view ‘The Cloud Piercer’ close up
Time to head north along the coast road, but pause for the Moeraki Boulders, calcite formations 65 million years old. Turn inland to Mt Cook National Park where you can enjoy short walks to Kea Point or in the Hooker Valley for wonderful views of this alpine panorama. Overnight in the country township of Twizel.
- Visit the International Antarctic Centre for a snow and ice experience and to hang out with Little Blue Penguins
Stop at the church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo, one of New Zealand’s most photographed spots. Then cross the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch where you return your rental vehicle.
- Enjoy a gentle wander around the Botanic gardens with the extensive collection of native and exotic plants and trees
This most English of New Zealand cities suffered a succession of terrible earthquakes in early 2011. Christchurch is re-inventing itself with typical Kiwi spirit and exciting new sights include the ‘cardboard’ cathedral and Re:START shopping mall in re-purposed shipping containers. A guided tour of the city will help you to understand the past, the present and future hopes for the city.
Although New Zealand is one of the easiest countries to travel to, we realise that contemplating a long haul trip to the other side of the world can be daunting, so we’ve put together some essential information that you will need to know before you head off on your holiday.
We hope we’ve covered everything, but do give us a call if you have any other questions or queries or are unsure about any details.
New Zealand is made up of two Islands, The North Island and The South Island. The majority of the population live on the North Island.
The country has an incredibly varied landscape. You’ll find wide, sweeping coastlines, spectacular mountain ranges, tropical rainforest, steaming volcanos and stunning glacier regions. It truly has something for everyone, whether you’re seeking peace, quiet and relaxation, or the thrill and adrenaline rush of all the adventure it offers.
New Zealand also has 14 National Parks that showcase more than 30,000 square kilometres of wonderful nature and breathtaking scenery.
New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), making it one of the first countries in the world to welcome in each new day.
Like us here in the UK, New Zealand observes Daylight Saving, and so during their summer time (and our winter time) their clocks go forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
Being in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealands seasons are the opposite way around to ours, so December to February are their hottest months, and also the most expensive time to visit. June to September is the peak season for skiing in the ski resorts of Wanaka, Queenstown and Canterbury on the South Island, and the inbetween or ‘shoulder seasons’ often offer the best of both worlds, with better prices, more accommodation options and less tourists while still enjoying bright sunny days and warm weather.
Health and Insurance
We realise how difficult can be for our older travellers to find travel Insurance at a reasonable cost, and after a lot of research, are confident that our current partner Holiday Extras offer the best value for money insurance policies.
You don’t need any vaccinations to travel to New Zealand, and you will find doctors and health centres in every large town and city. Calling 111 will contact the emergency services from anywhere in the country.
It’s perfectly safe to drink the tap water in New Zealand, so there is no need to worry about needing to purchase bottled water when you are there.
Airport Hotels, Parking & Lounge Passes
Depending on the time of your flight you may wish to avoid an early morning start by checking into an Airport hotel. With our partner, Holiday Extras, we are able to offer a range of hotel options and parking arrangements. There are also a number of airport lounges you can book if there is considerable waiting time between your flights. These lounges offer a range of facilities from refreshments and drinks to showers and comfortable seating areas in a quiet environment.
Car hire companies often charge an excess for damage caused to the car whilst you’re behind the wheel even if it’s not your fault. This can be upwards of £1000 meaning if you’re involved in an accident, you’ll have to pay a contribution to cover the damage
To reduce this amount they offer what is called an Excess Insurance or Damage Waiver, typically around $25-$30.00 per day. If you’re following a two or three week itinerary, this can add up to around $ 600.00
However you can purchase an annual excess car hire insurance in the UK for a lot less.
Our suggestion is to contact an insurance company such as insurance4carhire.com, With them you’re able to reclaim the excess you’d have to pay in the unfortunate event of an accident or your car being stolen. You may also get more cover compared with waiving the excess at the car hire desk.
You do not need a visa to travel to New Zealand as a British Citizen or British passport holder (and you can stay for up to six months).
However you do require
- a passport that is valid for three months after you return from your holiday
- A return ticket home (or an onward ticket to another country that you are permitted to enter
- Adequate funds to support yourself while you are away – usually NZ$1000 per month per person
For Silver Fern travellers contemplating stopovers en route to New Zealand or integrating a New Zealand holiday with a longer worldwide tour, a visa may be required.
For example an Australian tourist visa is necessary for anyone entering the country other than those in transit. Similarly entrants to America should have arranged an ESTA. These can be applied for online or through the Travel Visa Company, one of our trade partners who charge for this service.
Currency and Credit Cards
The currency in New Zealand is the NZ Dollar. The exchange rate varies but as a general guide, there is NZ$2 / NZ$2.20 to every GBP£1.
You can use all major credit cards in New Zealand, and ATM’s are found as easily as they are in the UK, on most high streets, in shopping malls and in banks. You can also exchange foreign currency at banks, some hotels and bureau de change kiosks.
Do let your bank know you’ll be travelling before you leave home though to ensure that you’re able to use your card overseas.
What to pack
Holiday packing is always a challenge, especially when you’re going away for longer than a week or two, so we wrote a blog post offering our advice on how to pack for your New Zealand holiday – you can read it here. Remember to pack a good pair of sturdy walking boots if you’re planning to get out and explore some of the country on foot, and we recommend lightweight layers that you can add/remove depending on the weather.
Electronics and mobile devices
You can buy a prepaid Vodafone sim card at the airport or many of the local shop to put in your phone but its always worth checking with your mobile phone provider to see if they offer an overseas package before you leave home.
New Zealand electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts, and they use the same plug as in Australia, with two or three pins. You’ll need to use an adapter for all appliances, which can easily be purchased either in the UK before you travel or once you’re in New Zealand.
Wi-fi is widely available in most hotels and B&B’s and also in many cafes and eateries.
As far as possible we have endeavoured to make this information as accurate as possible, but we always recommend that you do make sure to double check things like Visa’s / Insurance etc before travel as changes do occur.
We travelled as a group of eight, all with different agendas and timescales – it was marvellous how you put it all together. The two track walks on Abel Tasman and the Milford Track were outstanding. And, of course, it was a particular highlight for me to meet up with our son. Thanks for all the organisation.
Brian & Melanie Atkinson
We are seasoned world travellers who generally travel independently and make all our own arrangements. However as we had an extended trip of the Far East culminating in a road trip round New Zealand we were delighted to be recommended to Silver Fern.
Both Barbara and John spent a considerable time with us finding out what we wanted to do and then imparting their considerable local knowledge to put a wonderful itinerary together for us.
The accommodation they recommended was exactly as we had requested according to the budget we have given them, driving distances were well planned and we were even met at the airport and given a detailed itinerary and plenty of local information about getting around New Zealand.
Suggestions were also made for places to visit that we would otherwise not have considered. Just before we were due to leave we had to change our travel dates and Barbara seamlessly rearranged the accommodation where required. We cannot recommend them highly enough.
Thank you John and Barbara.
Jan & Chris Gadsby
Friends recommended Silver Fern to us, and we, in turn, would not hesitate in recommending Silver Fern to anyone who wants a tailor-made, hassle free dream of an experience in New Zealand and Singapore.
John’s knowledge of New Zealand is incredible and his recommendations about bases, accommodation, excursions and fun activities were all spot-on for us – and for our budget.
We covered both islands, taking in 10 areas, and the well-planned, detailed itinerary, which included driving times, accurate directions and precise arrangements for car hire, internal flights and transfers, ran like clockwork. Nothing was too much trouble for Silver Fern – even when circumstances dictated that we had to cancel everything and rebook it all later.
We have fantastic 60th birthday trip memories of our stay in New Zealand and Singapore. Every bit of it was special!
Thank you, Silver Fern! We will be back soon, asking you to organise another trip for us!