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Join us for an adventure like no other – a three-week Small Group Journey. Experience the breath-taking scenery of snow-capped Alps, wander through tropical rainforests and relax on wide, sandy beaches. Learn how this beautiful land has been shaped by ancient volcanoes and southern seas, by Maori warriors and colonial settlers. Friendly local guides share their cultural, historical and ecological expertise as you travel with us throughout Aotearoa – ‘the land of the long white cloud’.
Day 1 Auckland
Haere mai – welcome! Arrive in Auckland and take some time to orientate yourself in this vibrant city before the tour starts.
Day 2 Auckland to Bay of Islands
Heading north, we pause to marvel at a remnant of ancient Kauri forest from an elevated walkway. At Paihia we enjoy a guided visit to the birthplace of the nation, the fascinating Waitangi Treaty Grounds. We arrive in Russell, the first capital city of New Zealand, by ferry.
Day 3 Bay of Islands
Today, the choice is yours. Either travel by special coach along amazing 90 Mile Beach to sacred Cape Reinga (also includes lunch) OR enjoy a cruise towards Cape Brett Lighthouse and the Hole in the Rock, with the chance of dolphin-spotting, before a guided tour of historic Russell.
Journey along 90-mile Beach – OR – take a dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise
Day 4 Bay of Islands to Auckland
We return to Auckland to discover its vibrant harbourside, charming village neighbourhoods and panoramic views, before a guided tour of the excellent Auckland Museum to learn more about Pacific culture.
Day 5 Auckland to Coromandel by Boat
Wave goodbye to the City of Sails as we cross the Hauraki Gulf by ferry to the Coromandel Peninsula. On landing, we take a narrow-gauge railway trip before our coach delivers us to beautiful Mercury Bay.
Day 6 Explore the Coromandel
If the tide is right, scoop your own ‘spa’ pool out of the sand at Hot Water Beach, before walking to beautiful Cathedral Cove. A water taxi takes us to Hahei, then we travel to Cooks Beach, where the ‘Endeavour’ dropped anchor in 1769. Now you can choose to take a ferry ride to Whitianga and walk to the hotel, or travel back with our driver.
Day 7 Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua
We turn inland and stretch our legs on an easy bush walk before arriving at the geothermal centre of North Island, which is also the heart of Maori culture. Our private tour of Te Puia includes bubbling mud, indigenous art and kiwi conservation.
Day 8 Rotorua
Either explore Waimangu Volcanic Valley on foot and by boat to experience this ever-changing landscape close-up, OR Tolkien fans may take a trip to the Hobbiton™ Film Set. This evening, we all experience an amazing Maori welcome and Hangi (feast).
Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley – OR – experience Hobbiton™ Movie Set
Day 9 Rotorua to Napier
Pausing at mighty Lake Taupo, we head to Hawke’s Bay on the east coast for a walking tour of Art Deco Napier. This evening, we enjoy the best of New Zealand cuisine (with a glass of wine) at the Mission Estate Winery.
Day 10 Napier to Wellington
Driving through the Wairarapa ranges we arrive in the breezy capital city, known for its creative industries and great coffee! We take the cable car from Kelburn before visiting Te Papa, one of the world’s top museums.
Day 11 Wellington to Nelson
All aboard the Interisland ferry to navigate the Cook Strait to South Island! Back on our coach, we pause for a wine tasting in Marlborough before arriving in Nelson, known for its arts and crafts and artisan food culture.
Day 12 Abel Tasman National Park
The best way to discover this pristine coastal wilderness is by boat and on foot. Today’s included options are: a half-day cruise around this jewel-like coast, OR a cruise followed by one of two self-guided beach and bush walks.
Cruise the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park
Day 13 Nelson to Punakaiki
We travel through enchanting Nelson Lakes National Park on the Buller Gorge road, carved through virgin forest by 19th century miners, to arrive at Punakaiki to see its extraordinary rock formations.
Day 14 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier
Pause in the gold rush town of Hokitika, before heading to glacier country. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers flow almost to sea level, making them unusually accessible. Viewing options include helicopter flights (at own cost).
Day 15 Fox Glacier to Wanaka
After a photo-opportunity at mirror-like Lake Matheson, we take the Haast Pass river road deep into the Southern Alps and Mt Aspiring National Park to the lakeside resort of Wanaka.
Day 16 Wanaka
Nature lovers may take a lake cruise to a conservation island with an eco-guide to discover native birds like the flightless Buff Weka or you can choose to enjoy a scenic 4WD adventure to a high country farm above the lake.
See native birds on a conservation island – OR – take a scenic 4WD adventure in Wanaka
Day 17 Wanaka to Te Anau
Travelling via historic Arrowtown, beneath the Remarkables range of mountains and along the shore of Lake Wakatipu, we arrive at the gateway to Fiordland National Park: Te Anau.
Day 18 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown
The journey there, through rainforest, is as spectacular as the destination: Milford Sound! Top this with a memorable cruise past Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea (picnic lunch on board) before ending the day in Queenstown.
Day 19 Queenstown
This sophisticated resort offers something for everyone. The day is free for you to be a thrill-seeker or a wine-taster, to ride a gondola or cruise on a vintage steam ship: the options (at own cost) are endless!
Day 20 Queenstown to Mt Cook to Twizel
With the Southern Alps on our left, we cross Otago and travel beside lovely Lake Pukaki before driving up to Mt Cook Village, where Sir Edmund Hillary climbed his country’s highest peak before going on to conquer Everest. Overnight at Twizel.
Day 21 Twizel to Lake Tekapo to Canterbury Plains
We visit a friendly homestead to try our hand at making New Zealand’s famous Pavlova. Suitably refreshed, there’s time for a photo beside milky-blue Lake Tekapo.
Choose a Rural Homestay: Local hosts open their homes to travellers (in small groups) before a home-cooked dinner. It’s a chance to spend time with real Kiwis on their home patch. OR a Local hotel: Dinner and overnight at a local hotel enables you to totally relax.
Day 22 Ashburton to Christchurch
Post-earthquake Christchurch mixes colonial charm with cutting-edge architecture, re-inventing itself in typical Kiwi style. ‘Edwardian’ boatmen take us for a punt on the River Avon before we hop on a tram. Our farewell dinner features the best of local cuisine.
Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability 14 March – 3 April 2019 6,500 1,940 FILLING UP Enquire now 11 April – 1 May 2019 6,300 1,780 PLACES Enquire now 6 June – 28 June 2019 5,680 1,630 PLACES Enquire now 15 October – 6 November 2019 6,090 2,000 PLACES Enquire now 12 November – 4 December 2019 6,090 2,000 PLACES Enquire now 15 January – 6 February 2020 6,590 2,000 PLACES Enquire now 19 February – 12 March 2020 6,590 2,000 PLACES Enquire now 18 March – 9 April 2020 6,590 2,000 PLACES Enquire now 9 April – 1 May 2020 6,090 2,000 PLACES Enquire now 7 May – 29 May 2020 5,290 1,790 PLACES Enquire now 14 October – 5 November 2020 6,395 2,100 PLACES Enquire now 18 November – 10 December 6,395 2,100 PLACES Enquire now
- Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
- Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
- 22 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotels
- 22 breakfasts
- 1 lunch
- 4 evening meals
- Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included
- Entry to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Journey along 90-mile Beach – OR – take a dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise
- A scenic cruise from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula
- Narrow-gauge railway journey through native Coromandel bush
- Visit Hot Water Beach and photogenic Cathedral Cove
- A private guide around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
- Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley – OR – experience Hobbiton™ Movie Set
- Delve into Maori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
- Enjoy a wine tasting and evening meal at Mission Estate in Napier
- Travel on Wellington’s famous Cable Car and visit Te Papa museum
- Scenic Interislander Ferry journey across the Cook Strait
- Wine tasting at one of Marlborough’s premier wineries
- Cruise the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park
- Visit world-famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki
- See native birds on a conservation island – OR – take a scenic 4WD adventure in Wanaka
- Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
- Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breath-taking Milford Sound
- Enjoy true Kiwi hospitality with morning tea at a local home on the shores of Lake Tekapo
- Relax as you’re guided along Christchurch’s Avon River on an authentic Edwardian punt
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. Lounge Pass offer 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.
Colin and Maureen Smith
The Million Dollar cruise on Lake Wakatipu was absolutely brilliant – the guide was very knowledgeable and we would highly recommend this trip.
Our meal on the Mission Estate was one of the best meals of the holiday and the gardens at Hamilton were a real surprise.
But the main highlight has to have been the Milford Mariner overnight cruise – not the best of weather, we couldn’t get out on the kayaks – but a wonderful experience.
Chris and Joyce Brill
Very much enjoyed the superb Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa Museum, Wellington. Loved the jet boat trip on our day out to Arthur’s Pass and the caves at Charleston.
A wonderful holiday!