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Explore the wide sandy beaches of the Coromandel coastline; dip your toes in the azure blue waters of Abel Tasman National Park after a guided hike through the sub-tropical bush, and journey deep into Fiordland National Park to cruise on Milford Sound – one of our all-time “must-do” experiences on a trip to the South Island.
- Meeting the lord of the forest Tane Mahuta, one of the largest Kauri trees in the world at 150 feet tall
Travel up Northland’s west coast skirting Kaipara Harbour and following the Kaihu River to the Kai Iwi Lakes and the primeval forest of Waipoua, where we take a guided walk through the forest.
In the afternoon we head east to tranquil Paihia, the ‘Jewel of the Bay of Islands’.
- Enjoy views of the Bay shoreside from the Duke of Marlborough Hotel (drinks optional!)
We start the day in Russell with a tour led by a resident historian to learn about this town that was the country’s first sea port and site of the first European settlement.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore the area or take a cruise in the spectacular Bay of Islands.
- A visit to the Miranda Shorebird Centre to learn about the amazing annual migrations of Wrybills, Godwits and shorebirds
This morning we visit the beautiful site of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where Maori chiefs first signed their agreement with the British settlers: the Treaty of Waitangi. We learn how the treaty was debated in 1840 and how that debate continues in the present day.
Heading south we make a stop at the Miranda Shorebird Centre to learn about the annual migrations of birds that travel south from the Arctic Circle for the summer months.
- Hire a spade and dig your own hot pool on Hot Water Beach
The white sandy beaches and laid back holiday vibe make the Coromandel a relaxing pace to spend the day. We take a walk to Cathedral Cove with its naturally formed archway, sparkling blue-green waters and sandy beaches that make it one of the most photographed beaches in New Zealand.
Tonight we share on the cooking duties enjoying a Kiwi Favourite – a BBQ dinner in the garden of our accommodation.
- Stroll through Government Gardens and the croquet lawns of Rotorua
Travel south on the Pacific Coast Highway to Rotorua, the centre of New Zealand’s geothermal activity and Maori heritage.
During our time in Rotorua we visit the excellent museum, and spend the afternoon at Te Puia, home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, a live Kiwi enclosure and the world-famous Pohutu Geyser.
- Experiencing an authentic Maori Hangi for our evening meal
This morning we walk through the fascinating Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the world youngest geothermal system, home to steaming volcanic craters and dramatic thermal activity.
In the afternoon we travel to a local Marae (Maori meeting house). We’ll chat with a modern Maori in the Whare Kai (eating house), listen to some ancient legends and learn about maori lifestyle today.
- Dinner and a tour at the historic Mission Estate Winery,one of the oldest in New Zealand
Take in the crashing waters of Huka Falls on our way to Lake Taupo, the largest freshwater lake in New Zealand, surrounded by the mighty peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. Take time to explore the bustling township of Taupo.
Later arrive in Napier and take a guided walking tour of this fabulous Art Deco city.
- A visit to Te Papa, the National Museum is a must to learn more about New Zealand, the shaping of its land, the spirit of its people and its special wildlife and landscapes
This morning we travel south through the rolling countryside of the Wairarapa to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
Enjoy a walking tour of the city, where your guide will introduce you to the culture, history and sights of the ‘Coolest little capital in the world’.
- Stretching your legs along the banks of the Matai River on a section of the Centre of New Zealand Walkway that leads to the top of Botanical Hill for views over Nelson
Board a ferry and travel across the Cook Straight on a journey that’s often accompanied by dolphins riding the bow wave of the Interislander Ferry, to arrive in Picton.
- Boarding a small cruiser for a day of exploration, with lots of opportunities for swimming and walking
Paradise found!! Abel Tasman National Park’s golden beaches, glittering waters and world famous coastal track are a highlight of any trip to New Zealand.
Choose to relax on board or take an easy 4-hour hike through the coastal forest to Torrent Bay and its beautiful tidal lagoon where we re-join our cruiser for the trip home.
- Take an optional helicopter flight around Mount Cook
Today travel inland following the Buller River gorge, emerging at Westport for a short walk on the coastal path to Cape Foulwind where we may see fur seals, sooty shearwaters and blue penguins.
In the afternoon we reach Westland National Park, where ice meets rainforest at the foot of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. We base ourselves in laid-back Franz Josef township for ease of access to the slowly moving ‘river’ of ice.
- Take an early evening stroll around the beautiful Lake Wanaka and watch the sun set.
After a morning stroll around Lake Matheson, with its stunning reflections of the mountains we head up over the Haast Pass along the river road, deep into Mt Aspiring National Park.
Arriving at Wanaka there’s a choice of lakeside strolls with a stop to quench our thirst at the much photographed Cardrona Pub.
- Thrill seekers will love a jet boat ride on the Matukituki River (at own expense)
This morning there is time to relax, you may wish to take a jet boat ride up the Matukituki River or take the opportunity to enjoy one of New Zealand’s best half day walks – The Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain Trail.
Later we head to Te Anau, gateway to the magnificent Fiordland National Park
- Experience the magic of Milford Sound and learn all about the flora and fauna from an on board expert nature guide
We take the coach into Milford Sound. A beautifully scenic route, with plenty of opportunities for photo taking. Enjoy a morning cruise out on the Sound followed by guided walks with an experienced and knowledgeable nature guide.
Day 17 – Depart Queenstown
Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability 18 October – 3 November 2018 5,735.00 1,795.00 FULL 15 November – 1 December 2018 5,735.00 1,795.00 PLACES Enquire now 14 February – 2 March 2019 5,700.00 1,770.00 FILLING UP Enquire now 14 March – 30 March 2019 5,700.00 1,770.00 PLACES Enquire now 11 April – 27 April 2019 5,510.00 1,680.00 PLACES Enquire now 9 May – 25 May 2019 4,790.00 1,560.00 PLACES Enquire now 6 June – 22 June 2019 4,790.00 1,560.00 PLACES Enquire now 17 October – 2 November 2019 5,850.00 1,830.00 PLACES Enquire now 14 November – 30 November 2019 5,850.00 1,830.00 PLACES Enquire now
- Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
- Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
- 16 nights accommodation in quality Hotels and B&Bs
- Breakfast each day
- 3 evening meals
- Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included
- Maori guided experience in Waipoua Forest
- Guided tour of Russell’s rip-roaring past
- Entrance to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Visit to the Miranda Shorebird Centre
- Barbecue dinner in the Coromandel
- Entrance to Te Puia Geothermal Reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Centre
- Guided Walk and Boat Trip to Waimangu Thermal Valley
- Maori Cultural Performance and Hangi Feast
- Guided walking tour of Art Deco Napier
- Dinner with wine at Mission Estate winery
- Interislander Ferry crossing Wellington/Picton
- Excursion by boat in Abel Tasman National Park
- Guided walk on a section of the Milford Track
- Milford Sound cruise and lunch
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!