Explore the sandy beaches of the Coromandel coastline on North Island, and dip your toes in the azure waters of Abel Tasman National Park at ‘the top of the South’. Come with us deep into Fiordland National Park to cruise on iconic Milford Sound – one of the all-time ‘must do’ experiences on a trip to New Zealand.

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Day 1 Auckland

We meet you on arrival at the airport, and take you to our recommended hotel. You are free to relax in the City of Sails.

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 Auckland to Bay of Islands

Leaving the city behind, it does not take us long to find New Zealand’s natural beauty in the Kauri forest. Arriving in the Bay of Islands we step back in time at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, to 1840 when Maori tribes signed a treaty with the British settlers. We arrive in Russell by ferry, to stay at the oldest hotel in town.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell

Day 3 Bay of Islands

Today you have the choice of two excursions:

Discover the Far North, travelling along 90 Mile Beach to Cape Reinga where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean (lunch included).

Enjoy a Bay of Islands cruise. Dolphins often race the boat on our way to the Hole in the Rock (sea permitting). Returning to Russell, this option includes a walking tour with an expert on the town’s rip-roaring past!

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell

Journey along 90-mile Beach
take a dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise

Day 4 Bay of Islands to Auckland

Return to Auckland to tour the city sights: panoramic views from Bastion Point, trendy Parnell Village and the vibrant Viaduct Harbour area. A guided tour of Auckland Museum reveals treasures of the Pacific peoples.

M Social, Auckland

Day 5 Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula

Wave goodbye to the City of Sails as we travel to the Coromandel Peninsula and a scenic drive to Whitianga in Mercury Bay.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 6 Coromandel Peninsula

A day exploring this paradise of golden beaches, turquoise seas and green forests, including Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove and Cook’s Beach. At the end of the day you can choose either to take the ferry to Whitianga and return to the hotel on foot, or – if you have walked enough – return with our vehicle.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 7 Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua

To Rotorua, famous not only as a geothermal hotspot, but as a centre for Maori culture. We enjoy a guided tour of Te Puia, where the arts of weaving, carving and tattooing are kept alive. We also see, smell and hear the extraordinary mud pools and steam vents!

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Day 8 Rotorua

Your choice today is either:

Waimangu Volcanic Valley – A walk through an evolving landscape of boiling craters and jewel-coloured steaming lakes, then a cruise across Lake Rotomahana.

Hobbiton™ Movie Set – Step into Middle Earth on a memorable guided tour of the ‘set’ where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed.

This evening we all visit a Marae (Maori Village) to discover the culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people, and feast at a Hangi, with food cooked in the heat of the earth.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Day 9 Rotorua to Napier

Our drive across the volcanic plateau takes us from ‘Mordor’ to ‘Miami’. On the east coast, Napier is a contender for Miami’s Art Deco crown, and our local expert reveals all on an entertaining walking tour. This evening’s treat is dinner together at Mission Estate, the country’s oldest wine producer.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Day 10 Napier to Wellington

Travel through vineyards and orchards to Wellington. On arrival in the capital, we see the quirky ‘Beehive’ Parliament building, ride the Cable Car and visit Te Papa – one of the most creative museums in the world.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Day 11 Wellington to Nelson

As HMS Endeavour did 250 years ago, we cross the Cook Strait. Landing in South Island, we pause at Blenheim to taste sauvignon blanc, the grape synonymous with New Zealand wine. Then on to Nelson, which boasts a sunny microclimate and thriving arts scene.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 12 Abel Tasman National Park

The idyllic Abel Tasman National Park is best explored by boat and on foot. Sailing from Kaiteriteri, today offers a choice:

Scenic Cruise: 3-4 hours (no walking) – A morning cruise reveals golden sands and turquoise waters, returning to Nelson for a free afternoon.

Astrolabe Beaches & Bays (plus 2.5 hour walk) – After the Scenic Cruise, disembark at Apple Tree Bay for a self-guided walk (7 kms) to Anchorage Beach. Later transfer to Nelson.

Forest & Swing-Bridge (plus 4 hour walk) – After the Scenic Cruise, disembark at Medlands Beach for a self-guided hike (10.5 kms) that includes South Head lookout and Cleopatra’s Pool. Late transfer to Nelson.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 13 Nelson to Punakaiki

We travel through Nelson Lakes National Park pausing at Lake Rotoiti before taking the old gold miners’ Buller River road. Emerge onto the west coast at Punakaiki to see the stratified limestone stacks known as the Pancake Rocks.

Punakaiki Resort

Day 14 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier

Following the Great Coast Road through Hokitika and Franz Josef, we come to Fox Village. This is a good base from which to access the glaciers and one of the best options is a scenic helicopter flight (at own cost, weather permitting) which lands in a snow-bowl in the mountains!

Te Weheka

Day 15 Fox Glacier to Wanaka

After a diversion to Lake Matheson, we turn towards the Southern Alps, penetrating Mt Aspiring National Park via the Haast Pass. South Islanders love the friendly township and beauty of Lake Wanaka, where we relax for two nights.

Edgewater Resort, 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.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

See native birds on a conservation island
take a scenic 4WD adventure in Wanaka

Day 17 Wanaka to Te Anau 

The journey south takes us to Arrowtown and alongside Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau. This little town on the shores of the lake is the best starting point for adventures in Fiordland and is a beautiful spot in its own right.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Day 18 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown

Today’s drive is spectacular, winding through a landscape sculpted by Ice Age glaciers. Awe-inspiring Milford Sound opens onto the Tasman Sea, and our vessel cruises past Mitre Peak to the narrow mouth. The return by road to Queenstown is equally scenic.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 19 Depart Queenstown

Sadly, we have reached the end of this road. If you are flying home, we transfer you to the airport, but why not ask us to extend your stay?

Day 1

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 & 3

Duke of Marlborough Hotel

Day 4

M Social, Auckland

Day 5 & 6

Oceans Resort

Day 7 & 8

Prince’s Gate Hotel

Day 9

Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Day 10

James Cook Chancellor

Day 11 & 12

Heritage Rutherford Hotel

Day 13

Punakaiki Resort

Day 14

Te Weheka

Day 15 & 16

Edgewater Resort

Day 17

Distinction Te Anau

Day 18

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Tour datePrice (£)Single supplement (£)Availability 
18 January - 5 February 20235,3701,840FULL
8 February - 26 February 20235,8401,920FULL
22 February - 12 March 20235,8401,920FULL
22 March - 9 April 20235,8401,920PLACESEnquire now
25 October - 12 November 20236,0991,899PLACESEnquire now
22 November - 10 December 20236,5652,000PLACESEnquire now
24 January - 11 February 20246,5652,000PLACESEnquire now
7 February - 25 February 20246,5652,000PLACESEnquire now
21 February - 10 March 20246,5652,000PLACESEnquire now

What’s included?

  • Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
  • Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
  • 18 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotel
  • 18 breakfasts
  • 1 lunch
  • 2 evening meals
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included

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

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.

The Geography

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 volcanoes 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.

Time Difference

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.

The Seasons

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand's 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 in between 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.

Buy Insurance

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.

Book your Hotel, Parking or Lounge Access

Car Insurance

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.

Visa Requirements

From 1 October 2019 you will need a Visa to travel to New Zealand as a British citizen or British Passport Holder. We are still awaiting final details from the New Zealand Immigration Department regarding this requirement.

All Silver Fern travellers will be advised by our office as to the nature of this process, prior to their travel to New Zealand.

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.

Visit Travel Visa Company website

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!