Mount Cook Lily
14 days from £3,420 Enquire now
This escorted tour squeezes more jaw-dropping scenery into two weeks than any other! The South Island has an unparalleled variety of landscapes from the majestic Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, to the stunning views across Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, to the Remarkable Mountains, plus the wilderness of Fiordland.
Day 1 Wellington
Haere mai – welcome! Today you are free to explore. Depending on your interests, we suggest a stroll along Oriental Parade, or a city tour (at own cost) to pack more in!
Day 2 Wellington to Nelson
Enjoy one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. From the South Island port of Picton it’s a short drive into sauvignon country, so we pause at a Marlborough winery for a tasting session, before arriving in Nelson.
Day 3 Abel Tasman National Park
This pristine wilderness of hidden coves and bush-clad ranges is best explored by boat and on foot. Choose one of these options:
Scenic Cruise: 3-4 hours (no walking) – The morning cruise reveals the golden sands and turquoise waters of Anchorage, Bark Bay, Tonga Quarry, Awaroa and Totaranui Beach, plus Split Apple Rock and (we hope) fur seals. Return 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 fabulous Anchorage Beach. Late afternoon shuttle 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) to Anchorage Beach: highlights include South Head lookout, Falls River swing-bridge and Cleopatra’s Pool. Shuttle transfer to Nelson.
Cruise the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park
Day 4 Nelson to Punakaiki
We travel through Nelson Lakes National Park to the shores of Lake Rotoiti, then follow the gold-miners’ route, crossing the Buller River Gorge by single-track bridges. Emerging onto the west coast, we marvel at Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks: limestone stacks weathered by the stormy Tasman Sea.
Day 5 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier
The Great Coast Road – one of the world’s 10 most scenic coastal drives – is our route today, to Hokitika, where there’s the chance to browse excellent art and craft galleries, and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These rivers of ice flow down almost to sea level and (weather permitting) there’s time for an optional (at own cost) helicopter trip to see them at closer quarters!
Day 6 Fox Glacier to Wanaka
A stroll beside Lake Matheson may be rewarded by a fabulous photo of Mount Cook mirrored in its waters. Then head over the Haast Pass through Mt Aspiring National Park to Lake Wanaka – for many South Islanders, their favourite spot for R&R.
Day 7 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 8 Wanaka to Te Anau
Drive over the Crown Range to charming Arrowtown, a gold rush village, then down the eastern shore of spectacular Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau: gateway to Fiordland National Park.
Day 9 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown
We follow river gorges through a wilderness of ancient rain forests and arrive at Milford Sound. Our small ship cruise takes us past Mitre Peak towards the Sound’s opening into the Tasman Sea. In a tour packed with scenic journeys, today’s is unforgettable!
Day 10 Queenstown
What a stunning resort! Sophisticated Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu are yours to enjoy. The choice of optional experiences (at own cost) is awesome: zip-line, jet-boat and bungee thrills, with a gondola glide to Bob’s Peak, a cruise on TSS Earnslaw, wine-tasting or walking more relaxing ideas!
Day 11 Queenstown to Mt Cook to Twizel
Leaving Queenstown by the Kawarau Gorge we cross Central Otago and drive beside Lake Pukaki into the Southern Alps to get as close to Aoraki Mount Cook as is possible by road.
Day 12 Twizel to Rural Canterbury
Drop in on a local home and learn all about Pavlova – a real Kiwi dessert! Enjoy a slice and drink in views of Lake Tekapo with your cup of tea, before visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd on the lake shore. Crossing the tussock plains to Ashburton, you have a choice of accommodation tonight.
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 13 Ashburton to Christchurch
We cross the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch – and what better way to see this most English of New Zealand cities than from a punt steered by an Edwardian-era boatman on the River Avon? Then we take a trip on a heritage tram through a city re-inventing itself after the 2010/11 earthquakes, with exciting buildings like the ‘cardboard’ Cathedral. Tonight we come together for a farewell dinner.
Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability 22 February – 6 March 2019 4,280 1,320 FILLING UP Enquire now 22 March – 3 April 2019 4,280 1,320 FILLING UP Enquire now 19 April – 1 May 2019 4,110 1,260 PLACES Enquire now 24 October – 6 November 2019 3,930 1,300 PLACES Enquire now 21 November – 4 December 2019 3,930 1,300 PLACES Enquire now 24 January – 6 February 2020 4,270 1,350 PLACES Enquire now 28 February – 12 March 2020 4,270 1,350 PLACES Enquire now 27 March – 9 April 2020 4,270 1,350 PLACES Enquire now 18 April – 1 May 2020 3,930 1,300 PLACES Enquire now 16 May – 29 May 2020 3,420 1,170 PLACES Enquire now 23 October – 5 November 2020 4,130 1,370 PLACES Enquire now 27 November – 10 December 2020 4,130 1,370 PLACES Enquire now
- Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
- Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
- 13 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotels
- 13 breakfasts
- 1 lunch
- 2 evening meals
- Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included
- 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.
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!