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.

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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!

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

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.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 3 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 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.

Punakaiki Resort

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!

Te Weheka

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.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

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.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

See native birds on a conservation island
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.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

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!

Scenic Suites Queenstown

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!

Scenic Suites Queenstown

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.

Mackenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Day 12 Twizel to Lake Tekapo across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch

Head down the Tasman Valley from Mount Cook and on to Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the window behind the altar frames an astonishing view of the lake.

Then across the high country’s tussock plains, through Fairlie and Geraldine to the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Day 13 Christchurch

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.

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Day 14 Depart Christchurch

After breakfast we transfer you to Christchurch Airport or, if we are making additional arrangements for you, set you on the next stage of your trip of a lifetime. Haere ra!

Day 1

James Cook Chancellor

Day 2 & 3

Heritage Rutherford Hotel

Day 4

Punakaiki Resort

Day 5

Te Weheka

Day 6 & 7

Edgewater Resort

Day 8

Distinction Te Anau

Day 9 & 10

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 11

MacKenzie Country Inn

Day 12 & 13

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Tour datePrice (£)Single supplement (£)Availability 
27 January - 9 February 20233,9301,300FULL
17 February - 2 March 20234,2701,350FULL
3 March - 16 March 20234,2701,350FULL
31 March - 13 April 20234,2701,350PLACESEnquire now
3 November – 16 November 20234,4101,385PLACESEnquire now
1 December - 14 December 20234,7171,460PLACESEnquire now
2 February- 15 February 20244,7171,460PLACESEnquire now
16 February – 29 February 20244,7171,460PLACESEnquire now
1 March - 14 March 20244,7171,460PLACESEnquire now

What’s included?

  • 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

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.

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, 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!