19 days from £5,210 Enquire now
This Small Group Journey takes you through some of our favourite places and spaces in the North and South Islands, discovering fantastic coastlines and immersing you in Maori culture and history.
Explore the Geothermal wonders of the bubbling mud pools and exploding geysers of Rotorua and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Abel Tasman National Park with opportunities to swim or kayak in its dazzling turquoise lagoons.
- Enjoy a coffee at one of the many outdoor cafes on the viaduct harbour
Welcome to New Zealand! You will receive a warm welcome on arrival into Auckland International Airport. We meet you from your flight and take you to your hotel to freshen up.
The rest of this day is yours to explore or rest at your leisure.
- Our accommodation in Tairua – pacific-island-style chalets set in lush gardens that run down to the sea.
Our tour begins as we leave Auckland and drive south to the Firth of Thames to stop at the Miranda Shorebird Centre where you will learn about the amazing annual migrations of wrybills, godwits and shorebirds that in summer travel the 10,000km in their journey south from the Arctic Circle.
Later, arrive in Tairua harbour, where pacific-island-style chalets are our home for the night.
- Sink into your own spa pool on Hot Water Beach
Take a walk to the marine reserve of Cathedral Cove, one of the most picturesque spots in the Coromandel, with its water-worn rock formations sparkling against the blue-green of the Pacific.
Enjoy the golden beaches – it’s not every day you can dig your own spa pool to relax in as you can on Hot Water Beach!
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 through the Bay of Plenty en route to Rotorua.
We spend the afternoon at Te Puia where guides will share stories and give you an insight into this fascinating geothermal area. Watch the bubbling mud pools, view the world famous Pohutu geyser and talk to locals at the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving.
- Experience a traditional Maori hangi for your evening meal.
This morning we visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, with a guided walking and cruising tour to learn more about the history of this fascinating region.
We also travel to a local Marae (Maori meeting house) to listen to some ancient legends and learn about Maori lifestyle today.
- Stopping off at Huka Falls and vast Lake Taupo
Today we travel to the Art Deco town of Napier.
We’ll take a guided walking tour visiting some of the most iconic sights and hearing about some of the local residents who were involved in rebuilding the town after the devastating earthquake of 1931.
This evening’s treat is a dinner with a glass of wine at Mission Estate, the oldest winery in the area.
- Make time to go to Te Papa Museum, to learn more about the culture and history of New Zealand
We continue south through the rolling hills of the Wairarapa to arrive in Wellington.
Spend the afternoon sightseeing with a visit to the Beehive, Wellingtons fondly nicknamed parliament building, and a short ride up to the Kelburn lookout in the iconic red cable car.
- Look out for dolphins that often accompany the ferry across the Cook Strait
We board the Interislander Ferry across the Cook Strait and through the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. On arrival we travel to Nelson, the sunniest town In New Zealand.
Enjoy an easy walk on the Centre of New Zealand Walkway to enjoy stunning views of the area.
- Take an easy 4-hour hike through the sub-tropical bush to Torrent Bay and its beautiful tidal lagoon
Paradise found! Abel Tasman’s shimmering waters and golden beaches make it a real high point to any trip to New Zealand. We board a small cruiser to explore, with opportunities for swimming and walking.
- See the amazing blow holes at Dolomite Point
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.
- Enjoy a stroll along the edge of the beautiful Lake Wanaka
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.
- Lace up your walking boots and enjoy some wonderful scenery on the Diamond Lake, Rocky Mountain half day walk
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 halfday walks – The Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain Trail.
Later we head to Te Anau, gateway to the magnificent Fiordland National Park
- Take in some of New Zealand best scenery on a nature cruise out on the magnificent Milford Sound
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 short guided walks with an experienced and knowledgeable nature guide.
- an afternoon stroll around Lake Wakitipu in Queenstown
Leaving Fiordland National Park behind, we take a short journey via Kingstown and Lake Wakitipu to Queenstown, ‘Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere’ and our base for the next two nights.
- Exploring Queenstown – take the Skyline Gondola up to Bobs’ Peak and luge back down.
A day at leisure to relax or explore. Thrill-seekers may zip-line from Bob’s Peak, get drenched on a Shotover jet-boat ride or go white-water rafting.
Those seeking a more relaxed option may choose to discover Lake Wakatipu with a cruise on the classic steamship TSS Earnslaw up to Walter Peak Station.
- Explore the history of the quaint little village of Arrowtown
Today we drive north via Arrowtown, a historical goldmining settlement and on to Twizel. We overnight near Mount Cook home to the country’s highest peak.
- Learning about life in New Zealand during your rural homestay.
A beautiful drive along Lake Pukaki to The Hermitage, our starting point for a choice of easy walks along the Hooker Valley trail for a close up of the majestic Mount Cook.
Later, we travel to Ashburton, where your hosts will extend their hospitality to you during your rural homestay.
- The city’s exciting new developments such as the inspiring ‘cardboard’ Cathedral, shopping centres and Pop Up bars
Enjoy a drive through the Canterbury Plains as we set off for Christchurch, New Zealand’s ‘Garden City’. Take a tour to see how the city is recreating itself after 2011’s earthquake and stroll through Hagley Park and enjoy the botanical gardens in the peaceful setting of the River Avon.
This is the final part of our journey together so tonight we relax together over a farewell dinner that showcases the best of New Zealand food and wine.
Day 19 – Depart Christchurch
Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability 20 October – 7 November 2018 6,200.00 1,895.00 FULL 17 November – 5 December 2018 6,200.00 1,895.00 PLACES Enquire now 16 February – 6 March 2019 6,190.00 1,840.00 FILLING UP Enquire now 16 March – 3 April 2019 6,190.00 1,840.00 PLACES Enquire now 13 April – 1 May 2019 5,990.00 1,730.00 PLACES Enquire now 11 May – 29 May 2019 5,300.00 1,580.00 PLACES Enquire now 8 June – 26 June 2019 5,300.00 1,580.00 PLACES Enquire now 19 October – 6 November 2019 6,330.00 1,900.00 PLACES Enquire now 16 November – 4 December 2019 6,330.00 1,900.00 PLACES Enquire now
- Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
- Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
- 18 nights accommodation in quality Hotels and B&Bs
- Breakfast each day
- 5 evening meals
- Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included
- 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
- Take the Kelburn Cable car for views over Wellington
- 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
- Meet the locals on a rural homestay
- Farewell dinner in Christchurch restaurant
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!