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Join us for this Small Group Journey to explore the highlights of the North and South Islands; unleash your adventurous spirit in the adrenaline capital of Queenstown, cruise Milford Sound and make the most of the abundance of walking opportunities the country has to offer, as you travel through New Zealand’s fabulous landscapes.
- Enjoy views of the Coromandel Peninsula
From Auckland we drive south through the lush farmlands of the Waikato to the Firth of Thames where we meet Keith Woodley and his enthusiastic team for a tour of the Miranda Shorebird Centre. Here we learn about the amazing annual migrations of Bar-tailed Godwits and Wrybills, whirling flocks of thousands of shorebirds and the rare geology of shell bank cheniers.
- Dig your own Hot pool to sit back and relax in at Hot Water Beach
Dig your own spa pool at Hot Water Beach, and take a walk to Cathedral Cove with its water-worn rock formations sparkling against the blue-green of the Pacific.
Later, relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch under the shade of the local fruit trees at one of our favourite cafes.
Tonight we share on the cooking duties enjoying a Kiwi Favourite – a BBQ dinner in the garden of our accommodation.
- Watch Maori craftsmen demonstrate traditional crafts including weaving and wood carving
We take the Pacific Coast Highway to Rotorua to visit Te Puia – not only a fascinating active geothermal site, but also the nation’s centre for indigenous arts and crafts and a Kiwi conservation project.
- Enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi for your evening meal tonight
This morning take an easy walking tour through the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, to discover more about the eruption of Mount Tarewera in 1886 that destroyed the famous ‘Pink and White’ silica terraces.
A Maori cultural experience and traditional hangi meal are the perfect way to end the day.
- Enjoy a walking tour of Napier with your expert Art Deco guide
Journey south, with a stop at magnificent Huka Falls before continuing to Lake Taupo. Weather permitting we will see the peaks of Ruapehu, Ngaruhoe and Tongariro across the lake.
Later we arrive in Napier for a guided walking tour of this colourful Art Deco city and a visit to some of the most iconic sights.
The area is also well loved for its fabulous wines so this evening, our treat is a dinner with a glass of wine at the Mission Estate Winery.
- Learning about New Zealand culture past and present at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum
This morning we travel south through the Wairarapa, over the Rimutaka Hill to arrive in the country’s capital city Wellington.
Enjoy a ride up to the Kelburn lookout in the cable car and take a gentle stroll back down through the native forests and plant collections of the Botanic Gardens.
We also recommend a visit to Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum.
- Exploring the many Art and local craft galleries in Nelson
Today take the Interislander Ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton. From there it’s a two hour drive to the delightful town of Nelson, officially the sunniest place in New Zealand and our base for two nights.
In the afternoon we stretch our legs on a path that follows the Matai River on a section of the Centre of New Zealand Walkway.
- Walk the most varied section of the Abel Tasman coastal track from Torrent Bay to the beautiful Anchorage Beach
A highlight of the tour is a trip to Abel Tasman National Park with its golden coves and turquoise lagoons sheltered by forested ranges to the south. We board a small cruiser for a day of exploration, with opportunities for swimming and walking.
- Take an optional helicopter flight around Mount Cook or onto the Tasman Glacier (own expense)
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.
- Marvel at the magical reflections of Mount Cook in the deep waters of Lake Matheson (weather permitting!)
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 enjoy an evening lakeside stroll.
- Enjoy the stunning views from the viewpoints at the summit of the Diamond Lake track 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
- Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the magnificent Milford Sound nature tour
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.
Day 15 – Queenstown (B)
Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability 20 October – 3 November 2018 5,400.00 1,625.00 FULL 17 November – 1 December 2018 5,400.00 1,625.00 PLACES Enquire now 16 February – 2 March 2019 5,420.00 1,660.00 FILLING UP Enquire now 16 March – 30 March 2019 5,420.00 1,660.00 PLACES Enquire now 13 Apri l – 27 April 2019 5,130.00 1,450.00 PLACES Enquire now 11 May – 25 May 2019 4,530.00 1,400.00 PLACES Enquire now 8 June – 22 June 2019 4,530.00 1,400.00 PLACES Enquire now 19 October – 2 November 2019 5,510.00 1,710.00 PLACES Enquire now 16 November – 30 November 2019 5,510.00 1,710.00 PLACES Enquire now
- Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
- Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
- 14 nights accommodation in quality Hotels and B&Bs
- Breakfast each day
- 3 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 Volcanic 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
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!
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