A Grand Tour of New Zealand
27 days from £3,795 Enquire now
- Meet & greet at Auckland airport
- Private transfer to your Auckland hotel
- 26 nights accommodation in quality Hotels and B&Bs
- Breakfast each day
- Intermediate car hire with unlimited kilometres & daily insurance
- Interislander ferry travel as foot-passengers
- Coach travel Picton/Nelson & Nelson/Christchurch
- TranzAlpine rail tickets
- Milford Sound day excursion (incl lunch)
- Coach & boat trip Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park
- A panoramic view of Auckland from the top of the Sky Tower: the SkyWalk and SkyJump are optional!
- Swimming with dolphins in the warm waters of the Bay of Islands
- Walking through the living landscape of Waimangu Thermal Valley
- Coffee or lunch at one of the excellent bakeries in Greytown, Wairarapa
- Cruising or walking in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park
- Heli-hiking on the Franz Josef Glacier
- The awesome sight of Mitre Peak and the natural beauty of Milford Sound on a day trip
Day 1 Haere Mai – Welcome!
We meet you on landing at Auckland and take you straight to your hotel. Depending on your journey, relax or start exploring!
Day 2 Auckland
Many city sights are within a stroll of your hotel. Alternatively, take a ferry to Rangitoto Island for a walk and views across the Hauraki Gulf.
Day 3 Auckland to Bay of Islands
Collect your rental car and drive over the Harbour Bridge on your journey to the seaside town of Paihia.
Day 4 Bay of Islands
Enjoy a cruise to the ‘hole in the rock’ or take a ferry across to historic Russell.
Alternatively explore Northland on two wheels and hire a bike and ride some the Twin Coast Cycle Trail
Day 5 Bay of Islands
Explore the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where in 1840, an agreement was signed between Maori warriors and British settlers, forming the nation of New Zealand
Day 6 Bay of Islands to Hamilton
Depart Paihia and travel south through rural townships of Warkworth and Wellsford then pass the delightful beaches of the Hibiscus Coast ,by-pass Auckland, and follow along the east bank of the Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river to Hamilton, home of the enchanting Hamilton Gardens.
Day 7 Hamilton to Rotorua
Continue south, travel across the farmland of the Waikato to arrive at your accommodation in Rotorua.
Day 8 Rotorua
Te Puia offers geothermal features and Maori culture within its reserve. Weaving and carving are demonstrated at the National Arts and Crafts Institute. We can recommend a Maori evening experience combining a traditional welcome, songs and feast (a hangi).
Day 9 Rotorua to Hawke’s Bay or Tongariro
Head to Taupo, the vast lake formed by a super-volcano thousands of years ago. This is a good spot for lunch before continuing to Hawke’s Bay.
Day 10 Hawke’s Bay or Tongariro
Waking up in Napier, discover how this seaside resort was reinvented as an Art Deco icon on a guided walking tour.
Outside the town, explore the oldest vineyards in New Zealand.
Day 11 Hawke’s Bay or Tongariro to Wellington
Travel to Wellington, NZ’s capital. Eclectic cafes, street art, film sets or historic sights: there is something for everyone.
Day 12 Wellington to Picton to Nelson
Drop off your rental vehicle before boarding the Interislander Ferry to Picton at the top of South Island. Take a coach to Nelson, famed for its sunny lifestyle and arts scene.
Day 13 Abel Tasman National Park
The best way to appreciate the amazing beaches is by boat, so after a coach transfer, hop on a small cruiser for the day. Land on an idyllic beach and walk a section of the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track, then re-join the boat at Torrent Bay. Return to Nelson.
Day 14 Nelson to Blenheim to Christchurch
Depart Nelson by coach or car and travel via the Lewis Pass or Blenheim to the city of Christchurch. Alternatively take the Coastal Pacific train from Blenheim to Christchurch with outstanding views of the Kaikoura mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Day 15 Christchurch to Hokitika
Enjoy one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world: the Tranz Alpine over the Southern Alps winds up and over Arthur’s Pass then down to the west coast. Detraining at Greymouth, collect another vehicle to continue to the gold rush town of Hokitika.
Day 16 Hokitika to Fox Glacier
There are few places where it is easy to view a ‘river of ice’ and here are two! There are various ways to get close to the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers on foot and by air for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day 17 Fox Glacier to Wanaka
Today take the Haast Pass through Mt Aspiring National Park to charming Wanaka. Stretch your legs on a lakeside walk or visit a craft gallery before dinner in one of the resort’s highly-rated restaurants.
Day 18 Wanaka
Play time! Wanaka offers a host of outdoor adventures from exhilarating waterfall climbs to jet-boat river rides.
Day 19 Wanaka
Enjoy many leisurely walks or spend an afternoon with eco-expert Chris Riley discovering native flora and flora on the lake.
Visit the eccentric Puzzling World and challenge yourself to find your way out of the great maze.
Day 20 Wanaka to Te Anau
Travel south, around Lake Wakatipu across Southland to Te Anau. Enjoy a walk beside the lake or a boat trip to visit the glow worm caves.
Day 21 Milford Sound Day Excursion
A scenic journey by coach deep into Fiordland National Park before arriving at Milford Sound to board a small cruiser to view the natural wonders, up to Mitre Peak and the entrance to the Tasman Sea. Almost 250 years ago, Captain Cook sailed past the narrow mouth without discovering this amazing place.
Day 22 Te Anau to Queenstown
Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and unique energy of the Queenstown region create the perfect backdrop for a holiday full of adventure, exploration or relaxation.
Day 23 Queenstown
As well as white-knuckle thrills, Queenstown offers gentle cycling, wine-tasting, a gondola ride and good shopping. A cruise on TSS Earnslaw up to Walter Peak sheep station for dinner is a favourite early evening option.
Day 24 Queenstown to Mount Cook
Drive alongside the shores of Lake Pukaki into the Mount Cook National Park for magnificent views and walks in the Hooker Valley.
Day 25 Mount Cook to Christchurch
After enjoying the view from the Church of the Good Shepherd, step aside to see the statue which celebrates the working sheepdogs of the Mackenzie area, then cross the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
Day 26 Christchurch
Following 2011’s earthquake, the ‘Garden City’ is rebuilding, blending old with new to reclaim its place as the premier city of South Island. A guided tour with a local is a must, then try a tram ride, or go punting!
Know before you go
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fantastic experience all round. All the accommodations were superb. Many thanks for your help with the doctors and pharmacies!
I had been to a presentation and met Laura. She came across as very knowledgable and confident and she inspired me to seriously consider booking a once in a lifetime holiday.
The attention to detail given by Laura Ling was second to none I would have no hesitation in booking another holiday through Laura.
I cannot wait until I am able to return to NZ. Well, that was indeed the holiday of a lifetime… but we want a re run! There is still so much we want to see and do.
Many thanks for all your efforts, it all went swimmingly.
As you know this was my first holiday since the death of my wife, and when she was alive we had talked about adding a trip to New Zealand onto one of our visits to see our son and his wife in Sydney.
I was not sure whether I was ready to do it on my own.
I decided that the first move was to talk to someone so I spoke to John on the phone and arranged to come and have a chat. We had a long meeting and it all sounded ideal. All I needed to do was convince myself.
Once I made the decision everything was so easy thanks to you. You kept in touch right up to me going and I always felt that I had a good contact if I had a problem.
Now onto the tour. Not much to say. It was even better than I had expected. The coach and driver were top class, the hotels and food were very good and the itinerary meant we visited everywhere we needed to see New Zealand.
However, as you know the highlight of my 6 weeks away was meeting my 5 month old grandson in Sydney.
That said, I am so pleased I made the trip and even more pleased that I arranged it through Silver Fern Holidays; everything was first class.
“exceptional driver – very experienced”
“the mix of people only added to the enjoyment”