What’s included

  • Meet & greet at Auckland airport
  • Private transfer to your Auckland hotel
  • 31 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotels and B&Bs
  • Breakfast each day
  • Intermediate car hire with unlimited kilometres & daily insurance
  • Traditional Maori Hangi
  • Interislander ferry travel as foot-passengers
  • TranzAlpine rail tickets
  • Milford Nature Cruise
  • Coach & boat trip Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park

Optional highlights

  • Walking trails through Rotorua’s spectacular Redwood Forest
  • A guided tour of Hawke’s Bay wineries and sample some of the country’s best chardonnays
  • Weta Workshop in Wellington to see Lord of the Rings props and costumes
  • Riding a horse along the sands at Punakaiki
  • Hiring an electric bike to explore the traffic-free path from Queenstown to Jacks Point
  • Panning for gold in the old mining settlement of Arrowtown
How To BookEnquire now

Day 1 Arrive Auckland

Haere mai – welcome! We greet your flight and take you straight to your accommodation for the next two nights. The rest of your day is at leisure. Head up the Sky Tower for great views across the city, or explore the vibrant downtown waterfront.

City Hotel

Day 2 Auckland

A day to explore the islands of the Hauraki Maritime Gulf, take the ferry to Rangitoto Island and walk up to the summit for 360° views or head to the conservation island of Tiritiri Matangi to see rare native birds such as the Takahe and the Kokako.

City Hotel

Day 3 Auckland to Bay of Islands

Collect your rental vehicle and drive north along the Hibiscus Coast Highway to the Waipoua Forest to learn about the ancient Kauri trees, including ‘the lord of the forest’ Tane Mahuta.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Tane Mahuta Kauri Tree

Day 4 Bay of Islands

Cruise to Cape Brett and the ‘hole in the rock’, head out into the bay with a chance to swim with dolphins, and learn a little more of local village Russell’s rip-roaring past on a guided tour.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Day 5 Bay of Islands

Visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the treaty between Maori tribes and British settlers was signed in 1840.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Day 6 Bay of Islands to Coromandel Peninsula

Head south, through the Waikato to the Miranda Shorebird Centre to learn about some of New Zealand’s most fascinating birdlife. Stroll the beautiful beaches of the Coromandel.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Day 7 Coromandel

Dig your own spa pool at Hot Water Beach, or wander along the beach to Cathedral Cove to view the naturally formed archway on the beach, one of the most photographed sites in the country.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Day 8 Coromandel to Rotorua

On to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. En route optional visit to the shire of Hobbiton.

Visit Te Puia with its geothermal valley and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment / Private Hotel

Day 9 Rotorua

Stroll the Government Gardens and visit the Victorian Bathouse . Head out to Waimangu Valley for a leisurely walk through the valley of steaming geysers , mud pools and lakes . In the evening enjoy a cultural experience that culminates with a traditional Maori Hangi for your evening meal.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment / Private Hotel

Day 10 Rotorua to Napier or Tongariro National Park

On the road south, make time to see the Lady Knox Geyser at Wai O Tapu Geothermal Park. Stop in Taupo for lunch before entering Tongariro National Park, a starkly beautiful volcanic landscape.

Alternatively head east to Napier. Discover how this seaside resort was reinvented as an Art Deco icon on a guided walking tour.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Private Hotel / Alpine Lodge

Day 11 Napier or Tongariro National Park

Napier: Join a wine tasting afternoon in the sun driving through stunning scenery. Meet like-minded people on this small group tour and share an appreciation of this regions fantastic wine. Or head out to see the gannet colony at Cape Kidknappers with a ride on a tractor across the sands.

Tongariro: Often described as the finest one day walk in New Zealand, the Tongariro Crossing is a full day traverse of the ‘saddle’ between Mts Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. Shorter walks are also possible. A round of golf on an all-weather course, or a soak in a natural hot pool are other options.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Private Hotel / Alpine Lodge

Day 12 Hawkes Bay to Wellington

Drive through the Wairarapa and over the winding Rimutaka Hill to arrive into Wellington, the Capital City and ‘The Coolest Little Capital in the World’ according to The Lonely Planet Guides.

City Hotel

Day 13 Wellington to Picton to Nelson

Drive to the Interislander Ferry for the cruise across the Cook Strait and through the scenic Queen Charlotte Sound to the South Island.

Arrive into Picton and drive across the top of the South Island to Nelson, your base for the next two nights.

Private Hotel / Apartment

Day 14 Abel Tasman National Park

Transfer by coach from Nelson to Kaiteriteri for a cruise into the heart of Abel Tasman National Park.

Walk the most varied section of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, along a path that weaves through Manuka groves to the long golden sands of Anchorage beach.

Return to Kaiteriteri by boat then on to Nelson by coach.

Private Hotel / Apartment

Day 15 Nelson to Blenheim to Kaikoura

Depart Nelson and drive through farmlands, pine plantations then the Rai Valley to the vineyards surrounding Blenheim in the Marlborough Wine Country. From here travel south down the eastern coastline along the thin ledge of land pinned between the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged ranges to Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea.

Private Hotel

Day 16 Kaikoura to Christchurch

This morning there is the option to enjoy a Whale Watch experience by modern purpose-built catamaran for an exciting close-up encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment.

The road south follows the wild coastline affording constantly changing seascapes and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean before turning inland and climbing the Hundalee Ranges. Then descend into the rolling farmland of North Canterbury passing through small country towns before entering the city of Christchurch.

Private Hotel

Day 17 Christchurch

Day at leisure to enjoy the ‘Garden City’, which has also been described as “the most English city outside England”. Take a punt on the River Avon, stroll through the Botanic Gardens, and ride the city’s historic tram.

You may also wish to observe the re-building of the Cathedral, browse the shops and stalls of the Arts Centre or visit the Canterbury Museum and the Art Gallery.

Private Hotel

Day 18 Christchurch to Greymouth to Hokitika

Board the Tranzalpine train for one of the world’s greatest rail journeys through the splendour of the Southern Alps to the West Coast. Travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River to Arthur’s Pass before continuing on to Greymouth.

Collect your rental car and drive down the West Coast to Hokitika, famed for its gold mining heritage.

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 19 Hokitika / Fox Glacier

Travel to the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers and take a walk to the terminal face. Enjoy a guided heli-hike or sightseeing flight to experience the glacier close up.

Drive to Lake Matheson for superb reflections of Mount Cook and the Tasman glacier. Remember to bring your camera!

Country Hotel

Day 20 Fox Glacier to Wanaka

Drive through the stunning Haast Pass and into Mount Aspiring National Park.

Arrive into Wanaka, and enjoy views of the lake that reflect the mountain peaks that in winter offer superb skiing.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Day 21 Wanaka

Enjoy lakeside walks, or an exhilarating jet boat trip on the Matukituki River, guaranteed to set the pulse racing!

Relax in the evening at Cinema Paradiso, with its comfy sofas and even a classic Morris Minor to sit in to view the latest releases.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Day 22 Wanaka

A day at leisure or for more activities, perhaps a trip into the high mountains for amazing views of the Park or an eco adventure to Mou Waho Island where you can plant a native tree.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment

Day 23 Wanaka to Queenstown

Today it’s an easy drive over the Crown Range to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure playground and South Island’s busiest resort.

Spend the afternoon exploring this action packed little town.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment / Private Hotel

Day 24 Queenstown

Take a short drive out to Arrowtown, or ride up the Skyline Gondola for panoramic views of the area.

Local wineries welcome visitors for tastings and tours and the classic steamship TSS Earnslaw is an unforgettable way to discover Lake Wakatipu.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Apartment / Private Hotel

Day 25 Queenstown to Te Anau

Leaving Queenstown, follow the eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu and continue on through the lovely Southland countryside where sheep, cattle and deer farming predominate before reaching Te Anau.

Country Hotel / Apartment

Day 26 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Te Anau

Depart on a leisurely small group day excursion to Milford Sound travelling through the dramatic scenery of the Fiordland National Park. On arrival at Milford Sound enjoy a nature cruise by boat cruising past Mitre Peak and along the full length of the fiord with its cascading waterfalls, steep cliff faces and native rainforest to the Tasman Sea. On your return journey there is the option to enjoy a series of short guided walks with your local guide.

Country Hotel / Apartment

Day 27 Te Anau to Dunedin

Drive along the shores of Lake Te Anau and through the sheep farming heartland of South Island and on to the city of Dunedin.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Private Hotel

Day 28 Dunedin

Dunedin sits at the head of the magnificent Otago Harbour. Founded in 1848 by Scottish settlers, Dunedin was envisaged as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ and the city still wears its Scottish heritage with pride. She is a city of gracious dignity and charm, characterised by many handsome stone buildings mixed with a quirky city vibe influenced by the local university students.

Local Bed & Breakfast / Private Hotel

Day 29 Dunedin to Mount Cook

Head north along the coast, stopping to view the extraordinary Moeraki Boulders, before heading inland to Mount Cook National Park.

Drive along the western shore of Lake Pukaki with its intensely blue glacier-fed waters.

Country Hotel / Apartment

Day 30 Mount Cook

A day amongst an amazing mountain panorama. Named Aoraki, ‘the cloud piercer’ by the Maoris, Mount Cook is the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere.

This area is an International Dark Sky Reserve and at the Mount John Observatory in Tekapo you can see galaxies ‘far far away’.

Country Hotel / Apartment

Day 31 Mount Cook 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.

Local Bed & Breakfast / City Hotel

Day 32 Christchurch

Time for some final sightseeing or shopping.

Return your rental vehicle to Christchurch International airport to board your homebound flight

Day 1 & 2

City Hotel

Day 3 - 5

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 6 & 7

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 8 & 9

Private Hotel

Day 10 & 11

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 12& 13

City Hotel

Day 14 & 15

Private Hotel

Day 16

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 17

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 18

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 19 - 21

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 22 & 23

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 24 & 25

Country Hotel

Day 26 & 27

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 28 & 29

Country Hotel

Day 26 & 27

Local Bed & Breakfast

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 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.

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.

The Brown’s

Fantastic experience all round. All the accommodations were superb. Many thanks for your help with the doctors and pharmacies!

Julie Rhoney

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.

Mr Richardson

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.

“exceeded expectations”
“exceptional driver – very experienced”
“the mix of people only added to the enjoyment”