Complete New Zealand
32 days from £4,210 Enquire now
- 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
- Interislander ferry travel as foot-passengers
- TranzAlpine rail tickets
- Overnight Milford Mariner cruise (incl lunch, dinner)
- Coach & boat trip Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Day 5 Bay of Islands
Visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the treaty between Maori tribes and British settlers was signed in 1840.
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.
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.
Day 8 Coromandel to Rotorua
On to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. Visit Te Puia with its geothermal valley and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. In the evening enjoy a cultural experience that culminates with a traditional Maori Hangi for your evening meal.
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.
Day 10 Rotorua to Napier
Travel south to Taupo, nestled on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake, stopping at Huka Falls before continuing through to the township.
From here drive to Napier, a wonderful Art Deco town with a fascinating history and wonderful architecture. The town is also the gateway to the Hawkes Bay wine country.
Day 11 Hawkes Bay
We recommend leaving the car at home today, and hiring bikes to make the most of the winery tours and tastings that are a must in the area.
Head out to Te Mata Peak to enjoy the beautiful panoramic views out across the mountain ranges.
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.
Day 13 Wellington
Spend the day exploring New Zealand’s compact capital city. Take the Cable Car up to the Kelburn lookout and wander back down through the Botanic Gardens, stopping off for tea in the Lady Rosewood Garden. Alternatively immerse yourself in history and culture at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum.
Day 14 Wellington to Picton to Nelson
Return your rental vehicle and board 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 pick up your hire car or take the coach across the top of the South Island to Nelson, your base for the next two nights.
Day 15 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.
Day 16 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 17 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.
Day 18 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!
Day 19 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.
Day 20 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.
Day 21 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.
Day 22 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.
Day 23 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.
Day 24 Queenstown to Milford Mariner overnight
Journey by coach through the stunning valleys and past the ‘mirror’ lakes to reach Milford Sound.
Board the Milford Mariner to cruise the Sound, learning about its geology, flora and fauna from the on-board expert, before anchoring in a sheltered cove. Absorb the beauty from a seat on deck, or kayak closer to Milford’s mystery.
Day 25 Milford Mariner to Te Anau
Return from Milford by coach to the township of Te Anau , located on the shores of Lake Te Anau . Enjoy some downtime after your overnight trip and relax in your beautiful surroundings .Walks along the shoreline or part of the Kepler track or boat trips are other possibilities.
Day 26 Te Anau / 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.
Day 27 Otago Wildlife Excursions
Take a trip out to the Otago Peninsula to see the Royal Albatross at Taiaroa heads, and the Little Blue Penguins that nestle in sandy burrows on the beaches.
In the city itself, the Railway Station is a stunning example of the city’s fabulous architecture.
Day 28 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.
Day 29 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’.
Day 30 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.
Day 31 Christchurch
Today explore Christchurch. Enjoy a guided walking tour and learn how the city is reclaiming its place as the premier city on South Island after the devastating earthquakes of 2011.
Take a short drive out to the Port Hills for excellent walks, or to the French settlement and harbour town of Akaroa.
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.
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.
Bev & John Blackham
We thought we’d email you to express our thanks to you for organising the holiday, it went like a dream. Right from being met at Christchurch airport by your representative and being handed the book of vouchers and road atlas (which was priceless). Every voucher worked without a hitch (amazing).
The Milford track, Abel Tasman, Muller hut at Mount Cooke, Tongariro crossing and many of the other walks you suggested were stunning. New Zealand is such a well organised country and the people so friendly and the roads so empty.
The car hire worked well and we’re pleased we decided not to have a camper van with the mileage we were travelling a car is so much easier.
Again many thanks to you for the hard work you have put in to making our holiday a success and the link up with Emma and Josh went really well.
Brian & Nicky Dale
We had a fabulous holiday…not sure I can pick out the best bits! Tiri Tiri Matangi trip, Bay of Islands (dolphins), Kauri trees, Cathedral Cove, Tongariro, Queen Charlotte Sound in to Picton, Kaikoura Peninsular, Lake Matheson, Glaciers, Wanaka, Milford Sound, shotover jet in Queenstown, Mt Cook Hooker Valley walk…..all of it really!
The accommodation was all superb and we loved the book of prepaid vouchers…I know we’ve paid but not having to think about how much we were paying as we went along made things more enjoyable somehow, especially given the excellent B&B’s and hotels you found us and the 5 star nature of some of them!
I also want to say that directions to the various accommodations given in the final itinerary were spot on and took us straight there every time..I don’t think we ever got lost which is impressive! Everywhere we stayed we found ourselves ideally positioned for whatever we were there for which was much appreciated and well thought out.
We loved the scenery everywhere we went…as one fellow tourist commented at the top of Mt Ruapehu it doesn’t seem fair that one country should have everything! We never felt it was time to go home since there was always something special to look forward to the next day and the one after that…the four and a half weeks just touched the surface but we’re so lucky to have been able to make the trip and will remember it for years to come.
Thank you for helping us to have the holiday of a lifetime. We are certainly recommending Silverfern to everyone we talk New Zealand to!
Healey & Callow’s
The organisation through the whole trip was marvellous – much better than if we’d planned it ourselves.