Always wanted to visit New Zealand with your family? Restricted by school holidays? We’ve got just the solution for you – an action packed trip full of fun ideas, the top scenic highlights and of course, the best in Kiwi hospitality.

Roomy rental vehicles, a delightful mix of one or two bedroom apartments, bed & breakfasts and the option to stay on a farm makes this an amazing family-friendly New Zealand holiday.

The suggested itinerary can be shortened or lengthened to suit according to your timescale and is appropriate for all school holiday times. (Please be aware that some services may operate a reduced timetable during the Pacific winter months of July and August).

What’s included

  • Meet & greet at Auckland airport
  • Private transfer to your Auckland hotel
  • 16 night’s 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
  • Coastal Pacific rail tickets
  • Hobbiton
  • Maori Evening Haka, traditional meal and entertainment
  • Jet boat the Waikato River
  • Cruise and Walk or Kayak in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Whalewatch Kaikoura
  • Star-gazing at Mount Cook
  • Milford Sound day with optional flight
  • Coach & boat trip Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park

Optional highlights

  • A panoramic view of Auckland from the top of the Sky Tower: the SkyWalk and SkyJump are optional!
  • Rotorua Canopy Tour
  • The finest one day walk in New Zealand; Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand, Wellington
  • Weta Lord of the Rings Workshops, Wellington
  • A guided tour of Christchurch city highlights including survival stories from the 2011 earthquake
  • A Glacial Explorers trip. Mount Cook
  • All the thrills and spills Queenstown has to offer.
How To BookEnquire now

Day 1 Haere Mae: welcome!

We greet you at the airport, and whisk you to your central hotel, with restaurants and city sights on the doorstep. Stretch your legs on a stroll down to the harbour.


Day 2 Auckland

Exciting Auckland is a melting pot of cultures from Polynesian and European to Asian. It is surrounded by sea, extinct volcanoes, and bush-clad ranges. Top tips for sightseeing are a stroll in Aotea Square, a trip up the Sky Tower and a ferry across the harbour. For an overview of the country’s history and Maori culture, the Auckland Museum is excellent.


Day 3 Auckland to Matamata to Rotorua

Collect your hire car and head over the Bombay Hills through rolling farmland to Matamata. This rural community is now known by another name: Hobbiton. If you haven’t seen Peter Jackson’s films, drive on to Rotorua, but Lord of the Rings fans have a treat in store on a guided visit to the original film location, complete with Bag End and the Party Tree.


Day 4 Rotorua

Rotorua forms part of the ‘Pacific Rim of Fire’ and thermal activity is everywhere! Easily accessible to the town are the bubbling mud pools and geyser at Te Puia; close by are other fascinating sites like the Buried Village, or the thermal spa at Hell’s Gate. For some more action, head to the forest for an exhilarating zip-line experience

Rotorua is also home to Maori tribes and on a family trip like this, an evening of songs, legends and dance – including the famous haka – is a must. Enjoy a traditional hangi feast cooked in the earth by ‘free’ geothermal heat. A memorable evening!


Day 5 Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

On the road south, journey to Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Here you can enjoy a thrilling jet boat ride- have your lunch afterwards! Then enter Tongariro National Park, a starkly beautiful volcanic landscape.

Alpine Lodge

Day 6 Tongariro National Park

Day at leisure to explore the area which has some of the best day walks in New Zealand and is home to some of the Lord of the Rings movie locations.

Alpine Lodge

Day 7 Tongariro National Park to Wellington

Travel to Wellington, NZ’s capital. Eclectic cafes, street art, film sets or historic sights – there is something for everyone.

Take the Cable Car for wonderful views over Wellington.


Day 8 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 gateway to three National Parks.


Day 9 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, enjoy a picnic and walk a section of the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track, then re-join the boat at Torrent Bay. Return to Nelson.

(Alternatively, cruise the Marlborough Sounds and help the postman deliver farming supplies, medical items and general mail to the inhabitants of Pelorous Sound or head off on a river kayaking trip)


Day 10 Nelson to Blenheim to Kaikoura

Depart by coach or car to drive via Blenheim for the East Coast journey to Christchurch (alternatively take the Coastal Pacific train from Blenheim to Kaikoura).

Stop off in Blenheim at one of the wineries to taste some of New Zealand’s best sauvignon blanc.

Arrive at your accommodation in Kaikoura right on the seafront


Day 11 Kaikoura to Christchurch

Up early to take a three hour marine adventure into the Pacific to view giant sperm whales in their natural environment. There’s also a chance you will see Dusky dolphins and the rare Hector dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and a large variety of seabirds.
In the afternoon continue your journey by car or train to Christchurch.


Day 12 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!


Day 13 Christchurch to Mount Cook

Depart Christchurch and travel across the Canterbury plains through rural towns and farm lands. Stop at Lake Tekapo to see the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd with its views from the altar window across the lake and mountains then travel into Mount Cook National Park, a spectacular alpine region featuring the highest peak in Australasia.
In the evening view the night sky with trained guides using the latest state of the art telescopes and binoculars.


Day 14 Mount Cook to Queenstown

Sir Edmund Hillary climbed these peaks before his ascent of Everest. Visit the Alpine Centre that bears his name, before following the Hooker Valley Track for superb views of Mount Cook.

Drive to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.


Day 15 Queenstown

There are dozens of activities from bungy jumping to white-water rafting, from horse riding to zorbing. Or soak up the scenery from the deck of the TSS Earnslaw as she steams up Lake Wakatipu.


Day 16 Queenstown to Milford to Queenstown

A full 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 take a scenic flight back to Queenstown.


Day 17 Depart New Zealand

Leave your rental vehicle at Queenstown international Airport and depart on your flight home with everlasting memories of an amazing family holiday.

Day 1 & 2

City Hotel

Day 3 & 4

Private Hotel

Day 5 & 6

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Country Hotel

Day 8 & 9

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 12 & 13

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, 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”