What’s included

  • Meet & greet at Auckland airport
  • Private transfer to your Auckland hotel
  • 13 nights accommodation in quality Hotels and B&Bs
  • Breakfast each day
  • Intermediate car hire with unlimited kilometres & daily insurance
  • Domestic flight Rotorua/Queenstown
  • TranzAlpine rail service

Optional highlights

  • A ferry trip across Auckland’s harbour to Devonport
  • Taking a bungy jump off the Sky Tower for a unique view over Auckland!
  • Climbing over the Southern Alps on one of the world’s most scenic train rides
  • Riding an electric bike along Queenstown’s traffic-free cycle paths
  • Punting on the River Avon
  • The amazing architecture of Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral
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.

City Hotel

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.

City Hotel

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.

Private Hotel

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.

Rotorua is also home to Maori tribes and on a short 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!

Private Hotel

Day 5 Rotorua to Queenstown

Drop off your vehicle at Rotorua airport and board a flight to South Island. On arrival at Queenstown, pick up another car and start exploring! Surrounded by mountains and set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the beauty and energy of Queenstown offers something for every traveller. The resort offers sophisticated bars, good restaurants and shops: it is very much a year-round destination.

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 6 Queenstown

Today is free for you to pack in as many activities as you wish! Perhaps a white-knuckle jet-boat ride, parasailing, a bungy jump or white-water rafting? There are 4WD tours into the wild, guided bush walks, cycle trails, horse-riding and wine-tasting. Take a gondola to Bob’s Peak for panoramic views, or a trip on a vintage steamship. Whatever your interest, we can arrange most activities in advance.

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 7 Queenstown to Te Anau to Milford to Te Anau

Follow the eastern shore of Lake Wakatipu through Southland countryside to Te Anau. Here, board a coach for a great day trip to Milford Sound. The route through Fiordland National Park is winding so let someone else drive! On arrival, board a cruiser to explore the steep-sided Sound clad in dense rainforest, with cascading waterfalls. A picnic lunch is included, and an expert guide explains the Sound’s natural features.

Country Hotel

Day 8 Te Anau to Wanaka

Return to Queenstown and choose your route to Wanaka. One option is through Cromwell’s fruit orchards. The more challenging drive is New Zealand’s highest road over the Crown Ranges. Wanaka is where New Zealanders holiday in summer, at the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park.

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 9 Wanaka

A free day and night to draw breath! Relax on a lakeside stroll, linger in a café, then catch a film at Cinema Paradiso where the quirky seats include sofas and an adapted Morris Minor.

Alternatively, take an eco boat trip to Mou Waho island in search of the flightless Buff Weka, or a self-guided walk in the Matukituki Valley. A guided ‘via ferrata’ climb, skydiving, canyoning, and – in season – skiing and snowboarding are more active options

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 10 Wanaka to Fox Glacier

Leave via Lake Hawea and take the Haast Pass through the Southern Alps to the Tasman Sea. Your West Coast journey reveals rainforest, bush-fringed lakes and surf-pounded beaches. On arrival, take a walk to the viewing platform to see the glacier’s terminus.

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 11 Fox Glacier to Hokitika

Weather permitting, there is time for a scenic flight: a helicopter ride over the glacier’s reveals amazing features and views of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Longer flights can land on snow for an even more memorable experience!

Head north to Hokitika. This former gold-mining town is home to artists and craftspeople, and is a good place to buy authentic gifts, such as greenstone (called pounami by the Maori).

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 12 Hokitika to Greymouth to Christchurch

Drop your rental vehicle at Greymouth railway station in time to board the famous TranzAlpine train, which takes you up and over the Southern Alps on a line carved through the mountains by railway pioneers. The 4 ½ hour scenic journey features an 8-mile tunnel, sweeping bends and viaducts.

On arrival, transfer by private car and driver from Christchurch Railway Station to your accommodation.

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 13 Christchurch

Discover the city once described as ‘the most English outside England’ thanks to its gothic cathedral, colonial houses and punting on the River Avon. Now brave Christchurch is re-inventing itself with exciting new buildings, pop-up bars and ethnic restaurants. We recommend a guided walk with a local to understand the city’s past, present and future.

Local Bed & Breakfast

Day 14 Depart New Zealand

Our driver and private vehicle transfers you to Christchurch airport for your homeward flight. We hope you will return for a longer adventure one day!

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 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”