New Zealand Highlights
14 days from £2,160 Enquire now
- 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
- 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
- Cruise Waitemata Harbour from Auckland to Devonport
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.
- Enjoy an authentic Maori dining experience and cultural performance
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.
- See the Victorian Bathhouse and stroll Rotorua’s lakeside gardens
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!
- Electro bike along the traffic free cycle path out of Queenstown to Jack’s Point
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.
- Cruise Lake Wakatipu on a vintage steamer
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.
- Enjoy your cruise on Milford Cruise
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.
- Discover Lake Wanaka’s wildlife with an Eco Expert
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.
- Visit the National Transport Museum and Toy Museum in 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
- Take a helicopter flight around Mount Cook
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.
- Visit Hokitika’s unique museum for tales of goldmining adventures
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).
- Take a Punt on the River Avon, 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.
- Explore the Cardboard Cathedral in 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.
Day 14 – Depart New Zealand
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 volcanos 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 Zealands 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 inbetween 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.
We travelled as a group of eight, all with different agendas and timescales – it was marvellous how you put it all together. The two track walks on Abel Tasman and the Milford Track were outstanding. And, of course, it was a particular highlight for me to meet up with our son. Thanks for all the organisation.
Brian & Melanie Atkinson
We are seasoned world travellers who generally travel independently and make all our own arrangements. However as we had an extended trip of the Far East culminating in a road trip round New Zealand we were delighted to be recommended to Silver Fern.
Both Barbara and John spent a considerable time with us finding out what we wanted to do and then imparting their considerable local knowledge to put a wonderful itinerary together for us.
The accommodation they recommended was exactly as we had requested according to the budget we have given them, driving distances were well planned and we were even met at the airport and given a detailed itinerary and plenty of local information about getting around New Zealand.
Suggestions were also made for places to visit that we would otherwise not have considered. Just before we were due to leave we had to change our travel dates and Barbara seamlessly rearranged the accommodation where required. We cannot recommend them highly enough.
Thank you John and Barbara.
Jan & Chris Gadsby
Friends recommended Silver Fern to us, and we, in turn, would not hesitate in recommending Silver Fern to anyone who wants a tailor-made, hassle free dream of an experience in New Zealand and Singapore.
John’s knowledge of New Zealand is incredible and his recommendations about bases, accommodation, excursions and fun activities were all spot-on for us – and for our budget.
We covered both islands, taking in 10 areas, and the well-planned, detailed itinerary, which included driving times, accurate directions and precise arrangements for car hire, internal flights and transfers, ran like clockwork. Nothing was too much trouble for Silver Fern – even when circumstances dictated that we had to cancel everything and rebook it all later.
We have fantastic 60th birthday trip memories of our stay in New Zealand and Singapore. Every bit of it was special!
Thank you, Silver Fern! We will be back soon, asking you to organise another trip for us!