The Best of New Zealand
23 days from £3,475 Enquire now
- Meet & greet at Auckland airport
- Private transfer to your Auckland hotel
- 22 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
- Coach travel Picton/Nelson
- The volcanic island of Rangitoto on a day trip from Auckland
- A boat trip through subterranean caves where glow worms live
- Relaxing in the naturally hot spa pools of Rotorua
- A Hangi, the traditional Maori feast cooked in the earth’s own heat
- Tramping the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand’s finest one day walk
- Swimming in the crystal clear coves of the Abel Tasman National Park
- A thrilling jet-boat ride in Queenstown
Day 1 Arrive Auckland
We greet you on arrival at the airport and take you to your hotel where you can relax before getting to know the ‘City of Sails’.
Day 2 Auckland
A great start to city sightseeing is to ascend the Sky Tower: a SkyWalk is optional! Nearby Queen Street is the main strip and you could end your day with a waterfront dinner in the new Wynyard Quarter.
Day 3 Auckland to Waitomo to Rotorua
Collect a rental vehicle and head south to Waitomo Glow Worm caves before being welcomed to a real New Zealand home. Your hosts will be delighted to share a home-cooked dinner with you before you enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Day 4 Rotorua
From the Buried Village to Whakarewarewa, Te Puia and Waimangu: all fascinating attractions that blend the two aspects that make Rotorua a must: Maori culture and geothermal activity. We can also recommend an authentic Maori hangi for dinner!
Day 5 Rotorua to Tongariro National Park to Napier
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 the Art Deco town of Napier.)
Day 6 Tongariro National Park (or Napier)
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.
Day 7 Tongariro (or Napier) to Wellington
Travel through country towns to Wellington, still the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ thanks to its combination of location, architecture, café culture and laid-back lifestyle. Drop off your rental vehicle before a stroll through Civic Square to a Queens Wharf restaurant.
Visit New Zealand’s National Museum, Te Papa to learn more about the country’s history and heritage.
Day 8 Wellington to Picton to Nelson
Board the Interislander ferry to cruise to South Island, boarding a coach in Picton for the transfer to Nelson, the sunniest town in New Zealand.
Day 9 Abel Tasman National Park
It is easy to gush about the beauty of Abel Tasman National Park! Golden beaches, turquoise water and pristine native bush combine to create a natural paradise you can explore by boat, kayak or on foot. We have plenty of tips for you.
Day 10 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 11 Christchurch to Hokitika
Enjoy one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world: the Tranz Alpine over the Southern Alps winds up and over Arthur’s Pass then down to the west coast. Detraining at Greymouth, collect another vehicle to continue to the gold rush town of Hokitika.
Day 12 Hokitika to Franz Josef
Hokitika, once a gold rush town, is now a haven for craftspeople and a good place to buy pounamu (greenstone) carvings. Arrive in Franz Josef in time to see the glacier on a guided hike or helicopter trip: landing on the Tasman Glacier is an unforgettable experience!
Day 13 Franz Josef to Wanaka
Travel south through native rainforest, over mountain streams into the rugged beauty of the Haast Pass. Continue round the shores of glacial Hawea and Wanaka lakes to Wanaka township.
Day 14 Wanaka
One of our favourite destinations, the snow-capped peaks, long river valleys and lush native forest are centred around the beautiful lake. There are ‘tramping’ opportunities for every experience level.
Day 15 Wanaka
A jet boat trip or a waterfall climb are both guaranteed to set the pulses racing. In the evening, take a seat at Cinema Paradiso: they range from slouchy sofas to a modified Morris Minor!
Day 16 Wanaka to Te Anau
Travel through Central Otago, around the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, one of Fiordland’s most beautiful lakes. Round off the day with a lakeside stroll.
Day 17 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Te Anau
An early start for one of the world’s most scenic coach trips! Travelling through the National Park is integral to the Milford Sound experience. On arrival, a cruise on the Sound reveals vertiginous cliffs, cascading waterfalls and awesome Mitre Peak.
Day 18 Te Anau to Queenstown
Drive to Queenstown, sometimes called the ‘Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere’ and superbly set on Lake Wakatipu.
Day 19 Queenstown
So much to do, so little time! Stroll in well-kept gardens, cruise Lake Wakatipu or try an adrenalin activity like bungy jumping or an off-road 4X4 tour.
Day 20 Queenstown to Mt Cook
Drive through Mackenzie Country to Lake Pukaki and up to Mt Cook Village. Short walks to Kea Point or into the Hooker Valley offer wonderful mountain views. Descend to Twizel to overnight.
Day 21 Mt Cook to Christchurch
Make an early stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd, whose altar window frames Lake Tekapu. Cross the tussock plains, so evocative of sheep country, through Fairlie and Geraldine to arrive in Christchurch.
Day 22 Christchurch
Following 2011’s earthquake, this Garden City is rebuilding, blending old (Botanic Gardens, River Avon and the Tram) with new (the Cardboard Cathedral, Container Mall and countless pop-up bars) to reclaim its place as the premier city of South Island.
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.
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.
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.
Jane & Steve Silvester
We had a FANTASTIC time thank you!
Every part of our trip surpassed our expectations.
As for South Island and our (your!) itinerary it was wonderful-so many highlights-Abel Tasman, Wanaka, and Mount Cook being the most special as you would probably expect.
We loved the variety of travel – car, coach, train, plane, boat (we went to Milford Sound from Queenstown) and kayaking (Abel Tasman).
The accommodation you organised was superb, particularly the B&Bs in Wanaka (location and hosts), Queenstown (food) and Fox Glacier (view).
So all in all – a holiday of a lifetime! Thank you so much for your guidance.
Barry & Maggie Westby
We had a great trip to New Zealand. Everything had been very well organised so we had a trouble-free experience, giving us the chance to visit some great places with a mixture of cities and beautiful scenery.
Silver Fern Holidays arranged excellent accommodation for us, with a good mixture of hotels, B&Bs and a farm stay.
There were many highlights but some stand out: a walk through the rainforest in Abel Tasman National Park, with stunning views of the sea; a night on a boat on Doubtful Sound, and watching the sunrise over Mount Cook reflected in the still waters of Lake Matheson at Fox Glacier.
Silver Fern Holidays gave us excellent guidance and advice and we have no hesitation in recommending them to others planning a visit to New Zealand.
Pam & Dave Waller
Thanks once again for organising the holiday. We had a great time despite the weather. I am sure we will visit again one day.
The couple on the stand were very knowledgable and helpful with the planning of our holiday. Laura Ling our contact was very helpful and easy to talk to when planning our trip. She took a keen interest in us and our holiday requirements.
Very impressed with detailed itinerary and how it was presented.