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New Zealand Holidays & Tours...

We can tailor make your holiday or match you to the perfect group departure.  Contact us to discuss your requirements.  Scroll down for our example 3 week self-drive itinerary...

New Zealand is often described as the world in miniature - snow-capped mountains, magnificent coastal scenery, rainforest's, geothermal activity and the rich Maori culture all help make it a wonderful place to visit. We are able to tailor make your holiday to this fantastic destination so call Lisa now.

Excerpt from our New Zealand feature from our Travel Explorer newsletter
Although New Zealand looks tiny on the world map, especially compared to the hulking torso of its next door neighbour, it's as big as the UK and really needs at least two or three weeks to fully explore. But for those who want to combine it with a visit to Australia, or perhaps add a leisurely stopover or two in Asia or a South Pacific Island, there is a way to distil the ‘Enzed’ experience into days rather than weeks.


Our compact nest of pleasures starts in the capital Wellington. With its lively harbour, its horseshoe of green hills polished by scurrying clouds and steep streets tumbling with wooden Victorian houses, Wellington is the most handsome of cities. It’s also home to the superb Te Papa museum, a repository of national treasures and the single best introduction to all aspects of New Zealand life, from visiting an active marae, or sacred meeting place, to doing a virtual reality bungy jump.

The ferry to the South island, following in the wake of Captain Cook across the Cook Strait and into the calm, pale blue waters of Queen Charlotte Sound with its jigsaw of islands. Once ashore you would collect your hired car and explore the globally acclaimed Marlborough vineyards, including Cloudy Bay, the winery that ‘lifted New Zealand’s wines from obscurity to respectability’ according to James Halliday, author of the Pocket Guide to the wines of Australia and New Zealand.


The nearby fishing town of Nelson, which faces the wide panorama of Tasman Bay, is the St Ives of New Zealand, a magnet for artists and craftsmen. The local tourist office has a number of different craft trails, linking wood turners with weavers, ceramicists with glass blowers, jewellers with makers of ‘wearable art’, such as a dress I saw with a breast plate made of strips of bacon in perspex and a skirt of wet kelp. I decided against bringing one home as a present for my wife.


Nearly a third of New Zealand is national park. Even our little polly pocket of the country has three, including the Kahurangi, the country’s second largest, Nelson Lakes and Abel Tasman, named after the Dutch explorer who sailed its coast in 1642, more than a century before Captain Cook.


Imagine the perfect beach where a dense natural garden meets the most golden of sands and the calmest, most opal of seas, protected from the prevailing west winds by granite highlands and headlands, and you are looking at the Abel Tasman. You can walk the coast path, explore by sea kayak or hop along by water taxis that operate a scheduled service right along the coast. You may well spot seals and maybe dolphins, but we’re saving the great marine show for the last stop.


The old whaling town of Kaikoura, our most southerly point on this condensed version of New Zealand, is now most famous for whale sightings rather than shootings. In the smorgasbord of food found in the rich mingling currents off the peninsula, there’s a 95 percent chance of a sighting, as well as seeing - and swimming with - dolphins. But Kaikoura would be worth it just for the drive from Nelson. To port, the pale Pacific rollers and beaches littered with kelp and giant arthritic claws of bone coloured driftwood. To starboard, the immensity of 6000 foot mountains, the first appearance of the Southern Alps. Few places in the world celebrate such an intimate marriage of mountain and sea.




3 week self-drive example itinerary

Days 1 and 2 AucklandAuckland
Check into the Hilton, maritime hip in style with eyes-wide-open views of Waitemata harbour, and you’ll have an instant idea of what the ‘City of Sails’ is all about. Then drag yourself away from the window and explore the lively waterfront. You might also want to consider a day tour of WaihekeIsland, an island of unique art galleries, vineyards and stylish cafés. Other options include a sail around the harbour.

Days 3 and 4 The Coromandel
Travel along the scenic and well signposted Pacific Coast Highway to the Coromandel. The area is a perfect marriage of coast and native bush. We suggest you spend a day on a ‘Kiwi Dundee’ Adventure, which combines kauri forest walks with a visit to an 1890s gold mining town. You’ll see glow worms, and learn about the flora and fauna of this magical area and the contrasting coastline of beaches (including the famous thermal sand pools at Hot Water), cliffs and offshore islands. You’ll be staying at Brenton Lodge which offers three Ps of pleasure: peace, privacy and pampering. Accommodation is in individual cottages with sea views and there’s a gorgeous pool in its landscaped garden, as well as a chocolaterie.

Days 5 and 6 Lake Taupo
Don’t linger too long over breakfast because the plan for the day is to break your journey at Rotorua to visit the bubbling thermal springs and Maori cultural centre. From there travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway to Taupo. Here you’ll be staying at the boutique Tauhara Sunrise Lodge with sweeping views over the lake.Among the easily arranged Taupo experiences are helicopter flights to the steaming volcanic crater of MountRuapehu in the TongariroWorldHeritagePark; a lake cruise; or the ‘Triple Whammy’ combo of floatplane into a thermal park with an exhilarating jet boat ride.

Days 7 and 8 Hawke’s Bay
Further along the Thermal Explorer Highway is Hawke's Bay. Your base for exploring the Hawke’s Bay vineyards is the boutique Breckenridge Lodge, nestled in the picturesque valley of Omarunui , with views of the vines and just a few minutes’ drive from Napier and Hastings. For a birds’ eye perspective on the vineyards you could drift with the early morning breeze in a hot air balloon. There are also half or full day wine tours, plus one that visits - by 4WD - Cape Kidnappers and the largest and most accessible gannet colony in the world.

Day 9 Wellington
There’s just a night in New Zealand’s capital city, but time enough to visit the waterfront and the superb Te Papa museum. You’ll stay at the boutique Museum Hotel.

Days 10 and 11 Marlborough Sound
You’ll drop your car at the ferry port, sail across Cook Strait and be met on arrival and transferred by boat to your accommodation at the Bay of Many Coves. If, however, you’d prefer to save time and savour the Sound scenery from the air, you could fly by helicopter from Wellington straight to the property. Sitting right on the Sound, the experience of the Bay of Many Coves is bound to be a highlight of your holiday because of its tranquil setting, the sea views from your own apartment, terrific food (with lots of ingredients straight from the sea) and the option of sailing, fishing, walking or kayaking in such an unspoilt natural environment. The hotel can arrange for you to walk part of the famous Queen Charlotte Track, with water taxi transfers and a picnic lunch. The owners also have a luxury cruise boat (the Lady Karen) which can be chartered, with skipper. Or, of course, you can simply kick back and relax.

Days 12 and 13 Kaikoura
The folks from the Bay of Many Coves will take you back by boat to Picton where you’ll collect a car and drive through the wineries of the Marlborough Sounds en route to Kaikoura. You’ll spend the next two nights in Hapuku Lodge, either in the Lodge itself or one of the stunning Treehouses, each with a spa bath, fireplace and balcony. During the day you’ll have time to enjoy whale watching, swimming with dolphins, a Maori cultural tour or quad biking.

Day 14 Canterbury High Country
Today’s destination is Terrace Downs, a resort about 40mins south of Christchurch, although on your way south you might want to stop off at Amberley for lunch at one of the wineries, such as Pegasus Bay. Situated on the edge of Rakaia Gorge with its own riding stables, an 18-hole championship golf course - one of the top three in NZ - and a spa, plus lots of delightful walks, Terrace Downs makes an ideal place to break your journey.

Days 15 and 16 Queenstown & Arrowtown
There’s a fairly full first day of driving but with so many changes in scenery – rich farmlands, the almost desert-like central Otago and awesome mountains - time will easily pass in a series of scenic distractions. LakeTekapo, with views of Mount Cook, makes a useful half-way stop for lunch. In Queenstown the menu of activities would almost fill this entire brochure. One of the many options we recommend is a trip that includes a thrilling, knuckleblanching jetboat scenic ride on the DartRiver, lunch at a historic Glenorchy pub, CoronetPeak, historic Arrowtown and KawarauBridge to watch the bungee jumpers, with a final stop at Amisfield Winery for tastings. Accommodation is at Arrowtown House in nearby Arrowtown, away from the crowds of Queenstown. The award-winning b&b has five guest rooms, spread over a collection of buildings, each equipped with its own washing machine and dryer (ideal for those who’ve been on the road for the last two weeks!)

Day 17 Afloat on Doubtful Sound
A mini cruise on the Fiordland Navigator, with the prospect of Bottlenose dolphins for company, fur seals on the shores, occasional penguins and jaw-dropping fiord scenery. You’ll spend the night riding at anchor in this maritime wilderness, with use of kayaks and inflatables for more intimate encounters. NB This cruise does not operate between May and September - please ask us about alternative options.

Days 18 and 19 Wanaka
This lakeside town is like a cameo version of Queenstown, but more chilled out and arguably even more scenic. The local activities have more of a natural emphasis and feature a wide choice of walking trails. Your guest-house, Riverrun, sits on the side of a mountain with views of the lake and surrounding peaks. For a more intimate encounter with the nearby MountAspiring scenery, book a ‘Siberia Experience’, which includes a scenic flight over the mountains, a walk and a jetboat ride back to base.

Day 20 Fox Glacier
Head north, with a long day’s drive over the HaastPass and along the west coast, but a spectacular one with a Kodak moment at every bend. The final stretch of serpentine road will lead you to the small isolated town of Fox Glacier where you'll check in to Distinction Fox Glacier . You should have time to take a scenic flight over the glaciers and a walk - 2hrs or so – through native forest around Lake Matheson, known as Mirror Lake for its perfect upside-down perspective on Mount Cook.

Day 21 Christchurch
Drive to Greymouth, arriving in time to drop off the car and catch the lunchtime departure of the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch. Your last night will be spent at The George.

You could turn the trip into a full ‘head to toe’ journey through New Zealand by starting in the Bay of Islands, which epitomises the ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ as seen on the posters. The best approach would be to fly straight from Auckland’s airport to Kerikeri (see our coast section). If you want to see more of the South Island, particularly the wildlife at the southern tip, see page our Scenery section.


2 nights in Auckland at the Hilton
2 nights in The Coromandel at Brenton Lodge including breakfast
2 nights at Lake Taupo at Tauhara Sunrise Lodge including breakfast
2 nights in Hawke’s Bay at Breckenridge Lodge including breakfast
1 night in Wellington at the Museum Hotel
2 nights in Marlborough Sound at the Bay of Many Coves
2 nights in Kaikoura at Hapuku Lodge including breakfast & dinner
1 night in Canterbury High County at Terrace Downs including breakfast
2 nights near Queenstown at Arrowtown House including breakfast
1 night at Doubtful Sound aboard the Fiordland Navigator with breakfast & dinner
2 nights in Wanaka at Riverrun including breakfast
1 night in Fox Glacier at Distinction Fox Glacier including breakfast
1 night in Christchurch at The George including breakfast




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