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New Zealand tailor-made holidays

When Peter Jackson was searching for the perfect setting to realise J.R.R Tolkien's fantasy adventures for the big screen, New Zealand was the obvious choice. [See New Zealand itinerary ideas]

Endless scenes of snow-capped mountains and ice-age glaciers, craggy coastlines and footprint-free beaches, mirror-still lakes in duck-egg blue and emerald green, steaming volcanoes, bubbling hot springs, virgin forests and plunging fjords; if nature had a design studio, full of her most stupendous ideas, it would be New Zealand.

The country certainly provides a canvas for adrenaline-charged pursuits like jet boating and bungee jumping, but you needn't view New Zealand as some kind of assault course.

Wine lovers will be enthralled by the vineyards of Hawke's Bay and Marlborough; foodies will whoop as they tuck into fist-sized oysters, green-lipped mussels and melt-in-the-mouth lamb; cultural connoisseurs can revel in a rich Maori heritage; and creatures of comfort will find luxury lodges and geothermal spas.

And with 30% of the country set aside as national parks, reserves and special heritage sites, it's no surprise that such awesome scenery is also home to a bedazzling array of wildlife.

Offshore you'll find seals and breaching sperm whales; you can swim with dolphins at Kaikoura and Paihia, or spot penguins and albatross on the Otago Peninsula. Most endearing of all is the flightless kiwi, still spotted in the wild in large numbers on spectacular Stewart Island.

It's possible to see most of the main sights in just a couple of weeks, but for a really good look without racing through your tick-list, we recommend anywhere between three and eight weeks ... short of actually emigrating that is.

Wexas Travel brochure for New Zealand

Australia, New Zealand & The South Pacific brochure

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

New Zealand experiences a moderate, maritime climate, though there are some differences in temperature and rainfall between north and south, east and west.

The South Island experiences a more temperate climate than the North and is generally cooler - summer highs (December to February) reach the low 20s, whilst during the winter months (June to August) temperatures can drop to freezing or below. Snow is as likely to fall in lower regions as it is in the UK - once or twice a year - but the Southern Alps receive a good layer of snow throughout the winter, perfect for winter sports. They also act as a rain barrier to the eastern side of the island as westerly prevailing winds suck up moisture from the Tasman Sea and release it as they rise over the Alps. This means that the West Coast and Fjordland are among the wettest places in the world - Hokitika monthly average rainfall is 240mm, Christchurch by comparison is just 53mm.

By contrast, North Island experiences a more tropical climate. It's warmer than the south, and humid summers slip less noticeably into milder winters. Central North Island still experiences some snowfall in the winter, making it popular with skiers and snowboarders.

As long as you don't mind a little rain, New Zealand is easily visited at any time of year. Most international tourists stick to the shoulder seasons - October, November and April - when attractions are considerably quieter given that most New Zealanders are at work or school during those periods.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
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Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.


Practical Information

Capital - Wellington

Size - 268,000 sq km

Language - Both English and Maori are official languages. Other spoken languages include Samoan, Hindi, Chinese, French.

Population - 4.3 million

Religion - Protestant, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Maori Christian, Hindi, Buddhist

Currency -NZ$

Time zone - GMT -+12

Flight time from the UK - 24hrs

Festivals

January - Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, N Island

February - New Zealand Fringe Festival, Wellington, N Island

March - WOMAD, world music festival, New Plymouth, N Island

April - Arrowtown Autumn Festival, S Island

May - Auckland Triennial, art show, N Island

June - Fieldays, agricultural show, Hamilton, N Island

July - Taranaki International Festival of the Arts, New Plymouth, N Island

August - Visa Wellington on a Plate, culinary festival, N Island

September - Blossom Festival, Alexandra, S Island

November - Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular, New Plymouth, N Island

December - Rhythm and Vines, music festival, Gisborne, N Island 

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for the full duration of your stay. If you are visiting another country or countries en route to or from New Zealand, be sure to check any further entry requirements.

Money

The New Zealand Dollar (NZ$) is the official currency of New Zealand. Coins come in denominations 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2; notes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.

All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and Mastercard most commonly accepted. ATMs are available at all times of the day throughout the country and though there will likely be a small charge for foreign transactions, exchange rates at ATMs are generally as good as you'll find anywhere else. Be sure to notify your bank of your travels to avoid them from blocking your card when an international transaction is made.

Regions [13]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in New Zealand, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0614.

North Island

With the modern cities of Auckland and Wellington, and scenery that ranges from rugged coastlines to ancient, immovable kauri forests, spurting geysers and bubbling hot springs, the North Island of New Zealand is an exciting and varied place, quite different from the …

Northland & Bay of Islands

The waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet at Cape Reinga, mainland New Zealand's northernmost point.The majority of visitors make for the east coast, with its calm, safe bays and historic townships like Paihia and Russell in the scenic Bay of Islands.

Queenstown & Wanaka

Queenstown is regarded as New Zealand's adventure capital. It is the home of the first commercial bungee jump at Kawarau Bridge and over the years has attracted millions of visitors looking for a quick scare on this and other adventurous activities.

Rotorua, Taupo & Coromandel

Dramatic volcanic landscapes and Maori culture are the key reasons to visit the North Island's central thermal region. Rotorua offers geysers and hot springs, while sacred Mount Ruapehu, trout-filled Lake Taupo and the surging Huka Falls nearby provide more essential …

South Island

Classic New Zealand scenery is the main reason that travellers make for the clean, green and serene South Island. It's an ideal destination for independent travel, with spectacular drives and relatively easy access to a number of dramatic wilderness areas.

Top of the South

New Zealand's Top of the South region is one of fine natural beauty. Kayak around the picturesque bays of Abel Tasman National Park, relax in the galleries and wellness retreats around Nelson, discover a variety of world-class wineries in Blenheim, drift along the deep …

Wellington

New Zealand's capital Wellington is a quarter of the size of Auckland, yet has gained a reputation for being one of the country's most sparkling cities, despite its small-town feel.

West Coast

Extreme climate and extreme geography are the hallmarks of the west coast of New Zealand, a narrow strip of land hemmed in by the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, the backbone of the South Island.


Itinerary ideas [30]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in New Zealand. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0614.

New Zealand Wonderland

From £5,295 pp incl. flights
Escorted tour History & culture Natural world

Discover the best New Zealand has to offer on this comprehensive and popular 17-day fully-guided tour with APT Touring.

New Zealand – A Wilderness Journey

From £4,545 pp incl. flights
Activity adventure History & culture Luxury travel

New Zealand's landscapes are truly spectacular. Verdant subtropical forests, miles of unspoilt coastline, shimmering turquoise lakes, plunging fjords, towering …

New Zealand Wanderer, New Zealand

Call for details
City Escorted tour Food & wine

From Rotorua’s steaming geysers on the North Island to Milford Sound’s dramatic cliffs on the South Island, this 19-day discovery of New Zealand takes in …

16 day Phenomenon Tour, New Zealand

Call for details
Activity adventure City Escorted tour

This 16-day escorted tour takes you to experience Maori culture and thermal activity in Rotorua, discover the natural beauty of the west coast and the alpine …

Cycling in Central Otago

Call for details
Activity adventure Escorted tour Food & wine

New Zealand's South Island is a place of immense beauty. From the high, snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to rolling vineyards and turquoise rivers, the …

Highlighter Tour, New Zealand

Call for details
Escorted tour Natural world Spa

Beginning in the North Island, this 14-day tour winds its way south, taking in New Zealand’s best natural attractions along the way. Among other highlights, …

New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands & Macquarie Island

Call for details
Activity adventure Exploration cruise Natural world

Isolated, windswept, beautiful and fragile, the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands are a paradise for birders and photographers, particularly notable for their …

Pacific Horizon Motorhomes New Zealand

Call for details
Self-drive

New Zealand is a wonderful country in which to enjoy a self-drive holiday. Motorhomes provide the means to roam and explore the country at your own pace. …

New Zealand North Island self-drive

Call for details
Luxury travel Natural world Self-drive

Highlights of North Island 8-day self-drive

New Zealand Motorhome Experience

Call for details
Beach City Natural world

Experience New Zealand in the freedom of your Premier 2 Berth Mororhome equipped with ensuite shower and toilet facilities. This predesigned itinerary has been …

The best of New Zealand

Call for details
Food & wine History & culture Natural world

Only New Zealand crams so much scenery into so little space: snow-capped mountains and ice-age glaciers, craggy coastlines and footprint-free beaches, …

Auckland & the Bay of Islands

Call for details
Beach City Natural world

A year-round favourite, this tailor-made self-drive tour is a wonderful mix of coastal and forest scenery, wildlife encounters, Maori culture and geothermal …

Great New Zealand Experience

Call for details
City Escorted tour History & culture

Experience the best of New Zealand on APT’s most popular 21 day ’Premier Plus’ escorted tour. This comprehensive and stylish tour, will take have you …

New Zealand – A Royal Journey

Call for details
Activity adventure Food & wine Honeymoon

Experience the very best New Zealand has to offer on this incredible 18-day tailor-made holiday, staying at the finest luxury accommodation and enjoying some …

Queen Charlotte Track

Call for details
Activity adventure Natural world Short break

The Queen Charlotte Track is arguably the most diverse coastal track in New Zealand. The middle section is perhaps the most memorable, with incredible views of …

South Island Peaks and Glaciers

Call for details
Activity adventure Beach Natural world

With majestic glaciers and snow-tipped mountains plunging into vast crystal fiords, this tailor-made tour really captures the drama of New Zealand’s South …

Routeburn Track

Call for details
Activity adventure All-inclusive

The Routeburn Guided Walk is a three-day, all-inclusive, Queenstown to Queenstown alpine adventure, with quality lodges, hot showers and excellent meals. The …

Discover Stewart Island

Call for details
Wildlife

Stewart Island is New Zealand’s ultimate eco-tourism destination. Its densely forested hills, and untouched coastline of rocky outcrops and creamy golden sand …

Volcanoes & Vineyards Self-drive

Call for details
Activity adventure Eco-tourism Food & wine

Volcanic action and vineyards are features of this self-drive itinerary. Visit the wine growing regions of Auckland, then head for the boiling mud and geysers …

Abel Tasman Guided Walk

Call for details
Activity adventure Beach Natural world

The world famous Abel Tasman Coast Track reveals hidden estuaries, idyllic golden sand beaches, castaway islands and forested headlands, which provide a superb …

Highlights of the North Island

Call for details
Beach Food & wine Natural world

This 14-day tailor-made self-drive holiday has been designed to showcase the best of New Zealand's North Island. Driving distances are short, giving you ample …

New Zealand Highlights Self-drive

Call for details
Activity adventure City History & culture

Uncover the highlights of New Zealand’s stunningly scenic and diverse islands on this 15-day fully flexible self-drive tour. From arrival in Auckland you’ll …

New Zealand – A Mythical Journey

Call for details
Activity adventure History & culture Luxury travel

New Zealand is a country of legends and myth, a cultural melting pot with a rich and vibrant history. Maori heritage remains at the heart of this island nation …

New Zealand Highlighter

Call for details
Activity adventure City Escorted tour

Beginning in Auckland in the North Island, this 14-day escorted tour from leading tour operator APT winds its way through the length and breadth of New Zealand, …

Highlights of South Island self-drive

Call for details
Activity adventure Natural world Rail journey

To travel through South Island is like a fun-filled lesson in geography: vast empty beaches where yours are the only footprints, endless mountain ranges …

Places to stay [32]

The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in New Zealand. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in New Zealand, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0614.

Cotter House

Luxury travel

Cotter House is a rare Inner City Heritage Luxury Retreat. Exquisitely restored, its Regency architecture preserved, this romantic hideaway offers a rare …

Dairy Luxury Private Hotel

£££££
Luxury travel

The Dairy Luxury Private Hotel is an eight room boutique lodge only 150 metres from the town centre surrounded by wonderful lake and mountain views. Its focus …

Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau, New Zealand

£££££££
Activity adventure Food & wine Natural world

A warm welcome awaits you at Fiordland Lodge, a luxury lodge set on the shores of Lake Te Anau in the heart of New Zealand's World Heritage-listed Fiordland …

The Spire

The Spire is both modern and stylish. Its 10 rooms have super king beds, plasma TVs, large covered balconies and deepsoaking baths with separate showers. The …

Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch, New Zealand

£££££££
Food & wine History & culture Relaxation

Built in 1895 for Sir Heaton Rhodes, Otahuna Lodge is a stylish and elegant Victorian mansion set with beautiful manicured gardens on the outskirts of …

River Run

£££££
Luxury travel

River Run Lodge, just 5 minutes from the town centre, is surrounded by 500 acres of private land, with walks, running trails and spectacular mountain views. …

Amora Hotel, Wellington

£££££

The Amora is right in the centre of Wellington, overlooking the harbour. All chic neutral guestrooms have stunning views over the harbour, perfect for viewing …

Claremont House, Luxury B & B

Luxury travel

Claremont House is a private guest house with the homely feel of a bed and breakfast and luxury of a boutique hotel. The main house was built in 1908 and has …

The Crown

The Crown Hotel overlooks the waterfront in the village of Ahuriri, one of the oldest areas of Napier, offering everything from beaches and boardwalks to …

Fletcher Lodge

Luxury travel

Located just a few minutes walk from the hub of the city, Fletcher Lodge offers luxury accommodation in an atmosphere of restrained elegance while providing the …

The Martinborough Hotel

Luxury travel

The Martinborough Hotel is an exclusive luxury retreat offering an historic, boutique experience in the heart of Martinborough Wine Village - one of New …

Stewart Island Lodge

Stewart Island Lodge has unsurpassed views of Half Moon Bay and surrounding hills. The lodge provides a very high standard of comfort, with all rooms being en …

Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

£££££££
Beach Food & wine Relaxation

Just 35 minutes from Auckland in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf, Delamore Lodge on beautiful Waiheke Island offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of …

Blanket Bay

Luxury travel

This magnificent lodge provides accommodation and facilities that rank among the best in New Zealand. Its situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, on a 65,000 …

Stonefly Lodge, Nelson, New Zealand

£££££
Activity adventure Eco-tourism Natural world

Set within 150 acres of pristine private forest in the heart of the Moteuka Valley, just 50 minutes from the town of Nelson, Stonefly Lodge offers luxury …

The Boatshed, Waiheke Island

£££££
Beach Food & wine Relaxation

Originally the small holiday cottage of designer David Scott and now one of New Zealand's best-loved boutique luxury hotels, The Boatshed enjoys a stunning …

The Springs

£££££

This award-winning purpose built luxury bed and breakfast is located in a pleasant residential area in the heart of Rotorua. Each of the four guest rooms is …

Solitaire Lodge, Rotorua, New Zealand

£££££££
Food & wine Relaxation Romance

Set on a peninsula just outside the town of Rotorua on New Zealand's North Island. Originally built in 1980 as a luxury fishing lodge, Solitaire Lodge enjoys …

Puka Park Resort

The Grand Mecure Puka Park Resort is just a two hour drive from Auckland, set in 25 acres of native bush and just minutes away from the cafes and restaurants at …

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown

£££££££
Food & wine Mountains Relaxation

Located just seven minutes from the lively centre of Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge sits on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu. With breathtaking views over the …

Remarkables Lodge Queenstown

Luxury travel Natural world

Perfectly positions at the base of the stunning Remarkable Mountains, the aptly named Remarkables Lodge is the perfect home for those looking for an intimate …

Mount St. Paul Estate, Great Barrier Island

£££££
Beach Food & wine Off-The-Beaten-Track

Set on a hillside, 50 metres above sea level amid 108 acres of manuka bush, this intimate and luxurious bed and breakfast lodge makes a great base from which to …

Sebel Suites

Originally built for the Americas Cup, the ever-popular Sebel Suites sits right in the middle of the action of Viaduct Harbour, with some of the swankiest …

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, New Zealand

£££££££
Food & wine Golf Relaxation

Set amid 6,000 acres of pristine coastal landscape near Matauri Bay in New Zealand's beautiful Bay of Islands around 160 miles north of Auckland, The Lodge at …

The Bolton Hotel

Located in the centre of Wellington, The Bolton Hotel is an excellent base from which to explore the city. Each of the 142 guestrooms and suites, furnished in a …

Treetops Lodge and Estate, Rotorua, New Zealand

£££££££
Family Food & wine Relaxation

Set amidst a beautiful forest just outside the town of Rotorua, just two hours drive from Auckland on New Zealand's picturesque North Island, Treetops Lodge and …

Hapuku Lodge & Treehouses

The view of Kaikouras dramatic mountains and surf-washed coastline looks pretty good from one of Hapuku Lodges contemporary treehouses. Each is 30ft off the …

Holiday types [1]

The types of holiday listed below are just a flavour of the experiences available in New Zealand. We can also suggest and plan alternative types of holiday to take into account your individual interests. To start planning what to do whilst away, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0614.


Offers [1]

Wexas negotiates with a wealth of travel companies, airlines, cruise operators, hotels and tour operators to bring you the very best travel offers. For great value or a range of add-on benefits, review the list of offers below.

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Just back from: New Zealand

WEXAS Travel New Zealand specialist Alex Brossler recently returned to the country for a two-week … [Read more about Just back from: New Zealand]

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