New Zealand Holidays

Breathtaking scenery that has inspired movie makers, and a rich Māori culture await in glorious New Zealand.

There is perhaps nowhere in the world more enchanting, nor more naturally beautiful, than New Zealand. From dramatic mountains and forested valleys to majestic ice floes and dormant volcanoes. Even if it’s your first time visiting New Zealand, the landscapes may seem familiar, especially if you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia as they were filmed on location here.

Few countries can offer such a diverse range of authentic experiences as New Zealand whether it’s receiving a powerful pōwhiri traditional welcome on a visit to a Māori marae or landing on a glacier by helicopter to hike its icy crevasses. You can relax on golden beaches, hike spectacular trails, kayak through national parks, sample one of New Zealand’s world-class wines, go whale watching and learn the legends of the Māori. With so much coastline, fresh seafood is widely available at stylish city waterfront restaurants or from one of the roadside caravans that pop up to sell locally caught crayfish. You may prefer to try the delicious flavours of a meal cooked in a traditional hāngī, an oven dug into the ground. Whilst there is a good domestic flight network connecting the main cities, most visitors prefer to tour the country by car or motorhome.

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New Zealand - Perfect for

  • **Māori culture** Delve into the fascinating Māori culture as you explore Aotearoa.
  • **Middle-earth landscapes** See the natural backdrops used in The Lord of the Rings and take a tour of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set.
  • **Geothermal wonders** Explore New Zealand’s dramatic volcanic landscapes of bubbling mud, erupting geysers and sulphur crater lakes.
  • **Friendly cities** Enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of New Zealand’s cities, from Auckland to Dunedin.

New Zealand Regions

Our recommendations for the best places to visit in New Zealand

North Island Holidays

New Zealand's North Island is packed with geothermal wonderlands, swathes of golden sands and vib...

South Island Holidays

Explore snow-capped mountains, glaciers and towering fiords in The Lord of the Rings territory.

Hit the open road on a New Zealand self-drive, set the pace and see what you want to see. Our selection of itineraries are suggestions that have been created by our experts but we can amend them to meet your requirements. Opt for a highlights-style trip if you are short on time, or choose a more longer journey for a more in-depth experience; we also feature a collection of themed itineraries such as our dedicated trip tailored to wine lovers.

Chat to one of our Personal Travel Experts to find your dream trip in this bucket-list destination.

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Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Depart from Rotorua for Matamata, home to the Hobbiton Movie Set. Drive through a working sheep farm to the Shire’s rest where you will join a tour of the famous film set. Learn how the set was created as you discover hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge and the party tree. You can also have your picture taken by Bilbo’s front door at Bag End. Finish your tour with a tasty lunch in the Party Marquee and take in the view across the lake to the mill and Bag End.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Marlborough Icons Tour from Blenheim

Depart from Blenheim for this full-day tour which journeys through the renowned Marlborough wine region. Visit wineries and enjoy two fine wine experiences before continuing on through the Marlborough Sounds for a unique seafood cruise. Learn about the local history, visit a marine farm and stop to sample some fresh seafood paired with a glass of sauvignon blanc before your return journey.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Martinborough Wine Tour

Depart from Wellington and drive through the picturesque Hutt Valley and the Rimutaka Range to Martinborough for this full-day guided tour of the famous wine region. With a wide choice of wineries, there is a selection of award winning wines to sample, including the Pinot Noirs that the region is known for. Stop for lunch at Poppies winery and enjoy a superb platter of local delicacies matched with their fine wines. Continues on to a further 2 or 3 wineries or head to the lovingly restored colonial town of Greytown, where you can browse the main street taking in the craft and antique shops or stop for a coffee, before heading back over the hill to Wellington.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Milford Sound from Queenstown

Depart from Queenstown and travel along through the picturesque Southland farming country to Te Anau. Continue to the Fiordland National Park and the renowned Milford Road. This corridor to the fjord unveils a different side of New Zealand, with its majestic mountains and winding rivers. Throughout the journey, there will be multiple stops for photo opportunities, short walks, and the chance to learn about the fascinating local facts and stories. Embark on a nature cruise that takes you beneath the towering peaks of the fjord. Admire spectacular alpine scenery and look out for unique wildlife including dolphins and seals, before heading back to Queensland.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Lord of the Rings Full Day Tour from Queenstown

Discover locations from The Lord of the Rings films on this 4x4 off-road adventure which departs from Queenstown. See The Remarkables (The Misty Mountains), Deer Park Heights (The Battle of the Wargs) and the Kawarau Gorge (Argonath/Pillars of the King) plus many more. Continue to Arrowtown and experience some off roading as you follow a gold mining road up the river where you can try gold panning before enjoying views of the Wakatipu Basin from Skippers Canyon.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch or Greymouth

Journey aboard the renowned TranzAlpine train from Christchurch and Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass. Enjoy the magnificent alpine scenery as the train crosses the Canterbury Plains and heads through the Southern Alps where it wind its way through the Waimakariri Gorge. The train arrives in Greymouth at 12:45pm which allows you plenty of time to pick up a hire car and continue your journey to the glacier region. The excursion also operates in reverse or as a return. You can upgrade to the Scenic Plus Dining experience which includes local delicacies which are created on board using the finest farm-to-rail produce.

• Departs daily from October to April
• Departs Friday to Monday between May and September
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Whale Watching from Kaikoura

Every whale watching tour is different. Sperm whales are yearround residents so your chances of spotting one are very high. You can also see dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and albatross year round. Dependent on season you can also spot Humpback whales, Pilot whales, Blue whales and Southern Right whales. There are also opportunities to see orcas as well as the world's smallest and rarest dolphin - the Hector's dolphin.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Art Deco Walking Tour of Napier

Learn about Napier’s fascinating heritage during this guided walking tour of the city’s colourful Art Deco Quarter. Depart from Napier’s Art Deco Centre and discover striking examples of the city’s distinctive architecture. Hear stories of the 1931 earthquake that destroyed the city, the people that were affected, and how the city made a remarkable recovery and was rebuilt within two years. The walk is followed by an optional short film screening.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Best of Hawke's Bay from Napier

Depart from Napier for this private guided tour of Hawke’s Bay which can be customised to suit your interests. Admire Napier's diverse collection of art deco buildings and visit local artists to view their paintings and sculptures. Meet innovative food producers and enjoy tastings of locally grown delicacies. Visit a rural coastal settlement to expeience a traditional welcome and learn about Maori culture and heritage before enjoying tastings at some prestigious wineries.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown

Depart from Queenstown for this full-day tour of the Central Otago Wine Region. Explore, taste and savour the flavour at four separate wine tasting experiences around the wine regions of Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell, with a delicious lunch and platters enjoyed at locally renowned locations. Throughout the day you will enjoy wine tasting experiences at both smaller boutique cellar doors as well as more established locations, including a barrel room tour, where you will witness stories and facts about the region and wine. Enjoy a cheeseboard to round off the day.

• Departs Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
• Operates November to March
• Group experience

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Hobbiton Express Tour from Auckland

Travel south from Auckland to the Waikato region where you will arrive at the Shire's rest to embark on your Hobbiton film set tour. You will see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and visit the Green Dragon Inn. You can also get a picture taken at Bilbo's front door at Bag End. After the tour your lunch is included at Shire's Rest Cafe before heading back to Auckland.

• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Taste of Marlborough Tour from Blenheim

This is the perfect full-day experience for wine lovers as you'll be whisked between boutique wineries throughout the world-famous Marlborough region, You'll meet the vintners as they take you behind the scenes away from the main public areas and learn about the processes of creating wine and what makes their variety special. At the Saint Clair Winery, a family owned estate, head to Vineyard Kitchen where a lunch platter and some locally made Makana Chocolate will be served.

• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Wine Sampler from Queenstown

The breathtaking wine region of Gibbston is the focus of this tour from Queenstown. This cool climate region has a plethora of cellar doors, three of which you will visit on this trip. You'll taste over 18 varieties and visit the Gibbston Valley underground wine cave, the largest of its kind in the country. An optional lunch is available and can be ordered and paid for on the day.

• Daily departures\ • Operates year-round\ • Group experience

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Best of Queenstown Experience

Queenstown is the country's most spectacular towns and is the heart of adventure tourism in New Zealand. This half day tour is the perfect introduction the town and its jaw-dropping surroundings. The tour begins at a view point overlooking the town before continuing down to the Shotover River - a playground for adrenaline-seekers. Next up is the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown and Kawarau Bridge, the site of what is probably the world's most iconic bungy jump. Travel through Middle Earth landscapes to a local vineyard for a tasting and shared cheese board before boarding a boat for a short but sweet scenic boat trip on the lake.

• Departs daily\ • Operates year-round\ • Group experience

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Get to know New Zealand and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

11 hours ahead of the UK from early April to late September and 13 hours ahead from late September to late March

CURRENCY

New Zealand dollar

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

25½ hours (not including stopover time)

RELIGION

New Zealand has no state religion but the majority of people are Christian

LANGUAGE

Māori and English

Where is New Zealand? New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is separated from Australia by the Tasman Sea to the west and aside from scatterings of tropical islands, the nearest land mass to the east is South America. New Zealand is slightly larger in size than the United Kingdom but has less than 10% of the UK’s population.

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Iconic islands Vineyards, rolling hills, dense rainforests, wild coastlines and glorious white beaches are just some of New Zealand’s superb North Island landscapes, not to mention boiling mud pools and gushing geysers. Be sure to visit its two main port cities, Auckland - the 'City of Sails', and Wellington, its capital, as well as the beautifully unique Art Deco-style Napier and the award-winning Hawke’s Bay wine region. New Zealand’s South Island’s landscape takes some beating. Here you can take a helicopter ride to see Franz Josef and Fox glaciers slowly inch their way down mountains, go in search of whales from Kaikōura or relax on a cruise through Milford Sound. Adventure seekers can experience the adrenalin-pumping activities at Queenstown where you can zip through the canyons on the Shotover River in a powerboat, hurl yourself off a bridge tied to a bungee rope or horse ride through The Lord of the Rings country.

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Māori culture As you weave your way through the country you will experience the power of the Māori traditions. Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist spots and the capital of Māori culture. Learn about the demigod Māui and the legend of how Aotearoa New Zealand was created, see the intricate carved buildings at a marae and feast on a meal cooked in the earth at a traditional hāngī. Te Papa Museum in Wellington and the Auckland Museum are worth a visit for their excellent Māori exhibits.

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Epic coastline Many of New Zealand’s picturesque settings are along its rugged coastline. In North Island, The Bay of Islands is known for its spectacular rock formations and diverse marine life, while the secluded Cape Reinga has a beautiful lighthouse and mesmerising views over the sea. Coromandel is home to golden sands as well as a sweeping green forest. Head to the Bay of Plenty for a mix of beautiful long beaches and buzzing harbour towns. At the northwest tip of South Island, the Abel Tasman region is one of those absolute must-see places on a visit to New Zealand. It’s a remote and picturesque wilderness reserve near the north-west tip of South Island, with deserted golden beaches and secluded coves. Along the west coast, Punakaiki is an area famous for its pancake rocks and blowholes. As you explore New Zealand’s coastline, look out for whales, dolphins, penguins and seals.

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Cool cities A third of New Zealand’s population lives in Auckland - an ever-expanding city with two superb harbours and a thriving waterfront. Known as the ‘City of Sails’ due to the number of yachts frequenting its harbours, the city’s high-rise buildings are interspersed with green-lawned squares, and its cultural diversity creates a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is in a picturesque harbour setting with a panoramic hilly backdrop and a sophisticated café culture. Known as the 'Windy City', which can become quite apparent walking around here, follow the dozens of little alleys and stairways winding up the hillside to quaint gabled cottages and wooden colonial houses. Head to the South Island’s east coast and discover the beautiful 'Garden City' of Christchurch, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Alps. The town is famous for its contemporary galleries, open parks and friendly feel.

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Natural wonders New Zealand’s biggest draw card is its scenery, and it is the ideal destination for lovers of the great outdoors. You can hike on glaciers, fly over snow-capped peaks, trek through forests and kayak through fiords. Perhaps its more unusual landscape is the geothermal area around Rotorua. Here you may notice a faint smell of sulphur as you walk through a surreal landscape bursting with clouds of steam, bubbling pools of mud, sulphurous crater lakes of vibrant greens and orange and powerful geysers erupting 20 metres into the air.

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Getting around New Zealand is a perfect destination for the more independent traveller and a self-drive holiday is ideal for families, friends and couples who enjoy the freedom of the open road. A New Zealand motorhome holiday is an amazing way to explore New Zealand – you have all your creature comforts with you in a home-away-from-home and the flexibility to travel at your own pace. There is a frequent ferry service between Wellington in North Island and Picton in South Island making it easy to explore both islands. Wellington is a relatively compact and most visitors opt for exploring on foot or you can use the local bus system. Getting around Auckland is easy. Buses are one of the most popular forms of transport and you can get them almost anywhere in the city. You can also hop aboard a water taxi for a visit to one of the many islands off the coast. Explore Christchurch by bicycle, classic Edwardian punt and vintage tram, or just soak up the atmosphere with a leisurely stroll.

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Visas and passports Visas are not required for UK passport holders, but you will need to obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before travelling.

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