• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Walking in New Zealand

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Vicki Tester

 

New Zealand is a country known for its varied and stunning scenery, from rolling farmland, lush forests, deserted beaches and boiling mud pools to rugged mountains, dramatic glaciers and crystal clear lakes. A favourite pastime for locals and visitors alike, tramping (or hiking/walking as we would call it) is a wonderful way to get out and explore some of the most pristine wilderness the country has to offer.

Whether you’re interested in a short walk, a long distance walking track or something in between, the tracks are well marked, well maintained and the operators very professional.

Walks can be self-guided (making sure to follow sensible safety protocol such as ensuring the authorities know your intended route and timeframe), or you could opt to join a small guided group, with a knowledgeable expert on the region. In some cases, luggage can be transferred to the next accommodation each day, enabling you to simply travel with a day pack whereas on other routes, all luggage required for the walk will be carried by you. The long distance walking tracks should be planned and booked well in advance, and can be easily combined within a wider holiday to New Zealand.

There are nine designated ‘Great Walks’ in New Zealand, which are all long distance tracks:

 

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Winding its way past Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe, the Tongariro Northern Circuit offers dramatic volcanic landscapes and a rich geological and ancestral past. From Alpine herb fields to forests, and tranquil lakes to desert-like plateau, you’ll journey through a landscape of stark contrasts with amazing views at every turn. To the north is Lake Taupo, to the east the rugged Kaimanawa ranges and on a clear day you may even catch a glimpse of Mount Taranaki on the west coast.

Tongariro Northern Circuit Oturere Hut_99914

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Tongariro Northern Circuit Taranaki Falls_99913

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a four day walk over a total distance of 43.1 kilometres. It can be walked in either direction, and is a looped route from Whakapapa Village. It is also possible to take just a one day section of this trip, which is called the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

 

Lake Waikaremoana

A refuge amongst prehistoric rainforest with access to some of New Zealand’s most iconic birds, this Great Walk around the shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana is truly outstanding. Marvel at giant native trees, stumble upon beautiful remote beaches and be enchanted by the area’s fascinating cultural history. A visit to the heart of Te Urewera on the eastern side of the North Island will offer a glimpse of how New Zealand used to be.

Lake Waikaremoana, Suspension Bridge_99909

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

This is a four day walk covering a total distance of 46km. It can be walked in either direction, and goes from Onepoto to Hopuruahine Landing.

 

Whanganui Journey

This is technically a canoe or kayaking trip rather than a walk. Paddle your way from mountains to sea through a landscape of remote hills and valleys on the magical Whanganui Journey. Experience the scenic beauty, history and cultural significance of the winding Whanganui River in the southwest of the North Island.

Whanganui Journey On The River_99906

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Whanganui Journey_99905

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose a five day journey from Taumarunui to Pipiriki (145km), or a shorter three day journey starting at Whakahoro (87km), featuring the most scenic stretches of the river.

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track

Blessed with a mild climate, golden beaches and lush, coastal native bush, the Abel Tasman Track has it all. Located in Abel Tasman National Park on the South Island’s northern shores, this gentle Great Walk showcases the best that the park has to offer. Marvel at naturally sculptured granite cliffs and crystal clear waters. Choose to hike the whole track, or water taxi and kayak between different locations at any time of the year.

Abel Tasman Coast Track Onetahuti Bay_99911

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

The whole track will usually take five days and covers a total distance of 55.2km. It can be walked in either direction.

 

Heaphy Track

If it’s varied and rugged landscape with mountain views you’re looking for, you’ll be spoilt for choice on the Heaphy Track. This is located in Kahurangi National Park in the northwest of the South Island and has a range of options to suit different fitness levels. Tackle the track in four or five days, or take your time and soak in the views over six days.

Heaphy Track Images_100655

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Heaphy Track Images_100658

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Heaphy Track Images

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

The track covers a total distance of 78.4 kilometres, and can be walked in either direction. It goes from Brown Hut to Kohaihai river mouth. There is also a popular two-day overnight return trip on the western side from Kohaihai to Heaphy Hut.

 

Routeburn Track

This is the ultimate alpine adventure, taking you through ice-carved valleys and below the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps. A short trip from bustling Queenstown, this Great Walk links Mt Aspiring and Fjordland National Parks in the Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Weaving through meadows, reflective tarns and alpine gardens, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular vistas over vast mountain ranges and valleys.

Routeburn Track, Earland Falls_99923

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

This is a three day walk, covering a total of 32.1 kilometres. It can be walked in both direction, and runs between Routeburn Shelter and The Divide.

 

Milford Track

Follow this historic route through Fjordland National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Take a pilgrimage along valleys carved by glaciers and through ancient rainforest, before reaching your final destination: the spectacular Milford Sound.

Milford Track, Anita Bay_99917

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Milford Track, Bridge Over Arthur River_99920

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

This is a four day walk that can only be taken in one direction, from Glade Wharf to Sandfly Point. It covers a total distance of 53.5 kilometres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kepler Track

This is an incredible wilderness experience right on Te Anau’s doorstep. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the most accessible of Fjordland’s Great Walks. It traverses Fjordland National Park in the southwest of the South Island and is part of Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The remarkable scenery includes everything from remote lakes and peaceful beech forest backdrops to rocky peaks and exposed alpine tussock lands.

Kepler Track View From Ridgeline_112643

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Kepler Track, Ridgeline_99915

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

It is a four day walk that can be walked in either direction, and is a looped route from the Kepler Track car park. The total distance covered is 60.1 kilometres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rakiura Track

Escape on an island adventure, and exchange the hustle and bustle of the mainland for the tranquillity of the Rakiura Track. Located in Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island, the Rakiura Track is a leisurely three day hike suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. Relax and unwind in the peaceful surroundings with the bush, birds and beach at your side. Stewart Island is one of the few places that kiwi birds can be found in the wild.

Rakiura Track, Log Hauler_99919

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Rakiura Track_99918

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

The track is circular and can be walked in either direction. The total distance covered is 32.1 kilometres.

Country: New Zealand

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Self Drive Holidays in New Zealand

A country of wild mountains, rugged glaciers, deserted beaches, stunning lakes, boiling mud pools and rolling farmland, New Zealand is a photographer’s dream with fantastic scenery around almost every corner. Couple this with friendly people, a laid back way of life, and a fascinating culture and you have the key ingredients to a fantastic tailor made or bespoke holiday.

Comprised of two main islands – aptly named North Island and South Island, as well as a number of smaller islands, the most famous of these being Stewart Island, New Zealand is roughly the size of Britain, but with a population of only 4.5 million – meaning plenty of space away from crowds, and plenty of unspoilt beautiful highlights.

Whether you have a keen interest in tramping, kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife, wine tasting or simply enjoy driving the open road, New Zealand has so much to offer. ‘Aotearoa’, is the traditional Maori name for New Zealand, and a vital element of any visit to the country is to learn of the Maori culture – perhaps best known for the ‘Haka’ but with so much more to learn than this alone.

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Destinations Show, Olympia

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Vicki Tester

 


Photograph by kind permission of UnCruise Adventures

Don’t forget we will be at Destinations Show at Olympia, London, on February 02, 03, 04 and 05. Find us on Stand AC32 which we are sharing with the American company Uncruise Adventures. Most of the team will be there over the 4 days and would love to see a friendly face or two. This is one of the biggest travel shows in the U.K and a great place to find new destinations and experiences that would suit you. If you have a particular place in mind for your holiday next year (or the year after) give us a call to book an appointment with our team expert for that part of the world. However we will be very pleased to see you as and when you are free.

For your free tickets to Destinations Show, please go to: http://www.destinationsshow.com/london/form/registration  and then type in MSC97 in the appropriate place.

We look forward to seeing you at either event.

Good News For Locals!

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Good News – Cathay Pacific has announced that they will be launching a new service offering direct flights from Gatwick to Hong Kong four times a week. This is in addition to their longstanding routes between Heathrow and Hong Kong, and between Manchester and Hong Kong.

This new route is great news for those living in the South East wishing to visit Australia and New Zealand, as there will be connections through to key hubs in both countries from Hong Kong.

The new service is due to commence in September 2016 with Cathay Pacific’s new Airbus A350-900 with refreshed Business Class cabin and new Premium Economy Class seats.

Hong Kong makes a great stopover location, as well as a holiday destination in its own right. For more information on this, and how these flights could work well for your future holiday plans, give us a call on 01323 446550, or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

New Zealand in 6 Weeks

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A 6 week tailor made or bespoke holiday in New Zealand is an ideal amount of time to enable you to see key attractions, as well as many ‘off the beaten track’ regions.  You’ll have time to go as you please at a relaxed pace too.

Summary

New Zealand in 6 Weeks

A six week tailor made or bespoke in New Zealand is an ideal amount of time to enable you to see all the key attractions, as well as many ‘off the beaten track’ regions of this stunning country that even many New Zealander’s don’t get to. You’ll have time to go as you please at a relaxed pace too.

Day 1: Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel

Day 8: Rotorua

Day 10: Tongariro

Day 12: Napier

Day 14: Wellington

Day 16: Kaikoura

Day 17: Blenheim

Day 18: Abel Tasman National Park

Day 21: Punakaiki

Day 22: Arthurs Pass

Day 24: Fox Glacier and Franz Josef

Day 26: Wanaka

Day 27: Queenstown

Day 29: Te Anau

Day 31: Stewart Island

Day 33: The Catlins

Day 35: Dunedin

Day 37: Lake Tekapo

Day 39: Akaroa

Day 41: Christchurch

Day 43: Depart Christchurch

 

Angie's pic

Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

 

Angie's pic

Hobbiton

 Description

Description

A six week tailor made or bespoke holiday in New Zealand is an ideal amount of time to enable you to see all the key attractions, as well as many ‘off the beaten track’ regions of this stunning country that even many New Zealander’s don’t get to. You’ll have time to go as you please at a relaxed pace too.

Day 1: Auckland

Most journeys will start in Auckland, enabling you to explore the North Island first, followed by the South Island.  We usually suggest doing it in this order as both islands are beautiful in their own way, but it is the South Island that offers the rugged dramatic scenery so often seen in photos and worth working up to!  Auckland is quite a large city by New Zealand standards, and certainly the busiest you will come across.  Attractions include the Skytower, the Viaduct Basin, various museums and possibly a day out to Waiheke Island.  The Viaduct Basin was built to host the Americas Cup a few years ago – and there are Americas Cup yachts in the basin that offer sailing trips out into the Hauraki Gulf.

Two nights Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

The very northern tip of the North Island is well worth a visit. The towns of Paihia and Russell are on opposite sides of the estuary, and from a base here, you might like to explore Cape Reinga and Ninety-mile Beach. The Waitangi Treaty was signed near Paihia.

Three nights Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel

Coming south through Auckland, and then to the east is the Coromandel Peninsular.  This is home to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, and has some lovely scenery, with rain forest in the central spine.  There is some old mining history here for those interested, and good sea fishing as well.

Two nights Coromandel

Day 8: Rotorua

Rotorua was the original tourist destination in the 1800’s, featuring the extraordinary pink and white terraces, which were destroyed in a volcanic eruption in the 1880’s.  Visit the Museum where you can learn about the devastating eruption, followed by a visit to Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Craft Centre.  Te Puia is also home to Whakawerawera thermal reserve.  Follow this with a visit to the Buried Village – the remains of the devastation of the 1880’s, and finally Lake Tarawera.  There are also a number of other thermal parks around the area. En route to Rotorua, take a detour to visit Hobbiton and see the hobbit hole set for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

Two nights Rotorua

Before or after a stay in Rotorua, consider adding in a stop in Whakatane – it is from here that one can take a trip to White Island – an active volcano.

Day 10: Tongariro

This is a National Park and home to several volcanoes – Mt Ruapehu amongst them.  There is also a long distance walking trail here – the Tongariro crossing, which is not an easy walk but with stunning scenery.

Two nights Tongariro

Day 12: Napier

Hawke Bay is surrounded by a circle of rugged hills, giving it its unique micro-climate, and making it the perfect location for vineyards and market gardens.  Cape Kidnappers is here, which is home to a gannet colony and there are some good views to be had from Te Mata Peak.  Napier itself suffered a major earthquake in the 1930’s and was rebuilt in Art Deco style.

Two nights Napier

Day 14: Wellington

This is the capital city and apart from the parliament buildings and botanical gardens, it is also home to the wonderful Te Papa Museum. It is also a unique building in that the foundations are built like a sponge and sit squarely on a major fault.  They are built to withstand quite a sizeable tremor.

Two nights Wellington

Day 16: Kaikoura

Take the ferry across to Picton on the South Island, and drive down to Kaikoura. Located on the coast and jammed in between the mountains and the sea, Kaikoura is famous for its fish and chips and crayfish!  It is also the place for whale watching – either by sea or from the air.

One night Kaikoura

Day 17: Blenheim

This area produces some excellent wines and many wineries are open for tastings. The Marlborough Sound and Queen Charlotte Sound are both in this area and well worth exploring if you have the time.

One night Blenheim

Day 18: Abel Tasman National Park

Drive around to Abel Tasman. This northern tip of the South Island is so often overlooked, but it is one of our favourites.  It is here that you’ll see the crescent shaped beaches backed by lush greenery – easy to spend a full day in the park, using the water taxis to get about, and perhaps walking one of the many trails in the park.

Three nights Abel Tasman

Day 21: Punakaiki

Coming down the west coast, it is nice to break the journey with an overnight stop at Punakaiki.  This is the home of the Pancake Rocks – a strange rock formation, and the overnight stop simply allows you to take your time as these roads are so scenic that you will simply have to keep stopping for more pictures.

One night Punakaiki

Day 22: Arthurs Pass

Turning inland to the central spine of mountains that run through the South Island, this is alpine scenery at its very best.  There are plenty of walking opportunities in the area with stunning views all around.

Two nights Arthurs Pass

Day 24: Fox Glacier and Franz Josef

Returning to the west coast, the next place of interest are the two glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.  Take time to visit one or both glaciers, the beautiful Lake Matheson and the dramatic coast at Gillespie Beach.  From here , you can take a sightseeing flight over the glaciers with or without a glacier landing and hike, and hopefully with good views of Mount Cook.

Two nights Fox Glacier

Day 26: Wanaka

The route to Wanaka takes you through the Haast Pass and past Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.  Simply beautiful – this little town is surrounded by mountains and is the Queenstown of yesteryear.  Where Queenstown has developed, Wanaka has remained delightfully small.

One night Wanaka

Day 27: Queenstown

Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a sizeable town with activities for every adrenalin junkie!  Here you will find bungy jumping, sky diving, a luge and plenty more.  Much of the Lord of the Rings was filmed in this area, and although the sets had to be removed, the scenery will seem familiar!  For those not into extreme sports, a drive to Glenorchy is beautiful.

Two nights Queenstown

Day 29: Te Anau

Te Anau is the gateway to Fjordland National Park – for both Milford and Doubtful Sounds. For either, you can visit for a day, or take an overnight cruise. Of the two, Milford offers the more dramatic scenery but is busier. Doubtful Sound has fewer tourists and lovely scenery, but it’s not quite so dramatic.

Two nights Te Anau

Day 31: Stewart Island

At the very southern tip are areas of New Zealand that many never get to.  Stewart Island is home to the only kiwi’s (the birds that is) to be found in the wild, and a must for birding enthusiasts.  Access to the island is by ferry or by light aircraft – we suggest going by air as the ferry crossing can be quite choppy.

Two nights Stewart Island

Day 33: The Catlins

The Catlins is the area in the far southeast corner of the South Island – a wild and remote corner for those whose idea of paradise is the absence of anyone else at all (or pretty well!) and with good opportunities to see wildlife such as Little Blue Penguins, Yellow Eyed Penguins, seals and sealions.

Two nights The Catlins

Day 35: Dunedin

Visited by many for its Scottish appeal and for the colony of albatross that call this home.  This is a must for birders.  There are a number of other attractions in the area including the Rail Trail – great for cycling. The Otago Peninsula is beautiful, and a stay here rather than in the city itself may appeal too.

Two nights Dunedin

Day 37: Lake Tekapo

This is the home of the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog Memorial often features in brochures. This is also a great place for stargazing as it is a ‘designated dark sky’ area.

Two nights Lake Tekapo

Day 39: Akaroa

Located on the Banks Peninsula south east of Christchurch, this small town has a French feel to it and is a lovely place to relax for a day or two. From here, one can take a cruise to swim with wild Hector’s Dolphins – the smallest and rarest dolphin, which is endemic to New Zealand.

Two nights Akaroa

Day 41: Christchurch

Coming further north is the city of Christchurch. After the earthquakes of recent years Christchurch is still rebuilding, but is still well worth a stay. Punt along the river, visit the botanical gardens or take a tram ride around the town centre. Unique attractions to pop up since the earthquakes include Re:Start – a shopping centre comprised of shipping containers, and the Cardboard Cathedral.

Two nights Christchurch

Day 43: Depart Christchurch

Depart Christchurch today to head home or to your next destination.

Angie's pic

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

 

Angie's pic

Yellow Eyed Penguin, The Catlins

Little Gems

Little Gems

There are many possible ‘little gems’ to mention here, but we will stick to two: Stewart Island has to be one – with its’ fantastic bird watching opportunities. The second is the chance of seeing the rare Yellow Eyed Penguin in the wild in the Catlins

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Top Tips for New Zealand

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Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve detailed below some of our top tips for New Zealand – useful points for anyone thinking of visiting this spectacular country.

 

  • Explore the North Island first, and the South Island second – the scenery will become better and more dramatic as you go.

 

  • Travel in New Zealand’s spring or autumn to avoid the crowds (the summer holidays there are usually throughout January and therefore visitor attractions tend to get busy).

 

  • Visit the far south of the South Island for great wildlife viewing opportunities such as fur seals, sea lions, albatross, yellow eyed penguin and little blue penguin all found in this region, and of course the elusive kiwi found on Stewart Island along with other endemic species.

 

  • Dig in the sand at low tide at Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula and enjoy your own personal spa pool.

 

  • Plan your time carefully – We suggest at least four weeks to see the key highlights, or six weeks if you’d prefer a more comprehensive trip. If you’re limited to a shorter duration, choose one region and explore it well.

 

  • Stay in a variety of accommodation – New Zealand is fantastic for B&B’s, farmstays and boutique lodges, which provide a chance to meet the locals and learn about their way of life, rather than simply providing a place to lay your head.

 

  • Put on your hiking boots and go tramping for a few hours, a day or perhaps one of New Zealand’s famous multi-day Great Walks – you’ll find fantastic scenery and well marked trails whichever you choose.

 

  • For train enthusiasts, the Tranz Alpine is a must – cutting through the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth, and providing stunning vistas along the way.

 

  • Take an overnight cruise on Milford or Doubtful Sounds for a chance to experience the region with fewer crowds.

 

For more information, and for assistance planning a holiday to New Zealand, call us on 01323 446550, email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk or see our website www.experienceholidays.co.uk.

South Island NZ

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Gateways to the South Island will be Christchurch, Queenstown or the ferry port of Picton in the north. The visitor arriving via Picton will be treated to the delightful scenery of Marlborough Sound – the myriad of islands and inlets that make up the Sound stand remote and beautiful against the sky. The Alpine range runs north/south through the spine of the Island, giving the dramatic contrasts between sea, rain forest and mountain on the western side. Abel Tasman in the north is delightful – explore on foot using the unique water taxis to drop you on a remote beach. Further south, the thriving towns of Queenstown, and lesser known Wanaka await your visit – rugged mountains cascading into the clear deep blue waters of a dozen lakes. 

The Fjordland National Park is a must on most wish lists – Milford and Doubtful Sounds should not be missed, and for the more intrepid, perhaps an overnight stay aboard the exploration vessels. The Catlins and Stewart Island at the Southern end complete the Island, remote and wild – and a paradise for birders. Finally, the east coast and the whales of Kaikoura, the remarkable pre-historic remains of the Canterbury area and the city of Christchurch. What are you waiting for?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Credit Jim Bell Credit Jim Bell Credit Jim Bell
                    

NZ Accommodation

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Where to Stay in  New Zealand

New Zealand is rightly famous for its warm welcome and generous hospitality, and this delightful side of the Kiwi nature shines through at virtually every property you’ll stay at.  We have split ‘accommodation’ down into five broad categories, and whilst they can differ vastly in price, a mix of all five categories will leave you with a true New Zealand experience:

Homestay
Typically, a Homestay is based on a private home, hosted by the owner, welcoming you as part of the family. All Homestays are different and can vary in standard, but will often open the kitchen for your use for tea and coffee, and offer use of the laundry facilities for example. 

Motels and Hotels
We would often opt for a hotel or motel in a city (although not exclusively by any means) as location is so important. A motel will offer a good basic room with private facilities, the property may or may not have a restaurant, but will often be close to local facilities. Some motels will offer kitchenette facilities – although this is not universal. 

A property called a hotel may be part of a chain or corporate group – the property usually having more facilities on site. Hotels and motels will often have tea/coffee facilities in the room, and will probably have coin operated laundry facilities. Some hotels will be privately owned, and therefore a little more individual, whilst others may follow the corporate or chain ‘theme’. 

Bed and Breakfast
If the image that springs to mind here is a terraced house in a seaside town, think again. Bed and breakfast in New Zealand is full of surprises, and can easily fall into either the ‘comfortable’ or ‘luxury’ category! We definitely have our favourites, and these include those managed by the owners, adding a personal touch, and passion for perfection. B&B’s will often have only a few rooms, often individually furnished and decorated, and differing in size and in-room facilities. Some will offer dinner (with or without a choice), which would need to be booked in the morning, whilst others may offer an evening meal only on certain days of the week.

Apartments

A popular choice in New Zealand, and nice to use as part of a balanced itinerary. They offer an excellent choice for a small group travelling together, or for families, and will usually have good kitchen and laundry facilities. We often recommend at least one self catering option, be it an apartment or a cottage simply to have a ‘break’ from restaurant eating all the time. A simple bowl of pasta, a fresh salad and a nice bottle of merlot can give the waistline a welcome break. Worth also considering for families as you arrive – children in particular may be awake at odd times of the night, and having a separate room can be a boon!!

Lodges
And last but by no means least, comes the Lodge category. Again, this covers a range of luxury properties, many are privately owned, all offer a standard of excellence delightful to experience at least once in your New Zealand holiday. Many will have highly qualified chef’s in charge of the kitchen, producing mouth-watering culinary delights every night of the highest standards. Location will always be key, many with outstanding views, well positioned for romantic sunsets, candlelit dinners on balmy evenings – in fact just about everything.

Qualmark: Qualmark® is New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality. All accommodation and tourism businesses listed here carry the Qualmark®, which means they’ve been independently assessed as professional and trustworthy, so you can book and buy with confidence.
The Qualmark® can help you identify quality places to stay, things to do and ways to get around no matter where you are in New Zealand. From the North Island to the South Island, Auckland to Christchurch, Rotorua to Queenstown, Wellington to Dunedin – Qualmark® assured businesses can be found across the country. Visit the Qualmark website for further information: www.qualmark.co.nz

Doone cottage1

Credit Doone Cottage Homestay


misty peaks

Credit Misty Peaks


Mountain range

Credit Mountain Range

                    

radfords1

Credit Radfords Lakeside Motel


Remarkables Lodge

Credit Remarkables Lodge


TePania_exterior_concave

Credit Qualmark

                    

New Zealand in 4 Weeks

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A comprehensive bespoke itinerary exploring both the North and South Islands. Four weeks in New Zealand provides time to explore most of the key attractions – and at a comfortable pace.

Summary

New Zealand in 4 weeks

Four weeks in New Zealand provides time to explore most of the key attractions – and at a comfortable pace. The following plan provides an idea of how a bespoke or tailor made four week trip in New Zealand could take shape.

Day 1: Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel

Day 8: Rotorua

Day 10: Napier

Day 12: Wellington

Day 14: Abel Tasman

Day 17: Punakaiki

Day 18: ArthursPass

Day 20: Fox Glacier

Day 22: Wanaka

Day 23: Te Anau

Day 25: Queenstown

Day 27: LakeTekapo

Day 28: Christchurch

Day 29: Depart New Zealand

Description

Description

Four weeks in New Zealand provides time to explore most of the key attractions – and at a comfortable pace. The following plan provides an idea of how a four week tailor made or bespoke holiday could take shape.

Day 1: Auckland

Most journeys will start in Auckland, enabling you to explore the NorthIsland first, followed by the South Island.  We usually suggest doing it in this order as both Islands are beautiful in their own way, but it is the South Island that offers the rugged dramatic scenery so often seen in photos and worth working up to!  Auckland is quite a large city by New   Zealand standards, and certainly the busiest you will come across.  Attractions include the Skytower, the ViaductBasin, various museums and possibly a day out to WaihekeIsland.  The ViaductBasin was built to host the Americas Cup a few years ago – and there are Americas Cup yachts in the basin that offer sailing trips out into the Hauraki Gulf.

Two nights Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

The very northern tip of the NorthIsland is well worth a visit. The towns of Paihia and Russell are on opposite sides of the estuary, and from a base here, you might like to explore CapeReinga and Ninety-mileBeach. The Waitangi Treaty was signed near Paihia.

Three nights Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel Peninsula

Coming south through Auckland, and then to the east is the Coromandel Peninsula.  This is home to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, and has some lovely scenery, with rain forest in the central spine.  There is some old mining history here for those interested, and good sea fishing as well.

Two nights Coromandel

Day 8: Rotorua

Rotorua was the original tourist destination in the 1800’s, featuring the extraordinary pink and white terraces, which were destroyed in a volcanic eruption in the 1880’s.  Visit the Museum where you can learn about the devastating eruption, followed by a visit to Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Craft Centre.  Te Puia is also home to Whakawerawera thermal reserve.  Follow this with a visit to the BuriedVillage – the remains of the devastation of the 1880’s, and finally LakeTarawera.  There are also a number of other thermal parks around the area.

Two nights Rotorua

Day 10: Napier

Hawke Bay is surrounded by a circle of rugged hills, giving it its unique micro-climate, and making it the perfect location for vineyards and market gardens.  CapeKidnappers is here, if birds are of interest to you and there are some good views to be had from Te Mata Peak.  Napier itself suffered a major earthquake in the 1930’s and was rebuilt in Art Deco style.

Two nights Napier

Day 12: Wellington

This is the capital city and apart from the parliament buildings and botanical gardens, it is also home to the wonderful Te Papa Museum. It is also a unique building in that the foundations are built like a sponge and sit squarely on a major fault.  They are built to withstand quite a sizeable tremor.

Two nights Wellington

Day 14: Abel Tasman National Park

Take the ferry across to Picton on the South Island, and drive around to Abel Taman. This northern tip of the South Island is so often overlooked, but it is one of our favourites.  It is here that you’ll see the crescent shaped beaches backed by lush greenery – easy to spend a full day in the park, using the water taxis to get about, and perhaps walking one of the many trails in the park.

Three nights Abel Tasman

Day 17: Punakaiki

Coming down the west coast, it is nice to break the journey with an overnight stop at Punakaiki.  This is the home of the Pancake Rocks – a strange rock formation, and the overnight stop simply allows you to take your time as these roads are so scenic that you will simply have to keep stopping for more pictures.

One night Punakaiki

Day 18: Arthurs Pass

Turning inland to the central spine of mountains that run through the South Island, this is alpine scenery at its very best.  There are plenty of walking opportunities in the area with stunning views all around.

Two nights Arthurs Pass

Day 20: Fox Glacier and Franz Josef

Returning to the west coast, the next place of interest are the two glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.  Take time to visit one or both glaciers, the beautiful LakeMatheson and the dramatic coast at GillespieBeach.  From here also, you can take a sightseeing flight, with or without a glacier landing and hike, and hopefully good views of Mount Cook.

Two nights Fox Glacier

Day 22: Wanaka

The route to Wanaka takes you through the HaastPass and past Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.  Simply beautiful – this little town is surrounded by mountains and is the Queenstown of yesteryear.  Where Queenstown has developed, Wanaka has remained delightfully small.

One night Wanaka

Day 23: Te Anau

Te Anau is the gateway to FjordlandNational Park – for both Milford and Doubtful Sounds. For either, you can visit for a day, or take an overnight cruise. Of the two, Milford offers the more dramatic scenery but is busier. Doubtful Sound has fewer tourists and lovely scenery, but it’s not quite so dramatic.

Two nights Te Anau

Day 25: Queenstown

Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a sizeable town with activities for every adrenalin junkie!  Here you will find bungy jumping, sky diving, a luge and plenty more.  Much of the Lord of the Rings was filmed in this area, and although the sets had to be removed, the scenery will seem familiar!  For those not into extreme sports, a drive to Glenorchy is beautiful.

Two nights Queenstown

Day 27: Lake Tekapo

This is the home of the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog Memorial often features in brochures. This is also a great place for stargazing as it is a ‘designated dark sky’ area.

One night Lake Tekapo

Day 28: Christchurch

Coming further north is the city of Christchurch. After the earthquakes of recent years Christchurch is still rebuilding, but is still well worth a stay. Punt along the river, visit the botanical gardens or take a tram ride around the town centre. Unique attractions to pop up since the earthquakes include Re:Start – a shopping centre comprised of shipping containers, and the Cardboard Cathedral.

One night Christchurch

Day 28: Depart New Zealand

Lake Tekapo

Courtesy of Angie Watson

Mount Cook New Zealand

Courtesy of Angie Watson

Little Gems

Little Gems

A stunning lodge in Arthurs Pass called Wilderness Lodge is a real treat and a highlight – located in stunning Alpine scenery and with friendly hosts that are incredibly knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna.

What our client says

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Coming soon!

New Zealand: Tailor Made Holidays To South Westland National Park & Glacier Country

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WSI

 

South Westland and New Zealand’s very own Glacier Country national park, is easily one of the world’s most unpretentious and yet should be iconic travel destinations. Laying between the sleepy pioneer gold rush townships of Hokitika and the world’s self professed adventure capitals of Wanaka and Queenstown, townships on New Zealand’s west coast are often only passed through by tourists eager to get to the latter two townships. However, if you’re looking for a truly once in a lifetime tailor made holiday and experience, it’s worth planning New Zealand travel itineraries around at least a few days and nights exploring what South Westland itself really has to offer.

Credit Tourism New Zealand

Credit Tourism New Zealand

Starting in places like Greymouth and Hokitika, the road down into South Westland is bordered in most places by green and yellow, typically Lord of The Rings sweeps of unspoiled mountain sides. Moreover, as one travels further south, Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain is often a prominent feature upon the horizon, as green levels of expansive agricultural land finally give way to the snow capped ever winter of glacier country.

Tailor made holidays and adventures into glacier country, will subsequently usually be made memorable by hiking tours taken onto either the Franz Josef or Fox glacier in the heart of South Westland. Terminating in subtropical rain forest, you usually won’t ever have to worry about the cold. Rather, hiking on both glaciers is almost like taking a surreal hike across an exposed blue ice and white crystalline desert. However, rather than travel onward after ticking a tour of two of the world’s most unique glaciers off your bucket list, places like Fox Glacier are also famous for being the location of the world’s most scenic sky dive.

Even better, South Westland in New Zealand is home to deserted gold rush towns, miles of hiking trails and spectacular secluded beaches complete with resident seal colonies and abundance of natural flora and fauna. In this case, if you are trying to plan truly memorable tailor made holidays to New Zealand, think about spending three or four days experiencing the country at its most naturally striking and atmospheric in South Westland.

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