Escorted tours to New Zealand
Currency: New Zealand Dollar
Time Zone: NZST/GMT+11
Tipping: Tipping is not compulsory however you can leave 10% for exceptional service if you so wish.
New Zealand - an Introduction
It's no secret that New Zealand's scenery is absolutely stunning as the fitting choice for the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. From the Southern alps to fern laden rainforests, Mother Nature has been exceptionally kind to these two islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country's natural showcase of glaciers, volcanoes, thermal springs, waterfalls, fjords and mountain-mirrored lakes are so genuinely breath-taking that words don't really do it justice.
As you would expect for somewhere with such an aesthetically pleasing natural backdrop, a lot of the country's sights are outdoors and activity driven, from hiking the Franz Josef Glacier to kayaking your way through Milford Sound.
Escorted tours to New Zealand will present the highlights from both North and South Islands, and taking it all in from the chosen methods of transport is one of the best ways of viewing it. You can stand at the foot of Mount Cook, journey to Fox Glacier, wander around Auckland, sample the boiling mud pools and somewhat smelly hot springs of Rotorua, witness the breath-taking Huka Falls, stop off at Lake Taupo (similar in size to Singapore), enjoy a leisurely lunch at historic Arrowtown, catch sight of the rare Kiwi, whale and dolphin watch in Kaikoura or take a trip aboard the TranzAlpine Express. If all that fails to take your breath away, then a spot of bungy jumping in Queenstown where the activity originated will.
A number of escorted New Zealand tours are available ranging from 16 to 22 days. All holidays include return flights from the UK, transportation where stated, a full touring itinerary, accommodation with some meals as well as the services of a tour guide and local/driver guides.
Things to do
There are too many places to visit worth listing on an escorted tour of New Zealand. Your itinerary will ensure you see the very best of what there is to offer, but here's our pick of the most popular:
Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and a great place to visit with not just the vibrant centre but it is also home to a wealth of natural beauty. If you fancy getting away from the city then take a ferry to the colonial town of Devonport with its quaint villas, antique shops and if you are feeling energetic take a walk up Mount Victoria for its amazing views, which really give you a feel for the city.
The city of Rotorua is well-known for its volcanic activity and geysers, also nicknamed the Sulphur City. As soon as you visit you'll know why! To truly appreciate the geothermal activity you only need to visit Kuirau Park in the centre which is full of crater lakes and boiling mineral baths. To relax why not visit the Polynesian spa with the choice of various thermal and mineral pools to enjoy. If you are planning on indulging in a sulphur bath, beware – the smell can hang around for days afterwards, no matter how many times you wash your clothes!
As the compact capital city of New Zealand, Wellington is a great place for culture, culinary and arts enthusiasts to visit. The city is home to the national museum of Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, as well as various other museums and art galleries including New Zealand Cricket Museum and Wellington City Art Gallery. Take a ride on the Funicular railway (which is over 100 years old) to the top of the Botanic Gardens and then why not walk back down via some beautiful gardens.
Queenstown is the resort to head to for adrenaline junkies with white water rafting, bungee jumping or even canyon swinging high on the agenda! But don't worry if none of those activities take your fancy - Queenstown itself is a beautiful and picturesque resort to visit, with a tranquil lake surrounded by mountains. Postcard perfect.
Thinking of travelling to New Zealand? Check out the average temperatures for when you plan to visit courtesy of BBC Weather
Tips & Advice
One of the benefits of travelling in an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in New Zealand, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Prior to leaving the UK it is always wise to check with your GP whether you will need any vaccinations or preventive treatment whilst in New Zealand. When visiting the country, UK nationals should be eligible for immediate medical treatment, however take your passport as you will be requested to show it.
Despite this, you should ensure that you have the necessary travel insurance to cover your trip in addition to extra funds which will cover the cost of repatriation. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Medical facilities in some of New Zealand's Islands such as the Cook Islands have limited medical care and the likelihood is that you would be evacuated to the mainland should you fall ill here. If you are travelling to any islands away from the mainland always check that your insurance policy covers this.
Please note that Dengue Fever is present in the Cook Islands, should that be part of an itinerary.
If you need to dial an ambulance whilst in New Zealand simply call 111. If you are then transferred to a facility for treatment you should contact your insurance company immediately.
Levels of Crime in New Zealand tend to be low, however as with most places street crime does occur in major towns and cities. Be careful when leaving valuables in hotel rooms, as there have been some reports of theft, and be sure to lock items in the safe if possible. Try to keep valuable items separate.
Local Laws and Customs
As with everywhere, drug offenses are punishable by imprisonment. If you are convicted of a drug related offence you could face between 8-12 years in prison.
If you plan to travel to any of New Zealand's islands it is wise to check local customs with the visitors offices based in New Zealand.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum of one month from the date you exit New Zealand.
Immigration rules tend to be strict. British citizens can enter New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months without holding a visa. Visitors may have to prove intent of not over-staying the initial period by presenting a return or onward ticket.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDS) vary depending on trip purpose and it is wise to check this with the New Zealand Embassy prior to travelling.
There are strict regulations on importing things into New Zealand - never attempt to import meat products, fruit, honey, dairy products as this is illegal. Take care when importing wood, footwear and items made from animal skin. If in doubt declare items to the Ministry of Agriculture or dispose of them in the bins provided at the airport. Failure to comply can result in $100,00 fines or imprisonment.
There are some restrictions on bringing medication into New Zealand so check the customs website for more information and declare them on arrival into the country.
Any other nationality looking to visit New Zealand must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For more information visit New Zealand's Tourist Office at newzealand.com/uk.