Only populated about 1,000 years ago, New Zealand is one of the world’s most pristine destinations, with a third of the land protected as a park or reserve. Landscapes range from snow-topped volcanoes and glaciers to fiords and mangrove-fringed inlets. The two main islands are dramatic in their diversity and showcase a colourful Maori and European heritage.
The North Island offers a spectacular coastline with glorious beaches, thermal reserves full of bubbling mud pools and steaming geysers, rolling vineyards and olive groves, and the cosmopolitan cities of Auckland and Wellington.
Meanwhile, the South Island is home to incredible marine and birdlife, breathtaking landscapes, gourmet food and wine, Abel Tasman National Park and the lakeside towns of Queenstown and Wanaka.
Explore New Zealand
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Currency New Zealand dollar
Flying time from London 26 hours
Official language(s) English, Maori
Time difference +12 GMT
Visa requirements Not required for UK passport holders
The New Zealand Experts
Our experts will be delighted to tailor a completely personalised itinerary to suit your interests, dates and budget.
The southwestern region of New Zealand’s South Island is perhaps the country’s most scenic and dramatic area, with mountains, fiords, lakes and forests at every turn. Two of the most famous of New Zealand’s Great Walks are in Fiordland – the Milford Track and the Routeburn Track – both providing diverse and dramatic scenery with forests, mountains and steep fiords. Cruises in Milford and Doubtful Sounds, and helicopter flights over the national park are the some of the quickest and best ways to experience this spectacular region.
Discover world-class wines
A combination of soil, climate and water helps New Zealand to produce world-class wines, distinctive for their intensity and vibrancy. Vineyards are found throughout the country, from the sub-tropical Northland to the world’s most southerly grape growing region of Central Otago in the South Island. Visits to these vineyards, accompanied by gourmet meals and wine tastings, can be arranged at many points on a tour of New Zealand, and many lodges hold extensive wine lists.
Learn Maori legend
Visit significant sites to the Maori culture, including the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the first signing of the treaty was completed between the British and the Maoris in 1840. Tour the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington and experience a mihimihi (greeting) and a waiata (song) on a marae (communal meeting place). In Rotorua there is an opportunity to enjoy a traditional style of cooking called hāngi, where a shallow pit is dug in the ground, a fire is lit and stones placed on top. Food is wrapped and placed on top of the stones, and then covered in earth and left for several hours.
On the spectacular East Coast, the small town of Kaikoura offers some of New Zealand’s best wildlife experiences, with a year-round whale population, dolphins, seals and albatrosses. The environment is truly spectacular; the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. The main reason to visit Kaikoura is for marine mammal encounters as whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale-watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining.
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"Many memorable moments but the best has to be the overnight cruise on Milford Sound on the Milford Mariner. It rained on the way to Milford Sound but it had stopped by mid afternoon and by early evening the weather was perfect. We went out on the tender in Harrison Cove and communed with the penguins on the shoreline as the sun went down - then back to the boat for an excellent dinner. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and good fun. The scenery was, of course, spectacular.
Ms Ann Abraham
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