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, motorhome or coach.

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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.

In some parts of the world, we work with touring partners to offer a greater selection across particularly vast destinations. In New Zealand, we’re able to offer any of the escorted tours operated by our partner, AAT Kings. Together we share a desire to offer the best possible service and experience. All of the itineraries allow you to get the most out of this beautiful destination, whether you’re taking your time to fully explore a specific region or discovering New Zealand’s iconic sights around the country. AAT Kings’ experienced crew and local guides have a wealth of local knowledge and will go the extra mile to bring your tour to life.

This is just a taster of what’s on offer. Chat to one of our Personal Travel Experts to find your dream escorted tour 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 44 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 drink at the cosy Green Dragon Inn and take in the view across the lake to the mill and Bag End.

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Marlborough Icons Tour

Depart from Blenheim for this full-day tour which journeys through the renowned Marlborough wine region. Visit wineries and enjoy two fine wine experiences including the region’s iconic winery, Cloudy Bay. Continue 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.

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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. The tour includes tastings at award-winning boutique wineries including Murdoch James, Te Kairanga, Palliser, Muirlea Rise, Tirohana, Alana Estate and Martinborough. Meet local winemakers and have a bistro lunch at a vineyard.

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Milford Sound Overnight Cruise

Depart from Queenstown and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through rolling countryside to Te Anau. Continue along the scenic Milford Road and board the Milford Mariner to sail the length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea. Admire spectacular alpine scenery and look out for wildlife including dolphins and seals. Anchor overnight in Harrison Cove where dinner will be served. After breakfast the next morning, disembark and return to Queenstown.

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Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

Enjoy a scenic drive from Dunedin to the Otago Peninsula where you will board the MV Monarch and cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour. Soak up the scenery and spot diverse wildlife basking at Taiaroa Head – the world’s only mainland nesting place for the Northen Royal Albatross. The region is also home to fur seals, dolphins and sea lions and the peninsula is rich in bird life including penguins and nesting birds such as spotted shags.

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Safari of the Scenes – Wakatipu Basin

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). 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.

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Tamaki Maori Village Hangi

Enjoy a guided tour of Rotorua's Tamaki Maori Village where you will experience a traditional welcome before entering the village. Whilst here you will have the opportunity to learn the haka, try poi, play stick games, experience warrior training, weaving and learn about tattooing and carving. You will also enjoy a traditional performance, hangi buffet feast and a closing ceremony of speeches and songs.

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Tongariro & Ruapehu Crater Lake

Depart from National Park Village, Whakapapa Village or Taupo for this full-day hiking tour to Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. Ride the scenic chair lift (weather permitting) to the starting point of your guided walk (approx. 6-7 hours) across the volcanic terrain. Enjoy lunch and spectacular views at the top of the volcano while observing the changing colours of the geothermal lake - it can transform from green to pale blue or grey depending on the temperature.

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TranzAlpine Train

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.

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Weta Workshop Tour

Immerse yourself in a world of visual effects at the award-winning Weta Workshop, the gateway to filmmaking experiences in New Zealand, famous for creating the costumes, weapons and props for films such as District 9 and King Kong, as well as The Chronicles of Narnia films and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are different visiting options available, but we recommend the four-hour ‘There and Back Again: The Full Experience’. It includes two 45-minute guided tours – the Weta Cave Workshop Tour and the Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go, showing how a TV show is brought to life. You’ll also have guided return shuttle transfers from central Wellington to the studio in Miramar; access to the incredible Weta Cave shop with life-sized sculptures and mini museum; and a documentary viewing featuring co-founders, Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson.

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Whale Watching, 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.

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Akaroa & Banks Peninsula

Depart from Christchurch for the historic French settlement of Akaroa and travel over the unique Banks Peninsula area. Admire the incredible views of Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours, the Canterbury Plains and the distant Southern Alps from the high summit road and stop for lunch at a café in Akaroa. Board a catamaran for a nature cruise in the harbour and the chance to spot rare Hector’s dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, little blue penguins and other birdlife.

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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 and a tea or coffee.

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Auckland City Tastes Walking Tour

Join your guide at Princes Wharf to begin a tour of two of Auckland’s most vibrant inner city foodie locations. The Britomart precinct is surrounded by beautiful heritage buildings and full of restaurants, cafés, bars, and a fantastic city farmers’ market (Saturdays only). Stroll to the Viaduct Harbour, where restaurants and bars line the yacht-studded waterfront. The tour includes lunch, a glass of wine and tastings such as seafood, cheese and ice-cream.

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Best of Hawke's Bay

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.

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Cape Reinga & Ninety-Mile Beach

Depart from Paihia or Keri Keri for a full-day trip to Cape Reinga on the northern tip of the North Island.  Stroll through the ancient Puketi Kauri Forest and enjoy the thrill of sand-boarding down massive dunes at Te Paki Stream. Drive along the famous Ninety-Mile Beach to Cape Reinga where you can watch the Pacific Ocean collide with the Tasman Sea and enjoy spectacular views over the ocean.

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Discover Waitomo

Enjoy a guided tour through the renowned glow-worm caves, with a boat ride through the grotto itself. Enjoy a picnic lunch before you see New Zealand’s agricultural industry in action with sheep dog trials at the Agrodome, plus an organic farm tour. You will then continue to Te Puia for a Maori cultural performance and a guided tour around the mighty geysers and boiling mud pools for which the area is famed.

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Dolphin Eco Encounter

Swim and snorkel with dolphins in the wild during this half-day tour in the beautiful Bay of Islands. At Russell Wharf board the purpose-built Tutunui boat, which has a low viewing deck and underwater microphones, and head out to the sheltered waters of the bay in search of playful dolphins. Don a wetsuit and enjoy the experience of interacting with them in their natural environment.

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Doubtful Sound Cruise

Depart from Queenstown for this scenic full-day tour. Drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, cross the waters of Lake Manapouri and travel across Wilmot Pass. Upon arrival at Deep Cove, board a catamaran for a three-hour cruise around Doubtful Sound. Glide past waterfalls, rainforest and mountains, looking out for fur seals, bottlenose dolphins and rare Fiordland crested penguins. On the return cruise, the vessel’s engines are turned off so that you can enjoy ‘The Sound of Silence’.

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Gourmet Wine Tour

Depart from Queenstown for this full-day tour of the Central Otago Wine Region which includes a mid-morning cheese tasting in a vineyard garden and a gourmet platter lunch. Visit five premier vineyards in the Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn for tastings, explore New Zealand’s largest underground wine cave and enjoy an interactive experience at The Big Picture Wine Adventure which offers the world’s first visual and sensory wine experience.

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Grand Traverse Flight

Glide high above the beautiful Aoraki/Mount Cook and Westland National Parks on this scenic flight which departs from Mount Cook Village. Fly over an enchanting world of ice and snow, turquoise glacial lakes, river systems, remote sheep stations and rainforest. Highlights include some of New Zealand’s highest mountains and largest glaciers including the famous Tasman, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Every passenger on board can enjoy a window seat.

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Heli Hike

Explore Franz Josef Glacier, departing from the Franz Josef Glacier base. From here you will enjoy a ten minute helicopter flight to Franz Josef icefall where you will land on the glacier to enjoy up to a two hour hike amongst glacial ice formations with an experienced guide. Equipment will be provided including glacier boots, crampons, socks and a waterproof jacket, but make sure you dress warmly.

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Hobbiton Express Tour

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.

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


GMT +12 (with New Zealand Daylight Time and New Zealand Standard Time applied, this largely equates to 11 hours ahead of the UK from early April to late September and 13 hours ahead from late September to late March)


New Zealand dollar


25½ hours (not including stopover time)


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


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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