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    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

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Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

New Zealand

One for those who adore the outdoors. Seek out whales in Kaikoura, tour a steaming crater floor or take a heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier.

New Zealand is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery in the world and in a single day, you could pass soaring volcanic peaks, drive past lakes and rivers fringed by dense woodland, cross-fertile plains and end on a glorious beach.

Wide-open spaces, a healthy outdoor lifestyle, world-class cuisine and wines, warm friendly people and a pleasant climate are just a few of the reasons why we love to holiday in New Zealand.

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

A New Zealand holiday with Steppes Travel

Our travel experts have spent time living and working in New Zealand and have travelled the length and breadth of the country, both on a shoestring and in sheer luxury, with helicopter transfers the norm! Their passion and specialist knowledge can open doors to less travelled areas while ensuring the iconic sites are not missed.

We find that the ideal duration for a holiday to New Zealand is around 23 days, with time spent exploring both the north and south islands.

Explore New Zealand

  • Bay of Islands
  • Auckland
  • Rotorua
  • Wellington
  • Nelson and Marlborough
  • Kaikoura
  • West Coast Glaciers
  • Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo
  • Milford Sound and the Fiordlands
  • Queenstown
  • Dunedin and the Catlins
Road to Mount Cook, New Zealand
Road to Mount Cook
Rear view of Coral Discoverer with tender circling it and heading into shore.
Coral Discoverer
Ocean Cycle Trail, Lake Pukaki, New Zealand
Cycling around Lake Pukaki

By Land, Air or Sea

New Zealand’s empty roads hug epic landscapes with spectacular views at every turn. New Zealanders also drive on the left making it the ideal self-drive destination. Combine this with the scenic Tranz Alpine train, stunning boat journeys and explorations on foot or by bike and we will ensure you get the best out of a holiday to New Zealand. We would highly recommend blowing a little of the budget on a plane or helicopter flight. A truly spectacular and exhilarating way to see the country, whether landing on a remote island, the top of a mountain, a glacier or a deserted beach, it is sure to be a highlight.

If the idea of unpacking every few days doesn’t appeal, consider a cruise around New Zealand. Circumnavigate the coastline of both north and south islands, staying onboard a comfortable expeditionary ship and exploring some spectacular and remote areas.

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Where to stay...

Accommodation in New Zealand comes in many shapes and sizes, to suit all budgets; from boutique properties full of character to contemporary and luxurious hotels, as well as some simple but charming bed and breakfast options.

More luxury accommodation

Experiences

Discover some of our suggested activities to include on your New Zealand holiday.

TranzAlpine Train Journey

Board the TranzAlpine train for a spectacular journey between Greymouth and Christchurch, passing through epic scenery.

Wine Tasting by Bike

Cycle between vineyards sampling award-winning pinot noir.

Middle Earth Experience

Journey to Matamata, home of the hobbits.

White Island by Heli

Take a helicopter flight to White Island and land on the moon like surface of this active volcanic crater.

Kayaking in Abel Tasman

Sea kayak in the crystal clear waters of the Abel Tasman National Park, following a coastline of golden beaches and lush rainforest.

Tongariro Crossing

Hike through the lunar landscapes and emerald lakes of the Tongariro National Park on this one day walk.

Overnight on Doubtful Sounds

Overnight on a luxury motor boat amidst the awesome scenery of the Doubtful Sounds.

A Treetop Stay

Stay in a treehouse at Hapuku Lodge and dine out on the freshest crayfish in Kaikoura.

Spot kiwi on Kapiti Island

Visit Kapiti Island, a nature reserve that is home to a wealth of birdlife including the kiwi.

Whale Watching

Search for sperm, humpback, pilot and blue whale as well as orca, dolphin and albatross.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Amy Waters

After my degree in Fine Art I didn’t really know what career I wanted or what path I would take. The only thing I knew is that having spent a summer in America it had given me the desire to explore and see as many places as possible before becoming a grown up and entering the real world.
Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

Deborah Brock-Doyle

My first journey for Steppes was in 1999 when I set off to explore Thailand to gather those little details that constitute Steppes Travel’s trademark knowledge. I have since been lucky enough to travel extensively in Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East and India. A few special memories include being joined at dinner by an otter in Laos, proudly being shown an illicit picture of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and diving with manta rays on Christmas day in Indonesia. I’m pretty sure I always leave a country wishing I had done more, seen more, learned more ….. but I also always hope to return …
Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

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Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

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Amy's experience of New Zealand was invaluable. Everything went like clockwork and the travel documentation and book you sent us were brilliant.

New Zealand

Frequently asked questions about New Zealand

What are the road conditions like in New Zealand?

With approximately 100,000 kilometres of road, much of which is flanked by spectacular scenery, New Zealand is a perfect self-drive destination. Many of the roads have good tarmacked surfaces making them easy to drive on. Some more remote areas and lodges are accessed via tracks with unsealed surfaces, some roads have tolls to pay and there are lots of mountain roads with hairpin bends to negotiate and spectacular views to enjoy.

What are the rules on tipping in New Zealand?

On the whole, tipping is not the norm and is only now becoming more popular in some of the more expensive restaurants and bars. Tips are only usually made by locals in cases of good service for around 10% of the bill; this is, of course, discretionary and a personal choice.

What is the best way to travel around New Zealand?

Self-drive is the best way to explore New Zealand, with stunning scenery and plenty of places to stop on every route. Alike the UK driving is on the left-hand side. Journeys can sometimes take longer than estimated by satellite navigation, due to many roads being hilly and winding, and do pay attention to speed limits. It is far too easy to put your foot down when the mountain-lined road ahead of you is empty and seems to stretch on forever!

When is the best time to travel to New Zealand?

Like the UK, New Zealand has four distinct seasons and in our opinion, each of these seasons offers something unique and magical:

Summer (December to February) is by far the most popular and busiest time to visit New Zealand. Sunny days and temperatures of the mid-’20s are the norms although a light jumper is still recommended for the evening. Think British summer.

Autumn (March to May) is a lovely time to holiday to New Zealand when the crowds of the summer have departed, prices have dropped but the temperatures are still very pleasant, hovering around late teens and early ’20s. Add to this the autumn colours and this is definitely a time of year to consider planning your trip.

Winter (June to August) offers skiing in the South Island so great for snow enthusiasts and a nice option for people maybe visiting family. However, the weather can be similar to a British winter with much cooler temperatures and more chances of rain.

Spring (September to November) brings the spring flowers, think iconic images of pink and purple lupins carpeting the shores of Lake Tekapo and pleasant temperatures around the high teens.

Which island should I visit on a holiday to New Zealand; North, South or both?

The ideal scenario is a holiday which combines both the North and South Islands, and a duration of around three weeks would allow this. The South Island probably contains more of the iconic sites for which New Zealand is famous, such as Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Kaikoura and Abel Tasman. It is also the more scenically spectacular with the Southern Alps mountain range visible across the island. The North Island is more known for its geothermal sites, Maori culture and beaches. Both islands offer the chance to get outdoors and active plus some world-class vineyards.

Which side of the road do New Zealanders drive on?

New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Is it safe to be out in the sun during the hotter months?

During the summer, the sun can be exceptionally strong due to the southern hemisphere having far less ozone to block the UV rays. We advise using a high-factor suncream and covering up along with avoiding the midday sun.

Is New Zealand safe to travel around?

New Zealand is safe, with an extremely low crime rate. We always advise, wherever the destination, to be careful with your personal belongings – especially when out and about in crowded areas.

Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand?

Visas are not required for British Nationals travelling to New Zealand for up to six months. You must have two blank pages side by side for your stamp and your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

How long is the flight to New Zealand from the UK?

There are no non-stop, direct flights from the UK to New Zealand. Most airlines fly via cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok or Los Angeles, taking around 26 hours in total.

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Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

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