Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

New Zealand Holidays

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. 

EXPLORE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW ZEALAND

  • Swim with dolphins or take to the skies in search of whales in Kaikoura
  • Visit Kapiti Island, home to the kiwi
  • Search for sea lions, hector's dolphin and abundant birdlife in the little-visited Catlin's
  • Kayak through icebergs in Mount Cook National Park
  • Overnight on a luxury motor boat amidst the awesome scenery of the Doubtful Sounds
  • Hike through the volcanic landscapes of the Tongariro National Park

 

  • Cycle around vineyards, stopping for a crayfish lunch
  • Take a floatplane to Waiheke Island to sample award-winning artisan wines
  • Experience a Maori hangi; a feast cooked in an earth oven 
  • Heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier
  • Kayak in the crystal clear waters of the Abel Tasman National Park
  •  Go jet boating, an iconic adventure sport born in 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

SOME BEYOND THE ORDINARY IDEAS FOR A NEW ZEALAND HOLIDAY

  • Fly to White Island, New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano and take a tour of the steaming crater floor.
  • Overnight on a working New Zealand farm and try your hand at sheep shearing.
  • The ultimate helicopter flight from Queenstown, over the Southern Alps, glaciers and Milford Sound with four landings at remote locations. Take time to walk on deserted beaches, explore coastal rainforest and soak up the peace and solitude of the mountains with champagne and a gourmet picnic.
  • Explore the Bay of Islands by private sailing boat.
  • Stay at Huka Lodge and enjoy a day out on a Private Heli Fly Fishing trip.
  • Take a VIP peak into the world of Weta special effects. Spend time with a senior crew member with access to areas normally closed to the public and the chance to see props from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

ADVICE FROM OUR NEW ZEALAND EXPERTS

“Whatever the season pack layers. The saying 'four seasons in one day' is definitely true for New Zealand!”

"Always have your camera at the ready. Every single drive is scenically stunning, and you will want to stop and capture every part of it"

"When swimming with dolphins don't take an underwater camera. You will spend too much time staring through the lens when the most important thing is to take in what is one of the most magical natural experiences you can do in New Zealand"

New Zealand FAQs

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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!
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.

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.
How much time would you recommend for a holiday to New Zealand?

Most people who travel to New Zealand with Steppes Travel spend on average, around three weeks exploring a combination of the north and south islands. This sort of duration allows a nice amount of time to take in the highlights of the country. If you are lucky enough to have more than three weeks there is of course always more to see...

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.
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 mid 20's are the norm 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 20's. 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. 

How long is the flight to New Zealand?
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.
Which side of the road do New Zealanders drive on?
New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road.
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. 
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. 

Holidays

New Zealand - South Island Self-drive

New Zealand - South Island Self-drive

The most dramatic of New Zealand’s two islands, this self-drive holiday explores the South Island...

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New Zealand:The Ultimate Touring Honeymoon - New Zealand

New Zealand Honeymoon - North and South Islands

This is the perfect honeymoon for intrepid newlyweds. With a theme of pure indulgence throug...

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New Zealand - Ultimate New Zealand Self-Drive

Ultimate New Zealand Self-Drive

This 21-day self-drive itinerary offers a fantastic introduction to the great outdoors of New Zea...

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Inspiration

Dusky Dolphin, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Variety of New Zealand

Client Reviews

Beautiful turquoise river in Queenstown, New Zealand
''The service and the travel pack you provided before we left for our holiday...
... were both excellent.''
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Mark Anderson

New Zealand
Rainbow at Mt Cook National park Southern Alps, New Zealand
''I just can't fault your service and organisation.
You really know your destinations so well.''
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Tilly Dyer

New Zealand
Maori Carving, Rotorua, New Zealand
"Amy was a joy to work with; very knowledgeable and really helpful"

Mr Stuart Murray

New Zealand
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FLIGHT INFORMATION

24 hours from UK
(via Singapore)

Holiday Ideas in New Zealand

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

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Expertise

  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides

PRICING

  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates

RESPONSIBLE STEPPES

  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

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  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad
 

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