Plan Your New Zealand Tour With This Guide

Islands with hot lava pulsating through their veins, dramatic carvings into a landscape that is remote, unjustifiably beautiful and unlike anything you have ever seen before, this is New Zealand.

A tour in New Zealand takes you into vast, towering mountains and soft rolling hills that set the scene for adventures that pop up on every corner you turn.

Divided into a North Island and South Island, the two sides of New Zealand are similar in their adventure opportunities but different in their characteristics and style, meaning that no matter what kind of holiday you are looking for, New Zealand is the answer.

Whether you are trekking in Tongariro National Park, taking a dip in Hot Water Beach or immersing yourself in Maori culture in Rotorua; a New Zealand trip in the North Island will be filled with volcanic activity and otherworldly beauty.

The South Island of New Zealand is known across the world for its dramatic landscapes; from cruising the fiords to hiking mountains and skiing down them; the South Island’s beauty is best explored with adventure activities that create an exhilarating New Zealand tour package.

The two national languages of New Zealand are Maori and English. Maori people are the indigenous people of the country whose culture and land are now greatly respected. A more modern, western twist to life is seen in the cities of New Zealand with British colonisation. You’ll find that both of these cultural aspects run in tandem, no matter where your New Zealand trip takes you, you’ll find yourself learning about Maori culture one day, and sipping on some of the country’s finest wines, planted by European settlers, the next.

When to Go to New Zealand

On average, New Zealand is a little cooler than Australia with an average maximum temperature of 25 degrees. Summer is roughly from December to February; Autumn, March to May, Winter, from June to August, and Spring from September to October.

A trip to New Zealand is good at any time of year; however, you should organise your trip based on what you want to do. The shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn are best for warm-weather activities when fewer tourists are travelling. For those who are looking for a winter sports holiday, snowfall starts around the end of May.

The North and South Islands are characteristically different in that the North Island is known for its more subtropical climate. In contrast, the South Island is known for its Alpine climate and mountains. However, as you are never too far from the coast, you can expect mild and comfortable temperatures at sea level, throughout the year.

Unique Experiences in New Zealand
Fox Glacier
Marking the beginning of the Southern Alps, Fox Glacier is the name of both the glacier and the small village that is closest to it. Twin to Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier descends into the temperate rainforest just 300 metres above sea level – something you had perhaps never thought possible!

There are many activities to enjoy around Fox Glacier that you can add into a New Zealand package tour. Choose from ice-hiking around the glacier, taking a scenic flight to view the glacier, a stroll around Lake Matheson or, not far from the town centre is a glowworm cave that you can explore.

The capital of adventure, Queenstown is a scenic city that acts as the gateway to a plethora of adventures that are waiting to be explored on your New Zealand tour in the South Island.

Whether you are looking to cruise between the fiord of Milford Sound, feel like you are in the heart of Middle-earth, or want to sample a little of the South Island wine styles; Queenstown opens up the true extent of what New Zealand is capable of. Hikers, walkers, winers, diners, skiers and boarders will all find a little something to enjoy, complemented with spectacular views, of course!

Filled with volcanic activity, geysers and the world’s most active geothermal fields, Rotorua sits on the Rim of Fire that makes a 25,000-mile belt around the Pacific Ocean.

While in Rotorua on a longer trip through New Zealand’s North Island, the smell of sulphur is never too far away, with Te Puia just moments from the city centre. This geothermal park is home to the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere, erupting once or twice every hour.

Between the bubbles and spouts of sulfur, Rotorua is known for its rich and celebrated Maori culture. Whether you are looking to go on a walk and get to know the Maori connection with the land or want to learn more about hangi cuisine, one thing will always be clear – Maori hospitality is warm, welcoming and abundant.

The perfect addition to your family holiday package in New Zealand, the movie set for the Lord of the Rings trilogy is set just moments from the central city of Hamilton in New Zealand’s North Island.

The Hobbiton Movie Set takes you through The Shire and beyond much faster than Frodo and his friends, as you see New Zealand bring Middle-earth to life just as J.R.R.Tolkien pictured it. Kids will feel like they are part of the movie walking through a room of props that were actually used in the films.

If you are looking for a more extended Lord of the Rings tour, numerous locations can be added into an extended New Zealand guided tour across both islands such as in this Best of Lord of the Rings Tour.

Te Anau
Known as the gateway to Fiordland National Park, Te Anau is a lake with a spectacular backdrop. The largest lake in the South Island, Te Anau is a hub of activity that will allow you to explore the beauty of the lake and beyond, including scenic flights, hikes, glacier explorations, kayaking and yet more glowworm caves.

You could go on a trip to New Zealand and only visit Te Anau and Fiordland National Park with the extensive walking trails and luxury hotels, however, it would best-explored on a New Zealand self-drive trip.

Hot Water Beach
An essential stop while in the Coromandel Peninsula on your North Island tour, Hot Water Beach is a popular surfing spot in the North Island, however, it’s better known for something a little more peculiar.

For two hours each side of the low tide every day, locals and tourists alike hurriedly flock to the beach and frantically dig holes to make their very own sand sauna in this underground natural spring. The phenomenon has earned the beach its rightful place on the top 25 in the world.


How to Get Around New Zealand
Rental Cars: New Zealand is huge! The best piece of advice to make sure you tick-off all of your bucket list locations is to rent a car. To take the stress out of organising your trip, you can be the driver in one of the numerous self-drive tours available in New Zealand where all you need to do is show up in time for your tours. For even more freedom, it is as easy to rent a car as it is to buy one.

Taking the Bus: While buses may be the best option for budget travellers, you’ll find yourself struggling to get to all the best spots as the buses only stop in every town.

Fly: If you are looking to see a lot in a short space of time, it is best to fly between destinations and hire a private driver to take you to all of the picturesque spots around. If you have a little time, trains are also available, while they are not the fastest, they are probably the most beautiful in the world.

Where to Stay in New Zealand
Auckland has a balance of upmarket chain hotels and truly Kiwi guesthouses and apartments that are often within the same class. Whether you are on your honeymoon or are taking the family for an Auckland day tour, there is a place to suit everyone.

In the land of bubbling geysers, Rotorua is home to a plethora of accommodation options that range from private hot springs next to the great lake to well-known upmarket names in the industry.

For those looking to travel with families, there are holiday parks not too far from the action. For couples or slightly older solo travellers, you’ll find comfort in the family-run farm stays and small-scale hotels that embrace the Kiwi hospitality we all know and love.

Attracting more of a backpacker vibe, in Queenstown, you’ll a large variety of accommodation ranging from motels to penthouse suites and converted lofts; however, all have one thing in common – spectacular views!

For couples looking to get away from the city hustle, options a little further out include Arrowtown and Glenorchy. Equally, families or groups of friends travelling may wish to opt for camping outside of the city.

Think converted mansions and vineyard accommodation, and you have Marlborough; the region that put New Zealand on the wine map.

While you still have your budget options, in Marlborough, most accommodation has wine at the centre of their concept, so you’ll never feel too far away from a glass!

Places to Eat & Drink in New Zealand
Just moments from Auckland, Waiheke is an island that is known across the country for its food.

Keeping it local, Waiheke is often called the ‘island of wine’, with 30 wineries on the island, you’ll never be too far away; however, you need something to match it! Waiheke, for its size, has an impressive range of fine-dining restaurants, some of which require booking months in advance, so be sure to tell one of our New Zealand Local Designers when you book your trip!

Hawke’s Bay
New Zealand has become the land of the foodies; it’s something that locals keep a little quiet! Hawke’s Bay has become so well known for its food; there is an exclusive festival announced twice a year offering unique dining experiences that showcase the region’s potential.

Hawke’s Bay covers all dining experiences required for travellers to the region, from gastro pub classics to unique dining experiences that take you to hidden locations, you’ll find something to suit you and your fellow travellers.

To wash it all down, after Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay has the second-largest number of wineries and vineyards in the country.

Central Otago
Home to the southernmost wine region in the world, everything about Central Otago has a unique flavour, so much so there is a food and wine festival to showcase it.

The Central Otago region is known for its gourmet food experiences and small artisan refineries that have earned international recognition. Some of the most well-known restaurants in the area are known for blending western and Maori cuisine to make dishes that could only be served in New Zealand.

The Cost of a Trip to New Zealand
There are a good number of variables which come into the cost of a New Zealand package tour:

Length of your trip
Season or month you choose to travel in
Accommodation class and type
How people are coming with you
Number of activities you take part in
Expenditure on shopping and dining out
When considering these variables, suddenly your New Zealand trip may not be in the budget range you were hoping for. However, there are a few things that can be adjusted to take the stress away.

This is where Designer Journeys comes in! By specifying your budget, trip duration, activity preferences and how you like to travel, and you’re already nearly on your way!

Designer Journeys will link you up with some of the best Local Designers in the country to make sure your dream trip is everything you want it to be. Whether you are looking to travel New Zealand in group tours, privately, in luxury or camping on a budget; your trip will be planned for you. The leg work covered, you’ll receive a trip plan back within 48 hours with all your requirements met. The best part is, if something isn’t right, your Local Designer will fix it for you before you take off, so your trip will be as flawless as your plan.

To break it down, for NZ$2,784 you will get an 8-day New Zealand highlights tour that includes;

5-star accommodation
Eight guided activities
Airport transfers and transport by private car
Travel insurance
Three lunches and one dinner
Everyone has different interests, priorities and preferences when it comes to planning a trip; this can be adjusted in any way you please. With Designer Journeys, you can browse our range of fully-customisable New Zealand tours and tailor any one of them to your preferences with an expert Local Designer. Or better yet, select what you want out of a trip using the ‘Design your Own Trip‘ function and let a Local Designer design your perfect trip.

Festivals and Special Events
Sponsored by Jim Beam, Homegrown is a Wellington-based annual music festival that showcases the best of New Zealand talent. With events taking place across one action-packed day, there are stages to match every music taste.

Marlborough Wine Festival
New Zealand’s longest-running food and wine festival, this experience presents wining and dining with a difference. Set outdoors on a Marlborough wine estate, this wine and food festival hosts all Kiwi acts, that includes first-class music lineups matched with all local products and masterclasses throughout the weekend.

Waitangi Day
Away from wine and music, Waitangi Day commemorates the day of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. In the Bay of Islands, Waitangi Day is now celebrated through demonstrations of Maori culture and traditions.

Performances and speeches are part of the day, for those who want to learn a little more about Maori culture in modern society, this is a great opportunity. Before the event, a giant waka (longboat), made from Kauri trees must be moved from the Treaty grounds to the sea, to allow it to sit and swell for two days. The longboat is then blessed and sailed with 80 paddlers and 55 passengers, its quite an impressive sight! The waka, which is a war canoe, has been used since 1940.

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
A festival dedicated to the wild and absurd, Hokitika Wildfoods is a festival for those who dare. Embracing the wild child in everyone with workshops, performances and talks, the festival got its name from the bizarre range of food on offer, however, over the years, it became much more!

New Zealand Regional Tours
The Honeymooners
With a range of luxury accommodation everywhere you go in New Zealand, custom-made tours can be created to suit honeymoon couples looking to find unique tours such as the ones found in this luxury New Zealand itinerary.

The Family Holiday Packages to New Zealand
In the land of adventure, New Zealand is the perfect destination for families looking to challenge themselves with thrilling activities. Taking the kids with you has never been easier with the child-friendly accommodation available on tours like this family package in New Zealand that takes you through fiords, glaciers and mountains that promises an educational and enthralling trip.

Golf clubs reach a whole new level of scenic beauty when you look at trips like this New Zealand travel package tour. Perfect for couples who enjoy golfing trips together or a group of friends looking to get away for the weekend.

Reaching out to the adventurer in you, New Zealand has unlimited potential when you travel the country on your own. Ideal for couples looking to navigate New Zealand in their own time, this New Zealand self-drive tour will inspire you.