Milford Sound
Milford Sound

Explore the wonders of New Zealand with us in 2020

If you're looking for that trip of a lifetime to take in the new year, let us tempt you with our 20-day New Zealand holiday. Departing on either 26th October 2020 or 10th January 2021, this really is a tour for the natural world lover. 

In addition to the amazing experiences featured on this adventure, there's also a stopover in Singapore due to the journey length and we've ensured it will be a memorable one with an included visit to the cutting-edge Gardens by the Bay. What's more, if you book your place on the 26th October departure before 2nd December – during our Black Friday promotion – you'll save £349.75pp! You may even be lucky enough to win our prize draw and win part of the holiday for free, up to the value of £2,000!

So, what's our 20-day New Zealand tour like?

Enjoy a Maori cultural experience on the fifth day

On Day 5 of our packed itinerary, after a day filled with glorious garden visits, we'll take you to experience the Maori culture. Upon arrival at the location, we will enjoy a Powhiri – a traditional Māori welcome – and this will be followed by a special evening meal called a hangi. Traditionally, the Māori cooked in a pit below the ground in ovens known as hangi. The meal would comprise of foods such as chicken or fish, and a selection of vegetables, all of which would be cooked in this underground pit. Hangi cooking saw foods wrapped in leaves, but the modern equivalent may well substitute foil or wire baskets as suitable cooking methods. 

Sample delicious, crisp wines at Wither Hills

New Zealand is a country known for its incredible white wines, so we couldn't bring you all the way here and not take you to a winery! Wither Hills, overlooking the stunning Wairau Valley, is where we'll be going and a visit here is truly memorable. Producers of award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, we'll explore its sumptuous tasting room and cellar, and there will be the chance to indulge in a glass or two or its magnificent wine. Expertise and passion will be tasted in every glass at this leading vineyard. 

Admire endemic birdlife at the Zealandia Ecosanctuary

During this tour, we will pay a memorable visit to the Zealandia Ecosanctuary (formerly known as te Karori Wildlife Sanctuary). Home to over 225 hectares of regenerating native forest and 40 species of birds, Zealandia is a unique eco-attraction, which provides an excellent opportunity to experience the country's natural environment just minutes from the capital. It is also the world's first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, as well as home to extraordinary wildlife – some of which is rare.

Explore the country's only native botanic garden

Wilton’s Bush, New Zealand’s only native botanic garden, is also included on our itinerary. This incredible natural space is devoted solely to the cultivation and preservation of indigenous plants. Predominant native trees here include mahoe, tawa, kohekohe, rewarewa, hinau, and northern rata. Other features at Otari (which is what Wilton's Bush is also known as) include a fernery, a small alpine garden, rock garden with adjoining fish pool, and a wild garden – all of which are easily accessed by a network of paths and boardwalks.

Discover the impressive Hamilton Gardens

We break up our journey in Hamilton with a visit to Hamilton Gardens. The unique theme of Hamilton Gardens is 'the story of gardens', explored through a series of five garden collections: the Paradise Garden Collection, featuring gardens representing some of the most significant garden design traditions; the Productive Garden Collection, representing different aspects of the relationship between people and plants; the Fantasy Garden Collection, representing different forms of garden fantasy; the Cultivar Garden Collection, featuring the story of plants selected and bred for the garden; and the Landscape Garden Collection, with areas representing the different historic interpretations of an idealised landscape.

Gaze upon New Zealand's largest collection of rhododendrons

Pukeiti (meaning ‘little hill’), which boasts the largest collection of species and hybrid rhododendrons in New Zealand, in flower all year round. Founders Garden features native planting with countless complementary shrubs and plants. One of the pleasures of New Zealand gardens is that they often adjoin the native bush and Pukeiti is an excellent example of this, with bush walks throughout the surrounding natural rainforest.

Cruise your way to a delicious dinner

On the evening of our 17th day, we take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station, where we dine at the Colonel’s Homestead – this has proved to be one of the absolute highlights of this tour. A particularly part of this excursion is the boat itself – it still runs on steam and was originally commissioned in 1912 by the government. Over the years, this boat has carried the likes of cattle and sheep, and the food on offer at the Colonel's Homestead is buffet-style, with meat and barbecue options alongside salads, breads and dips. 

Other highlights...

20 days is a long time and we ensure that we get the most out of our time in New Zealand. Other highlights on this unforgettable tour include visits to a selection of gardens featured in the Taranaki Garden Festival, such as Tupare – a beautifully restored garden that surrounds a classic arts and crafts era Chapman-Taylor home, near to New Plymouth. We also visit The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, affectionately called simply ‘Te Papa’, where there are some wonderful exhibits and interactive displays. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free to explore New Zealand’s capital city. Finally, our tour includes a Milford Sound cruise. This is an experience in itself as we travel through the breathtaking alpine scenery of the Milford Road. On arrival at Milford Sound, we join our boat for a 2½ hour cruise, which will take us the 16km from the head of the fjord to the open sea and back again.


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Explore the wonders of New Zealand with us in 2020 was published on 15 November 2019