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Milford Sound, New Zealand

New Zealand vacations

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With practical guidance, our flexibility promise and inspirational tools for travel planning, you can book with confidence with Audley.

New Zealand has the kind of scenery that demands a standing ovation — and it’s all in such close proximity. Our specialists are passionate about helping you get out to explore it all. There are Milford Sound’s arrow-headed peaks, and stretches of sand so vast they earn outlandish names (‘Ninety Mile Beach’). Caves spangle with glow-worms like a million fairy lights. Stratovolcanoes rise above grassy plains. Ice fields career down almost to the edge of the Tasman Sea. And that’s just for starters.

Whether you’re keen to explore on foot or by car, bicycle or even helicopter (or a combination of them all), our specialists can help. They’ll devise a New Zealand vacation that allows you to take in the major destinations, as well as more out-of-the-way spots or lesser-known activities. They can recommend everything from the best Maori guides to the best places for viewing New Zealand’s unique panoply of birdlife.
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Suggested tours for New Zealand

These tours give you a starting point for what your trip to New Zealand could entail. They cover routes we've found work particularly well and feature some of our favorite places to stay. Treat them as inspiration, as each trip is created uniquely for you.

Why travel with Audley?

  • 100% tailor-made journeys
  • Fully protected travel
  • Established for 20 years
  • 99% of our clients would recommend us to a friend

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Our detailed brochures feature trip ideas and travel experiences recommended by our specialists.

New Zealand brochure cover

Useful information for planning your vacation in New Zealand

  • Timezone
    UTC +12

  • Flight time
    17 hours upwards dependent on airline (Toronto to Wellington)

  • New Zealanders speak English as a first language, although some may still speak traditional Maori.

  • New Zealand's food scene has stormed ahead of the game in recent years both in quality of the food and the places where it is served. Often referred to as 'Pacific Rim' cuisine, there are obvious influences from Asia, Europe and other parts of the Pacific, fused with New Zealand's fresh produce. New Zealand lamb also features on almost every menu. For traditionally cooked Maori dishes it is really necessary to experience a 'hangi', a feast prepared in an underground oven, steam cooked in the natural thermal heat of the earth.

    New Zealand's wine industry has firmly established itself on the international market. The most recognized regions are Marlborough, which is famed for its sauvignon blanc, and Hawke's Bay which produces excellent chardonnay.

  • Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory — even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.

  • The official currency is the New Zealand dollar. New Zealand dollar traveler's checks can be exchanged at all major banks, international airports, foreign exchange bureaus, and all international credit cards are widely accepted. You will be able to access New Zealand currency from Maestro and Cirrus ATM machines (cash point machines) as long as you have a four-digit pin-code.

  • New Zealanders are in general warm, friendly and hospitable, and are proud of their country and their heritage. Maori culture is an integral part of the New Zealand way of life and is a strong and growing influence. Social conventions need to be observed when visiting a 'marae', the traditional Maori meeting house. Such places are sacred, and should only be visited by invitation from the local tribe. There is a welcoming ritual which will be observed, shoes should be removed before entering the meeting house, and you should sit where indicated. Although this may sound rather solemn and formal, remember that once you have been invited to the marae you are extremely welcome. It is customary after such a visit to leave a donation towards the upkeep of the marae.

Guides to New Zealand's regions

To help you decide where to focus your time in New Zealand, our region guides describe the areas that you're most likely to visit when traveling. Each guide highlights the types of experiences the region can offer.

New Zealand in pictures

Our expert guides to traveling in New Zealand

Written by our specialists from the viewpoint of their own travels, these guides will help you decide on the shape of your own trip to New Zealand. Aiming to inspire and inform, we share our recommendations for how to appreciate New Zealand at its best.

  • Luxury New Zealand

    Luxury New Zealand

    New Zealand’s raft of luxury wilderness lodges allow you to retreat to the backcountry while staying in well-designed properties equipped with indulgent touches. And, they also offer one-off experiences and activities.

  • Queenstown, Queenstown

    Driving vacations in New Zealand: 3 great routes

    Audley country specialist John explains why, for him, self-drive is the best way to explore New Zealand. He recommends three very different routes, from mountain passes in the South Island to forest roads in the North Island.

  • Jet boat on the Dart River

    What to do in New Zealand: our highlights guide

    Enjoy New Zealand’s north and south islands with this travel guide that looks at cruising the Bay of Islands and Doubtful Sound, Rotarua’s thermal springs, the Coromandel Peninsula, whale spotting in Kaikoura, and Mount Cook and Abel Tasman national parks.

  • Dolphins in The Bay of Islands, New Zealand

    Cruising in New Zealand

    There’s a lot to love about day cruises in New Zealand, says specialist Ophelia. She shares her pick of the best from across the North and South Islands. Expect dolpins, hot springs, Maori rock art and a weka (or three).

  • Tranz Alpine Train

    New Zealand railway journeys

    New Zealand has a triumvirate of great rail journeys across North and South Islands. They’re windows onto the country’s scenic splendor, but they’re also civil engineering masterpieces, says Audley New Zealand specialist (and train aficionado) Joe.

  • Travelling by campervan, New Zealand

    Exploring New Zealand by campervan: an all-you-need-to-know guide

    If you have ever fancied roaming New Zealand by campervan, read on. Audley specialist James shares his do’s and don’ts for campervan vacations in this most outdoorsy of countries, including the most scenic (and often little-known) pitches and campsites.

  • Lake Wanaka - Wanaka Tree

    Honeymoons in New Zealand

    Looking for New Zealand honeymoon ideas? Audley specialist Lucy explains why the country makes for a fulfilling honeymoon destination. She cherry-picks the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that New Zealand does so well, from glacier trekking to scenic flights and Doubtful Sound cruises.

Tell us your travel plans and a specialist will be in touch