New Zealand

The Land of the Long White Cloud is one of Mother Nature's true triumphs. Featuring an organic blend of contemporary culture and tribal tradition, New Zealand’s wondrous wineries, cultured cities and phenomenal peaks will inspire your spirit and stir your soul.

New Zealand Tours & Travel

All our New Zealand trips

11 Day South Island Explorer

11 days from
USD $1,995
CAD $2,120
AUD $2,205
EUR €1,535
GBP £1,320
NZD $2,615
ZAR R20,070
CHF FR1,890

Embark on an epic adventure through the South Island of New Zealand. From Franz Joseph Glacier to Queenstown and the...

View trip details

12 Day North Island Explorer Northbound

12 days from
USD $2,320
CAD $2,470
AUD $2,565
EUR €1,785
GBP £1,535
NZD $3,040
ZAR R23,345
CHF FR2,200

Explore the North Island of New Zealand on this awesome Kiwi adventure from Christchurch to Auckland. Discover the...

View trip details

22 Day New Zealand Explorer Northbound

22 days from

This comprehensive New Zealand tour captures the best of both the North and South Islands. Visit attractions like Mt...

View trip details

22 Day New Zealand Explorer Southbound

22 days from
USD $3,265
CAD $3,475
AUD $3,620
EUR €2,510
GBP £2,160
NZD $4,280
ZAR R32,860
CHF FR3,090

This New Zealand tour captures the best of both the North and South islands. Visit attractions like Mt Ruapehu and...

View trip details

11 Day South Island Explorer

11 days from
USD $1,700
CAD $1,810
AUD $1,880
EUR €1,305
GBP £1,125
NZD $2,230
ZAR R17,110
CHF FR1,610

Embark on an epic adventure through the South Island of New Zealand. From Franz Joseph Glacier to Queenstown and the...

View trip details

22 Day New Zealand Explorer Northbound

22 days from

This New Zealand tour takes in the best of both the North and South islands. Visit attractions like Mt Ruapehu and...

View trip details

12 Day North Island Explorer Southbound

12 days from
USD $1,985
CAD $2,115
AUD $2,195
EUR €1,525
GBP £1,315
NZD $2,600
ZAR R19,980
CHF FR1,880

This tour of New Zealand captures the highlights of the country's North Island. Discover the Bay of Islands and visit...

View trip details

12 Day North Island Explorer Northbound

12 days from
USD $1,985
CAD $2,115
AUD $2,195
EUR €1,525
GBP £1,315
NZD $2,600
ZAR R19,980
CHF FR1,880

Explore the North Island of New Zealand on this awesome Kiwi adventure form Christchurch to Auckland. Cruise the Bay...

View trip details

12 Day North Island Explorer Southbound

12 days from
USD $2,320
CAD $2,470
AUD $2,565
EUR €1,785
GBP £1,535
NZD $3,040
ZAR R23,345
CHF FR2,200

This tour of New Zealand captures the highlights of the country's North Island. Cruise the Bay of Islands, visit Huka...

View trip details

22 Day New Zealand Explorer Southbound

22 days from
USD $3,905
CAD $4,155
EUR €3,000
GBP £2,580
ZAR R39,275
CHF FR3,700
AUD $4,315
NZD $5,115

This all-encompassing New Zealand tour takes you to the very best of both the North and South islands. Visit...

View trip details

New Zealand trip reviews

Our New Zealand trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

South Island Adventure, January 2013

South Island Adventure, January 2013

Articles on New Zealand

Travelled with Australasia’s leading tour operator?

Posted on Thu, 12 Jun 2014

Intrepid Travel is thrilled to be nominated in the 21st annual World Travel Awards, in the category of Australasia’s Leading Tour Operator. If you’ve travelled with Intrepid, we would be [...]

Read more

Natural thrill of New Zealand

Posted on Tue, 4 Sep 2012

"I expected to be impressed with the scenery of New Zealand, but I was still taken aback by the beauty of Mt Cook..."

Read more

New Zealand’s frozen wonderland

Posted on Thu, 8 Sep 2011

Sally Everett explains why exploring this 12km (7.5 mile) long glacier is a very cool experience...

Read more

Weird and wild New Zealand

Posted on Mon, 1 Aug 2011

"Spending the weekend at the Wildfoods Festival has to be one of my top travel food experiences..."

Read more

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in New Zealand you may find yourself staying in a:

About New Zealand

At a glance

Trips Available: 10
Capital city: Wellington (population 370,000)
Population: 4.2 million
Language: English, Maori
Currency: NZD
Time zone: (GMT+12:00) Auckland, Wellington
Electricity: Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)
Dialing code: +64

Best time to visit New Zealand

The most pleasant time for travelling throughout New Zealand is summer (December to February); however, this is also the busiest period, especially during school holidays (late December to late January). Winter can get very cold with frequent snowfall - but this is the perfect time to travel if you’re looking to ski or snowboard, particularly in the South Island.

Auckland weather chart When to travel to Christchurch in New Zealand

Culture and customs

Hand carved Rotorua Maori statue in New Zealand
Due to immigration, modern New Zealand is home to a diverse blend of people from far and wide. Maori, Pacific Islander, European and Asian influences blend peacefully to create a vibrant culture. Known for being friendly, down-to-earth, laidback and open, most visitors will find New Zealanders from all ethnicities to be helpful, approachable, generous and up for a laugh.

Maori culture has its origins in Polynesia so some aspects of Maori language, customs and traditions are quite similar to those of neighbouring islands. With strong traditional values based on respect for the family, ancestors and the land, Maori culture is hierarchical and steeped in centuries of tradition. Maori families typically come together for special occasions, celebrations and ceremonies filled with sacred dance, spiritual song and traditional food. Visitors will see traditional Maori art and carving almost everywhere they go in New Zealand, from elaborate tattooing to carved necklaces. Although Maori culture experienced a decline after the arrival of European settlers, it experienced a renaissance of sorts in the 1960s, which continues to grow today.

Eating and drinking

Fresh New Zealand Oysters Kiwi fruit

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways of experiencing a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

With award-winning wineries, cool bars, indulgent restaurants and a multitude of farmers' markets, eating in New Zealand is a real treat.

Things to try in New Zealand

1. Wine & Beer

Producing a huge variety of top quality wines, visitors will have fun visiting vineyards and cellar doors all around the country. But it’s not all about the wine in New Zealand - microbreweries are well represented too. So be sure to savour a boutique brew before you leave.

2. Seafood

New Zealanders are spoilt for choice when it comes to seafood. Being an island nation has its advantages – fresh prawns, lobster, mussels and oysters are in abundance all year round. For those on a budget, fish and chips on the beach provide a seafood fix at an affordable price.

3. Lamb

With sheep playing a huge part in New Zealand’s agricultural economy, it’s no wonder succulent lamb can be found in most restaurants. If you’re a meat lover, don’t leave New Zealand without tasting the lamb.

4. Kiwi Fruit

It comes as no surprise that New Zealand grows a lot of kiwifruit. Try it fresh from a market stall or fruiterer, cut up in fruit salad, in desserts like pavlova or even as a jam.

5. Pavlova

Even though the creator of this desert is hotly contested by their trans-Tasman cousins, the pavlova - a dessert with a meringue-like base and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit - was the invention of a Wellington chef to honour Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova's tour of Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. A trip to New Zealand is not complete without indulging in a slice of this national icon.

Geography and environment

View of Mitre Peak mountain from Milford Sound
Sitting in the South Pacific Ocean, this island nation is split in two – comprising two major landmasses surrounded by several smaller islands. The mountainous South Island is larger (but less populated) and features New Zealand’s highest peak (Mt Cook) as well as glaciers, rugged bush and a rocky coast. The North Island is more volcanic – typical environmental features include geysers, lakes and mud pools. Forest growth can be found all over New Zealand, with large national parks and reserves preserving the nation’s heritage bushland.

History and government

Traditional Cape Reinga Maori Warrior festival

Early History

Maori tribes, descended from Polynesia, lived in New Zealand for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in the 18th century. Relying on fishing, hunting and foraging, these people were able to live off the land and develop a deep connection with the earth as a result of this. European settlers caused wide-scale disruption and land loss for the Maoris, which resulted in conflict and displacement in the early days of colonisation. The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi officially recognised Maori land ownership, of which the British and Maoris were signatories. This historic agreement is viewed as a pivotal moment in New Zealand’s history and the first important step towards reconciliation between the original inhabitants and settlers.

Recent History

In 1852, New Zealand was granted the right to self-govern and in 1907, independence was granted (although the British monarchy remain as head of state). More recently, New Zealand voted in its first female prime minister in 1997. Jenny Shipley held office for two years, before handing over to another female leader - Helen Clarke, who continued to lead until 2008.

In the last ten years, New Zealand has enjoyed a surge in tourism, partly due to the wealth of wineries, ski fields and nature reserves. The film industry has also been a great champion of New Zealand, with filmmakers enjoying the rugged terrain and relatively cheap costs associated with filming in New Zealand. The Lord of the Rings franchise is probably the most well known film to be shot in New Zealand, and has been largely responsible for putting New Zealand in the international spotlight.

A devastating earthquake hit Christchurch in 2011, resulting in widespread loss of life and infrastructure. Although Christchurch is still rebuilding, visitors are encouraged to visit this spirited city.

Top Picks

Ripening Grapevines of New Zealand

Top 10 Wine Regions of New Zealand

1. Marlborough

New Zealand’s wine capital produces top quality chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot gris but it’s the sauvignon blanc that has achieved cult status around the world. Also producing first-class seafood and olive oil, Marlborough is a fave with foodies and wine lovers.

2. Canterbury

With the ideal climate for grape growing, Canterbury produces many internationally acclaimed wine varieties, including pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay and Riesling. Pegasus Bay Winery is one of the most popular in this area, and with a restaurant attached to the winery visitors can indulge in the complete culinary experience.

3. Bay of Plenty

This picturesque area may be well known for its pristine beaches, but it’s also got a few small wineries well worth visiting. Surrounding berry farms, orchards and lavender fields add to the charm.

4. Auckland

There are many boutique wineries creating note-worthy drops in and around Auckland. Kumeu, Henderson and Waiheke Island are hotspots for wine tourism – with awarded wines coming from many small, up-and-coming estates.

5. Central Otago

Spectacular mountain ranges, azure lakes and rolling rivers combine to create one of the world's most scenic wine regions. The vineyards of Central Otago produce a wide range of grapes, but the pinot noir is considered the best.

6. Northland

Way up north, the vineyards populating the historic Northland area produce a wide range of reds and whites. From iconic chardonnay to the more complex chambourcin and exotic syrah, there are loads of cellar doors waiting to welcome you.

7. Hawke’s Bay

New Zealand’s oldest wine growing region also produces most of New Zealand’s most sustainable wines. This commitment to sustainability in the industry has garnered worldwide attention, as has its bold, full-bodied reds. The Art Deco town of Napier is well worth a visit too.

8. Gisborne

If you like your wines a little fruity then the Gisborne region will impress. Merlot, gewurztraminer, syrah and chardonnay are among the best on offer in this region, which is on the same parallel as Malaga and Melbourne.

9. Nelson

Winemaking is considered an art form in cultured Nelson. With many unique producers in the region, it won’t be hard to find some smooth wines to savour. Local delis, cafes, providores and galleries add to the artistic, gastronomic mix.

10. Wairarapa

This relatively small winemaking region is made up of three sub-regions: Martinborough, Masterton and Gladstone. Although only a small amount of New Zealand's wine is produced here, the quality is superb with a great track record in pumping out world-class pinot noir.

Shopping

Bright white wooly sheep waiting to be sheered

With a nice little mix of malls, boutiques, galleries, fresh produce markets, cellar doors and providores, New Zealand has enough variety to keep most keen shoppers happy. Look beyond the tourist shops selling stuffed toys and flags and dig a little deeper to find unique art, locally-made crafts and gourmet goods.

It’s a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in New Zealand

1. Tasty Treats

New Zealand is home to many producers of fine food. Home grown wine, olive oil, honey, jam and avocado oil are among the best picks.

2. Wool

With a huge sheep population, the quality and variety of wool is superb in New Zealand. From hand knitted jumpers (jerseys to the locals) to sheepskin rugs and top quality knitting yarn, it’s easy to find a warm and woolly souvenir

3. Art & Handicrafts

From ceramic bowls to metal sculptures, woodcarvings to greenstone jewellery, you'll find traditional Maori techniques and influences in many of New Zealand’s art and crafts. Try to find authentic, locally made items rather than imported (and inferior!) goods.

Festivals and Events in New Zealand

Waitangi Day

This national public holiday celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Featuring Maori ceremonies, public entertainment and a diverse range of food, Waitangi Day is a celebration for all New Zealanders regardless of cultural background.

World Buskers Festival

Hundreds of the world’s best buskers and street performers head to New Zealand each year to juggle, dance, mime, sing and contort in the streets and parks of Christchurch. After the devastating earthquake of 2011, Christchurch is in rebuilding mode - but the festival is still going ahead in 2012. The best thing about this festival? It’s free!

FAQs on New Zealand

Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required

For the most up to date information on visa requirements, we recommend you contact the New Zealand embassy in your country or visit http://www.immigration.govt.nz
Tipping isn’t mandatory in New Zealand, however rounding up the bill or leaving spare change is common practice. Restaurant staff, taxi drivers and other service workers welcome tips for good service.
Internet access is widely available in most parts of New Zealand, with internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots commonly found in urban areas.
Mobile phone coverage is excellent in most parts of New Zealand, especially in large cities and urban areas. Remote, rural and mountainous places may have limited to no coverage, so be aware of this before venturing away from the city. Ensure global roaming is activated before leaving your home country if you want to use your mobile.
You'll find western-style flushable toilet in most parts of New Zealand.
Cup of coffee = 3 NZD
Jug of beer = 12 NZD
Lunch at a cafe = 10-15 NZD
Dinner at a restaurant = 30 NZD
Drinking water from taps in New Zealand is considered safe, unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
Credit cards are widely accepted by shops, restaurants and cafes in New Zealand. Smaller establishments may only accept cash or require a minimum purchase for credit card use, so be sure to carry enough cash for smaller purchases.
ATMs are commonly found in large cities and regional towns in New Zealand. ATM access will be very limited in remote areas so be aware of this before heading out of the city.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Feb 6 Waitangi Day
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
Apr 25 ANZAC Day
Jun 3 Queen’s Birthday
Oct 28 Labour Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/new-zealand/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

New Zealand Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while on holiday in New Zealand.

Top responsible travel tips for New Zealand

1. Be considerate of New Zealand’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

5. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

6. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

7. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

8. Refuse plastic and choose to bring your own reusable shopping bag.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Bone PeopleKeri Hulme
Whale RiderWiti Ihimaera
The Colour: A NovelRose Tremain
Going WestMaurice Gee
Dogside StoryPatricia Grace