If you liked Iceland, you’ll love New Zealand!
Over 10,000 miles separate Iceland and New Zealand, but they’re hardly worlds apart when it comes to these 6 unmissable holiday highlights…
1. Whales and dolphins galore
In Iceland, you’ve already… mingled with minkes in Skjalfandi Bay, or watched in awe as orcas prowl the seas off the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
In New Zealand, discover… why no less than 38 species of cetacean – nearly half the world’s total – call this home. Key sites include Hauraki Gulf and the Bay of Islands, but Kaikoura is cetacean central. A boat trip to the edge of the continental shelf puts you in the midst of a resident population of sperm whales, drawn here by the rich feeding grounds of a 3km-deep canyon. Closer inshore, dusky dolphins (often in their hundreds) perform back-flips and somersaults, while Hector’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and orca are also frequently spotted.
Our 20-night Whale and Dolphin Explorer self-drive includes a Bay of Islands dolphin cruise (with an opportunity to swim with them), a dolphin and seal encounter in the Bay of Plenty and a whale and dolphin watching cruise at Kaikoura.
2. Volcanic hotspots
In Iceland, you’ve already… poached yourself in the Blue Lagoon, tiptoed around the hot springs at Geysir, or ventured inside a lava cave.
In New Zealand, discover… the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua where the Pacific Ring of Fire fuels a colourful kaleidoscope of geysers, bubbling mud craters and steaming sulphur pools – all steeped in ancient Maori culture. At Wai-O-Tapu you can see the vibrant, 65m-wide Champagne Pool and Lady Knox Geyser; Hell’s Gate has a mud volcano and hot waterfall, while Whakarewarewa has no less than 500 hot springs.
Our North Island Classic takes you on an exhilarating self-drive linking North Island’s very best highlights, including a visit to the hidden geothermal valley of Orakei Korako between Taupo and Rotorua.
3. Glacier adventures
In Iceland, you’ve already… gazed in awe at the vast Vatnajokull icecap, or strapped on crampons for a guided glacier hike.
In New Zealand, discover… the ice queens of the Southern Alps – a chain of dazzling glaciers curled beneath towering peaks. Hike to the frozen snout of the Hooker Glacier and you’ll find a milky tarn studded with icebergs in the shadow of 3,724m Aoraki/Mt Cook. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers descend from lofty snowfields, framed by temperate rainforest on their icy journey towards the West Coast.
Our 6-night Kea Escorted Tour of the South Island offers time exploring the West Coast glaciers as well as Queenstown. An optional heli-hike on the Franz Josef Glacier provides a fantastic way to experience glacier country. Combine with our Northern Spectacular Group Tour for a longer holiday or talk to our team about tailor-making your itinerary.
4. Great walks
In Iceland, you’ve already… roamed clifftop paths, hiked to waterfalls, or maybe even set foot on the five-day Laugavegur Trail through the wild interior.
In New Zealand, discover… the art of ‘tramping’ – Kiwi for multi-day hiking in some of the country’s most spectacular locations. Lace up your boots for the 46km Lake Waikaremoana Track, weaving through native forest on North Island, or tackle the 32km Routeburn Track high into the Southern Alps. From the famous Milford Track in Fiordland to Stewart Island’s remote Rakiura Track, tramping is a superb way to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes.
New Zealand’s Great Walks showcases nine of the country’s most popular tramping tracks, including the hikes described above. They can be easily incorporated into your tailor made holiday itinerary, but booking is essential. Contact one of our Travel Specialists on 01737 214 250 for advice.
5. Self-drive made easy
In Iceland, you’ve already… toured the Golden Circle, delved into fjords or gone ‘full circle’, driving the entire Ring Road around the country.
In New Zealand, discover… why self-drive is by far the most popular way to explore this spectacular country. Whether you choose a car or a motorhome, a free-spirited fly-drive in New Zealand promises breathtaking views around every corner. An excellent road network, little traffic and great places to stay means you can explore an amazing variety of scenic and cultural highlights in just a two- or three-week road trip.
Our 20-night Discover Aotearoa is the quintessential New Zealand fly-drive odyssey, ranging from North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula to South Island’s Fiordland, savouring countless highlights along the way, such as the forest-fringed bays of Abel Tasman National Park, the Franz Josef Glacier and adventure capital of Queenstown.
6. Movie magic
In Iceland, you’ve already… found yourself walking through scenes from Game of Thrones, or touched down on an alien planet from Prometheus, Interstellar or Star Wars.
In New Zealand, discover… why Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as the setting for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The reason is simple: the country is picture-perfect. From epic mountain backdrops in the Southern Alps to brooding visions of Mordor filmed on the slopes of North Island’s Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand’s landscapes are pure fantasy.
Our 20-night Journey through Middle-earth fly-drive showcases several classic filming locations used in The Lord of the Rings. A guided tour of Hobbiton is included, along with a 4WD Safari of the Scenes tour from Queenstown where you’ll travel to Middle Earth icons like the Road to Mordor and Ford of Bruinen.