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DESTINATIONS AUSTRASIA | NEW ZEAND


3


OF THE BEST


NEW ZEAND SELF-DRIVES


Motorhome: Take a camper van, a map and the open


road and you’ve got your very own adventure. First Class Holidays’ suggested itinerary, New Zealand’s Highlights by Motorhome, takes in both islands – visiting Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo, Abel Tasman National Park, Fox Glacier, Queenstown, Milford Sound and Christchurch – at your clients’ own pace. Prices start at £1,790 land-only departing May 2020, including 14 nights in a Maui Ultima motorhome, two nights in a hotel and a Maori hangi feast.


TV tie-in: Prestige Holidays has added a 13-day Trail of


the Luminaries self-drive to coincide with the release of BBC Two drama The Luminaries, shot on the South Island and telling the story of New Zealand’s 19th-century gold rush. It costs from £2,215 per person land-only, with 10 nights’ accommodation in key filming locations, 10 days’ car rental and a journey on the TranzAlpine train.


Northern delights: Anzcro’s nine-day Northern Odyssey


self-drive incorporates the scenery of the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, and a cruise to White Island, with cultural highlights including art deco town Napier, a Maori hangi feast and the Hobbiton movie set. Prices start at £1,339 based on B&B accommodation.


By rail: The TranzAlpine train is one of the greatest rail journeys in the world. It cuts through 139 miles of breathtaking South Island scenery – from the sweeping Canterbury Plains to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps, over dizzying gorges and along tree-lined rivers. It has a practical use too, with many operators using the five-hour journey to link east and west, including Great Rail Journeys on its Grand Tour of New Zealand and APT on its New Zealand Rail Adventure, both of which include a selection of scenic rail routes. By road: With twisting roads through mountain passes and along the rugged shoreline, some clients might feel apprehensive about a self-drive around New Zealand, but they shouldn’t. Driving at your own pace, by car or camper van, with the freedom to stop off at scenic viewpoints, is the best way to soak up the sights. But be sure to nominate more than one driver so everyone gets a chance to look at the scenery, not just the road. Standout journeys include the drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound, where towering forests give way to glassy lakes in a highlights reel of stunning scenery; or the Forgotten World Highway, past small towns, rolling lavender farms and tumbling waterfalls on the North Island.


ON WATER Bay of Islands: Set almost at the northern tip of the North Island, this collection of tiny isles – all brilliant green hills spilling onto sandy beaches and turquoise


72 24 OCTOBER 2019 On the drive from Te Anau to


Milford Sound, towering forests give way to glassy lakes in a highlights reel of stunning scenery


shores – encompass the very best of New Zealand’s coastal beauty. Take a catamaran cruise to spot wild dolphins leaping through the water, snap a selfie at the Hole in the Rock on Piercy Island and see the famous Cape Brett lighthouse, or learn the country’s history at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the first agreement between the British crown and the Maori people was signed in 1840. Milford Sound: No self-respecting scenic tour would be complete without a cruise through Milford Sound, a glacier-carved fjord dubbed the eighth wonder of the world by Rudyard Kipling. The calm water sparkles in the sunshine, but you’ll often hear locals say it’s even more beautiful when it rains, as mini waterfalls find their way down near-vertical rockfaces into the sound below. The best option is an overnight cruise so clients have time to soak in the stillness of the scenery and travel the full length of the sound. Traditional vessel the Milford Mariner is featured by operators


² travelweekly.co.uk


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Franz Josef Glacier; SkyJump, Auckland; Paroa Bay,


Bay of Islands; Maui Ultima motorhome PICTURES: Tourism New Zealand/Graeme Murray; Fraser Clements; Mark Downey; Shaun Jeffers


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