Planning itineraries for New Zealand is easy - there is a lot to see and do! The following information gives basic pointers for putting together special interest tours.
When planning itineraries for your New Zealand bound clients, it is important to understand as much about their interests as possible because the diversity of experiences in New Zealand will allow you to create a personally tailored itinerary for your clients - and that keeps client satisfaction levels high.
Visitors to New Zealand are presented with many opportunities to experience Maori culture first-hand. Best known of these is the thermal region of Rotorua in the North Island, where tourists can enjoy Maori kai (food) cooked on hot stones underground as part of a traditional hangi (feast). They can also enjoy a Maori powhiri (welcome), visit local marae (meeting houses), listen to kapa haka (traditional performances of song and dance) and relax in the popular thermal pools.
There are pre-bookable Maori cultural products that you can sell to your clients. Examples:
- A visit to a Marae
- A Maori concert and hangi
- Guided walks where Maori guides can interpret Maori traditional and contemporary interaction with the whenua (land)
- Waka trips
- Maori traditional arts and crafts
For a list of cultural products that you can pre-book for your clients, use the search function in our Industry Guidebook section of our trade website.
New Zealand has more golf courses per head of population than any other country in the world. Green fees range and can vary between NZ$30 and NZ$400.
The following golf resorts have on course accommodation:
- Kauri Cliffs - New Zealand's finest golf course, 3.5 hours north of Auckland at Matauri Bay, Northland www.kauricliffs.com
- Cape Kidnappers - Sister course to Kauri Cliffs. In the Hawke's Bay region, an hour flight from Auckland or six hours drive. www.capekidnappers.com
- Gulf Harbour Country Club - Gulf Harbour Village, only a minute from the course, incorporates the Gulf Harbour Lodge and a selection of restaurants. Located 40 minutes drive north of downtown Auckland www.gulf-harbour.co.nz
- Formosa Country Club - designed by New Zealand's most famous golfer, Sir Bob Charles. Villa style accommodation, located 40 minutes drive south-east of downtown Auckland www.formosa.co.nz
- Wairakei International - located only minutes from Wairakei Resort Hotel at Lake Taupo and 3 hours drive south of Auckland
- Clearwater Resort - located less than 10 minutes from Christchurch International Airport. Apartments and villa accommodation available www.clearwater.net.nz
- Terrace Downs - located less than 20 minutes from the central city and in close proximity to Christchurch International Airport www.terracedowns.co.nz
- Millbrook Resort - 15 minutes from Queenstown airport with four levels of luxury accommodation on offer www.millbrook.co.nz
Check out our High Country Golf Courses feature and for more information on guided tour companies, use the search function in our Industry Guidebook.
Food and Wine
New Zealand has ten main wine growing regions, each displaying a great diversity in climate and terrain.
Touring routes specifically focusing on New Zealand food and wine are developing and specific brochures can be given to clients to help them on their way.
The following is brief description of the wine regions within New Zealand:
- Northland - this region is expanding rapidly, although it still rates as the country's smallest
- Auckland - Henderson, Kumeu and Huapai to the northwest of Auckland's city centre, are the traditional winemaking districts of the Auckland region
- Bay of Plenty / Waikato - small but steadily expanding vineyard plantings
- Hawke's Bay - known for its bold Cabernet and is New Zealand's second largest wine growing region.
- Gisborne - known for its Chardonnays
- Marlborough - famed for its Sauvignon Blanc, and New Zealand's largest wine growing region
- Central Otago and Martinborough, Wairarapa - are building a reputation for Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
- Nelson - the country's eighth largest wine region and an area of artists, gourmet foods and very stylish wines.
- Canterbury - consists of two major wine areas; plains around the city of Christchurch, where grapes were first planted in the late 1970's, and the more recently developed valley area of Waipara, one hour's drive north of Christchurch.
For further information on food and wine see www.nzwine.com, search in our Industry Guidebook, or the Taste New Zealand feature on our consumer site.
New Zealand waters contain a variety of whales. Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is the main centre for whale watching in New Zealand and is one of the most accessible places in the world to spot the giant sperm whale.
The largest of the toothed whales, sperm whales grow to over 15 metres in length. At Kaikoura they can be seen all year round. Killer whales (orcas) may be seen from December to March and humpback whales in June and July. Operators offer three-hour tours daily, weather permitting. Boats are fitted with hydrophones to pick up the sounds of whales under the surface and spotter planes are also used to help locate whales. If your clients prefer, they can view from the air, with small planes and helicopters offering whale spotting flights. For more information on whale watching, visit:
Many species of dolphins are found in New Zealand waters. Visitors to the country will find they can get up close to these fascinating and highly social creatures and may also get to swim with them! Swimming with dolphins and whale watching have been rated by visitors as two of the top tourism experiences New Zealand has to offer. Northland, Auckland, Kaikoura and Akaroa are popular dolphin swimming and watching locations.
Species encountered in New Zealand include the common, bottle-nosed, Dusky and the rare Hector’s dolphin, up to 1.4 metres, which is found only in New Zealand. The Bottle-nosed dolphin, which may measure over 3.5 metres in length, is one of the larger species. The Dusky dolphin is smaller, around 1.8 metres and is very playful. For more information on dolphins, visit:
Until around 15 years ago, 220-hectare Tiritiri Matangi Island was largely barren farmland. In a unique partnership between Government and conservationists, it was designated an open sanctuary, cleared of predators and planted in over three million native trees. Tiritiri Matangi provides an opportunity to visit a genuine open wildlife sanctuary featuring many species of endangered New Zealand bird life, including the Kiwi and Takahe. Guided tours are available to enjoy this very special island, administered by the Department of Conservation. For more information, contact Tiritiri Matangi Conservation Officer on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kapiti Island Bird Sanctuary, close to Wellington, is home to unique nature and Maori experiences. Guided bush walks and bush lodge style accommodation is available here on one of New Zealand’s most famous and precious nature reserves. Overnight or day trips are available but daily visitor numbers are strictly limited. For more information on Kapiti Island, visit: www.kapitiislandalive.co.nz
ZEALANDIA, Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, is set on 252-hectares, only 3 kms from central Wellington, is home to wildlife and native plants. This is a 500 year conservation project, set aside to create a special ‘mainland island’ for endangered native species such as Kiwi. Walk round at leisure or with a guided day or nocturnal tour. For more information on ZEALANDIA, visit www.visitzealandia.com
For more information on bird watching, visit:
New Zealand’s national icon, the Kiwi, is a nocturnal flightless bird with nostrils on the end of its large beak. It is now endangered and difficult to see in the wild. However, there are a number of ‘Kiwi Houses’ at zoos, bird sanctuaries and wildlife parks. Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua, Zealandia, Kapiti Island and Stewart Island are good options for visitors wanting to see Kiwi in their natural environment. For more information on kiwis, visit:
You’ll find three species of penguin around New Zealand. The Korora or little blue penguin is the world’s smallest, standing just 40 centimetres tall and weighing just over a kilogram. It is found in coastal waters and The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, Akaroa Harbour, Marlborough Sounds and Stewart Island are excellent places to see these creatures.
The Hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguin stands approximately 70 centimetres tall. Although an endangered species, it can be found in the Catlins, on the Otago Coast and on the Otago Peninsula just out of Dunedin. Penguin Place, home of the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve, is a private conservation effort to save the yellow-eyed penguin from extinction. Penguin Place offers the opportunity to visit a working conservation programme and to experience and photograph undisturbed activity at close range through a unique system of hides and tunnels.
The Fiordland Crested penguin, is a yellow-crested penguin standing approximately 60 centimetres, and one of the world’s rarest. It is found in South Westland, Fiordland and Stewart Island, in the deep south of New Zealand.
Blue and King penguins can be found in captivity at the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier and at Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World in Auckland.
For more information on penguins, visit:
No other country is home to so many albatross species. Thirteen of the 24 species of albatross breed in New Zealand and nine breed only in New Zealand. To sight a soaring albatross is unforgettable. On slim wings up to 3 metres across, the Great Albatross is capable of speeds of at least 115kph. The Royal Albatross Colony, the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world, is located on the Otago Peninsula, half an hour from downtown Dunedin.
Within close proximity of the beautiful Kaikoura Peninsula, albatross, petrels, shearwaters, terns, shags and gulls can be viewed.
For more information on albatross, visit:
Trout fishing season generally runs throughout the year, however to preserve spawning areas, many waters are closed during the winter months. A fishing license is required for trout fishing and will cost between NZ$15 and NZ$70, depending on the number of days it is required for. Licenses can be obtained from New Zealand sports shops and fishing guides.
Trout Fishing Regions - Rotorua/Taupo, Southland, Canterbury
New Zealand is perhaps less known for its salmon fishing however in parts of the country it is possible to fish for them. The season runs from 1st October-30th April.
Salmon Fishing Regions - Canterbury, West Coast
For more information on regulations for specific regions refer to www.fish.govt.nz - search under Recreation.
Big Game Fishing
Big game fishing has no seasonal restrictions and visitors do not require a fishing license for sea fishing. The best time for big game fishing is during January, February and March. Game fishing involves the charter of a game fishing boat and skipper.
Bases for Game Fishing - Bay of Islands, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Eastland, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Coromandel Peninsula
Useful websites include:
There are plenty of gardens wherever you travel in New Zealand. Recommended are the stately homes and famous rhododendron gardens found in Taranaki and Dunedin and the Rangitikei area located between Palmerston North and Taihape. A must is the "Garden City" of Christchurch where large amounts of the city are devoted to parks and gardens.
Holidays to New Zealand can be co-ordinated around the beautiful spring or autumn colours, or some of the annual gardening events such as:
The New Zealand Gardens Trust has a database of the very best gardens in New Zealand on their website www.gardens.org.nz. You can search for assessed and graded New Zealand gardens as well as easily plan a garden itinerary for your client with their "My Itinerary" tool.
Further information can be found on the following websites: www.gardens.co.nz or www.friars.co.nz click on gardens, or visit the Garden Festival feature on our consumer website.
There are seven major ski fields in New Zealand where both skiers and snowboarders can have a variety of experiences including heli and glacier skiing.
If your clients are looking for information specifically about ski, we suggest you complete the relevant regional modules and our Ski Module. For pre-bookable skiing tours, search our Industry Guidebook.
New Zealand has a stunning array of well-kept walkways and tracks that cater for every age and ability. Your clients can either do independent or guided walks.
For further information on guided walking in New Zealand visit www.walknewzealand.com or www.newzealand.com
The Department of Conservation website www.doc.govt.nz should be recommended to your clients choosing to walk independently in New Zealand.
To gain more in-depth knowledge on walking in New Zealand, please refer to our Walks Module, or visit the 9 Great Walks of New Zealand feature on our consumer site.
Parts of New Zealand are geothermal wonderlands, with geysers, craters and boiling mud. Encourage your clients to experience thermal bathing and therapeutic treatments as well.
- Wairakei Geothermal Visitor Centre
- Craters of the Moon walk, Wairakei Tourist Park
- Thermal bathing
- Prawn Park, a geothermal hatchery
Bay of Plenty www.bayofplentynz.com
At the other extreme are New Zealand’s Glaciers; creaking rivers of ice creeping from the mountains to an accessible 250 metres above sea level.
Mount Cook National Park www.mtcook.org.nz
- Boat cruise to face of Tasman glacier
- Scenic flights over the Glacier
Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers www.west-coast.co.nz
- Experience a huge variety of thrill seeking options. Guiding companies offer guided glacier walks, climbing experiences, or heli-hikes.
Couples from around the world agree that New Zealand is one of the most romantic, beautiful and exotic places for a destination wedding abroad. New Zealand is the perfect honeymoon destination where your clients can explore regional food and wine, landscape, history and culture. New Zealand has something for all budgets. Boutique and lodge accommodation are a great way for your clients to indulge and treat themselves while they are on honeymoon. Many offer spa treatments and intimate surroundings for couples. Ask your inbound operator about personalized tours for independent travellers. Tailor-made honeymoon packages for couples can easily be arranged by your preferred inbound operator.
Qualmark Visitor Activity Endorsement
Qualmark New Zealand Limited is New Zealand tourism's official quality assurance agency. Activity providers displaying the yellow and black Qualmark logo are visited annually and undergo rigorous assessments by business experts. They are checked out in everything they do, including how they look after the environment, which means it will be an experience that won’t disappoint.
Qualmark also provide recognition for top performing activity providers on their environmental performance. This is in the form of the Enviro logos. Look for the green and black Enviro bronze, silver or gold logos displayed on websites, activity listings or promotional material.
When you see the Qualmark logo it means that you can book with confidence - whether it is a wildlife watching experience, a Maori culture show or a garden visit, Qualmark identifies quality assured activity suitable for any traveller. You can find out more about Qualmark at www.qualmark.co.nz