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ENJOY A BESPOKE HOLIDAY in a uniquely local way

Discover New Zealand

In a world of its own. New Zealand is an outdoor mecca with jaw-dropping nature, unique flora and fauna, fascinating culture and locals that spread a contagious friendly and can-do attitude. There is nothing quite like Kiwi hospitality. Feel right at home on the other side of the world.

A small country with a big personality

You won't need to travel far to see big changes in the landscape. Explore the national parks, each with their own unique slice of wilderness. Have close encounters with native animals and dive deep into Maori culture. From the mighty Southern Alps and wild West Coast in the South Island to a geothermal wonderland and endless white sandy beaches in the North Island. Get ready for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

A journey as unique as you are

Would you like to discover New Zealand in a uniquely local way? Start your dream journey here. Experience a tailor-made holiday, created by us and enjoyed by you. Stay with local hosts who warmly welcome you to their homes, at unique and special locations. Self-drive and visit the places, others didn't know existed.

Take advantage of our local knowledge

We sit down with all of our clients to personally discuss your wants and needs. We plan and organise everything in detail to create your absolute dream holiday. Feel free to contact us to discuss your holiday plans. Or attend one of our live and informative presentations to learn more.

Friendly Kiwi hospitality at our accommodations | New Zealand holiday
Experience genuine Kiwi hospitality by staying with our friendly local hosts
Stay at hand-selected accommodation in special locations

New Zealand holidays

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Where to stay?

At A Journey DownUnder, we focus on small-scale accommodation run by local hosts renowned for their Kiwi hospitality, because we know this is the greatest way to see New Zealand. Discover our large collection of personally selected stays ranging from comfortable to luxury.

A place where you feel welcomed and cared for. A place where our local hosts provide you with extra knowledge. And… read more

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Comfortable tree house in Kaikoura | New Zealand holiday
Connect with nature in a exotic treehouse nestled in nature
Secluded cottage in Horopito | New Zealand holiday
Stay at places where you feel like you have the whole country to yourself!

Diverse culture and landscapes of the North and South Island

Land of the long white cloud - New Zealand stretches 1500 kilometres and consists of two main islands and the smaller, Stewart Island. A relatively small country with a population of just 5 million. But, New Zealand makes up for its size with a diverse landscape that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

With 29 rather compact regions, you don’t need to travel far to soak up the ever-changing landscape.

Explore the city of Christchurch | New Zealand holiday
Start your dream holiday in Christchurch, one of the world's youngest cities
Autumn colours in Arrowtown | New Zealand holiday
Discover the hidden gems that surround Queenstown

North Island

There is a deep connection with the Māori culture in the North Island. Especially in the regions of Northland, Bay of Islands, Whakatane and Rotorua. Witness geothermal activity with bubbling hot pools and shooting geysers in Rotorua, towering volcanoes and glistening lakes in Taupo/Tongariro and white sandy beaches on the Coromandel Peninsula. 75% of the population live on the North Island, with the majority living in the vibrant cities of Wellington and Auckland.

Soaking in a natural hot spring, Rotorua
Visit hot springs such as the stunning Hamurana Springs
Fly and dine at Waiheke Island
Discover the hidden gems surrounding Auckland
© Joshua McCormack

South Island

The less populated South Island features nature in its purest form. A picture-perfect view at every turn. Quirky towns, native flora and fauna, spectacular fjords and glaciers, bright turquoise lakes and golden beaches. The vastness of dramatic landscapes won’t disappoint. A true outdoor paradise.

Discovering the gravel roads in Canterbury
Self drive from Christchurch and admire the incredible nature
Sheep in the Glenorchy Mountains | New Zealand holiday
Visit Glenorchy, a charming town located near Queenstown
Uncover the local secrets of Kaikoura
Church at Lake Tekapo | New Zealand holiday
Capture a picture-perfect moment at The Church of the Good Shepherd

National parks in New Zealand. A showcase of dramatic landscapes

New Zealand has no less than 13 national parks spread across both the North and South Island. An exhibition of powerful landscape, pristine nature and native flora and fauna.

New Zealanders are extremely proud of their country and they will passionately introduce you to their treasured national parks. From white sand beaches and ancient rainforests to snow-capped mountains and magnificent glaciers. Join them on an adventure by foot, boat, kayak or helicopter.

Conquer the Fox Glacier all year round
Heli-hike the Fox Glacier in Westland Tai Poutini National Park
White flowers, green vegetation, rocks and snow-capped mountains | New Zealand holiday
Be dazzled by Mount Cook

An outdoor playground

Of course, we recommend visiting all 13 national parks but to self-drive and travel at a relaxed pace, you’ll need to make some tough decisions. Our top 3 choices are Fiordland National Park, Abel Tasman National Park and Tongariro National Park.

All are completely unique but have one thing in common - spectacular scenery and alluring flora and fauna. Fiordland National Park is home to Milford and Doubtful Sounds with mystical waterfalls, towering mountains and luscious rainforest.

Abel Tasman offers pristine golden beaches and secluded coves. And lastly, Tongariro National Park features three volcanoes and one of New Zealand’s best one-day hikes - The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

"I love the natural beauty surrounding Tongariro National Park. It's absolutely breathtaking with many hiking possibilities."

Nicole, Travel specialist
Scenic flight above Mount Cook | New Zealand adventurous holiday
Soak up a bird's eye view of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Mystical Te Urewera Rainforest | New Zealand holiday
Hike into the mystical Te Urewera Rainforest with a local Maori guide

Things to do and see

unique family friendly activities

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Embrace the Māori culture. Connect with the land, the people and the traditions

With a population that is just as varied as the landscape, New Zealand is a melting pot of cultures that shape the country we have today. The indigenous Māori culture has a huge influence and this can be seen in many aspects. From sport, the language, their beliefs, region/place names and traditional cooking methods.

The Māori population is approximately 16% of New Zealand’s total population and their customs are treasured. Māori named the country Aotearoa - ‘land of the long white cloud’. After arriving a thousand years ago from a long journey across the Pacific Ocean in a traditional waka (canoe).

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 in the Bay of Islands, between the British Crown and 540 Māori chiefs. A written agreement that continues to influence decisions made today. On the 6th of February each year, there is a national holiday to recognise and reflect on the significance of the treaty.

Hello - Kia ora. Goodbye - Haere rā. Thank you - Mihi.

Maori culture | New Zealand holiday
Māori tattoos have a strong spiritual significance
© Jimmy Nelson
Traditional Maori dance | New Zealand holiday
Kapa haka is a powerful combination of emotion and Māori song and dance
© Jimmy Nelson

New Zealand, a land of unique plants and fascinating creatures

New Zealand is a country full of unique flora and fauna that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Because of the country’s isolation, an array of distinct plants and animals have evolved. Just another reason to visit!

From the national icon - the Kiwi, a flightless nocturnal bird, the Kea, a cheeky alpine parrot that is forever entertaining to ‘a living dinosaur’ - the ancient Tuatara, that can live up to 100 years.

And of course, the country is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, so there are many unique marine animals. Two of our favourites are the yellow-eyed penguin and the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world, Hector's dolphin.

Be amazed by the giant Kauri trees found in ancient forests or the bright colours of the Kowhai and Pohutukawa trees. Pohutukawa trees are also known as New Zealand’s iconic Christmas tree. And last but not least, the sacred Silver fern, the national symbol of New Zealand.

"I prefer to visit Doubtful Sound over Milford Sound: it's less touristy but just as beautiful."

Marie-Cecile, Travel specialist
Spot a Kiwi | New Zealand wildlife
Have a close encounter with Kiwi on Kapiti Island and Stewart Island
© TravelEssence
Yellow-eyed penguin | New Zealand wildlife
Spot yellow-eyed penguins on the Otago Peninsula

Self-drive holiday

With every turn of the road, New Zealand’s landscape changes. A dramatic array of scenery that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. From coastal roads to panoramic rainforest passes, and awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes - New Zealand is best explored by car. Self-driving means you're able to reach places that group trips and campervans cannot.

Self drive and discover the hidden gems at a relaxed pace

Stop at the places that catch your eye and explore the country like a local. From the glistening Lake Tekapo and Lake Taupo to meeting the locals in Makarora and getting off the beaten track on the South Island. A New Zealand road trip is a must-do and the best way to see the country.

Drive less, see more

Your travel specialist will design your self-drive itinerary with two or more nights at each location. Because a relaxed travel pace is the best way to explore the natural beauty of New Zealand.

If you are thinking of renting a motorhome, talk to us now and discover why driving in a rental car is the best way to see New Zealand.

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Interislander ferry

Travel on a ferry across the waters over to the North Island or South Island. Renowned for being one of the best ferry rides in the world. A journey surrounded by spectacular scenery, truly one of New Zealand’s most iconic experiences.

The Interislander is a ferry service that sails between Picton (South Island) and Wellington (North Island). The 92-kilometre crossing is approximately three hours. As you cross the Cook Strait, soak up the views of the Marlborough Sounds and the Wellington region. Enjoy the surroundings from the viewing decks and keep a lookout for the many species of wildlife living in the area.

Experience the Interislander between the North and Sound Island
Kayak, sail or hike in the Marlborough Sounds | New Zealand active holiday
Soak up the stunning views of Marlborough Sounds
© TravelEssence

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Let's design your holiday together

We'll take the time to get to know you to match your fully bespoke holiday with your pace, your interests, and anything you desire. Combined with first-hand, local knowledge, you'll receive a mapped out itinerary from us - but the process isn't done until you are 100% satisfied. We take care of every detail, so you can focus on relaxing, rejuvenating and reconnecting with yourself and the world around you. Get in touch to get started now.

What do you get from us?

  • A well-designed holiday, just for you
  • Small-scale accommodations run by friendly local hosts
  • Carefully recommended activities based on your interests
  • A travel tempo and driving distances that match your needs
  • Ingrained sustainability in all facets of your holiday
  • 30 years of experience in travel to Australia

All the things you love

and none of the things you don't

Our local knowledge makes the difference for your bespoke holiday through New Zealand or Australia. Your Journey Down Under starts here.