March 20, 2017
By Beacon_PR

New Zealand Specialist is newest AITO Member

Silver Fern Holidays is now a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The New Zealand specialist is based in Southwell, Nottinghamshire and has an office in Hamilton on North Island.

“We are delighted to join such a respected organisation,” says founder and managing director John Lightwood. “AITO members share a passion for authenticity, and we are always looking to develop more rewarding New Zealand travel experiences for our clients.”

New for 2017/18 is a focus on Wanaka as an alternative to Queenstown.  Set within Mount Aspiring National Park, the jaw-dropping scenery offers glaciers, river valleys and mountain peaks. The pristine wilderness is also home to 45 native bird species and 400+ species of butterflies and moths.

“Queenstown holds the crown for high-adrenalin activities, but it can get both busy and expensive. Wanaka is where New Zealanders themselves holiday, which says a lot! Set on an equally beautiful lake, this is a fantastic alternative if you are looking for authentic, and less frenetic experiences,” says John

Walking is a personal passion for John Lightwood, who recommends Wanaka for independent and guided hiking. Options range from easy day walks through the Matukituki Valley to challenges like the  Rob Roy Glacier Track walk easy to arrange from Wanaka.

Helicopter access to the mountains, including landings on snow, and challenges on the Rob Roy Glacier are also possible, as is jet-boating on the Matukituki River.  Eco-encounters with local guides are recommended, including a boat trip to Mou Waho island on Lake Wanaka to see native birds.

Wanaka accommodation featured by Silver Fern Holidays includes Criffel Peak B&B where blueberry pancakes are a breakfast speciality, and the luxurious Maple Lodge which has seven boutique bedrooms and a guest spa.

Sample package: A 14-day independent tour of South Island, with two nights in in Wanaka, costs from £3199 per person. Includes car hire, twin-share accommodation and breakfast each day, as well as maps and tour-planning. Excludes international flights.

Optional activities that can be pre-booked as part of the trip include a day’s guided walking along the Bridle Track through beech forest along the Makarora River to the Haast Pass, returning via the Blue Pools (from £150 per person). An amazing day starting with jet-boating on the Matukituki River, followed by a helicopter flight into the mountains to land at snow level and ending with a 4WD safari, starts at £470 per person.

Silver Fern Holidays 01636 813 544, www.silverfernholidays.com

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