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November 22, 2018

New Zealand specialist launches 2019 Captain Cook 250 holidays

Purely New Zealand specialist Silver Fern Holidays has unveiled an independent tour of New Zealand to mark the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s first landing in New Zealand, which was in October 1769.

The itinerary showcases North Island’s beautiful coastline and locations associated with Cook, including Gisborne, Poverty Bay and the Bay of Plenty in the East Cape; the Coromandel peninsula; the Bay of Islands, plus Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds, which is accessible only by boat or on foot.

“Ship Cove was Cook’s favourite anchorage for Endeavour and he re-provisioned the ship there five times during his three voyages,” says Silver Fern Holidays’ managing director John Lightwood.

“Our itinerary includes an overnight in this beautiful spot, with the option of walking a section of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.”

The 29-day ‘Discover Captain Cook’s New Zealand’ itinerary is aimed at couples or friends travelling together, and combines car hire with scheduled rail, coach and ferry travel for variety.

New Zealand’s ‘must see’ locations of geothermal Rotorua, the Southern Alps and Fiordland are also integrated into the holiday, which costs from £4,299 per person based on two people travelling together and sharing a room on a B&B basis at lodges, guest houses and character hotels. This price excludes international flights, which can be arranged as part of an ATOL-bonded package.

The UK has already started celebrating Cook’s achievements, with exhibitions this summer at the British Library and the Royal Museums Greenwich, while ‘Oceania’ opened at the Royal Academy at the end of September.

The New Zealand government has given the name ‘Tuia Encounters 250’ to the anniversary that reflects the duality of the country’s history, weaving Maori and Pakeha (non-indigenous) stories together. Commemorations range from new public art commissions to newly-signposted heritage trails for 2019.

Special events in New Zealand between October and November 2019 (the New Zealand spring) include a replica of Endeavour charting Cook’s course from Gisborne to the Bay of Islands, calling at historic landing sites along the way. A flotilla of Maori waka (canoes) and other sailing vessels will welcome the ship at each port.

“The East Cape rarely features in itineraries for international visitors,” says John, “yet it is one of the country’s most authentic regions, having a large Maori population, and we are delighted to introduce UK-based travellers to this beautiful area.”

“2019 will be a huge year for travel to New Zealand,” says John Lightwood, “with the public imagination fired by media coverage ranging from BBC arts programmes to the recent news that marine archaeologists may have found the hull of Endeavour on the sea bed off the east coast of America.

“Our new itinerary can depart on any day during 2019 and can be tailor-made to suit different durations and budgets. However, we do urge those who want to be in the East Cape on 8 October – the actual 250th anniversary date – to book early!”

Silver Fern Holidays 01636 813 544,


Release issued by Jane Williams at Beacon PR 01572 748 800

Download Silver Fern Holidays Cook 250 itinerary:

About Captain Cook 250 anniversary

  • Cook was born in Yorkshire in 1728, apprenticed in Whitby before joining the Royal Navy and serving in the Seven Years War: he is probably Britain’s greatest explorer.
  • Cook made three Pacific voyages, visiting Polynesia and Australia as well as New Zealand. He spent 328 days charting New Zealand’s extraordinary coastline with an amazing degree of accuracy.
  • Exhibitions at the British Library, the Royal Museums in Greenwich, and museums in Whitby (Cook’s home town) have already been held to mark the 250th anniversary of the Endeavour’s departure from the UK in 1768.
  • In New Zealand, the anniversary is known as Tuia Encounters 250 and commemorates the first meeting between the indigenous Maori and the British, who subsequently settled in New Zealand. Tuia means to weave or bind together, reflecting the dual history (and future) of the country.


About Silver Fern Holidays

  • 100% New Zealand specialists (worldwide stopovers and tour extensions in Australia and the Pacific)
  • Tailor-made itineraries (for couples, friends, families)
  • Unique escorted small group tours (max 16 per departure, packed with great experiences)
  • Smaller, friendly places to stay (from boutique B&Bs to homestays)
  • Tour by car, rail, coach and boat (mix and match travel options)
  • Authentic, local experiences (personal recommendations, responsible travel focus)
  • 24-support in New Zealand (through its own office in Hamilton)
  • ABTA and ATOL bonded
  • Members of AITO, The Specialist Travel Association
November 16, 2018

Solo Trips to Embrace or Escape Christmas

Singles holiday company Friendship Travel says it’s not too late for single travellers to find a sociable Christmas break, with options for embracing, or escaping the festivities.

In the UK, a three-night stay at the four-star Crowne Plaza Hotel in West Drayton – easy to reach by road or rail – is £595 for a package starting on 24 December that includes sole occupancy of a double room (with free WiFi, coffee machine and fridge); dinner with wine on Christmas Eve followed by dancing; breakfast on Christmas Day morning, a celebratory glass of Prosecco before turkey and all the trimmings for lunch, and a light  buffet dinner; breakfast on Boxing Day and a formal black-tie dinner dance on Boxing Day night. Guests depart after breakfast on 27 December.

The entire stay is Hosted by Friendship Travel, balancing sociable activities like a quiz and walking in nearby Colney Valley Park, with ‘me time’ including complimentary use of the hotel’s large indoor pool and health club.

Alternatively, single travellers can escape to Morocco, and the four-star Iberostar Founty Beach Hotel right on the beach at Agadir. Flying from Gatwick on 22 December the package costs from £1537 and includes flights, transfers, seven nights in a garden view room, and the hotel’s excellent All-inclusive programme (all meals, snacks, teas, coffees, soft and alcoholic drinks) with day and evening entertainment.

All evening meals are enjoyed around one large table, and the whole week is Hosted by a member of Friendship Travel’s team. The recently-renovated hotel has a huge freeform pool, atrium-style lobby and stylish bars feature, along with Moroccan dishes and show-cooking station in the restaurant, which adds variety to the all-inclusive board basis.

Friendship Travel, 0289 446 2211,

Availability and prices correct at date of issue.


November 16, 2018

More villas with private pools in Croatia with Vintage Travel

Making its debut in Croatia in 2019 with villa specialist, Vintage Travel, is Luciana, a former stone building in the village of Mihanici, now transformed into a stunning holiday cottage with a private pool overlooking the Konavle Valley.

Bang-up-to-date facilities have been carefully combined with original features such as stone walls, wooden shutters and beams to create a welcoming property sleeping four.  It has an open-plan living area and two en suite bedrooms and ancient stone steps lead up to the entrance terrace which runs the entire length of the property.  In its grounds, in addition to a private pool, there is a covered dining area with an in-built barbeque/wood oven.

Nearby is the coastal village of Ljuta (seven kms) and, slightly further afield, is the beautiful town of Cavtat (12 kms).  A seven-night holiday in 2019 starts at £612, rising to £1628 in peak season.

Also new for 2019 is Nona Marija, a charming property set in idyllic countryside on the edge of the hamlet of Radici, a wonderfully relaxing spot for a holiday.  The villa sleeps six in three bedrooms (with three bathrooms) and is set in spacious grounds with a private swimming pool, covered and open terraces, table tennis and a built-in barbeque.  There is also an olive grove and a vegetable garden.

Nearby are the hamlets of Sveti Lovrec and Vosteni and further afield (17 kms) is coastal Porec, with its superb choice of restaurants.  A seven-night holiday in 2019 starts at £668, rising to £2650 in peak season.

Flights and car hire can be arranged by Vintage Travel on request.

01954 261431,

November 16, 2018

Twixmas getaways in Jersey from £299 per person for three nights…

For those in need of ‘respite’ between Christmas and New Year, help is on hand at the Mayfair Hotel in Jersey.

This three-star hotel is highlighting its three-night Twixmas breaks, an ideal opportunity to re-charge batteries, relax, enjoy beautiful coastal walks or, perhaps, a spot of shopping in St Helier, with its fantastic choice of shops and boutiques.

Guests can also ‘get back into shape’ after any Christmas over indulgences in the hotel’s health club with its indoor swimming pool and fully-equipped gym.

Twin share prices start from just £299 per person inclusive of return flights from Gatwick or Liverpool, one-item of checked in luggage, transfers and half-board accommodation with full English breakfasts and four-course evening meals.

Flights are available from other regional airports, supplements may apply.

01534 735511,


Release issued by Beacon PR 01572 748800


November 16, 2018

Christmas and New Year skiing savings with Zenith Holidays

For those who fancy spending Christmas or New Year on the slopes and bag a bargain to boot, specialist operator, Zenith Holidays, is highlighting savings of up to 30% on a range of catered chalets in the French Alps.

In the lively resort of Alpe d’Huez, seven nights from 22 December in Chalet Pregentil – a traditional, friendly alpine property – now costs £523 (saving 30%).  This twin share price includes airport transfers and chalet board accommodation comprising of buffet breakfasts with hot options, afternoon tea and three-course evening meals with wine on five evenings.

Or, at Chalet Clautre at Montgenevre – one of the oldest resorts in France – a week from 22 December is now priced at £505 per person (saving 20%).  This twin share price includes airport transfers and chalet board accommodation (as above). This typical alpine chalet has an open-plan living area with wood-burning stoves, plus a new ski/boot room with a heated rack.  It enjoys a ski in/out location and is 50metres from the Chalmettes chair lift.

As a bonus, guests can also take advantage of Zenith’s Christmas lift pass offer; book a six-day pass for £246 per person and get a second for just £50.

Offers at New Year include savings of 15% at Chalet Maya, situated just 100 metres from the ski lift and close to the centre of the resort of Alpe d’Huez This means a week’s holiday from 29 December now costs £620 per person (based on two sharing) inclusive of airport transfers and chalet board accommodation (as above).   The chalet enjoys excellent access for the nearby Telecentre ski lift which leads directly to the foot of the main lifts.

Zenith can organise lift passes, tuition and equipment hire and is happy to advise on flight options.

0203 137 7678,




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