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Archive for Exclusive holidays in New Zealand

March 20, 2017

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,

March 21, 2016

New Zealand boom puts pressure on Hotels: Book Early says Silver Fern Holidays

New Zealand’s 2015-16 summer season has broken all tourism records. International visitor numbers are up by more than 10% and, says leading New Zealand specialist Silver Fern Holidays, UK travellers thinking of going this winter (for a New Zealand summer) need to book sooner rather than later.

“We’re just back from ITB in Berlin, the world’s largest tourism fair,” says managing director John Lightwood, “and it’s clear that all markets to New Zealand are up, especially China, and Korea.

“The country’s wide open spaces have plenty of room for visitors, but there is a shortage of hotels and I expect there to be a lot of pressure on peak season rooms.”

“Most tour groups opt for large hotels, while we recommend boutique hotels and lodges, but these will also come under pressure, so if you’re planning that ‘trip of a lifetime’ you need to book early to avoid disappointment.”

Emirates’ new non-stop Dubai-Auckland service (from 1 March 2016) adds additional flight capacity that is easily-tapped into by UK travellers.  January 2017 flights to New Zealand are already open for booking, and February and March 2017 dates will open shortly.

Silver Fern Holidays specialises in tailor-made trips for independent travellers, and also offers a programme of small group tours which are unique to the company.

A 27-day Complete New Zealand independent touring holiday in January 2017, which can be tailored to suit individual interests, costs from £3495 per person based on two people travelling together, including car hire, inter-island ferry travel and scenic rail journeys around New Zealand, with accommodation at boutique hotels and B&Bs.  Flights not included: all routes and stopovers can be arranged.

01636 813 544,

February 17, 2016

New Zealand may have a new Flag next month

The referendum in which New Zealanders will be asked whether they want to keep the existing, or change to a new Silver Fern emblem, will be held between 3 and 24 March.

“Most people in the UK think New Zealand’s national symbol is already the Silver Fern,” says John Lightwood, managing director of Silver Fern Holidays, the Nottinghamshire-based tour operator that specialises in holidays to New Zealand.

“But though it features on the All Blacks’ rugby shirts, the Black Caps of the cricket team and the tail-fins of Air New Zealand’s planes, the official flag since 1902 has been a Union Jack and the stars of the Southern Cross against a blue background,” explains Lightwood.

UK travellers to New Zealand can already see the alternative flag flying alongside the official one at over 250 government sites. Designed by Kyle Lockwood, it features a silver fern against a black and blue background alongside the stars of the Southern Cross. See the official website here:

“I’m not eligible to vote, but colleagues in our Hamilton office on North Island are certainly hoping for a ‘yes’ vote for the Silver Fern!” says Lightwood.

Silver Fern Holidays specialises in tailor-made trips for independent travellers, and small group escorted tours.

A 27-day Complete New Zealand itinerary, which can be tailored to suit individual interests, costs from £4995 per person, based on two people travelling and sharing accommodation, including flights from the UK, car hire, inter-island ferry travel, scenic rail journeys and a mix of boutique hotels and B&Bs.

01636 813 544,

Release issued by Jane Williams at Beacon PR 01572 748 800

October 2, 2015

Silver Fern Holidays is Hoping for a NEW New Zealand Flag!

Travel company Silver Fern Holidays is rooting for a change to the New Zealand flag, as the country debates between designs that may lead to the existing ‘colonial’ flag being lowered for good.

“Three of the new designs that the people of New Zealand are being asked to consider feature the iconic silver fern, which we chose both as our name and as our emblem,” says managing director John Lightwood at the company’s office in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

“Obviously we really hope a silver fern design is chosen; an image that is recognisable the world over, especially through the sporting triumphs of the All Blacks,” he adds.


Silver Fern Holidays’ emblem depicts a silver fern with a Maori ‘koru’ design which itself is based on an unfurling frond. A Koru features in the fourth flag design under consideration. A fifth flag, a controversial ‘red peak’ design, has last week been added to the shortlist after pressure from the New Zealand public.

About Silver Fern Holidays

  • 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist, ATOL & ABTA bonded
  • Tailor-made holidays for Independent travellers and unique escorted Small Group Journeys
  • Offices in UK and New Zealand
  • Close-up Experiences: unique insights and personal recommendations
  • Flexible Travel: mix and match all means of transport
  • Special Interests and Activities: Walking, Cycling and more
  • Hand-picked Accommodation: from bach to boutique luxury

01636 813 544,

 Flag designs can be seen here: and here


January 23, 2015

New Tours in New Zealand are Exclusive to Silver Fern Holidays

A New Zealand specialist is re-inventing itself as a tailor-made tour operator after 25 years of selling group tours to the travel industry.

Silver Fern Holidays launches a new brochure and website on Waitangi Day (6 February: New Zealand’s national day) to reach a new audience of individual holidaymakers with a programme of unique small group escorted tours as well as truly tailor-made holidays.

Image copyright Silver Fern Holidays

Image copyright Silver Fern Holidays

“We have been creating group itineraries for other companies for 25 years,” says managing director John Lightwood, who is based in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, “and now independent travellers can take advantage of our expertise to create exciting, truly personal holidays that they’ll never forget.”

Silver Fern Holidays has its own office in Hamilton New Zealand and guarantees 24-hour, seven days a week support to guests on holiday.

“We have created six Small Group Journeys for New Zealand’s 2015/16 summer: escorted tours that are unique to Silver Fern Holidays. Each tour – with no more than 16 travellers – is led by an experienced driver-guide and each day includes an amazing experience such as a guided walk in the Kauri forest or an underground river trip.

“At key locations we work with local experts, like Darryl Wilson and his family who take us kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, so our guests see New Zealand close-up, not through the window of a coach.

“And with small numbers we can stay at more intimate accommodation such as farm-stays and boutique lodges,” explains Lightwood.

Each Small Group Journey is named after a native New Zealand plant, with prices leading in at £2195 per person for ‘Koromiko’ a 10-day tour of North Island. 13, 15, 17 and 19 day tours are also offered.

The most comprehensive itinerary, a 21-day tour of New Zealand is called ‘Tane Mahuta’ after the mighty Kauri tree. Starting in Auckland, and including the Bay of Islands, the Coromandel, Rotorua, Napier and Wellington on North Island. Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park, Glacier Country, Queenstown, Milford Sound – where the group spends the night onboard the Milford Mariner – Dunedin and Aoraki (Mount Cook) are all included in South Island and the tour ends in Christchurch.

The first departure date for ‘Tane ‘Mahuta’ is 19 November 2015; prices start at £4145 per person, based on two people sharing a room.

All Small Group Journey prices include travel within New Zealand, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, some other meals, the services of a driver-guide throughout plus local experts and entrance fees to places of interest on the itinerary are included, but not international flights (which can be arranged as part of an ATOL-protected package).

Silver Fern Holidays (01636 813 544,






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