Why New Zealand?
It’s tempting to say that as New Zealand is just a hop, skip and a jump across the Tasman that this is why it’s worth a visit. However, New Zealand offers so much more for the novice and experienced senior traveller. With sweeping coastlines, rainforest, mountain ranges and even the odd volcano, there’s the chance to relax and rejuvenate, get active, or even have your own thrill-seeking adventure. And of course, not forgetting the cosmopolitan, but unique cities of Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown for those looking for a little nightlife.
The small seasonal variation in temperature makes New Zealand a great seniors’ travel destination any time of the year. While the North Island offers a warmer sub-tropical climate, the South Island is more refreshing. How you travel around New Zealand is completely up to you. If you prefer to be guided then perhaps a coach tour would suit you best or if you’re more of a free spirit, a self-drive campervan can get you to all the places you want to go.
Haka – no surprises that the traditional Maori war challenge is a must see when visiting New Zealand. Performances are held each day at the Te Puia, Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua. To find out more, visit Tepuia.com.
Hobbiton Movie Set – whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fanatic, or just a movie fan in general, taking a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set is a great way to experience Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Set near Matamata in the North Island, Hobbiton is on working beef and sheep farm, so there’s more to see than the Hobbit’s house. To find out more, visit Hobbitontours.com.
The Mighty Kauri Tree – following on from Australia’s fascination of all things ‘big’, the kauri tree is a native pine, which grows in the sub-tropical north of New Zealand. At 4.4 metres in diameter and 17.7 metres to the first branch, Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest) is the largest one in existence. To find out more about the kauri tree, visit Kauri-museum.com.
Cadbury Chocolate Carnival – yes, there is a celebration of all things cocoa and it happens in Dunedin in July. Make sure you’re there towards the end of the carnival to experience the Jaffa Race, where giant versions of the candy-coated orange chocolate are hurtled down the steepest street in Dunedin. And if you can’t make it there in July, you can always visit Cadbury World at any other time of the year. To find out more, visit Cadburyworld.co.nz.
Milford Sound – hailed as the most beautiful spot in New Zealand, this is the place where fjords, dramatic waterfalls and snow-capped mountains meet, making a truly unique natural environment and named the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ by Rudyard Kipling. You can catch a boat trip from Queenstown or Te Anua and the small village of Milford Sound has a few accommodation options. To find out more, visit Newzealand.com
New Zealand doesn’t have a seniors’ association as such, but you can find out information on services for seniors from the Office of Senior Citizens and there’s also a useful Services for Seniors brochure which you can download.
SuperGold Seniors Card
Holders of Australian Seniors Cards will be able to access the same discounts as holders of New Zealand’s SuperGold cards, when travelling across the Tasman. This does not include state or nationally funded initiatives such as free public transport.
For details on which discounts are available, visit Supergold.gov.nz
Seniors Card for over 55s
Even if you don’t qualify for a government-issued seniors card, you can purchase one to help you access discounts available to those over 55. For $39NZD you can gain access to savings on fuel, accommodation, eating out and more. For more information, visit seniorscard.co.nz.
InterCity Coachlines is a great way to see NZ by bus. With fares as low as $1.99 and bus passes for $39, this is the most affordable way to go. To find out more, visit Intercity.co.nz
KiwiRail scenic journeys include Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific, and TranzAlpine. Visit this site for ferry options as well.
YOURLifeChoices website members automatically receive a 30 per cent discount off standard rates, or 2.5 per cent off promotional rates with Avis
Combine your travel with your accommodation in a campervan or recreational vehicle. You can often find one-way relocation deals for as little as $1 a day.
Choice Hotels representing 35 Comfort, Quality Clarion and Econolodge hotels. Ask for a 5-10 per cent discount using your Seniors Card
Mainstay Hotels and Apartments is a network of 41 independently-owned hotels and apartments.
Accor Hotels has 35 hotels offering many levels of accommodation across New Zealand. Ask for a seniors discount – some properties will offer one. And Novotel Hotels offer free beds for grandchildren travelling with their grandparents.
Top ten holiday parks with over 51 locations across the North and South Island
Bed and breakfast
The Black B&B Book – Browse for a homestay, farmstay, cottage or olde-worlde inn and you can buy the book if you are touring for a longer time.
Genuine Maori cuisine – more properly know as kai Maori, learn more on this great website and find local Maori food festivals.
Hottest deals and discounts
The grand splurge
Kauri Cliffs – Luxury seafront lodge and restaurant.
Two hundred kilometres drive from Auckland to KeriKeri. One of the Relais & Chateaux properties in NZ.
City farmers market (for free)
Britomart, Cnr Gore & Galway Streets, Auckland CBD
Every Saturday, 8.30 am to 12.30 am
Hop on – hop off harbour discovery cruise
Unlimited travel for three days or a 1.5 hour Auckland (Waitemata) Harbour discovery cruise
The city’s oldest park. 75-hectares of winding paths, unique flora, Wintergardens and the Auckland War Memorial museum will take up your full day