New Zealand on screen: The Luminaries on BBC One

Specialist holiday company Silver Fern Holidays says the drama is ‘a welcome boost for 2021 travel’

Hokitika’s beach is battered by the Tasman Sea. Photo courtesy Tourism New Zealand

‘The Luminaries’ is the exciting BBC dramatisation of Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize-winning novel of New Zealand’s 19th century gold rush. The six-part series starts Sunday 21 June 2020 on BBC One 9pm.


The series is set, and at the author’s insistence was filmed, on the West Coast of South Island including the gold rush town of Hokitika. Part love story, part murder mystery, the drama stars Eva Green, Eve Hewson, Himesh Patel and a host of Antipodean actors. 

Specialist tour operator and AITO member Silver Fern Holidays has been looking forward to the series being announced for months! Like John and his team, I have long been a fan of Hokitika, which is set between dense rainforest and the pounding Tasman Sea.

“Hokitika still has a frontier feel,” says managing director John Lightwood, “and we usually recommend a short stay here especially if travelling to the West Coast over the Southern Alps. There are some attractive early buildings, and in our view it’s the best place in terms of quality and value for pounamu carvings and other arts and crafts.”

copyright Jane Williams

Most of the company’s guests stay at Teichelmanns B&B, built in 1910 by Ebeneezer Teichelmann to be both his home and medical rooms. Its clapboard style is straight out of The Luminaries’ era. The breakfasts are legendary, and it is just a few steps from the town’s independent cafes, pounamu workshops and art galleries.


Silver Fern Holidays’ 24-day ‘Best of New Zealand’ independent tour starts in Auckland, ends in Christchurch and includes travelling over the Southern Alps by TranzAlpine rail to the West Coast at Greymouth with an overnight in Hokitika at Teichelmanns B&B. 

The holiday starts at £4350 per person (twin share) depending on departure dates. The package includes flights from Heathrow, a stopover, 23 nights’ New Zealand accommodation, car hire and the TranzAlpine rail journey.

Silver Fern Holidays: 01636 813 544