Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a big thing, putting your trust into a bunch of people promising to take you on the perfect journey, so you’ll have plenty of questions. We’ll have the answers to some of the most common queries, but not everything, so give us a call, or drop us a line if you’d like to go into the nitty-gritty details of your trip. We’ve assembled a knowledgeable, helpful team over the years, ready to point you in the right direction, and keen to have you join us on our beautiful adventures here in New Zealand.
How do I book my trip?
It’s as easy as picking up the phone to call us on our free call number, or filling in our “reserve a space” form right here. One of our team will give you a call back, we’ll take a few details from you, along with a US$500 deposit and get a booking confirmation sent to you straight away. You’ll then have access to your own personalised online pre-trip information package, providing everything you’ll need leading up to your trip. You can ALWAYS call us for any more questions you have also.
How will I get to New Zealand?
There are direct flights to New Zealand from Los Angeles, San Francisco & Houston. The 3 main carriers are Air New Zealand, United Airlines & American Airlines. We can point you in the right direction and recommend a travel agent who knows our trips well.
How many people will be on my trip?
Small is best in our view. You can generally expect there to be about 8-10 people on your trip, although we have a maximum of 12.
How will we get around on our trip?
We have a fleet of very comfortable 24 seater Toyota Coasters – all with loads of leg room, storage space and quiet on the inside. Because our trip maximum is 12, you’ll always have lots of seating room to yourself, not to mention a few mod cons to make the journey even smoother.
How do I get New Zealand dollars?
You can change US dollars and most other currencies at Auckland airport on your arrival. Otherwise, there are ATMs and banks frequently available throughout your trip, where you can use both credit and debit cards for cash withdrawals.
How long are the walks?
We’ve created our trips with an emphasis on where we are, as well as what we’ll be doing. With that in mind, we’ve made sure that our walks are generally around two and a half hours each time, meaning there’s time to delve into other elements of the New Zealand experience – sample some wine, visit the farmers market, relax and listen to the native bird song from your balcony, swim in unspoilt lake waters… check out this page for more information about the walks on our trips.
How strenuous are the walks?
A lot of care and planning has gone into which walks we take on our trips. This is your time to get away from it all and soak in a unique environment, not boot camp! So we’ve made sure that our walks are easy to moderate, generally on flat to undulating wide, even trails. There might be an occasion where you’ll need to gain some elevation while on the walking trail, but there’s always plenty of time. By equal measure, if you’re wanting a bit more walking, we have plenty of options up our sleeve. Check out this page for more information about the walks on our trips.
How is tipping handled in New Zealand?
Tipping is neither required nor routinely expected in New Zealand, but it is appropriate for very good service. In New Zealand you don’t usually tip in restaurants, or if you take a taxi, or get a haircut. Many of our guests do choose to tip our guides, at the end of an awesome trip though.
What if I have special dietary requirements?
No worries! We’ll ask you about this when you book your trip with us, and we’ll ensure your gastonomic experience fits inside your boundaries and expectations. Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, no red meat, more red meat, gluten free, dairy free, lactose intolerant…
What’s the weather like in New Zealand?
There’s a reason why New Zealand is so lush and green. Being an island nation, we can experience all sorts of conditions even in the middle of summer, but we’re also very lucky to enjoy mild temperate conditions and temperatures all year round – check out our page all about New Zealand’s weather. The North Island is generally warmer, and more humid and experiences more frequent rainfall than the South. The South Island experiences a variety of weather in different areas due to the prevailing westerly winds from the Tasman Sea, and the Southern Alps mountain range. The west coast gets frequent rainfall (that’s why we have such incredible rainforest here), while the eastern side of the ranges experiences drier conditions. Our varied weather has shaped our most stunning landscapes, so we’re pretty lucky in places like Milford Sound when it rains – you’ll see thousands of waterfalls appear before your eyes!
What’s included on my trip?
With the exception of a couple of meals here and there and alcoholic drinks, everything is included once we pick you up to begin your trip. Meals, guiding, transport, entrances to our National Parks – the whole nine yards.
What happens with single supplements?
Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don’t! When it comes to lodging, our fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we’ll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement! Having said that, if you specifically request your own room, you can opt to pay the additional single supplement fee.
What will I dine on while I’m on my trip?
Dining on exquisite local fare and sampling wines from our prestigious wine growing regions is an important part of the New Zealand Walking Tours experience. Wherever we go, we’ve weaved local fresh produce and wine into the mix, to ensure your trip is a well rounded sensory experience. Local scallops and muscles in the Marlborough Sounds, freshly grown vegetables from our many local farmers markets, the finest Pinot Noir of Central Otago, our renowned variety of cheeses, locally brewed craft beer… we’ve got it covered. Did we mention our coffee is AMAZING too! Check out our Local Fare page, and our Wine Regions page for more details.
What clothing should I bring for my trip?
We’ll send you a full packing list when you sign up for your trip. For more information on what you’re going to need to bring beforehand, give us a call or drop us a line with your specific questions.
What footwear will I need to bring?
A good pair of cross trainers or sturdy walking/hiking shoes for our walks is all that is needed. Don’t forget a pair of sandals too, even though you’ll be taking them off to feel the sand between your toes. We’ll send you a full packing list when you’ve signed up on your trip.
What visas are required for travel to New Zealand?
If you're from a visa waiver country (includes USA, Canada, UK, and Australia, to see all click here) then from October 1st 2019 you'll need an NZeTA before you travel. You should allow up to 72 hours for processing (but it could take as little as 10 minutes). An NZeTA costs $12 if completed online, and you'll also pay an International Visitor Conservation Tourism Levy (IVL) at the same time, which is $35NZD.
What type of plugs and voltage do you use in New Zealand?
New Zealand operates on a 230 volt AC system with a three pin plug, just like Australia and the UK. Plug adapters are readily available from travel stores and airport shops, and you may need two – one for the plug shape and one for the voltage converter, or sometimes you can get an all-in-one plug for both reasons too. If your country doesn’t use a 230V AC system (eg. USA = 110V AC) you may need some kind of converter, however many appliances have in-built ones these days (eg. iPods, iPads, laptops and camera chargers). If in doubt, ask at your nearest camera or electrical store before you leave home.
Where & Who
Where do I fly in and out of to begin and end my trip?
If you’re joining our Timeless North trip, you’ll fly in and out of Auckland.
If you’re joining our Beautiful South trip, you’ll fly in and out of Queenstown.
If you’re joining our Elegant South trip, you’ll fly into Nelson and out of Queenstown.
If you’re joining our Pristine New Zealand trip, you’ll fly into Auckland, and out of Queenstown.
There are regular flights in and out of all the airports we’ve talked about here. Most flights in and out of New Zealand are via Auckland. Get in touch with us for more detail about this.
Where will I be staying on my trip?
A good night’s sleep, cosy & comfortable surroundings and first class hosting are just as important as where we are and what we’re doing. So you’ll find yourself in accommodations located in beautiful and sometimes secluded places, with quiet rooms, great views, comfortable amenities and impeccable service.
Where can I get New Zealand dollars?
The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar. The easiest thing to do is change some money at the airport when you arrive. As far as spending money goes, most things are included during your trip so you won’t need much! Here are a few ways to part with your hard earned cash:
- ATM cards – There are plenty of ATM’s in New Zealand so as long as your card has a pin number and a “cirrus” or “plus” symbol on the back of it you should have no trouble withdrawing local currency from your home bank account. Check with your bank for overseas transaction fees. Your guides will let you know if we’re about to go somewhere a little more remote, where banks and ATM machines are not available, in those cases it’s best to carry a little cash with you.
- Credit cards are accepted in most places. They’re recommended for purchases, though not for cash advances due to instant interest charges, and again check with your bank for any overseas transaction fees.
- Banks are generally open Monday to Friday 9am-4pm in most places, exchange centres in the cities have longer hours and are open weekends.
- Airport Banks have the same exchange rates as the downtown banks so are the most convenient.
Where can I access internet/WiFi whilst on tour?
The days of internet cafes are dwindling, with WiFi accessible from virtually any shop and often free and open in airports and town centres. If you turn on your data roaming (beware of the fees!), you’ll be able to access 3G/4G around half the time whilst on your trip. The rest of the time, we hope you’ll be enjoying the wilderness and natural beauty so much that you don’t even miss the internet! WiFi is available at most of the accommodations that you’ll be staying at (except off-the-grid lodges in National Parks), usually for a small cost, so check this out at each location when you arrive.
Who will be guiding me on our trip?
You’ll be hosted and guided by New Zealand’s most highly trained and sought after trip leaders, all with vast experience in hosting people in New Zealand and other parts of the world. We make sure all our guides are affable, humble, experienced, capable and qualified to deliver and unforgettable experience.
When’s the best time to come to New Zealand?
Anytime! That’s a little vague, we know. But it ultimately depends on where in New Zealand you’re keen to experience. Check out our Best Time to Visit page if you’re looking for a great place to start in making your plans. If you’re keen to visit just the North Island in warm weather then get down here between October and April. May to September in the North Island is cooler, and has higher rainfall, but there are WAY less people around. The South Island experiences warm weather between November and March, and then starts to cool off from April and May. Winter kicks in in June, but the great thing about New Zealand is that our winters are moderate and snowfall generally keeps to higher elevations, meaning we can experience our walks without being hindered by extreme snowfall and ice, as is the case in other parts of the world. We’ve designed all our trips to be enjoyable at any time of the year. Get in touch with us for more specifics about the time of year that will suit you.