When most people think of New Zealand, the remote island nation in the middle of the pacific, the first things they think of are the All Blacks, New Zealand lamb, and of course, kiwis. Though these symbols are world famous, the country has much more to offer visitors. It is a dream destination for active sports enthusiast, as well as nature lovers. The country’s unique location and geography has meant that it has a unique biodiversity, with a range of native animals and plants found nowhere else on planet earth. You will find the soaring peaks of the Southern Alps, gorgeous coves and beaches, sweeping sounds and islands, plains and hills alike. New Zealand also has a long and varied history of colonial rule, from original Dutch explorers, to the British Empire and now independence. Despite how long it takes to get there, it is well worth the journey!

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
• Passports
Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. It is advised to have 1 blank page in your passport. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport

Visas
U.S., Canadian and European Union country citizens do not require a visa to enter New Zealand for up to 6 months for tourism purposes. However, you will need to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before you travel. It is valid for up to 2 years once issued. The price varies between NZD $9 if applying via the dedicated mobile app, or NZD $12 if completed online. Visitors to New Zealand are also required to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZD $35 when you apply. Issuing the NZeTA can take 72hrs to process, so it is advised to apply in good time. Upon arrival in New Zealand, the immigration officials may also ask to examine items such as mobile phones, iPads, Android tablets, hard drives, laptops, and digital cameras. Fines of up to NZD $5,000 may be enforced for failure to comply. Special entry rules apply for Australian citizens. All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
Please note - New Zealand has very strict bio-security regulations and heavy penalties are handed out to those breaking these rules. It is illegal to bring most foodstuffs into New Zealand (meat and meat products, honey, fruit, dairy produce). Restrictions also imply on importing wood products, golf clubs, footwear, tents, fishing equipment and items made from animal skin. Details of the restrictions can be found via New Zealand Customs here and on the immigration arrivals card. If in doubt, declare items to a Ministry of Agriculture official or dump them in one of the bins available at your arrival airport. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a heavy fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment.

• Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Wellington, including those for the US, Canada, Australia and UK. A number of consulates also exist in Auckland. However, embassies for other countries are located in Sydney and other Asian cities, offering coverage to New Zealand. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.

N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to travel the current requirements applicable to you.

HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to travelling, to include but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regard to the specific type of holiday you are taking.
The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.

• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs.
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.
We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints.
If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.

• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
The New Zealand Tour is an Activity Level 2 tour and will require moderate physical activity and include various forms of transport. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable to you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.

• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you.
Important:

  • Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
  • Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.

Vaccinations
There are currently no vaccination requirements for international travellers, but please consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunisation information as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.

• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,

  • Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
  • Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
  • Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
  • Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
  • Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.

Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.

• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.

LUGGAGE
• What to Pack and Wear
We would recommend comfortable clothes and shoes for this tour. Feel free to include a smart-casual outfit for dinner if you wish, however there is no pressure to follow a dress code.

The weather should largely be warm and sunny throughout the journey, however it is always good to be prepared for every eventuality, so make sure you pack a light jacket in case of rain and the fact that it may be cooler in the evening.

Insect repellent and sun cream are also essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards.

• Luggage Allowances
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Prior to your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.

Hand/carry-on baggage restrictions – Please note, carry-on luggage is to be a soft bag not exceeding 30 x 28 x 14cm (12” x 11” x 6”) in order to fit either under the seat or in the small overhead compartment. Bags with wheels or telescopic handles will not fit in the overhead compartments and will therefore not be accepted as carry-on for safety reasons.

Porterage
Luggage handling is not included in our New Zealand tour. It may be available at the hotel for a local charge.

Laundry
Laundry services are available in some hotels on the tour.

LANGUAGE
The main language of New Zealand is English, though Maori is spoken widely across the country.

TIME ZONE
The time zone in New Zealand is GMT+12, 12 hours ahead of London GMT.

WEATHER
New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, so it is summer there during winter in Europe and North America (November to February), which makes it ideal for anyone wanting to escape the cold weather. On both North and South Islands, the temperature may soar to 25° C / 77° F or higher, with lows on cooler days reaching 10° C / 50° F, especially in mountainous regions. Temperatures do vary between the two islands and as you go higher into the mountains. Please check the local weather reports prior to travel for the most up to date information.

ELECTRICITY
In New Zealand, the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. You will need a Type I plug adapter, used in Oceania and Argentina and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.

MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
New Zealand has a well-developed communications infrastructure. A number of cellphone/mobile phone providers offer national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. In populated urban areas, there should be good mobile signal but as we head into rural areas, signal may fluctuate. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas and most hotels and restaurants provide free WIFI. Please check data roaming charges for New Zealand with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive.

MONEY
• Currency
The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar $ (NZD). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it is advisable to carry money in cash with you as well. ATMs are widely available in cities, but not so in smaller villages.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards however many places do not accept cards such as Diners Club or American Express. If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip.
Important Note – New Zealand use chip-and-pin credit cards, so cards with magnetic strips on the back (commonly used in North America) may not work with certain automated machines. You might want to carry some extra cash in your wallet to use in these situations just in case. You may be asked to provide ID if you cannot pay by chip and PIN.

• Budget
New Zealand can be quite expensive, with prices for day to day items comparably higher than European or North American countries. Please make sure you budget for higher spending.

• Bank Opening
Banks in New Zealand are usually open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday.

Tipping
After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.

FOOD
New Zealand cuisine is greatly varied, owing to the nature of the differing landscapes. You will find excellent fish dishes and seafood, as well as the famous New Zealand lamb. Drawing on the country’s traditional European settler influences, the food scene has been also impacted in recent years by the influx of immigrants from other South East Asian cuisines, as well as revival of using basic local ingredients.
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your individual departure for the relevant meal inclusions.

WATER
The tap water in New Zealand is generally of excellent quality. Unless otherwise advised, you can drink the local tap water. It is not advisable to drink the tap water on board the trains nor boats. Bottled water can be bought at supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.

SHOPPING
New Zealand offers lots for visitors to buy. It is renowned for its Maori arts and crafts. Leathers and woollen clothing are also of good quality. Furthermore, you will be able to pick up a range of excellent art and photographs of the stunning landscape New Zealand has to offer.

• Opening Hours
In the cities and towns, most retail shops are open from 9am – 5pm Monday–Friday. Most stores in the big cities are open on Saturday and reduced hours on Sundays, but this may vary especially once in more remote area.

• VAT/Tax Refund
Numerous shops in New Zealand offer a VAT refund when leaving the country. Please ask the salesperson whether tax-free shopping applies to the shop in question.

SAFETY & SECURITY
Crime levels in New Zealand are generally low. However, there’s a risk of petty theft, particularly in airports, in popular tourist attractions and on public transport. Please take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards. When in large crowds or major tourist destinations, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities. Though unlikely, earthquakes and volcanic explosions cannot be ruled out. Please check local news reports and follow advice of local authorities should anything occur.

SMOKING
Smoking is banned in indoor public places, but there are usually designated outdoor areas where people can smoke. Smoking is prohibited on all means of public transport.

RELIGION
New Zealand is mostly Christianity, with some immigrants from South East Asia bringing Hindu, Buddhism and Islam to New Zealand, but is also quite a secular society.

PHOTOGRAPHY
New Zealand offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card!

ARRIVAL IN NEW ZEALAND
Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.

TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.

OTHER COUNTRIES ON TOUR ITINERARY
For those continuing their stay in Australia or other countries, please check the relevant Travel Tip pages for information on these countries.

FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
• Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
• It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
• Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
• Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
• Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.

If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: info@thebigjourneycompany.com

Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained in the website.

Updated December 2019

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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