Frequently Asked Questions
The questions and answers below endeavour to answer your general questions regarding New Zealand. If you have specific questions relating to a tour you are interested in, then there will be a link to FAQ's relating specifically to that tour on the tour itinerary page.
When is the best time to book a tour to New Zealand?
The short answer is - as early as possible. Relaxing Journeys offer Earlybird Discounts for those visitors that book early. These discounts offer significant savings over the brochure price and are not available during the normal busy booking period (August-October).
Another factor to take into account is that a lot of tours to New Zealand sell out quickly. Last year we had to disappoint a lot of people because their first option was unavailable. In these cases we always do our best to find an alternative, however if you can decide as early as possible then the booking is a lot easier!
And finally, for tours where the accommodation is subject to availability at the time of booking (i.e. self drive tours, independent coach tours) then booking as early as possible is recommended. In parts of NZ there accommodation is scarce and during the summer months its not unusual for whole towns to SELL out of any decent accommodation!
What is included in the tour price?
Every tour on our site has its own itinerary page outlining all costs associated with tour. There are no hidden extras. Travel insurance and flights to New Zealand are not included. Meals are generally included but on some tours are optional - this will be clearly spelt out on the itinerary page. On some of the low cost tours there may be an optional extra available (for example the TranzAlpine Train Journey). Again this is spelt out clearly. Accommodation is always included as is the transport (of course!)
When is the best time to visit New Zealand?
You can visit New Zealand at any time of the year. Summer and winter temperatures vary by only about 10ºC over most of the country, making New Zealand an ideal holiday destination all year round. Read more about our climate here
What's the climate like?
New Zealand's seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. This means that the warmest months are December, January and February, while the coldest are in June, July and August. Don't let cold months put you off - winters tend to be short and generally fairly mild. Read more about our climate here>
What clothes should I take?
Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and -night-spots. Men are generally not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the top formal bars and restaurants in major cities.
In summer a light jacket or sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or you visit the high country. You can expect some rain, so include a light waterproof jacket or coat. Pack warm winter clothing if visiting between May and September. Layer your clothing. Read more about our climate here>
Do I need a passport or visa to enter New Zealand?
All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country.
Most visitors who intend to stay for less than three months do not require a visa. If you want to stay longer than three months, or your country of origin does not have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, then you will need to apply for a Visitor's Visa. Read our Passports and Visas section carefully, and if you need more information look at the New Zealand Immigration Service website or the New Zealand Embassy website.
Can I use my credit cards/ATM cards in New Zealand?
All major international credit cards can be used in New Zealand and Travellers Cheque's are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. If your credit card is encoded with a PIN number you will be able to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs) situated at banks and shopping centres throughout the country. You can pay for your tour online using Visa or MasterCard via our secure online form.
Are there any poisonous animals in New Zealand?
New Zealand has no snakes or dangerous wild animals, making it safe for visitors to enjoy outdoor activities.
Is it safe to drink the water in New Zealand?
New Zealand cities and towns have excellent water supplies and in all cases tap water is fresh and safe to drink. Water from rivers and lakes should be boiled, chemically treated or filtered before drinking to avoid stomach upsets.
What is the voltage of electricity supply in New Zealand? Do I need to take a converter?
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Please note that power outlets only accept flat three or two-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.
Where are the international airports located in New Zealand?
When is the best time to go trekking/hiking in New Zealand?
Tracks such as the Abel Tasman, Heaphy and Queen Charlotte Sounds Walkway located at the top of the South Island can be walked all year round. However, those tracks at higher altitudes such as the world famous Milford Track, Kepler and Routeburn are closed in the winter due to snow. You must book to walk the Milford and Routeburn tracks, which are open between October and April.
Where is the capital of New Zealand?
Wellington is the political, banking and financial centre for New Zealand. The Parliament building known as the 'Beehive' is one of the city's top attractions. The National Archives, National Library and Old Government Buildings (the second largest wooden building in the world) are located nearby and are open to casual visitors free of charge.
What is a 'Kiwi'?
The kiwi, New Zealand's national emblem, is a flightless bird with hair-like feathers and a long, slender bill which it uses to pull worms and insects out of the ground. Found only in New Zealand, it is active at night in the wilderness areas of the country. Be sure to visit one of the many kiwi houses where you can watch them under special 'nocturnal' lighting.
New Zealanders often refer to themselves as Kiwis, and the term is also used as a short form for the famous kiwifruit. On the stock exchange, the New Zealand Dollar is also referred to as 'the kiwi'.
What kind of night-life is available in New Zealand?
Lively DJ and band scenes, particularly in the larger cities, have given New Zealand's night life a renewed vibrancy. You will find a variety of night-clubs, cabarets, pubs, concerts and live performances to choose from, and there are also four casinos, in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.
What types of activities are available for children?
If you are thinking about visiting with your family, you can be confident that New Zealand has a wide range of activities to keep your children happy.
New Zealand's parks and large areas of unspoilt wilderness are ideal places to expand your children's appreciation of wildlife and the outdoors. Horse riding, snow activities, whale watching, fruit picking and wildlife centres and zoos are just some of the choices available.
If you are visiting the larger centres, you will find a range of themed attractions including Rainbow's End (Auckland), Splash Planet (Hastings), Marine Land (Napier) and the International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch). Te Papa, New Zealand's interactive national museum, has a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including Story Place, a haven for small children.
Most family restaurants have childrens’ menus and high chairs. Many cafes also have high chairs, and a toy basket to amuse babies and toddlers is becoming increasingly common in both cafes and shops. Most public gardens have well equipped play areas for young children, as do many holiday parks. Adventure playlands such as Chipmunks or Lollipop’s Playland are always popular with the very young — these can be found in most main centres.
Visitor Information Centres are a good source of information about activities that are fun for the whole family.
When are School Holidays in New Zealand?
The most up to date details for School Holidays in New Zealand can be found at www.moe.govt.nz
2016 School Holidays
- 16 April ~ 1 May
- 9 July ~ 24 July
- 24 September ~ 9 October
- 18 December ~ Mid-End January 2017
If you have any general questions about New Zealand that are not covered here then please email us for more information.