Frequently Asked Questions

When choosing to Discover New Zealand's North Island or South Island you have many choices ranging from self-drive tours to independent coach tours to an escorted vacation all-inclusive customized private coach tour. The great opportunity here is you do not have to pick just one, you can do a combination of all three! To assist you we have shared the answers to the most frequently asked questions by our guests.

What are Self Drive Tours?

Driving New Zealand by car. Itineraries are plentiful for those choosing this type of vacation. Typically will suit independent travelers familiar with the terrain and driving conditions.

What are Independent Coach Tours?

These tours depart daily and allow you to schedule an itinerary that suits you allowing you to stay and eat where you want. Great for short term visits or when you have spare time in your vacation and looking to slot an experience in.

What are Escorted All Inclusive Private Coach Tours?

Let someone else handle all the arrangements and show the way. Travel in a large or small group and have Tour Concierges take care of your every need. Domestic Flights are included however international flights are typically not. This is the category of touring class TCD Tours offers.

When is the best time to come to New Zealand?

The best time to visit New Zealand is anytime as it is gorgeous all year-round. With three water-locked islands you can have 4 seasons in one day giving typical island weather. Our touring season is September to May each year so we capture the end of Winter into Spring and then the full summer to take advantage of the longer days and perfect outdoor conditions for our tour experience.

What is the weather like in New Zealand?

New Zealand experiences four distinctive seasons. Officially these are:

Summer: December, January and February
Autumn: March, April and May
Winter: June, July and August
Spring: September, October and November

However, the weather can be variable and does not always follow traditional seasonal expectations – summer, for instance, can be both very hot and very cold. You can check long range forecasts for weather on the New Zealand Metservice Website.

Seasonal Temperatures and Conditions?

Summer: Expect an average high of 25 C (76 F) in the north to around 22 C (72 F) in the south.
Average lows (evening time) are 13 C (55 F) in the north to 12 C (54 F) in the south.

Autumn: Expect an average high of 20 C (68 F) in the north to around 17 C (63 F) in the south.
Average lows (evening time) are 11 C (52 F) in the north to 7 C (45 F) in the south.

Winter: Expect an average high of 15 C (59 F) in the north to around 10 C (50 F) in the south.
Average lows (evening time) are 6 C (43 F) in the north to 2 C (35 F) in the south.

Spring: Expect an average high of 18 C (65 F) in the north to around 16 C (61 F) in the south.
Average lows (evening time) are 9 C (48 F) in the north to 7 C (45 F) in the south.

What should I pack?

In addition to your normal travel attire we recommend comfortable walking shoes, flipflops, beachwear, a light wind jacket plus a sweatshirt for those cooler evenings and water excursions. Mosquito repellant and sun tan lotion always handy plus an international plug converter. Your favorite Texan hat and sunglasses. Bars and nightclubs typically accept smart casual dress as in Texas with formal dress for fine dining. That being said, no shirt, no shoes, no problem for Northland beach side towns and villages.

What is the style of accommodation on the tour?

Accommodation ranges from 4-star hotels to luxury lodges and hotels housing gym, spa, pool and internet facilities.

How many guests are on the tour?

We have capacity for 36 passengers however we maintain a maximum booking of 80% unless the coach is privately chartered for a group tour then we take up to 36 guests.

Tipping?

We encourage tipping in the same service appreciation style you would in Texas however it is optional.

How long is the direct flight to New Zealand?

Typically flight time is 13-14 hours from Houston over Mexico and into New Zealand. You can fly direct from LAX also. Flying through the night is the best as you will arrive into Auckland fresh in the morning and will be able to take advantage of a full first day in Auckland. Imagine two beautifully cooked hot meals, dinner shortly after you board and breakfast prior to landing, your own video screen to watch 2-3 movies during the flight and then six-eight hours of sleep time only to awake and find yourself across the dateline and in a new paradise where you will see the sunrise first!

What is the Time Difference for Texas CST?

It is best to set your world clock on your phone to include both Texas and New Zealand so tracking time differences is a breeze taking into consideration daylight saving changes in both countries. Typically New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of Texas. You lose a day traveling across the dateline to New Zealand and gain a day returning to Texas.

How do I make a tour reservation?

You can book online on our website, through your travel agent or by phone with one of our travel concierges. You can pay by credit card or bank transfer. You may also need assistance booking from the Extra Excursions Menu which can be offered by phone or by emailing us.

What currency can I pay for the tour in?

Any currency. Our website defaults to USD but by clicking on the USD a dropdown menu will appear of all world currencies which allows you to change the entire pricing on the website into the currency of your choice.

What is the Mega Tour Extra Excursions Menu?

We are able to offer additional and seasonal private tours in addition to the excursions included in the main tour. This allows our guests to select additional special experiences.

Do I need a passport to enter New Zealand?

Yes. For more information including visa requirements please visit Immigration New Zealand Website.

Local Currency

New Zealand Dollars. The NZD exchange rate against the USD is favorable in receiving more NZD for one USD. We do recommend carrying NZD cash for purchasing from local markets etc which can be purchased from Texas, the Auckland Airport or local banks and hotels in New Zealand. It is fun cash to also keep as a souvenir. Each note is a different color dictating it's value unlike the greenback used in Texas.

What credit cards are accepted?

Most places in New Zealand accept credit cards with some smaller venues accepting only cash. Credit cards with a PIN can generally withdraw cash from any ATM machine.

What is NZ GST?

GST (Goods and Services Tax) is applied on all products in New Zealand. Unless otherwise stated all prices include GST. The current rate of GST in New Zealand is 15%.

All visitors to New Zealand have to pay GST when buying items in New Zealand unless they are shipping them directly from the vendor overseas.

Are there snakes in New Zealand?

No. It is not uncommon to see the Kiwis in bare feet.

Should I buy travel insurance?

We recommend obtaining travel insurance before you fly.

Cell phone and Internet coverage?

You have many options from purchasing an international roaming plan from your USA cell provider prior to departure or buying a pre-paid/disposable phone coming through customs. Internet access is available in all accommodation locations however from time to time due to the remoteness of some Northland areas there is no coverage which may be a blessing for some guests. Unplugging and switching off while on vacation is normal in New Zealand.

What is the smoking policy?

All our coach tours are smoke free and are restricted to smoking during the frequent sightseeing, photographic and comfort stops.

We request non-smoking hotel rooms for the comfort of our entire tour group. Travelers who prefer accommodation without such limitations are asked to make their preference known when making reservations and again at the beginning of their tour.

Please note that due to varying hotel policies on this subject, it is not possible to guarantee either option however we will make all reasonable efforts to satisfy individual needs. The majority of hotels in New Zealand are 100% smoke free.

Are private transfers from Auckland Airport included?

Auckland Airport is the largest airport in New Zealand. Yes, transfers from the airport are still included in your tour if you book pre- / post-tour accommodation around our tour if your hotel is in Auckland CBD as recommended.

Do you have to live in Texas to be eligible for the 8-Day Taste of NZ Tour?

No. We welcome all the friends and family of Texas.

What is the main language in New Zealand?

English.

Where can I find Booking Terms and Conditions?

You can find a copy of our full booking terms & conditions here.

By placing a booking, you confirm that you have accessed, read and accepted our booking terms & conditions.