If you're planning your big trip to New Zealand and thinking about a tour, there will be lots of information you're looking for to help you find the right one. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about our tours. If you can't find what your looking for or you have some questions you would like to chat through please don't hesitate to get in contact by phone or email and we'd be happy to help you out.
General questions about our tours
At MoaTrek, we understand the importance of a good nights’ rest after an exciting day touring New Zealand, and that’s why we’ve personally handpicked all of our accommodation. We utilise four star accommodation wherever available - with all the facilities you would expect and private ensuite bathrooms. See more about our tour accommodation here.
All your accommodation during the tour has a laundry on site. This means that you don't have to pack weeks worth of clothes for your trip, it's easy to get a wash done, especially at one of the places we spend multiple nights, like the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Nelson, Queenstown and the West Coast. You can also get laundry powder here on site too, so you don't have to worry about bringing that either. Rooms also include an iron, ironing board and hair dryer.
On our tours, every hotel we stay in offers the ability to connect to Wifi for free in your room. In most places there is a data cap, with enough data to check your emails and the news, but this is not the time to catch up on your favourite series on Netflix! In some remote areas, like the West Coast of the South Island, connections and download speed can be patchy at times. If there's anything really important you need to do online when you're here, let your guide know in advance and they'll help you get connected.
We're "foodies" at heart and know how important great meals are when travelling. One thing that so many people tell us they love about our tours are the home hosted locals in their homes or special locations – a great opportunity to meet some real Kiwis as well as enjoy a delicious meal. On all tours hearty breakfasts are included every morning. We include special lunches and dinners at various locations throughout the tour, see the "What's Included" tab on each tour page to see exactly which meals are included. Where a meal is not included your helpful Kiwi guide will always provide a recommendation for the best cafe or restaurant available. See more about the delicious meals you will enjoy on our tours here.
No problem. Over the years we've had pretty much every request under the sun and if it's at all humanly possible, we'll help you sort it! Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, food allergies are all easy to handle, as long as you tell us in advance. The golden rule is to let us know in advance and we can help with pretty much anything and if you have any questions please get in touch.
Alcoholic beverages are generally not included with dinner, however at our hosted lunches with the locals you'll notice your host keeping your glass nice and full. Whenever drinks are included, we make sure there are non alcoholic options for non-drinkers. At our Marlborough winery lunch your tastings are included at no extra charge.
We have a seat rotation policy on all our tours. This allows our travellers to get the chance to see the country from all the different seating positions on the coach.
Sorry, but we can't guarantee seats close to the front for the entire journey as we want to be fair to everyone on board. If you suffer from motion sickness, let us know in advance and we'll do everything we can to help.
Your tour includes all your land travel (coach and inter island ferry), accommodation, airport transfers on arrival and departure plus the care and attention of your Kiwi Guide for the entire trip.
Breakfast is included every morning, and a selection of lunches and dinners throughout the trip.
All activities and entrance fees for everything specifically mentioned in the itinerary is included.
New Zealand Sales Tax (Goods and Services Tax of 15%) is included in the tour price.
International or domestic air fares are not included.
For specific inclusions on each tour, check the "What's Included" tab on the tour page.
Our Kakapo 21 day tour starts in Auckland and finishes in Christchurch.
Our Kaka 17 day tour starts in Auckland and finishes in Christchurch.
Our Kakariki 16 day tour starts in Auckland and finishes in Queenstown.
Our Kiwi 12 day tour starts in Auckland and finishes in Queenstown.
Our Kea 7 day tour starts in Queenstown and finishes in Christchurch.
Our Kotare 4 day tour starts in Auckland and finishes in Auckland.
Our tours departing Auckland - our Kakapo (21 days), Kaka (17 days), Kakariki (16 days), Kiwi (12 days) and Kotare (4 days) tours depart from the Grand Mecure Hotel at 8 Customs Street in the Auckland CBD at 8am. You need to stay in Auckland the night prior to your tour departure date. Your guide will be in touch the day before your tour starts.
For guests on our Kea 7 day tour starting in Queenstown your tour departs at 6.30 am for Milford Sound from the Scenic Suites Queenstown. You need to arrive in Queenstown the previous day and as its an early start we strongly recommend staying in the Scenic Suites as your next two nights are in this accommodation as part of your tour package. Your guide will be in touch the day before your tour starts.
Something everyone tells us they love about our tours is the flexibility to do different things in different places. There's so much to do all over New Zealand and we've set the tour up so you can take advantage of all the amazing experiences on offer. When you arrive in a destination, like Queenstown, there's time built in to the itinerary (a full day in Queenstown, for example) for you to do whatever you want. This can be visiting an attraction like the Birdlife Park, doing an activity like the Dart River jet, visiting wineries or going on a Lord of the Rings tour for the day. When you book your tour, while you're still at home, we'll send you a list of the most popular optional activities in each spot, and help you book these when you're ready. Of course, if you've found something online you really want to do that's not on our list, no problem, we'll help you with that too.
When you're on the trip, your Kiwi Guide will confirm all the bookings with you in advance, and make sure you know everything you need to know. There's plenty of flexibility to make bookings after you've arrived, this often happens, but we do recommend booking anything you really want to do in advance, so you don't miss out.
It's always so much fun when people head off to have different experiences and adventures, then come back and compare stories and photos the next day!
See the "Optional Activities" tab on each tour page for our suggestions and favourites.
The great thing about our tours is that you can tailor the activity level to suit yourself. If you're fit and healthy you'll be fine, the activity level on our tours is similar to having a busy day out and about in your home town. Even on travel days, with a short walk in the morning or evening, you'll have no worries getting your 10,000 steps a day while you're on holiday.
If you like walking, that's great, the hotels we stay in are all within a short walk from the main part of town and in places like Tongariro National Park, Mt Cook and Queenstown there are lots of great walks right out your door.
There's no heavy lifting of suitcases either, we'll take care of all that.
If you want to, yes! We know that everyone is different, some people need a bit of time to themselves and some love the company of the group. There's plenty of free time built into our trips to allow you to do things your way. It's your holiday, after all.
Most of the evenings are free for that exact reason, it's common to see some people disappear off by themselves and others to get together for dinner.
There's so much to see and we know you don't want to miss anything, so we make plenty of stops when we're driving between destinations. As a rule of thumb, we stop at least every 2 - 3 hours for photos, toilet stops and super urgent stuff like coffee!
Yes. Once you have a confirmed booking with us you can be reassured that the tour will go ahead. We know you need security to book flights and organize everything else on your trip to fit in with your tour so our departures are 100% guaranteed.
We own and operate late model turbo-diesel mid sized coaches, our oldest coach was built in 2014. The coaches are comfortably appointed with customised interiors and climate control. They are fitted with comfortable seats with lap belts. Your luggage will be stowed in a purpose built luggage compartment or trailer during the day, and there's space for you to bring a day bag with anything you need on board. There are no toilets on our coaches, but we make stops every 2 - 3 hours, at least.
The biggest benefit of travelling in the coaches we use that we take you to places the larger touring coaches can't, off the beaten track like Okarito Lagoon or the back road to Waitangi, where the best views of the Bay of Islands are!
Lots of people tell us they really want to get outside and walk while they're here, and that's just the way our tours have been designed. All the way around on your tour you'll have plenty of chances to get out and walk, in alpine scenery at Mt Cook, up historic Flagstaff Hill in the Bay of Islands or a full day hike on the famous Routeburn Track, just to name a few. If you're a walker, then New Zealand will be paradise to you. Find out all about the short walks you'll be able to enjoy on your tour here.
Questions about bookings, payments, cancellations and insurance
1. Give us a call on one of our toll free numbers : USA/Canada: 1877 796 0415; UK and Europe: 0800 058 8153, Australia: 1800 449 596 and New Zealand 0800 662 462.
2. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form on our website.
There is a 20% deposit per person required to confirm your reservation. The balance is due 60 days' prior to your tour start date, and we will send a final invoice for payment. We can accept payment by bank transfer or Visa/Mastercard, whichever is most convenient. If you choose to pay by credit card we can either take your details over the phone or provide a link for you to input them into our secure website. A 2% surcharge will apply. You can also make payment without any fees via internet banking to a local bank in your own currency.
There is a 20% deposit required when you book your tour. You can pay this by credit card or bank transfer, we'll help you with the details.
The balance is due 60 days before your tour starts, we'll be in touch beforehand to remind you of this.
For any tour payments, you can pay with either a credit card or via bank transfer. For credit card payments a surcharge of 2% will apply. You can do this over the phone or online through a secure payments gateway.
If you'd like to make payment via bank transfer in your own currency without any fees at all, we will help you with this option.
We'll get everything to you at least 30 days before your trip. Some documents, like the Optional Activities guide, we'll send to you as soon as you book. If there's anything extra or special you need at any time, just let us know and we'd be happy to help.
Tour prices are quoted in New Zealand dollars (NZD) and they include our local sales tax (Goods & Services Tax) of 15%.
On our website you'll see the option to select your own currency and view the tours in USD, GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR etc. This is to give you a guide at current exchange rates, this can change from day to day and should only be used as a guide only. Our final tour price is always in NZD and the amount that appears on your credit card statement will depend on the exchange rate your card provider uses on the day.
If you'd like to pay via bank transfer, in your home currency, we will give you a final amount in your currency which will not change and you can make payment with an easy transfer with no fees attached. Ask us about this option if you'd like more info.
Cancellation charges do apply so it is essential you have travel insurance in case you need to cancel for whatever reason. Our fees depend on when MoaTrek receives notification of a cancellation:
Bookings cancelled more than 60 days before departure incur 20% of tour cost.
Bookings cancelled between 59 days and 45 days 50% of tour cost.
Bookings cancelled between 44 days and 31 days 75% of tour cost.
Bookings cancelled within 30 days or less of tour departure 100% of tour cost.
No refunds will be made after travel has commenced.
If you would like to change your tour date please let us know. Any changes will be dependent on when you request the transfer and cannot be guaranteed. Our standard booking conditions apply to all changes and cancellations.
You must be covered by a comprehensive travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances such as travel interruption, loss of baggage and cash. Also to cover expenses due to sickness, accident or delays caused by matters beyond MoaTrek’s control. You should make sure your policy covers cancellation in the event you are forced to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances. We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip so you're covered from that point. There's more information about travel insurance and our healthcare system here.
Our advice - you'd be crazy to travel without insurance, don't even think about it!
Our popular midsummer departure dates tend to fill up pretty quickly. We suggest you book as soon as you are sure of your dates. As we cater for relatively small numbers a tour can change from half full to completely full very quickly. It's quite common for guests to book on our tours 9-12 months in advance, about the same time as the airline flight schedules are released.
We can provide a quote for air fares and we can book any additional accommodation you require directly before or after your tour. For assistance with any other arrangements, we can introduce you to someone from our sister company who would be happy to help you out.
Something everyone tells us they love about our tours is the flexibility to do different optional activities in different places. If you like action and adventure, food and wine, relaxing, walking, Lord of the Rings or Maori culture there's something here for you. When you book your tour, we'll send you some information about all the different optional tours available, you can also see them on the "Optional Activities" tab on each individual tour page.
You can book these tours at any time, even once you're on the tour. If there's something you really want to do we strongly recommend booking this in advance, before you leave home so you don't miss out. A lot of the best activities around are small group tours that can fill up really quickly, so book ahead to avoid disappointment. Talk to one of the friendly team when you're booking.
Questions about our groups and people on our tours
Our maximum group size is 18, but most tours travel with 15 or 16 people, plus your Kiwi Guide. We reckon it's the perfect amount of people to allow us to discover little off the beaten track spots and for you to get to know everyone really well. You’ll make new friends and enjoy the company of people from all over the world.
We've had people from 30 - 70 on our tours, most people are in their 50s or 60s. It's not about age, but about attitude!
A really good way to decide if you would fit in with one of our trips would be to have a look at our trip galleries here. If you can imagine yourself enjoying a meal at the end of a fun filled day exploring New Zealand with these guys then we're sure you'd fit right in!
If you are in good health and of average fitness you will enjoy our tours. Most days involve a fair bit of walking, and there are plenty of opportunities to do more if you want. Just in the normal course of a day on tour you would walk between 5,000 and 10,000 steps, if you're one of those people that has a fitness tracker.
Keep in mind this is really up to you, you can build in as much or as little activity as you like.
If you have any questions about how fit you need to be, or any health related concerns, give us a call and we'd be happy to talk it through with you.
No problem. We can't remember the last tour we did that didn't have single travellers on it, we actually reckon solo travellers have the most fun of all! Our tours are always a mix of singles, couples and friends so travelling alone will be no worries.
One of the best things about our groups is meeting all the fun people from different parts of the world, as one of our single travellers said recently "I made friends that will last for a lifetime". Take a look at our blogpost on travelling to New Zealand alone or get in touch if you have any questions. Our advice, don't worry about it, take the plunge and it will be one of the best things you've ever done!
Your "Kiwi Guide" will be your best friend while you're here in New Zealand. Our guide team are all proud Kiwis, born and bred here in New Zealand and they all have a lifetime of Kiwi holiday memories and secret spots they love sharing. Our guides are all experienced in tour driving, first aid and taking care of people, not to mention armed with a full array of amusing and interesting stories. Meet the Kiwi Guides and the rest of the MoaTrek family here.
Questions about getting ready for your tour, what to bring
It's always tricky to know how much to pack for an overseas trip. If you're anything like us you'll know that it's so easy to end up packing things you never use, so we reckon the trick is to pack light and if there's anything you need or forget, pick it up when you're here.
Here are a few handy tips for packing:
- Smart casual clothes are suitable for all occasions in New Zealand. Temperatures can vary widely, even in summer, so bring warm light clothes, regardless of when you're coming.
- Include a waterproof jacket and some comfortable walking shoes, being comfortable when you walk is really important. Hiking boots are not necessary.
- Pack a sunhat, sun block, sunglasses and a swimsuit for the beaches, as well as hot pools.
Travelling light allows us to get off the beaten track on our mid sized coaches, so please limit your luggage to one medium-sized suitcase with a maximum weight of 23kg or 50lbs. This will be stored in the luggage compartment in the coach and won't be accessible during the day. Bring a soft bag or small day pack that can be easily stowed on the coach for your rain jacket, sunhat, camera and anything else you might need.
Most modern appliances are made for easy use all over the world, especially the kind of things you take overseas, like cameras, tablets and smartphones. The one thing you need to be careful of is voltage, New Zealand has 240-volt electricity, so your applicances must be compatible with this. You may also need to bring an adapter or buy one on arrival.
No you don’t. All of the hotels have hairdryers either in the room or available from reception. Keep your baggage light and leave the hairdryer at home!
Questions about travelling to New Zealand
The great thing about visiting New Zealand is that it's a year round destination. We don't get the big snows and freezing temperatures that Europe and North America get, lucky for us! For us, the most popular times for our tours is between October and April, our spring, summer and autumn months. We also offer special winter departures once per month from May to September that capture New Zealand as a winter wonderland.
Being an island nation in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, there are only two ways to get here. By air or by ship. For most people, you'll fly to New Zealand but more and more are coming by cruise ship nowadays, and joining one of our tours either before or after their cruise.
It's up to you how you book your flights, most people look after their on flights, either booking online or via their travel agent.
If you've got lots of frequent flier miles, what better time to use them than now, for your big trip to New Zealand. Contact your air points programme to do this.
We can also book your flights, throw a partner agency, let us know when you're booking and we can provide you with a quote.
This is always a question that comes up, do we have to tip in New Zealand? Service jobs in New Zealand don't rely on tips for their income, they are paid an hourly wage, but it's more and more common now to see people tipping in restaurants now, for example.
After travelling with one of our Kiwi Guides for a couple of weeks, you may want to show your appreciation with a tip. This is pretty common and most appreciated but never expected.
The bottom line with tipping in New Zealand is that it's up to you, a tip will be well appreciated by anyone, but never expected and you won't feel any "cold shoulder" from service staff if you don't.
Kiwis are pretty chilled about this kind of thing so don't worry too much about it. Read more about tipping in New Zealand in this article.
Here in New Zealand, smoking is prohibited by law in coaches, bars, restaurants, cafes, casinos and other public buildings. Most hotels and resorts are now entirely smoke-free so if you do smoke, you will need to smoke outside.
New Zealand is a year-round travel destination with mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall and many sunshine hours throughout the majority of the country. The coldest month is usually July and the warmest month is usually January or February. The average maximum temperature ranges from 20 - 30°C (70 - 90°F) in the summer to 10 - 15ºC (50-60°F) in the winter. The one thing that surprises most people about the weather here is how quickly it can change, so be prepared for this.
It depends on your nationality. If you're from Australia, you don't need a visa and can stay as long as you like. People from countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Switzerland don't need a visa to visit New Zealand on holiday for up to 90 days. Important Note: For travel from 1 October 2019 many visitors to New Zealand (including US, Candian & UK citizens) will need to apply for an online pre travel authority and pay an International Visitor Levy. There's more information on visas and passports for travel to New Zealand here.
Questions about MoaTrek
We are a New Zealand family owned business, based in Auckland, the "City of Sails".
MoaTrek was started way back in 1971 by Ena Hutchinson, and a few others. Ena's still involved and nowadays son Miles is at the helm, with heaps of help from the rest of the MoaTrek family. Find out more about our history here or meet the team.
We're in central Auckland, really handy to the CBD and waterfront.
Our physical address is Level 2, 69 Beach Road, Auckland 1010.
MoaTrek is a Qualmark Approved Visitor Service. This means MoaTrek has been independently reviewed and found to have the required systems and policies for a safe and enjoyable holiday in New Zealand
MoaTrek is a member of the Bus and Coach Association of New Zealand and adheres to best industry practice as recommended by this association.
MoaTrek vehicles are maintained to the highest possible standard and in line with recommendations from the Bus and Coach Association and the New Zealand Transport Agency Operator Rating System.
MoaTrek vehicles are equipped with seatbelts (compulsory to wear), a medical kit, fire extinguisher and emergency exits.
MoaTrek’s Health and Safety policy is reviewed annually with all employees having input in order to ensure MoaTrek is operating as safely as possible. All of our Kiwi guides have completed a certificate in basic first-aid training.
All MoaTrek Kiwi guides are experienced in the operation of our vehicles and undergo a thorough Health and Safety induction prior to commencing work with MoaTrek.
MoaTrek Kiwi guides have a full day, pre-tour briefing at the MoaTrek office where any possible Health and Safety issues for individual tours are discussed.
All MoaTrek clients are briefed in Health and Safety issues by the Kiwi guide on the first day of their tour.
MoaTrek supports the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre. Every guest that travels with MoaTrek directly contributes to the rescue and rehabilitation of injured native birds.
MoaTrek is a Qualmark Approved Visitor Service. This means MoaTrek has been independently reviewed and deemed to operate in an ethical, professional and environmentally sustainable way
Wherever possible, MoaTrek selects suppliers that are also Qualmark-approved and therefore deemed to operate in an ethical, professional and environmentally sustainable way.
MoaTrek is committed to operating environmentally sustainable tours. By nature, small-group touring using one vehicle to transport multiple clients is more environmentally friendly than usual modes of travel including, rental car or campervan.
MoaTrek has monitoring systems in place to ensure our vehicles are serviced and driven in line with manufacturer’s guidelines, making the running of MoaTrek's fleet as efficient as possible.
MoaTrek has official accreditation to operate on Department of Conservation land which demonstrates our commitment to the environment and sustainability.
MoaTrek also operate small group garden, special event and regional tours. These tours are up to 7 days in length and focus on one specific region in New Zealand, or visit a special event like the Hawke's Bay Art Deco festival or World of WearableArt Awards show. Tours will have a specific theme like gardens or history.