What is the most common mistake made in planning a trip to New Zealand?
Mistaking New Zealand for a tiny country in which one may easily move around within is one of the most common mistakes made by people who DIY their trip. So many visitors will end up trying to fit in too much during their time, and end up seeing the country from inside the window of their car.
Although about half the size of California, New Zealand does not have 5 lane freeways to move people throughout the country. Roads are tight and narrow and one should not expect to get from place A to place Z anywhere near the time frame typically taken in the USA.
Leverage The Best of New Zealand team to help sort through what you want to see and do while in New Zealand and leave the bookings and logistics to us! We are the experts and will provide honest feedback and advice as to your plans. In exchange for this we hope you will honor our time and use our services to book your trip. You will not pay more to use our service, as we provide retail prices and have contracts with partners in New Zealand!
My friend visited New Zealand and told me where to go. Why do I need a travel agent?
Businesses are bought and sold in New Zealand as they are anywhere. And with an ownership/ outfitter change sometimes what was once great is no longer up to standard. Thus, perhaps the most common mistake for those who visit New Zealand for the first time is blindly repeating the tours and activities of an acquaintance who has been there in the past.
Although you may trust that person implicitly, are they an expert? Do they admit, or even understand, the opportunity cost of better activities? Is their trip the same one you are looking for? Where did they get their recommendation in the first place?
Using trusted people around us is a great way to gain information, however it also has the chance to become a large game of telephone tag. One person's recommendation is transferred down the line and ultimately taken as gospel, without understanding the facts and current situation in the country.
Our team is more than happy to take input, research and feedback in order to incorporate your wishes into the trip. Afterall, this is your time! However, we also ask that you trust us when the quality of a tour has gone south, or the price is out of alignment to the quality, or an accommodation has not been kept up to our expectations.
Why do you use Avis only for rental cars?
In New Zealand Avis is the largest car rental company, internationally recognized, with a reputation for reliable service, and a well-maintained fleet of cars. When landing at Auckland airport the Avis rental cars are conveniently located outside of the airport doors. With other car rental companies, although the per-day rate may be lower, the quality of the cars may be lower and models significantly older.The location of the rental kiosk may require an additional shuttle and while saving the 30 minutes each way may not seem significant, the convenience is just one of the small things our team thinks about as we construct the best use of your time while in New Zealand
Why do you use Air New Zealand versus other major airlines?
has been significant competition for airlines in New Zealand as both
United Airlines (a partner of Air New Zealand) and American Airlines introduced routes
from the United States. Best of New Zealand has been an Air New
Zealand partner for many years due to its quality service and
As US-based carriers continue to eliminate loyalty benefits, it may
make sense even for the most loyal flyers to book with us and Air New
Zealand, as points can be more easily used for domestic flights and
the service for an international flight is truly the level we expect
for travel. Feedback from clients also has been extremely positive,
as the attendants on Air New Zealand are Kiwis and the pride and
service extends the hospitality of the country from the moment you step onto the plane.
How long does it take to get to New Zealand?
Long haul direct flights from the mainland United States to Auckland are via:
- 1 flight a day from San Francisco (13 hours)
- 2 flights a day from Los Angeles (13 hours)
- 5 flights a week from Houston (15 hours)
These flights will leave late at night and land in Auckland early in the morning (5:30am - 7am) + 1 day. Thus, when leaving the United States on a Friday night for example, most iwll have a meal/ watch a movie and sleep for most of the flight- landing on Sunday morning at 6:30am.
What are the classes of service on Air New Zealand?
Long haul flights with Air New Zealand are split into 3 classes of service:
What are some of the biggest surprises in terms of travel for the first-time visitor to New Zealand?
The varied terrain and beauty of the
country speaks for itself, but in the United States many of us often
forget about a time when travel did not consist of the stress
associated with modern urban centers (navigating rush hour traffic,
the hassle of long TSA lines, etc.)
Many who visit New Zealand for the first time equate the
country to “going back in time.” An example of this is that
domestic flights consist of checking bags and walking straight to
the gate. TSA does not exist in New Zealand.
Driving is also done on the left side – often on two way
roads. When is the last time you crossed a river on a single lane
bridge? This sounds daunting until you realize you have not seen
another vehicle on the road for the last 20 minutes.
For golfers looking for an “iced tea” after a round...
there is none. New Zealanders, like the British, take their tea
seriously and with ceremony. They do not put ice in their tea!
Some courses in New Zealand have an honesty box. Simply put the greens fees into the slot and tee up!
Doesn't a travel agent add significant cost? With the internet can't I find less expensive flights and accommodations?
This question comes down to two main points:
1) The Best of New Zealand provides a service to clients who value our expertise and relationships in New Zealand.
In exchange for the time and thought we devote to the creation of a detailed and custom itinerary (taking into account unique needs and desires) our clients commit to using our services to secure their reservations (accommodations, rental cars, activities, tee times, airfare, etc.)
- Value: People are busy with their daily lives. Rather than delving into the details of the New Zealand holiday our clients set the "strategy" and convey their needs. Our team works through the details and provides sage advice. The result is a more
efficient use of our client's spare time and an increase in the probability of a
more enjoyable trip.
2) The Best of New Zealand buys at negotiated rates and passes significant savings, often below retail rates, to our clients.
In exchange for selling their accommodations, airline, rental car, etc. our company receives "wholesale" pricing. We then provide line-by-line retail pricing to our clients and run our business on the difference between the two numbers. In the end clients will not pay anything out of pocket above what they would normally pay by making direct reservations themselves. So it's sort of a no-brainer to use our service, right?!
Note! Sometimes clients will find a low-cost price on a property that we do not use... or wish to use airline points on an airline with which we do not have a relationship. That is a-ok with us! There are plenty of low-cost rental car companies that will also probably rent a car in New Zealand with 83k miles on the speedometer. Net, you may be able to find better prices outside of the partners we have vetted!
Our partners are chosen for different reasons. Some represent a balance of cost/value while others represent super-luxury. All however maintain good business practices and offer reliable service, convenience, comfort. We also have personally stayed and visited the properties on a regular basis to ensure they are up to The Best of New Zealand standard.
Do I need Best of New Zealand to have a good time in New Zealand?
No. If you have the time to research
and book your own trip you can have a good experience in New Zealand.
It's a wonderful country and there are many readily available
activities to experience that can be booked off an internet page. You
may also leave the country wondering if you could have had an even
better time. Keep in mind that the information you read online is not
customized for you and is available globally. Thus,
your experience may be tailored more toward a common denominator and
less authentic than if you had trusted advice.
A trip to New Zealand may not be
insignificant in cost nor time allotted to the trip. Our team's job
is to increase your chances of having a better time than if
you had planned the trip alone. We strive to deliver a trip that is
more focused on an authentic Kiwi experience without losing sight of
the balance we need to strike to customize budget, time and tastes
for each client.
How do I know if Best of New Zealand offers trusted advice and understands what they are doing?
Call or email us. The easiest way to
vet our services is to bring us your initial thoughts and a budget
for your trip. We will continue to post references on our web pages,
Facebook, etc. but we have been in business for over 25 years and
would not be a viable entity if we could not deliver.
There are a lot of travel agencies out there, what separates you?
Our team consists of a mix of people
from Kiwis to Americans... but all are well traveled and visit NZ on a regular basis (at
least annually for everyone in the office) in order to consistently
vet accommodations and maintain direct relationships and experiences.
When we craft an itinerary we are doing so from our own first-hand experience.
There are some agencies for which New
Zealand is a small piece of the portfolio, if not just a page on a
website. For our team New Zealand commands our full attention, as it
is our primary focus. We multiply our expertise because, at
any given point, someone on our staff is either in-country or
planning a familiarization/site inspection. This allows us to stay
on top of the latest properties while ensuring that those we
recommend remain up to par with the expectations of our clients.
Why do I need Best of New Zealand Golf to book a tee time in New Zealand?
You don't! With enough time and patience you can book tee times yourself. However, planning golf around a larger trip can be a
hassle and requires a lot of specific knowledge in the country. Your time is finite.
Ultimately we feel that our service provides a higher quality trip than what one may do over the internet because online research is likely going to end up sending travelers to places
targeted for tourists. The advantage our team has is that we have
been in business for over 25 years and talk all the time with
proprietors of smaller and more authentic Kiwi properties. In terms
of golf, there are lesser known, but still excellent courses to play
during your stay, that are located close to B&Bs, boutique hotels
and country homes which we use.
What are the people in New Zealand like?
Of the 4.5m people who call themselves
New Zealanders most are of British descent. The indigenous people, the
Maori, comprise about 14% of the population. A rich blend of Maori
custom and tradition exist today and can be viewed and experienced
throughout the country. New Zealander's proudly call themselves
"Kiwis," a term that bonds the multicultural society that
is emerging today.
Feedback from our clients and personal experience is that Kiwis
tend to be friendly, generous, direct and see things in a very
practical manner. Many are active in helping in terms of community
and country. Remaining humble is a common trait and arrogance is not
tolerated. It's amazing that for such a small country NZ has a
history of production and results on the world stage: dominant in
rugby, political stability, world-class wine, America's Cup sailing,
acting, and rights relating to social issues.
We strongly urge when you visit New Zealand to consider the
experience as a whole and not to see the country from the window of a
hotel that looks like the same room you could have in any other city.
It will separate your time and create more lasting memories.
What are a few facts about New Zealand that I may want to know?
There are no snakes in NZ... unlike Australia which is filled
with all sorts of stuff.
A Kiwi is a flightless bird native to New Zealand. Natives
call themselves “Kiwi's” as a result. There is also a fruit
called the Kiwifruit but this actually came from China in the early
Made up of two large and hundreds of smaller islands most of
the country is near the sea. In fact no matter where you go you are
always within about 80 miles of the water.
The first man to climb Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, was from
Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world.
New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to
vote (In 1893) and women have held many high office seats, including
One third of the country is protected national park
The population of New Zealand is about 4.5 million people and
75% of them live on the North Island.
Rugby is the national sport. The All Blacks are the center of
much conversation and the economy takes a dip when the team loses.
What are the passport and visa requirements to visit New Zealand?
All visitors to New Zealand require a valid passport. A valid US passport should be valid for at least three months after your
departure from New Zealand. U.S. Passport holders do not require
visas to visit New Zealand for a stay of less than 3 months. This is a good link for visa information if you have additional questions.
Some clients will ask our team to include rounds of golf in Australia in addition to visiting New Zealand. We process Australian visas for our clients as part of the service we provide.
When is the best time of the year to visit New Zealand?
New Zealand is an ideal vacation destination year round. Peak
Season runs from October through April and it is advisable to book
well in advance for this time to ensure availability. New
Zealand’s seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere, the
warmest months being December through February, and the coldest June
With increased amount of flights into New Zealand from not only the US but Asia as well, proper planning is recommended to ensure the best accommodations and smoothest transport through the country. Knowing when and where to be in New Zealand is an important part of our team's expertise and separates a merely good time in New Zealand from a great vacation.
When is the best time of the year to play golf in New Zealand?
Many people take advantage of the long
summer (Jan/Feb) twilights, especially on the South Island, which
enables golfers to enjoy a full round even after dinner. When looking
to visit the country in the winter time (July/ August) the better
locations are on the top of the North Island. Average temperature
during the day in the Northland is roughly 60 degrees F.
When does golf season begin and end in New Zealand?
Golf is played year round in many places in New Zealand however there are certain times of the year where players risk a higher chance of wind and rain.
September/ Early October
The end of September/ early October is when many golf
courses in New Zealand will aerate their greens, and although the course will usually
cite a full month too allow for recovery there are factors like rain which will
alter recovery time. Waiting until mid-October and you play it safe in terms of the shape of courses across
the country and gaining a higher chance of more stable weather. The first LPGA tour, held the last weekend
of September 2017, experienced high winds and rain on the final day. Future
tournaments will likely be held later into the season as a result.
From mid- October until mid- November
October is when the weather is moving into the springtime. Not
a week after the LPGA tournament cited above (being delayed due to weather) did Auckland
experience sunshine and days in the 60s. Expect highs at this time of year in the upper 50s/ low 60s…
with it being cooler the farther south one travels. This is springtime, so
there is a higher chance of rain and wind in the 12-17 mph with gusts into the 20s. As the month moves
forward the country will have a few more days into the 70s. Expect to wear golf
pants and a light sweater.
Starting a round of golf at 11am/ Noon (from mid-October and
later) means that your first round will end around 4/4:30pm and you will have enjoyed
the warmest part of the day. If it’s a particularly nice day on the South
Island you can then take advantage of the late sun sets and play a second
round, albeit more on the cool side as it approaches 8pm (early October) to
9:15pm (end of November).
The weather will be in the 60s consistently moving into
December, with highs in the low 70s on days throughout the month. Refreshingly cool
to mild weather should be expected along with a little more wind in the
afternoons. Toward the last half of the month and leading up to the holiday
season people will begin to populate the
larger cities- making accommodations more expensive and bringing traffic issues
that one doesn’t normally associate with New Zealand. Our recommendation is
that if you plan to play golf in December, plan early and move to where there
is less tourist pressure at the right times.
With normally stable weather, January and February are the
most popular times to be in New Zealand for the North American tourist. Many choose
this time to escape the cold so working with our team to plan accommodations and routes at the height
of the summer is very much encouraged. The days are long and warmest of the year, with the
sun being brutal at times- so wear sunscreen!
March/ April/ May
Toward the later part of the summer and into the autumn,
days will begin to move into the high 50s as fall approaches. However, for many
this is often an ideal time to be in New Zealand as international crowds will
have started to dissipate and the weather is often clear and crisp.
June/ July/ August
In the winter golf in New Zealand is going to be restricted to most likely a single round per day. In the "Winterless North" one will have a higher chance of getting a mild day simply due to the proximity to the equator. This said, we have sent clients to New Zealand at all times of the year with great results. The trick is understanding the right accommodations and creating a smooth travel plan that uses time most efficiently.
Can I use my credit cards/ATM cards in New Zealand?
All major credit cards are accepted in New Zealand. You can use
debit cards and credit cards encoded with a PIN number to withdraw
cash from ATMs situated at banks and shopping centers, and to pay for
petrol (gasoline), etc. Travellers checks are accepted at hotels,
banks, and some stores.
Is it safe to drink the water in New Zealand?
Tap water is fresh and safe to drink in all New Zealand cities and
towns. Bottled water is available throughout the country as well.
What is the voltage of electricity in New Zealand and do I need to take a converter?
Electricity in New Zealand is 230/240 volts, although many hotels
and motels provide 110-volt AC sockets for electric razors only. For
all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the
item has a multi-voltage option. Power outlets only accept flat 3-pin
or 2-pin plugs, depending whether an earth connection is fitted.
What does it cost to travel to New Zealand?
This is a difficult question to answer – kind of like asking how
much does it cost to buy a car. It all depends on what your budget
and expectations are, your interests and activities, the type of
accommodation you are looking for, the time of year you visit, the
duration of your stay, to name a few. Currency exchange rates
fluctuate as well, and will affect the cost of goods and services.
What is B&B (Bed and Breakfast)? What can I expect?
New Zealand offers a wide-ranging selection of Bed & Breakfast
and self-contained accommodations, which vary from luxurious to
basic. The Best of New Zealand works with select establishments to
guarantee personal service and your comfort. In general expect a clean, comfortable sleeping arrangement in a B&B which would have anywhere from 3-6 rooms. Usually a cooked English breakfast will be included as well as pre-dinner canapés (appetizers and a glass of wine or two). Think anywhere from USD $300- $600/ night for accommodation cost.
What is your definition of Luxury accommodations?
Luxurious accommodations usually start price-wise at USD $750+ per night. You can expect a high level of build material, quiet room that will open to a view and personal service from the owner/operator of the establishment. Many luxury accommodations will offer dining as part of the cost. This is something to take into account as you consider whether to experience nightlife/ local restaurants and location.
What is your definition of Super Luxury accommodations?
Super luxurious accommodations will cater to the highest levels of individual requirements and provide service on par with that which is expected from similar accommodations around the world. These locations start at over USD $2000 per night per person and can range into multiples of tens of thousands per night.
What is it like to drive in New Zealand?
To an American, New Zealanders drive on the “wrong” [left] side of the road. This takes a little getting used to upon landing so if driving, be sure to take time to situate yourself with the flow of traffic prior to exiting the airport.
Exploring the back roads of New Zealand appeals to many and is often
compared to stepping back to a time without massive 7 lane
highways. New Zealand is diverse in its terrain, so that means that roads are often hilly,
winding, and narrow single-lane in each direction. Drivers should
allow plenty of time to get from point A to point B.
For those who are not thrilled with the idea of driving,
there are options for comfortable transportation to whisk you and
your group between locations. It all depends on budget, appeal of the
clients and desire for convenience.
How expensive is New Zealand?
The exchange rate has a lot to do with the cost of goods and
services. The Best of New Zealand has preferred rates with many
hotels and lodges, car rental companies, fishing outfitters, golf
clubs, and vendors of adventure activities, etc. and we pride
ourselves in securing the best value for our clients.
Golf balls are very expensive in New Zealand as compared with the United States. It is recommended to bring your own.
Are there ‘must visit’ locations in New Zealand?
For fishing, skiing, golfing, adventure, and food & wine
enthusiasts there are ‘must visit’ locations on both North and
South Island – something for everybody. New Zealand is jam-packed
with things to do and Best of New Zealand can help you plan your trip
so everything works seamlessly.
I have been to New Zealand in the past, why go back?
With so much to do in New Zealand,
there is always something you haven’t yet seen, or experienced,
from exploring the magnificent landscapes and coastlines, to
adventure activities like kayaking, sailing, rafting, and jet
boating. Movie buffs, food and wine enthusiasts, art lovers, and
nature and wildlife lovers will find it all in New Zealand.
For those who may have visited the country and seen some of the
more populated areas we would encourage you to return and explore
some of the less-traveled destinations in the country. Areas which
remain relatively untouched still provide the opportunity to feel
like you are stepping back in time.
What are cool things (outside of golf) to do in New Zealand?
New Zealand is jam-packed with cool things to do. For fishing,
skiing, adventure, and food & wine enthusiasts, art lovers,
nature and wildlife enthusiasts, or for those just wanting some R&R,
there are multiple locations on both North and South Island –
something for everybody, and Best of New Zealand can help you plan
your trip so everything works seamlessly.
Is Tipping customary in New Zealand?
Although New Zealand has not been a
country of tipping North American tourists have helped change this
(most restaurants now have a line for gratuities on the credit card
charge slip) and many places not only appreciate but most now expect
tips. If you are pleased with the level of service and attention
provided, feel free to tip, but do not feel obliged to tip —it
should be for outstanding service.
I belong to a local golf club in the United States. Can I use my membership?
Golf clubs throughout the country
welcome visitors. If you are a member of a club in the States, you
may be afforded reciprocal guest privileges at private clubs. Bringing a letter
of introduction from your home club director can be helpful.
What is an Honesty Box?
In New Zealand an “honesty box” is
used when the clubhouse is closed and you wish to play. Simply slip
your greens fees into the slot in a box provided and away you go. If
renting clubs and you are playing early it is not unheard of to find
the clubs waiting for you in the morning – having been placed there
the night before by the club supervisor. It's New Zealand!
Can I rent clubs in New Zealand?
Most courses will have sets of clubs and trundlers (push carts) you may rent. Golf carts are more
prevalent today than a few years ago, as New Zealanders have played
the game for exercise traditionally. More players are bringing their own clubs into New Zealand to play. Remember to bring good quality balls with you from the United States, as the price of top quality balls are very expensive in NZ.