As you can see from the different types of tours this can vary between a small group tour and an escorted tour. Another factor is also how full the tour is, as there may not be the maximum number of people on any given tour. We have dealt with the maximum capacity for each tour type in our guide below.
To secure any booking, you must pay a deposit or full payment if booking 90 days or less before the start of the tour. The deposit for each booking is 20% of the total tour cost per person. The deposit or full payment, must be received by us within 24 hours of booking to ensure your place on the tour is held.
The balance of the tour price (after deduction of the applicable deposit) will be invoiced to you 70 days prior to the start of your tour (or 90 days if there is a domestic air component included in a tour). Deposits are usually non-transferable and non-refundable. We therefore recommend that you have adequate insurance to cover this. Our team can help you with this if you would like.
This varies by tour and is shown on each tour itinerary by the symbols:
B – Breakfast
L – Lunch
D – Dinner
SD – Specialty dinner
As a general rule of thumb breakfast is included daily, lunch is sometimes included. When it is not included a stop is made in a spot where there are usually several lunch options you can choose from and your tour escort is always happy to make recommendations. Some dinners are also included in your tour mixed with evenings to allow you free time to dine as you wish. And occasionally there is a specialty dinner of some kind included, this is usually where there is an entertainment, activity or festive component as part of the meal.
Almost all coach tours include airport transfers, it is clearly stated if this is included in your tour itinerary. There will be specific instructions for the airport you arrive at as to your transfer. However generally speaking you will be met by your transfer operator who will be holding a sign with either your name on it or the name of your tour company. This driver will then transport you to the hotel on the first night of your tour so that you can join the group. If you arrive earlier than the beginning of your tour, we can arrange your transfer and accommodation, just ask at the time of making your booking.
The first difference between these two tour types is the number of people on your tour. On a small group tour there are a maximum of 18-20 people on your tour. This means that there is a bit more flexibility around the places you stay and the activities included. The smaller numbers mean you can sometimes stay at a more boutique or unique accommodation property and access some more off the beaten track locations and activities. Within the small group tour category there are differences between the types of tour and accommodation and type of tour coach, the Grand Pacific Ultimate Tours offer a luxury coach touring experience.
An escorted tour will have between 32-48 people on tour and be generally in a larger sized coach, but usually at a lower price point. It will generally include all the mainstream attractions and activities that New Zealand is known for.
Onboard all Grand Pacific, AAT Kings, Inspiring Journeys and Scenic Tours there is a toilet onboard the coach. MoaTrek tours stop every 2-3 hours to allow for toilet breaks.
An approximate guideline is: one carry-on travel bag is permitted to a maximum of 6kg (13lbs). Often luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartments and cannot be accepted as hand luggage so it is best to bring a soft bag for this purpose. But it’s really important to note that this really can vary between company, and it is important to check what the specific requirements are for your selected tour.
In addition to your carry-on bag, each traveller can travel with one suitcase on tour measuring (length + width + depth) no more than 140cm (55”). Weight limits also apply to luggage and approximately the maximum suitcase weight allowed is 23kg (50lbs). If you bring more than the allocated limit of luggage, any additional arrangements made to get your luggage to the final destination will be at your own expense.
This really varies by tour operator and tour type, however as a general rule most tours will include airport transfers on arrival and departure, breakfast daily, some lunches, most dinners (although some nights are left free for your own choice at your own pace and own expense). Most of the iconic visitor attractions are included in your tour like Milford Sound, Waitomo Caves and Rotorua geothermal and cultural activities.
All travelling will be with the group on your coach, breakfast will usually be at the same time in the hotel dining room. You will usually do any included activities or meals together, but there are also opportunities to explore locations at your own pace or relax in your room.
Some dinners are not included in the tour and this is also when you will be free to dine with whom and where you choose. Lunches are sometimes included but often not and this will also be another time where you can make your own way and decide what suits you.
During these free time options there is of course your fellow travellers who you have the option of arranging to meet up with or accompany to a meal together, or you have the option of some down time to yourself.
A coach tour is such a great option when travelling by yourself, you can share authentic travel experiences with like-minded travellers from all over the world. Indeed some tours are specifically designed for solo travellers.
Most tours have two options when travelling single you can either pay a single supplement and have a guaranteed single room throughout the tour, or in some cases you can opt to pay a single price and be paired with another traveller of the same gender. (This is not always possible so please check at the time of booking)
Some tours include the Tranz Alpine rail journey and/or the interisland ferry, where these are included you will be transferred to the train or rail station and picked up at the end, ensuring peace of mind and the opportunity to just sit back, relax and enjoy an amazing and very scenic experience.
This really depends on the tour, sometimes you will have some travellers join you for a shorter portion of the tour and some leave partway through depending on the tour and how it operates. Many of the coach companies offer shorter tours that are a component of one of their larger tours and this is where sometimes you have tour companions join or leave a tour partway through.
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