Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about Kirra Coach Tours & New Zealand with our FAQ below. Browse through the questions, or select a category from the category overview menu.

1. Why Kirra?

Kirra Tours is known for its dedication to New Zealand with over 45 years experience. There are many reasons why we are well recognised as the premium touring company in New Zealand, we dedicate time to researching the best options for our travellers to ensure they get a great mix of cultural, historical and natural scenery on all of our tours.
Find out more about The Kirra Experience.

Qualmark Inbound Tour OperatorQualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality. The Qualmark accreditation system is designed to ensure you get the best holiday experience from reputable and trustworthy businesses. We are independently assessed each year to ensure we meet stringent requirements in terms of service standards, safety and environmental activities. Our endorsement is your assurance of our ability to deliver a first-class touring experience.

2. Choosing a tour

Kirra operate a range of different coach tours to suit every traveller. To find out which tour is for you, visit the Coach Tours page.

No, we specialise in travel to New Zealand and therefore only have products for travel in New Zealand.

3. Before you travel

When isn’t it a good time to see New Zealand? New Zealand is beautiful year round and has so much to offer in all seasons.
Summer (October – April) is the most popular time to join a coach tour, with warmer weather around the country.

The best time to go trekking depends on the hike that you would like to do. Summer is the best time to go on a multi-day walk in New Zealand as it is warm and all walks are operating. Some multi-day walks in the South Island such as the Milford Track, Routeburn Track and Hollyford Track do not operate during winter, whilst other walks such as the Abel Tasman Walk, Queen Charlotte Track and some North Island walks operate year round.

New Zealand does not have a large temperature range compared to other countries. Most of the country receives moderate rainfall and abundant sunshine.

The following are average temperatures observed in New Zealand:

Auckland, North Island
Spring (Sep – Nov): High 19C / Low 9C
Summer (Dec – Feb): High 25C / Low 14C
Autumn (Mar – May): High 21C / Low 11C
Winter (Jun – Aug): High 16C / Low 7C

Queenstown, South Island
Spring (Sep – Nov): High 16C / Low 5C
Summer (Dec – Feb): High 22C / Low 10C
Autumn (Mar – May): High 16C / Low 6C
Winter (Jun – Aug): High 10C / Low 1C

For the most up to date weather conditions in New Zealand, visit the Metservice website.

New Zealand generally follows an informal dress standard in bars and restaurants on most occasions. We would suggest smart casual clothes, which will be acceptable in most restaurants and nightclubs. If you are planning on eating at fine dining establishments you will need to dress accordingly. You should always pack clothes, which allow you to layer in the event of the weather turning cooler, even in summer. We would suggest packing a light raincoat or poncho for travel all year round. If you are traveling during the cooler winter months then take a warmer jacket layer and consider an under layer for warmth.

Visitors to New Zealand are covered by the ACC scheme, which is a Government-run scheme for personal injury, by accident. Claims may be lodged with the Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Insurance Corporation (ACC) irrespective of fault. Some medical/hospital expenses and physical disability compensation are covered, but not loss of earnings outside New Zealand. Actions for damages may not be brought, and personal travel insurance should therefore cover accidents. Accident care is subsidised. ACC does not cover any medical treatment relating to illness.

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. It must not be damaged, defaced or excessively worn.

If you belong to one of the following, you do not need to get a visa to enter New Zealand:
– New Zealand citizen
– Australian citizen
– Holder of a current New Zealand residence class visa
– Holder of a current Australian permanent residence visa
– Holder of a current Australian resident return visa
– Citizen of a visa-waiver country.

If you do not belong to one of the above, you will need to apply for a visitor’s visa from Immigration New Zealand.

Please note that if you are from a visa-waiver country, you will still need to provide the following:
– Travel tickets or evidence of onward travel arrangements
– Evidence that your can support yourself (approximately NZ$1000 per month per person)

For more information, please visit the Immigration New Zealand website.

The Ministry for Primary Industries use the latest X-ray technology to detect concealed items in your luggage.

You must not bring any of the following items into New Zealand:
– Fruit & vegetables (including dried fruit & vegetables)
– Fish & shellfish (including fresh, cooked, dried & canned fish)
– Meat products (including fresh, cooked, dried & canned meats)
– Dairy & egg products (includes milk based baby foods)
– Plants, plant products & seeds
– Flowers (fresh or dried)
– Heatable wheat bags
– Nuts, herbs & spices
– Unpopped popcorn
– Animal products
– Coral, ivory, snakeskin, whale bone, clam shells & turtle shells
– Noodles & rice
– Honey
– Straw packaging
– Items made from bamboo, cane, coconut, straw or wood
– Used animal equipment (grooming, saddles, birdcages, etc)
– Outdoor camping & sports equipment that may be contaminated with soil

Many people are being fined a minimum of NZ$ 200 for things they don’t suspect would carry a fine. Please declare anything that you are not sure about.

For more information, please check the Ministry Of Primary Industries website.

4. Getting to NZ

Most international flights fly into Auckland, New Zealand’s largest airport. From here, you can connect onto domestic flights to most New Zealand airports including Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Rotorua, Taupo & Wellington.

There are also direct international flights into Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown & Wellington.

If you are planning on visiting both islands of New Zealand, we recommend flying into Auckland and out of Christchurch, or vice versa.

There are plenty of destinations within New Zealand that have domestic airports, most of which are accessible by domestic connections from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

New Zealand’s domestic airports are located at Blenheim, Gisborne, Hokitika, Invercargill, Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Masterton, Mount Cook, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Paraparaumu, Picton, Rotorua, Stewart Island, Taupo, Tauranga, Timaru, Wanaka, Wanganui, Westport, Whakatane and Whangarei.

New Zealand’s flag carrier airline, Air New Zealand operates domestic flight services to most of these airports.

There are many airlines that fly direct into New Zealand.
To find out more or to obtain a flight price, please visit your local travel agent or click on a link below.
* Available as a codeshare service.

From Australia:
Air New Zealand
China Airlines

The following airlines operate domestic flights within New Zealand:

Air New Zealand offers the most flights within New Zealand.
The route network connects 28 destinations within New Zealand.

Jetstar offers a low cost alternative for flying within New Zealand.
Operators of flights between Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown & Wellington.

Salt Air Xpress offers a flight alternative to Northland for those not wanting to drive.
Operators of scheduled flights between Auckland North Shore and Northland.

Sounds Air offers a great alternative for those not wanting to take a ferry between islands.
The airline connects Wellington with Picton, Nelson & Blenheim.

Stewart Island Flights offers a flight option for visitors to Stewart Island.
The airline operates a number of flights daily between Stewart Island & Invercargill.

New Zealand’s Departure Tax is included in the cost of your airfare if you are departing from Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown & Wellington.

A NZ$25 fee applies for all international departures out of Rotorua, and a NZ$5 fee applies for all domestic departures out of Hamilton & Rotorua.

Please note that this is calculated based on the final airport you visit before leaving New Zealand.
For example, if you are flying from Rotorua to Sydney via Auckland, you will only need to pay the NZ$5 fee in Rotorua.

5. On your tour

Each of our coaches offer large panoramic windows for easy viewing, dual entry for easy access, onboard restroom and daily seat rotation provides everyone a chance to mix with fellow travellers. Our personalised fleet of Kirra Coaches will have you travelling in Enviro 4 & 5 star vehicles all fitted with individual seat belts.

Kirra Tours uses a range of hotels on our coach tours, with the standard varying depending on the style of tour.

Platinum Tours: 4 – 4.5 star
Classics Tours: 3.5 – 4 star
Highlights Tours: 3 – 3.5 star

Triple share rooms are only available on Classics & Highlights tours. These rooms will have either a double & a single bed, or 3 single beds.

Please note: In some locations, the third person may need to use a rollaway bed.

Yes, you can choose to share a room on any Kirra Coach Tour.

Yes, some of the hotels used on Kirra Coach Tours have a swimming pool.

Yes, some of the hotels used on Kirra Coach Tours have Wi-Fi internet access.

Yes, we are able to cater for any medical & dietary requirements on our tours.
Simply let us know on your booking form.

Travelling with a wheelchair
We are able to cater for passengers travelling with a foldable non-motorized wheelchair. However, the passenger must be able to climb a few steps and be able to get on / off the coach unassisted. There may also be a few sightseeing activities on the tour that are unable to be accessed by wheelchair, such as the glow worm caves in Te Anau.

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. Travellers 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.

Yes, transfers from the airport are still included in your tour if you book pre- / post-tour accommodation with us.

If you choose to book your own accommodation for extra nights before the tour, the airport transfers will not be included and you will need to make your way to the hotel on the first night included on your tour.

6. Whilst in NZ

Business hours in New Zealand is 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Shops are open during these hours, with most also open on weekends, as well as for late night shopping on Thursday or Friday nights.

Most major supermarkets in New Zealand are now open 24 hours, while smaller supermarkets are open shorter hours daily.

Local convenience stores are open 7.00am to 7.00pm daily, while petrol stations are often open 24 hours. These also all stock food & newspapers.

New Zealand Post has branches in all towns and cities offering postal services for nationally and internationally.

For more information or to check opening hours, please check the New Zealand Post website.

You can also obtain stamps from newsagents, supermarkets and local convenience shops.

The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).

It is divided into 100 cents.
Currently available are coins in denominations of 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 and notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

International currency can be changed at most hotels at Foreign Exchange booths, which can be found at airports, town centres and shopping centres.

All hotels and most shops accept Visa & Mastercard credit cards, with selected shops also accepting American Express & Diners Club cards. If you credit card is encoded with a PIN number, you will also be able to withdraw cash from ATM machines located throughout New Zealand.

Visa Debit & Debit Mastercard cards
If your debit card has the Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard logo on it, you can use your card in New Zealand at shops and hotels by selecting the ‘Credit’ option. You will also be able to withdraw cash from any ATM across New Zealand. Bank fees may apply so be sure to check with your bank before travelling.

Other debit cards
Other debit cards (including standard Australian EFTPOS cards) may carry the Plus or Cirrus logo on the back of the card. Selected ATMs across New Zealand accept these cards and will list their logos on the ATM. If you are unsure if your debit card can be used overseas, check with your bank.

Most banks & foreign exchange booths sell prepaid travel money cards. You can purchase these before leaving home and use it during your holiday in New Zealand. A prepaid travel money card works similar to a savings account. You simply need to load money onto the card in a currency you want, then use the card at ATMs or in stores accepting debit cards while travelling.

Most banks & foreign exchange booths sell travellers cheques. Simply purchase the dollar value worth of travellers cheques that you need and use them as you travel within New Zealand. It is important to note, however, that travellers cheques are not accepted by all businesses in New Zealand, and that some businesses will only accept cash or credit / debit / prepaid travel cards as a form of payment.

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, and the tax is non-refundable when leaving the country.

Most service providers offer an international roaming facility that will allow you to receive and make phone calls using your existing phone number while travelling in New Zealand. Higher call rates usually apply when using this facility though so we recommend checking with your service provider before activating this facility.

Alternatively, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card when you arrive in New Zealand. These are available through the following mobile service operators:
2 Degrees
Telecom New Zealand

Phone cards are available from a variety of companies such as:
Card Call
Compass Phone Cards
Yabba (Telecom New Zealand)

You can purchase these cards from most visitor centres, supermarkets, petrol stations, phone shops & convenience stores across New Zealand.

New Zealand’s phone number system has a country code, area code and phone number.

All New Zealand phone numbers have a 2 digit area code starting with 0 (zero), followed by a 7 digit phone number (7 – 9 digits for mobile phone numbers).

If you are calling from outside New Zealand, you need to remove the 0 on the area code and add +64. (Replace + with your IDD code if you are calling from a landline).

For example, to call 03 355 0492, you will need to dial +64 3 355 0492.

7. General info

New Zealand’s capital city is Wellington.

Located at the bottom of the North Island, it is home to New Zealand’s Parliament (known as the Beehive), The National Archives, National Library & Old Government Buildings (the second largest wooden building in the world).

Wellington is also home to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand with an array of displays including many interactive features making this a must see activity.

Wellington has an international airport, with direct flights from Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney operated by Air New Zealand, Qantas & Virgin Australia.

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz).

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.

All Australian electrical appliances fit New Zealand sockets without an adaptor.

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), making it one of the first places in the world to see the new day.

Daylight Saving applies in summer, with clocks put one hour forward to GMT +13.
Daylight Saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of April.

New Zealand operates on the metric system.

Conversions – metric to imperial
1m (metre) = 1.1 yards
1km (kilometre) = 0.62 miles
1ha (hectare) = 2.5 acres

Public and private health facilities have a high standard of treatment and care. Larger hotels often have a local doctor on call. Otherwise, doctors and other medical services are listed in the front of the telephone directory.

It is highly recommended that you purchase adequate Travel Insurance prior to travelling to fully cover you in the event of any unexpected illness as medical services are not free.

Due to New Zealand’s high level of ultraviolet radiation, it is highly advisable to wear sunglasses and/or a hat if spending time in the sun, and to use sunscreen (SPF30+) even if the day is overcast, or if skiing.

New Zealand’s important phone numbers are as follows:
Emergency services (police, fire & ambulance) – 111
Local operator – 010
International operator – 0170
Directory assistance – 018
International directory assistance – 0172

Most shops and businesses will close on public holidays, except for major shopping centres and malls which are open everyday (except Christmas Day & Good Friday).

The public holidays in New Zealand are:

1 January – New Years Day
2 January – Day After New Years Day
6 February – Waitangi Day
25 March – Good Friday
28 March – Easter Monday
25 April – Anzac Day
6 June – Queen’s Birthday
24 October – Labour Day
25 December – Christmas Day
26 December – Boxing Day

1 January – New Years Day
2 January – Day After New Years Day
6 February – Waitangi Day
14 April – Good Friday
17 April – Easter Monday
25 April – Anzac Day
5 June – Queen’s Birthday
23 October – Labour Day
25 December – Christmas Day
26 December – Boxing Day

New Zealand schools have 4 terms a year. The school holiday periods are as follows:

1 February – 15 April 2016
2 May – 8 July 2016
25 July – 23 September 2016
10 October – 20 December 2016

30 January – 13 April 2017
1 May – 7 July 2017
24 July – 29 September 2017
16 October – 20 December 2017

8. Terms & 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.

9. Agents & affiliates

Kirra Tours works with a variety of travel agents worldwide.

If you prefer to place a booking through your local travel agent instead of booking via our website, please ask your travel agent to contact us to place your booking.

You can obtain a travel agent login by filling in our registration form. To do so, click on the “Agents” button on the top of our site and choose the option “Register”.

You can login to our Agent Portal by clicking on the “Agents” button on the top of our site and entering your credentials.

You can save time by booking your client’s Kirra Coach Tour online. Our website shows a list of all of our coach tours, along with the availability of all tours & the latest specials.

You can sell Kirra product on your own website by signing up for our Affiliate program. Contact us for more details.