An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983.
Small group tours to New Zealand for mature travellers.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Bus services are widely available, with long-distance buses and shuttle buses providing services across the country. The train services are somewhat more limited in terms of transportation coverage, though remain a comfortable and very scenic way of getting around New Zealand.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, Environment, & Weather
New Zealand covers an area of 267,710 square km, and comprises around 600 islands, the two largest of which are the North Island and South Island. New Zealand’s North Island is split by mountain ranges that run through the middle of the island, with rolling hills and farmlands on either side, while the South Island is dominated by the Southern Alps. New Zealand has over 15,000 km of coastline, which is indented by numerous harbours and fjords.
New Zealand has a largely temperate climate, with mild summers and cool to cold winters. Depending on when you intend to travel, check the weather reports and dress accordingly.
World heritage sites
There are 3 properties in New Zealand listed on the World Heritage List. You can view the listed properties here: (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/nz). New Zealand’s listed properties include:
New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands, containing an abundance and diversity of bird species, including 40 seabird species
Te Wahipounamu, featuring fiords, lakes and waterfalls, and home to a rich array of native flora and fauna
Tongariro National Park, the mountains of which are of cultural and religious significance to the Maori people.
Festivals & Events
Numerous festivals and events dot the calendar in New Zealand. One of the most important events of the year in New Zealand is Matariki, Maori New Year. Held in mid-June, Matariki is a celebration of Maori traditions and culture, with art exhibitions, musical events, workshops and haka performances all staged across the country. For aviation enthusiasts, Warbirds Over Wanaka is not to be missed – held over four days in April, Warbirds Over Wanaka features a wide range of aircraft and thrilling aerial display. New Zealand’s small towns play host to many quirky events such as the Art Deco Weeekend in Napier, wherepon the entire town is decorated and themed in the Art Deco style.
The Penguin History of New Zealand, by Michael King
Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds, by Alison Jones and Kuni Jenkins
A Sort of Conscience, by Philip Temple
Pounamu, pounamu, by Witi Ihimaera
Eating & Drinking
New Zealand cuisine features Maori and British influences, and sources the rich produce of the country’s fields and waters. Seafood is abundant in New Zealand and widely popular, with lobsters, mussels, and whitebait fritters all staples of New Zealand cuisine. The traditions of Maori cooking live on through dishes such as hāngī, which involves meat and vegetables slow-cooked in an underground oven. British settlement in New Zealand left their mark on New Zealand cuisine in the form of homely dishes such as roast lamb and fish and chips. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, you can always try tucking into a slice of pavlova – although Australians will swear it’s an Australian dish, New Zealanders proudly claim ownership of this dessert, which is a meringue-based cake topped with fruit and whipped cream.
New Zealand has a thriving wine industry, with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir amongst the most prominent wine varieties produced in New Zealand. The country also has a healthy beer-brewing industry, with breweries to be found across the country
Health & Safety
Generally speaking, New Zealand is safe to travel in, though always exercise common sense while travelling.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. The electricity supply in New Zealand runs at 230V and 50Hz. New Zealand uses the Type I electric plug, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.
Whanganui National Park
New Zealand has a single time zone, New Zealand Standard Time (UTC+12). Daylight savings in New Zealand commence on the last Sunday of September, and conclude on the first Sunday of April.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is not common in New Zealand, with service charges often included in bills. Tour guides and hotel staff are a general exception however, with a small tip of a few dollars not going astray in showing appreciation for their services.
Wifi is widely available in New Zealand, and should be freely accessible in most hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in New Zealand. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for New Zealand
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of NZ dollars in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.
- Carry a card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of lekë in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Before departing on your trip, contact your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.