Discover Travel update (23 Feb’21)

    Whilst we continue to await further updates about the much discussed Trans-Tasman bubble, there’s never been a better time to Discover something new in our backyard.

    Whether its joining a group of like-minded travellers and exploring the country on a small group escorted tour, jumping aboard a small or expedition ship to visit our wildest places or discovering the land of the long white cloud independently New Zealand has something to offer everyone. It’s great to see our fabulous tourism companies continue to adapt their tour offerings to meet Kiwi tastes and interests, helping us get off the beaten track in our own country and discover something new.

    Proving extremely popular are expedition and small ship cruises to Stewart Island, Fiordland, the Marlborough Sounds and the NZ Sub-Antarctic Islands. It’s great to see that many Fiordland cruises will operate throughout the winter also.

    We’re still seeing huge demand for the Chatham Islands and there is availability on this week long expedition cruise departing 28 March  There’s still one room left on this fabulous week long package in departing Christchurch 27 April. The Chatham’s season then resumes next summer with departures from October.

    Escorted Small Group tours have proven very popular, and there’s still pockets of availability throughout the summer. Great Barrier Island has experienced a surge in interest. How about wandering around the Forgotten World of the King Country, the Wairarapa, Northland or Coromandel? Fancy a mid-winter Xmas? Maybe now’s the time to finally experience ‘WOW’ in Wellington in October. NZ has fabulous Festivals so Kiwis can enjoy oysters in Bluff in May

    How about something truly unique – an air safari from Christchurch by DC3 in April

    Fancy something more active – cycling, tramping or kayaking? What about cycling the Otago Rail Trail, kayaking the Abel Tasman, or a guided tramp in Fiordland & Stewart Island?

    Check out the entire selection here and be surprised by what Aoteoroa has to offer.

    A reminder – you can use your Discover Travel Credit in New Zealand

    Many of our clients have travel credits that are with Air NZ or with a particular travel company like Intrepid, G Adventures, Trafalgar & insight or World Expeditions.

    While we are waiting for news of our Border opening to Australia & the Pacific, we’d be pleased to help you use these supplier credits for New Zealand Domestic travel.

    If you have a non-specific travel credit with Discover Travel, we’re now delighted to invite our clients to use these on a pro-rata basis for your Domestic NZ travel. (For example a $500 credit can be put towards $5000 worth of Domestic travel.

    Please e-mail or call us to check your options for using your credits.

    Cook Islands & Australia One-Way Travel Bubbles

    We were pleased to hear the NZ Govt’s intention to open a two-way quarantine free travel bubble with the Cook Islands, and invite you to get in touch with us now to plan your dream trip to this Pacific paradise whilst we continue to await Govt details of the exact time-frame for the opening.

    NZ/AU citizens and permanent residents, can travel from New Zealand to Australia without the requirement for quarantine on arrival in Australia. To initiate their Australia Travel Declaration, travellers will use the link provided on the Australia Travel Declaration page on the Home Affairs website.

    Passengers booking a return journey should be aware this is only a one-way arrangement and those returning to New Zealand will still need to quarantine for 14 days upon return, provide payment for quarantine and must register their managed isolation accommodation requirements.

    We are also still hopeful that NZ will have a two-way travel bubble with Australia sometime in 2021, and look forward to a Govt announcement of a specific date for this to start, even if it’s just with certain Australian States.

    Flying to or from Europe during Covid-19

    We’re helping our clients looking to travel to or back from the UK and Europe, mostly to visit friends or relatives or to return home. This seems relatively simple at first glance, as a small number of airlines are now flying regularly from Auckland to Europe, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airlines with one-way fares as low as $1450 ex Auckland.

    The only carrier flying directly out of Christchurch is Singapore Airlines every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, with connections onto London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt & Zurich.

    ‘Travel corridors’ into the UK were suspended on 18 January 2021. You now need to self-isolate on arrival for 10 days and you must have proof of a negative coronavirus test to travel to England.

    Travellers arriving into New Zealand – MIQ 

    All passengers arriving into New Zealand are required to register their Managed Isolation requirements prior to departure and be in receipt of a Managed Isolation Allocation System (MIAS) Voucher at check-in. It’s worth checking registering and checking availability before making plans, as space is very limited, although April & May 2021 MIQ dates are now open. For more information and to register, check out the Managed Isolation Allocation System website. 

    Our Escorted Tours

    We are currently working through the process of further deferring the Escorted Tours that were originally due to depart in 2020 to new dates in 2022. The confirmed ‘Dunes and Delta Discovery‘ dates are now 4-28 June 2022. We should have confirmed 2022 dates for the Spitsbergen, Ethiopia, Russia & Baltics and Turkey tours shortly. Our 2021 Silk Road tour will be moved to 2023.

    We’re here, working for you

    The Discover Travel team has nearly completed the task of chasing refunds from airlines and other overseas suppliers. As of 23 Feb ’21 this process is nearly complete and we have only 10 refunds left to chase on your behalf.

    In addition, a number of other suppliers have not yet begun to process refunds; these include Croisi river cruises, Aeroflot, South African Airlines, Kenyan Airlines & Egyptair, but our (now fewer than 15) refund requests remain in their queues for when they begin.

    We’d like to thank you for your support, patience and appreciation whilst we continue to work tirelessly on your behalf.

    We are also managing approximately 420 different travel credits on your behalf with a myriad of airlines, tour operators, insurers and hotels. We look forward to helping you redeem these credits either for Domestic travel or when our Borders re-open to the world and we can get back to exploring. Many suppliers have now extended the validity of these credits to include travel in 2022 or even 2023 as well as 2021, but as each has different re book-by & travel-by dates, please contact us if you have any queries about your credits.

    Air NZ credits now just have to be rebooked by 30 June 2022 for travel by 30 June 2023. Qantas just require tickets rebooked by 31 Dec 2021 for travel completed by 31 Dec 2022. Singapore Airlines & Emirates tickets currently held in credit have to have travel completed by the end of 2021 (or 760 days from date of issue in the case of Emirates), so we are recommending these be submitted for a refund if unlikely to be used this year.

    Our Team

    With the NZ border closed to quarantine-free travel, our Sales team’s workload is obviously much lighter than usual, so Juliet, Linda and Janine are still enjoying their sabbaticals  but don’t worry – they’ll be asked to return once our normal trading conditions resume!

    Whilst they are away, Discover Travel remains very much open for business helping Kiwis discover their “backyard”.. If you have any queries about your existing booking or wish to make a new booking, please simply e-mail or call us as normal. Ian & Peter are in the office from 9-3 Mon-Fri and will look after your enquiry and respond promptly.

    We’d like to thank all our clients for their unwavering support and kindness during this most challenging and unusual time for the Travel industry.

    Happy travels,
    Ian & Peter