Discover Travel update (14 Dec’20)

    Cook Islands & Australia Travel Bubbles confirmed for 1st Quarter of 2021!

    We were delighted to hear confirmation that NZ will have a quarantine free travel bubble with the Cook Islands in place by March 2021, and invite you to get in touch with us now to plan your dream trip to this Pacific paradise whilst we await Govt details of the exact time-frame for the opening. We’re expecting bookings to be very busy and the Cooks does have a limited number of accommodation options, so we’d recommend getting in early to avoid disappointment!

    We are also delighted to hear from the Govt today that NZ will have a two-way travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021, and look forward to an announcement in the New Year of a specific date for this to start. It’s also very encouraging to hear such positive news about the first Covid-19 vaccinations, with roll-outs here as early as March 2021.

    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.

    In 2020, as Kiwis resolved to explore their ‘backyard’, we have seen a huge increase in interest in particular for travel to the Chatham Islands, so there’s very little availability this ’20-’21 summer, but there are still a few rooms left on this fabulous week long package in departing Christchurch in April and another farming & fishing themed week in May.

    Also proving extremely popular are expedition and small ship cruises to Stewart Island, Fiordland, the Sub-Antarctic Islands and Antarctica.

    It’s great to see our fabulous tourism companies adapt their tour offerings to meet local’s tastes and interests, helping us get off the beaten track in our own country and discover something new.

    Escorted Small Group tours have proven very popular, and there’s still pockets of availability throughout the summer. How about wandering around the Wairarapa or Coromandel? Maybe now’s the time to finally experience ‘WOW’ in Wellington. NZ has fabulous Festivals so Kiwis can enjoy oysters in Bluff or Napier’s Art Deco.

    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. Don’t leave it too long to book though, the whole of New Zealand will be Holidaying at Home this summer!

    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. Globus have also now released their NZ options as have Cosmos.

    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.

    Flying to Australia a.k.a the ‘one way Trans-Tasman Bubble’

    Following recent announcements made by the Australian Government & several State governments, NZ/AU citizens and permanent residents, can travel from New Zealand to most Australian states and territories (including Queensland) now without the requirement for quarantine on arrival in Australia.

    The exception is Western Australia, as interstate arrivals who have spent time in New Zealand in the previous 14 days will be required to self-quarantine for 14-days at a suitable premises and present for a COVID-19 test on Day 11 of their time in WA.

    The Australian Government has introduced the Australia Travel Declaration for certain travellers to Australia for flights from 6 November 2020. The Australia Travel Declaration is a web browser form that collects information from travellers before departure to Australia. The information collected includes their flight details, quarantine requirements (if required), health status and contact details. This information will help the Australian Government determine quarantine arrangements (if required) and also allows the relevant health departments to contact a traveller if someone they were in contact with during their flight tests positive for COVID-19. 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’re hopeful that a two-way Trans-Tasman ‘Bubble’ however won’t now be too far way, so watch this space for updates!

    Flying to Europe during Covid-19

    We’re fielding a number of queries from 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. The UK government requires travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in England if travelling from, or transiting through some countries. This list is regularly updated and a few countries are exempt – they are listed here. We’re delighted to see that the list of current exemptions or ‘travel corridors’ now includes the UAE, Qatar & Singapore so please contact us for further details of these quick and easy routes.

    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 until mid-February 2021. For more information and to register, check out the Managed Isolation Allocation System website. 

    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 14 Dec ’20 this process is 98% complete and we have just a few refunds left to chase on your behalf. Those we are still waiting for are mostly from Qantas and KLM.

    A number of other suppliers have not yet begun to process refunds; these include Croisi river cruises, Aeroflot, South African Airlines, Kenyan Airlines, Croatian Airlines & Egyptair, but our refund requests remain in their queues for when they begin.

    We’d like to thank you for your ongoing patience and good humour whilst we continue to work tirelessly on your behalf.

    We are also managing approximately 440 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.

    Our Team

    With the NZ border closed to quarantine-free travel, our Sales team’s workload is much lighter than usual, so Juliet, Linda and Janine are currently taking what we hope will just be a short sabbatical  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 will be closing our office from lunchtime on Christmas Eve and reopening on Tuesday 5th January, but both Peter and Ian will be available remotely to assist with travel emergencies over that period.

    We’d like to thank all our clients for their unwavering support and kindness during this most challenging and unusual of years, and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and hopefully somewhat more ‘normal’ 2021!

    Happy travels,
    Ian & Peter