Before you travel
Start by writing a packing list. What clothing to bring will depend on your personal preferences, and the activities and outings you will be going on. We generally recommend casual, lightweight, drip-dry clothing, which requires little or no ironing. Laundry facilities are available at most of the places we stay, however, take sufficient clothing to last for about a week. Most people dress casually throughout the day, however, for the occasional evening out, you might want to pack something a little more formal. A small supply of plastic bags for protecting clothing, camera or other items from dusty areas in inland Australia could be useful.
Below is a list of suggested items to consider when packing for your holiday.
• Good walking shoes & socks
• Waterproof jacket
• Warm jacket
General items to bring
• Portable umbrella
• Insect repellent
• Flynet (obtainable in Australia)
• Camera and charger
• Travel sewing kit
• Travel alarm clock
• Travel sachets of washing powder
• Plastic bags for soiled clothing
• Water bottle (with screw top lid)
• Beach towel
Depending on your nationality, you may need to obtain visas for entry to Australia and/or New Zealand. Please check the entry requirements before you travel as this advice is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change. It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that they have all the correct documentation and visas before travelling.
Please check here for New Zealand visitor visa information and to make sure you have the necessary documents. At the time of writing US and UK passport holders do not require a visa to enter New Zealand to holiday in New Zealand.
For those travelling to Australia please make sure you have the necessary entry requirement documents. If you are going to Australia; Canadians, and United States passport holders can apply for Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (which is like a visa) by going online here.
British passport holders will need to apply for an eVisitor here (which is like a visa).
The advantage of ETA and EVisitor visas is that they usually only take a day or two to be processed.
Do not forget your passport and to make sure it is valid. It is compulsory to carry a passport for presentation at the port of entry and exit.
Travel Insurance and Security
Your most important possessions such as your passport, money and camera should be safely guarded always. Loss of such items could disrupt your holiday so only bring your essential valuables along. It is imperative that you are adequately covered for Cancellation, Curtailment and Medical Insurance prior to your holiday departure, and we strongly advise insurance against loss of, or damage to, baggage and loss of personal money.
Health and Vaccinations
Please ensure you have adequate travel insurance before you leave home. If you suffer from any form of illness, be sure to have an adequate supply of medication before departing on your holiday and keep this in your hand luggage. You must advise us of any important medical conditions you may have before departure. In most cases, vaccinations are not required unless you have recently travelled through an infected area, in which case you should seek medical advice before travelling to Australia and New Zealand.
TRAVELLING WITH CPAP OR OTHER MEDICAL MACHINES
- Inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or small cruise ships.
-Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
-Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
-Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
-Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
-Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
Ensure you carry all your travel documentation in your hand luggage, which also includes camera, toiletries, reading material etc. Duty free shopping is always tempting, but check the current duty free limits that apply in the country of your destination.
The longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing, good comfortable shoes as well as walking the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol).
Try to get some sleep and upon arrival, most people find they adjust into the local time by waiting until evening before sleeping if possible – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.
The electrical current in Australia and New Zealand is 220- 240V AC 50Hz. Power plugs are flat and three-pronged so you may need to bring an adaptor/converter if you are planning to bring any electrical items.
Hold Luggage/Checked-in Luggage Allowance
This is restricted to one medium size suitcase per person not exceeding 23kg (50lbs) in weight and 76x46x25 cm (28 .5x19.5x10”) in dimension. Porterage is included whilst on tour. Laundry services are available throughout the tour. We recommend you do laundry at hotels where we are staying more than one night to allow 2 nights for the hotel to do your laundry.
Hand Luggage Allowance
Hand luggage should be one piece per person and small and light enough to fit under your coach seat or in the small overhead compartment. If luggage does not fit comfortably in the overhead luggage racks, it will be stored in the coach luggage compartment whilst in transit.
Please note that luggage with adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartments on the coach so bags like this would be stored in the coach luggage compartment not in the coach.
New Zealand and Australia are in the southern hemisphere, so it is summer here when it’s winter in Europe and North America (November to February), which makes it ideal for anyone wanting to escape the cold weather. In New Zealand, on both North and South Islands, the temperature may soar to 25°C/77 °F or higher, with lows on cooler days reaching 10°C / 50°F (especially in mountainous regions).
Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary due to the size of the continent. In Cairns we can expect it to be hot and humid with some rain and temperatures between 23-31°C/73-87°F. Sydney enjoys a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate all year round so we can expect it to be warm to hot with little rainfall and average maximum temperatures around 26°C/78°F. It can also be humid when we’re visiting, with an average humidity of 65 per cent.
In Summer, New Zealand time uses 'Daylight Saving', with clocks put forward one hour to GMT+13.
In Summer in the regions of Australia that we will be visiting Melbourne and Sydney observe ‘Daylight Saving’ and the clocks will be forward one hour to GMT +11. When we are in Cairns we will be GMT +10 as they do not observe daylight saving time.
Currency and Money
The New Zealand currency is the dollar (NZD)
The currency in Australia is the dollar (AUD)
Check here for current rates
We are often asked how much spending money you should bring, but everyone’s spending habits vary. We find it more helpful is to say that ATM machines are not in short supply and we will ensure there are opportunities to withdraw cash along the way should you need to. Most shops & hotels accept all major credit cards. It is a good idea to carry a small amount of local currency with you so that you can buy yourself a drink/snack etc when you first arrive.
Bank Opening Hours
Operating hours for banks are 09:30am - 4pm on Mondays to Fridays, and some branches are open on Saturday mornings. Banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays. Credit cards are widely accepted, including American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Always remember to guard your credit cards, even on holiday.
Our local travel service providers are paid well and fairly for their work. However, it is usual for groups to tip guides and drivers and it would be reasonable for each group member to factor in a contribution of around USD12-14 per day.
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us.