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Frequently Asked Questions

We have helped many people over the years build ski packages and plan awesome winter adventures in New Zealand.  Below you will find a link to all our FAQs. Here you can find out how our booking process works, when is the best time to come, and all that you will need to make your Ski New Zealand experience the best it could be.
A perfect resource for those in the early planning stages of their holiday.  But, if you still have questions or would just prefer to talk to a person then please get in touch, our team are always happy to assist.

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Is breakdown cover included with my rental car?

Most of the rental cars we arrange for you include full roadside assistance (breakdown cover). So if the car develops a problem help is just a phone call away. If your problem cannot be resolved at the roadside then contact us or the rental car company and a solution for a replacement vehicle will be organised as soon as practically possible.


Check with your agent today to see if you are covered.

We use only the most reliable car rental companies and have worked with them for many years. We know their fleets are well maintained and regularly serviced so you are safe behind the wheel.

Are there additional charges for using a credit card to pay?

No. We do not charge an additional fee for paying with your credit card.

Yes. Your bank may have some penalties for paying in foreign currencies, for example paying NZ dollars with your US credit card. We recommend doing some research and make sure your bank or credit card company are not trying to charge you extra!

Many banks or credit card companies offer multiple types/conditions of credit card and normally there is an option for a credit or debit card which does not have any foreign exchange charges - this option may give you the better currency exchange that we can offer, when paying for your trip in NZ dollar and is the best to have for spending whilst you are in New Zealand.

Paying in New Zealand dollars
Our tours are priced in New Zealand dollars. If you choose to pay with NZ currency your credit card supplier may charge you a foreign exchange/currency conversion fee, much like if you went to a bank and purchased foreign currency.

Paying with other currencies
We do give you the option to pay in an alternative currency. For example: paying in US dollars using a credit issued in the US should mean there is no foreign exchange/currency conversion fee applied by your credit card company.

Currency conversion rates
Every bank or credit card company has a different foreign exchange/currency exchange rate, which changes daily and this is normally higher than online exchange information based on the share market. The only foreign exchange/currency conversion rates possible for you to use is that of your banks, credit card companies or ours supplied by our bank here in New Zealand.

To be clear, any additional fees incurred at the payment stage are due to bank fees or currency conversions, not us.
 

How do I make a payment?

We accept Visa and MasterCard payments and process them via our secure credit card processing system.

This system is administered entirely by our bank (Bank of New Zealand) and Windcave (A secure online payment system).

When completing the booking form the final stage is the payment process. From there just follow the instructions.

When your payment is made the screen will display a reference number and a receipt will be emailed to you.

We will automatically be notified of your payment and one of our travel consultants will be in touch with you to confirm your booking within 48 hours of payment. Once in contact with an agent you are welcome to make adjustments to your itinerary. 

How do I make a reservation?

Found a suggested New Zealand holiday package you like? You can simply click the "Get Quote/ Book Now" tab on the tour menu to make a reservation.

Follow the instructions and complete the details requested. The booking process requires a deposit to be made through our secure credit card system (Visa and MasterCard only).

We are always on the end of the phone so if you have any troubles booking or want to make small adjustments then please do get in touch, we would be only too happy to assist.

How much deposit do I need to pay?

At the time of booking we ask for a deposit payment of 20% of the quoted tour cost or NZ$250 per person - whichever is higher.

Occasionally, items such as domestic airfares may also need paying for at the time of the deposit. These are usually paid for immediately after you book; so we collect payment along with your deposit. Your agent will advise of any items such as this and explain the relating T&Cs upon booking.

The deposit amount will be calculated automatically and displayed on the payment page.

When do I need to pay the balance for my tour?

The balance for your tour is due 45 days prior to the start date or if you have made a reservation within 45 days it is due upon you receiving a confirmation document for your tour. For a group booking, final payment is typically due 60 days prior to your tour start date. Please confirm with your consultant.

There may be some special arrangements we have made that require prepayment and we will advise you of this at the time of booking. There are no hidden costs with our itineraries and our pricing pages update instantly as you or our specialists make any alterations.

Note: the balance due date is displayed on the costs page of your itinerary.

Is the payment system safe and secure?

Yes. The payment system we use offers the highest levels of safety and security available.

The system we use is administered entirely by Windcave -- a world leader in secure online payment technology -- and our bank, the Bank of New Zealand. When you click through to the payment system the transaction is completed within a secure page and the information entered is only seen by Windcave and our bank.

Can I pay in another currency?

Yes. You can choose to pay for your tour in another currency.

Choose your preferred currency on the payments page and our system will convert your balance into your currency using BNZ (Bank of New Zealand) exchange rates.

Paying in Your Local Currency

For example, selecting to pay us in $US will mean you will be charged that exact $US amount, if your card was issued by a US bank.

Paying in NZ Dollars

If you choose to pay in $NZ using a non-New Zealand credit card, then your credit card company or bank may charge you a currency conversion fee. This can sometimes be around 3% of the transactions. So check with your bank or credit card company first to make sure which is the best option for you.

Note: the cost in currencies other than $NZ may fluctuate with exchange rate changes. We use the NZ$ price as the base cost.

I don't have a credit card. How can I pay?

If you don't have a credit card or prefer not to use one then contact us and we can supply all the information you need to make a direct credit to our New Zealand or Australia bank account.

Payment made this way will need to be made into New Zealand dollars to arrive into our account in New Zealand dollars and any bank fees incurred may need to be also covered by you. Depending on your location and bank this can also take up to 10 days to process, so make sure you leave enough time to action this kind of payment.  We cannot begin confirming your plans until we have received the full deposit amount.

For many of your arrangements, although these will be prepaid, when you are in New Zealand they will ask for a credit card for incidentals. For example, when collecting your rental vehicle and on check-in at hotels for mini-bar, room service, and restaurant charges. Therefore it is recommended to obtain a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card before you travel to New Zealand.

Can I make part or split payments on the tour balance?

After you have made your deposit for your wonderful New Zealand experience, you are not asked to make a balance payment until 60-45 days prior to your arrival. Your balance payment date will be outlined in your tour confirmation.

Should you wish to make partial/split payment or have travel companions who wish to make additional payments, this is easy.

Through your online tour itinerary, select 'make/view payments' in the right hand side menu. At the bottom of this page is a white box showing the balance due and this can be edited. Simply edit to the amount you wish to pay and then click through to process your payment through our secure credit card system.

If you have not made your deposit payment yet but want to split the deposit between travel companions or different credit cards, simply get in contact with us. There is a small manual adjustment we need to make and then you will be able to enter the deposit amount each wishes to pay in the white box. Once your full deposit payment has been received, we will be in touch to confirm this with you and can begin to book your amazing experience in.

I need to change the date of my tour. Is this possible?

Changing the date of your booked tour is possible. However, bear in mind that changing the date may mean some of your previous arrangements are not possible, or costs may vary from those first quoted. If you do need to change your travel dates, the earlier you can let us know, the better. After carefully selecting the various accommodations and inclusions in your itinerary, the last thing we would want is for them to be unavailable when your dates change.

Your personal travel specialist will of course give you the best advice at the time to help you with your decision.
 

Do I need travel insurance for my tour?

We strongly recommend that all of our clients seek local and professional advice on their specific insurance needs at the time of making their reservations to protect their investment. Travel insurance is there to cover you for any unforeseen or unexpected events. This could be anything from a flight delay that causes you to miss the start of your tour, a weather event that prevents you from getting to your next destination, or having an accident or becoming ill and requiring medical attention. Most insurance providers can include medical coverage, cancellation or interruption cover, and many now offer coverage for COVID-19-related disruptions. Insurance should not be an afterthought, it should be considered and discussed from the initial planning stages of your itinerary to ensure you have the coverage you need.

Ask your consultant today about travel insurance to protect your investment.

Does the tour cost include insurance?

No, the cost of the tour does not include any kind of insurance unless we have quoted this separately to you. The best travel insurance is dependent on each individual trip and traveller's needs. We encourage you to speak with your consultant about insurance options; alternatively, if you have a preferred insurance provider, consider contacting them to discuss your travel insurance needs. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance as soon as your trip is booked and to make sure that you are covered for cancellation fees, interruption costs and any other kind of unforeseen circumstance.

What sort of driving license do I need to drive in New Zealand?

You can drive in New Zealand if you have a current and valid overseas license or driver permit written in English, or accompanied by an accurate translation.

UK residents - with the UK phasing out the 2 Part Paper license and moving to a plastic card license please note the following:

  • If you only need the plastic card to drive in the UK, then that's all you need in NZ too i.e. you don’t need to bring your paper license.
  • If your license stipulates that you need both, then you will indeed need to bring both.
  • If you only have paper license (i.e. no card), then the rental car companies in NZ will accept your paper license

 

What is the minimum age to drive a rental vehicle in New Zealand?

The usual minimum age to rent or drive a rental vehicle in New Zealand is 25. In some cases, we have a special arrangement with rental car companies that may allow drivers from 21 years old. They must hold a current full license (not a provisional or learner's license). You may also need an English translation for an overseas license so please confirm before you travel.
If you have any questions about your ability to drive in New Zealand then check-in with our team of travel specialists.  We will help where we can or point you in the right direction of reliable information.

Are the rental cars manual or automatic gearboxes?

Most of the vehicles in New Zealand rental car fleets have automatic gearboxes. Manual cars are available with some fleets but these tend to be the smaller cars only. If you have a specific request for a type of car then contact the team to get some advice.

What are winter driving conditions like?

Driving in winter in New Zealand is for the most part no different from any other time. Indeed, winter can be a great time to travel with less traffic and clear days. Extra care does need to be taken in some places where at times roads can be affected by snow and ice.

If there is potential for ice on a road avoid nighttime or early morning driving if possible. Icy road conditions are generally signposted, with regularly ice-affected corners permanently signposted and temporary conditions marked.

Some southern regions' roads can be affected by snow. But road conditions will be clearly signposted and, when necessary, roads will be closed. Main highways usually re-open within a few hours of a heavy snowfall after road crews clear them.

In winter, you will need to carry snow chains to travel on some roads when they are likely to be affected by snow. These include some popular and recommended routes like the Crown Range road, between Queenstown and Wanaka, and the road to Milford Sound. Snow chains are available to hire when you collect your rental car.

Driving in winter can be very enjoyable. Quiet roads and clear days make for some of the best scenery. Simply adjust your driving to suit the conditions.

COVID-19 company policy

In light of the global impacts of COVID-19, we continue to work with our partners to provide the greatest client flexibility in an ever-changing climate. Where itineraries need to change due to COVID-19 restrictions we will waive our amendment fees and work closely with third-party suppliers so that they do the same. Any payments you have made will be put into credit and held in trust until you are ready to make plans to travel again.

Are you still taking bookings despite the New Zealand borders being closed?

Yes, many of our clients are making bookings for travel in 2022 and 2023, getting their bookings in now before the anticipated rush when borders do reopen. With our flexible booking policy and final payment not required until 45 days prior to travel* you can lock in your holiday early with the peace of mind that if something needs to change, it can.

*Balance payment 45 days prior to travel is based on our standard payment terms. Certain products and/or holiday periods may have different payment terms. Speak with our sales team today about what your options are. 


What happens if I book and the borders are closed when I want to travel? 

Should the closure of the New Zealand borders prevent you from being able to enter the country and complete your itinerary as planned, all monies received will be put into credit (less any cancellation fees/unrecoverable costs from suppliers). This money will be held in a client trust account until you are ready to rebook new travel dates. 


Do you require travel insurance?

We strongly recommend that all of our clients seek local and professional advice on their specific insurance needs at the time of making their reservations to protect their investment. Travel insurance is there to cover you for any unforeseen or unexpected events. This could be anything from a flight delay that causes you to miss the start of your tour, a weather event that prevents you from getting to your next destination, or having an accident or becoming ill and requiring medical attention. Most insurance providers can include medical coverage, cancellation or interruption cover, and many now offer coverage for COVID-19-related disruptions. Insurance should not be an afterthought, it should be considered and discussed from the initial planning stages of your itinerary to ensure you have the coverage you need.

What are the ski field access roads like to drive on?

All the ski field access roads are alpine roads so you must carry snow chains and know how to fit them. Cardrona Ski Resort, Treble Cone Skifield, and Roundhill ski field are gravel roads. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski fields are sealed roads. All can be safely driven in your rental car as long as you have the appropriate snow insurance cover. 
Our team can help you book all of these items as part of your ski package.

Where can I ski and snowboard in the South Island?

There are 5 major ski fields in the South Island which accommodate skiers and snowboarders and there are also a number of small family owned and club ski fields.

The 5 main ski fields are:

  • Cardrona Ski Resort and Treble Cone, located near Wanaka;
  • The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, located near Queenstown;
  • And Mt Hutt which is located near Methven (1 hour from Christchurch).

Many of the club fields are located near Arthurs pass while Roundhill, located near Lake Tekapo, and Ohau (near Twizel) are popular small ski fields.

If you are staying longer than a few days and would like some variety, we suggest you base yourself in Queenstown or Wanaka where you can enjoy 4 ski fields plus the fantastic winter holiday activities the region has to offer.

For more information on the ski fields visit our Skiing in NZ page.

When does the ski season start and finish?

This varies for each mountain, but is generally between mid June to late September or early October.  Below are the scheduled opening and closing dates for the 2021 ski season:

  • Cardrona Ski Resort, Wanaka 12 June to 17 October 2021
  • Treble Cone, Wanaka – 26 June to 26 September 2021
  • The Remarkables, Queenstown – 26 June to 17 October 2021
  • Coronet Peak, Queenstown – 19 June to Late September 2021
  • Mt Hutt, Methven – 11 June to Mid October 2021
  • Roundhill, Lake Tekapo – 3 July to 19 September 2021
What are the ski field access roads like to drive on?

All ski field access roads are alpine roads so you must carry snow chains and know how to fit them.

Cardrona Ski Resort, Treble Cone Ski field and Roundhill ski field have gravel access roads. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski fields are sealed roads. All can be safely driven in your rental car as long as you have the appropriate insurance cover and follow instructions for when to fit chains, etc.

Read or listen to snow reports for current road conditions.

How do I get to the ski field if I don’t want to drive?

All the ski fields have regular shuttle transfers that run between the town and the mountain. There is also the option to get picked up from your accommodation and dropped off at your accommodation at the end of the day. Of course, this varies between accommodation, ski field and can be a minefield of information.  If you get in touch with our team we can take away all the frustration of planning and get you to the ski field in the most efficient way.

If you are not looking for a self-drive package we will include such arrangements in your booking, this means a one-off payment, one set of T&Cs, 24/7 support. There really is no reason to deal with anyone else.

Can I hire ski equipment when I arrive?

In Wanaka, Queenstown, and Methven there are many shops that rent the latest ski and snowboard equipment. These shops offer a relaxed atmosphere for trying on gear to ensure you get the correct fit.

You can also hire equipment directly from the ski fields but it can make your first day on the mountain a little busy. Whatever you decide we can organise everything for you in advance, all you need to do is turn up and confirm the sizing.

What clothing should I wear to ski or snowboard in?

We recommend you wear jacket and pants specific for snowboarding or skiing. These can be hired from rental stores in town or from the ski fields, which we can arrange.

Temperatures can vary with mountain weather conditions and you will be exercising in your gear. So it is a good idea to layer your clothing to allow yourself some flexibility. Wear warm layers that you can remove or add on depending on the weather, preferably thermal polypropylene or merino, under your ski jacket and pants, this will help you regulate your temperature - warm but not sweaty!

Helmets are now standard snow sports wear. If you are new to snowboarding or skiing, we highly recommend you hire a helmet which will offer protection from accidents and keep your head toasty warm. Alternatively, make sure you bring a warm beanie (hat).

Socks and gloves are two of the most important items of clothing when skiing or boarding -- crucial to your enjoyment of your day on the mountain. But they can’t be hired. Bring ski or snowboard specific long socks and waterproof gloves or mittens or purchase some when you arrive. Normal socks and gloves will not be adequate protection in cold snowy conditions.

Lastly, eye protection, in the form of sunglasses or goggles, and sunscreen for your face are very important. The sun reflecting off the snow is much stronger than normal and can damage your eyes if you are not wearing appropriate eye wear.

Can I leave my skis on the mountain overnight?

This isn't possible with your own gear but may be possible if you hire from the ski area you are skiing. If you are skiing there the following day then you may have the option to leave your hired equipment in a storage locker overnight.

We do recommend taking your boots home and making sure they are dry and warm for your next day of mountain adventure.

If this is something that interests you then please get in touch with the team and they can make the relevant calls, saving you time to enjoy.

Can I buy lunch and snacks when I am up the mountain skiing or snowboarding?

Yes. All the ski fields have cafes and snack bars where you can buy lunch, coffee, snacks and drinks.

We recommend you carry some treats in your pocket for on the ski lift, especially if you are skiing with young children.  A water bottle or thermos of hot chocolate or tea is a great idea for the journey home too.

Some mountains have great facilities for dinner too. So if your travel times allow it you could have a meal as you come off your skis then all you need to do is shower and enjoy your evening when you get home.

TOP TIP: If it's a sunny day secure a deck chair early for the post-ski beverage, it'll be your most relaxing drink yet!

Is there accommodation on the mountain?

Cardrona Ski Resort is the only Southern Lakes ski field with on-mountain accommodation.

Get in early if you would like to stay at Cardrona overnight. During school holidays when the ski season is at its busiest on-mountain accommodation sells out well in advance of the ski season.

You can bring supplies for in-house dining but Cardrona has marvellous on-mountain restaurant facilities and when the skies are clear some of New Zealand's best star gazing.

What options are there for children at the ski fields?

The major ski fields offer kids ski clubs, which are a great option for children. These include lessons, lunch and heaps of fun activities to keep them engaged while learning to ski or snowboard.

For the younger ones, who aren’t ready for the slopes, there are also licensed early childcare centres at Cardrona, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt. Opening hours can fluctuate throughout the season with demand so getting in touch with us early to make sure this is available can be crucial to planning your holiday.

When is the best time to visit the South Island for a ski or snowboarding holiday?

Seasons vary from year to year so it’s impossible to predict the best weather and snow conditions. As a general rule, you are more likely to get good conditions in the middle of the season rather than at either end.

On the odd occasion ski fields may delay their opening day.

New Zealand and Australian school holidays are the busiest times of year at the ski fields. If possible, we suggest avoiding these dates. And if you need to travel during the school holidays then the best plan is to book early to ensure you get your first choice in accommodation at the best price available.

Of course, no one can predict the weather and what will be will be but this is where travel insurance can be invaluable, covering you for days missed on the mountain.  If you are based in the Queenstown/Wanaka region for your stay we can also help you purchase a super pass.  These passes allow you to not only choose from multiple different mountains in the area they also enable you to transfer funds across to other activities if the weather does not permit skiing that day, or you just don't fancy it - great flexibility!

When are the winter and spring holidays for New Zealand and Australian Schools?

The dates below will vary by a few days from school to school however, these are:

Winter School Holidays 2021
26 June - 13 July (VIC, ACT, QLD)
28 June - 9 July (NSW)
3 July - 18 July (SA, WA, TAS)
26 June - 19 July (NT)
10 July - 25 July (New Zealand)

Spring School Holidays 2021
18 September - 5 October (VIC, ACT, QLD)
25 September - 10 October (NT, SA, WA, TAS)
20 September - 1 October (NSW)
02 October - 17 October (New Zealand)

Winter School Holidays 2022
25 June - 12 July (VIC, QLD)
25 June - 19 July (NT)
4 July - 15 July (NSW)
9 July - 24 July (SA)
2 July - 17 July (ACT, WA)
9 July - 24 July (New Zealand)

Spring School Holidays 2022
26 September - 7 October (NSW)
17 September - 3 October (QLD)
25 September - 10 October (VIC, WA)
01 October - 16 October (SA)
24 September - 9 October (ACT, NT)
01 October - 16 October (New Zealand)

Winter School Holidays 2023
24 June - 9 July (VIC, QLD)
8 July - 23 July (SA)
1 July - 16 July (ACT, WA)
1 July - 16 July (New Zealand)

Spring School Holidays 2023
16 September - 1 October (VIC, QLD)
30 September - 15 October (SA)
23 September - 8 October (ACT, WA)
23 September - 8 October (New Zealand)

 

What is included with my rental car?

Our holidays include the rental costs for your car with varying levels of insurance, breakdown cover, and GPS. These additionals vary depending on what you prefer. GST (taxes) are included. They can come with snow chains and ski or snowboard racks which means you have less sorting out to do and can easily get yourselves on the ski slopes. We can advise you on the different levels of insurance and coverage you might need. Often the ski access roads are not sealed or due to the time of year, lots of grit is being used on the roads. This can lead to a few chips in the windscreens over a season so it is best to be covered in case you are one of the unlucky ones.

Can the ski packages on your website be changed?

Winter ski holiday packages featured on this site are just a sample of the packages available. Your winter holiday itinerary possibilities are almost endless.

We can customise promoted packages, or create a custom winter holiday, to suit your needs with your choice of accommodation, activities, ski lift passes, rental equipment, lessons, etc.

Our goal is to provide you with the most seamless ski holiday. No hidden costs when you're here, easy transfers, and 24/7 support should the unlikely happen.

Just contact us with your specific requirements.

 

I have never skied or snowboarded before. What should I do and where should I go?

Beginner skiers and snowboarders are well catered for at New Zealand ski fields and there is a range of packages that will take you from beginner to skier in no time.

We can design a winter holiday that includes lessons on a ski field best suited for beginners and shuttle transfers if you prefer not to drive. We will also organise equipment and clothing rental if required and provide you with detailed information on collecting your passes and getting to and from the ski fields.

New Zealand has so much more to offer in the winter, not just great skiing so if you are a beginner we can help you organise a winter holiday inclusive of sometime up the mountain.

Do I need a disability permit when travelling in New Zealand?

If you utilise a disability permit at home then you can obtain a temporary permit to use as you travel around New Zealand. To do this just let your consultant know and they will help you complete the application. Be sure you allow plenty of time to get this sorted before arriving in NZ.

How Do I Apply For a Disability Parking Permit?

Applying for a vehicle disability permit in New Zealand is simple. All you need to do is complete a short form and along with a copy of your current permit send the information to the CCS Disability action office here in New Zealand. There is a small fee.

Even better - when you book your tour with us we can get the forms and help you arrange this. Allow at least 4 weeks though to make sure its in place before you arrive into New Zealand.

Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?

The New Zealand government has introduced an Electronic Tourist Authority (ETA) and International Visitor Conservation & Tourist Levy (IVL). This is designed to strengthen border security and help smaller communities build the infrastructure to cope with the large influx of international visitors each year. For all visitors from visa-waiver countries, the ETA is required in order to enter New Zealand. If you are not from a visa-waiver country, you will likely need a visa, and you should consult New Zealand Immigration.

It is best to carry a hard copy of your confirmation when you travel through the border.

How do I obtain the ETA?

The application for the ETA can be made online or via the NZeTA mobile app. The process should take about 10 minutes and must be undertaken prior to travel. It is advised you apply as soon as possible; be aware the process can take up to 72 hours. Make sure you have yours before you set off on your holiday. Payment for the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy can be made at the same time.

How much does it cost?

If the application is made from the NZeTA mobile app, it will cost $9; online applications will be $12.  The IVL cost is $35 and contributes directly to the tourism infrastructure and helps to protect the natural landscapes that so many come to enjoy. It is valid for up to 2 years and can be used for multiple entries into New Zealand.

Are there any exceptions?

All passengers travelling on a New Zealand passport, Australian passport or hold a valid resident visa will be exempt from purchasing the ETA visa and paying the IVL.

Take a look at the government website if you would like to learn more.

What happens if I have to cancel my booked tour?

You can cancel your tour at any time for any reason however please be aware that cancellation fees may apply.

No one books a tour thinking they're going to have to cancel it, but we understand that sometimes life has other plans for us! Our full terms and conditions can be viewed here. We strongly advise that you purchase travel insurance that will cover you for any cancellation or interruption costs.

Consult a local professional travel insurance expert for detailed information on this or ask our team for a quote and we can add it to your package tour.

What information do I need to provide?

Completing our booking form will supply us with the information we need to arrange your holiday.

The booking form asks you for the information we need such as names, address, phone number etc. We also ask for your flight details if you have those arranged already (if not you can still book and supply those later).

Requesting Special Requirements

There is a section on the form which allows you to add special requests such as dietary requirements or preferred bedding configurations or anything else you want to let us know.