At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.
Travelling doesn't have to be stressful. See below for a regularly updated list of frequently asked questions. Learn what to expect when it comes to leaving the UK, when entering Australia or New Zealand, returning home, and everything in between.
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What is a 'bespoke' holiday?
A bespoke holiday means that it has been fully custom-made and tailored to your needs and wishes. We almost exclusively book local, small-scale accommodations, run by locals because of their sustainable choices, regional products, and care for their environment; but also to support local employment.
Why only work with small-scale businesses?
- Our hosts know and love their local area, and are happy to share their local tips with you. This allows you to discover the local gems, away from the crowds
- Enjoy over 2000 hand-selected accommodations
- We have direct contact with ALL of our hosts, which allows us to offer you special rates
Does TravelEssence have a sustainability initiative?
Here at TravelEssence, we are committed to making travel more sustainable and minimising the impact of the travel industry. Since native New Zealander Andrew Morten founded the company in 2006, we have taken sustainability seriously. It’s not just a project for us, but a company philosophy.
We offset all carbon emissions from our customers' flights, road travel, and business operations, which means your holiday is CO2 neutral. And since 2008, we have been planting trees in the Te Urewera Rainforest. We have also joined forces with Cathay Pacific to carbon offset all of our clients and employees travel through projects in Asia. You can learn more about our sustainability projects here.
Before your holiday
Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand?
- As a British passport holder, you are required to obtain an NZeTA - New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority.
- This can be applied for on the New Zealand Immigration website or via the NZeTA app.
- Please allow up to 72 hours for processing time.
- You are required to have a passport that is valid for 6 months to travel outside of Europe.
Do I need a visa to travel to Australia?
- Yes, before you travel to Australia, you will need to apply for a visa called eVisitor 651.
- This is free of charge, can be done easily online and the processing time is generally around 4 days.
- We recommend that you bring a printed copy of your visa confirmation with you to Australia. You will also be required to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months, to travel to Australia.
- If you prefer, you can also apply for a visa at your local Australian Embassy. If you require any help, we can assist you. We have done this before!
Do I need travel insurance?
- Yes, it is a good idea to check your travel insurance policy thoroughly before setting off to New Zealand or Australia.
- If you have an annual policy, make sure it is up-to-date.
- If you are taking out cover for the duration of the trip, make sure it covers everything from repatriation to lost luggage.
Driving in Australia
Do we need a car?
To get the most out of your holiday in Australia, we recommend travelling by car. You can go wherever you want and also reach the less touristic places. And you can stay at small-scale accommodation, away from mass tourism and meet the locals.
How much will we need to drive in Australia?
We believe that you should drive less and see more. Therefore, we try to keep the driving distance between your accommodations 2-to-4 hours. And you will be staying 2-to-4 nights at each accommodation. This way, you can enjoy the best of what Australia has to offer. And waste less time during your holiday on the road, driving.
Driving in New Zealand
What are the rules of the road in New Zealand?
Driving laws in New Zealand are different from most other parts of the world. The speed limit in New Zealand is generally 50 km/hr in residential areas and 100 km/hr on motorways and open roads.
Do I need a car in New Zealand?
New Zealand isn’t the largest country, making it the perfect destination for a self-drive holiday. You won’t need to travel for long periods to see big changes in the landscape. Take your time and enjoy the views.
Money in New Zealand and Australia
How do payments, sales tax and cards work in Australia?
- The Australian currency is the Australian dollar - AUD.
- Most standard credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard can be used throughout the country.
- The cost of living in Australia is slightly higher than in the United Kingdom. You can expect to pay more when purchasing groceries. However, you may find eating out to be, overall, slightly cheaper than in the UK.
- The banks are usually open from 9.30 am-4 pm Monday to Thursday and until 5 pm on Friday, but it’s best to check with each branch directly. Some branches are open on Saturday mornings, generally until 1 pm.
- Petrol is generally cheaper in Australia than the UK, and so is public transport.
How do payments, sales tax and cards work in New Zealand?
- The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar - NZD.
- It is possible to pay by cash or card almost everywhere, and Mastercard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted.
- You will find many ATM’s in banks, and in shopping malls or shopping streets. Banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4:30 pm.
- The cost of living in New Zealand is slightly higher than in the United Kingdom, but this can vary depending on the region.
Safety while Down Under
Is Australia a safe country to travel?
Yes, overall it’s a safe destination to visit. Australia has a low crime rate and generally, Australians live a safe lifestyle. And Aussies are renowned for being friendly. But, we still recommend using your common sense as you would if you were at home. Most cities and towns are safe at night. However, in some places, it's better to call a cab for a short distance than walk the streets alone. If you are unsure, please ask your hosts for more information about the local area.
Is New Zealand a safe country?
New Zealand is a safe and secure country. New Zealanders are generally friendly, open-minded and helpful. This allows you the freedom to explore the country peacefully. But of course, it is important to take as much care as you would in any other country and keep yourself and your possessions safe.
Do you provide assistance in case of an emergency?
Yes, we have a 24/7 emergency number you can call in case of an emergency. Our local hosts are also there to assist you if you need. We work directly with all of our hosts, so if anything were to happen, we can act fast if necessary.
Flying Down Under
What is the flight time to Australia?
The flight time to Australia is dependent on which airline you fly with. However, the average flight time to Australia is on average between 18 and 24 hours. And of course, it is possible to stay at a stopover location for longer, too.
How long does it take to fly to New Zealand?
The average flight time to New Zealand is between 25 and 30 hours including a short stopover, but this depends on the airline.
What airlines should I fly with?
Generally, we choose to travel with Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Air New Zealand. However, we have contracts with all the major airline companies. We will ensure you fly with a suitable airline to enhance your journey.
Travel pace and length of travel
How much time do I need?
You need at least three weeks in Australia to make your journey worthwhile, and this allows you to get a good experience of the variety and diversity Australia has to offer.
To visit everything, you would probably need a year (or two). But of course, most people travelling to Australia have 3-to-6 weeks.
What travel pace do you recommend?
We recommend a relaxed travel pace, instead of rushing past all the highlights and returning home exhausted. Spend 2-to-4 nights at each location and discover each place through the eyes of the locals.
Why book with us?
Let's design your holiday together
Booking with us means that we take care of every detail, so you can focus on relaxing, rejuvenating and reconnecting with yourself and the world around you. Get in touch with one of our travel specialists below to get started now.
We would love to discuss your dream journey