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Frequently asked questions for solo travellers

We understand that you probably have many questions about your dream journey to New Zealand. Below you can find answers to frequently asked questions for solo travellers. Have a read and get in touch with our travel specialists to answer any further questions you may have.


What type of accommodation do you recommend for a solo traveller?

We recommend small-scale bed and breakfasts with friendly local hosts. They will provide you with personal care and share local tips for the best places to visit in the region. Some evenings, you can enjoy dinner together or make use of a shared kitchen where you can spend time with other travellers.

Are you visiting a city like Christchurch or Wellington? It’s ideal to stay in centrally located accommodation and a great way to meet other travellers too.

What sort of comfort levels can I choose from?

We would recommend staying in mid-range bed and breakfast, starting at 100 pounds per night to high-end luxury lodges starting from 350 pounds per night. We don’t recommend staying in hostels. We can ensure that you will always have your own private bathroom.


Is it safe to drive on my own in New Zealand?

Yes, New Zealand roads are simply beautiful and easy to drive. There isn’t a lot of traffic so you can enjoy a relaxed pace, have time to soak up the spectacular scenery and stop by the river for a picnic lunch.

Do I need a car?

To make the most out of your holiday, we recommend a self-drive holiday in New Zealand. You have complete freedom to travel wherever you want and discover hidden gems, far away from mass-tourism. It allows you to stay in small-scale accommodation and meet the locals. Wanting a break from driving? We can organise domestic flights or scenic train journeys for parts of your trip.

How much will I be driving as a solo traveller?

The driving distance between each accommodation is generally 2 to 4 hours and you will generally stay at each place for 2 to 4 nights. This enables you to completely enjoy the best of New Zealand while travelling at a relaxed pace. There are too many amazing things to see and you don’t want to be stuck in a car for hours and hours.

Stay in small scale bed and breakfasts with friendly local hosts
Stay in small scale bed and breakfasts with friendly local hosts
Travel at a relaxed pace and find the hidden gems of the West Coast Route
Travel at a relaxed pace and find the hidden gems of the West Coast Route
© TravelEssence


What is the flight time 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 flight schedule do you recommend a solo traveller?

This depends on you. We can make it as fast as possible with a short connection in Asia or add a couple of days' stopover in a metropole like Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai. We can select the best flight times for you with only one stop on your way to New Zealand.

Which airline should I choose?

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.

Can I book my own flights?

Yes, you can. We also can arrange a New Zealand holiday without flights.

Which stopover destination do you recommend?

Our two favourite and most popular stopover destinations are Hong Kong and Singapore. This is because of the convenient location of both cities. You’re already half-way to your destination and both cities offer plenty of opportunities for exploring, sightseeing, shopping and relaxing. If you have more time, you can consider stopping over in Bali, the Cook Islands or Fiji. Each a tropical haven with friendly locals, exotic cuisine and stunning beaches.

Can I book flight tickets without a return date?

As a tour operator, it’s only possible to book return flights on fixed dates. If you want to book an open date return flight, we recommend to book it directly with your preferred airline. Please note: You will not be able to enter New Zealand on a one-way ticket on a tourist visa.

How can we minimise the impact of jet lag?

We will select the best suitable flight schedule. During your stopover, we will organise a hotel stay or a day room at the airport, so you can shower, rest and relax. We will ensure that you arrive relaxed in New Zealand. This will all help you get used to the time difference.

Treat yourself and fly to New Zealand in First Class
Treat yourself and fly to New Zealand in First Class
Enjoy a relaxing poolside stopover in Fiji
Enjoy a relaxing poolside stopover in Fiji


What types of activities do you recommend?

It very much depends on your interests and fitness level. From authentic cultural experiences, wildlife encounters, meetings with the locals, kayaking, wine tours, cycling and sailing trips, sightseeing flights and more. Our focus is on nature conservation and small-scale locally owned companies. We can also arrange private tours if you wish. Check here for more suggestions.

Health & safety

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 in New Zealand, so if anything were to happen, we can act fast if necessary.

Is it safe to travel in New Zealand?

Yes, overall it’s a safe destination to visit. New Zealand has a low crime rate and generally, New Zealanders live a safe lifestyle. And Kiwis are renowned for being friendly. Of course, we still recommend using your common sense as you would if you were at home.


Is it easy to meet other people during my trip?

One of the best parts about travelling DownUnder is meeting other like-minded travellers. Along the way, join an activity (or more) with a small group of travellers. Here, you can meet an international group of people from all over the world.

Is New Zealand suitable for a Sabbatical journey?

Yes, it’s a perfect destination for a sabbatical. It’s a perfect chance to discover New Zealand at a relaxed travel pace. Get away from your busy daily routine and enjoy the relaxed Kiwi way of living.

What kind of wildlife can I expect in New Zealand?

New Zealand is well known for its native birds including the iconic Kiwi, Kea and Albatross. You can also have close encounters with marine life such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins.

A man in a kayak in the fords with towering cliffs
Kayak the mystical waters of Doubtful Sound
Spot seals and other unique wildlife
Spot seals and other unique wildlife

Travel Time

How much time do I need?

You need at least three weeks in New Zealand to make your journey worthwhile. Travelling for 5 to 6 weeks allows you to see both islands. If you have less time, you can choose one island or see a few regions of both islands.

What travel pace do you recommend?

We recommend a relaxed travel pace, instead of rushing past all the highlights and returning home exhausted. Spend 2-4 nights at each location and discover each place through the eyes of the locals.

Do you recommend travelling to New Zealand during the winter (July - August)?

Yes! Winter in New Zealand is beautiful. It is less crowded and the snow-capped mountains are stunning. Go skiing in the South Island and in the North Island, you might even find yourself walking outside in a t-shirt. We can help you select regions and activities that are best suited to the wintertime.

What is it like travelling during the Christmas period?

Christmas time is New Zealand's peak season, Kiwis are enjoying their 6-week summer school holidays during this time. You can expect it to be more crowded and expensive than in other months. It’s strongly recommended to book 9-12 months in advance if you would like to travel during this period.


Should I pre-book or travel on the go?

It depends on what type of holiday you are looking for. If you would like to stay at personal small-scale accommodation and experience the best activities, it’s best to book in advance. We can make sure everything is organised so you can simply relax.

It enables you to travel at a relaxed pace, stay at suitable accommodation within your price range and secure bookings for the must-do activities in New Zealand. If you are travelling in the low season and for 2 or more months, it could be worthwhile to book as you go.

How long in advance do I need to book?

We work with small-scale accommodation and activity suppliers, therefore, they are generally fully booked very quickly. We recommend booking your journey to New Zealand 9 to 12 months in advance. Of course, we can organise a trip 3 months before departure but the options might be limited and ticket prices may be higher than expected.

Why should I book my solo journey to New Zealand with TravelEssence?

Every holiday we create is personalised to individual wants and interests. Providing small-scale, hand-selected accommodation and personal activities, all tailored into wonderful and perfectly organised journeys. We are New Zealanders or have lived and worked there. Our local knowledge makes the difference.

Do you have presentations especially for solo travellers?

Yes, please take a look at our destination day page here.

Our travel advisor Michiel sharing his local knowledge
Our travel advisor Michiel sharing his local knowledge
Conquer the Fox Glacier all year round
Conquer the Fox Glacier all year round


How is the WIFI and internet in New Zealand?

Please be aware that some remote accommodations, Downunder have limited WiFi access or none at all. In some places, you may also need to pay for WiFi and internet access. This, of course, varies from accommodation to accommodation.

Should I go on a group tour or explore DownUnder on your own?

We can design your holiday the way you want. Whether you would like to join a small group for an activity or explore places by yourself with help from our local tips. It's your holiday. Together, we will decide how much free time you want and how many days you would like to spend with a group. We don’t offer a complete group holiday.

Is it fun to travel by yourself in New Zealand?

Yes! The locals are super friendly. New Zealand has a low crime rate and generally, New Zealanders live a safe lifestyle. There are lots of other solo travellers travelling around and your local hosts will make you feel at home on the other side of the world.


Will travelling alone be more expensive than travelling with two or more people?

Flights and activities are priced individually. Sometimes there is a small discount on accommodations when travelling alone. In general, you will need a smaller car but it will still be more expensive than travelling with two or more people

How much does a holiday to New Zealand cost?

This depends on your choice of level of comfort, flights and time of travel. Please take a look at some of our suggested journeys to get an idea of the possibilities.

Start your journey with a thrilling jet boat ride

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