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nz_passportUs kiwis love to travel overseas.

Perhaps it’s due to our remoteness to the rest of the World, but whether we are travelling for a relaxing holiday, for work, to visit friends and family, or some other reason to take flight, each journey requires one important document – and today it has been announced that the NZ government and cabinet has approved a substantial increase in the New Zealand passport validity from 5 years to 10 years.

This is great news, considering the validity of a passport is 4.5 years for many countries which will not allow entry without six months remaining on a travellers passport, with some exceptions (eg. the United States).

There has been quite a movement calling for change to the validity of the New Zealand passport, with a petition started on change.org about 2 years ago, which gained over 17,500 supporters, and the petition was submitted to the government at the end of 2013.

After news in May 2014 that 10-year passports had been backed by a select committee, and announcements by John Key last month that 10-year passports would be coming in six months, it is great to finally see it come to fruition.

Do you live in the UK and ever dreamt of visiting New Zealand? …or perhaps you’re a New Zealander and want to visit friends and family? Well – here’s your chance!

For 100 lucky travellers, Air New Zealand and STA Travel are offering return flights for £75 pounds from London to Auckland as part of a special one-off deal it is running as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations.

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The 100 ‘flying Kiwi’ tickets will go on sale at the STA travel in London Victoria, as well as over the phone and on social media.

  • 50 tickets are available in store at STA Travel Victoria at 9am on 16 April
  • 40 tickets will be sold over the phone from 10am on 16 April – Call on 0333 321 3085
  • 3 tickets will be given away in a raffle at STA Travel London Victoria, drawn at 9am on 16 April – You can enter the raffle from 9am, 16 April
  • 2 tickets will be given away on STA Travel’s Facebook and Twitter pages (competition closed)
  • 5 tickets will be given away by Air New Zealand UK’s Facebook page (competition closed)

This is a great promotion and an amazing opportunity to get an incredible fare at a frankly ridiculous price. Air New Zealand have said that there are no plans to run the promotion in other countries but there will be more good things to come as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations – Keep your eyes peeled!

Even better, the promotion and fares allow for stopovers in Los Angeles in both directions (routing is only LHR-LAX-AKL both ways) – So you can even get a chance to visit the States for effectively free!

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See the STA Travel promotion page here for more info.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Each passenger must either book in person at the STA Victoria store, or by calling 0333 321 3085
  • For booking in store, you may not hold spots for others in the line or queue jump; you will be removed from the queue and become ineligible to purchase tickets if found to be queue jumping or assisting in queue jumping
  • For booking over the phone, a maximum of two tickets may be booked and both passengers must be available to provide their details to the sales consultant
  • Flights are in Economy Class and routing is only valid for LHR-LAX-AKL return; any connecting flights or feeder flights must be purchased separately
  • Free stopovers in Los Angeles are allowed in both directions
  • Outbound travel must be during 16 – 27 May 2015 and return during 26 May – 09 June 2015; a very limited number of seats for return travel are also available in October 2015
  • Some travel dates may not be available and some may sell out during the promotion
  • Flights must be booked and paid for on the day of the sale; bookings are not confirmed until payment has been accepted
  • Tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable; tickets are valid only for flights shown
  • Flights are not eligible for earning Airpoints Dollars or any other frequent flyer points or miles
  • Multiflex passes are not eligible with this promotion
  • STA’s £49 deposit scheme is not available with this promotion
  • Tickets are available only on the day of the promotion, 16 April 2015, until sold out
  • Unless specified above, standard Air New Zealand terms and conditions apply
  • Not to be used in conjunction with any other Air New Zealand offer

Good luck and happy travels everyone!

/ Jeremy

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and New Years break, hopefully with lots of good food, fun and laughter with friends and family – I know I did.

2015 will mark the second year that the site has been running, as a hobby site and a bit of a side project for me. There are a lot of exciting things to come this year and with all things going to plan especially in 2016, and although I cannot guarantee that I will be able to post more (even though I would like to) over the year, I will certainly do my best to try – It is always hard finding the time to write posts, even though I have more than enough content and things I would like to write about.

In any case, Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter and I are starting the year off with a long weekend road trip to one of our favourite destinations, the place where I was born and hometown, New Plymouth. We spend a couple of nights there before setting off to Taupo, an idyllic town by the lake where we spend a night there before heading back to Wellington.

Update (6:45am): Looks like there is going to be some sort of sale or promotion today, as flights are sporadically turning up with the ‘sale’ moniker on the Air NZ website when searching this morning – Interestingly not when searching AKL-SIN, but when searching WLG-SIN or from another regional NZ airport.
I was able to find $432 one-way fares from WLG-SIN this morning for early Feb, and sale fares from other domestic airports available in January too. At a guess, this could mean a similar sale to Singapore Airlines last month, at about $380 one way/$770 return, however as yet I haven’t been able to find any sale fares from SIN-AKL or anywhere else as yet (maybe they haven’t turned them on yet?) – In any case, looks like a sale could be imminent!

Update (7:30am): Looks like I found some return sale fares as well, but in March from Wellington. For those in the capital, the cheapest return fare with a domestic connection to Auckland appeared to be $432 (WLG-AKL-SIN) and $452 (SIN-AKL-WLG) which is $884 incl. taxes, but excludes the card fee for booking online – Not a bad price at all! Unfortunately this is for a February departure and March return, but better dates may open up when the promotion is finally announced.
Looking at the flights a bit more closely, I just noticed that the long-haul flights are operated by Singapore Airlines, and the Air NZ owned and operated flights have not gone live yet. This suggests that perhaps there may be even better deals to come, as Air NZ will have more flexibility to dictate prices with their own flights – It also explains why the sale fares live already are similar is price to the promo run by SIA last month. Hopefully we’ll see an Air NZ announcement soon!

Update (9:10am): Looks like sale fares just went live on the Air NZ website, with the same sale prices as I mentioned this morning. Sale dates are 15 Jan – 18 Feb & 1-27 Mar 2015. The sweet spot is that there does not appear to be any difference between flying AKL-SIN and WLG-SIN (at this stage), which is good for those in the capital, even though the advertised price is AKL-SIN return only. Fares available appear to be both AirNZ and SIA operated flights. Advertised sale fare is $888 (8 in Chinese culture is a lucky number), which is pretty good, especially for anyone keen to fly on SIA’s A380 Superjumbo aircraft. Happy travels all!

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From tomorrow (25 September 2014), Air New Zealand will finally be selling seats on their direct flights to Singapore operating from Auckland and Christchurch as part of their Singapore Airlines Alliance.

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Flights and travel will begin from 6 January 2015, and Air NZ will be operating daily flights from Auckland on one of their refitted Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Singapore Airlines will be operating flights from Christchurch as well as Auckland, with Christchurch flights also on their recently refitted Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. SIA will also operating an Airbus A380 from Auckland, the second airline to do so besides Emirates.

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Introduction
The journey begins/Visit to the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, Christchurch (Domestic)
Day One
Day Two – Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand


Good Morning! We woke early: At the crack of dawn, and got ready for the big trip ahead. Today was probably the single day we were both most looking forward to while visiting Queenstown – as with any big trip, it’s important to start with a good breakfast. Our stay had complimentary breakfasts included with the room, so we headed down to the hotels’ restaurant ‘Lombardi‘ for a buffet breakfast.

We were greeted at the restaurant front desk and gave the staff our room number; and were invited to take a seat and help ourselves to the freshly cooked and wide breakfast selection available.
Being so early in the morning, there was no shortage of seats – in fact, at that time there was no-one else in the restaurant!

This morning I was reading the news on Stuff and noticed an ad for ’25 airports, 25 reasons to explore NZ’.

Two-frame Grabaseat 'Tiki Trips' ad this morning
Two-frame Grabaseat ‘Tiki Trips’ ad this morning

Air New Zealand has been promoting their ‘Tiki Trips‘ initiative over the past week or so, where they are encouraging Kiwis (and other travellers too) to suggest popular things they enjoy doing around the country, to give others ideas when trying to decide where to go for that next holiday, or perhaps things to do for that up and coming holiday already booked.

I think that this is a great idea – There are plenty of things to do and see all across New Zealand, particularly in areas outside of the main city centres; in fact, I’m sure many would agree that it is some of the more remote and regional destinations that can be some of the most interesting – and because the travel tips and suggestions are from other people (as opposed to businesses looking to make a dollar), especially locals, there is a greater chance to experience something unique and more ‘off the beaten track’ than your ‘run of the mill’ trip.

This morning, grabaseat posted $25 fares across New Zealand from the main centres to regional destinations all across the country – Because there are 25 different destinations (airports) across New Zealand, they have decided to make the fares $25. Special fares are released every now and again to celebrate special occasions, but based off the ad on Stuff this morning, the small print stating ‘sales end 13 June’ suggests that they may be releasing special ‘Tiki Trips’ fares on grabaseat for the rest of the week.

Introduction
The Journey Begins / Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, Christchurch (Domestic)
Queenstown Trip: Day One
Day Two – Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand


We arrived at Queenstown International Airport to a busy terminal, and followed the signs to the bag claim. For an international airport the terminal is quite small [map], but that said, there appeared to be some construction underway to improve some areas, and it was easy to find our way around with the facilities well signposted.

While waiting for our bag to come out onto the carousel, I made a call to the rental company to confirm our pickup by the shuttle to the depot, and was given directions to the pickup point just a short walk from the terminal exit. It was a short 2-3 min drive to the About New Zealand Rental Cars depot, where we signed off the paperwork for our rental car. I had managed to book a pretty cheap deal for our 4 day stay at $42/day, $168 in total. There are varying rental options available, but this was the cheapest for the type of car we wanted.

Now usually I have some form of credit card (usually to earn Airpoints and Status Points 😉 ) but due to recent changes with Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter and I buying a small abode just recently, I’d decided to change to using a Debit Mastercard for a while – Which, as I learned, can potentially have issues when renting a car, namely in the form of a $1,500 bond (each rental car company has their own requirements). Most people don’t have that much spare cash readily available, but luckily I did anticipate this possible predicament and brought with me a credit card used for emergencies, in case of such incidentals. Strangely, we did also experience some issues using EFTPOS when trying to pay the rental fee, but for some reason the debit function on my MasterCard (same card) worked – Anyway, eventually we had the keys to the car and were ready to go.

Here’s a photo of our beautiful vehicle for the weekend:

Our stunning car for the long weekend, a Turquoise 2006 Ford Focus!
Our stunning car for the long weekend, a Turquoise 2006 Ford Focus!

Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter summed it up quite nicely when she saw it: “Well, as least we won’t have any trouble finding it..”

Introduction
The Journey Begins / Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, Christchurch (Domestic)
Queenstown Trip: Day One
Day Two – Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand


My alarm went off at 4:30am: Funnily enough, at the exact same time as Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter‘s – and we hadn’t even coordinated alarms the night before! I guess that’s pretty good proof that great minds think alike 🙂

We’d both woken up early so there was time to pack the last lot of things we wanted to bring, before driving out to the airport – I was aiming to leave by about 5:30am to have a bit of early-morning breakfast in the Koru Lounge. Even though we each had a baggage allowance, we decided to take and share just one bag, to save carting bags around – we had decided that we didn’t need that much luggage anyway for an extended weekend, seeing as we both also had our cabin bags as well.

Packing always seems to take a little bit longer than usual and I always have a bit of a worry that I’ve forgotten to bring something, so I’ll check a few times before we leave home to ensure we’ve brought everything. Regardless, as I found out, I still managed to forget my mini day bag as I discovered later on that day, but that didn’t end up being too much of a problem in the end.

Introduction
The Journey Begins / Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, Christchurch (Domestic)
Queenstown Trip: Day One
Day Two – Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand


So I’ll be waking up very early tomorrow to catch a flight to a very special destination. In all the 27 years (gosh, am I that **old** now? time travels fast) I’ve been around, I’ve never traveled there, despite it being probably the no. 1 part of New Zealand that is most known, and various photos of it and the surrounding area are everywhere: Just type in “New Zealand” into Google Image search and you’ll see what I mean – about half the search results are from there or the surrounding area.

The place I’m talking about is Queenstown.

Known by some as the ‘Adventure Capital of New Zealand’, it features gorgeous scenery, day trips to majestic fjords, more adrenaline that you can shake a fist at, and if you like extreme sports.. well, say no more. Queenstown has it all.

It’s a bit hard to explain in just words, so let me show you a picture:

Picture credit: QueenstownNZ.com
Picture credit: QueenstownNZ.com

Jetstar_logoSo this morning as I was flicking through the Dominion Post, I came across this full-page advertisement that Jetstar had taken out advertising that they are New Zealand’s most punctual domestic airline (during 2013), according to NZSX and ACARS.

Jetstar_PunctualPromo_Apr14

I’m not going to speculate much on this claim, but based off their on-time performance statistics on their website, it seems that 88% of their flights left “on time” (within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time) in 2013.
I haven’t had a chance to check out AirNZ’s performance statistics this mooring, but it would be interesting to make a comparison – I will update this post with my findings when I find this out.

To celebrate, Jetstar are offering free flights every 30 seconds on their website, between 12-1pm today to the “most punctual people”. I originally wasn’t going to post about this, as I thought they were just going to be giving away something like 120 one-way flights, but after reading the fine print, it appears that Jetstar are offering something a little more substantial than that with each winner being given a $200NZD flight voucher.

After going to the Jetstar "On-Time Challenge" Promo website, click on "Register Now" to get ready for when the promotion starts at 12pm sharp today.
After going to the Jetstar “On-Time Challenge” Promo website, click on “Register Now” to get ready for when the promotion starts at 12pm sharp today.

Register online here and be quick at midday today to win! Good luck!

Jeremy