Is Wildsouth Discovery a travel agent or tour provider?
We are a tour company offering exclusive, private fully guided and hosted small group tours in South Island, New Zealand. Your tour guides are New Zealand local guides with extensive knowledge of all the places you might visit, stay at, or explore.
Who is Wildsouth Discovery?
Wildsouth Discovery is a wholly privately owned NZ company based in Christchurch, operating 4 fully customised deluxe 4WD tour vehicles. We offer a professional service and have over 24 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry.
Who travels with you on your tours?
Our tour guests are travellers who…
- desire a private tour experience or a true small group tour,*
- are over 40,
- are well travelled,
- would like, and expect top service,
- wish for 4 to 5 star accommodations,*
- seek to experience the beauty, the heritage and diverse landscapes of NZ,
- are travellers seeking an informative and interactive experience,
- are from North and South America, the UK or Europe, and are for those who do not wish to be part of a large group or totally on their own,
- and who would like to be guided, escorted and hosted by friendly, knowledgeable local guides who take pleasure and pride in looking after their tour guests, and showing them the best of South Island.
*(Please note that Wildsouth Discovery offers a small group – the West Coaster Discovery Tour which includes 3 to 4 star accommodations)
Do you have pre-scheduled tours?
As well as offering bespoke tours and a range of exclusive, private tours, we also offer an 8 day/7 night small group tour that have 4 set departure dates.
What style of tours do you offer?
The tours that we offer …
- are personally guided and hosted private small group tours,
- are professionally guided, and
- are for the discerning traveller.
The tour options that we offer are…
- custom made exclusive, privately guided and hosted tours,
- genuine “small group tours” – a maximum group size of just 10 guests, and
- a range of private tours ranging from 1 day to 10 days.
How do we travel?
Our customised tour vehicles are extremely well appointed and offer superb comfort and uniqueness. They are fitted with individual high back seats, stereo p/a systems and are air-conditioned. As well, our vehicles are fitted with refrigerators and fully equipped for picnics. Reference books, binoculars, maps, and chilled water and “nibbles” for our guests are also carried on board.
How long should I allow for my visit to New Zealand?
New Zealand is much larger than many people realise. It’s slightly larger than the UK and about the same size as California. On top of this is the fact that the country is split into 3 main islands and the roads are generally narrow and windy when compared to other places in the world. To comfortably visit both North and South Islands by a road tour, you will need at least 14 days. This time can be reduced if you include some longer drives or if you decide to fly between destinations (for example, from Rotorua to Christchurch).
From our experience and as a general guide, the following are examples of what can be achieved…
- 3 to 5 day tour will allow you to do a short one way trip from one of the main centres such as (for example) Christchurch or Queenstown.
- 5 to 10 day tour will allow you can take a tour of either South or North Island with time to explore and some 2 night stops.
- 10 to 14 day trip will allow you to visit both North and South Island, starting in one and finishing in the other (for example, starting in Auckland and finishing in Queenstown).
- 14 days+ tour allows for a much more extensive trip with many 2 night stops and time to include locations the Bay of Islands or the Catlins which might not be possible on shorter trips.
Do you offer tours in North Island?
No, we do not operate in North Island. We can refer you to another tour operator that offers a top service in North Island.
What is there to see?
There is actually a lot of variety to see in New Zealand and South Island. The diversity of the landscapes is a real feature and truly amazing. Depending on the tour you will probably experience…
- incredible scenery
- rugged alpine vistas
- primeval rainforests
- rural countryside
- the garden city of Christchurch
- remote beaches and rocky headlands
- beautiful lakes
- clear rivers, creeks and streams
- country towns and villages
- wildlife sanctuaries and reserves
- art & craft stores and galleries
How is a Wildsouth Discovery tour different to a coach tour?
Wildsouth Discovery offer tours that are exclusive, personally guided, bespoke small group tours for groups of up to 10 guests. They are generally inclusive of guided walks although tours are offered without walks. The personalisation means that you get a variety of extras not possible on a coach tour. For example, you get to stop at any stage for scenic sights or photographs or where we stop for lunch and the picnic morning and afternoon teas are a delightful addition (usually made at a beautiful location).
The wilderness aspect means you get to go to places and go along roads that coaches do not and cannot go. Your guides converse with you rather than talk at you and will answer all your questions and explain in as much detail or as little as you would like.
We also know of some special secret places which other tour operators and coach tours do not.
How much walking do we do?
As a general rule, “travelling” days include a range of short walks ranging from 5 minutes up to a couple of hours. Longer walks can be made when we stay at a particular location for two nights or more.
If you are not much of a walker, then the tour can be varied accordingly. With our exclusive private tours and tailor made tours, walks and activities can be included to suit the guest’s own personal wishes.
What accommodations will we stay at?
We normally stay at the best accommodation venues available in the region. Generally, we incorporate 4 to 5 star accommodations and tend to stay away from the larger hotels (although this is sometimes not possible). The accommodation can certainly be varied to suit any particular wish that you may have.
* (please note that Wildsouth Discovery offers a small group – the West Coaster Discovery Tour which includes 3 to 4 star accommodations)
Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter New Zealand for the purpose of a holiday or vacation, or under the visa waiver program. Please check the New Zealand Immigration website here.
If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand, please contact your nearest New Zealand consulate in your home country.
Please Note – nearly all visitors to Australia require a visa to enter, even if you only transit. It is the responsibility of the travel agent or airline to advise you of this requirement but please make sure you ask about this if you know you are travelling via Australia.
What do you suggest we take with us on our trip?
As we include guided walks on our tours, it is advisable to bring along sturdy walking shoes or boots. Due to the weather possibly producing “4 seasons in one day“, we also suggest that you bring along a wind proof jacket and clothes suitable for cooler weather. On the longer tours, it is definitely advisable to bring along a rain-proof jacket as we usually include a rainforest walk.
- Warm jacket for possible cool mountain weather (preferably rain proof)
- Personal items
- Flat walking shoes
- Camera and film
- Binoculars although our vehicles carry them
- Notebook or diary
What sort of clothing should I pack for my tour?
New Zealand is an informal country and so strict dress codes are rare. Comfort and practicality is the key as New Zealand is a very relaxed destination. Open collared shirts for men are a good idea as some of the locations where we could stop for evening meals have what we call a neat-casual dress standard.
Bring clothes that travel well and can be added and removed in layers to adjust to the conditions. Cotton and wool are best and of course make sure it is New Zealand merino wool so you don’t offend our 40 million sheep.
Flat soled shoes for walking. Solid hiking boots are generally excessive however light weight hiking boots are good. A hat is also suggested as the sun can be intense here in New Zealand.
A rain / windproof proof jacket is advisable as our weather conditions change regularly, even in the height of summer. If your tour includes a trip to Fiordland National Park (Milford or Doubtful Sound) or the West Coast Glaciers, then there is a strong possibility of rain. These are amongst some of the wettest places on earth and this is also what makes them so special.
Will you pick us up and drop us off?
Yes. We pick up and drop off from all city hotels, motels, homestays and B&B’s. If you are staying in a residential accommodation, then it is also possible to pick you up from there.
What else should I pack?
New Zealand operates on a 240 volt system and most cameras, phones, laptops and electronics are dual voltage but you may want to bring a voltage adapter just in case. Most accommodations have hairdryers but If you need to use one every day, please check with us to make sure that each property provide them.
If you have specific medication that you need to bring with you, bring enough with you for the length of your visit as some medication may not be available in New Zealand. Do make sure that you bring a copy of your prescription or a letter from your prescribing doctor, for Customs purposes.
How much driving is there on your trips?
We try and restrict the actual “driving” time to no more than 30 minutes or so before a stop is made to take photographs, to take a short walk or have a picnic morning / afternoon tea stop. The idea is not to travel all day but to allow time to explore along the way. Generally, there is usually only 3 – 4 hours total driving on the “travelling” days and minimal driving when we are have a two night stay at a particular accommodation (only walking to explore the surrounding landscapes, activities or relaxing).
What meals are included on our trip?
This depends on the tour that you take. Trips that stay at the more exclusive lodges and accommodation venues generally include breakfasts and dinner. You’ll find that things like morning and afternoon teas are also included (served with delicious New Zealand cookies!) and again, depending on the trip, picnic lunches on “travelling days”. The trip itineraries show what meals and snacks are included in your tour package. The afternoon tea stop can also include NZ wine and cheese if you wish.
Do I need travel insurance for my New Zealand trip?
New Zealand has the ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) and ACC is an organisation that provides 24 hour, seven day a week injury cover for everyone in New Zealand, including visitors. If you are injured during your visit to New Zealand, you may be able to receive a range of help from ACC and this includes help to pay your treatment costs. Please check www.acc.co.nz for more information.
However, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance at the same time you book your tour and flights. In the event of having to make a claim, this will make dealing with your claim that much easier when you return home. There are many possible circumstances that could cause you to cancel or change your trip, such as illness or family reasons. Having insurance cover which has cancellation and interruption cover is also wise.
What currency can we use in New Zealand?
Only New Zealand currency is legal tender in New Zealand. Some shops and venues may also offer pricing in other currencies but the final transaction must be in New Zealand dollars. Please do check carefully the conversion rates offered.
Where can I convert my money to New Zealand currency?
The bank chains are the best places to change overseas currency to New Zealand dollars. Nearly every town has at least one bank and the rate offered on any day by banks does not vary at different locations. Banks are generally open from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday and in some larger centres banks open on Saturday mornings.
Can I use my credit cards in New Zealand?
Yes, and Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted cards. Please note that American Express and Diners cards are not widely accepted in New Zealand.
Is there internet access when we travel around New Zealand?
Most accommodations offer wifi or in room internet access. Some properties may require a payment for access or there may be a charge for high use. Many cafes also have internet access and in some towns, places such as libraries provide free internet access.
Can I claim back the GST (Goods and Services Tax) on purchases I have made in New Zealand?
Unfortunately, no. All goods and services purchased while you are here in New Zealand are liable for all local taxes (all prices in New Zealand must by law include taxes).
However, some stores will post your purchases (at your cost) which will negate the GST charge. Stores which have a duty free agreement will be able to sell you items without duty and GST applied and then these are likely to be sent to airports or directly to your home overseas to collect. Usually this is only possible on larger or higher value items.
What is New Zealand’s smoking policy?
Smoking is prohibited by law in all cafes, bars, restaurants and other public buildings. Very few accommodation venues allow smoking inside their rooms and some properties are also entirely smoke free, even in their grounds. Wildsouth Discovery is also smoke free but we do have numerous stops when travelling.
Are there toilets where we travel or must we use a tree?
Toilets can be few and far between in some of the more remote regions. However, there are usually public toilets along the way. We always promote the “environmental care” guidelines and promote the use of toilets, as against using the “green door”, no matter how rustic some of the more remote facilities may be!
When are school holidays in New Zealand?
The following dates are indicative of school holidays but may vary by a few days from school to school…
- 1 October 2018 – 14 October 2018
- 18 December 2018 – 28 January/7 February 2019
- 13 April 2019 – 28 April 2019
- 6 July 2019 – 21 July 2019
- 1 December 2019 – 28 January/7 February 2020
Please check The Ministry of Education for more information.