Distant Journeys

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's

1) When is the best time to go to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa?

Australia enjoys temperate weather for most of the year but the climate varies hugely from state to state due to the vast size of the country. The tropical northern states typically experience very warm weather much of the time and can be very humid in the Australian summer. The southern states experiencing cooler winters. Australia is also one of the driest countries on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimetres. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere.

For a more detailed view of Australia’s weather, including temperature and rainfall charts, please click here

New Zealand is blessed with mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and many hours of sunshine. While the Bay of Islands in the far north has subtropical weather during summer, inland alpine areas of the South Island can be relatively cold in winter. As most of the country lies close to the coast, temperatures are generally mild. During summer months, daylight can last up until 9.30pm and as New Zealand experiences relatively little air pollution compared to many other countries, this makes the UV rays in their sunlight very strong.

For a more detailed view of New Zealand’s weather, including temperature and rainfall charts, please click here

Due to its varying regional climates, South Africa is a year round destination.  South Africa’s coastal regions have the warmest winter temperatures in the country.

The east coast is on the Indian Ocean, which has a warm current. The west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with a cold current. South Africa experiences winter and summer in opposite times as Europe and North America and they correspond to the dry and wet season in most of the country, except for the Western Cape.  A high factor sunscreen, a sun hat, sunglasses and plenty of water are essential.

For a more detailed view of South Africa’s weather, including temperature and rainfall charts, please click here

2) What clothing should I take to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa?

Dress in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. Evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. Exploring Australia, New Zealand South Africa will mean some walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions you might experience and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof.

Whilst on safari, it is recommended to wear natural colours such as khaki, green or beige as bright colours can attract insects and cause diversions for the wildlife.

For the game drives (which take place in the morning and evening in open vehicles) we recommend sun lotion and hats as well as warm clothing, as it can get very cold. When travelling on Rovos Rail, evening meals are a more formal affair, in keeping with the elegant surroundings of the dining car. Men are encouraged to wear a jacket and tie, and women a cocktail / evening dress or suit. Other meals are smart casual.

3) What is the best way to pay for things in Australia and New Zealand?

The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar. The currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar. For small purchases, local currency is advantageous. Many locations accept major credit cards. Cash machines are located at many stops.

When travelling to Australia or New Zealand, a currency card is a simple way to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. Distant Journeys recommends the ‘Global Traveller’ MasterCard, provided by Caxton FX, for our guests’ currency requirements. The MasterCard is a convenient way to pay at over 35 million outlets worldwide, and is ‘chip and PIN’ secure. It is also simple to set up and use.

For more details on the Caxton FX currency card, please click here

4) What is my baggage allowance?

You’re entitled to carry one suitcase per person with the total sum of its length, width and height not exceeding 160cm (63 inches) and weight 20kg (44lbs) dependent on which airline you choose. Hand luggage must have a total sum of its length, width and height not exceeding 115cm (45 inches) and weight 5kg (11lbs).

Personal and valuable items such as make-up, cameras, medication, money / credit cards etc. should be carried in a travel bag or on your person. You must ensure that luggage meets the weight requirements as overweight or oversize items will not be carried.

If taking a holiday that includes travel on The Ghan or Indian Pacific, due to space restrictions, passengers are required to carry overnight hand luggage onto the train. The remainder of the luggage will be checked into a dedicated luggage compartment.

5) Do I need to renew my passport?

We can only advise of the requirements for British and Irish citizens holding a full British or Irish passport. For passports endorsed in any way and all other passport holders, requirements should be checked with the relevant embassy. You should ensure that you have a valid ten year passport and, as many countries require expiry dates on passports to be a considerable length of time after the return from holiday, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your return to the UK. Requirements may change and you must check the up-to-date position in good time before departure. A full British passport presently takes approximately 2 to 6 weeks to obtain. General passport information may be found on the Identity and Passport Service website: www.ips.gov.uk

6) Will I require a visa to travel with Distant Journeys?

Currently, British and Irish Citizens do not require a visa for entry into Dubai, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, New Zealand or South Africa. Visitors to Australia however, will require an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Applications for ETAs will be processed by Distant Journeys for a charge of £25 per ETA. An ETA is valid for 12 months and allows you multiple entries into Australia with a maximum duration of three months per entry. When you arrive at your departure airport, the airline check-in team can electronically confirm you have the necessary authority to board the flight to Australia. An ETA is equivalent to a visa but there is no stamp or label in your passport.

Please note: if you don’t hold a British or Irish passport you may require a full visa. Please contact the Australian consulate for details. It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa, other entry requirements and health documents before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to carry all required documentation.

If travelling to Victoria Falls you will require a visa, which may be applied for online prior to travel, although it is easy to arrange on arrival into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The approximate cost of visas for British and Irish passport holders is US$55 per person for a single entry and US$70 per person for double entry. Payment for the visa should be made on arrival at Victoria Falls, and we recommend you have the correct amount in US Dollars as sometimes change cannot be given. If you are considering taking a trip to neighbouring Botswana (for Chobe National Park), we recommend purchasing the double entry visa. British nationals do not need a visa to enter Botswana for stays of up to 90 days.   Your passport should have at least 2 blank pages when you present it at immigration to enter or leave South Africa.

Entry requirements and Visas for Botswana

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Botswana.

The Botswana government has stated that dual nationals using two different passports can only enter the country on the same passport they used to exit the previous country.

British nationals do not need a visa to enter Botswana for stays of up to 90 days. Overstaying can cause delays on departure. If you wish to extend your stay, seek an extension from the Department of Immigration.

Travel to or from South Africa from Botswana

If you are planning to enter South Africa before or after you visit Botswana, you should be aware that while South African authorities state officially that only 1 blank passport page is required for entry, some officials insist on two blank pages. Make sure you have two blank pages in your passport if you are travelling through South Africa.

Travelling with children (under 18)

British and Irish passport holders visiting South Africa on holiday for up to 90 days don’t need a visa. With effect from 1 June 2015, parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa will be asked to show the child’s full birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, proof of parental or legal authority to travel with the child

 If you’re travelling with copies of documents, make sure you get them certified. The South African Department of Home Affairs won’t accept photocopies of birth certificates or passports.

7) Do I need travel insurance?

It is a condition of travelling with Distant Journeys that you take out sufficient and appropriate travel insurance. We recommend you do this at the time of booking so that your deposit (less any applicable excess) is covered in the event of a cancellation covered by the policy.

Distant Journeys works alongside Avanti Travel Insurance to offer you comprehensive single trip and annual multi-trip Travel Insurance Schemes. Avanti Travel Insurance are specialists in travel insurance for over 50s, and those with medical conditions. They have also been awarded a five star rating by the independent agency defaqto, in recognition of their excellent product with a range of features and benefits.

To find out more about Avanti Travel Insurance click here

8) Is my holiday protected?

Yes, all the flight-inclusive holidays on our website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. Our ATOL number is 10913. When you book, you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. For more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

9) Can you help with UK airport hotels and parking?

To help you put the finishing touches to your Australia & New Zealand holiday, Holiday Extras can supply a range of UK airport hotels, UK airport lounges, UK airport parking and airport transfers.

For more information click here

10) How do I book with Distant Journeys?

Booking is easy. Call us on the freephone number at the top of this web page. We will take you through the booking process in about 10 – 20 minutes. It would be useful if you have your passport and insurance details handy at the time of booking. If you don’t have these, don’t worry, we can always take those details at a later date.

Do I need any vaccinations?

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risk vary worldwide. You should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel. Information on health is contained in the Department of Health leaflet T7 (Health Advice for Travellers) available from the Department of Health on 0870 1555 455, via its website www.dh.gov.uk, and from most Post Offices. Advice may change and you should check the most up to date position with your GP or local health / travel clinic in good time before departure. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or walking difficulties, you should inform us at the time of booking.

What is the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA)?

The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) between the Australian Government and the United Kingdom Government, covers visitors for any medical treatment required due to ill-health or injury occurred during your stay in Australia only. While this agreement means visitors may receive treatment in Australia, we’d like to emphasise that this should not replace the need for having adequate travel insurance to cover potential medical expenses. Please note there are certain requirements that you must fulfil before departing from Australia: you’ll need to discuss any charges with the hospital staff or doctor that is treating you, and you must enrol at a Medicare office in Australia at the earliest opportunity.

To enrol in Medicare you will need your passport with a valid visa and identification to prove that you’re enrolled in your country’s national health scheme. If you receive treatment before you enrol, you may be required to pay for treatment costs in advance.

Is smoking allowed on coaches and in the hotels?

Smoking is not permitted inside tourist coaches and hotels. We’ll endeavour to ensure there are frequent stops on any coach trip, however we can’t guarantee smoking facilities will be available.

How are seats chosen on the coaches?

We offer a fair system of seat rotation to allow all passengers to experience a variety of views from different parts of the touring coach. Exceptions can’t be made to this policy.

How is my luggage transported throughout the tour?

Hotel porterage for one piece of luggage per person (weighing no more than 20kg) is included in the price of your holiday.

How much should I tip in Australia and New Zealand?

In general, it’s not customary to tip in restaurants in Australia and New Zealand. If you have received great service from your Coach Captain, Tour Manager or guides, you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this, and would suggest £1-2 per person per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

How do I book excursions on Freedom Days?

During your tour, you can book onto a range of optional activities through your Coach Captain / Tour Manager during your Freedom Days. Optional tours are at an additional cost, subject to availability and seasonal operations, and may be subject to minimum/maximum numbers. There are a few excursions we would recommend booking before you travel, as they can be booked up well in advance of your visit. Full details on these and all our optional excursions may be found alongside the itineraries of each individual tour.

‘From the very first phone call we made they have delivered excellent service – friendly, reassuring, professional and nothing was too much for them to do’
Mr & Mrs Payne, West Yorkshire

Mr & Mrs Payne, Wonders of Australia

‘Great holiday, we had the freedom to do our own thing when it suited as well as a range of excursions when we needed them. The Ghan train and the Great Barrier Reef experiences were first class’ Mr & Mrs Parry, Cheshire

Mr & Mrs Parry, Wonders of Australia

99%

of our customers are
happy with our service

  • ‘From the very first phone call we made they have delivered excellent service – friendly, reassuring, professional and nothing was too much for them to do’
    Mr & Mrs Payne, West Yorkshire

    Mr & Mrs Payne, Wonders of Australia
  • ‘Great holiday, we had the freedom to do our own thing when it suited as well as a range of excursions when we needed them. The Ghan train and the Great Barrier Reef experiences were first class’ Mr & Mrs Parry, Cheshire

    Mr & Mrs Parry, Wonders of Australia
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