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At Cox & Kings, we believe that a good holiday is not luck, but judgment. We have compiled the following advice to outline the nature of travel in Australasia and the Pacific, and to help you prepare for your holiday. Even with the most meticulous planning, however, problems can occur and, while our local representatives are always on hand to rectify such occurrences, we do request that you have a patient and broadminded approach to travelling in the region and respect the local traditions.
Cox & Kings supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Aware campaign to help you stay safe and healthy overseas. Find out more at FCO Travel Aware. The FCO website provides travel information for many countries around the world which includes advice on safety and security, entry requirements and health, as well as general information. Cox & Kings strongly recommends that you, and everyone on your booking, visit the FCO website and read the advice about the country you are planning to visit prior to booking. You should also revisit the advice regularly prior to your departure as it may change frequently. It is also possible to sign-up to receive FCO e-mail updates for your destination so you are aware of any changes to advice they issue and we recommend you do this. There are different levels of advice, and sometimes this includes advice against travelling to certain areas or countries. To check the current travel advice, visit gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and follow @FCOTravel on Twitter and Facebook.com/fcotravel.
International flights: Cox & Kings uses a number of reputable airlines to Australasia and the Pacific, including Qantas, Air New Zealand, Emirates, British Airways, Singapore Air, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Jet Star, Virgin Australia, Virgin Samoa, Air Fiji, Air Niugini, Air Tahiti Nui and Malaysian Airlines. We do not print flight timings in our brochure, however, if you book your flights with Cox & Kings, you will find full details relating to your international flights printed on your confirmation invoice. All flight times as stated on your confirmation invoice are based on local times.
All flight routings from the UK to Australasia and the Pacific involve a refuelling stop or a change of plane en route to your destination and will entail a transit time in the airport terminal while waiting for your connection. Please take note of the flight details as stated on your confirmation invoice as these will show you the amount of scheduled transit time in the stop-off city. Please note that all flight timings are subject to change by the airline. It is important to note the difference between a ‘direct’ flight and a ‘non-stop’ flight. Non-stop flights do not have any scheduled touchdowns en route, while direct flights mean that there is no change of aircraft, but that stops are possible and indeed probable, as per the airlines’ timetables. Unfortunately, airlines change their schedules regularly, and although we will advise you of any stops or plane changes at the time of booking, we cannot be held responsible for any changes after this date.
All our itineraries are based on Economy Class. However, should you wish to upgrade to a Premium Class this is normally possible subject to availability. If you would like to take this option, please contact our reservations department, who can often offer an upgrade at specially discounted prices.
Baggage allowances vary according to the destination, flight and class booked, although, in the majority of cases, the allowance for Economy is 20kg and Business is 30kg. Some charter flights to islands or remote hotels may have lower limits and it may not be possible to leave behind excess baggage. Therefore, it is advised not to bring any excess baggage on tours that feature light-aircraft flights. Please check with your travel consultant regarding specific routes.
Internal flights: Some internal flights are on smaller aircraft. Occasionally, when travelling on internal flights with local carriers or on light aircraft, it may be necessary for operators to change schedules at short notice. If this should happen, everything possible will be done to minimise the inconvenience. Such a change may cause a delay to your onward travel arrangements and require an extra night’s accommodation at your board point, alternative travel by another airline or another method of transport. Although these arrangements are at the discretion of the airline, Cox & Kings will endeavour to help in any way it can and ensure that arrangements go as smoothly as possible.
Flight delays & insurance: Unfortunately, due to the increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. Apart from delaying your arrival at your destination, these delays can cause problems with onward connections and / or hotel and holiday arrangements, which may need to be rescheduled. Although the airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your next destination at no extra cost, additional costs may be involved for you after your arrival in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward tickets. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. Therefore, it is essential that you are insured against such eventualities. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances.
Flight amendments: Most flights booked by Cox & Kings have special airline fares. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict changes of date, route and airline. Any such changes made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense. Should you require flexibility with regard to your airline tickets, please advise us prior to booking your holiday and we will discuss the options with you.
Special requests: Cox & Kings will endeavour to request any specific meals or services, on the condition that we are told at the time of booking. Specific seat requests with most major airlines can now only be made if travelling in Business or First Class. With all special requests, please remember that they are ‘requests’ and, as such, are at the discretion of the airline and cannot be guaranteed.
Airport departure taxes: International UK and foreign local departure tax is included in the cost of your holiday (unless otherwise stated) when you buy your ticket from Cox & Kings. However, in some cases additional local taxes may have to be paid locally and you will be informed of these before you travel.
The road conditions you will experience in Australasia and the Pacific are generally good. The majority of the roads are sealed and in reasonable condition. Please be aware that some tours involve driving on smaller, more uneven roads, which may be uncomfortable, dusty and quite strenuous. The distance covered in some of our tours is also considerable. If you have any problems with long journeys, please discuss this with your travel consultant.
Types of vehicles vary according to the destination visited and the numbers on a tour. Generally, the following can be used as a guideline for the size of transportation provided: 2-3 passengers, saloon car; 4-6 passengers, minivan; 6-19 passengers, small bus; 20-28 passengers, medium bus; 29-44 passengers, large bus. If we are tailoring an itinerary for you, it is always a good idea to discuss your particular requirements with your travel consultant, who will endeavour to include as much or as little road travel as you require.
A number of flights within Australasia and the Pacific arrive / depart early in the morning, and while we will endeavour to schedule your tour with a flight that arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early checkin / check-out times may be required. On some excursions, you will find it is necessary to leave your hotel early in the morning (around dawn) due to necessary long drives or in order to maximise the opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Accommodation standards can vary throughout Australasia and the Pacific, however, hotels used on Cox & Kings holidays can normally be expected to be very comfortable. In remote parts of Australasia and the Pacific, accommodation will sometimes be more basic. In some locations, many of the hotels we use are small privately-owned properties retaining much of their original ambience; however, the size, shape and design of the rooms vary enormously (although rooms may well all carry the same price) because they were not purpose-built. For our tours, we have chosen hotels primarily for their location and the facilities available. We will endeavour to supply any extra information that you may require on these hotels.
Check-in & check-out times: For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in time is normally 15:00 and check-out time is normally 11:00, but this does vary between hotels. Early check-ins and late checkouts cannot be pre-booked, but can sometimes be negotiated on site. Cox & Kings’ local representatives will ensure that you are able to access your room as early as possible.
Remote areas: Within Australasia and the Pacific, we generally use the best accommodation available. However, even some luxurious properties are a long way from other civilisation and can often only be reached down narrow and makeshift roads. Although some accommodation will be in tents, these can be more luxurious than some lodges and include private facilities. Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings, you can be sure that your accommodation in lodges, bed & breakfasts, smaller hotels and tented camps is on a par with the best available in that category. Sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases, we feel that the inconvenience of such accommodation is outweighed by the experience of these more remote areas.
Many of the sites in New Zealand are quite spread out and our tours consequently involve a reasonable amount of walking. While the walking is normally easy going, a full day’s sightseeing can be quite tiring and sometimes strenuous.
Although tourism is not a new concept in Australasia and the Pacific, many of the areas visited are still extremely traditional. Therefore, kindly respect local customs and dress codes.