New Zealand Expertise
Why Choose Us to Plan Your Trip
Let us simplify the process by recommending a "short list" of the places to visit, which activities are available while you are there, and the best accommodations for your stay.
Our Knowledge & Expertise of New Zealand
Ngaire, the owner of Keene Luxury Travel, was born and raised in New Zealand and was in the tourist industry in New Zealand before moving to the United States. Linda Litteken, Susan Walsh, Clay Keene, and Julie Rodriguez have all been to New Zealand and we have done in-depth site inspections of the properties we offer. We have extensive knowledge of New Zealand and can be sure you get the best possible experience from your vacation. You will find this web site and the recommendations more on the personal side than the normal website promoting New Zealand.
We have planned trips to New Zealand for our clients who were so thankful for a seamless and worry-free vacation that they took the time to write us a reference which you can read here.
What is the difference between a tour operator and a travel agent?
Tour operators are similar to cruise lines. Both offer a product that is marketed and sold by travel agents. Tour operators are specialists in organizing the local arrangements, transfers and tours and are used by travel agents to handle their clients needs for pre-arranged or custom itineraries. Some tour operators will work directly with the public while other tour operators work only with the travel agents.
How much extra does it cost to use your services?
Of course, our tour operator and Keene Luxury Travel make money from booking your New Zealand vacation. However, it is often a better value for you than doing all the work yourself. A tour company that is a specialist in New Zealand receives reductions on rates due to their volume of business. You will normally pay the same amount you would if you booked all this directly with the hotels, airlines, or rental car companies. Plus, you have the added advantage of transfers, accommodations and flight arrangements that are taken care of for you. The profit for the tour company and our commission is in the savings a good tour operator is able to negotiate through their volume discounts.
Want to reduce your costs, then travel with friends. Tours cost a lot less per person when 4 people or more travel together. The savings add up as the number of people traveling together increases. Consider asking friends to join you so that you can all receive savings.
Itinerary & Accommodation Decisions
There are so many wonderful places to visit in New Zealand, and it can
be confusing to decide where to go. We have identified a very short list of
the best areas of New Zealand to visit. We have
been to and have personal experience in all the areas of New Zealand we
recommend and can share more information with you to be sure your
time in New Zealand is spent seeing and doing the things that you
most enjoy whether it is adventure travel, sightseeing, or relaxation.
The accommodations that we have featured on our website range from large hotels, small lodges, bed and breakfast properties, luxury properties, or quaint farm stays. In contrast to most tour operators and travel agents, we have no specific arrangement to offer any properties exclusively. We have independently selected the properties that we have experienced and are comfortable in recommending. These are all run by different companies and we have no vested interest other so we can offer impartial and objective advice. If you have any interest in an area or property not mentioned here, then we can of course book you anywhere in New Zealand you wish to go. There are very few places in New Zealand that either our owner or a member of our staff has not been, so we can assist you with most inquiries.
Do we fly, drive ourselves, or use a car and driver?
A combination of flying and driving is preferable. There are certain areas for which it is best to arrive or depart via airplane as the driving takes a long time on winding roads. If you are comfortable with driving on the opposite side of the road from the United States, then driving a rental car can on some occasions be a very good idea. Certain areas are easy to drive and it will be very convenient to have your own car. The major cities can pose problems with heavy traffic. We can arrange either a rental car or a private car and driver for the land portions of the trip depending on which you prefer. We have put together a list of driving suggestions on this site.
How long should we stay and what should we see?
New Zealand may be a small country, but there is so much to see and such a variety of attractions that it can take longer than you would imagine to see even the highlights of New Zealand. The most visited areas in the North Island are the Bay of Islands, Rotorua and Taupo, Auckland and Wellington. On the South Island, the most popular tourist areas are Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds, Christchurch, Queenstown, Fiordland, and the West Coast. A minimum of 10 - 14 days should be allotted for a visit encompassing most of the key highlights. We will customize your itinerary depending on your available time and your preferred method of travel.
Assistance During Your Stay
You will be surprised how seamless your trip will be. You will be met every step of the way by "a meet and greet service". At the airport upon arrival, you will be met by a representative and transferred to the hotel. For all tours or transfers, you will be picked up and then returned to the hotel or taken to your next destination. In essence, you will be met and assisted by a "meet and greet" person at the airport or a property representative every step of the way. If you choose a self drive itinerary and drive from town to town, you will need to independently find the hotel that has been reserved for the night. You will be provided with maps and detailed directions. You will have a local number that you can call 24 hours for assistance.