Couple book a $1,600 mystery weekend with Air NZ, wind up somewhere on par with Hamilton

Breakfast 29/08/2017

All images sourced from Facebook, article sourced from Newshub

When a couple paid $1600 for a mystery weekend away, they expected to be met with spectacular scenery somewhere around the country.

Instead, the pair wound up in Invercargill.

Stu Koch, of Hamilton, booked an Air New Zealand Mystery break in June, paying around $1600 for him and his partner Bex Rowling to fly to what was touted as a "great New Zealand destination", and spend three nights in "deluxe" four- to five-star accommodation.

Mr Koch said the trip had been paid in part by a voucher gifted to him as a farewell gift after 11 years of service from his employer at the time.

"I thought, where are we going to go? Rather than pick a destination that everyone goes to, we thought we'd make it more special," he told Newshub.

Going to a travel agent to organise the getaway, he said it was advertised as a "luxury" mystery break.

"It wasn't just a standard one, it was 'luxury' one - three days, you got the rental car, I think you were supposed to get a bottle of wine but we didn't get that."

"I'd had to chase up the documentation because 10 days out, I had nothing, and I thought I should have something."

After the airline sent the information through, it was then he found out they were far- south-bound.

"I thought, ooh, Invercargill. This will be… okay… oh well, there must be something to do there, I don't know what."

Landing and hiring their rental car, included in the price, he described the city as "windswept and interesting, as Billy Connolly once called it".

Heading down Main Street and hitting the hotel, his partner was dismayed.

"Bex looked at me and said, 'You're kidding aren't you? This is it.' I said, 'It would appear that this is it, yes'," Mr Koch said.

"The room was very poky, very small and it did have an 'eau de toilette' to it - we thought no, this is a bit... it's pushing it a bit far."


While he wasn't disparaging of Invercargill, or the hotel proprietors, he "didn't want to sound like a JAFA, but... for what we spent, we could have spent three nights in Bali."

"It wasn't quite, 'Tell someone who cares', but when I booked it I said, 'Make it a decent destination, a long way away, so we get the feeling it's a trip'," Mr Koch said.

"Yes, it's supposed to be mystery, and yes I realise that's what we bought, but when you look at the pictures and go on the website and you see what you're buying... what we were buying? What we got? Nah."

The couple decided to drive to Queenstown the next day, where they splashed out about $210 for a hotel room. 

But, there's a silver lining to the story - Air New Zealand on Monday afternoon offered the couple a refund.