A Kiwi couple have been left bitterly disappointed after their accommodation for a "deluxe three-night mystery break" turned out to be a serviced apartment in Invercargill.

Stu Koch of Hamilton booked an Air New Zealand mystery break in June, paying $1498 for the entire trip with his partner Bex Rowling.

The couple had been looking forward to the trip since June. Photo / Supplied
The couple had been looking forward to the trip since June. Photo / Supplied

Air New Zealand advertised the trip as a "great" three-night mystery break, and the couple were looking forward to staying in "deluxe" four-to-five star accommodation.

"We have a special needs child and four other children, so we're lucky if we get away for a few days each year," Rowling explained.


The disappointment set in as soon as they arrived at Hamilton airport, where they learned they would be travelling to Invercargill.

"Because it was a mystery weekend Air NZ just put the tags on our bags and I just stood there with my mouth open when I found out we would be going to Invercargill.

"The Air New Zealand lady said it would be lovely, so I just thought I would suck it up.

But as soon as she arrived at the accommodation, Rowling knew the trip had turned into a disaster.

"I said to Stu 'What the F is this?' I actually burst into tears because I'd been looking forward to it since June. Then we got to the accommodation and, looking it from the outside; I said 'oh my God'," Rowling told Fairfax.

It turned out the central city accommodation was only three-to-four star.

"Because you're buying a four-to-five-star package it's not what you expect."

She told her partner that she would not be staying in the apartment.

"We walked in and I said, 'Oh my dear god, you had better ring Air New Zealand because I'm not staying here'," she explained to Fairfax.

She contacted Air New Zealand, and claims the staff member who answered the phone was "severely unhelpful" and told them she couldn't help, because she had to go to lunch and staff training.

The couple then decided to leave Invercargill for Queenstown, where they paid about $210 for a hotel room.

Now she has a message for other Kiwis considering an Air New Zealand mystery break.

"Don't do it - it's not worth the risk. Spend your money and go to Bali or the Gold Coast.

Rowling says she has no intention to ever return to Invercargill ever again.

"We're never going back there, especially with the amount of hate locals have been giving us online - apparently we're just a pack of Jaffas."

Air New Zealand have since offered a full refund for the trip.

Anna Cross, the external communications consultant for the airline, says: "We're really sorry this Mystery Break didn't meet the customer's expectations and have offered a full refund as a gesture of goodwill."