It’s a secret to no one that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. Between the beauty, adventure, and the relaxed, laid back attitude, it is easily an ideal travel destination for travelers of all ages and preferences. But before you go, make sure to check out the following key tips that will ensure that your epic adventure to New Zealand is nothing but seamless!
New Zealand requires all visitors to carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your last day in the country. If you are planning on staying in New Zealand for less than three months, you will most likely not need a visa to enter. If you are planning on extending your stay past three months, then you will need to look into obtaining a Visitor’s visa.
New Zealand has three official languages: English, New Zealand Sign Language, and Maori, which is the official language of the indigenous Maori peoples of New Zealand. Though not necessary to learn before your trip, it is important to recognize that the Maori culture, which originated in Eastern Polynesia, makes up a key element of the broader customs and culture of New Zealand customs as a whole. The Maori culture is full of vibrant history and cultural traditions, so make sure to take time to explore and experience some of them during your travels!
If considering traveling solo, New Zealand is a great place to do so. It is known for being one of the safest countries in the world and is one of the best destinations for solo female travelers. However, petty theft still does exist, so use common sense and look out for your belongings to avoid any unwanted issues.
New Zealand's unit of currency is the dollar (NZ$). There are coins with the values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2 and notes with the values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. If you are bringing in some foreign currency and looking to exchange it for some NZ$, you can do so at most banks, hotels, and the Bureau de Change kiosks, which can be found in most cities and the international airports. When traveling throughout New Zealand, most places accept all major credit cards, including Visa and MasterCard.
Tipping in New Zealand is not necessary, even in bars and restaurants. However, if you experience extremely excellent service, it would not be out of the norm to kindly add an unexpected tip to the bill. New Zealand’s hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to their bills.
One of the best ways of getting around New Zealand is simply to drive. With well maintained roads and beautiful scenery, this is the perfect location for your next road trip so start making the playlist now. While gas prices are not the cheapest, driving is still the more efficient and reliable option rather than the public transportation. Car rental prices average around $50 a day and can vary greatly depending on the website, so make sure to check out a few before booking your car. Just remember, New Zealanders drive on the left!
WHEN TO GO
New Zealand’s high season falls from December to February. A traveler at that time can expect busy beaches, festivals and sporting events accompanied by gorgeous summer weather. It is recommended that you book your accommodations way ahead as prices tend to increase during this time. Shoulder season comes around March to April. This is prime travel time as the weather is fine, the autumn colors are abundant, the ocean is still warm and evenings are long. By this time of the year, especially after Easter, the popular road-trip routes are clear and lines for attractions are shorter. May marks the beginning of the low season and runs through August. Take advantage of the brilliant southern-hemisphere’s skiing and snowboarding! As many of the warmer-weather beach towns slow down and take some time off, outside ski resorts often offer accommodation deals during this time.
New Zealand offers diverse accommodation options, with something for every traveler’s level of comfort and budget. You will find quality luxury lodges all the way down to camping. Many will agree that the selection of accommodation in New Zealand is varied and plentiful. In most city centers and towns you will be able to find 5 star boutique accommodation. As you move into the more scenic and secluded locations, campsites and motorhomes become more abundant. For a real local experience, consider staying in a holiday house, referred to as a ‘bach’ (pronounced ‘batch’) in New Zealand. Short for bachelor pad, these houses are made for kicking back and are often located by the sea, river, lake or forest. Depending on where your bach is located will determine your foreseen activities. If the house is on the shores of an alpine lake in the Southern Alps, you'll want to check out the nearby biking, fishing, sailing and hiking. If you are visiting in the winter, skiing and snowboarding are options as well. If your bach is nearby a beach or a lake, take advantage of the beautiful water for a long nine months out of the year. No matter where your bach is, embrace the casual dress, barbecues, sleeping in and the great outdoors around you. ,
While there are an endless amount of items to add to one’s New Zealand bucket list, we’re going to give you a few to get you started. Try hiking the Tongariro Crossing. This 12-mile day hike will take you past landscapes filled with volcanoes and and colorful cater lakes. Or maybe go river rafting through the Waitomo Caves. Home to thousands of glow worms, this natural wonder is one of New Zealand’s most popular attractions. You can also visit Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. This gorgeous harbor city is located in the subtropical north of New Zealand and is built over 40 volcanoes. Here you can find black and white sand beaches, museums, mountains, farmland, and coastal villages. Don’t miss out on booking a visit to Hobbiton – the movie set where The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings Trilogy were filmed. There you can take a look inside the Hobbit homes used for the famous movies and enjoy a pint of beer at the Green Dragon Pub. If you are feeling up for it, conquer any fear of heights and go skydiving in the Bay of Islands. Choose from four different starting heights– 9,000 ft, 12,000 ft, 16,000 ft, and 20,000 ft!
Looks like it’s time to start planning your next trip to New Zealand! Comment below what’s on your New Zealand bucket list. From the amazing metropolitan cities, rolling hills, trails, waves and glaciers —there is something for every traveler.
Post written by: Kirsten Cusack, @kirqsak