10 Things to Know When Traveling to New Zealand

A view that you can experience after traveling to New Zealand.

New Zealand is on many travelers’ ‘to go’ list, and for many excellent reasons. This beautiful island country in the Pacific Ocean has everything an adventurous traveler might wish for. Breathtaking nature, ranging from turquoise beaches to snowy mountain peaks, friendly and welcoming people, and unique culture. Not to mention New Zealand is an ideal destination for an active holiday. You can go surfing, swimming, bungee-jumping, skiing as well as hiking and climbing. Plus, it’s the perfect place to go exploring, either on your own or as a part of a tour group. If all of this appeals to you, it’s time to pack your bags and visit the land of kiwis, haka dance, and mesmerizing natural beauty. However, if you want to make the most of your trip, it’s best to prepare well. Here are the ten things you should know when traveling to New Zealand!

Customs screening is quite rigorous

New Zealand is an island country with a sensitive environment. There are many endemic species, and introducing non-native plants and animals could jeopardize local biodiversity.

For that reason, visitors aren’t allowed to bring any animals, insects, plants, herbal medicines, or fresh food. Even packaged food and dirty camping gear or shoes may be forbidden.

So, if you want to go through customs smoothly, declare anything of this sort you may have. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay some hefty fines!

Prepare for all kinds of weather

Most of us never travel without certain things, but when you’re traveling to New Zealand, don’t neglect your wardrobe either. The weather here is often described as ‘crazy’. That means that within the same day, you may experience intense sun, rain, and snow!

While it is part of the charm, it’s best to prepare accordingly – pack everything you’ll need, from swimsuits to rain jackets! Additionally, don’t forget to bring sunscreen (a lot of it) and some bug repellents (sandflies are notorious!).

Driving and getting around

Another thing you should definitely know and keep in mind is that you should drive on the left side. There are plenty of signs warning visitors about this. But even if there aren’t, check how everybody is driving and keep traffic rules in mind.

On the whole, roads in New Zealand are mostly quiet, and there’s not a lot of traffic. However, if you’re planning to visit more remote areas, ensure you know the way and check road conditions before the trip.

A mountain cliff with Maori motives and a lake in New Zealand.
Camping is an excellent way to experience New Zealand’s stunning nature and local culture.

Camping in New Zealand

If camping is your thing, there’s no better place for you than New Zealand. While free or dispersed camping is discouraged, there are plenty of other great options!

For example, you can stay at any of DOC (Department of Conservation) sites – you can find them all over the country, often amidst breathtaking scenery and beautiful nature. Or, you can opt for Holiday Parks – they’re slightly more expensive, but they offer many amenities you might want.

Internet connection

If you want to go ‘off the grid’ and immerse yourself in nature instead, New Zealand is the place to go. While wi-fi is available in larger cities and towns, there are many beautiful remote areas where you won’t have a signal. However, exploring them is definitely worth it!

The best way to explore New Zealand is by a camper van

Those adventurous folks who love road trips will enjoy traveling around New Zealand by campervan. It’s the best way to explore this splendid country on your own. Not only will you be able to make your own schedule, but you’ll also find many pleasant surprises along the way!

When is the best time for traveling to New Zealand?

The summer season in New Zealand lasts from December to February. The weather is wonderful, and these months are perfect for all types of outdoor activities. However, during this time, New Zealand is also crowded with tourists.

So, if you want to avoid crowds and cut down on costs, November and April are better choices. The weather is still lovely, but experiencing New Zealand at this time feels more intimate and less touristy.

New Zealand coffee is delicious.
You can expect to find fantastic food and beverage when traveling to New Zealand – make sure you try flat-white coffee!

Food and beverage in New Zealand

While New Zealand’s cuisine is not so different from the UK or the US, there are some unique combinations and flavors worth trying out. For example, don’t miss out on delicious seafood and Maori hangi, as well as some delicious desserts such as Kiwi Pavlova and Hokey Pokey ice cream!

Additionally, coffee is a serious business in New Zealand – long black or flat white are a must. Also, plain water is simply superb, and the wine is exquisite (and cheap!).

Immerse yourself in the local culture

When preparing for the trip of a lifetime, brushing up on the local culture is always an excellent idea. Therefore, learn a bit of the Maori language and culture before you visit.

Kiwis are generally friendly, laid-back, and hospitable. Showing some respect and knowledge will make a great impression on your hosts and enhance your experience.

Plan ahead to visit Hobbiton in New Zealand.
If you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings, Hobbiton tour and hobbit-dinner are a must!

Make the most of your visit!

New Zealand is a perfect place for an extended vacation – there’s simply so much to see and do! However, if you’re planning a short stay, ensure you make a to-do list and even schedule some of the tours well in advance. Here are some events you surely don’t want to miss:

  • schedule your tour of Hobbiton – experience a true Middle Earth where the Lord of the Rings movies were made
  • visit the glow worm caves in Waitomo
  • more than one of third of New Zealand are nature reserves, and they’re free to visit
  • famous hiking trails such as Tongariro Alpine Crossing or Milford track
  • enjoy scenic road tours and don’t be afraid to go off-the-track
  • plan enough time for all the other outdoor activities

Relocation to New Zealand

Visitors often fall in love with this beautiful and unique country. They usually can’t wait to go back or even decide to make New Zealand their home! If you happen to be one of them and want to relocate to NZ, ensure you create a detailed checklist for your international move. Changing countries can be both exciting and daunting. So, if planning to relocate here from another country, ensure you cover all the bases!

Enjoy your stay!

Last but not least, enjoy your visit to the fullest and embrace everything this fascinating island has to offer! Hopefully, these ten tips for traveling to New Zealand will help you prepare and have a pleasant and exciting experience!

6 Smart and Safe Solo Travel Tips

Travelling on your own can truly be one of the most enjoyable and empowering experiences you’ll ever know. Feeling the freedom of exploring new places by yourself, on your own terms and on your own schedule is truly second to none. Scoping out the best destinations as a single traveller is exciting to say the least, but it’s important to make the most out of your trip. As well as staying safe, you’ll want to make the most of being by yourself by meeting new people and creating memories to last a lifetime. Consider the following smart and safe solo travel tips and your upcoming venture will be smooth sailing and unforgettable.

1. Tell Someone Where You’re Staying

When you go travelling alone, it is important to let a member of your family or friend know where you’re staying. Giving a contact number or address of your hotel or rental apartment will not only give them peace of mind, but it will ensure that you have a level of safety. If you’re planning on travelling to a number of different cities or countries, you should give your itinerary to someone you trust so they know where you are at all times.

2. Make Plenty of Memories

Going travelling on your own doesn’t mean that you can’t take epic pictures and videos of the beautiful places you’re staying. This OM 5 allows you to capture high quality video and take selfies with ease, so that you can have memories to last a lifetime. When you’re travelling solo you need lightweight, portable items that you can manage on your own, so this is the perfect solution if you just want to carry your smartphone, rather than a bulky camera.

3. Do Your Homework Before You Go

Scoping out the area before you go is a great idea. This will give you the confidence to go out and about with ease when you arrive. Once you’re familiar with the area it will be much easier to plan your activities, restaurants and excursions. Head online to some relevant travel blogs and you will soon start to learn everything you need to know about your chosen destination. You may also need to look up local transportation to make sure you can get around the area easily.

4. Be Confident

When you’re out and about in a new place on your own you should try and exude an air of confidence if you can. If you look like a vulnerable tourist who looks lost with a map, you might be opening yourself up to pickpockets and thieves. Before you leave your hotel or apartment complex, look up where you’re going on a map and try to remember where you’re going. You can always stop and ask someone for directions along the way, but try to walk with purpose at all times!

5. Keep Your Valuables Safe

It is especially important to take care of your belongings when travelling abroad by yourself, after all there is nobody there to watch your bag when you go to the bathroom or stay in the hotel room whilst you pop to the supermarket. Get in touch with your accommodation provider and ask if they offer additional security measures such as a safe in your room. Keep your money, passport and any expensive items in your safe if possible. When you’re out and about try not to show your phone, laptop, tablet or any other gadgets and gizmos as this may attract unwanted attention. Staying safe when you’re travelling on your own should always be your number one priority and these safety measures will help you to achieve this.

6. Put Yourself Out There and Meet New People

There is something so special about connecting with new people when you go abroad. Meeting new people and making friends is arguably much easier to do when you’re on your own; you have no ties to the rest of your travel party and everything is on your own terms. Head to busy bars and cafes and strike up conversations with interesting people. You might make friends for life on your solo travelling trip!

Whether you’re travelling around the country you live in or you’re expanding your travels to Europe and beyond, there are so many exciting reasons to go solo! Staying safe during your travels should be your number one priority, as well as soaking up every new experience that is available to you. Hopefully these handy tips will allow you to enjoy a smooth and enjoyable adventure as a solo traveller!

A man on a beach

Lifestyle Product Review – Born Tough Shorts/Elite Sports Gym Bag

AD. This post contains gifted items, but all views are my own.

We could all use a little (or a lot) self care, especially in these crazy times. Before the pandemic, workouts were pretty routine, be it gym based, fitness classes, running groups, etc. While we are not back to normal yet, a good workout is still golden. Working up a good sweat and clearing your mind of all things (including covid). As travel gets moving again, I’m looking forward to squeezing in a good workout as I discover new destinations on my travels. It’s time to get out of the old sweats and get some fresh gym gear. Born Tough is a clothing company with a great line of gym and active wear. And Elite Sports has martial arts gear, gym bags and accessories. Here are my thoughts:

Born Tough Air Pro 2 in 1 Shorts

I’m guilty of wearing any old pair of gym shorts. Obviously, if you are at home and doing a home workout, it doesn’t matter much. You are on your own and there’s no one to see you in your old well worn stuff. But if you want to be a bit more serious at home, or be seen outdoors or in a gym, then these are the shorts to get. Whatever it is that you do for exercise, these shorts will help get you over the finish line. They have an inner compression layer and a light outer Air pro layer. They stretch with you and have a towel/shirt loop, inner phone pocket and back zipped pocket. They fit great and look cool.

Elite Sports Boxing Gear Gym Bag

Elite Sports Bag

A gym bag is a gym bag. But this one is different. Although it’s labelled as a boxing gear gym bag, it can be used for anything, workout or otherwise. There are 2 small pockets on the side for key passes, wallet, etc. On either end are large pockets for post-work-out clothing (vented) and the other for shoes. The middle main compartment has plenty of room for whatever else you have. It’s the perfect spot for my Tesalate workout towel. This gym bag is well made with heavy duty stitching and zippers.

Summary

Let’s get back to the future and the new world that’s waiting out there. Your workout awaits. Both Born Tough and Elite Sports have high quality functional products for home, outside, travel, or gym. And they are great value. They rate a solid 9 out of 10 for functionality, appearance and price. It’s time to look the part again and get some new workout gear. Join the mailing list for Elite Sports and Born Tough and get a discount code to save on your shorts, gym bag and other purchases.