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.
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.
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.
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.
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!