♦Currency: New Zealand Dollar ($) (NZD)
♦Zone: +12 GMT
♦Phone Code: +64
♦Best time to visit: November-March
♦Must eat: Local Kiwi
♦Must drink: Merlot Wine
♦Don't miss:Franz Joseph Glacier
♦Number of times visited: 1
Getting there and transportation: New Zealand is one of the furtherest destinations you can travel to from Europe. It's location in the Pacific Ocean,means that when arriving in New Zealand you will have traveled quite ahead in time. For example travelling from the USA to New Zealand, you will leave on day 1 and arrive on day 3! This is very important to take into account when making bookings, Hotels and reservations as you don't want to find yourself spending any extra money unnecessary.
New Zealand is a very developed country and fortunately, despite the distance, there a plenty of ways to get there. Naturally by air is the only option. The national airline Air New Zealand, links Asia, America and Europe with a modern and advanced fleet.
Coming from Europe it takes at least 24 hours of flying. With at least one stop over, going eastwards or westwards. Air New Zealand, flies to London via Los Angeles which is the best route offered.
Other airlines offer flights to Auckland, the capital, via its main hub. Emirates via Dubai, Singapore Airlines via Singapore, LATAM via Santiago de Chile or in USA from the west coast main hubs.
Other options if travelling already within the area are to travel with other Asian carriers, or low cost airlines such as Jetstar or Virgin Australia.
Once in New Zealand transportation is still relying heavily on aircraft, as to travel from one island to the other requires long drives plus a 3 hour ferry to cross the channel to the south Island and vice-versa. Domestic airlines which fly most routes are Air New Zealand and Jetstar.
If you are connecting domestically in New Zealand, remember to always clear customs at the first port of entry into the country, even if your luggage is tagged to final destination. You will then need to take luggage to a drop of zone to proceed to the domestic flight.
Public transport in New Zealand is good within main cities, like Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. However if you travelling around its probably better to rent a car or sleeper van (motor-home) which is a popular option in New Zealand.
Attention!: Customs regulations in New Zealand are very strict. Anything which is coming from a live source, natural or organic must be declared as you enter the country. (Food, natural animal produce, skins, or plants should be declared or face a fine).
Be aware than even clean shoes are required to enter, as they may contain trashes of dirt or seeds from plants in other countries.
Weather and temperature: New Zealand has opposite seasons than Europe, these being quite extreme as well in certain parts of the country. Take always appropriate clothing as it can get very cold specially in the colder months. (June to September).
generally the weather changes quite drastically from one Island to the other. Summer's are warm in the North Island, less rain and less windy as not so mountainous. Temperatures can reach 25-30C in the Summer and 15C during Winter. Whilst the South Island can be cooler, often cloudy, very hilly, abundant mountain ranges and glaciers. Summer's can reach 20-25C and Winter's 0-12C. (specially colder in the mountains). The best time to visit New Zealand is from late Spring to end the Summer. (November to March).
Attention!: The location of New Zealand also means that the islands are more likely to be hit by earthquakes. New Zealand lies on the boundary of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. Most earthquakes occur at faults, which are breaks extending deep within the earth. If this was to happen always remain calm. Getting ready before an earthquake strikes will help reduce any harm and help you survive. Follow these simple steps.: Drop, Cover and Hold. (get down on your hands and legs, cover yourself and hold on to a firm surface or handle).
- If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, drop, cover and hold. Stay indoors till the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in New Zealand you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.
- If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold.
What to eat and drink: New Zealand boasts some superb cuisine, most of which are influenced by the Pacific Rim style, drawing from the heritage of the cultures in the region. New Zealand has a reputation as a leading producer of meat and dairy produce with lamb, beef and pork on most menus. Venison is also widely available. A variety of fish, including snapper, grouper and John Dory can be found. The kumara, a native sweet potato, is a common accompaniment, while kiwi fruit, feijoa and tamarillo are celebrated fruits. Those with a sweet tooth should try hokey pokey ice cream and the national desert, pavlova, a rich concoction of meringue, cream and fresh fruit. New Zealand is also establishing a reputation for French-type cheeses: bleu de Bresse, brie, camembert and montagne bleu.
Specialities include: Kumara (native sweet potato). Feijoa (local fruit) and golden-fleshed Zespri Gold kiwi fruit from the Bay of Plenty. Battered fish and chips from Gisbourne. Salmon and green-lipped mussels from Marlborough. Paua (abalone) from Stewart Island. Toheroa (clam) from Ninety Mile Beach. Oysters from Bluff. Hangi in Rotorua: Maori-style feast cooked in an earth oven under heated river rocks, which often includes chicken, wild boar and lamb, as well as vegetables.
A for drinks, you can find these regional drinks: New Zealand boasts world-class domestic wines and beers, many of which have won international awards.Merlot (Auckland and Wairarapa), Chardonnay (Bay of Plenty, Gisbourne, Wairarapa and Canterbury), Pinot Gris and Noir (Auckland, Wairarapa, Marlborough and Central Otago) and Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough and Wairarapa) are all locally produced, as well as New Zealand draught beers and lager.
Transportation: The city has a well developed public transport system comprising of trains, busses and ferry's. From the airport there is an express service run by SkyBus. Operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The service operates two bus routes between the Airport and the city, one via Mt Eden Road and one via Dominion Road so there are plenty of convenient places you can catch the service. Airport to city transfers take approximately 40-60 min. Tickets are available at the airport ticket kiosks (located by the SkyBus bus stops at the airport), from the bus driver (cash only), SkyBus Hub/Lounge (396 Queen Street) selected city hostels, hotels, Auckland i-Sites, and online at Skybus. Fares are NZ $18 adult one way and NZ $32 adult return.
Below is the train map for Auckland.
What to see and do: In Auckland you will find plenty of activities to do, explore the city and visit it's highlights, both it's buildings and natural wonders like wine regions, stunning beaches, pristine rainforest as well as sports and harbour adventures right on your doorstep.Popular highlights in the city include:
Accommodation: In Auckland you can find Hotels to suit every pocket and taste. It's important to compare and contrast websites for the best deals and book early to grab best prices. Staying further away from the centre will also bring the price down. Hostels and Airbnb is also a good idea to save money. Average Hotels can cost €40 per night per room.
One recommended Hotel is Kiwi International Street Hotel, a 3 star Hotel, at 411 Queen St. Quiet yet centrally located in Auckland. All of the city's major attractions are within walking distance, including the Viaduct Basin, the central business district, theatres and the flamboyant nightclub area of 'K' Road. Rooms are fully equipped single, double or twin ensuite rooms with, Free WIFI, TV, telephone, clock radio, tea and coffee making facilities and hair dryer. The House Bar, has a pool table, and offers a snack menu of light meals.On the ground floor there is a travel desk.The entire building is smoke-free.
Recommended duration: Staying in Auckland after coming back to civilisation from the nature will be a relaxing experience and probably many of you will just want to catch up with their social life and sending updates online. The city is very well prepared with many cafes and WiFi connections. If you still have the energy however to explore the city, then 2 to 3 nights would be enough.
Suggested itinerary: With a motor-home it's fun to take advantage of the facilities it offers, you can see more or fewer places depending how you want to plan your visits. For the suggested trip covering both islands then 4 days can be enough, but if want to maximise the use then a week to 10 days would be a good idea, sleeping all the time in the motor-home.
The following planner covers most of the country, highlighting the most important tourist stops and landmarks. It covers a 4 day tour with a caravan or motor-home and 3 days exploring by other means of transportation.
Day 1: Arrival at Auckland Airport - Rotorua. Collect the Motor-home by the dedicated Free transport to the Office. Please note that the office for collection closes at 17:00, so make sure your flights arrive within good time. In the office need to pay off the balance for the deposit and after singing a few papers your Motor-home will be ready to drive away!
Start the trip towards, Rotorua; though it’s advisable to stock up in some supermarket with food and supplies for the journey before! Once in Rotorua, find somewhere quiet to overnight. Journey time approximately 3 hour.