New Zealand Travel Guide
🗝️ Key Facts
💶Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)($)
🕙Time Zone: +12 GMT
📞Phone Code: +64
✈️Best time to visit: October to April
🍴Eat: Kiwi (fruit) / NZ Lamb
🍷Drink: NZ Wine
🗺️Don't miss: Franz Josef Glacier / Penguin viewings / Trans Alpine Train trip
🗺 Menu of Contents:
New Zealand is the "last major destination" for anyone heading east (from Europe), because of its distance, flights to the Pacific country can take up to 24 hours excluding an additional stopover, adding to the reminder how remote it is to get here, if it wasn't for the airlines. Though the island nation is geographically small, the landscapes seem immense with their jagged mountain peaks, rolling hills, sparkling beaches, scenic fjords, raging rivers, and pristine lakes. It's nature, that really attracts visitors to New Zealand!
Visitors coming to New Zealand will discover an adventurers paradise with opportunities to try activities like scuba diving, hot air ballooning, rock climbing, and other extreme sports, especially in adrenaline-packed Queenstown, the 'extreme sport capital of the world'.
Yet the urban life and culture of New Zealand is also very interesting to experience. Thanks to an open society and well-controlled borders, New Zealand provides safe, efficient and modern cities which once were home to the British settlers, who have learnt how to take in traditions from their original inhabitants, the Maori. Major cities like Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington have excellent museums where to learn from this history and experience cultural attractions and Maori customs.
Despite the long flight, the rich rewards of a holiday spent in the 'land of the long white cloud' are very rewardable.
New Zealand is one of the furthest 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 well developed country and fortunately, despite the distance, there a plenty of ways to get there, naturally by air. 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. (this route has been suspended until further notice from 2020).
Other airlines offer flights to Auckland, via its main hub. Emirates via Dubai, Singapore Airlines via Singapore, LATAM via Santiago de Chile or from the USA from the west coast main hubs. (San Francisco or Los Angeles).
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. (see travel guide below).
❗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).
New Zealand has opposite seasons than Europe or the US, these being quite extreme as well in certain parts of the country. Take always appropriate clothing as it can get very cold especially 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 25-30°C in the Summer and 10°C during Winter.
In the South Island can be often cooler, more cloudy and rainy due to the landscape, being very hilly, abundant mountain ranges and glaciers. Summer's can still reach 20-25°C and Winter's 0-12°C. (but specially colder in the mountains). The best time to visit New Zealand is from late Spring to the end of Summer. (November to April).
❗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.
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 Gisborne. 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, Gisborne, 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.
New Zealand stands out for being one of the most distant destinations I have travelled to, but it is it's beautiful scenery, landscape and nature which makes this country so appealing. It's without a doubt that so many films were made here in relation to its vast dense forests and mountains which look like from another planet in fact! The main reason to come to New Zealand is definitely it's scenery. In order to explore properly all it has to offer myself and my other companions we rented a motor-home, which enabled us to travel comfortably around the whole country and design our own itinerary as we went along from the North to the South Island.
It's picturesque landscape is truly amazing. Everywhere you go, there's some great views to photograph. Mountains, valleys, farm lands, beaches, fauna and floral! It definitely an outstanding country with so much to offer to visitors!
But not only is the scenery captivating, cities and towns are also very welcoming, with friendly people and an advanced infrastructure which made my trips in New Zealand go without a hitch. Auckland, is a great city with a true mixed society and many cultures living peacefully together. It's the perfect start or end to any visit to the country. If it wasn't for the distance, I definitely would love to come back and continue exploring!
(2 times visited)