New Zealand is simply amazing, as you’ve probably heard already. It is now one of the most popular travel destinations among tourists from all over the world and there are many good reasons for that. However, you should not just come to New Zealand unprepared if you really want to make the most of your trip. That’s why we’ve prepared the following tips for everyone planning to visit New Zealand for the first time or revisit after a long time.
Even though New Zealand is great to visit all year round, it’s ideal to travel during the warmer summer months, but don’t forget that on the southern hemisphere those months are from December to March. Just like many other parts of the world, New Zealand is the busiest during the Christmas period, with the schools holidays in the second half of December and all of January. So, if you can choose, pick a period just before or right after December and January. Alternatively, you can also come here to ski in July and August.
For citizens of most countries, their passport should be valid for three months beyond the intended date of leaving the country. Still, to make sure whether you need to obtain a visa, you should visit the New Zealand Immigration website and look for further information. As far as vaccines are concerned, no vaccination certificate is required to enter this beautiful country.
Depending on the time when you’re planning to visit New Zealand, you’ll have to bring warm clothes and definitely a waterproof jacket for colder months and the mountainous regions, where the weather can change rather quickly. Don’t forget that the further south you travel, the colder it gets, unlike on the northern hemisphere. If, on the other hand, you’re traveling during the summer months, you have to pack some insect repellent and sunscreen for the strong sun rays. However, even if you forget them, don’t worry, since you can get them once you land.
Agriculture is very important for the economy of New Zealand, which is why there are some very strong restrictions on animal products, fruit, plant material and various foodstuffs that you might want to bring into the country. So, refrain from packing them. Also, you shouldn’t bring in more medications than you’re advised by your doctor. Make sure you have a doctor’s certificate to avoid possible problems with the Customs when it comes to your prescription meds.
There are three international airports here (at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and you’re bound to use one of them as the entry point. The flights from Australia take around three hours, while those from the west coast of the USA take approximately 10 hours. Before you land, you’ll be given an arrival card to fill in during the flight, which you’ll have to present to the immigration officer at the airport.
You might want to find an affordable car rental at Auckland airport with the rental counter within the terminal not far from the car lot. That’ll help you save a lot of time and you’ll be ready to start exploring New Zealand in no time. However, you have to be prepared to drive on the left side of the road, have a full driver’s license and fasten your seatbelt before you set off. You mustn’t drink or use a phone while driving, but that is something you probably already know and expect.
You don’t have to worry about supermarkets here being poorly stocked. You can find pretty much everything you need at a supermarket and you’re likely to pay less than at a convenience store. When it comes to paying, you’ll be asked how you’d like to pay and be offered to use Eftpos or credit card. Eftpos is everywhere in New Zealand, but isn't usually compatible with overseas debit and credit card systems. You can try to use it, but don't be alarmed if it doesn't work. Perhaps the most reliable method is to use your credit cards, but make sure you always have some cash with you, since there are smaller stores that don’t accept credit cards.
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation options in New Zealand. Regardless of whether you’re after budget or luxury accommodation, you still need to book it as early as possible. Since many people in this part of the world are great nature-lovers and love spending time outdoors, you’ll probably notice that campervans are a popular accommodation option, too. There are many nice campsites you can find here, providing all amenities a traveler needs.
New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer, on the first Sunday in October, New Zealand has daylight saving, when clocks are put forward one hour. Daylight saving finishes on the last Sunday of March. This means you’ll probably have to deal with jet-leg, especially if you’re travelling across many time zones.
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), but many hotels and motels also provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. However, since most gadgets we use nowadays can operate on both 110 and 230 volts, you shouldn’t have a problem. Just make sure you bring your power adapter for the socket, if necessary.
When it comes to tipping, you can tip at restaurants, but only if you’re satisfied with their service. Normally, you should tip 5-10% of the bill in a restaurant, but you’re not expected to do that in a simple café. If you take a taxi, you can just round up the bill.
There are many information centers all over New Zealand, where you can get comprehensive information and booking service 24/7. You can also rely on the Internet for the same purpose, but it’s good to know you have options. Regional visitor information centers provide general information and booking service, while local ones provide only local information and are usually open just five days a week. We recommend you keep a few numbers in your phone, just in case.
New Zealand is a magnificent country, most definitely worth visiting. However, to make the most of your trip, you need to be prepared. This list should be enough to get you started and we hope you enjoy your stay here.
By: Diana Smith
Diana is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in social media news and latest startup ideas.