Welcome to the most beautiful country we ever saw in our life. New Zealand is truly remarkable place. Combination of outstanding nature and western country all in one place. New Zealand requires some travel planning if you want to see all good locations because the wather change fast (some people says you can all the 4 sessions in one day).
Besides, the travel distance between the locations is big, that’s why you need to plan in advance. In this post, we are going to cover everything you need to know before your arrival.
since it is on the other side of the world – it could be different weather within your country, so pay attention. The weather is quite tricky. Some people say it’s ruined their trip. So you need to be flexible.
How long to Travel?
Well, it depends how much time you have? Many travelers go for 3 months. This is the best time to see the country and to take some side trips. If you don’t have lots of time (like myself), you can go for one month of traveling. It’s enough time to see both islands. Again it really depends what kind of travelers you are? ( if you like tracks – you need more time, some of the trails takes days). If you have less than 15 days to travel – you need to focus exclusively on one island.
The flight to New Zealand is quite expensive – the best TIP here is to order the tip in advance. When I say in advance at list nine months or more, otherwise you are going to pay a high price for the tickets. Furthermore, if you are traveling for Europe, it’s better to stop for one day (or for a few hours) on Thailand or hong kong. Take a break; the flight is hard ( we travel for 37 hours!! & 3 connections).
Transpositions in New Zealand
New Zealand has really poor public transportations, so don’t count on it. The best way to travel is by car. the main question is which rent or buy? (you can see more about it here in this post ). In New Zealand, they drive on the left side, so if you’re not used for it, practice in the parking lot a bit. They don’t have lots of cars on the road + the local people are really nice . So don’t sweat if you took the wrong turn. In New Zealand, you have a verity of different vehicles to choose from, again the main question is rent or buy? The answer is another question how must time you have? Until 1.5 months, in my opinion – the best option is to rent a car. Why? It takes time to sell it, and you need to be in one spot when you sell it (3-5 day minimum), so if you don’t mind doing that, buy a car. More than 1.5 months go to the second category – buy a car only!
Pros of buying a car vs. rent a car :
Price – it will be the cheapest option.
Ownership – the car is yours so that you can change the infrastructure of the vehicle.
Cons of buying a car vs. rent a car:
Time-consuming: when you buy the vehicle and when you sell.
Comfortable: If a car is rented, you have no worries when the vehicle is broken, someone will replace it for you.
Major Tip: take the screen protection insurance. It saves our life twice!
Second major Tip: drive at the right speed, there are lots of speed trap ( we got a speed ticket)
not the strongest in New Zealand. Most of the places don’t have good reception, and in some areas, it completely blocks. Usually, you are going to use the Wifi in different hostels and campground – but you need to know that in most places, the Wifi is limited (or cost money). The best option, in this case, is to buy a local sim if Vodaphone or spark. And you need to buy a data package with an internal call. Both companies have stores at the airport.
Where to Travel?
New Zealand has 2 islands, the north islands and the south. in my opinion both of them are incredible and very different. The north island is the smallest one. The travel distance between place is shorter (huge advantage), and this island has a lot of geothermal and volcanic activities. You can also find the Maori culture in different places on this island. Furthermore, here you can find the glow worm cave ( there is plenty of these caves in new Zealand, but the one here on this island is really impressive). The south island is different. He’s much bigger and has wild nature. There are plenty of different trails and landscapes to see, like lakes, glaciers, and wild animals. In my opinion, the south island is much more beautiful, but the north island has a diversity of attractions.
We visited both islands (and we add a short side trip to cook islands).
We started in Auckland and moved south. we pick all the primary area that we thought we couldn’t miss:
Auckland -> Netherland -> Coromandel -> Hobbiton -> Waitomo caves -> Rotorua -> Taupo -> Tongariro -> Turangi -> Wellington -> Nelson & Golden bay -> Abel Tasman -> the west cost -> Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers -> Wanaka -> Queenstown -> Milford sound -> Catlins -> Dunedin -> Mount cook -> Christchurch -> Hanmer Springs -> Kaikora -> Christchurch.
Some countries don’t have a direct flight to Auckland, so they start from Christchurch.
Few things to Consider:
Distance – the travel distance is quite big from area to area. Sometimes you want to see 2-3 places in one day, so it’s better to check in advance. Use google maps to check the distance between the 2 points ( some days we drive more than 4 hours ).
Opening hours – New Zealand is for morning people’s life start very early, approximately 8 and end at 16-17.
Where to fall asleep?
well, there is plenty of options since we rent a campervan, we slept on a different campground. but again it depends on what kind of trip you want:
If you’re renting a mini car/ family car – so most of the time, you’re going to sleep on hostels or hotels. Our recommendation is YHA BBH’s best hostel we saw there ( slept there twice at the beginning and at the end). Most of the time, we parked in TOP 10 facilities – they are wonderful and equipped with everything you need (you can rent a room if you want the price is not high).
Top10 has facilities around new Zealand, and they have a member card. You can get tons of discounts on different attractions, and when you stopped over to sleep there, you get another 10% discount. In total, you can save lots of money ( the membership cost 49 NZ money – in my opinion, it worth the price).
the 3 top one that we use are:
The Warehouse – the best place for camping gear, they have excellent pricing.
Pac ‘N’ save – the cheapest supermart in new Zealand. They also have a membership card, and they have the own gas stations, so if you buy there and fuel, you can have lots of points on your card (look for the yellow sign).
Countdown – one of our favorite – it’s a bit expensive, but they have everything. Countdown has a membership card (under the AA group).
So you can get a discount for gas stations.
Applications & Coupon sites:
Well, there is a few you need to know:
Campermate– one of our favorite we can live without it. In this app you can where to stay , where to park your campervan. Point of interest, things like that. The application is free of charge.
Bookme – Well, if you want to save money, this app if for just for you. We found tons of discount coupons for all the main tourist attractions.
Download it to your phone and plan ahead (don’t try to order the attraction on the same day, check 3-5 days before your arrival).
Viator – another coupon website, they have outstanding customer service.
Groupon – the popular coupon website – sometimes, you can find outstanding deals there.
TOP10 – one of favorite, buy their membership cards for 49 NZ money.
With this card, you get a discount for there holidays park and for the main attraction in every area – Recommended.
We use this card almost every day.
Since the end of 2019, you should file a NezTa request for tourists.
Check if your country is on the list.
Cost 29$. the process is simple – usually, you get an answer within two weeks.
New Zealand Custom rules.
Another thing that is important to know is that you don’t allow to bring food to New Zeland (like: fruits). Also, they will check your camping and hiking gear (especially the boots) to make sure they clean. they will scan your bags so don’t try to play with them (unless you want to get a fine 🙂 )
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