This page gives you basic information to help you plan your trip to New Zealand and stories from my New Zealand travel blog. If you’d like to go straight to the stories, click on ‘Latest New Zealand Posts’ on the image below.
Blessed with a landscape that does not even begin to be described by the grossly inadequate word ‘beautiful’, New Zealand is possibly the most fascinating country I’ve traveled to. I’ve often said that my heart is in the mountains and on the trail and New Zealand has plenty of those places where I’ve left little pieces of my heart. Traversing the length of the country from the North Island to the South Island you get to experience everything that makes for an unforgettable trip; a vibrant culture, friendly people, delicious food, and a never ending treasure of natural wonders unlike anywhere else. And it’s THE most tourist-friendly country I’ve been to- everything is easy in New Zealand even if you’re not from around.
Whether it’s looking up in stupefied astonishment at the starlit ceiling of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, watching seals sunbathe as you kayak through the Abel Tasman National Park, jumping off a cliff to paraglide in Queenstown or learning how to dance with the indigenous Maori, the country does not run out of experiences that truly amaze you, regardless of how well-traveled you may be. It is a great country to hire a campervan, take a long road trip, and chance upon gorgeous unknown spots that you may well have all to yourself. The local greeting ‘Kia Ora’ translates to ‘Be well’ and by the time you get to the end of your NZ trip, you’ll be so much more.
What To Pack
For the outdoors: In New Zealand, you will be spending most of your time outdoors, how can you not? You’ll hike, kayak, swim, ski, paraglide, zipline, bungee… you get the idea. So good adventure wear, waterproof hiking shoes and other gear is a must. If you plan to camp a few nights, then carry camping gear or buy it in the country (where it can be expensive). If you’re visiting in winter, thick warm jackets, beanies, thermals, layers, scarves, gloves, socks etc need to be carried. Don’t count on ‘getting it there if you need it’ because stores shut early during winter in most towns, and this stuff is expensive in the country.
For the cities: People are dressed simply and casually- it’s all very laid-back and I did not see an excessive or any obsession with big brands or such.
The official languages in New Zealand are English, Māori, and NZ Sign Language. Everyone speaks English and it’s a breeze to communicate everywhere in the country.
Need To Know
The best way to travel across the country is to hire your own vehicle- whether it’s a car or a campervan you decide to get, shop around there are plenty of options across a range of budgets. On road trips allow plenty of time for delays and unexpected stops- you will find spots that are so beautiful that you’ll want to stay longer, take photos etc. To truly enjoy everything NZ has to offer, do not rush. In NZ especially, it’s all about the journey.
If you’re traveling in NZ during or around winter and on a tight schedule, be prepared for some disappointment- adventure activities like skydiving, rafting or glacier walks are often cancelled due to unfavourable weather. If you really have to do everything you planned, allow extra days to reschedule activities.
When booking tours and adventure activities, shop around because there are plenty of options. Check Jason’s guides to New Zealand that are available in tourist information offices in every town (they’re specific to regions) for detailed information, and excellent deals and discounts on attractions, tours, activities, restaurants and pubs. It’s full of great deals like Buy-1-Get-1 on entry tickets and meals. You can save a ton of cash.