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New Zealand Travel Blog

This page gives you basic information to help you plan your trip to New Zealand and stories from my New Zealand travel blog plus practical information on New Zealand itineraries and New Zealand road trips. If you’d like to go straight to the stories, click on ‘Latest New Zealand Posts’ 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.

Traversing the length of the country from the North Island to the South Island, you get to experience everything that makes for an unforgettable New Zealand road trip; 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.

Other than the obvious things like clothes and shoes for the city (stress on comfort over style), here are a few things to pack for NZ.

Must Haves for New Zealand

Winter Essentials

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.

Languages Spoken

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 rent your own vehicle and do a New Zealand road trip, 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.

Travel Insurance

Your travels in New Zealand will take you to many exciting adventures and you need to ensure that you’re properly insured. Trust me, sound travel insurance saves your ass when you least expect it and can salvage a travel situation gone bad.

You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home.

Where To Stay in New Zealand

I’ve picked out some cool accommodations to stay around the country, very similar to the ones I stayed at and some that are the same. While I chose budget and mid-range accommodations for the most part, the odd splurge for luxury hotels did happen in bigger cities. You can check prices for these hotels below:


Book your hotel in Auckland or consider one of these options:

Luxury Stays

Hilton Auckland Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Stamford Plaza Auckland

Mid-range Stays

Rydges Auckland

Pullman Auckland

The Langham, Auckland

Budget Stays

Auckland Harbour Oaks

Winsun Heights Apartments Auckland

Base Auckland

Waldorf Tetra Serviced Apartments


YHA Auckland International – Hostel

Nomads Auckland Backpackers

Freemans Backpackers Lodge – Hostel


Luxury Stays

Somersal Bed & Breakfast

Mid-range Stays

Waitomo Orchard Estate B&B

Otorohanga & Waitomo Motels

Budget Stays

Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge

Waitomo Caves Hotel


Book your hotel in Rotorua or choose one of these:

Luxury Stays

Novotel Rotorua Lakeside

Regent of Rotorua

Quest Rotorua Central

Mid-range Stays

Rydges Rotorua

Arista of Rotorua

Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Budget Stays

VR Rotorua Lake Resort

Kerry’s Motel

Rotorua Coachman SPA Motel


Book your hotel in Nelson or consider one of these options I picked out:

Luxury Stays

Rutherford Hotel Nelson

The Sails Nelson

Joya Garden & Villa Studios

Mid-range Stays

Century Park Motor Lodge

Cedar Grove Motor Lodge

Quest Nelson

Budget Stays

DeLorenzo’s Studio Apartments

Trailways Hotel Nelson

Quality Inn Nelson


Book your hotel in Christchurch or consider one of these options:

Luxury Stays

Heritage Christchurch

The George Christchurch

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square

Mid-range Stays

Ramada Suites Christchurch City

Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

Bella Vista Motel and Apartments Christchurch

Budget Stays

The Ashley Hotel Christchurch

Apollo Motel Christchurch

Colombo Lodge Christchurch


Haka Lodge Christchurch – Hostel

YHA Christchurch

YHA Christchurch Rolleston House


Book your hotel in Greymouth or consider one of these:

Mid-range Stays

Paroa Hotel

Gables Motor Lodge

Alpine Rose Greymouth Motel

Budget Stays

The Ashley Hotel

Hostel Stays

Noah’s Ark Backpackers

Fox Glacier

Book your hotel or B&B in Fox Glacier village or consider one of these options:

Luxury Stays

The Church at FOX

Misty Peaks

Mid-range Stays

Fox Glacier Lodge

Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Budget Stays

Mt Cook View Motel

Rainforest Motel

Lake Matheson Motel


Book your hotel or B&B in Queenstown or consider one of these options:

Luxury Stays

Chalet Queenstown

Pounamu Apartments Queenstown

Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Mid-range Stays

Aspen Hotel Queenstown

Bella Vista Queenstown

Rydges Lakeland Resort Queenstown

Budget Stays

Mercure Queenstown Resort

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

Holiday Inn Queenstown Frankton Road


Haka Lodge Queenstown – Hostel

Nomads Queenstown Backpackers

YHA Queenstown Lakefront – Hostel

Tours in New Zealand

Why might you be interested in a tour? The fact is that New Zealand isn’t a small country, driving times are long, and if you don’t travel across the country and instead choose to base yourself in one part, you don’t see everything that’s worth seeing.

If you’re short on time, don’t want to drive everywhere yourself, or want to skip the pains of organization, a tour might actually be more practical.

Alternatively, you could drive between bases, like we did, and then take day trips to see some places that are hard to get to or need an entire day of driving.

Either way, I’ve listed both day tours and trips in New Zealand, similar to the ones we took, all departing from major cities, and also ten to three week organized tours that take you to the best spots on the North and South Island. Whatever your style, I’ve done the groundwork, so I hope this helps you.

Day Trips and Tours from Major Cities


Auckland City Hop on Hop off Bus

Half Day City Tour with a visit to the Sky Tower

Auckland Zipline Adventure

Skydiving in Auckland

Whale and Dolphin Ecotour

Hobbiton Tour

Wine and Picnic Tour

Tour of Wineries including Lunch and a visit to a Volcanic Black Sand Beach

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Black Water Rafting Tour

Cave and Kiwi House Tour


Tour of Maori Village, Cultural Performance and Traditional Meal

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Trekking tour


One Hour Double Decker Bus Tour

Christchurch Gondola Ride

Four-Course Dinner on a Tramway Restaurant


Jet Boating and Underwater Observatory in Queenstown

Scenic Heli-Flight over Queenstown

Half-day Wine Tour from Queenstown

Visit Middle Earth from Queenstown

Milford Sound

Milford Sound Coach, Cruise and Walk from Te Anau

Guided Half-day Hike on Milford Track

Milford Sound Cruise and Kayak tour