New Zealand is a must-visit destination for adventurous travelers. It may only be a small and relatively young country but with known volcanic activity, however thats what makes the country so stunning in nature. Its outdoor activities range and unique cultural fusion of European and native Maori traditions makes it an absolute favorite for tourists.
In this quick preparation guide, we’ll look over some of the most unmissable places to go and how you can get set for your once-in-a-lifetime journey to one of the world’s most spectacular and adventure-filled countries.
Buckle up and let’s get started!
New Zealand Trip Essentials
Naturally, one of the first things that should be taken care of before you leave is entering New Zealand and arriving securely. That means making sure your passport is up-to-date, you have the right visa to get into the country and your transportation and accomodation is all booked.
Many travelers can enter New Zealand visa-free, and countries like Singapore who have one of the best passports in the world. However, as of last October, it’s now obligatory for some visitors to hold an electronic New Zealand eTA before arriving.
Be sure to check for further information about the Tourist eVisa eTA and if you need to apply for this or a conventional visa before you arrive. Not having the right kind of visa could terminate your trip before it’s even started, and thats the last thing we want happening to you.
Once again a quick recap. To get set for your vacation, make sure you have the following prepared:
- Valid passport
- New Zealand Tourist Visa
- Return Plane Tickets
- Travel Insurance
Plan Your Tours and Activities
If you want activity and variety, New Zealand isn’t going to disappoint. With its rugged, wild landscapes, outdoor-friendly culture and laid back national attitude there’s plenty to do and experience both free NZ activities and paid.
Some of the most popular and unique things to do in the country include the following:
- Wine tours
- Parachute jumping
- Mountain and rock climbing
- Glacier walking
- Bungee jumping
Choose Where Your Adventure is Going to Take You
The two islands of NZ ( North Island and South Island) are quite different from each other. However, it’s well worth visiting both if you have the chance. When mapping out where you’re going to go, think carefully about the places you don’t want to miss on and what kind of day excursions you have planned.
To give you a clearer picture and to help plan your itinerary properly, let’s explore some of the country’s most popular destinations.
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1. Auckland: Explore Big City Life NZ-Style
Auckland is very much the Sydney of New Zealand. It has a harbor bridge, it has its own observation tower (which is taller than Sydney’s) in the city center, however, it quite unfairly doesn’t get nearly as much attention as its Australian counterpart.
Yet, that doesn’t matter as “the City of Sails” has very much its own vibe. It’s the best place to be in the country for nightlife, to explore the national art scene, a vibrant mix of both eastern and western cultures and some of New Zealand’s best restaurants to visit. Of course, if you want to also try your hand at sailing you’ve chosen the right place.
2. Wellington: The Comfortable Capital
Most people (wrongly) assume that Auckland is the country’s capital because of its size. This is quite unfair to Wellington the actual capital which is a beautiful coastal city full of its own unique charm.
The city is, of course, home to the national parliament as well as impressive museums, beautiful parks, and high-end bars and restaurants. It is also the main spot to catch the boat to the South Island.
3. Christchurch: The Rising Phoenix
It’s fair to say that Christchurch hasn’t been the same since the devastating Earthquake of 2011. However, the quaint, stylish city is gradually rising from the ashes of the disaster stronger than ever.
The South Island’s biggest city and de facto capital is where many tourists will arrive if flying in from Australia. It is a pleasant, relaxed city with a bustling, historical city-center and beautiful beaches just a short drive or bus ride from the CBD. If you have time, it’s well worth checking out the local surf scene.
4. Queenstown: New Zealand’s Tourism Mecca
Queenstown is a location where tourists flock in their droves. As one of the southerly destinations on the South Island, it is one of the most popular places to ski in the country during the cold, snowy winters.
It is also the starting point of many excursions to the impressive fjords of Milford Sound and for outdoor activities like bungee jumping, zorbing and much more. Queenstown is often known as New Zealand’s “Adventure Capital” and it certainly lives up to its name.
5. The West Coast: The South Island’s “Hidden” Rainforest
The landscape of New Zealand is full of surprises and one of its most interesting is its luscious rainforest. Tucked behind the Southern Alps of the South Island is the spectacular West Coast which is home to tropical climates, dense jungle, and even glaciers.
Lastly, another gem that is too good to be left out will be up in the North at Rotora. From the Wai-O-Tapu thermal park to Lake Rotorua to Hobbiton, there is just so much to explore and see in the Rotorua region in New Zealand!
When is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?
New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere and has polar opposite seasons to countries in the north. Therefore, if you’re traveling from Europe or the US in the summer, pack for winter and vice versa.
The weather is relatively temperate across both islands although the most southerly and mountainous regions will often see snow during the winter months of May to September. Nevertheless, summers will normally not reach the sweltering highs of neighboring Australia, although it can still get pretty warm and sunny, so don’t forget your sunscreen. My last trip to New Zealand was over Christmas and New Year and we had a great time doing a road trip through South Island on a Campervan.
A trip to New Zealand can take many forms depending on what you want to do and see. However, every visit to the country is uniquely unforgettable. Adventure is waiting in the Southern Pacific, make sure you heed the call.