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Traveller at Roys Peak, New Zealand

New Zealand Travel Guide

This land of beauty and adventure beckons travellers with its unique experiences. Explore the stunning landscapes of the North and South Islands, from geothermal wonders to majestic fjords. Immerse yourself in Auckland's vibrant city life and indulge in world-class dining. Discover the rich Maori culture and take part in thrilling activities like bungee jumping and hiking. With breathtaking scenery and warm Kiwi hospitality, New Zealand is a must-visit destination for adventure seekers.

New Zealand is home to some amazing pristine natural wonders. Visit the famous Hobbiton Movie Set and marvel at the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo. Drive through the stunning Southern Alps and encounter rare wildlife. With awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures, New Zealand offers an extraordinary travel experience.

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Key Facts

Time Zone

GMT+12

Money

New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Dialing Code

+64

  • You can get a working holiday visa for up to 23 months
  • It is relatively cheap to live there and has lots of good hostels
  • It is a beautiful country to visit
  • The people are very nice and welcoming, it’s easy to make friends
  • You can have a go at some incredible adventure activities
  • The weather is generally not too bad
  • They speak English!

The capital city is Wellington or ‘Wellywood’ as it has come to be known since its popularity with the film industry! It is also New Zealand’s political capital, located at the southern end of the North Island.

  • Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city. Explore the volcanic field, leap off the Sky Tower, climb the Harbour Bridge, shop till you drop, take a cruise around the harbour or experience the café culture and bar scene! 
  • Cape Reinga, Whitianga, Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, Piha, Goat Island, Marine Reserve and Waiheke Island - all located north of Auckland and all totally gorgeous. 
  • Wellington is beautiful and is the capital of New Zealand. Although not the biggest city in New Zealand, Wellington is a quirky city surrounded by incredible natural beauty. The cultural centre of the country, there is plenty to see and do in Wellington – if you want a bird’s eye view why not take the red cable car up to the botanical gardens and soar high above the city? Or wander around the city leisurely and visit the Te Papa museum, galleries and shops or simply enjoy Wellington’s great café culture and lively nightlife. It’s no wonder that Lonely Planet calls Wellington ‘The coolest little capital in the world'. 
  • Abel Tasman National Park – Grab yourself a kayak and paddle along the golden beaches in the sparkling turquoise water.
  • Kaikoura provides a unique opportunity to witness some of the wildlife that you won’t see on the mainland.  It’s not everywhere that you can watch whales and swim with dolphins and seals. Phenomenal beauty is there to discover out on the waters of New Zealand – the fun doesn’t stay on land! 
  • Milford Sound – A stunning location with a wealth of photo opportunities. You can explore this area by cruising on a boat, paddling a kayak and hiking. Look out for seals and dolphins. You can even view this incredible place underwater in the Deep Underwater Observatory or on a scuba-dive trip! 
  • Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers – View these incredible ice glaciers from above on a scenic flight or helicopter ride, or join a group and do it on foot. You could even combine both with a heli-hike.
  • Queenstown – The adventure capital of the world…skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, jet boating, white water rafting and many more adrenaline-pumping activities are available. This is a beautiful town with crazy nightlife. 
  • Rotorua - Check out the bubbling mud in this unique geothermal area and then get some adrenaline action by skydiving, rafting, rock climbing, jet boating or zorbing! 
  • Raglan - Surf the waves at this chilled-out surf town. 
  • Waitomo Caves – Explore the underground caves and see the magical and very beautiful glow worms. Adrenaline junkies can get deep down into the caves for some abseiling and black-water rafting 
  • Lake Taupo – Tandem sky dive, jump out of a plane at 12,000 feet! Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it’s... you! This is the closest you will come to flying. You’ve seen those incredible aerial shots and footage of New Zealand’s landscapes and now you can witness them in real life! 
  • Skiing and snowboarding - New Zealand has some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. The ski season is from June-November.  From easy slopes for beginners to more difficult and exhilarating slopes for the more experienced skier, the mountains of New Zealand have it all.  
  • Jet Boating - A boat which sucks water in and then pushes it back out to propel the boat onwards.  This is a very popular and exciting way of getting around New Zealand; with no propeller, these boats can negotiate shallower waters with rocks and drops. Also famous for its ability to ‘spin round, round, right round’ doing 360-degree turns. A fun, but very wet experience! 
  • Bungee Jumping - Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand so where better to make the leap than in the original bungee jump location?  
  • Glacier Trekking - Want a Lord of the Rings-style journey across the wilds of New Zealand? Want to discover the icy world of Narnia without fear of the White Witch or Goblins? Glaciers can be situated only miles away from fabulous greenery providing a stark contrast in surroundings which makes New Zealand really special. You will explore these icy landscapes under careful guidance and instruction but bear in mind this experience is physically demanding; it involves climbing and a lot of exercise to make for the experience of a lifetime. Not to be missed!

The New Zealanders love their food and they have plenty of speciality dishes to indulge in when you are out there.  New Zealand is a predominantly farming country which guarantees delicious fresh, local produce. Dining is a relaxed experience; all part of the chilled-out Kiwi lifestyle.

  • New Zealand lamb is a big seller in the UK so it may come as no surprise to you that the Kiwis are really into their grass-grazing meat. So where better to tuck into a juicy cut of lamb than the country where it is freshly produced?
  • The Pavlova. This meringue-based dessert is the subject of great debate between New Zealand and its neighbour Australia.  Both claim to be the country of origin for this world-famous and popular dessert.  Named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the popular consensus is that this was created in 1926 after she visited a hotel in New Zealand. Kiwis are determined to assert their claim of ownership over the Pavlova so expect to find the best examples of this dessert here. The Pavlova is a crusty-edged meringue with a soft centre topped with delicious cream and sliced fruit - mouth-watering!
  • Unsurprisingly, Kiwifruit is a very popular fruit, and this and other fresh fruit is delicious and widely available.  Just make sure you refer to it by its full title of ‘Kiwifruit’ as the word ‘Kiwi’ is reserved strictly for New Zealanders and a type of endangered bird - both of which would land you in trouble if you were to accidentally ask to eat them.
  • Meat Pies, like the Pavlova, are considered a staple of the New Zealand and Australian diets. Both countries argue over which of them established this national food. In New Zealand there is a vast range of pies and an annual ‘best pie’ competition has been held every year since 1997.
  • Maori culture provides some of the most interesting and traditional food options to experiment with in New Zealand. A traditional manner of cooking is via a clay oven called a Hangi. This involves ovens built into the ground into which food is lowered and slowly cooked – it’s an experience and a meal all in one.

New Zealand gets plenty of sunshine (over 2000 hours a year) but the country has a mild climate and there can be high amounts of rainfall. New Zealand’s weather is not unlike the UK, except the seasons are reversed as it is in the southern hemisphere. Summer is December – February and winter is June – August. In Auckland (in the north and therefore warmer – closer to the equator) the summer temperature reaches the high twenties, and in Queenstown (far south and thus colder) the winter reaches freezing or below. New Zealand is also fairly rainy, averaging about 95mm a month across the country. The highest temperature ever recorded in New Zealand is a scorching 42°C, and the lowest is a chilly -22°C.

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

The national language is English.  

The Maori language is a minor secondary language spoken by relatively few people in New Zealand. The Maori are the aboriginal tribe in New Zealand and you might have seen the Haka being performed by the New Zealand Rugby Team; this is in fact a traditional Maori tribal dance.

New Zealand uses the same plugs as Australia, so you will need a plug adapter if arriving with UK appliances.

New Zealand has its own unique culture but shares much cultural common ground with the United Kingdom so you will find their culture very familiar and a bit of a home from home. 

Health

There are no particular health risks to be aware of in New Zealand. Have a look at our general guide to health issues when travelling and make sure you heed any general advice and precautions.

Safety

Weather changes can be sudden in New Zealand so when travelling please be aware of this. Whilst there are volcanoes on the island they are carefully monitored by the government so there is nothing for the traveller to worry about – if anything they are well worth a visit!

A lot of people go to New Zealand to participate in extreme sports which, putting aside the standard ‘thrill seeking’ and ‘adrenaline’ arguments, are the perfect way of throwing yourself (quite literally) into the environment. These may feel scary but are in fact perfectly safe as long as you listen to the instructions given to you. Just make sure you do your research and sign up with a reputable company with a proven safety record. If you take these basic precautions you’ll have an unforgettable experience in a unique environment without taking any unnecessary risks.

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