Things to Know Before
Travelling to New Zealand
Created By : Charlotte Carroll
Be prepared for a strict customs check
When you arrive in New Zealand and go through customs at the
airport you will immediately notice that they have a very strict
customs check policy. Even if you mark “nothing to declare” on
your customs sheet, you’ll be questioned regardless and will likely
have your luggage searched. This is particularly true if you are
travelling with outdoor gear. When we arrived in New Zealand, th
e customs searched all of our bags entirely and inspected every in
ch of our gear. Fortunately, they let us keep everything.
So my biggest tip would be to make sure that your gear is cleaned
thoroughly before you pack it, and if you are packing food, make
sure that it is closed in its packaging and recognizable. For
instance, we packed a bunch of Cliff Bars and customs said that w
as OK. Be sure to check the bottom of your shoes too because the
y will check that as well!
There are no poisonous animals or large
predatory animals in New Zealand
Rest easy when you are hiking or exploring New Zealand because
there are no poisonous insects (except for one spider called the
Katipo Spider), snakes or animals here and there are also no large
animals on the island.
Unlike most countries where you will have to be aware of the
dangerous species when you go into the outdoors, you can check
this off of your worry list. In fact, there are absolutely no snakes
in the country of New Zealand! Instead, you’ll find a lot of sheep
and farm animals.
New Zealand’s summer months are December to
When planning a trip to New Zealand keep in mind that, like all
southern hemisphere countries, the seasons are opposite than that
of northern hemisphere countries.
The best time to visit New Zealand if you are hoping to do a lot of
outdoor activates will be anywhere from November to April.
During its summer months, December to February, you’ll find
great weather but also more crowds. If your schedule allows, opt
to visit New Zealand in the off-summer months like November or
April when the weather is still very nice, but there are less crowds
and prices are lower.
If you’re looking to go skiing though, hit New Zealand up during
June to August.
Be prepared to drive on the left-hand side of the
Like many countries in the world, you need to be prepared to
drive on the left-hand side of the road in New Zealand.
Before you visit just make sure to know the basic rules of the road
and be extra cautious at first. If you’re uncertain, look at the
traffic around you and get a feel for how everyone else is driving.
In the big cities, there will be a lot of roundabouts, so be sure you
know which direction to drive on them.
Travel New Zealand by camper van!
Travelling by camper van is by far the easiest and most rewarding
way to travel around New Zealand. And you will be in good
company as a lot of the vehicles on the roads tend to be RV’s or
camper vans. Travelling by camper van is a very popular way to
travel around the North and South Island and there are a ton of
great companies in New Zealand to rent campers from.
As mentioned above, just be aware of where you can and can’t
camp before travelling to a new destination. You’ll find travelling
around New Zealand is very easy and everyone is super friendly.
If you stay at Holiday Parks you will hardly feel like you are
camping at all with all the amenities like kitchens, showers, and
sometimes even pools and bars.
Hobbiton Evening Tours
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably have a tour of
Hobbiton on your list of places to visit while in New Zealand.
There are tons of day tours that run through the movie set at
Hobbiton, but if you want to have an extra-special evening tour
with less crowds and a “Hobbit-like” feast, look to book a
Hobbiton Evening Tour 4-6 months in advance of your trip. These
tours fill up very fast but are a really unique way to enjoy the
Hobbiton Movie Set, especially if you are big fan.
Internet in New Zealand
We never really had the best internet access in New Zealand.
Many McDonald’s would say they have free Wi-Fi, but we
always had issues connecting. We usually got the best internet
service when staying at holiday parks. This wasn’t always free,
but sometimes they would give you a certain amount of free
Wi-Fi each day. It’s best to just prepare yourself for being more
disconnected on your visit to New Zealand, or opt for a cell
phone plan that allows you to use data there.
Restaurants and food in New Zealand
When we traveled to New Zealand we weren’t really thinking
about the food, and we weren’t sure what the country was
“known for” as far as food goes.The coffee in New Zealand is
also excellent nearly everywhere you go. Even if you are getting
gas station or roadside café coffee, you will be pleasantly
surprised. Opt for the popular “flat-white” coffee to order what
locals tend to love the most.
Take advantage of all the unique outdoor
activities there are in New Zealand
The most amazing part about New Zealand is its captivating and
diverse landscape. Spend less time in the big cities and get out and
explore the country! There are activities for all kinds of adventure
rs. You can go mountain biking all over the North and South
Island. You can hike some of New Zealand’s most well-known h
ikes such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on the North Island or
the very popular Milford Track on the South Island. And you can
find places to rock climb, surf, kayak, and sail all over the islands.
Also, be sure to schedule a tour of the out-of-this-world glow
worm caves in Waitomo. And be sure to visit one of
New Zealand’s many natural hot springs.
Take the scenic route and don’t be afraid to visit
unique unscheduled places on your visit
There are a bunch of amazing scenic road systems throughout
New Zealand, and driving around New Zealand is a great way to
visit the country.
Don’t hesitate to visit unscheduled and less touristy destinations
either. One of our best memories from our travels around
New Zealand was when we took a side stop to the towns of
Tongaporutu and Mokau. We went on some beautiful hikes, saw
some really beautiful stretches of New Zealand coastline and it
was much less crowded than most places we visited.