There are many perfectly valid reasons why so many people want to visit New Zealand. The friendly people, breath-taking sceneries, amazing adventures and fantastic cuisine are just some of them. So, if you’ve never visited this mesmerizing country, it’s high time you did. Still, just like with every other country you’re planning to visit for the first time, there are quite a few things you should know before you set off. Here are some of the most important considerations for everyone who’s never been to New Zealand before.
You need to know about the climate in order to choose the best time of the year for your visit. Though the weather is famously unpredictable, you can still rely on some guidelines and choose the best season. The warmest period is between December and February, while the coldest one is between June and August, with average temperatures ranging between 12-16 °C.
Depending on the passport you have, you might need a visa to travel to New Zealand. Make sure you check whether you need one. The best way to do that is to check what types of visas exist and whether you should get one. Just make sure you do that in advance.
Like most other popular places around the globe, New Zealand offers a wide range of accommodation, from backpacker lodges to luxurious five-star hotels. If you’re looking for a double room at a mid-range hotel, you can expect to pay between $150 and $230 (160–240 NZD). When it comes to dining, the main course at a mid-range restaurant will range between $18 and $30 (20–32 NZD). Make sure you budget your trip well.
There are various transportation options in New Zealand but it might be a good idea to contact an agency offering car rental from Christchurch airport and your car will be waiting for you as soon as you land. Just remember that you have to drive on the left! If that’s not an option for you, don’t worry. All major cities are very well connected.
Where to go?
If you are into vibrant art scenes and mouth-watering cuisine, Auckland, the largest city in NZ, is probably the best destination. You can visit the iconic Sky Tower for breath-taking views of the region around Auckland. Also, Auckland Museum offers a great collection of Maori treasures and daily haka performances for the whole family. Wellington, on the other hand, is famous for its great number of restaurants, with dishes from all over the world on offer. You could also visit Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum, or take the historic Wellington Cable Car to the Carter Observatory. Fans of the Lord of the Rings would definitely appreciate a visit to the Weta Cave in Miramar district, where they can see numerous props and costumes from the movies.
Hamilton is the right place for those who like lively nightlife, culture and fine dining. Also, you can attend the popular hot air balloon festival Balloons over Waikato or visit the Shire, i.e. the Hobbiton film set. Finally, Christchurch boasts the famous transitional cathedral, known as Cardboard Cathedral, the city’s most recognisable landmark now. Apart from many shopping opportunities, you can also go to the Christchurch Gondola to enjoy amazing ocean and city views.
Although English is the official and main language, alongside the local language of Maori, in 2006, New Zealand became the first country in the world to declare sign language as an official language. This says a lot about the people who live here and how they look after one another.
Looking for adventure?
Apart from diving, surfing and other water-related activities, those who are adventurous among you might enjoy climbing Aoraki/Mount Cook, which is the highest mountain on the continent. The highest peak is 3,754 metres high, but you don’t have to go all the way up (though Sir Edmund Hillary practised on it before he successfully climbed Mount Everest). You can enjoy easy trekking paths regardless of your age.
Visiting New Zealand is on many people’s bucket list and it’s easy to understand the allure. Some of the most amazing sceneries can be found here and the locals are very friendly and hospitable. It does take a lot of time to get here for most people, but once you arrive, you’ll immediately forget how long the trip took because New Zealand will enchant you and you’ll probably start planning your next trip here as soon as the first one is over.