EXPLORE NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Australia, its nearest neighbor. Travelers visit New Zealand for its scenic beauty; active volcanoes, spectacular caves, deep glacier lakes, valleys, fjords, sandy beaches, the Southern Alps spectacular snowcapped peaks on the South Island and to pay homage to Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films. The capital city is Wellington, home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum however the largest urban area is Auckland.
NEW ZEALAND TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Kayaking in Nelson National Park
Located in the south island of New Zealand, Tasman Bay. Separated by valleys and forests and surrounded by the steep mountains of Rotorua and Rotoiti, Nelson enjoys one of the South Island’s sunniest, warmest and most spectacular coastlines. Kayaking (and canoeing) provides a great opportunity to explore these dramatic coastlines – including the famed Abel Tasman National Park, Golden Bay and the magical Kaiteriteri Beach as well as the rivers and lakes.
The most famous walk in New Zealand, the Milford Track has been a haven for happy hikers for over 150 years. Admire the pristine lakes, sky-scraping mountain peaks and deep valley views.
South Island Expedition
New Zealand’s South Island has vast tracts of wild unpopulated high country just waiting to be explored. Amazing NZ scenery, unique destinations and off the beaten track, what more could you want from an Oceania Travel adventure?
Waitomo Caves Black Water Rafting
Waitomo black water rafting is not for the faint haerted, but is definitely up there with the top Oceania travel adventures. An adrenaline-charged and fun way to explore the stream caves system.
Drive a Campervan Across New Zealand
Experience the ultimate freedom of traveling the stunning New Zealand countryside at your own leisure in a campervan. New Zealand is a very campervan friendly destination and this is an amazing (and budget friendly) way to see New Zealand.
Read more: Top 10 amazing things to do in New Zealand
Bucket Bunny List of the top 25 travel adventures in Oceania.
Road trip New Zealand in a camper van, scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef or visit Ayers Rock. Enjoy browsing our top 25 Oceania Travel Adventures and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
NEW ZEALAND TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Rhythm and Alps
Rhythm and Alps is the South Island sister festival of Rhythm & Vines held in Cardrona Valley near Wanaka, New Zealand. This is a 3-day international music festival held in one the most beautiful locations in New Zealand. The festival began in 2011 in Terrace Downs and in 2013 relocated to its current venue Cardrona Valley.
Marlborough Wine Festival
Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is New Zealand’s original and longest running wine festival held in a world-renowned wine producing region. Festival-goers get to sample a unique selection of world-class wines, sample local cuisine and dance to music from some of New Zealand’s top bands all in the heart of one of Marlborough’s oldest vineyards, Brancott Vineyard.
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, the brainchild of Claire Bryant, is an annual event held in Hokitika, New Zealand. If you want wild foods while you are in New Zealand this iconic event is the place you need to be.
NEW ZEALAND BASICS
Language: Māori is the official language of the country and can be used in legal settings. However, English is the de facto official language of New Zealand and is the most widely spoken language in the nation.
Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD).
Visa: New Zealand has introduced an electronic travel authority, the ETA New Zealand for Americans and nationals of 59 other countries. This is valid for 2 years and allows multiple entries into New Zealand. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for New Zealand is required (which depends on the country you are from) and how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: New Zealand operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. For New Zealand the associated plug type is I, which is the plug that has three flat pins in a triangular pattern. Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet New Zealand: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN NEW ZEALAND
Some traditional dishes that you must try in New Zealand are listed below.
Hangi: Hāngi is a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven, called an umu. It is still used for large groups on special occasions. In traditional hangi cooking, food such as fish and chicken, and root vegetables such as kumara (sweet potato), are cooked in a pit dug in the ground.
Crayfish: Crayfish, or spiny rock lobster, is a delicacy for many New Zealanders and collecting crayfish is a favorite pastime for many. Crayfish are widespread throughout New Zealand and there are two species of crayfish here, the spiny red rock lobster and the packhorse crayfish. Try them both!
Kiwi burger: The KiwiBurger is a hamburger sold at McDonald’s restaurants in New Zealand. Nothing beats a legendary Kiwi burger done well.
Jaffas: Jaffas is a popular New Zealander confectionery consisting of small, round balls of chocolate covered in a red-colored orange flavoring.
Pavlova: Pavlova is a tasty dessert made of meringue, whipped cream, and fresh fruits. Australians also claim ownership of the Pavlova, believing that they invented the dessert, however, Kiwis have an alternative theory.
WHERE TO STAY
New Zealand is a generally affordable destination to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in New Zealand is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to New Zealand affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, New Zealand will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in New Zealand can cost less than $100.
If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Whatever month you choose to visit New Zealand, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. New Zealand is a very popular all-year-round destination with backpackers, vacationers and business travelers alike.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in New Zealand. However, if you are backpacking in New Zealand or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in New Zealand very affordable and is also a great way to meet new New Zealand travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND
The best time to visit New Zealand really depends on where in NZ you’re planning to visit and what you’ll be doing! This is because New Zealand has four distinct seasons, each with its own unique draw to traveling during that time. New Zealand’s Summer is from December to February and this is when the weather is at it’s best. Autumn (Fall) is from March to May, Winter is from June to August and Spring is from September to November.
NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL BUDGET
New Zealand is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to New Zealand really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between $50 to $80 per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $80 to $150 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least $250 plus per day.
IS NEW ZEALAND SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
New Zealand is a relatively safe place to travel, although natural disasters such as floods and cyclones wreak havoc occasionally. Although New Zealand has a stable political system and a low crime rate you should still observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions as you would when traveling anywhere, whether at home or overseas. Based on my own travel experiences in Oceania I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance and I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your trip to New Zealand.
NEW ZEALAND VISA CHECKER
NEW ZEALAND FLIGHT DEALS
NEW ZEALAND TOURS & ACTIVITIES
NEW ZEALAND PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to New Zealand, like most other places in Oceania, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to New Zealand.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
Packing for a trip to New Zealand, like most places in Oceania is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for dry season and warm, waterproof clothing for trips during the rainy season. Be prepared for the weather to get extremely hot during the summer so pack a high factor sunscreen and a sun hat.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to New Zealand include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected. Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.