This New Zealand Travel Guide aims to provide you with simple and stress-free travel planning information and inspiration for planning a trip to New Zealand.
On this regularly updated page you will find links to useful posts on The Trusted Traveller, budget information, details on types of accommodation available, information on getting around the country and more useful links to resources around the web.
Currency: $ New Zealand Dollars which is made up of 100 cents. Coins come in 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations and notes in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with two or three flat pins are standard. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances can be found in most hotels.
New Zealand Itineraries
These are my comprehensive guides to exploring the various parts of New Zealand. These New Zealand itineraries have been designed to help you make the most of your time each place, whether you are here for a quick weekend getaway or a longer vacation, you will find something here to help you with planning your dream vacation to New Zealand.
Northland New Zealand is an area of green rolling hills, farmlands and great forests. Surrounded almost entirely by water and snaked by rivers and inlets, you’ll….Read More
The road trip part of my New Zealand adventure began in Christchurch. I’d already picked up my super comfy and spacious Mitsubishi Outlander from the….Read More
I set off on my road trip around New Zealand’s South Island first driving from Christchurch to Marlborough, then across to the Wild West Coast. From there I made our way….Read More
Taking a day trip to Akaroa from Christchurch is one of the must do things when your visiting Christchurch. Akaroa is perfectly positioned for both a full or half….Read More
New Zealand’s spectacular South Island is on the bucket list of many travellers all over the world. I’ve taken many trips over the pond to visit what is one of my favourite….Read More
The drive from Christchurch to Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island can easily be completed in one day, just under six hours if you don’t make any stops….Read More
This Queenstown itinerary will help you decide how best to spend your time when exploring this absolutely breathtaking part of New Zealand’s South Island….Read More
Wanaka, a breathtaking paradise nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. Surrounded by towering mountains, pristine lakes, and a plethora of outdoor….Read More
New Zealand Travel Tips
New Zealand is made up of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. They stretch from north to south and are separated by the Cook Strait.
The North Island is more developed and home to the country’s two biggest cities, Wellington in the south and Auckland in the north. The island is mostly rolling green hills and farmland, with the central heartland home to geothermal activity like boiling mud pools, geysers and active volcanoes.
The South Island is much more dramatic. Think snow-covered mountains, fjords and glaciers. There are no big cities, rather Christchurch and Dunedin are more like big country towns.
New Zealand Weather
Because of the country’s length, it can, at different times of the year, experience a broad range of weather. It is subtropical in the north and more temperate in the south.
The north has no extremes of heat or cold, while the in the south, winter can be quite bitterly cold with significant snowfalls in the mountains. The eastern parts of the country often experience drought conditions in summer and the west, particularly in the South Island, is likely to receive more rain.
Best Time to Visit New Zealand
If you’re not visiting New Zealand for a specific seasonal reason, then the best time to visit, is October/November or March/April. This is because the weather is good and it is less crowded with other visitors and vacationing locals.
However, if it is winter sports that interest you, then you’ll want to head to the South Island from May to September when you’ll find plenty of snow.
And over summer is when the country really comes alive with tons of great outdoor activities and festivals. If this is what you’re after, then visit from November to March.
Money in New Zealand
It is always recommend to have a mixture of cash and bank/credit card with you when you travel anywhere in the world and this is no exception in New Zealand.
ATM’s are available in all cities and towns across the country and credit cards are accepted in most places too. The exception to this would be in some very small and remote towns where it is recommended to have plenty of cash on hand.
Things to Do in New Zealand
These guides to the top things to do in New Zealand will help you pick from the best there is in each town. No matter whether you have one or many days in each of these places, you will find plenty of interesting and exciting things to do in these guides.
New Zealand offers you the chance to visit some amazing coastal areas and beaches, most of which are used mainly for a stroll and a good view rather than the usual….Read More
What’s the capital city of New Zealand? Go on, have a guess. Most of you will probably guess Auckland and up until a few years ago I thought the same thing. While it….Read More
The Marlborough region of New Zealand can be found in the very north of the South Island and makes up roughly 20% of the countries coastline and nearly 80% of the….Read More
New Zealand’s Glacier Country is one area of the country you have to see sooner rather than later. Why you ask? Because the features that give this region its name are….Read More
Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island and third largest in the country. A visit to Christchurch offers visitors a diverse range of things to do in….Read More
If you are the type of traveller that likes to maximise your time in a destination, then an organised tour can be a really great option to consider in your travel planning….Read More
Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand and the place where a lot of daring travellers from around the world travel specifically to, to take part in….Read More
Wanaka is a picturesque town located in the heart of the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand. This stunning destination boasts crystal-clear lakes, snow….Read More
Marlborough, New Zealand – a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wine connoisseurs alike! Nestled at the top of the South Island, Marlborough is renowned for….Read More
One of the most picture perfect regions of New Zealand, Lake Tekapo and its surrounds, lies roughly in the centre of the South Island between the sprawling plain of….Read More
When we made the decision to take a road trip around New Zealand’s South Island, top of my list of things to do was to take a tour of the Marlborough Wine Region….Read More
I’m always looking for a different way to explore a new destination. I’ve pounded pavement in my trusty walking shoes in cities around the world, seen some of….Read More
After multiple visits to New Zealand’s South Island, I am 100% convinced that the place is heaven on earth. And one of the things that has truly blow me away is the….Read More
The Catlins is the most southerly region of the New Zealand South Island and is an adventure and outdoor lovers paradise. As part of the Southern Touring Route, The….Read More
Have you ever been somewhere so immensely breathtaking that all you could do was sit in silence and let your eyes drink in the view? This is how I felt on my….Read More
Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Tekapo stands as a jewel in the crown of nature’s grandeur. This stunning alpine haven seamlessly….Read more
Getting To New Zealand
A selection of major and budget airlines fly direct to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, from a few cities in Australia, the Pacific Islands, Asia, the Middle East and the US. If you are travelling from further afield, you’ll easily be able to find connecting flights through major hubs in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and east coast USA.
Remember, New Zealand is a long way from most other parts of the world. It takes pretty much 24 hours (with a short stopover) to get from the UK and Europe, and 12+ hours from the US. Asia is a little closer with Singapore and Bangkok about 9-10 hours away.
Getting Around New Zealand
New Zealand is a relatively small country making it easy to get around, especially because of the excellent infrastructure they have in place.
Air New Zealand is the country’s national airline and they fly between all the major cities and towns around the country including destinations popular with visitors like Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, Queenstown and Nelson.
The budget airline, Jetstar, also operates a smaller choice of flights between the above and more cities too.
Because it is a small country, the longest flight time you’d encounter would be up to two hours flying between Auckland and towns in the far south of the South Island.
Doing plenty of research on the cheapest flight routes will help you keep your New Zealand trip costs down. As mentioned earlier, New Zealand isn’t the cheapest country to travel to and the cost of lots of flights can really add up. The alternative means of transport below may be a cheaper option in some case if you are travelling around a lot.
I use and recommend Expedia for researching and booking flights all around the world.
New Zealand is an excellent place for a road trip. The roads are well maintained, routes scenic and you’ll often find that, in some parts of the country, you won’t come across another car for ages.
All of the major car and camper van rental companies are represented in major cities and towns across the country, with outlets in all airports and some city centres. This makes it easy for collecting your vehicle at a time that is convenient to you.
On the South Island especially, we’ve always found having a larger vehicle, like an SUV, more comfortable. The island is very mountainous, so having a larger car has made us feel more safe and it also gives us lots of space to be comfortable for longer driving days.
I use and recommend Expedia for researching and booking car hire all around the world.
For those on a budget, buses are a great way to get around New Zealand and meet lots of like-minded people.
InterCity – These guys cover pretty much every place a visitor might want to visit on both islands. InterCity services run more frequently then the other bus services in the country.
Naked Bus – Similar to InterCity only Naked Bus generally has cheaper fares with one way fares starting from just $1. They follow much the same routes and might run a little less often. This is an excellent option for those on a really tight budget, who know where they want to go.
KiwiExperience & Stray – These are hop-on-hop-off style buses geared towards backpackers. Passes can be purchased for an amount of trips or for a specific route around the one or both islands. You can hop off and stay however long you like before joining up with the bus again when it passes through town.
New Zealand has only three rail lines all of which are more like scenic trains rather than a means to get form one destination to another.
The Northern Explorer bisects the North Island running from Auckland to Wellington showing off the diverse countryside.
The Coastal Pacific Train runs along the coast between Christchurch and Picton. It offers spectacular coastal, mountain and farmland views on the journey through this stunning part of the country.
And finally the Tranz Alpine train cuts right through the centre of the South Island running between Christchurch and Greymouth. It is the most spectacular of the three journeys because it traverses the towering Alps.
Check out KiwiRail for more details.
Getting Around Guides
These guides will give you in-depth knowledge on how to get around some of the bigger cities in New Zealand.
This is your essential guide on how to get around Christchurch’s transportation system and exploring all that it has to offer. Christchurch is a sprawling city….Read More
Where to Stay in New Zealand
New Zealand caters for everyone when it comes to accommodation. Here is a list of the types of accommodation you’ll find in New Zealand and then below that my posts which will help you pinpoint the exact properties to stay at for your next New Zealand Vacation
Camping/Caravans/Cabins – Most National Parks have at least one campsite and every second or third town has a holiday park with campsites, caravans and cabins available. Free camping is also available in some areas.
Hostels – Take your pick from the range of private and chain hostels located in major cities and popular towns around the country. Accommodation in hostels ranges from multi-bed dorm rooms to private single, double and family rooms, with or without shared facilities.
Budget Motels/Hotels – This type of accommodation is quite popular in New Zealand and you’ll find at least one or two budget motels/hotels in just about ever town in the country. Most will be clean and functional with private facilities and basic amenities.
Hotels/Apartments – You’ll find chain style hotel brands the country’s bigger cities and towns. The good thing about this type of accommodation is in most cases you know what you are going to get, a clean, comfortable and modern room with a decent array of facilities in the room and on the property. Apartments are great for longer stays as they allow you a bit more space and the option to self cater.
Luxury Hotels & Resorts – Every capital city and popular tourist area in New Zealand has its share of 5 star properties, some of which have been named in top lists of accommodation around the world.
B&B’s – Small family run style accommodation like B&B’s can be found all over the country in small towns and popular rural locations. Accommodation is simple yet comfortable and the experience usually comes with friendly hosts and a home cooked breakfast each morning.
I use and recommend Booking.com for researching and booking hostel, motel, hotel, apartment and resort accommodation around the world.
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer stay, choosing where to stay in Christchurch can make all the difference in making your trip a memorable….Read More
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer stay, choosing where to stay in Queenstown can make all the difference in making your trip a memorable….Read More
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer stay, choosing where to stay in Marlborough can make all the difference in making your trip a memorable….Read More
As you embark on your journey to Lake Tekapo, one of the first and most important decisions you’ll need to make is where to stay in Lake Tekapo. In this blog post, I will guide you to exploring the best…..Read More
Eating Out in New Zealand
Eating out in New Zealand can be expensive in comparison to some other regions of the world. There are ways around this, especially if you willing to stay in self catering accommodation and do some simple cooking from time to time.
Supermarkets – New Zealand has quite a few supermarket brands. Countdown will be in every major town while you’ll find a Four Square in just about every town, big or small. New World and Pack’N Save are two more to lookout for because they generally offer cheaper prices.
Fast Food / Take-away – Chain fast food stores are in all major centres of the country. If you’re looking for a cheap and tasty fast food meal, skip the chains like McDonalds and go for a local family owned hamburger or fish and chip shops instead. You’ll find at least one of this style of take-away store in every city and town of the country.
Cafes – Cafes can vary greatly in price and quality depending on the city/town or area of a city/town. Meals range from simple sandwiches and salads to hot dishes made fresh or served from a food warmer. Cafes offer the chance to have a large hot meal at lunch time so in the night-time you’ll only need a snack.
Pubs – Every city or town in New Zealand has a decent pub or two. A beer and a meal at a Kiwi pub is just part of the way of life in New Zealand. Pubs can vary widely in price these days as a lot in the major cities have been converted to trendy venues serving food that can rival some four start restaurants. However in country towns the meals are cheap and usually made using local produce.
Restaurants – You’ll find a reasonably wide range of cuisines in restaurants across the country. Prices in restaurants can vary greatly depending on the location and quality of the food but there are some good cheap ones out there, you just need to dig a little deeper.
Fine Dining – New Zealand is blessed with incredible local produce and this is showcased at it’s best in fine dining establishments across the country.