Before you start packing for your New Zealand trip, there are a few things you need to know in order to have a fun, comfortable and safe vacation. This guide to the Land of Kiwis will certainly help you have an unforgettable adventure!
You’ll feel super safe
New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, which means you don’t have to watch your back wherever you go. However, some general safety rules still apply. Keep your valuables locked up, avoid wandering around alone at night and better leave some places unexplored. But, as long as you use your common sense, you’ll be safe and comfortable. It’s also useful to know some emergency numbers. If you’re in any kind of trouble, dial 111 and you’ll be redirected to a required service dispatch operator.
Visit useful i-Sites
Almost every town and city in New Zealand has its own i-Site where you can find maps, brochures and all necessary info about the place and its surroundings. Another great thing about i-Sites is that intercity buses usually stop near these venues, so you don’t have to wander around searching for a bus station.
Book accommodation in advance
New Zealand is a very popular tourist destination, so you can easily be left without accommodation during the peak season. No matter if you’re visiting one of the islands in the summer or planning a winter vacation at one of the mountain resorts, book your room well in advance! Also, if you’re traveling on a tight budget, keep in mind that backpacking hostels tend to be a lot cheaper than all other types of accommodation, even Airbnbs.
The weather is capricious
New Zealand is a very laid-back place, except for the weather. It can be so unpredictable that you can get all four seasons in one day. However, that means that any time is the best time to have your NZ adventure! Usually, summers are comfortably warm, but winters tend to be cold enough that you need an extra layer of clothing, so pack appropriately. All in all, there are many activities you can enjoy all year round, from surfing to skiing so you’ll never feel bored.
Be careful on the road
Renting a car is probably the best way to travel around New Zealand and soak up its natural beauties. As long as you find a cheap car rental with a good reputation, you’ll be good to go. Some even offer special deals if you rent for longer, so you can really get away with a bargain! However, make sure to be very careful, especially if you come from a country that practices right-hand traffic (in New Zealand, they drive on the left side). Another thing you should keep an eye on is roads. They are often narrow and winding, which is the worst combination for inexperienced drivers.
Expect high prices
Before you leave, make sure to check out how NZ Dollar is faring compared to the currency of your country. However, no matter which of the two is the stronger tender, it’s likely that the prices are going to surprise you! Most activities, souvenirs and groceries can be more expensive than you’d expect. That’s just the price of islander living!
Don’t miss out on events
There are plenty of great happenings all around the country, so try to make the most of them during your stay. For example, Auckland holds a big festival for Chinese New Year, Tauranga has an amazing jazz fest around Easter and Wellington organizes various festivals every summer. Your safest bet is to check out Eventfinda where you can find various events, gigs and tours near you and even get tickets.
Get familiar with the etiquette
Visiting Maori cultural sights is a must when staying in New Zealand, but there are some dos and don’ts that will help you and everyone around you have a pleasant experience. For instance, before entering the Marae, make sure to take off your shoes, not sit anywhere where people usually place food and follow the welcoming ceremony protocols. This way, you’ll show the right respect to a beautiful culture and take home amazing memories.
You don’t have to tip
Tipping is not a norm in New Zealand. However, if you’ve received an exceptional service, feel free to tip as a courtesy gesture (10% is usually a safe number). Outside of hospitality industry, tipping is basically unheard of! Bargaining is also not very common, unlike in the Middle East and Asia. Most prices are marked and not many sellers are ready to lower the price unless you’re buying a larger number of products.
One last thing you need to know about New Zealand is that you’ll have an adventure of a lifetime! Most visitors fall in love with this beautiful country at first sight, so expect to come back!