An important decision when travelling
North and South Island of NZ is to not to spend time doing the same way twice.
One of the options I would recommend is going by plane to the final destination and
then from there rent a car
or travel or tour bus to return to Auckland. Some suggestions for itineraries are as follows:.
North Island : I would fly from Auckland to Wellington, spend one or two days there enjoying the attractions of the city. The next day, rent a car and
drive to Tongariro National Park (overnight in Ohakune). If you want to ski (and if
it's the season) I would go to Turoa ski resort, or not, go up get the chairlift at Whakapapa ski resort, to enjoy the fabulous scenery from up there,
stay the night in Taupo. Next day enjoy the attractions of the city, such as the lake and
Huka Falls, and then move to Rotorua, stopping to visit the Waimangu Thermal Park,
about 20 km before Rotorua. In Rotorua, I'd make my base to explore and stay
around 2 or 3 days, enjoying the city's thermal attractions, parks and Maori culture.
From Rotorua, I would spend the day in Waitomo Caves and go back and sleep in
Rotorua.I would call the boat operator in city of Whakatane, to check if the next day's ride to White Island will be
ok. If so, do not miss the tour. The next day, early morning go to
Whakatane in time to catch the boat. On the way back, I would stop in Mt Maunganui to stay
there for the night. In Mt Maunganui, go around the hill with fantastic sea
views and for the fit ones a easy climb to the top of the mountain. Finish the
day relaxing in the spa hot pools or relax the sunset on the beach. The next day
I would go to Coromandel Peninsula, a scenic
route by the sea, sleeping in Thames, finishing the trip to Auckland next day.
South Island: I would fly to Christchurch, and from there buy a combo
Tranz Alpine train + bus to the Glaciers to Queenstown the next day and
sleep in Fox Glacier after visiting the glacier. In Queenstown, would stay
2 or 3 days enjoying the many tours the city and around and than rent a car to drive to Milford Sound to see the
fjords sleeping in Te Anau on the way back. Next day, one of the option is to go to Dunedin, enjoy the afternoon in the
city and back to Christchurch. the other option instead of going by sea is to
get the road to the town of Canteburry, Mt.Cook and return the car in Christchurch. In Christchurch would
stay one or two days to tour the city and see its attractions. Buy a ticket on a train
from Christchurch to Picton with the TranzCoastal stopping for a day to see the
Whales in Kiakoura, but do not forget to book in advance the train for the next
day. In Picton you can catch the ferry to Wellington, and follow the route above on the North Island.
Climate, which is most of the year
cold in NZ, but not dramatically with temperatures below
zero, only during the winter and in some places. Anyway, depending on the time
of the year you would be travelling, you will need more or less jackets. You may
shop for warm clothes in New Zealand, they are very affordable if you are not
looking for labels or fashion. Another important thing to know is that
during the cold our body loses the heat from the extremities, so using gloves, cap, and thermal or wool
socks it would be much better than just put another coat. Better take your warm clothes in
bag that is easily accessible (never choose to leave this bag in the trunk of the bus). A hooded raincoat is
very recommended and in my opinion it's better than an umbrella, because when it rains in NZ, usually
is windy as well.
motels are one the best value for money, as they are
usually located in
the centre of the city, are clean, tidy, spacious and complete furniture and
bedding with everything, including full kitchen with kitchen accessories to
cook. Most of them the car parking is in the front and very easy to move the
luggage or carry supermarket shopping bags. They are used for families and solo travellers.
Know more about accommodation options in NZ click here.
Confirm your reservation for the tour or for the
accommodation just making a phone call before you leave, because during certain times of
the year, some places and tours may get the top of the capacity and could be
sold out. Arriving without previous arrangements may be ok outside high-season, but
is too risky to do that in summer, special holidays and during the high season. Of course this will increase a bit your travel expenses with
calls but it
give you the tranquillity .
Booking and reservations
most restaurants only accept people who have previously booked .So it will be necessary to call ahead to say how many people go to dinner and what time. Upon arrival,
stay at the reception until a host will refer you to your table. Please do not
enter and choose your table, is not polite and probably they will ask you to
move because that table may have been reserved by someone else. In New Zealand
most restaurants offer a early dinner (6-7 pm) up to10 , by 11pm most
restaurants are already closing. Smoking in any place that serves food in NZ is strictly prohibited.
you do not need to walk with your passport everywhere and it is best to leave
it in the hotel to avoid losing it. You may carry a copy, but as no one in NZ is obliged to carry any kind of identity
on the streets, but you will need for driving or to enter in a club. Keep some
copy of your docs in a safe place and keep a copy of the credit card number and of your ticket. Losing
documents, credti card, the ticket or passport overseas can give a ot of
headaches so a copy in a safe place is very advisable. If you are travelling by
car in NZ and driving, your driver's license is valid for a few months, but preferably accompanied by an official translation
in English on a piece of paper. Private property and Maori land: some land and at the Maori Marae (it's the
the meeting house and local for pray for the Maori people) are considered sacred
places and should not be entered without an invitation or permission. Once
inside you must demonstrate respect.
Buses and trains and taxis may take bicycles, and you can save
money in transport to get around within the cities or tourist areas. Of course it is only worthwhile for those not
travelling by car. Bikes can be found cheap in any second-hand shop. There are great bike
tracks in almost all cities and the use of a helmet is mandatory. If you are travelling
by train, bus or tour, remember that transport timetable in New Zealand are very
robberies and assaults are very rare, but of course do not leave valuables lying
around or easy to see inside the car. Walking on the street at night is quite safe, except in
some suburbs in biggest cities, where drunk people and troublemakers can be disruptive.
Any problem you should contact the police, which in our opinion is one of the best in the world. You
really can rely on them.
Health insurance is highly
recommended, especially considering that doctors and dentists charge small fortune for consultation. If you are taking medication, take the recipes and remedies sufficient for the length of
your stay, or you may have to look for a doctor there to get a "prescription" to
allow you to buy in the pharmacy.
Money International credit cards are accepted by almost all the ATM machines
and banks, as well as shops, rental companies, hotels, tours, restaurants, etc. Visa
following by Master is the most currently used. You can exchange most currencies
for NZ $ dollar in any bank or exchange house. Some people still like the traveller's
checks which are safe accepted almost in all shops and bank. You can take
up to NZ$ 10 000 to New Zealand without the need to report. More than this
amount you better declare the reason to bring the money ( could be pay a course,
gambling in the cassino, buy a property etc). Do not worry, it's not illegal or wrong,
they just need to know about it in the immigration at the airport. If staying
for a long time you may consider the option to open an account in a NZ ban
Finally, you can be sure
that you could not choose a better country to
travel, it's really beautiful, easy and safe to travel in New Zealand. We wish
you a great trip!
Ahh, the Sun
is shining again...