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Travel Tips to
New Zealand

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.

Accommodation,  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.

Documents  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.

Bike travellers  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 reliable.

Safety 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 before arriving. 

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...

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