New Zealand- is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria, along with the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s "Lord of the Rings" films.
New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world. Hiking, skydiving, caving, bungy jumping, skiing — everything here is geared towards getting you outside and doing something incredible. As a popular destination for backpackers and budget travelers, New Zealand is really affordable and offers many ways to save money. I loved my time in New Zealand — the people were friendly, the country was beautiful (I can see why the shot Lord of the Rings there), and you meet a lot of great travelers there. It’s one of the best countries in the world and a place not to be missed. I’ve never heard anyone not love their time in the country. Most people don’t want to leave! I didn’t. You really can’t go wrong with this majestic country. It’s one of my top ten countries in the world! Use this guide to plan the adventure of the lifetime on a budget!
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the Schengen countries. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to New Zealand consulate website: www.vfsglobal.com/NewZealand/UAE/
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options. Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette, and how shoppers can take advantage of VAT refunds.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things to see & do:
Christchurch-known for its English heritage, is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Flat-bottomed punts glide on the Avon River, which meanders through the city centre. On its banks are cycling paths, the green expanse of Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens. In 2010 and 2011, earthquakes destroyed many of the historic centre's stone-built buildings.
Auckland-based around 2 large harbours, is a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. In the centre, the iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbour, which is full of superyachts and lined with bars and cafes. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Wintergardens. Near Downtown, Mission Bay Beach has a seaside promenade.
Queenstown -The action capital of the country, this is one of the most fun cities I’ve ever visited. There’s a lot of outdoor activities and sports (bungee jumping is the most popular) to do in the area, amazing restaurants, and the best nightlife in New Zealand. Everyone who comes ends up staying longer than planned. Don’t skip Fergburger either — they have the best burgers in the country!
Hamilton-is a city in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. Hamilton Gardens, a sprawling public park, features elaborate themed gardens ranging from Italian Renaissance to Japanese and traditional Maori styles. The Waikato Museum displays Maori art and artefacts. Next door, ArtsPost gallery focuses on local art. In the busy city centre, Victoria Street is lined with restaurants, cafes and bars.
Wellington-the capital of New Zealand, sits near the North Island’s southernmost point on the Cook Strait. A compact city, it encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. From Lambton Quay, the iconic red Wellington Cable Car heads to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. Strong winds through the Cook Strait give it the nickname "Windy Wellington.
Dunedin-is a city in New Zealand, at the head of Otago Harbour on the South Island’s southeast coast. It's known for its Scottish and Maori heritage, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and a large student population. Hiking and cycling trails crisscross the dramatic landscape of the adjoining Otago Peninsula, home to colonies of albatross, sea lions and rare yellow-eyed penguins.
Nelson-is a city on the South Island of New Zealand, facing Tasman Bay. It's known for local arts and crafts stores, and art galleries. It's also a popular base for nearby caving sites, vineyards and Abel Tasman National Park. Established by English settlers in 1841, the city's history is showcased at Founders Heritage Park, a living museum with a vintage railway.
Franz Josef Glacier – Hiking these glaciers is pretty amazing. Be sure to crawl through the glacier tunnels, they’re pretty cool! Franz Josef / Waiau is a small town in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand. Whataroa is 32 kilometres to the north-east, and the township of Fox Glacier is 23 kilometres to the south-west. State Highway 6 runs through the town.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Labeled the best one-day hike in New Zealand, this walk takes you through where they filmed Mordor in Lord of the Rings. You walk through volcanic terrain, near high peaks, and sulfur lakes before finishing off in a dense forest. The walk takes a full day and is actually quite challenging. Your legs will probably be sore for a few days afterward but it will be worth the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing the hike.
Bay of Islands – North of Auckland, this area has some of the best opportunities for dolphin and whale watching, relaxing on the beach, swimming, boating, and eating seafood. The area is very low key and is a popular summer and weekend getaway destination for Aucklanders.
Bungy jump – Any adrenaline seeker worth their salt will do the 500 foot Nevis Bungy Jump outside of Queenstown. If that’s too high, there are smaller ones in Auckland and Queenstown.
Skydive – Another popular adventure activity in New Zealand is skydiving. The best place for this is over Lake Taupo. It provides a stunning backdrop as you plunge to Earth from 15,000ft. A jump from 12,000ft will cost you around 300 NZD, while a jump from 15,000ft that includes a video, photos, and t-shirt is 550 NZD.
Abel Tasman National Park – Located in the south island, this national park looks like something out of Asia with its turquoise blue water, dense jungles, and warm temperatures. There are many multi-day hiking trails and beautiful sea kayaking throughout the park.
Wellington – New Zealand’s capital has great architecture, character, fantastic nightlife, restaurants, and cultural activities. I found it to be the most “artsy” city in New Zealand. There’s a lot of cultural activities to do here so don’t be like other travelers and rush through — it’s worth a few days!
Waitomo Glowworm Caves – Explore these caves in sheer darkness with nothing but the glow of glowworms to guide your way. It’s an exciting activity as you float down rivers and jump over waterfalls and watch the “starry sky” in the cave. You can also tube and rappel through the caves too. It was one of the highlights of my time in the country.
Maori cultural show – Maori culture is important to understanding life in this country. You find Maori symbols and words throughout the country. See a cultural show while you are there to get a better understanding of the life and history of the country’s native population (the most popular ones are in Rotorua).
Dolphin and Whale watching – Whether you go from the Bay of Islands, Auckland, or down in the south island, the country is the migratory route for many of these creatures and you’re bound to see lots of them no matter when you go.
Go skiing – During the winter months, the south island, especially the are around Queenstown, has snow covered mountains that offer some of the best skiing in the southern hemisphere.
Rotorua – Rotorua is famous for its Maori cultural shows and for its sulfur smell. All around the city are sulfur mud pits that give the city a unique odor. But the upside is that there are a tone of thermal spas in the area to relax in!
Kaikoura – This is a coastal town several miles north of Christchurch. It is set in a peninsula, which makes it an awesome place to enjoy the mountain scenery while watching for whales or dolphins. Additionally, there are is an interesting museum, a handful of historical sights, and the Maori Leap limestone cave.
Wellington Botanic Gardens – Of all the beautiful gardens throughout the country, this is perhaps the most popular. There is a vast tract of native forest, in addition to an international plant collection, a rose garden, and a landscaped area — complete with duck pond, playground, sculptures, a café, and more.
Ride the gondola – If you are in Christchurch, the gondola ride is highly recommended and a pretty fundamental experience. The ride starts on the Heathcote Valley floor and takes you up the side of Mount Vaendish. There is a nice restaurant at the top that allows you to peer out over the landscape as you eat. Many people cycle or walk back down.