Resources

  • 100% Pure New Zealand (www.newzealand.com) Comprehensive official tourism site.
  • Department of Conservation (www.doc.govt.nz) DOC parks, trail conditions and camping info.
  • Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/new-zealand) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
  • Destination New Zealand (www.destination-nz.com) Event listings and info from NZ history to fashion.
  • Te Ara (www.teara.govt.nz) Online encyclopedia of NZ.

Top Tips

  • Allow more driving time than you think you need. Outside cities, roads are narrow and winding, and there are often mountains or hills to navigate. Save time with internal flights, and don't try to see the whole country in two weeks.
  • Be aware that booked activities are often cancelled for weather reasons. If you have your heart set on a helicopter ride or wildlife walk that could be rained off, build extra time into your itinerary in case your tour is bumped to the following day.
  • Dress for NZ's famously fickle weather with layers you can add or remove as the weather decides what it wants to do.
  • Don't expect wi-fi to be fast or free outside cities. It's common for hotels and cafes to offer vouchers for a limited amount of data, and connections are often slow.

What to Take

  • Sturdy walking shoes – visiting NZ without doing at least some tramping (hiking) is a crime!
  • A small day pack
  • NZ electrical adaptor
  • Sunglasses for bright southern days
  • A woolly hat for unexpectedly chilly evenings
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Earplugs for hostel dorms

What to Wear

Given the locals' propensity to tramp off into the wilderness at any given moment, dress norms in NZ are generally fairly practical and versatile. Sure, dress to the nines for a night out on the town in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch (don't expect to get into a classy bar wearing shorts and flip-flops – or 'jandals' as the locals call them) – but elsewhere the key to comfort and commodity is to layer up. The weather here can change in a blink, particularly around Fiordland and the West Coast of the South Island: you'll be best equipped to adapt if you can quickly add or remove clothes to keep pace with the temperature.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least three months past your intended return date from New Zealand
  • Book rental cars, campervans and train tickets well in advance, particularly for travel during summer
  • Got travel insurance? Does it cover your planned activities, like winter sports?
  • Read up on Māori culture and learn a few words