In terms of stunning scenery and adventure tourism New Zealand is the place to go! As a New Zealander I’ve come to acquire a vast amount of knowledge about this beautiful country. Some of it has been acquired through random things I have noticed and a few have been through hard lessons I have learnt. I thought it might be helpful if I put together a list of tips for any travelers aspiring to go to New Zealand.
New Zealand Weather is Wacky
Firstly New Zealand weather is crazy. It is very normal to experience four seasons within the span of fifteen minutes. Just as I’ve been writing this I’ve probably experienced two seasons. Five minutes ago it looked like it was going to rain and now it is so sunny I could cook an egg on my laptop. I remember one time leaving home to go up to university. It was pretty mild weather so I didn’t even bring a jacket. However, by the time I had got to university (which was a 15 minute walk) I was in the middle of a snow storm. I would recommend preparing for unexpected weather. A tip is to wear layers that can easily be taken off or put back on. This is particularly necessary in winter when those Southerlies start blowing.
It is also beneficial to bring a water proof jacket because it can start pouring down with very little warning. It rains a lot in New Zealand so best to be prepared. It can also get very windy. When this happens an umbrella won’t work thus a waterproof jacket is a necessity.
Beware of the sun
It is summer in New Zealand at the moment which makes it the perfect time to explore the breath taking scenery, hiking trails and exquisite beaches. If you are going to adventure out into the sun I think it is important to note that the sun in New Zealand is quite harsh. Therefore, it is very necessary that you wear sun protection. Wear a hat, sunglasses and SPF 30+ sun lotion. Make sure to apply sun lotion even if you’re only going to be outside for two minutes. Yesterday, I was outside for two minutes sitting under a shaded tree and somehow managed to get burnt on the back of my neck. I don’t know exactly how it happened possibly magic but more likely bad decision making. Also remember to reapply sun lotion after you go swimming.
Traveling around New Zealand
There are many ways you can travel the country. Most cities such as Auckland and Wellington have good public transport systems and it is fairly easy to get around. Living in Wellington I have found navigating the bus system easy. It is $2 per zone and $1.66 if you have a Snapper card. I often travel from the train station to the end of Courtney Place which only costs me $2. Each bus stop has time tables up so you can see when the next bus will arrive. You can also look up your travel route on the Metlink website if you are unsure which bus route to take. I often check the website to see when the next bus is coming before I leave the house.
I’ve also used bus companies such as Intercity and Naked to travel around the country from Wellington. I have found them to be efficient and sometimes Naked Bus has really good ticket price deals you just have to book really early. Intercity and Naked leave from around the Wellington train station which is great.
Driving around New Zealand
Road tripping around New Zealand is one of the quintessential must dos. Renting a car is a great way to see the country. You have the option to stop any time you want to take pictures or gaze at the lovely scenery and it gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace.
However, while driving around New Zealand is amazing there are some things you probably should keep in mind. The roads are generally very windy in New Zealand. This is because the roads tend to go around the landscape. You will find yourself driving over mountain ranges and rugged coastlines. At times the roads are narrow and in rural areas there can sometimes be one way bridges. Also not so much in the cities, but in rural areas there are always tractors on the roads and sometimes even sheep and cows crossing. Seeing cows and sheep in the middle of the road is always hilarious! A tip for driving in New Zealand is to take it slow and keep your eyes peeled.
In the South Island in particular it is common to drive for hours without coming across a town. This is because New Zealand has a small population of people. New Zealand only has a population of 4.4 million. Of that 4.4 million only 1 million people inhabit the South Island. If you are going to do a lot of driving I would suggest filling up your car when you can with petrol, snacks, and water just in case.
See as Much as Possible
New Zealand is home to a plethora of activities catering to all sorts of tourists. I would suggest seeing as much as the country as possible. Try to go to other places other than Auckland. If you can come to Wellington. We have a very cool artistic scene and amazing coffee. Also visit the South Island. The South Island has even more spectacular scenery then the North Island which is saying something. If you’re driving try to stop in smaller towns or more remote areas you never know what you will find.
New Zealanders are generally quite friendly, easy going people. If you are lost or are in need of information I would suggest asking a local. Most people are very open and won’t mind helping you out. They will probably have insider knowledge and may even be able to tell you some stories about the place you’re in.
New Zealand is great! Just remember to take a camera. I hope you enjoy everything this beautiful country has to offer. Safe travels.