Important Information for Travelers visiting New Zealand from the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is New Zealand’s fourth largest international visitor market, currently marked by uncertainties surrounding Brexit. Approximately 73 percent of British travellers visit regions outside of the main tourist centres.
- New Zealand’s bio-security regulations are strictly enforced. Possible imprisonment or penalties of up to $100 000 may be imposed, for importing most foodstuffs, such as fruit, dairy products, honey, meat and meat products.
- Careful consideration should be made regarding items made from animal skin, tents, wood products, footwear, golf clubs, and fishing equipment, checking these against the immigration arrivals card.
- Either dump dubious items in the bins provided at the airport or declare them to a Ministry of Agriculture official.
- The New Zealand Customs website will indicate restrictions on medication permitted to be brought into New Zealand. Prescription medicines must be declared on the passenger arrival card.
- Visitors to the island of Niue may require a yellow fever certificate. Consult the National Travel Health Network for clarification.
Entry into New Zealand without a visa
Whether travellers are eligible to enter New Zealand without a visa depends entirely on their nationality. Australians can enter and stay in New Zealand indefinitely. UK passport holders can enter without a visa for up to six months. Citizens of many countries may visit for periods of up to 90 days visa-free, such as all European Union members, Brazil, United States, Argentina, Canada, and Japan.
New Zealand travel guide
New Zealand Travel Guide for First Time Travellers
So, if you are all set and planning for your dream trip to New Zealand, “The Land of the Long White Cloud,” it is time you make some extensive research and preparation. This is a small but amazing country to dive into the adventure with your loved ones. Whether you are keen on adventure sports, have a great taste for wine, love rugby, people, hikes, culture or simply want to get lost in the wilderness, New Zealand has everything to offer. Since the options are many, choosing and planning the entire trip is indeed intimidating.
I have spent a lot of time in New Zealand, and am so pleased to share some cool suggestions with you.
How much time do I need?
You will surely underestimate the length of the time you must take to see New Zealand properly. The country has a lot in its platter, and it is common for travellers to underestimate time and distances. Some local knowledge will help you get the best out of your time.
New Zealand is larger than how visitors perceive it. It is similar to the size of Germany or California. In order to visit North and the South islands in a comfortable manner, you need a minimum of 14 days in hand. You can plan the duration of your New Zealand travel a bit less by deciding to skip some sections of long drives with train travels or flight travels between the North and the South Islands.
Weather and seasons
New Zealand is an island mountain nation which sits isolated over the Southwest of the Pacific. Weather can hence be sometimes unpredictable. Following is a little overview of the seasons and weather in New Zealand.
1) Summers are warm: New Zealand is practically located at the earth’s bottom. So, seasons are the opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere. The months of December, January and February are the most popular month’s people come here in New Zealand.
2) Autumn or fall is great for hiking: The months of March, April, and May in New Zealand are less crowded and cool. This makes it perfect for long hikes.
3) Winter: June, July, and August are the winter months, and New Zeeland sports some of the best ski regions in the world. Even if you are not much a ski person, winter hiking in New Zealand can be an all-new experience.
4) Spring: These are the warm days of September, October, and November during which hikers love spending time on quiet trials at the backcountry.
Visas and eTA travel authorisation
You are not required to get a visa for visiting New Zealand if you meet any of the following conditions:
- If you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or resident.
- If you are a UK citizen having a valid passport
- If you are the citizen of any country which gives visa waiver agreement to New Zealand.
If you are not falling in any of the above categories, then you will need to get yourself a visitor’s visa, which will allow you to stay in New Zealand for nine months. One of the easiest and fastest ways to apply for a visitor visa is sending an online application.
Since October 1st, 2019 the visa waiver nations must request an ETA or Electronic Travel Authority before coming to New Zealand. You need to make a payment online, and part of it goes to the IVL or International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.
Currency and costs
The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar or NZ$. No restrictions are imposed on the amount of foreign currency you can bring in or take out of New Zealand. However, if you carry over NZ$ 10,000 in cash, then you need to fulfil a Border Cash Report.
The foreign currencies can be exchanged easily in hotels, banks or Bureau de Change kiosks, which can be found in international airports and all central city points. All major credit cards, as well as Traveler’s Cheques, are accepted and used in most stores, banks, and hotels.
The banks can guide you over the latest exchange rates in the New Zealand dollar.
Accommodation in New Zealand
Accommodation options in New Zealand are many. There is something for all kinds of travellers. Usually, you will find the price range of accommodation in New Zealand a bit higher than in other countries. You will get five-star hotels or resorts, and also amazing home stays in New Zealand that are perfect for the budget as well as for backpacking travellers. For instance, a typical lodge may cost you NZ$ 900, but hostel accommodation can cost as low as NZ$98. So, this means that while in New Zealand, you can get a wide range of accommodation options as per your budget. You just need to a little bit of research.
As far as food is concerned, some of the must-try dishes in New Zealand include hāngi, crayfish, kina and kiwi burger. The food cost also depends on the restaurant that you visit. Brand chains like Burger King, KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s are quite popular in New Zealand. A small KFC meal may start from NZ$5, while a large McDonald’s meal may cost anywhere from NZ$8 to $15. At normal non-branded restaurants, you can get breakfast for NZ$5 to 15, and dinner for NZ$20 to 40 per person.
Health & safety
Get to know some basic health and safety related information before coming to New Zealand.
- Vaccination requirement – No vaccination requirement is there before coming to New Zealand.
- Weather is variable – The New Zealand weather keeps changing. So, if you are planning for a long walk in any National Parks, be prepared for some cold and wet weather conditions.
- Sunburns – The low altitude and clear skies make sun rays stronger than in North America or Europe, and hence use a sun block and wear proper gear when planning to go out in the sun.
Transportation – public transport, rent-a-car
It is very easy to get around in New Zealand. The country is small and divided into two primary islands. All primary areas are well connected by road and air. Following are some basic tips for transportation in New Zealand.
1) Flying in New Zealand– Auckland Airport is the primary gateway for foreigners. Other main cities, like Christchurch, Wellington, and Queenstown also have their airports. Air New Zealand is the national air carrier of New Zealand. Some other airlines serving in New Zealand are Emirates, United, LATAM, Air China, Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Australia.
2) Car rentals in New Zealand- Visitors can also rent cars, as this is one of the most flexible ways of transportation here. During peak season, car rental in New Zealand may cost NZ$9 per day. An 8-seater campervan may cost NZ$150 per day.
Domestic flights in New Zealand
In New Zealand, domestic flights as one of the fastest and cheapest ways to move around. Although New Zealand comprises of some islands, still it is well connected with 25 different destinations all over the country. Following are the main and largest airports in New Zealand:
- Auckland (AKL)
- Wellington (WLG)
- Christchurch (CHC)
- Queenstown (ZQN)
- Hamilton (HLZ)
- Nelson (NSN)
The airfare is quite cheap within New Zealand. For instance, a non-stop Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Christchurch may cost NZ $152, and a non-stop Air New Zealand flight from Wellington to Queenstown may cost NZ $260.
You can take online help or assistance from travel agents to design your own itinerary for New Zealand travel. Based on the preferences of the travellers, customised routes are created. Following are some of the most popular travel tours in New Zealand.
1) Nature cruises – This type of cruise can take you to the natural resources of the beautiful Tasman Sea. Typically, a Vancouver to Seattle cruise for 14 nights may cost NZ$ 125 per person, while a glacier cruise for seven nights may cost NZ$ 30 per person.
2) Wine tours – The tour takes travellers to three to four wineries where you can taste wine and also buy them to take home. For instance, and food and wine tasting tour of Waiheke Island from Auckland may cost around NZ$ 185.
3) Island adventures – If you want to skydive from a plane over Queenstown, you will have to pay NZ$60. During this experience, you will jump out of an aircraft flying at the height of 15,000 feet. You will be allowed free fall for the first 60 seconds, and then a paraglider will take you back to the earth. Images and videos will also be captured of your adventure so that you can keep them safe and share with your loved ones.
Make sure to finally do a lot of research before planning out your New Zealand trip for the first time. Above all, enjoy as much as you can when in New Zealand, as this is going to be a lifetime experience for you.
Why visit New Zealand
New Zealand is more than just an island. It is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean which geographically encompasses about 600 small islands and two main landmasses: the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (Te Wahipounamu). Te Wahipounamu is one of New Zealand’s three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the others being Tongariro National Park and the Sub Antarctic Islands.
Apart from the natural scenery, friendly people, the interesting Maori people, cultural intrigues and great weather, New Zealand has this to offer visits:
Salt Water Baths, Motueka, became possibly the first-ever infinity pool in the world. Walk on water, visiting at high tide in the early morning or around sunset to have the beauty and splendour all to yourself.
Stewart Island, Southland and its remote beauty, is sometimes overlooked by visitors. The third in the chain of Islands has recently received International Dark Sky Sanctuary status.
Castlepoint, Wairarapa is within the Castlepoint Scenic Reserve, an hour and a half’s easy drive from the Wairarapa town of Martinborough. The Castlepoint lighthouse is a jewel in the crown of the reserve which is popular with New Zealand fur seals and dolphins.
Oparara Arches, West Coast, within the Kahurangi National Park, where an easy hike meanders a 1.25-mile track through ancient rainforests to see the Oparara Arches. This imposing limestone arch forms part of the Honeycomb Hill Caves.
A sector of New Zealand tourism actually revolves around the movies produced in line with J. R. R. Tolkien’s books, The Hobbits and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien tourism as a phenomenon sees fans of The Lord of the Rings fictional universe visiting locations used in the movies, and which have book-related significance. Peter Jackson’s movies are undoubtedly credited with increasing New Zealand’s annual tourism numbers. The country’s tourism websites lure fans with “Experience New Zealand, Home of Middle Earth”. A free “Middle Earth map” is even provided, inviting tourists to locate film locations, which include:
Mount Olympus, pillars of rock naturally sculpted within Kahurangi National Park was a real backdrop in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Mount Sunday remotely found west of the Canterbury plains was the site for Edoras. Complete day tour packages from Christchurch are ever popular regardless of all traces of the film set having been removed.
Hobbiton remains as it did in the movies, in Matamata in New Zealand’s Waikato district.
Piopio with its limestone cliffs on a farm owned by the Denize, is the site where the three trolls very nearly devour Bilbo and the dwarves. Suzie and Warrick Denize have a tour company for visits to the filming location, a wild, mossy forest on their farm.
Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve in New Zealand’s Wairarapa district is the suitably eerie backdrop to the Paths of the Dead through the White Mountains in Return of the King. Hiking the pinnacles should be on any tourist’s bucket list, fan of the Rings or not.
The Pelorus River in Nelson near the top of the South Island, is the location of Bilbo the “Barrel-Rider “escaping the wood elves by riding the river in a barrel with the dwarves in The Desolation of Smaug. Visitors can kayak the river, stopping off at notable sites along the river which fans might recognise from the film and where others will indubitably revel in the scenery.