Looking for somewhere to enjoy with your family? How does a trip to New Zealand on your holidays sound?
With plenty of things to do on the island, New Zealand has been voted time and time again by publications and tourists alike as one of the best tourist spots in the world.
The island satisfies the casual traveller to even the most extreme ones thanks to its top-notch attractions; it’s also a great place for families to bask around and spend some time bonding.
In our guide today, we’ll cover everything families need to know about New Zealand. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on your next trip.
About New Zealand
New Zealand is located about 1,500km east of Australia. It is divided into two islands: the South Island and the North Island.
The two islands are hot spots for tourists but they have differences in terms of the activities and atmosphere on the islands.
An analogy that we tell our clients every time is that if you love adventure and intense activities, go for the South Island; if you are looking for a more metropolitan or city feel, go for the North Island.
Of course, both of them are excellent places to travel so you won’t miss out on anything if you choose one over the other.
The South Island is larger in land mass than the North Island so you’ll need to allocate more time in your trips if you want to experience the best of both islands.
Basic Facts about New Zealand
The capital of New Zealand is Wellington which is located on the North Island, while the major city in the South Island is Christchurch.
New Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) which is approximately 1 NZD = 0.70 USD.
New Zealand’s time zone is +12GMT which is 4 hours ahead of EST
New Zealand cars drive on the left, so if you are from a right-lane country, you’ll have to be aware of this difference.
The main language in New Zealand is English, with Maori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) being common too.
Facts about Travelling to the Island
The most viable and practical way to travel to the island is via airplane. The country closest to New Zealand (Australia) is about 4,000km away which means that it’s going to take some time for you to reach the island if you are from regions that are not in Oceania.
There are multiple airports throughout the island with the busiest being Auckland International Airport (IATA code: AKL); passengers also commonly arrive at Christchurch International Airport (CHC) and Wellington International Airport (WLG).
New Zealand is served by almost all major airlines providers such as:
- Cathay Pacific
- Qatar Airways
- Air Canada
- American Airlines
There are also flights that move to and around New Zealand only, so you shouldn’t worry about having no flights to the island.
Coming will cost you anywhere from $900-$4,000 for an economy ticket depending on your location and flight provider. Business and first class tickets are going to be more pricey so be aware of that.
Travelling to New Zealand is visa-free for some countries like the US and the Netherlands. You can check out the list of visa-free countries over at the island’s official immigration page.
If your country is not on the visa-free list, you will need to apply for a visitor visa to enter. This page will tell you what to do to get a visitor visa.
Moving around New Zealand
Moving around the island is not an issue; New Zealand has an effective public bus transport system for you to move between different points of interest. Commuter rail systems are available in two cities; Auckland and Wellington.
If you want to move around yourself, car rentals are available throughout the country. There are also self-drive tour packages that provide you with a car and an itinerary which makes travelling around the island a lot easier.
Over here at The Road Trip, we have one of the most attractive and widely praised self-drive tours in New Zealand for travellers. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out on our main page.
Do note, however, that you need a few things to legally drive in the country:
- You have a full driver’s license in English (or an accurate translation) in your home country
- You have to be of a legal age to drive in the country
- You came into New Zealand less than 12 months ago
If you do not meet those requirements, you’ll have to apply for a New Zealand driver’s license. Find out more about the legalities of driving in the island over at the official page.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, cars drive on the left in New Zealand which means that everything is inverted if you are from a right-side driving country (including the steering wheels and signals of your car).
There also some roads on the island which are full of twists and turns as well as rough terrains. Be careful when driving and always save emergency contacts in your phone for help if you get in trouble.
Here is a list of numbers for you to save before you go to the island:
- 111 – New Zealand emergency services (firefighters, police, and ambulance)
- 0800-611-116 – New Zealand HealthLine (voice your medical issues and concerns)
Interesting Cities and Attractions Around the Island
There are plenty of things on both of the islands in the country. If you have the time, going to both the North and South island is the best option. Otherwise, going to either one is also great.
The North Island
The North Island is home to many metropolitan areas that are chic and classy; Auckland is one of the more popular cities in New Zealand.
The first thing that you’ll see (and visit) is the massive 328-metre Auckland Sky Tower. You’ll be able to have a bird’s eye view of the city while being an excellent spot for taking memorable and scenic photos.
The Sky Tower is also home to 5-star dining experiences; it also hosts several extreme activities such as bungee jumping to fix the craving of tourists who want an adrenaline rush.
You can also drop by Waikato which is the location for several sets in the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. Places such as the Waitomo caves which is home to thousands of glowworms can be a great place to bring your family to; the beautiful sights will be a hit with the kids, especially.
The volcanic landscape of Rotorua is also a great choice if you are a fan of amazing views. You’ll be able to spot lava-like lakes as well as relive the history of New Zealand inhabitants 600 years ago in traditional Maori villages.
The South Island
The South Island is becoming more and more popular thanks to its abundance of activities – primarily extreme ones.
The most notable location on the South Island is Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world. You’ll able to take part in bungee jumps at AJ Hackett Bungy – the pioneers of bungee jumping.
Extreme activities are not the only nice things in Queenstown, there are plenty of wonderful sights such as the Remarkables, a beautiful mountain range with views that no other place in the world can contest.
If that doesn’t get you excited, Wanaka is another place that you can visit. Wanaka is a paradise for ski lovers thanks to its vast ski areas such as the Wanaka trails; the trails are also accessible for wheelchair-enabled individuals.
Tour Packages in New Zealand
As we’ve mentioned earlier, we provide self-drive tours for travellers. Check out our 14-day South Island self-drive road trip package where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the island with total freedom.
We also provide an 8-day luxury tour for tourists who want to explore New Zealand while being pampered in luxurious hotels and experiences that are not included in regular tour packages. You’ll live in 5-star hotels and enjoy incredible food with our luxury packages.
Last but not least, our very popular private guided tours are also available to tourists who want to encounter the very best of New Zealand. Our 16-day guided tour package will bring you to the best places and attractions in both the islands at attractive prices.
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