New Zealand Travel Guide

Welcome to New Zealand

Aotearoa, a land sculpted by voracious volcanoes and gentle glaciers, is an epic destination waiting to be explored.

Few places in the world can claim to match New Zealand’s beauty, but none can offer untouched landscapes alongside a rich culture and countless adventure activities.

Learn about New Zealand’s Maori history one day, go rafting or bungy jumping the next day, then hike to the top of an active volcano the next.  

New Zealand Travel Guides

Don’t miss anything in New Zealand.  Check out these detailed travel guides to get the best New Zealand travel ideas and make your kiwi trip unforgettable.

Things to Do in New Zealand

For a country of just under 5 million people, there’s a tonne of amazing things to do in New Zealand.  Whether you’re an adventure seeker or nature lover, New Zealand has something for everyone.

For many tourists, New Zealand is a long way from just about anything, so you’ll want to make the most of your trip and make sure to tick off both islands.  

1. Maori Culture in Rotorua

 

Māori are the tangata whenua, or indigenous people, of New Zealand.  They were the founders of New Zealand prior to British settlement in the 19th Century.

Unlike with many other colonisations around the world, Māori culture has been nurtured and largely respected in New Zealand.  It is a rich culture built upon a range of cultural concepts, including respect and honour, family, harmony, and an obligation to nature.

As travellers, Rotorua is the best place to respectfully experience Maori culture.  You can visit Maraes, pa sites, and watch traditional performances, including the renowned haka.

2. Explore Queenstown

 

Named the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is the ultimate hub for anyone looking to jump out of planes, raft down whitewater rapid, or roll down a hill in a giant plastic bubble.  This Queenstown Itinerary is the perfect guide to this awesome town.

Wine-lovers will enjoy the region as the wineries in Queenstown are amongst the best in the world.  They are particularly renowned for their Pinot Noir varieties.  Likewise, the restaurants in Queenstown are awesome – with Ferg Burger being the budget option that no traveller can afford to miss.

History-buffs can explore all the cute things to do in Arrowtown, which was once a thriving gold mining town.

Nature-lovers and hikers can look a bit further afield to find some of the best hikes in New Zealand all around the region.  The Wanaka region, in particular, is home to the famous Roy’s Peak (seriously, look it up) and Isthmus walk, amongst other awesome things to do in Wanaka.  Likewise, explore the best things to do in Glenorchy for some epic hikes and great sunrises.

New Zealand Travel Guide (1)

3. Visit the Milford Sound

 

Truthfully, the Milford Sound really should be the 8th wonder of the world.  It is one of many magnificent fiords in New Zealand’s South Island, but it is the most popular with tourists making it easy to visit.

You’ll find majestic mountains towering above you, with water weaving throughout them.  Stunning views can be found either by taking a boat tour through the fiord, or by hiking through the forests and the mountains to view the Milford Sound from above.

If money dictates, a helicopter tour is the ultimate way to experience the best sites in New Zealand.  For most travellers, however, a bus-cruise-bus tour is the best value.  No matter your budget, we recommend making it stretch to include a cruise – there is nowhere else like this.

4. Abel Tasman National Park

 

At the Northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, you will find Abel Tasman National Park.  Stunning golden beaches, jagged granite cliffs, and jade forests.  

Travellers can get off the Interislander ferry at nearby Picton and make their way to Abel Tasman National Park.  Relaxing at the beaches is easy, but the most rewarding activity here is the famous Coastal Walk.

5. Aoraki / Mount Cook

 

New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki, is nestled within Aoraki National Park, aptly named by Doc as a rugged land of ice and rock.

Hiking to the top is no small feet – it was the pivotal training ground for Sir Edmond Hillary, one of two people to be the first to summit Mount Everest.  

Despite this, Aoraki is easily accessible by car, with a wide range of unbelievably scenic walks suitable for all skill levels.  You definitely do not need to be an experienced mountaineer to enjoy Mount Cook, but you shouldn’t try to summit it if you aren’t.

A step-by-step guide to the most epic 5 days in the most beautiful part of New Zealand – Queenstown.

At almost 3,000 words long, this is the only itinerary you will need to fully experience everything Queenstown has to offer.

 

New Zealand Travel Tips

Currency: New Zealand Dollar

Electricity Socket: 230V AC electricity

Capital: Wellington

Population: 4.9 Million

New Zealand Visa: Most people can visit New Zealand for up to 9 months without a visa.  Check out this official list of countries with a visa exemption.  You will require an NZeTA and IVL which costs $47 here.  Anyone visiting from a country not on the aforementioned list will need to apply for a visa. Visa costs vary.

Safety: New Zealand is a very safe destination.  As with anywhere, exercise caution when alone or out at night.

Spoken Language: English is the official language of New Zealand and is widely spoken.  

Religion: 49% of New Zealanders have no religion.  37% are Christian.

Banks & ATMs: The main five banks in New Zealand are ASB, ANZ, Westpac, KiwiBank, and BNZ.  All ATMS are safe to use in NZ.  All banks charge withdrawal fees for foreign cards.  Your can minimize your withdrawal and exchange fees by getting a Transferwise Mastercard.

Sim Cards: The main telco providers in NZ are 2 Degrees, Spark, and Vodafone.  All three offer suitable coverage and are fine to use.  As kiwis, we’ve found 2 Degrees to have the best customer services so we recommend them.  Anyone can purchase a prepaid sim card for $10 – $70, check out the current pricing here.

Water:  It is safe to drink tap water in New Zealand.  If you are ever unsure, purchase bottled water or use a purifier. 

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