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New Zealand Travel Guide

New Zealand Travel Guide
new zealand travel guide

New Zealand is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, and also happens to be where I’m from. I’ve travelled New Zealand both as a local and a tourist; after spending four years overseas, I ventured back to my home country with the Haggis, and we explored New Zealand top to bottom.

I had a lot of fun playing tour guide, and now I’m sharing my travel secrets with you so you can plan the most epic trip ever!

New Zealand Cheat Sheet

Population: 4.9 million

Size: 268,021 km² [that’s bigger than the UK!]

Language: New Zealand has three official languages: English [spoken throughout New Zealand], New Zealand Sign Language, and Te Reo Māori. The Maori language is considered a national taonga (treasure) and 4% of New Zealanders speak it.

Currency: New Zealand Dollar [NZD]. New Zealand accepts debit and Visa/Mastercard at most places. Contactless payments are available, however, I did find a lot of places didn’t accept contactless. It’s helpful to carry cash, especially in smaller towns where they may not accept credit.

Climate: The climate varies throughout New Zealand, but overall New Zealand has great weather! The far north is sub-tropic and ranges between 20-30 degrees in the summer; the lower North Island is slightly cooler; the South Island is home to the Southern Alps and as a general rule it is cooler here- though Canterbury can have 30+ degree days during summer! The South Island also has great ski hills. 

Best time to visit: Personally I think mid-January to March [summer/autumn] or October-November [spring] is the perfect time to visit New Zealand. There aren’t as many locals on holiday during these times and you’ll still get stunning weather!

Accommodation in New Zealand

I’ve stayed in some pretty incredible accommodation all around New Zealand. There is all sorts of cool and quirky places to stay, as well as some gorgeous luxury hotels, convenient motels, and fun hostels.

When looking for accommodation in New Zealand I use Once I find a place I’m happy with, I’ll also compare prices booking directly and also on Expedia to see which has the cheapest price.

Getting Around

There are five main ways to travel throughout New Zealand: by car, bus, train, flying and by ferry.

The best way to see New Zealand is by car- there are plenty of rivers, beaches, and hidden gems that you will need a car to reach. There are also some great scenic drives in New Zealand!

If you need to hire a car, I recommend comparing prices at Auto Europe and booking either Apex or Thrifty [whichever is cheaper].

The main public transport system in New Zealand is bus. New Zealand’s main bus company is InterCity– it serves both islands. Skip is another bus network that operates throughout the North Island.

New Zealand has a small train network, but they are scenic train rides rather than to get from point A to point B. You can check out the scenic train journeys on the Great Journeys of NZ website.

You can also travel from the North Island to the South Island [and vice versa] by ferry. You can also reach many of the smaller islands off New Zealand, such as Stewart Island, by ferry.

The two main domestic airlines in New Zealand are Air New Zealand and the budget airline, Jetstar. Personally, I recommend Air New Zealand for a more enjoyable experience!

Top 10 Must Sees

There are SO many things to do in New Zealand, but I won’t overwhelm you. Here are the top 10 must-see and do attractions in New Zealand. 

1. Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

2. Visit the Hobbiton movie set

3. Cruise Milford Sound

4. Go on a winery tour

5. Experience Maori Culture

6. Franz Josef Glacier Heli Flight

7. Hike the Tongariro Crossing

8. Go whale watching in Kaikoura

9. Visit a kiwi sanctuary

10. Explore Cathedral Cove

Travel Tip

Booking activities last minute? Check out – they have last minute deals on tours and attractions in New Zealand which will save you money!

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