When is the best time to visit New Zealand? You can visit New
Zealand at any time of the year. Summer and winter temperatures vary by
only about 10ºC over most of the country, making New Zealand an ideal
holiday destination all year round.
New Zealand has four quite
distinct seasons - Spring (Sept-Nov), Summer (Dec-Feb), Autumn/Fall
(Mar-May) and Winter (June-Aug). In summer there's plenty of sunshine,
and activities in and around the water include rafting, snorkelling,
diving and kayaking. You'll find snow on the mountains in winter and
excellent skiing. Away from the mountains, New Zealand winters are mild
and temperatures generally do not fall below freezing.
How safe is New Zealand? New Zealand is considered one of the safest destinations in the world. We have one poisonous spider that the majority of the population has never seen and not dangerous animals. Crime is low and problems can generally be avoided by using common sense. The water in our cities and towns is excellent and in all cases tap water is fresh and safe to drink. When you’re visiting our great outdoors, it’s a good idea to boil or treat water from rivers and lakes to be on the safe side.
Is there much to do in New Zealand? Yes! New Zealand is lucky enough to have a wealth of outdoor activities on hand. You can hike through pristine native bush, walk in active geothermal areas, raft or kayak in crystal clear rivers, conquer mountains and at the end of the day, bathe in bubbling mineral pools. The more adventurous traveler could also ski a volcano, walk on a glacier, shoot the rapids in a jetboat or scuba dive in our beautiful, scenic waters. There are also plenty of activities for those who are not so focused on the outdoors. For example, exploring a traditional Maori village amongst the geysers and hot pools of our incredible geothermal areas, enjoying internationally renowned food and wine trails, or visiting the many exceptional museums, galleries and historic buildings scattered throughout the country. And even after having done all that, you’ll have barely scratched the surface.
Is it easy to get around in New Zealand? All of the main international car hire companies operate throughout New Zealand plus there are many reputable local companies. You will need to be twenty-one years of age to hire a car and twenty-five to hire a campervan. A current driver’s license from your home country or an International Drivers License (in English text) will be required. Then the country is all yours. New Zealand offers a wide range of other transport options, including local airlines, trains, coaches and more.
Will you send out driving directions once I reserve my trip with Active Downunder? We
strive to provide as much relevant pre-trip information as possible, but we do
not send out detailed driving directions with your travel documents. Closed roads and route changes are very
complicated for us to monitor and accurately keep track of.The last thing we want to do is give you
driving directions that are incomplete.We've found that the best possible resource you could use is to ask the hosts
at the property you are departing from for the best way to get to your next
stop.The locals know the most efficient
current routes, and are sometimes able to give you shortcuts, or recommend nice
rest stops along the way that coincide with your interests. Roads in New
Zealand are small and few in number compared to the USA, so directions will
generally be simple and straightforward.
Will my rental car have a GPS navigation system? GPS systems are available in rental cars in New Zealand, however, they must be pre-booked. Depending on the rental car company used, you should expect to pay approx NZD$10 - $15 per day.
What can I expect when driving in New Zealand? You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have a current driver's license from your home country. In New Zealand all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their license at all times when driving.
Road Rules New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road. Drivers give way (or yield) to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right.
The speed limit is 100km/h on the open road and 50km/h in urban areas. You will find multi-lane motorways and expressways on the approaches to the larger cities, with most roads being dual carriageways. Signposting follows standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km).
Both drivers and passengers must wear a safety belt in both the front and back seats. All children under the age of five must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint when traveling in cars or vans.
Get plenty of sleep before a long drive. Take regular breaks - one every two hours and when you get sleepy.
I've heard that there are some strict policies upon arriving for what you can and cannot bring into New Zealand. What should I expect? New Zealand's agricultural industries are free of many insects, plants and animal diseases common elsewhere in the world. It is a priority at ports and airports to minimize the risk of new diseases being introduced. You are required by law to declare all plant and animal materials you bring with you, including the following
Food of any sort
Plants and parts of plants (alive or dead)
Animals (alive or dead) or products of animals
Equipment used with animals
Camping gear, golf clubs and used bicycles
Fruit, meat, honey, bird nests and reptiles.
f you declare restricted items you won’t be charged with any offense. The goods will simply be inspected for safety before you are allowed to enter the country. Some items may be treated (for example, fumigated) and then returned to you, while others may be prohibited from entry.For more information, visit: www.maf.govt.nz.
Is it easy to visit a National Park in New Zealand? It’s hard not to. We have fourteen national parks including three world heritage sites covering more than five million hectares throughout the country. More than a third of our country is protected in parks and reserves and all are open to visitors. www.doc.govt.nz
What type of food can I expect in New Zealand? Our wines and Pacific Rim food are world class. New Zealand has an excellent reputation for this delectable type of cuisine, mainly due to our innovative chefs who deftly combine the flavors of Asia and the Pacific into new taste sensations. We also offer a wide variety of exotic cuisines, from Asian to Mediterranean, and more. Freshly grown produce is abundant and our seafood is plucked directly from the ocean so the quality of our food is unsurpassed. New Zealand wines regularly pick up international awards and you’ll be able to appreciate why for yourself. You can also enjoy our local favorite, fresh fish and chips.
What is a ‘Kiwi’? The kiwi, New Zealand’s national emblem, is
a flightless bird with hair-like feathers and a long, slender bill,
which it uses to pull worms and insects out of the ground. Found only
in New Zealand, it is active at night in the wilderness areas of the
country. Be sure to visit one of the many kiwi houses where you can
watch them under special ‘nocturnal’ lighting.
often refer to themselves as Kiwis, and the term is also used as a
short form for the famous kiwifruit. On the stock exchange, the New
Zealand Dollar is also referred to as ’the kiwi’.
Where is the capital of New Zealand? Wellington is the political, banking and financial centre for New Zealand. The Parliament building known as the ‘Beehive’ is one of the city's top attractions. The National Archives, National Library and Old Government Buildings (the second largest wooden building in the world) are located nearby and are open to casual visitors free of charge.
What types of activities are available for children? If you are thinking about visiting with your family, you can be confident that New Zealand has a wide range of activities to keep your children happy.
New Zealand’s parks and large areas of unspoilt wilderness are ideal places to expand your children’s appreciation of wildlife and the outdoors. Horse riding, snow activities, whale watching, fruit picking and wildlife centres and zoos are just some of the choices available.
If you are visiting the larger centres, you will find a range of themed attractions including Rainbow’s End (Auckland), Splash Planet (Hastings), Marine Land (Napier) and the International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch). Te Papa, New Zealand’s interactive national museum, has a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including Story Place, a haven for small children.
Most family restaurants have childrens’ menus and high chairs. Many cafes also have high chairs, and a toy basket to amuse babies and toddlers is becoming increasingly common in both cafes and shops. Most public gardens have well equipped play areas for young children, as do many holiday parks. Adventure playlands such as Chipmunks or Lollipop’s Playland are always popular with the very young—these can be found in most main centres.