Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, or you prefer to sip wine on a picturesque beach, New Zealand will have an experience beyond your wildest dreams. It’s made up of two main islands, North and South, with almost three quarters of the population living on the North. Miles and miles of diverse beaches, with black to gold to pink sand, make for plenty of activities both beside and in the water. And, because the islands are astride two tectonic plates, there are many volcanoes and geothermal areas – many of them still active! Enjoy kayaking with the dolphins, gourmet farm-to-table meals at world-famous wineries, warm soaks in natural mud baths, plus biking, hiking, bungee jumping, and so much more!
Having a passport and visa will allow you smooth entry into New Zealand. However, you do not need to apply for a travel visa if you are visiting for 3 months or less, and are a citizen of the United States. (Other countries have visa waiver agreements, see here for more. ) Your passport should be valid for at least 3 months after your expected departure dates.
Their summer season runs opposite the United States, so it’s warm there (70-90F) from December to February, and their winter months run June to August (35-60F). Although it does rain and snow there in the winter, New Zealand gets a lot of sunshine, so make sure to bring your hat and sunscreen!
Their currency is the New Zealand dollar, and all major credit cards are accepted widely throughout the country. There is no restriction on the amount of cash you bring into the country, and you can find exchange rates at banks, hotels, and various kiosks.
There are over 80 iSITE visitor information centers throughout the country, that can answer questions or help you plan a local trip or adventure. They also usually have wifi, so it’s a great spot to get connected. And, while there are wifi hotspots available in New Zealand, they’re usually only found in the main cities. Otherwise, they are infrequent. If you want consistent access to the internet and phone, it’s recommended that you purchase a data plan from one of New Zealand’s main networks (Vodaphone, Spark, Skinny, or 2Phone – should we give links?)
You’ll be able to find a variety of ways to get around New Zealand, including train, bus, and ferry. If you do decide to drive yourself in New Zealand, be aware that they drive on the left side of the road, and the driver is seated in the right hand side of the vehicle.