New Zealand is definitely one of the most amazing places on the globe. It has some incredible landscapes, completely unique wildlife (far tamer than that in Australia), and an incredible endemic Maori culture. What this means is that visiting New Zealand definitely needs to find a place on your bucket list. Still, planning a trip to this country isn’t a simple thing. With so many things to do and so many great places to visit, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Fortunately, with the right amount of research and preparation, you should be able to overcome this issue quite effortlessly. So, with that in mind and without further ado, here are five things you should know before visiting New Zealand.
1. The season to visit
For a lot of visitors from the northern hemisphere, it’s quite hard to get accustomed to the fact that in New Zealand and Australia, the seasons are in reverse. What this means is that December, January, and February are New Zealand’s summer months. This changes everything, from your packing list to your planned activities. Sure, tourists from Australia don’t have to bother with this but for all those coming from Europe, Asia, or North America, this is something to keep in mind.
2. The commute
New Zealand is a first-world country with an infrastructure to match, which means that using a personal vehicle for the island commute might be the best course of action. For instance, if you’ve decided to visit the North Island, you would probably land at Auckland airport. With the help of a suitable online platform, you can order a car rental at Auckland airport and carry on with your itinerary from here, just bear in mind that New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where you drive on the left-hand side of the road. Of course, if you’re coming from Australia, this shouldn’t be a problem, however, for visitors from continental Europe or the United States, this can be a bit of an issue.
3. Hollywood’s favorite
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that there were so many Hollywood blockbusters that were filmed in New Zealand, which leaves you with an interesting idea of organizing a tour to visit as many of them as possible. Perhaps the most recognizable one was Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Contrary to popular belief, The Last Samurai was not filmed in Japan but in New Zealand, which gives you another great opportunity for sightseeing locations of popular movie sets. One installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as the latest installment of Mission Impossible, was also filmed on this amazing island. Overall, you have so many options.
4. Incredible wildlife
When it comes to seeing some of the most amazing wildlife in the world, New Zealand truly has so much to offer. Here, you can swim with dolphins, admire the majestic bird species such as albatross, as well as see the endemic wild yellow-eyed penguins. This incredible species is the single largest type of penguins outside of Antarctica and it lives exclusively in New Zealand. Those who intend to admire them, however, have the best chance of doing so if they start their itinerary from Dunedin. The best part of it all is the fact that (unlike with neighboring Australia) there are no poisonous animals or large predatory animals in New Zealand.
5. Not the best internet access
The network coverage of the country is… well, not great, which means that you need to prepare yourself for being disconnected for far longer than you would like. Sure, in major metropolitan areas you shouldn’t have an issue finding a place with free Wi-Fi. If you’re not the type of person to rely on such things, you can either opt for a plan that allows you to use data abroad or get a local SIM card. Either way, there’s a solution to any problem that you may think you have.
A great preparation stage will give you a chance to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Nonetheless, even with the best preparation in the world, you might not be able to see it all in a single visit. Therefore, you need to consider repeating your visit as soon as possible in order to sample as much of New Zealand as you possibly can.