I’ve enlisted the help of an army of bloggers to create an expert list of New Zealand travel tips. They’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. If anyone knows how to travel around New Zealand, it’s these guys. They’ve also weighed in on the best places in New Zealand to visit.
Behold! The ultimate list of New Zealand travel tips, written by the experts!
“New Zealand is well set up for people who want to camp. You can either tent camp or rent an RV but camp sites for both are easy to find. You will need to plan ahead more in the New Zealand Summer when the kiwis (the people) are also out camping.” – Cris at Amateur Traveler
“Everyone has to hitchhike. Put aside any and all fears you have about it. The hitchhiking culture is prevalent in New Zealand (it was the locals who talked me into doing it). You will meet some great Kiwis and come back with the best stories of your entire visit. I wrote about one of my experiences hitchhiking here“. – Michael at GoSeeWrite
“Country motels are very good accommodation deals. If you buy or hire a car (and you should) – you can often stay in motel complete with your own kitchen for the same price as a dorm in a hostel if there are 2 or 3 of you travelling together. The AA puts out good guides to all the regions – obviously mainly advertising but good maps and good overviews of the region. Too many overseas visitors skip Taranaki, and New Plymouth – far more interesting than Matamata IMHO.The transport system isn’t great, we don’t have the population to support decent public transport like say the UK. Cars, are cheap to buy, if you are staying for month or more, you’ll find it straightforward to buy a car, and even if you have to abandon it at the end of the trip, it will be cheaper than renting.- Elisabeth at LisTravelTips
“NZ can be very expensive. It’s so easy to spend all of your money due to the vast amount of activities you can do. I spent all of mine doing skydiving, bungee jumps, white water rafting, biking, kayaking etc etc. You need to look ahead and choose one thing perhaps per week for a big budget splurge. It’s really not sustainable doing everything in each place like I did. By the time you get to the big stuff, you’ve spent all your money. Having said that, I don’t regret doing any or all of it, even if it might have meant I was in the red for a while. Another tip is to research the activity you want before booking it. Sky diving in Queenstown for example might be hundreds of dollars cheaper than sky diving in Auckland. I think over Lake Taupo is the cheapest.” – Simon at LADventurers
“If you visit both islands (and I highly recommend you do), try to give it at least 3 weeks – 2 on the South Island, 1 week on the North Island. It’s tempting to whizz from A to B as there are so many stunning things to see and exciting things to do, but it’s better to concentrate on a few and really enjoy them. Driving is the best option to get from A to B, but don’t underestimate the distances; it will take you longer as there are no motorways, and you’ll want to stop and take pictures all the time.” – Christina at SandalRoad
“Don’t miss out Northland just because it’s far away, if possible! Chat to the locals, and explore! It might be a bit trickier to get around if you haven’t hired a car, but aren’t those places often most worth it? You’ll be rewarded with plenty of remote beautiful beaches and real friendly kiwis.” – Kate at Canuckiwikate
“Don’t miss the massive gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers on the North Island, where you can get very close to the birds. The birds arrive here in late July; the chicks hatch in late November and December; and igration begins again in March.” – Carole at TravelsWithCarole
“Take some sleeping bags and a tent. Camp where you can; most campsites are excellent and well equipped with playgrounds and facilities. And if or when you’re fed up with camping, stay in the wonderful cabins that you’ll find at most campsites, with their bunk beds, TV and kitchens. You’ll save a fortune in accommodation costs and have a lot more family fun.” – Stuart at FamilyAdvertureProject
“I’d recommend people get off the beaten track. A campervan is the best way to see New Zealand because you can go anywhere, sleep anywhere and stay as long as you like. I know on a two week trip that people stick to the main tourist attractions but you can find amazing places all over New Zealand which only Kiwis visit if you have more time. Some little known places I’d recommend that most tourists don’t get to are the Hokianga Harbour, the Coromandel Penninsular and Great Barrier Island which are on or near the North Island. They all have rugged, unspoilt scenery and capture the spirit of pioneering New Zealanders.” – Annabel at GetInTheHotSpot
“Roadtrip around NZ, sure you can always catch the Kiwi Experience or the Magic Bus but there are some ‘off-the-beaten-track’ places which can only be reached by car or even better by foot.” – Michael at NomadsOnTheRoad
“Kiwi travel tip: Dress in layers! Hot one moment, cold and rainy the next. If you don’t like the weather don’t worry, it will change in 15 minutes.” – Larissa at ChangesInLongtitude
“Make sure you think well about what kind of experience you would like to get in New Zealand. Are you a starting backpacker just looking to make friends and see the highlights in a short time? A bus tour might be for you. Are you visiting because of the nature and would you like to take it more slowly? You probably would like to have your own car, a tent and a pair of hiking boots. Make the right choice of how to get around to avoid disappointment and you’ll have the NZ experience that suits you best.” – Nienke at TheTravelTester“If you’re on the North island, you should make the time to either tour the east cape, or head out to Mount Taranaki on the west coast (or both!). Both are spectacular for their own reasons, but far less visited than some of the other sights.” – Laurence at FindingTheUniverse
“On arriving into Auckland I went out on a weekend liveaboard to The Poor Knights Islands where divers are treated to one of the most pristine underwater environments anywhere on the planet. The wealth of life is spectacular and because the area is a managed Marine Park it’s inhabitants are unfamiliar with human destruction meaning they are much more docile with divers. Once an active volcano the islands provide a retrospect of the past submerged in the ocean. Steeped in Maori history they are strictly off limits and no one may set foot on their soil.” – Charli at Wanderlusters
Be sure to check out my guides to travel hacking in New Zealand:
- Finding Cheap Accommodation and Activities in New Zealand
- Finding Cheap Flights in New Zealand
- Transportation on the Cheap in New Zealand
Got any New Zealand travel tips to add? Let me know with a comment below.