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  • Writer's pictureSheron Olivine

DREAM VACATION CHECKLIST - Things You Need to Know Before Travelling to New Zealand

1. Visa requirements:

Depending on your country of origin, you may need a visa to enter New Zealand. Visit the New Zealand Immigration website @ for more information on visa requirements.

2. Customs regulations:

New Zealand has strict customs regulations. Declare all goods you are carrying, including food, plants, and animal products. Failure to do so can result in fines and confiscation of goods.

3. Currency:

New Zealand's currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD$). Cash and credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are widely available. It's a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases and tipping.

4. Climate and Weather:

New Zealand has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cool winters. However, the weather can be unpredictable, especially in mountainous areas. Pack accordingly, and check weather forecasts before setting out.

5. Driving:

In New Zealand, cars drive on the left side of the road. If you plan to rent a car, be aware of this and take extra caution when driving.

6. Safety:

New Zealand is generally a safe country to visit, but it's always a good idea to take precautions to ensure your safety. Avoid leaving valuables unattended, be aware of your surroundings, and follow local safety advice.

7. Outdoor Activities:

New Zealand is known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, and water sports. However, these activities can be dangerous if not done properly. Follow safety guidelines and seek advice from local experts.

8. Culture and Customs:

New Zealand has a unique culture and customs, including the indigenous Maori culture. Take the time to learn about the country's history and culture, and be respectful of local customs and traditions.

9. Accommodation:

New Zealand offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, backpacker hostels, and vacation rentals. It's important to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel season.

10. Food:

New Zealand offers a variety of food options, including seafood, meat dishes, and vegetarian and vegan options. The country is known for its quality produce, including fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. It's also home to a thriving wine industry, producing world-class wines.

11. Language:

The official languages of New Zealand are English, Maori, and New Zealand Sign Language. English is widely spoken, but you may also encounter Maori words and phrases, especially in more rural areas.

12. Health:

New Zealand has a high standard of healthcare, but medical treatment can be expensive for visitors without travel insurance. It's important to purchase travel insurance that covers medical expenses, as well as emergency evacuation and repatriation.

13. Tipping:

Tipping is not common in New Zealand, but it's appreciated for exceptional service. It's not expected in restaurants, but rounding up the bill is a common practice.

14. Time difference:

New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere, which means that its seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also located ahead of most other countries in terms of time, with a time difference of 12 - 13 hours ahead of GMT.

15. Transportation:

New Zealand has a good transportation system, including buses, trains, and domestic flights. The country is also known for its scenic drives, so renting a car or campervan is a popular option for visitors.

16. Internet and Phone Service:

Internet and phone service are widely available in New Zealand, but it's a good idea to check with your provider to make sure your phone will work in the country. Wi-Fi is available in many hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

17. Activities and Attractions:

New Zealand offers a range of activities and attractions, from hiking and skiing to cultural experiences and adventure sports. Some of the top attractions include Milford Sound, Hobbiton Movie Set, and Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of New Zealand.

18. Etiquette:

New Zealanders are generally friendly and welcoming, and politeness and respect are highly valued. It's important to greet people with a smile and a handshake, and to say please and thank you. It's also important to remove your shoes before entering someone's home.

19. Conservation:

New Zealand is home to a unique and fragile ecosystem, and conservation is an important issue. Visitors are encouraged to respect the environment, stay on designated paths, and dispose of waste properly.

20. Emergency services:

In case of emergency, dial 111 for police, fire, or ambulance services. As stated in 12. above, it's also a good idea to have travel insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.

By being aware of these important factors, a foreigner/traveler can be better prepared to have a safe and enjoyable trip to New Zealand and make the most of their time in this beautiful, unique and welcoming country.


Tips outlined above are applicable not just for a vacation to New Zealand but may be relevant to any vacation destination that you choose.

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