Consolidated post for our 12 days trip to New Zealand from North Island to South Island. We will be covering the important information of New Zealand from weather to currency. Including things that we will need to take note of before arrival eg, what can we bring and what not to. Upon arrival, our accommodation, transportation and what to see and do.
General Information of New Zealand
New Zealand season is opposite of what you would expect if you are staying in the Northern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south.
In New Zealand, the temperature would not vary too much and generally in mild temperature due to its geographical location which lies near the coast,
The photos below were taken during Mid September at the northern part of New Zealand is all sunshine and nice weather but in contrast, the Southern island is still cold.
Season in New Zealand
You do not need a visa to visit New Zealand if you are:
An Australian citizen or resident
A UK citizen and/or passport holder (you can stay up to six months)
A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (you can stay up to three months). eg, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea (South), Hong Kong (residents with HKSAR or British National (Overseas) passports only), Taiwan (permanent residents only) etc.
They use angled two or three pin plugs same as Australia and parts of Asia. Their electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts, most hotels and motels provide 110-volt ac sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.
CURRENCY & COSTS
Currency in New Zealand is called New Zealand Dollar.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted most widely in New Zealand.
Tipping and Service Charges
Tipping is not obligatory, even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor.
Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.
Goods and Services Tax
All goods and services are subject to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price.
Visitors are not able to claim this tax back, however, if you would like to purchase some goods and not pay the GST you will need to;
1) buy it from a duty-free shop
2) export your item by International air and sea travel
Information sourced from New Zealand Tourism page.
When is the best time to visit New Zealand?
I would suggest visiting during the shoulder season, the tourist crowd would be lesser than usual. New Zealand is beautiful all season, there isn’t really a low season, even though I put down June to August as low season, however, if you are planning to go for skiing and winter activities this does not matter much to you.
Low Season: Winter (June to August)
Shoulder Seasons: Fall (March-May) and Spring (September-November)
Peak Season: Summer (December-February)
Upon Arrival in New Zealand
Customs and Quarantine Requirements
To know more about what are the food, plant and animal items can be bought into New Zealand, visit the Ministry for Primary Industries (Biosecurity/Quarantine) website and refer to the Customs New Zealand website for a list of any other items that are prohibited to bring into New Zealand and equipment cleaning requirements.
1. Can we bring our hiking boots to New Zealand?
Yes, you are able to but remember to write in the declaration form and the boots have to be clean. We hand carry our boots with us, so when getting through the declaration counter we are able to take out the item fast for the staff to check. The officer will ask you to show them your boots and if you had clean it. Just answer to the officer honestly and you are set to go.
2. Can I bring food so that I can cook here, eg, cup noodles, kimchi, tuna can?
Yes, you are able to bring in commercially prepared and packaged, shelf-stable and unopened food. However, you will need to declare them. There are supermarkets around the city area where you are able to buy the items you need which I think it is not necessary to bring these items in.
3. I am not used to overseas coffee am I able to bring my 3 in 1 coffee powder?
Yes, you are able to but you will have to declare it.
4. Am I allowed to bring the Chinese Po Chai pill?
No, it is prohibited.
Declare all the food items you have. If you are unsure just declare, better to be safe than paying the fine.
If you want to know more check out on their checklist tools for more information.
There are quite a lot of supermarkets that you can spot and here are some of the supermarket that we visited, Countdown, Four Square and Fresh Choice.
When in New Zealand
There are three long-distance train routes in New Zealand and shorter scenic rail experiences. To know more information about it, please visit here
Tram service is available in Christchurch where they will bring you around the city area.
Buses and coaches
There are daily scheduled passenger bus services available throughout the country and backpacker coach networks, for instance, kiwi experience, stray and many other coach companies like great sight, intercity serving the major tourist routes.
Airport shuttle bus
The comfortable airport transfer service that took us from the airport to our hotel.
There are passes that cover the national Intercity coach network, the three scenic rail journeys and combine rail and Cook Strait ferry passage.
Cook Strait Ferries
Cook Strait ferry services operate between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. We would recommend you to pre-book your ticket if you are travelling in a car or campervan.
Driving in New Zealand
If you have either a current full driver’s licence from your home country in the English language or an International Driving Permit, you are able to drive legally in New Zealand for 12 months. While driving you must carry your licence or permit at all times and you are only able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country.
Always drive on the left-hand side of the road in New Zealand.
Domestic air services are available between all New Zealand cities and most major towns. Air New Zealand and Jetstar are the main service providers, we bought our internal flight with Air New Zealand from Queenstown to Auckland.
Prepaid sim card
Prepaid sim card counter can be easily spotted at the airport, there are a few sales counter at Christchurch international airport. If not, you are able to preorder with Klook and collect the wifi router in your country.
After doing some calculations and planning, we decide to stay in the hotel for our trip.
Book your hotel stay here.
Bed and breakfast
You are able to get a mix of host and house experience, where you are able to stay in the house or apartment of the local and have a chat over breakfast.
Find out more about for your bed and breakfast stay.
There are lots of backpacker hostels in the major cities and towns, and it is more affordable than staying in a Bnb. The most important thing is that you are able to engage in a conversation with people from all over the world.
Some of the well-known backpacker hostels would be YHA, JUCY Snooze, NOMADS, etc.
For more information, you can visit here.
What to see and do in New Zealand?
It does not matter how long or short your trip would be it can be as short as a week to 3 months, there are lots of things to see and do in New Zealand.
A more detailed post will be coming soon.
How much did we spend?
Over the course of our 12 days trip, we spent close to 5,000NZD ~ 5,500 NZD ( 4,500SGD~5,000SGD).
This amount can be lower to around 4,000NZD~4,500NZD. Assuming that we cut down on the activities, tours and choose an apartment or backpacker hostel, for instance, Airbnb or Hostel to lower the cost per day.
Flight: 1,344NZD (1,118SGD (Qantas Airline) + 93SGD ( Air New Zealand) = 1,211SGD) for one
Accommodation: Around 210NZD per room/night for two (Hotel stay)
Transportation total: 150NZD for one
Shuttle bus: 15 NZD one trip for one
From Christchurch to Queenstown: 129 NZD
Skybus: 18 NZD
Activities and Tours Total: 1,800NZD for one
Sky Diving: 453NZD+359NZD
Sky tower: 26.50NZD
Akaroa tour: 380NZD
Wanaka day tour: 229NZD
Skyline Gondola: 39NZD
Hobbiton and Waitomo cave tour: 313NZD
Food and miscellaneous: 70NZD~100NZD (Per day) for one