The Finder app is here! 🥳

Get your savings sorted.

New Zealand Travel Guide

From what to do to how to get around, this guide has everything you need know to plan the perfect trip when hopping across the ditch.

Last updated:

Comprised of two main islands simply known as the North and the South, New Zealand is a nation of unparalleled beauty. Its mountains, volcanoes, fjords, lakes and glaciers are like no others on earth, and neither are its extreme activities, which is why it's dubbed the "adventure capital of the world” with caving, diving, bungee jumping and canyon swinging just some of what's on offer.

During winter, the nation transforms into a major ski destination. It offers 18 major ski resorts across its two islands with a season that welcomes soft, fresh powder as early as June and keeps it well into October.

Whatever month you’re planning to visit, this guide can help you organise your itinerary so you won’t miss out on a single must-do in this beautiful country.

Fast facts about New Zealand

Main airports: Christchurch, Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington.
On-ground transport: Train, bus and ferry.
Weather: New Zealand experiences four seasons. Summers are mild with highs of 30℃, while winters are chilly with lows of 0℃.
Visas: Australian citizens don’t require a visa to visit New Zealand.
Top 10 must see destinations: Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, Milford Sound, Hobbiton, Lake Wanaka, The Remarkables, Waitomo Caves, Lake Tekapo, Bay of Islands, Marlborough and Rotorua.
Power point plugs: Type I (same as Australia).
Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD).


Best places to go in New Zealand

  • Rotorua: This North Island town is renowned for its geothermal activity, lake access and Maori culture. From here you can visit Whaka Thermal Reserve, Whakarewarewa Forest and up to 14 scenic lakes. Activities in the area include zorbing and Maori shows.
  • Milford Sound: On the west coast of the South Island is this dramatic landscape of fjords, cliffs and waterfalls. Boat cruises through the fjord depart often. Limited accommodation is available but day trips can be made from Te Anau or Queenstown.
  • Queenstown: Queenstown is the home of adventure sports, offering bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, canyon swinging, caving and snow sports on top of its four popular ski resorts.
  • Wellington: Situated on the North Island’s southernmost tip, Wellington is an ideal base for anyone wishing to visit both islands. From here, a short ferry ride takes you to the tip of the South Island where you can hike the Queen Charlotte track and clink glasses in the Marlborough wine region.
  • Lake Tekapo: Located on the South Island, Lake Tekapo is a three hour drive from Christchurch. It sits at the foot of the Southern Alps and boasts breathtaking views of the mountains, including New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook. It’s New Zealand’s fourth largest lake and is part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve making it an optimal location for stargazing.

See what accommodation is like in New Zealand:


Top things to do in New Zealand

  • Snow sports: New Zealand has 18 ski resort destinations. Queenstown is home to four of the most well-regarded and tourist-friendly ones, which are: The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone.
  • Experience Maori culture: When in New Zealand, a Maori show is not to be missed. These can include a haka performance, warrior training, arts weaving and facial tattooing.
  • Visit Middle-earth: Any Lord of the Rings fan will know that the movies were filmed in New Zealand. Located on the North Island, in the recreated town of Hobbiton, you can tour the movie set and dine at the Green Dragon Inn.
  • Extreme sports: You can’t visit New Zealand without doing at least one adventure sport such as skydiving or canyon swinging. And even if you don’t take the plunge, there are plenty of tamer activities such as caving that you can enjoy.
  • See glow worms in Waitomo Caves:: Travel by boat and marvel at this underground galaxy of light. It’s a unique experience for all.
  • Cruise Fiordland: During the Ice Ages, glaciers carved out the arresting landscape of New Zealand’s Fiordland. Just a few hours from Queenstown, Milford Sound offers frequent trips through the fjords where you can witness the sheer cliffs and plentiful waterfalls up close.

MilfordSound.Shutterstock

Milford Sound, Fiordland

  • Drink wine:: New Zealand produces some of the most highly-lauded wines in the world. Regions to visit include Marlborough, Central Otago, Canterbury and Waikato.
  • Kayak Abel Tasman National Park:: Its golden beaches, unique granite rock formations and clear waters make Abel Tasman National Park paradise on earth. Hiking tracks and mountain bike trails abound, but for a different perspective, opt to travel by kayak.
  • Take a scenic flight over Mount Cook:: The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook stands at 3,724 metres above sea level and is a sight from above. It belongs to the Southern Alps region, which features many hiking trails, each boasting spectacular views of the landscape.
  • Stargaze: 4,300 square kilometres of the South Island’s sky is an International Dark Sky Reserve. Not only is it the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world, it’s also one of the planet’s best stargazing sites.

Best events to attend in the year

  • Queenstown Winter Festival: The beginning of winter is marked with a 10-day festival featuring street parties, live music, performances and fireworks. Queenstown, June 2017.
  • World Buskers Festival: This summer festival brings some of the biggest acts in Australasia to the streets of Christchurch to entertain and amuse. Think everything from burlesque and drag to circus performance and athleticism. Christchurch, 19-29 January 2017.
  • Maoriland Film Festival: Celebrating Indigenous talent, the Maoriland Film Festival is an annual event of storytelling, workshops and events by artists from across the nation. Otaki, 15-19 March 2017.

How much will a trip to New Zealand cost?

Accommodation

  • Budget: Hostels and backpackers accommodation from $21 per person/per night.
  • Moderate: 2-3 star hotels, motels and apartment hotels from $75 per room/per night.
  • Luxury: Luxury villas and resorts from $150+ per room/per night.

Typical meal

  • Main: NZD$8.90-$11.50 for a burger.
  • Drink: NZD$5.87 for a 400ml glass of beer.
  • Coffee: NZD$5.00 for a flat white.

Getting around

  • Uber: Uber is available in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. The cheapest rates are in Auckland where rides are charged at NZD$1.30 base fare, NZD$0.30 per minute and NZD$1.35 per kilometre. You can expect to pay NZD$31-$42 for an uberX into the city.
  • Taxi from the airport to the city: In Auckland you can expect to pay NZD$75-$90 for a taxi into the city. In Christchurch you can expect to pay NZD$45-$65 and in Wellington you can expect to pay NZD$30-$40. Prices vary due to the distance between airports and the city centres.
  • Local transport fare: In Auckland, the SkyBus into the city costs NZD$18 one way or NZD$32 return. In Christchurch, a bus into the city costs NZD$8.50 one way or NZD$15 return. In Wellington, a bus to the city costs NZD$5.50 one way.

Check out our latest New Zealand travel deals:

Hotels.com Hotels.com

Extra 8% off on hotel bookings

Save on hotel stays before 31 December 2020 in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Fiji, Thailand, Singapore, USA and more. Available at select hotels.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Topdeck Topdeck

Up to 30% off last-minute tours

Valid for travel on select dates in May 2020. Destinations include Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and North America. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Up to 15% off worldwide tours

Valid for travel on select dates in May 2020. Destinations include Europe, UK, the Middle East, Argentina, India, Asia, New Zealand, Australia and Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Europcar Europcar

Up to 20% off advance booking

Available on select dates until 20 June 2020 in Australia and New Zealand. Rental must be for 2 days or more and booked 21 days in advance. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 9% off hotel bookings

Valid on select hotel stays worldwide like Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, USA, Europe and more on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Some restrictions apply.

Last verified

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Up to 40% off Australia and New Zealand stays

Valid for stays on select dates. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Europcar Europcar

Up to 20% off base rate

Available on rentals until 15 December 2020 in Australia and New Zealand. Pick up on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday required to avail offer. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off business class

Available on select travel dates when you use the code. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, London, Japan and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

DriveNow DriveNow

Campervan hire from $5/day

Available on select routes, dates and locations in Australia and New Zealand.

Last verified

AAT Kings AAT Kings

Free return flights on Tasmania and New Zealand tours

Available for travel on select tours until 31 March 2021. Destinations include Hobart, Launceston, Auckland, Christchurch, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Dunedin and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Up to 7.5% off 2020 trips

Available for travel on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Europe, Canada, Asia, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 30% off Australia and New Zealand tours

Available on select dates until December 2022. Destinations include Adelaide, Darwin, Byron Bay, Fiji, Auckland and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Hertz Hertz

Up to 20% off 7 days car hire

Available on rentals from 1 March - 31 October 2020 across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Hotels.com Hotels.com

Extra 8% off stays

Save on hotel stays from 1 April 2020 - 30 June 2021 in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Fiji, Thailand, Singapore, USA and more. Available at select hotels.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

EasyRentCars.com EasyRentCars.com

Up to 50% off EZU Australia and New Zealand rentals

Available on rentals until 30 April 2020 across Melbourne and Christchurch. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

TFE Hotels TFE Hotels

Up to 25% off worldwide stays + extra 10 off members

Available for stays until 7 April 2021 across Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark and Hungary. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 25% off Australia and New Zealand tours

Available on select tours from June - December 2020. Destinations include Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, Queenstown and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Europcar Europcar

Up to 15% off base rate on 5+ day car rentals

Available for pick ups from May - December 2020 at select locations across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs and black out dates apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 40% off Australia and New Zealand Christmas cruises

Valid for travel until December 2020 across Australia and New Zealand. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

EasyRentCars.com EasyRentCars.com

30% off New Zealand car hires

Available for travel on select dates until 30 April 2020 in Auckland with Lovetrip car rental. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

TFE Hotels Collection TFE Hotels Collection

Subscribe to TFE Hotels eClub and save 10%

Join the TFE eClub now to receive 10% off future bookings in Australia and New Zealand and receive 15% off future European bookings plus bonus extras. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Rendezvous Rendezvous

Subscribe to TFE Hotels eClub and save 10%

Join the TFE eClub now to receive 10% off future bookings in Australia and New Zealand and receive 15% off future European bookings plus bonus extras. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Vibe Vibe

Subscribe to TFE Hotels eClub and save 10%

Join the TFE eClub now to receive 10% off future bookings in Australia and New Zealand and receive 15% off future European bookings plus bonus extras. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Adina Adina

Subscribe to TFE Hotels eClub and save 10%

Join the TFE eClub now to receive 10% off future bookings in Australia and New Zealand and receive 15% off future European bookings plus bonus extras. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Medina Medina

Subscribe to TFE Hotels eClub and save 10%

Join the TFE eClub now to receive 10% off future bookings in Australia and New Zealand and receive 15% off future European bookings plus bonus extras. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Travelodge Travelodge

Subscribe to TFE Hotels eClub and save 10%

Join the TFE eClub now to receive 10% off future bookings in Australia and New Zealand and receive 15% off future European bookings plus bonus extras. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Adina Adina

New Year sale: Up to 25% off + extra 10% off members

Available for travel until 7 January 2021. Offer valid in hotels across Australia and New Zealand including Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Europcar Europcar

Up to 10% off base rate on 3+ day car rentals

Available for pick ups until 15 December 2020 at select locations across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs and black out dates apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Europcar Europcar

Earn 1,000 bonus Velocity points

Available on pick ups until 31 January 2021 across Australia and New Zealand. Minimum 4 days rental required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

AAT Kings AAT Kings

Save up to $300 on 9-day New Zealand tour

Available on select travel dates. Destinations include Christchurch, Omarama, Dunedin, Queenstown and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

5% off hotel bookings

Available on your first Trip.com pre-paid hotel booking. Discount available worldwide including in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, Fiji, US, UK and more.

Last verified

Trip.com Trip.com

Up to 10% off car hire worldwide

Save 10% on select car hire in South Korea and Malaysia and save 5% on car hire worldwide including Australia, New Zealand, the UK and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Choice Hotels Choice Hotels

Up to 10% off stays

Valid on select dates when booked between 2 and 30 days in advance and prepaid at time of booking. Available at locations across Australia and New Zealand.

Last verified

Oaks Hotels & Resorts Oaks Hotels & Resorts

10% off stays in Australia and New Zealand

Valid for My Oaks members. Membership is free and also entitles guests to late check-out and complimentary Internet use. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Europcar Europcar

25% off premium hire insurance

Get up to 25% off on your car rental when you purchase GoZen Cover. Valid at participating locations across Australia and New Zealand. T&C's apply.

Last verified

TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 10% off New Zealand ski tours

Valid from May - September 2020. Destinations include Christchurch and Queenstown. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Klook Klook

Auckland airport transfers from $14

Valid on shared transfers with Skybus in New Zealand. Sample price is between Auckland airport to Auckland city. Includes Wi-Fi on board, round-trip ticket and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
24 Mar 2020 Up to 75% off Australia-wide stays + Extra 8% with code BOO****
19 Mar 2020 Extra 8% off on hotel bookings CLP****
19 Mar 2020 Extra 11% off hotels WES****
18 Mar 2020 Extra $10 off sitewide with code FDR****
16 Mar 2020 Get $20 credit FIN****

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site