The wonder of New Zealand's natural landscape can only be matched by the kindness of the country's people and the richness of the history. The Maori people indigenous to the islands are an important part of the country and a vibrant part of the culture. New Zealand is the perfect destination for adventure-junkies, nature-lovers and people looking for a unique experience.
- Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Must-See Landmark: The Sky Tower, Auckland
- Must-Try Food: Hokey Pokey Ice Cream
- Most Common Language: English, Maori and NZ sign language
- Emergency Services Telephone Number: 111
Visas and Documentation
You will not need a visa if you are a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., the U.S. or any of the other countries listed on New Zealand's website. Even if you come from one of these countries, however, you will need to acquire a New Zealand electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).
If you are not from one of those countries or you are planning to stay in New Zealand for more than nine months, you will also need to apply for a visa. There are a number of different visas that can be very particular depending on what you plan to do while in New Zealand. You can learn more about these visas and which one you will need on New Zealand's official website.
Weather and What to Pack
The weather in New Zealand can change quite quickly. Rain can roll in quickly without much warning during the winter months (June to August) and at high altitudes, temperatures can drop below freezing and in the sun, heat and UV rays can be very strong. It's a good idea to pack shorts, long pants, coats, sweaters and sunscreen in addition to hot and cold weather hats.
If you forget any essentials, don't worry—you can always purchase them at your destination. However it is often more cost and time effective to simply bring your favorite supplies with you when you travel.
Etiquette and Cultural Norms
New Zealanders (or Kiwis) are generally very sociable and welcoming. They tend to be polite at first until they get to know you better. People dress casually but neatly and are largely passionate about environmental conservation.
- Auckland: New Zealand's largest city, Auckland is a hub for artistic and cultural experiences, with a healthy Kiwi dose of naturalism. Check out the unique nearby islands or explore the city's many art galleries and museums.
- Queenstown: The self-appointed adventure capital of the world, you can participate in all manner of adrenaline-infused activities from white-water rafting to bungee jumping. Or, if you prefer a slower pace, take a step back in time and learn how 19th-century gold miners lived in Queenstown.
- Christchurch: This city boasts an old-fashioned downtown where innovation meets the rich culture and heritage of New Zealand. Check out the tramway restaurant on a functioning trolly car and the world-famous botanical gardens.
- Waitmo Glowworm Caves: Stunning underground caves are home a multitude of blue-light glowworms that light up the space in a way that feels simply magical. These ancient caves can be explored on foot or by raft.
- Milford Sound: This particularly beautiful area was carved by glaciers during the ice age. Visitors can enjoy hiking, trekking, kayaking and boating in this natural wonderland.
Health & Safety Tips
New Zealand is a fairly safe country, but it is always a good idea to be cautious. Don't carry large amounts of cash or walk down dark streets at night. Also, never leave a drink unattended and try to avoid accepting drinks from strangers that you didn't see the bartender make. For more safety tips, check out the New Zealand Police's website.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for the New Zealand: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.