10 Tips To Remember While Planning a Trip to New Zealand
New Zealand isn’t your quintessential developed country, for it’s less concrete and a lot more of the great outdoors. Think snow-covered mountain ranges, a curved highway running through the valley and an endless lake in front of you, as you drive along untouched green meadows. All this, without a speck of dust in sight. It’s the ideal #NoFilter destination, with each color so bright, each lake so clear and grass so green- you’ll wonder how beautiful the world might have been a few hundred million years ago. This country is so dreamy, it could put the European countryside to shame. There’s a reason the only place “unearthly” enough for Lord of the Rings was New Zealand.
Don’t go if paradise isn’t on your list
1. Prepare to spend a lot of money
There’s no such thing as a “budget” trip to New Zealand from India. You might not stay at luxurious resorts, but with a flight fare that doesn’t sway much (unless upwards) from 75-80k doesn’t sound like a cheap trip. A New Zealand dollar equals 47 Indian Rupees today, and though it’s considerably cheaper than Europe, it’s a long way from “affordable.” I would rather you calculate from a “value for money” perspective, and in that sense- NZ is worth it’s salt.
2. Planning a trip is easy
Once you’re set monetarily, there’s little else to be done. Fortunately, New Zealand is a convenient country with simple rules to go by. There are no last-minute surprises, beside those induced by it’s weather and frequent precipitation. It isn’t rocket science, because most places worth exploring are huddled together in patches. Visa formalities might require a bunch of documents, but everything else will be smooth.
3. Visit in December
The best time to visit is between November and December. It’s a lot warmer, and probably the only time the pristine beaches on New Zealand can be truly enjoyed. Several events are also organized a month prior to Christmas; with a Christmas Parade in November, Christmas in the Park (Auckland) in early December and heavy Christmas decorations in every household around every neighborhood!
4. Bio-security at the airport is strict
What does this term mean, you wonder? Bio-security refers to the measures taken by the government to protect its population from harmful biological or biochemical substances at the airport. New Zealand is very strict about this, and if they find your shoes filthy, or catch you taking anything (be it a plant or even a fruit) that hasn’t been declared at the airport, they might ask you to take it off and leave it at the airport, and hand a 400 dollar fine to you.
5. Start your trip with North Island
Not only because flights to Auckland are cheaper than anywhere else in NZ, but also because once you visit South Island, you’re ruined forever. No other place in New Zealand- or the world, for that matter- will ever excite you again. South Island and the area surrounding Queen’s Town is so gorgeous, you will never experience nature at it’s purest anywhere else. It’s the kind of place that could make your heart stop. North Island has it’s own share of things to do and explore, as long as you make sure that’s the first leg of your journey!
6. The weather is unpredictable
Without fail, carry an umbrella with you at all times. It could start raining at any time, so your fancy new shoes have no place in NZ. Carry a lot of woolens; one second the sun might shine at you, and the next it will be cold and damp. It gets quite windy as well, especially around the beaches.
7. Public Transport is erratic
Don’t rely on the public transport to take you around. While public buses and trains are available, they operate on their shown timings. You might find yourself waiting for several minutes over the bus’s estimated arrival time before it finally shows up. Cabs are expensive, and it’s best to rent a car in NZ, one you can take with you for road trips as well. It’s a no-fuss process, and you don’t need an international driver’s license either. They accept driver’s licenses of most countries, as long as they are written in English. You could rend a camper van as well, if you’re willing to drive around the entire country!
8. Be careful at the beaches
NZ’s beaches are not all about palm trees and calm seas. It isn’t coconut water and sunshine. They are windy, cold and somewhat dangerous. It’s important to follow signs at the beaches to avoid accidents. It does get a little warmer during summer months (November till January) and that’s the best time to opt for water adventure sports.
9. Don’t miss
If there’s a rugby match on during your visit and the All-Blacks are playing, make sure you attend it!
New Zealand is a rugby crazy country, and the All-Blacks are world champions! There’s an actual Hobbit Village in NZ, and you cannot miss it! Lord of the Rings was shot here, there’s no reason to skip. A week’s guide to Auckland is available here.
10. Hog while you can
New Zealand is an amalgamation of plenty of nationalities, who migrate here to lead a better life or to study at the Auckland Uni. You’ll find a lot of Asians here as well, contributing to a thriving food scene. There’s all kinds of cuisine available here, you can just freak out eating (or overeating, in my case!). Indian restaurants are also easily available in most places (specially in the North Island and specifically in Auckland). There are quite a few stores that sell Indian spices, chips and other goodies exported from India; in case you opt to save money and cook yourselves.
Guest Post By : Nikita Butalia, She is a travel blogger based in India. She runs a website called Stumbling Around Delhi, designed to inspire young people to explore the world through her experiences; and to equip them with travel tips and unique hacks to make their travel a whole lot cheaper and easier! For more travel tips to New Zealand, please visit: Stumbling Around Delhi
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