top of page

10 Things To Know Before Traveling To New Zealand

Updated: Nov 21, 2022



New Zealand is a small country, but there's a lot of fun to be had exploring it. If you're planning your first trip to New Zealand, here are 10 things you definitely need to know beforehand.


New Zealand is made up of two large islands and several smaller islands.

New Zealand is made up of two large islands and several smaller ones. The two main islands are the North Island and South Island. The smaller ones include Stewart Island, Chatham Islands, Auckland Islands, Kermadec Islands, and Antipodes Islands. Together they make New Zealand larger than Great Britain and Ireland combined!

New Zealand's largest city is Auckland on the North Island with over 1 million people in it. Christchurch on the South Island has around 400 thousand people living in it.


If you're looking for adventure, New Zealand has something for everyone.

New Zealand offers a variety of adventure activities for you to choose from. From bungee jumping, white water rafting and jet boating to skiing, hiking and mountain biking - there is something for everyone!

If you’re looking to challenge yourself even further than what the outdoors has in store for you in New Zealand, there are a number of companies that offer guided tours that include picking up your rental car or campervan at Auckland Airport (or any other airport), accommodations, equipment rentals and guide services. You can also find out if these companies offer trip insurance which will cover any emergency medical expenses should something happen while on tour.

If you’re planning on doing as much as possible during your trip then adventure travel might be right up your alley!



If you want to live out your Lord of the Rings fantasy, there are tours that let you do that.

If you want to live out your Lord of the Rings fantasy, there are tours that let you do that.

There’s a tour called the “Lord of the Rings Tours” that takes visitors on an 8-day journey through the countryside, including visits to Hobbiton and other locations from Peter Jackson’s film adaptation. You can also choose between a 4-day or 5-day itinerary (both with Hobbiton tours). If that sounds like too much time away from Auckland, an alternative option is “Lord of the Rings Tours with a Hobbit House visit and Hobbiton Movie Set visit.” This three-day tour will take you through Matamata and Rotorua before landing in Te Anau for some sightseeing in Lake Te Anau National Park. Afterward, it's off to Queenstown where there will be time for shopping or other activities before heading back home on day four.


There are many beautiful scenic drives.

There are many beautiful scenic drives in New Zealand, and each will offer a unique experience. Some are short, some are long, some are challenging and others not so much. There are also a range of prices for the different scenic routes available.

For those who enjoy driving but don't want to deal with traffic jams or rush hour commuters, there is plenty of driving to be done on your own terms. However, if you want to avoid driving yourself and having to worry about parking (and paying) then consider doing one of the guided tours instead!



Hitchhiking isn't just common in New Zealand—it's safe.

The concept of hitchhiking is common in New Zealand and most people will happily pick you up. As long as you keep yourself safe, hitchhiking can be a great way to meet people and see the country. However, it’s worth noting that some areas have more crime than others. You should always avoid hitching from places like Auckland city or around airports where there are lots of tourists; instead try smaller towns where locals are likely to pick you up.


New Zealand is known for its excellent food and wine.

New Zealand is known for its excellent food, wine and beer. All of these are a reflection of New Zealand’s diverse culture, with influences from the indigenous Maori people, European settlers, Asian immigrants, Pacific Islanders and more.

Inspired by local ingredients and fresh produce from the sea or surrounding farmland, you’re sure to find something delicious no matter where you eat in New Zealand.

Unique Kiwi dishes include hangi (Maori feast), kumara (sweet potato), pavlova (meringue with fruit) and lamingtons (walnut-studded sponge cake).



The Maori people are the indigenous group of New Zealand.

The Maori people are the indigenous group of New Zealand. There are many different tribes, each with their own traditions and customs. The Maori have a rich history and culture, which has been preserved through oral storytelling as well as through art, dance, and music.

The Maori people are known for their tattoos and wood carvings (called tikis). They believe that tattoos help them connect with their ancestors. A tattoo artist will create an image based on a person's family heritage or genealogy. It is believed that the process of applying a tattoo heals the body and soul after death only if it's done properly by someone who knows what they're doing!

You can often see modern versions of these traditional designs in contemporary art or fashion nowadays too!


There are secret beaches hidden by caves.

There are secret beaches hidden by caves.

The best beaches are often hidden from view, and New Zealand has more than its fair share of these secluded bays. The west side of the island is full of them—most notably along Abel Tasman National Park, where you'll find a cave that's formed by waves pounding against the cliffs. You've got to go in with a guide to get down there (it's not impossible), or just see if you can spot it from your kayak or hiking trail above.

But aside from this one particular spot (which should be on every traveler's bucket list), there are many other hidden spots that aren't as difficult to access; they're just harder to find without someone who knows their way around pointing them out first!



It's a good idea to rent a campervan while traveling through the country.

It’s a great idea to rent a campervan while traveling through the country. You can camp or stay in motels and hostels, cook your own food or eat at restaurants, and there are so many places to go that it never feels like you need to stick to a plan.


Some places don't take credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.

There’s no doubt that credit cards are accepted in most places, but you may run into a few without the option to pay with plastic. In these cases, you can use an ATM to withdraw cash or pay with your credit card online (just make sure it has no foreign transaction fees).



There's a lot more to see than Lord of the Rings sites (though those are rad, too).

New Zealand is home to many incredible places that aren't just Lord of the Rings locations. It's also one of the few countries where you can kai (eat) a native bird, hang out with kiwis at night and see the glow worms in their natural habitat. It's important to note, however, that some of these attractions are not accessible by car, so if you're planning on visiting them it may be wise to rent a campervan for your trip.



It's a beautiful country with a lot to offer, and there's plenty of opportunity for adventure. If you're looking for something new to do on your next trip or want to explore somewhere new, New Zealand should be at the top of your list!

bottom of page