This New Zealand Travel Guide is filled with all the information you need to plan your trip to New Zealand. Whether you’re looking for accommodation, activities, travel tips, or the best places to visit, you’ll find it right here!
Where do I begin with New Zealand?
In March 2016, I flew into Auckland to being my year-long New Zealand Working Holiday. I didn’t have much planned, but I knew it would be a beautiful place to explore. I traveled all over the country, saw as much as I could, met tons of people from all over the world, and worked along the way. I left the country in January 2017, and I’ve been writing about it ever since!
New Zealand is dream world. It’s one of those places that everyone seems to have on their bucket list. The entire country is filled with stunning scenery, from sandy beaches to thick forests to towering mountains. There are hot springs and volcanoes, limestone landscapes, snow-capped peaks, giant Kauri trees, and a seemingly endless number of waterfalls.
People really appreciate nature down in New Zealand, and that’s one thing I really love about it. People want to protect the land instead of building it up. They want to protect their native species and they value their unique ecosystem. You can easily see how much environmental protection is ingrained into the society (at least compared to most of the U.S.).
New Zealand is a land for outdoor lovers. You can hike your heart out on amazing walking tracks, including the Great Walks all around the country. You can camp, you can kayak, you can dive, you can climb, you can explore caves and mountains and glaciers. And if you aren’t a big fan of the outdoors yet, New Zealand will surely change your perspective.
One thing most visitors love about New Zealand is the people. Kiwis are friendly, laid-back, and very open. They are hospitable and won’t hesitate to welcome you into their home or offer you help. Hitchhiking is still common in New Zealand because the country is safe and people are always willing to give you a lift. Kiwis love to show you the beauty of their country, and they love to tell you their stories. Being from Midwest America, I’m quite used to this level of friendliness, but it might startle you if you’re from a place where strangers don’t say hello and start conversations for no reason. Embrace the opportunity to get to know people while you’re visiting.
But if you’re reading this, you’re probably already convinced that New Zealand is a must-visit destination. In fact, you’re probably planning your trip to New Zealand right now. So you’ve come to the right place!
After spending almost a full year getting to know New Zealand inside and out, I’ve written as much as I could about it. I’ve created destination guides, stories from my travels, and tons of detail-rich posts about traveling the country. This New Zealand Travel Guide will direct you through all of my New Zealand content to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Even though I’ve written a lot already, I’m not quite done with New Zealand. I still have plenty of posts about the country planned, so check back if you don’t see what you’re looking for. And you can always leave a comment or send an email if you have specific questions. I love helping you guys plan your trips to New Zealand!
So here it is, the Ultimate New Zealand Travel Guide!
New Zealand Travel Guide
New Zealand Travel Guide: Basic Information
New Zealand is primarily made up of two islands (North Island and South Island), and a few much smaller islands (such as Stewart Island to the south).
Location: 1,000 miles southeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean
Size: 103,483 square miles
Population: 4.7 million
Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Major Cities: Auckland (1 million), Christchurch (396,000), Wellington (412,000), Dunedin (128,000)
New Zealand Travel Guide: Travel Inspiration
If you want to go to New Zealand, it’s best to start with a little New Zealand travel inspiration. There’s so much to see and do in New Zealand…but where do you start? How do you fit everything into a short trip? Which places are worth visiting and which ones should you skip? I’m helping you answer all these questions in these New Zealand Travel Inspiration posts. I’ll help you decide where to go on your trip to New Zealand.
- 26 Photos to Inspire You to Visit New Zealand
- 7 Must-Visit Places on New Zealand’s North Island
- 8 Must-Visit Places on New Zealand’s South Island
- New Zealand by Train: from Auckland to Wellington
New Zealand Travel Guide: Travel Planning Resources
Now that you’re feeling inspired, let’s move on to some New Zealand Travel Planning Resources. From packing to budgeting to finding accommodation, these resources will help you plan your big trip to New Zealand. Whether you’re going for 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year, it’s important to start with the planning basics.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Top New Zealand Destinations
These are all of the top New Zealand destinations. From big cities to popular tourist hot spots, if you’re traveling to New Zealand, there’s a good chance you’re going to visit some of these places.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Auckland
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. Most international travelers will come through Auckland’s airport, and I suggest making time to actually head into the city. You don’t need to spend a lot of time here to see all the best attractions (a couple of days will do), but it does make a great base for day trips to nearby areas if you only have a short time in New Zealand. Auckland gets a bad wrap with most Kiwis, and it wasn’t my favorite city either. But there is plenty to see and do here, so don’t overlook it.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Rotorua
Rotorua is often referred to as “Rotovegas”. It’s nothing like Vegas, but it is a major tourist hub in New Zealand filled with flashy attractions. While there are adventure activities galore here, the real focus is on the geothermal attractions. There are tons of geothermal parks in the region where you will find mini geysers, natural hot springs, bubbling mud, and more. And you’ll become aware of this by the rotten egg smell as soon as you enter the town center (don’t worry, you get used to it pretty quickly). You’ll also have a lot of opportunity to immerse yourself in Maori culture near Rotorua. There’s so much to do in the area, so it’s definitely a must-visit on the North Island.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Wellington
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city, located at the bottom of the North Island. It’s known as the “Coolest Little Capital” for good reason. Wellington is a vibrant, creative, laid-back city filled with art, coffee, and tons of culture. There are so many free museums and attractions around the city, so it’s a very budget-friendly place to spend time. It’s a very pretty city, and you’ll get the best views from up in the hills. Wellington is by far my favorite place in the country. There’s so much to do, you could easily spend a week exploring it.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island, but right now it’s mostly known due to the tragic earthquakes of 2011/2012. The city still has a lot of work to do, but it’s so cool to see the progress happening. It’s a very creative, artistic place, and you can see that in the abundance of street art and rebuilding projects going on. There are a lot more permanent storefronts up and running since I visited in 2017, so things are definitely looking up. And there are so many great attractions to see as well.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Queenstown
Queenstown is small, but it’s one of the most-visited places in New Zealand. Of all the scenic spots in the country, Queenstown still stands out as being one of the most beautiful. The town sits on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, with the mountains behind it. It becomes very crowded in peak season (and very expensive) but it’s just too pretty to pass up. It’s a great place for anyone who loves adventure activities and the outdoors.
Top Things to Do in Queenstown: Skyline Gondola, Queenstown Hill, cruise Lake Wakatipu, day trip to Wanaka, Glenorchy, and Arrowtown, hiking
New Zealand Travel Guide: Milford Sound
Milford Sound is one of those places people envision when they think of New Zealand. It’s highly-photographed and it’s incredibly beautiful. It’s often called the “8th Wonder of the World” and I have to agree. Milford Sound is on every New Zealand must-do list, including my own. There is nothing about it that is over-hyped; it really is such a magical place that deserves the attention. It’s located in Fiordland National Park on the South Island and is best visited as a day trip from Te Anau or Queenstown.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Destination Directory
Browse my New Zealand travel posts by destination! Click on a place and you’ll see all of my blog posts related that destination.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Working Holiday
If you’re planning a New Zealand Working Holiday, don’t worry, I’ve got a huge guide coming for you soon! In the mean time, check out all of my current New Zealand Working Holiday posts right here!
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