New Zealand Travel Tips

Staying Safe and Having Fun in NZ

The New Zealand travel tips provided across this website will help you save money and avoid the tourist traps as you work your way around this beautiful South Pacific paradise.

There are a few tips below that will hopefully give you a little bit of extra information to help make your holiday even more enjoyable.

Planning Tip - Plan Your Itinerary

Before you set off on your journey around New Zealand, you should give some thought to all the things you want to see and do. Be aware that there are plenty of unique experiences to be had in some of the more out-of-the-way locations that you won’t find listed in tourist brochures, so keep some time and money available for those.

It is definitely advisable to make a general plan of how you want to make the most of the time you have for your holiday tour - and the locations you want to visit.

Keep in mind that some activities, like seeing a live kiwi, can be done at various locations around the country and on both islands. The same applies to adventure activities like skydiving. But be aware that there are many unique activities that are only available in one location - such as the Canyon Swing in Queenstown.

Do be sure you factor everything in and try to plan your itinerary so that you have the time to visit all the major experiences you want to. It can also pay to make some bookings before you start your holiday if you know you are going to be in a particular place on any given day. It is much easier to arrange these things before you go than spend your precious holiday time trying to book for events and experiences. If you have pre-booked you can just turn up at the right time!

Driving Tip - Keep to the Left!

Lewis Pass, South Island, New Zealand
Lewis Pass, South Island

Many tourists get a shock to the system when they hire a car or campervan in New Zealand and are told they have to drive on the left side of the road. This can be a difficult adjustment to make, since everything feels “back to front”. Try to mentally prepare for this if you intend to drive around the country.

One of the best New Zealand travel tips is to get hold of a copy of the New Zealand Road Code.

Whatever country you come from, even if it is Australia, there are differences in some of the turning and give way rules that you need to be aware of.

Experiences Tip - Only Available in New Zealand

New Zealand is known for being a place where you can have experiences that aren’t available in many parts of the world. In fact, there are some experiences that can only be had in New Zealand.

Seeing a Kiwi is one of those unique experiences that can’t be had anywhere else - Kiwi are birds that are native to New Zealand, they are the country’s national bird, and they are on the verge of extinction. Seeing a Kiwi while you’re in New Zealand is a must.

Seeing some of the movie making sets and locations that were used for shooting films such as the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is another experience only available in New Zealand. There are many visitors who like to go to specific movie sites and you will find that some NZ tourist maps and map books have these sites actually marked on the maps.

Restaurants and Bars Tip - You Don’t Have to Tip!

One of the New Zealand travel tips is about not tipping.

Giving tips is not standard practice in New Zealand, except at very upmarket bars and restaurants. If you like to tip it’s a nice gesture, and people who work in tourism in New Zealand definitely appreciate it, but it’s not an absolute necessity.

All taxes are included in the price of goods and services, so there’s no need to calculate extra costs over and above a price quoted - the number on the tag is what you pay and tips are not expected.

Campervan Tip

Motorhome West Coast New Zealand
Motorhome, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Hiring a car or campervan is one popular way of getting around New Zealand. It allows you the freedom to go where you want, when you want, and you also have the luxury of not having to shell out for motels.

However, be aware that you can't legally park up a motor home for the night just anywhere you feel like it. For the most part, you will still have to pay for space at a campervan site or holiday park. There are also some free camping sites dotted around the country with many being maintained by the Department of Conservation, most of which have a donations box.

Culture and Countries Tip - Kiwis / Aussies

Don’t confuse Kiwis with Aussies. There are few things that annoy New Zealanders more than being confused with Australians. Be careful to never mix up Australian cities with New Zealand cities or do anything to suggest Australia is better than NZ when you’re talking to a local.

BBQ Bus
BBQ Bus, Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford Sound, South Island

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