New Zealand, an island country of two main islands and number of smaller ones makes for a splendid holidaying experience. The destination is a treasure trove of sightseeing delights. Active volcanic eruptions, glistening glaciers, rivers teeming with rainbow trout, beautiful lakes, craggy snow capped mountains, lush rainforests, and exotic fauna life like penguins and kiwis all vie for attention. In fact, New Zealand has been the film set for many movies including chart busters like Hollywood’s Lord of the Rings and Bollywood’s Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai. Over the years, New Zealand has picked up many awards from prestigious institutions. The long string of awards includes World’s Top Travel Destination, Best Long Haul Travel Destination, People’s Choice Award, and Best Holiday Destination in the World. No wonder, New Zealand has earned epithets like Paradise of the Pacific and God’s Own Country.
New Zealand is not simply about sightseeing. The country is also a veritable Mecca for the adventurous souls. Skiing in the Southern Alps, bungee jumping from heady heights, and adrenalin pumping water sports like jet boating are just some of the activities out of a whole world of choices. Similarly, cuisines leave nothing to be desired. New Zealand is equally famous for its award winning legendary wines. To top it all, the country is home to some of the friendliest people on earth.
Go through this New zealand travel guide before boarding your flights.
Auckland – Christchurch – Dunedin – Wellington – Queenstown
Thai Culture & Lifestyle
New Zealand forms the Polynesian Triangle’s south western anchor. In fact, in terms of culture and linguistics, the country is part of Polynesia. However, the contemporary culture of New Zealand has British colonial roots, besides influences of Australian, American, and Maori cultures. Non Maori Polynesian and Asian cultures have also done their bit to shape up New Zealand. The country remains a window to present day native Maori way of life. Today, the country is also witnessing the resurgence of Te reo Maori language. Not only Maori, different parts of New Zealand exhibit different regional influences. For instance, festivals like Chinese New Year and Diwali are celebrated with great gusto in the bigger cities. Similarly Pasifika, the largest Polynesian festival in the world is an annual highlight in Auckland. Overall, the cultural scene in New Zealand can be broadly categorised into the ethnic groups of native Maoris and New Zealand Europeans (Pakeha).
Here are some of the pointers towards social customs and lifestyle in New Zealand:
- New Zealanders do not attach much importance to wealth or social status and there is no formal class structure. In other words, New Zealanders swear by egalitarianism and believe in individual attainment.
- Being a welfare state, New Zealand offers free access to health, housing, and unemployment benefits to people who can not afford these services.
- In formal situations, Maoris adhere to a hierarchy. For instance, an elder sits in a designated area and is responsible for opening and closing meetings.
- New Zealanders exhibit a great deal of environmental awareness as they take pride in their country’s spectacular beauty and are willing to maintain it.
- The Maoris believe that everything is governed by Maori or a life force.
- New Zealanders prefer to dress casually but smartly. Business dressing is conservative. In fact, many restaurants do not enforce a dress code.
- New Zealanders are outgoing and helpful people. Usually, they are a bit aloof but very polite to absolute strangers.
Best Time to Visit New Zealand
New Zealand can be visited throughout the year as each season brings many popular activities. While the winters turn the country into a winter sports paradise, the summers make for a glorious dash of water sports. The Northern belt has a subtropical climate, while the South is temperate. There are no climatic extremes of hot or cold weather in the North. The Southern winters are quite cool and the mountains experience snowfall. The summers often bring drought like conditions to the Eastern areas. Overall, maximum day time temperatures rarely exceed 30°C.
- Spring (September, October, and November): The Westerly winds are their peak during this season. The western areas in general and the South Island in particular experience heavy rainfall. The East sees warm dry winds and is perfect for biking tours during springs
- Summer (December, January, and February): The westerlies move towards the South leading to a more calm weather. However, changes are possible and sometimes the tropical weather systems influence the climate, especially over North Island.
- Autumn (December, January, February, and March): The climate of the early autumn months is quite similar to those of the summers.
- Winter (June, July, and August): The western area often see rainy days followed by snow in the mountains. Sometimes, even the eastern parts of South Island experience snowfall. During this time, a cold and wet weather in the East means a pleasant weather in the West of the mountains.
Find the latest airfares and discounted offers on flights to New Zealand operating from UK.
Preferred Airlines to New Zealand from UK
Travel Tips for holidays in New Zealand
- Keep your winter gear ready if you are travelling to New Zealand during late autumn or winter. Carrying rainwear is also highly recommended. There is a lot of difference in the weather of Northern and Southern belts. For detailed advice, refer to the section, ‘Best time to Visit New Zealand’. In addition, do your share of Internet research before booking flights to New Zealand.
- New Zealand is a safe country. However, avoid isolated areas. Inform friends or the local authorities about your whereabouts before setting off on a journey. It goes without saying that the FCO advice on travel to New Zealand should be checked before making travel plans.
- Although, New Zealanders are very friendly, it is best to let them open up first instead of trying to be overfriendly.
- Ground yourself in local laws because these apply to you as long as you are in the country. For instance, drunk driving can land you in jail. Something, which may not be an offence in your native country may be a crime in New Zealand.
- There are plenty of hotels in New Zealand offering a plethora of choices for people of different means. Run a hotel search on the Internet and apprise yourself of the different options.
- Carry a gift if you have been invited to somebody’s home. However, a lavish gift is not too advisable.
- When visiting someone’s home, don’t sit unless the host asks you to.
- Respect local traditions especially if you are moving in tribal belts. For instance, tribal Maoris welcome strangers through a ceremony called Powhiri. This ceremony can stretch into hours and can include many seemingly absurd practices. However, remember that you are in their turf and it is best to graciously accept their practices.
- Maoris consider the head to be sacred part of the body. If you are handing out food, make sure that you don’t hand out plates over someone’s head.
- Don’t take lifts from strangers.
- Carry some sort of identification proof while moving around.
- For further tips on travelling in New zealand or New zealand travel advice, check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website’s following link: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/new-zealand
- Location – South-Western Pacific Ocean
- Time Zone – UTC + 12, Summer DST (UTC + 13)
- Capital – Wellington
- Largest City – Auckland
- Government – Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy
- Area – 268,021 km2/103,483 sq mi
- Population – 4,380,029 (2010 Estimate)
- Currency – New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Calling Code – +64
- Official Language(s) – English, Maori, New Zealand Sign Language
- Religion – Christianity (55.6%), No religion (34.7%). The rest of the population practices different faiths including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. These figures are based upon the 2006 census.
- Visa information – Travellers need to check the visa guidelines from their relevant embassy/ consulates or contact their travel agents.
There are plenty of money exchange facilities in New Zealand. Some of the obvious places to look into are banks and hotels.