The New Zealand Nature Travel Guide has been created as a result of the country becoming legendary in recent times as an ecotourism destination. Thanks to its abundance of nature, breathtaking scenery and unusual wildlife, unlike anywhere else, this modern-day “Middle Earth” situated at the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean offers a great variety of experiences for both nature lovers and tourists alike!
Also known by its original Maori name “Aotearoa“, The Land of the Long White Cloud is increasingly on-the-radar and well-known to travelers thanks to its plethora of beautiful sights, range of exhilarating activities, as well as a fascinating native culture. Not to mention, the very friendly, welcoming and positive attitude of its people, commonly referred to as “Kiwis”.
This incredible little country holds a special place in my heart as I was born and grew up here! As a result, I love to play the role of travel guide by sharing tips and recommendations to all those who visit these far-flung shores or those wanting to find out more about all the amazing things it has on offer, especially its natural wonders and eco travel options.
New Zealand Nature Travel Guide
Spanning 1,600kms from the subtropics in the north to the “roaring forties” latitudes in the south, New Zealand has a variety of microclimates, as a result of the surrounding ocean and the country’s extensive mountain ranges. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the warmest period and peak travel season lasts from December until March. However, if you’re into winter sports like skiing and don ‘t mind a lot of wind and rain, June to September is also a good time to visit.
This amazingly varied but compact South Pacific archipelago is comprised of two main islands…
The smaller of the two main islands, the North, however, is the most populous. From Cape Reinga at the northernmost tip to “windy” Wellington, the world’s southernmost and “coolest little capital” city, the nature and scenery is varied.
Chances are you’ll fly into the cosmopolitan melting pot of Auckland, the country and Polynesia’s largest city. But don’t think that just because it’s a major city it’s lacking in nature, in fact, it’s built around and surrounded by beautiful beaches, native forests, regional parks and picturesque islands. What’s more, it sits upon a bed of more than 50 extinct volcanoes making for great walks to the summits where you’ll get incredible views across the city, harbour and surrounding natural beauty.
The history of human beings in the North Island is intimately linked with its geology. Thanks to its volcanic origins, the land is extremely fertile and lush giving rise to forest-covered hills, green pasturelands, black sand beaches, as well as an assortment of geothermal features. These include snow-covered volcanoes, spouting geysers and natural hot water mineral springs, largely situated around the centre of the island in places around Rotorua and Taupo especially.
Throughout this area and indeed the whole of the North Island, there are many instances of the culture of the indigenous people, the Maori. The culture is not just in the past; it lives and evidence of this is everywhere, not only in everyday life but also in museums, art galleries and even certain architecture.
Quirkily referred to by New Zealanders as the “mainland”, the country’s largest island could quite possibly be one of the most naturally beautiful places on the planet.
Ranging from fiords to lakes, glaciers to beaches, this “slice of heaven” really is a must-see for any serious nature lover or eco traveler!
Driving around is definitely an unreal experience! Behind each turn there’s like a whole new vista which quite frankly is breathtaking and out of this world!. This mountain range runs almost the entire length of the South Island.
Some of the most noteworthy and standout drawcards include : Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) with unimpeded, clear night views (one of less than 100 international dark sky reserves), Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Fiordland – a national park encompassing the spectacular fiords of Milford and Doubtful sounds.
One of the best ways to explore this incredibly beautiful and pristine gem of an island is by going on a walk or trek through the vast wilderness of its many national parks and world heritage listed areas.
Sometimes referred to as “God’s Own Country”, these South Pacific isles at the end of the earth really have been blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and wonders of nature.
The spectacular landscapes of what we know as New Zealand today were previously the southern-most highlands of the now submerged continent of “Zealandia”. Over time, the geological instability of its position straddling two tectonic plates in the “Pacific Rim of Fire” and numerous other earth changes have left their mark on the country in a most stunning way.
Over the ages massive plate shifts, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers and rivers have shaped the land into a veritable paradise of awe-inspiring natural wonders!
The Central Plateau
This central North Island volcanic plateau is made up of active volcanoes, lava plateaus, and hot-water crater lakes. Covered by snow during the winter months, it becomes a popular ski destination and weekend getaway for those from Auckland and further afield. Surrounding the 3 mountains of Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Tongariro which constitute most of the plateau are some picturesque walking tracks which traverse highland tussocks, streams and native vegetation with some stunning views over much of the island.
The caldera of the ancient Taupo Volcano, this massive 35-kilometre-wide crater is now the largest lake in the country after filling up with fresh water since the last major eruption about 1,800 years ago.
Hugging the Central Plateau, a major geothermal area and many forests, not only is it incredibly scenic but also offers a host of health spas and varied outdoor activities such as hiking, jet boating and rafting.
Nestled at the Northwestern tip of the South Island, this incredible and relatively undiscovered and unspoilt part of the world packs a whole lot of spectacular natural beauty into a relatively small area!
From the world’s clearest freshwater springs to massive “otherworldly” sand dunes stretching far out into the Tasman Sea, Golden Bay is not just one natural wonder, but several all located within close proximity to each other around the rim of the Takaka Valley.
With a mixture of mountains, rivers, bush, beaches and sea, this region encompasses parts of Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks as well as the northern-most reaches of the Southern Alpes. Not only will you find two noteworthy waterfalls, Waimea and Salisbury, but also pristine native bush full of Nikau Palms, Manuka bushes, Kauri trees and prehistoric ferns, making you almost feel like you’ve stepped on to the set of Jurassic Park.
Te Waikoropupū Springs (formerly Pupu Springs) sits on top of huge natural aquifers that pump out water at an astronomical rate of 14,000 litres per second — comparable to 2400 bathtubs worth a minute — giving rise to the planet’s clearest fresh water, and quite possibly its most beautiful.
Thanks to the filtration of the water through the surrounding rocks for upwards of ten years, the springs that emerge into the area are so pure and clear that you can almost see right down to the bottom, only obscured by a plethora of aquatic plants and the dazzling blue tint of the pools.
The Southern Alpes
Originally known by its Māori name “Kā Tiritiri o te Moana”, this stunning mountain range extends along most of the length of the South Island. Its highest peak Aoraki (Mt Cook) reaches more than 3,700 metres above sea level.
Sculptured by glaciers over a period of more than 100,000 years, in this stunning landscape you’ll encounter massive waterfalls that cascade into deep “other worldly” fiords. Not to mention the ancient rainforest which scale the mountains and the glistening lakes whose edges suddenly rise up into granite peaks.
So precious is this spectacular landscape, Fiordland National Park has been classified as a World Heritage Site and includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. In fact, Milford Sound was even coined by Rudyard Kipling as possibly the Eighth Wonder of the World; visit it for yourself and you‘ll soon see why!
New Zealand has more than 30,000 km² of amazing and varied scenery in its 13 national parks. It’s definitely worth spending some time in some of these exquisite nature reserves and really get to experience the uniqueness and beauty that the natural wonders of this beautiful country has to offer.
These national parks do a great job of preserving the heritage, protecting the wildlife and making the natural environment accessible, largely as they were before humans first set foot on these wild shores.
Blessed with beauty all regions of New Zealand provide unique natural environments to explore. However, these are the standout and some of the most popular:
- Auckland & Hauraki Gulf Islands
- Bay of Islands
- Waitomo Caves
- Nelson & Malborough
- Queenstown & Wanaka
- Milford Sound
Whether you’re wanting to only soak up as much nature as you can or combine it with some urban attractions of the country’s cities which frequently rank highly amongst some of the world’s most liveable, New Zealand offers a variety of worthwhile activities both purely nature-based and otherwise.
Some of the most popular and noteworthy include:
- Paihia Harbour & Bay of Islands Cruise
- Auckland Sightseeing Tour
- Waitakere Ranges & Piha Beach
- Waiheke Island
- Tiritiri Maitangi Island
- Coromandel Peninsula & Hotwater Beach
- Hobbiton Movie Set
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
- Huka Falls & Lake Taupo
- Interisland Ferry Crossing
- Whale Watching In Kaikoura
- Akaroa Shore Excursion
- Mount Cook Adventure Tour
- Franz Josef Glacier Walk
- Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Tourism has become New Zealand’s single most valuable revenue earner. Unfortunately, the natural environment of this exquisitely beautiful country is very fragile. Despite this, outdoor activities such as skiing, water sports and bungee jumping are encouraged and there are many world-class facilities available.
However, unique to New Zealand are its national parks taking up more than 20% of the country and ecotourists will be very happy with the numerous nature retreats and activities such as bird and whale watching, eco-cruises, which are widely available throughout the country.
Ecotourism in New Zealand has as its aim the reduction of negative effects of tourism on the natural environment and the giving back of something to this environment, even with volunteer work.
The best way to see the wonderful landscape and vast wilderness of New Zealand is by hiking. The country has many thousands of kilometres of walking tracks, with a variety of walks and hikes suitable for any fitness or experience level.
There are heaps short walks, ranging from half an hour up to three hours in most areas. If you fancy a longer walk, then there are hikes from 4 to 8 hours, which you can set aside a day to do. For those wanting even longer walks, New Zealand has nine famous, iconic multi-day walks:
- Lake Waikaremoana Track – Hawkes Bay
- Whanganui Journey – Ruapehu
- Tongariro Northern Circuit – Ruapehu
- Abel Tasman Coast Track – Nelson
- Heaphy Track – West Coast
- Routeburn Track – Fiordland
- Milford Track – Fiordland
- Kepler Track – Fiordland
- Rakiura Track – Stewart Island
DOC [Department of Conservation] staff and Local guides are able to give vital information concerning the track and weather. Visitors deciding not to follow this advice often find themselves needing help from Search and Rescue organisations.
- Always give a clearly detailed summary of your proposed trip with reliable contact(s). This should clearly state when you expect to return.
- Be sure to enter notes in hut books, even when you don’t remain in the hut.
- If you plan to explore away from the commonly used tracks you should have both personal locator beacons and mountain.
- It is vital to have appropriate gear for the tramp, such as clothing and maps.
- If lost, it is best to remain in one place; doing so greatly increases the probability of an early rescuer.
- Communicate with authorities using your phone or other device to tell them of your situation.
- Stay comfortable and warm in a camp, where you should remain until rescued.
New Zealand has vegetation that is different to that found anywhere else in the world; it often evolved slowly in a unique environment. About 85% of the country’s native plants are unique to Aotearoa.
In New Zealand, unlike the northern hemisphere, the ice sheets of the Ice Age did not cover the entire country and the ancient Kauri and Podocarp forests did not totally disappear. As a consequence, these have not been replaced by newer species of tree.
The pollinators of plants are very important and New Zealand’s flora did not have to develop bright colors to attract pollinators; flowers are often only green or white. New Zealand used to have a large flightless native bird called the moa, which was exterminated by the early Maori. There is a plant called the Lancewood that evolved so it has leaves, which are spiky and hard up to a height of 4 m, but change to be similar to the leaves of normal trees after that. The reason for the spiky leaves evolving was to prevent consumption by moas who were tall enough to reach the upper branches.
Another New Zealand tree is the kauri. It is about 200 million years old, however, not all New Zealand’s plants have evolved so slowly. Indeed some have evolved very quickly. Often these plants are alpine, as New Zealand’s mountains are of comparatively recent origin. New Zealand has more than 500 native alpine plants.
New Zealand provides an ideal climate and volcanic soil for vegetation, with conditions ranging from subtropical to Alpine. There is a variety of flora, that ranges from tropical rainforests to that suited for high mountain peaks. There is a line in the North Island that is called the Taupo line, above which plants such as kauri, mangrove and many others can grow but not below this line.
Among plants native to New Zealand:
- 45 species of coprosma plants, native only to Pacific countries.
- The giant Kauri tree, which can live for 2000 years and reach a height of 60 m.
- Kowhai, a tree with beautiful yellow flowers that are greatly prized for its nectar by native birds and insects.
- The Nikau palm, which was widely used by pre-European Maori for the building of dwellings and other buildings.
- The Pohutukawa, often called New Zealand’s Christmas tree. It has beautiful crimson flowers, which come out near Christmas.
- The northern Rata, a slow growing tree that can reach a height of 25 m producing vivid red flowers.
- The Lancewood, mentioned earlier, which has spiky leaves until it reaches a height of 4 m. This strategy evolved in order for it to resist consumption by the now extinct moa bird.
- The Totara, another giant tree that can reach a height of 40 m or more.
- Manuka, a shrub whose flowers give rise to honey with extraordinary healing powers.
- Flax: New Zealand has a native flax that can be used by human beings for a variety of purposes.
- Cabbage Tree: the New Zealand cabbage tree has a palm like appearance and can reach a height of 20 m. Parts of it are edible and ropes can be made from its leaves.
The 80 million year long separation from the Godwana continent led to the evolution of unique New Zealand animals. For example, 25% of birds and 90% of insects are endemic, which means they appear nowhere else. The absence of land mammals meant that birds could occupy their niche, roaming on the forest floor for food, unafraid of predators. Some nest on the floor or even lost the ability to fly, with devastating effects once mammals like Polynesian rats, dogs, possums, stoats were introduced. The normal proceedings of evolution plus 800 years of human co-existence (0.0001% of this period) were enough to extinct half of all bird species, while over 70% of all land bird species are currently threatened. Also many species of fish, bats, frogs, insects, marine mammals and reptiles are endangered.
New Zealand separated from the ancient continent of Gondwanaland about 80 million years ago. During this long period of time, unique fauna evolved in the country. As there were no mammals, birds occupied the niches that mammals usually took in other countries, often becoming flightless and nesting on the ground.
In addition to its birds, New Zealand has many other creatures, such as insects, reptiles and bats found nowhere else on Earth.
Since human beings started arriving less 800 years ago, they and the animals they have introduced, such as the rat, dog, possum and stoat have exterminated or threatened with extinction many of these creatures.
Some unique native bird species:
- Kiwi – New Zealand’s infamous national symbol is a flightless nocturnal bird with a long beak that lays giant eggs.
- Kakapo – The world’s largest parrot, this unique flightless species is very endangered due to its loss of natural habitat and difficulty breeding.
- Kea – New Zealand’s iconic and cheeky mountain parrot! Very intelligent and inquisitive you might catch them hanging around the ski fields.
- Kaka – A rare New Zealand forest parrot, whose diet consists of a variety of foods ranging from nectar to insects.
- Kokako – Most famous for its beautiful birdsong.
- New Zealand Falcon – This is a small predator, which can fly as fast as 230 km an hour!
- Takahe – Once thought to be extinct, special breeding programs have seen the population increase to a still small 200.
- Blue Duck – Although there are many ducks in New Zealand, the vast majority are not these native darlings which unfortunately are rare with only about 2500 left.
- Penguins – New Zealand has more species of penguin than any other country. Among penguins endemic to the country are the Little Blue Penguin, the Yellow-Eye Penguin and the Fiordland Crested Penguin.
- Tui – No stranger to the city and country alike, the Tui has a distinctive white throat ruff and is a beautiful singer.
- Pukeko – Distinctive in appearance with large feet and an orange beak, this rather raucous bird has a distinctive scream-like squalk. You’ll like like find them rummaging around farms, swamps and even urban parklands. Unlike most New Zealand birds, it has adapted quite well to the presence of human beings.
- Fantail – Alway on the go, this very sweet species of little bird has a distinctive fanlike tail and peep.
- Kereru – The New Zealand native wood pigeon. A rather large bird which plays an important role in dispersing the seeds of certain native plants.
- Weka – Another flightless bird, who is very curious, intelligent and can even be a bit mischievous! It is most often found in the South Island.
- Albatross – Half the world’s species of albatross are found in New Zealand. The albatross is a huge bird with an adult wingspan of up to 3.7 m.
- Morepork – New Zealand’s native owl! Quite common, it has a call that sounds like its name. It is frequently heard in the countryside at night.
- Oystercatcher – Found in coastal areas, and as its name suggests, it lives on a diet of “kaimoana” (seafood).
- Shag – With their long beaks and great swimming ability, you’ll often catch a glimpse of them in harbours and coastal inlets.
- Kingfisher – This NZ variety is beautiful and common around the country.
New Zealand has many interesting insects. Like most of New Zealand’s creatures, they find it hard to compete with and survive alongside imported animals.
- Weta – An ancient insect, whose fossils are as old as 190 million years. It has a frightening appearance, but is harmless to people. It is quite widespread and frequently encountered, particularly in the North Island.
- Giant Weta – The world’s heaviest insect, weighing as much as 71 g! Like so much of New Zealand’s indigenous fauna, the giant weta is a threatened species.
- New Zealand Alpine Weta – Another species of weta that has the unique interesting property of being able to be frozen then thaw out. It too is rare and threatened.
- Cave Weta – This is a very long type of weta, reaching a length up to 45 cm. It is rare and threatened.
- Stick Insects – New Zealand has 16 species of these. They are all flightless and are quite rare.
- New Zealand Giraffe Weevil – Rarely found they can reach a length of 15 cm and eats wood that has decayed.
New Zealand has a great variety of marine life.
More than 1200 species of fish can be found in New Zealand’s waters. Among these, are a variety of sharks including the Great White. Also found are manta rays, sunfish and many other forms of sea life.
Many marine animals can also be found in New Zealand. New Zealand’s provides a home for 20 species of whale and nine dolphin. Sadly two of the dolphin species, Hector and Maui are, as with so many New Zealand native species, under threat of extinction, particularly the Maui dolphin. The Maui dolphin is the world’s smallest and the population is now less than 100.
Another New Zealand native fish is the Long Finned Eel. It has been in New Zealand’s rivers and sea, since New Zealand was joined to Gondwanaland. These eels have been known to be as long as 1.75 m and as heavy as 40 kg. They have great longevity, with one recorded as living for 106 years.
Although not unique to New Zealand, the whales that provides the subjects of the important whale watching industry.
One of these is the humpbacks, which used to be hunted in New Zealand, but like all whales, is now protected and provides good whale watching. It is frequently seen off the coast of New Zealand. Another whale frequently found in New Zealand is the sperm whale, which is the world’s largest predator. It lives off giant squids that it catches at great depths.
In addition to the creatures mentioned above, the following animals that live in New Zealand are of great interest.
Tuatara: fossils of this ancient reptile have been found dating from 200 million years. The tuatara can live for more than 100 years. It has a number of intriguing features, such as males having no penis. It has been extinct on the main islands for hundreds of years and is only found on some offshore islands.
Glowworm: these are found in many caves and are luminescent. They are actually the larvae of the fungus gnat.
Kauri Snail: few are the gardeners in New Zealand that are not bothered by snails. These snails are imported varieties and not the very rare and large Kauri snail. The Kauri snail lives in Kaur forests and eats earthworms.
Frogs: New Zealand has a number of native frogs. All are endangered. Two particularly interesting species are Hamilton’s frog and the Maud Island frog. Unlike other frogs, they do not flick their tongues in order to catch insects and they have very little webbing on their feet. They do not produce tadpoles, but have babies, which are carried on the backs of their fathers for about one month.
Bats: New Zealand has two native baths both rare and of very ancient lineage.
When New Zealand was created 80 million years ago, mammals were not present. Since their arrival, they have caused massive environmental problems. As an example, the Australian possum eats 20,000 tons of new vegetation per day. Another introduced species, deer, also eat new vegetation, as well as shrubs and trees. They even cause problems by rubbing their antlers on vegetation.
New Zealand has put a lot of work into the conservation of native flora and fauna, although not always successfully. A visitor can greatly assist this conservation effort by volunteering their services toward a conservation project.
Camping is very popular in New Zealand. A night in a comfortable tent can be a magical means of accommodation. Sitting around the campfire listening to nature’s sounds is a fantastic experience that takes a lot of beating.
There are numerous options for camping in New Zealand, ranging from camping in National Parks to ordinary camping, near cities. If you up opt to stay close to civilization then New Zealand has many holiday parks that are well-equipped for both adults and children.
- Although comparatively safe, New Zealand is not without danger for campers.
- Always check about safety from locals before camping in a secluded place.
- Always keep an eye on the weather and be prepared for unforeseen problems.
- Always be well supplied.
- Always leave travel plans with a reliable contact.
There is an app called Campermate that has really valuable information on camping in New Zealand, with information about such features as locations, Wi-Fi, toilets and many other details.
Something called freedom camping may be your preference. If that is the case then be sure to read the rules about this, as these are getting stricter all the time. Some freedom campers in New Zealand have seriously abused the privileges that they have been given, spoiling the environment and ruining the freedom camping experience for others.
Important information for freedom campers.
- Never camp on private property, as this is illegal.
- Be sure to have your own toilet, waste system and freshwater, if your campsite lacks them.
- Never leave rubbish behind.
- Empty your toilets at legal dump stations for this purpose. These are found in most holiday parks.
If you fail to adhere to these rules then you are liable for a hefty and potentially holiday-ruining fine!
Māori are the the indigenous people of New Zealand and refer to themselves as tangata whenua,. They arrived in New Zealand at leat 1000 years ago from Hawaiki, which was their original Polynesian starting point. In New Zealand today, approximately 15% of the population are of Māori descent. Māori culture is very important to the identity of this country.
Visitors to New Zealand are able to experience Māori culture with an organised tour to a marae, watching demonstrations of weaving or carving or listening to Māori guides discuss the important myths and legends of their culture.
Maori people can be found all over New Zealand, and some of them play an important role in maintaining their language and culture. In Maori culture, the marae is the centre for all cultural, social, and spiritual life. A marae is a ‘centre’ that includes a meeting house (wharenui) and dining room (wharekai ).
Māori are described by their tribe (iwi), sub-tribe (hapu),and the mountain (maunga) and river (awa) of the area. A Māori family is called a Whanau – this includes immediate family ( parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren) , in-laws and all those having blood ties.
The Gods of Māori tradition, the legends of the culture, the rituals of the culture arise from Hawaiki. All knowledge of this was provided by ancestors. The system of Māori
beliefs provided a coherent means of dealing with all pertaining to existence and maintaining order socially and culturally .
An important myth describes two gods, Rangi (the Sky Father) and Papa (the Earth Mother) who created all life. Their children were some male gods, who rebelled against the limitations of their lives. One of these was Tane who abandoned Rangi and Papa and proceeded to stain the earth a red color with the blood of Rangi; blood which all nature had come from.
Māori were certain their ancestors had these gods as their forbears and all worthy people are related to the divine.
It is believed Tane offered us three baskets of wisdom and learning. These are called, “Nga Kete-o-te-Wananga”. Inside these were the stories of creation, instructions concerning magic, etc. An important belief of the Māori people is the belief that everything that lives is descended from the Gods, lying within some rivers, mountains, and lakes. Everything has a soul, which is called the wairua. For this reason Māori have a powerful spiritual connection with the land.
There are geographical features in New Zealand that are vital to Māori identity. As examples, the Whanganui River has great spiritual and cultural importance for some Māori. Similarly many Māori regard Mount Ngaruahoe and Mount Ruapehu of the North Island as sacred.
Spiritual essence is called “mana”. Mana is to be found in man, nature, land, and even in objects that are man-made. Mana can be drained away by contact with certain persons or things .
A very powerful influence in Māori is Tapu . It has a number of meanings. One of the meanings of Tapu is “sacred”. Something that is Tapu is restricted spiritually; it has rules and prescriptions. A tapu place or person or object should have no contact with humans.
People who are ecoconscious will be very pleased and satisfied in New Zealand. There is an ever-increasing number of cafés and restaurants that offer food, which is delicious, sustainably produced and ideal for those seeking vegan options.
New Zealand has much locally grown produce and this is widely available everywhere. The traveler should make a point of getting some of this food, as it is very succulent and nutritious. The vegan traveler will be very well catered for in New Zealand.
For the most part, New Zealand is quite an open-minded, progressive and tolerant country, in fact, the country was the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalise gay marriage.
Tourists who are gay or lesbian will feel relaxed in New Zealand, particularly in Wellington and Auckland. These metropolitan areas have a very open minded attitude to the LBGT lifestyle. Some provincial areas may find the openly gay tourist receiving some hostility, however, New Zealand’s is generally safe for the gay traveler.
New Zealand is a very poor popular destination for those who are gay or lesbian and has options for all budgets. Many destinations, throughout the country, have particular appeal to the pink traveler. The gay and lesbian tourist industry of New Zealand has greatly expanded over a number of years to include luxurious lodges and boutique accommodation.
If you’re a Digital Nomad, traveling for business, or working remotely, you’ll be impressed with New Zealand’s ICT and high-speed broadband infrastructure. Thanks to many years of investment in its Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network, the country is now ranked in the top 10% for its internet speeds and connectivity.
What better way to enjoy work and get your creative juices flowing than having stunning natural scenery as a backdrop?
Wifi is readily available in most public places and even many transport services like buses, trains and ferries, albeit not all are free of charge. Apart from the most remote locations, fast 3/4G mobile broadband is available where there is no wi-fi , so it’s a good idea to buy a local prepaid SIM card to use as a back up if you plan on traveling around a lot.
Previously only found in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, coworking spaces are now popping up in all the main tourist areas and regional centres. Otherwise, most cafes, bars and restaurants tend to have a decent wifi connection available for their patrons to use for a few hours.
Things to know:
- Dormitories cost from 20-40 NZD per night.
- Private rooms in hostels are more expensive, starting at 80 NZD per night.
- WiFi: This is commonly free in hostels.
- Very few hostels have free breakfast.
- Only some hostels, such as the YHA, have facilities for self-catering.
- Budget hotels start at 70 NZD per night per double room.
- There are far more expensive and luxurious hotels.
This is widely available with the following approximate costs:
- Shared accommodation from about $27 NZ per night.
- Complete homes from $70 NZ per night.
There are many campgrounds all over New Zealand with rates of about $15 NZ per night.
Dining out is somewhat expensive here. You usually pay $35-$40 NZ per person for a meal and drink at a restaurant with table service.
For those who prefer to cook their own food, the price in NZ is around 65-80 NZD per week for basic foods.
Travelling around New Zealand is fairly inexpensive.
Bus fares vary for different cities, however, adult prices are usually about $3 NZ (they are considerably less if you buy metrocards).
Travelling between cities usually involves the intercity bus system, which is quite cheape. The majority of intercity fares are aroundt 20 NZD, although they could be more for those travelling long distances.
As an example, travelling from Auckland to Wellington is a good all day trip and costs about $40 NZ.
You can rent bikes in most cities, the cost of doing this daily rentals is about $15 NZ per person (usually including a lock and helmet).
Flying is more expensive, ase there is not much airline competition in New Zealand. It is best to book your flight 2-3 months ahead to get the best deals.
In addition, there are backpacker hop on/hop off buses. Although expensive, costing $200–$800 NZ, they often include many fun activities and provide a great method of meet others.
There are many different activities possible in New Zealand, with prices from $100-$600 NZ. Many are outdoor activities, as tourism in New Zealand is oriented around outside activities. You are advised to carefully budget for these activities. They are often the largest expense during your trip.
If you’ve been to New Zealand, I’d love to hear about your favourite places in nature to go and your best experiences, so leave a comment below!