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queenstown scenery

New Zealand travel tips

Helpful information to remember when visiting New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular holiday destination for many Australians and it's not hard to see why! From stunning mountain views and glistening lakes, to fun adventure sports and an incredible food scene - there is something for everyone in New Zealand. Have a read of our below travel tips so you can be prepared for your upcoming holiday across the ditch. 

Get a free quote online for New Zealand travel insurance. See how affordable protecting your holiday can be with Cover-More. If you need help with organising your policy, then give our friendly team a call on 1300 72 88 22. Remember as the age-old saying goes, if you can't afford travel insurance then you can't afford to travel.

Want more information about travel insurance for New Zealand? Find out more here.

Skip ahead to find out:

  1. What you need to know
  2. Wi-Fi in New Zealand
  3. What power adaptor to use
  4. Currency in New Zealand
  5. Weather seasons in New Zealand
  6. Travelling with a tour group
  7. Exploring New Zealand solo
  8. Best places to visit

What you need to know

It might be a short flight away, but New Zealand is still a separate country with a unique set of rules and regulations. It also has a very different climate to Australia. Here are some handy travel tips for your trip to New Zealand:

  • Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return home to Australia.
  • If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, you do not need a visa to visit, live or work in New Zealand.
  • If you have prior convictions or have been deported from any country, you must contact a High Commission or Consulate of New Zealand. They will be able to provide advice on visa requirements. It is best to get in contact well in advance of your trip as you may not be guaranteed entry.
  • You can use your Australian licence for 12 months if you are road tripping around New Zealand. For longer than that, you will need to get a New Zealand licence to legally drive in the country.
  • The water in New Zealand's lakes, rivers, and ocean can be very cold. Be smart about the water sports you choose to do, and don't mix water sports and alcohol.
  • Hiking is a popular pastime in New Zealand and most travellers will do it to witness spectacular views. Weather can change quickly on mountain hikes. Make sure you tell someone where you'll be hiking and be prepared with warm layers. Hiring a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a good idea and is considered a necessity if you're going off-trail.
  • New Zealand is subject to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tsunami warnings. Always watch local alerts and remain aware. Be sure to follow instructions from law enforcement and evacuate from any areas if recommended to do so.  
  • Consider travelling with travel insurance. Get a quote online to protect your holiday to New Zealand.

Is there Wi-Fi in New Zealand?

When you're travelling the world, it's understandable that you want to stay connected. Planning your trip as you go, keeping in touch with friends and family, or sharing photos are all made a lot easier with Wi-Fi. You will find it quite easy to connect while in the cities at cafes, libraries, and information centres. Many accommodation providers will also provide Wi-Fi at no extra cost.

Outside of major towns and cities, Wi-Fi is not readily available. Many parts of New Zealand may have you without a connection. But take this as a good time to switch off and enjoy the wilderness without any online distractions.

There are many mobile apps that can help make your trip a little easier. Some of them are available for use without the internet. Our travel blogger Lisa shares her favourite mobile apps to use when exploring the globe. Find out which ones she recommends here

Our hot tip

Download what you need before you leave places with Wi-Fi. This is especially helpful when it comes to using offline maps. Many travel apps allow you to use them without an internet connection, but do require you to download what you need before you head off. Some simple planning and organization beforehand can go a long way!

mountains and river in new zealand

What power adaptor do I need for New Zealand?

If you are travelling internationally, you may need a power adaptor to use your electronics. Power sockets may differ from country to country, but Australia and New Zealand have the same. Both use the same angled two or three pin plugs.

Get a quote for travel insurance to New Zealand today!

Currency in New Zealand

New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Check the exchange rates before you travel so you have a better idea of what things are going to cost. You'll find that all major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, but Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted. If you want to withdraw money, you can find ATMs almost everywhere.

There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency you can bring to or take out of New Zealand. If you're carrying more than NZ$10,000 in cash, you will be required to complete a Border Cash Report. Research this before you go to stay informed about any changes.

Don’t forget to tell your bank about your travel plans in advance. As a precaution against fraud, most banks have a policy to freeze your bank account if it is being used overseas – so let them know where and when your travel plans are so you don’t get caught out.

Our hot tip

It is a good idea to carry both cash and card when travelling. You should have multiple ways of accessing your money in case something goes wrong. If you happen to lose your bank card, it’s good to have some back up cash to get you through (and vice versa!). Often travel currency cards provide you with a primary and secondary card as a backup, so keep them safe in separate places in case one goes missing.

What is the weather like in New Zealand?

New Zealand's North Island experiences moderate weather thanks to its subtropical climate. January and February are the warmest months and temperatures sit around the mid-twenties.

The South Island is not as warm as the North and has a more alpine climate. Most of the country's Ski resorts are inland on the South Island. Temperatures can be as low as -10°C (14°F) in the winter. In the cooler months, both the North and South island experience snow in the mountainous areas.

The North and South Islands can experience quick shifts in the daily weather. While the day might start as sunny and warm, it can end with a sudden drop in temperature. For this reason, always be prepared with warm layers, especially if you're hiking or spending time outdoors.

Find out what you can experience during the different seasons in New Zealand. Bailey from Destinationless Travel shares her favourite activities to do during summer and winter

Seasons in New Zealand

new zealand weather

Protect your trip to New Zealand in case of weather-caused delays, natural disasters and so much more! Get a free quote today.

Travelling in a tour group

A popular way to see New Zealand is as part of a tour group. Tours can be a great way to meet people, experience the sights, and enjoy a stress-free holiday. With everything planned for you, all you have to do is sit back and relax.

There are tour operators throughout New Zealand. You'll find there are different tours suited for different age groups and budgets. If you're a backpacker, try looking for tours for people aged 18-31. There are plenty that incorporates fun nights out with sightseeing in the day.

Exploring New Zealand on your own

New Zealand is a great country to explore solo. The wilderness, mountains and hiking trails are the perfect backdrop for your new-found freedom. As one of the safest countries in the world, you'll find that many travellers choose to go at it alone. You'll have the independence to go at your own pace and plan your own itinerary. The bus network is extensive and quality hostels are found in most major towns. If you're interested in meeting new people, hostel common rooms are a good way to connect.

travelling solo in new zealand

Best places to visit in New Zealand

We all know that it’s impossible to see everything a place has to offer while on holidays. There is so much to see and do in New Zealand that it can sometimes be overwhelming with choices. We’ve chosen some of the best spots not to be missed below. You can also check out this suggested New Zealand itinerary for a first-timer

Queenstown

Surrounded by towering mountains and graced by the shores of Lake Wakatipu, on New Zealand’s South Island lies Queenstown. Whether you’re a thrill seeker or mild-mannered person, this resort town offers the best of both worlds. From bungy jumping to winery tours or simply taking in the stunning scenery, Queenstown has something for everyone. Watch as Dan, one of our travel bloggers shows off some of the highlights not to be missed in Queenstown.

Auckland

Much like Queenstown, the city of Auckland on the North Island has something to appeal to anyone. From vibrant nightlife to spectacular hikes, Auckland shares its world class city with surrounding natural wonders. Known as one of the world’s largest Polynesian cities, experience the culture through museums and tours. With lots to see and do, Auckland is one of New Zealand’s largest and most diverse cities that is well worth your time. Check out our guide to Auckland.

Christchurch

In the heart of the Canterbury region lies the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch. This city stands out from the rest with its vast array of vibrant and innovative creativity. Urban regeneration flows through the city streets with new restaurants, bars, trendy shops and colourful street art. Despite this energy, the city stays true to its traditional heritage. Christchurch is without a doubt one of the world’s most unique destinations.

Wellington

If you’re a ‘foodie’ then Wellington should be at the top of your New Zealand itinerary. Encompassed by nature, the city is one of rich culture and food, perfect for a short stopover. In a day you can explore countless museums, indulge in some of the world’s finest craft beer and wine, relax with a gelato on the city’s gorgeous waterfront or even witness the native animals of New Zealand in their natural habitat.

Rotorua

Rotorua is a New Zealand experience like no other. This extraordinary destination is home to countless bubbling mud pools, bursting geysers, natural hot springs and rich Maori history. Experience stunning geothermal activity with your own eyes at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland or take it to the extreme with Skyline Rotorua and race down the thrilling Luge tracks. Want to see more of the Maori culture? Be sure to go to Te Puia for performances and to experience the Maori way of life.

Milford Sound

One of New Zealand’s most stunning natural attractions is Milford Sound. Cruising through this natural wonder, deep within Fiordland National Park, is a must-do on every New Zealand itinerary. By boat, kayak or helicopter, you can experience the astonishing aesthetic of the fiord’s cliff face that surrounds the water below. Not only will the countless waterfalls take your breath away but you’ll also see a range of intriguing wildlife. It’s a pure natural beauty just waiting to be seen.

Contact us

Consider protecting your trip to New Zealand. Get in touch with us to discuss your travel insurance options by calling 1300 72 88 22. Or get a quote online to see how affordable it can be.

Visit our frequently asked questions page for more information.