Member experiences
Forum Posts
Members who've been
previous next
New Zealand

New Zealand essential info

New Zealand, with its high peaks, volcanic grumbling, weird wildlife, raging waters and high-octane thrills, is the ultimate outdoor playground

Travel in New Zealand: vital statistics

  • Capital of New Zealand: Wellington
  • Population of New Zealand: 4.4 million
  • Languages in New Zealand: English, Maori
  • Time in New Zealand: GMT+12 (GMT+13 end Sep-early Apr)
  • International dialling code in New Zealand: +64
  • Voltage in New Zealand: 230/240 volts, 50 Hz
  • Visas for New Zealand: Not required by UK nationals. Find out more about New Zealand visas here. 
  • Money in New Zealand: New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Foreign credit cards are widely accepted; ATMs are easily accessible. Tipping is optional; leave 10% for good service.
  • New Zealand travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • New Zealand tourist board: Tourism New Zealand

When to go to New Zealand

Southern hemisphere summer (Dec-Mar) is the warmest and driest time to visit New Zealand – and the most popular: hotels get booked up and prices are higher. Winter (Jun-Sep) is the wettest and coldest time in New Zealand, but great for skiing; some hikes, for example the Milford Track, are closed due to snow.

The shoulder seasons of spring (Oct-Nov) and autumn (Apr-May) are lovely – the weather is still reasonable, popular sites are less busy and airfares are lower.

New Zealand international airports

Auckland International (AKL) 25km from Auckland; Wellington International (WLG) 7km from Wellington; Christchurch International (CHC) 12km from Christchurch.

Getting around in New Zealand

Getting around New Zealand is pretty easy. Domestic airlines serve small airports across the New Zealand – if you’re short on time, consider an airpass.

Bus travel is comfortable and efficient in New Zealand but can be time consuming; there are several backpacker-style hop-on, hop-off services you can use to access the main highlights. Train travel in New Zealand is a sightseeing option, rather than a practical one – routes are slow but generally stunning.

The best way to get around is by hiring a car or campervan  – roads are quiet, rates are reasonable and you have maximum flexibility. 

New Zealand accommodation

Cool campsites, hip hostels, boutique lodges, wilderness retreats, city hotels – all types of accommodation are available in New Zealand, catering for all budgets and tastes. Maori homestays are also a possibility, as are farmstays, where you get to help out with the animals.

Touring New Zealand by campervan is a popular option – there are many campsites to stop at. Much accommodation gets busy December-February – book in advance.

New Zealand food & drink

New Zealand cuisine is generally fresh, natural and tasty. Dairy, meat and fish products are world-renowned: try New Zealand lamb, grass-fed venison, Bluff oysters, local scallops, crayfish and hokey pokey ice cream (vanilla with crunchy toffee pieces). Manuka honey is another local specialty – great for toast and your immune system. For a traditional taster of New Zealand, try a Maori hangi, a meal of meat, spices and vegetables cooked in an underground, hot-rock oven.

Vegetarians will be fine in New Zealand (if jealous of the succulent meat and fish on offer). The local fruit and veg is good – don’t miss the kumara (sweet potato) and the kiwis. Most restaurants in New Zealand will be able to cater to vegetarians.

The drinks scene in New Zealand is equally good – don’t miss a tour of a local vineyard to sample some of New Zealand’s excellent vintages (for starters, try the sauvignons in the Marlborough region and pinot noirs in Otago), then sober up for a brewery visit: good New Zealand beers include Speights and Monteiths, plus there’s a wealth of microbreweries fermenting excellent ales.

Health & safety in New Zealand

No specific vaccinations are required for New Zealand. The UK NHS has a reciprocal agreement with the NZ health service but it is advisable to take out good health insurance: see

The weather in general, and especially in the mountains, is highly unpredictable – it’s essential to be well prepared and properly equipped with warm, waterproof gear. The sun is exceptionally strong – make sure you apply high-factor sunscreen regularly. Sandflies can be a nuisance in summer.

Latest Member Galleries



Articles on New Zealand

Read more




  • Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2017

    Best country. Best city. Favourite airline. Top TV show. Best tour operator. Wanderlust’s readers have spoken, in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2017, and here are the results…

  • Gear of the Year 2017 - best gear announced

    Wanderlust has announced our Gear of the Year for 2017, including the best daypacks, boots, jackets and accessories. Here's the definitive list that every adventure traveller needs

  • More News
Departure date:
Open the calendar popup.
Return date:
Open the calendar popup.
Date flexibility:
Spin UpSpin Down

Need some travel planning inspiration?

Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.

Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking. Enjoy!


Wanderlust in your inbox

Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!

I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions