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Welcome to the TravelPod 'New Zealand' Starter Kit!
Tips and Frequently Asked Questions...
This starter kit is a collection of top tips and frequently asked questions about New Zealand. It's not meant to replace a guide book, it's meant to get you started. If you are headed to New Zealand, check it out - there might be something of interest.
The information below will be frequently updated and added to. If you feel you have something to add yourself, please feel free to contribute!
So, first up:-
If you're headed to New Zealand (and you're not an Aussie) be aware that you might need a visa. It's fairly straightforward: you'll either be going simply to visit or you'll be planning to look for work while you're there, which is why there are two main types of visa - the 'Visitors Visa' and the 'Working Holiday Visa'.
The Visitors Visa
For most nationalities, if you're intending to travel in New Zealand for less than 3 months you won't need a visa (6 months if you're a British passport holder.)
This 3 month 'visa-free' period applies to visitors from the following countries:-
Andorra - Argentina - Austria - Bahrain - Belguim - Brazil - Brunei - Canada - Chile - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia* - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hong Kong** - Hungary - Iceland - Ireland - Israel - Italy - Japan - Korea (South) - Kuwait - Latvia* - Liechtenstein - Lithuania* - Luxembourg - Malaysia - Malta - Mexico - Monaco - Netherlands - Norway - Oman - Poland - Portugal*** - Qatar - San Marino - Saudi Arabia - Singapore - Slovak Republic - Slovenia - South Africa - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - United Arab Emirates - United States of America**** - Uruguay - Vatican City
*Still unsure? click here!
If you wish to travel New Zealand for longer than 3 months (6 months if you're a British passport holder) you'll need to apply for a visitorís visa.
If you're from a country not listed above, you'll need to apply for a visitorís visa before you travel to New Zealand.
For the complete picture, take a look at the New Zealand Immigration Website.
The Working Holiday Visa
If you're aged between 18 to 30 years of age you might be able to get yourself on a Working Holiday. This visa allows you to work anywhere in New Zealand for up to 12 months while you travel (up to 2 yrs if you're a British passport holder.) The rules and requirements are different for each country so if you're unsure, click here to find out what the requirements are for your application and what you're entitled to. Some nationalities will have unlimited places available and be lucky enough to apply online, some won't, so check it out and see what your options are.
(* If checking that lot out doesn't bring much joy, or you have any questions or queries regarding visas, please post a message in the 'Visa Queries' section and we'll see what we can do to put you on the right track! )
NEW for 2008! - The 'IEP' Work Exchange Visa!
This one's a beauty if you're a British or Irish passport holder, over 30 and still fancy a crack at a working holiday in New Zealand. It's basically a second chance for those who've missed the boat. It's also quite new which is why I've only just mentioned it. The elligibility age ranges from 18-35 incusive (that's up to the day before your 36th birthday) and you must apply through BUNAC. You must also be in the UK at the time of application. Sound good? Click here for more info..
When you arrive, make sure to get yourself an IRD number from the Inland Revenue before you start working.
Getting from A to B
New Zealand is very easy to travel, not only because of it's size but because it's very catered for. There are a number of options open to you if you wish to get around and see the sights, and each one should suit your budget, your timescale and your individual circumstances. Some people prefer the company of others, others prefer to do it themselves. Some have limited timeframes, other's have months or even the year or two to soak it all up. We're all different so we all need options. Here they are:-
Probably the most flexible method. A car will take you wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go there. It doesn't matter where you are in New Zealand, the coast is never far away. Because of it's size, New Zealand (unlike Australia) is very accessible very quickly and with a little bit of planning and a half-decent route you'll find you can see a whole load of stuff in quite a small time-frame.
If you're on a very limited time-frame you may want to consider hiring a car. There'll be plenty of opportunities to do this from the airport or from wherever you are staying. You will never be lost for information or help in New Zealand! If you're not there yet and wanted to plan ahead, here are a few popular operators to get you started:- Avis | Budget | Thrifty
For those with more time on their hands, buying a car is a great option. Many people buy a car and a tent and find it's a great way to see New Zealand. It's highly flexible, very cheap and loads of fun, providing the one you get is reliable! If your timescale is strict, bear in mind that you'll also have to allow for the time spent buying and selling the car, which will largely be out of your control. Check out the notice boards in internet cafes, hostels and cafes for 'car for sale!' posters. You'll be surprised how many you'll come across. Alternatively, you might want to grab yourself a copy of the local 'Buy n Sell Exchange', PLUS - there's also the 'Backpackers Car Market' to consider. Many people buy in Auckland and sell in Christchurch so doing it the other way round can be more wallet-friendly!
A campervan can be an excellent way to bounce around New Zealand and have a whole lot of fun and adventure along the way! Though you'll come across occasional restrictions, 'free-camping' isn't illegal in New Zealand so you'll have plenty of flexibility to do what you like. Like cars, campervans are completely flexible and can be hired or bought.
There are some great deals to be had renting a campervan and some of the facilities are very impressive - you'll be amazed at what can be packed in to such a small space! Check these out:
Spaceships | Escape | Britz | Maui
If you're flexible enough you can always use a relocation company - a little more restrictive geographically but also very cost effective. Click here for more info.
Train travel in New Zealand is efficient and comfortable and some services offer spectacular scenery that you won't see by road. Services run from Auckland as far down as Christchurch. Check out Rail NZ for more information.
There's also the Tranz-scenic to consider (dubbed by many as one of the world's most scenic railway journeys!) Definitely worth a look!
The population of New Zealand is low, the space is wide-open and plentiful and the locals are friendly. Though hitching can be a potential risk and is often inadvisable, New Zealand is generally a good country to hitchhike around and many people do so without too many problems. Just be aware that it is a potential risk and travelling in numbers is generally regarded safer.
The Backpacker Bus Networks
At present, there are a few main operators fighting for your dollar and all offer slightly different packages to suit your needs:
Stray | Kiwi Experience | Magic Bus |Flying Kiwi
Have a look, they're all similar, though having heard many stories from many backpackers about each of them, you have to bear in mind that these are often tailored to whizz people around both islands in as little as 21 days or so and are often filled with young out-of-schoolers who have come over to party hard in a short space of time. If this is not your cup of tea, just be aware that you'll 'all' be sharing the same transport (and dorm!)
That said, the backpacker bus networks do cover many of the major hotspots and attractions and and offer a wealth of information on nature, history and culture. You also get to hop on and off to suit yourself, so if you like a place and want to stay longer, you simply do so to suit yourself. If you arrive in New Zealand fresh without much knowledge or haven't researched all that much and prefer to leave it up to someone else, they can be a very beneficial way to experience a country for the first time round. Plus, it's a great way to meet people, and of course, party!
There are also regular bus services that will get you around New Zealand just as well. Check out Intercity, in particular their Flexipass.
Don't forget to check out the NZ 'Travelpass' too!
The 'Naked' Bus
There's a new bus network up and running in New Zealand's North Island, offering fares for online reservations booked in advance for as little as $1. It works on the same principle as some of the well known low-cost airlines, hence a cheap way to get around the North Island - city to city - on a budget. Check out The Nakedbus! for more information.
On a Gap Year?
To cater for those 18+ travellers who wish to to see New Zealand independently without investing in a vehicle, Kiwi Experience have recently branched off into providing just that: simple, low cost, backpacker friendly car and camper hire. Check out Exploremore for more info..
Spending your hard-earned cash
This section should give you an idea of some general costs to budget for. Of course, these will vary from place to place but should give you a rough idea for you to loosely plan with. All costs are in New Zealand dollars.
- Dorms - between $17-27
- Twins - up to $70
- Doubles - up to $100
*Don't forget, you can also get backpacker discount cards online which get you cheaper accommodation, plus discounts on all sorts of things. Check these out:-
The YHA Card | The BBH Card | The VIP Card
- Camping/campervanning - between $15 and $30 for a powered site
- Cabin's - between $35 and $50 for two people
There's a similar discount structure for some of the holiday parks. Check these out:
Top 10 | HAPNZ | Kiwi
Between $85 and $120 for two people. Looking for a motel? These should get you started:
AA | NZ Motels | | Motels & Motor Lodges
Hotels are abundant and you should expect to find anything from $90 upwards. Check out NZ Hotels
Currency (A very rough guide!)
Obviously these amounts aren't to be taken literally, but just to help you mull a few costs over, the following conversions should give you a rough guide as to what you're spending:
1 US dollar will get you approximately 1.6 New Zealand dollars
1 Canadian dollar will get you approximately 1.5 New Zealand dollars
1 Australian dollar will get you approximately 1.2 New Zealand dollars
1 British pound will get you approximately 3 New Zealand dollars
1 Euro will get you approximately 1.9 New Zealand dollars
For up-to-date exchange rates, click here!
Keeping in Touch
Blogging, Emails and Internet
Internet cafe's are plentiful in New Zealand and range from anywhere between $2-$10 per hour (the quality of the hardware, facilities and connection will reflect this.) You'll generally find that the larger cities offer the cheapest internet rates as there's a lot more competition interested in your dollar. Most internet outfits will have, or rather allow, USB/CD access with a good majority offering CD burning facilities.
Both Vodafone and Telecom offer competitive packages and at present, texting between vodafone mobiles is free between midnight on Friday and midnight on Sunday. This apparently will continue for another six-months or so.
Pay as you go SIM's can be bought for as little as $40 with some talk time preloaded. It's all straightforward so check out the best deals at the time.
If you're on the move and want people to send you heaps of presents, there's a couple of ways you can do it. If you know where you're going to be next week, plan ahead and give the sender the address of the local Post Shop.
Alternatively, you can have all your mail handled for you for one year, forwarded to you at anytime you request it to an address you specify. The cost is around $60 for one year and you can even set this up before you get to New Zealand. Check out the Travellers Contact Point, who offer a few services to make your first time in New Zealand run more smoothly (including finding you work!)
Note:- you'll need an address to open a bank account. Without a bank account you won't get paid. Without an IRD number you employer won't pay you, and without an address you won't be able to get an IRD number.
If you don't want to commit to the mail forwarding service for a year, you can use it for a month ($15) while you set up your bank and IRD number, unless of course you stay in the same place for long enough to get it all sorted.
The Travelpod New Zealand Feature! | New Zealand Travel Blogs | Photos | Videos | More...
To contact the emergency services in New Zealand, dial 111
When leaving New Zealand, expect to pay a departure tax of around $25NZ
More coming soon!
This info should help to get you started in some way. In time it will grow and become more comprehensive, so keep checking back.
*After your trip, and if you found this information useful, we'd be delighted if you could take the time to help the community further by contributing to the FAQ's and also by replying to the New Zealand forum posts.
New Zealand is a magical and awe-inspiring place to visit. You'll have the time of your life!
E noho r‚