The United States is New Zealand’s third-largest international visitor market. This trend is on the rise due to more direct airline routes and increased air capacity. Holiday makers from the United States want a destination that offers fun and relaxation, where they can be happy and enjoy themselves. Older visitors from the US have a desire to broaden their minds and learn and explore where they will feel safe and welcome.
New Zealand offers the opportunity to experience luxury like nowhere on earth, or backpack on a shoestring. Whether visitors want to camp, B&B, partake in every adventure sport conceivable or enjoy a romantic time away in a secluded spot, New Zealand has the answer. The country has landscapes to suit every taste, from sea to desert, volcanoes to forests, vineyards, lakes, grassy pastures, hiking locations, and a very exquisite fauna and flora. It is the only place in the world where you can get experience the Maori culture and New Zealand’s very own unique brand of friendliness. Every season brings a different attraction, and festivals are plentiful year-round.
UNESCO Heritage and… movies!
The islands of New Zealand offer many incentives for tourists to visit, not least of which are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the captivating locations used in the Lord of the Rings movies.
R. R. Tolkien produced The Hobbits and The Lord of the Rings, which have birthed a special tourist industry in New Zealand where the movies were filmed. Almost 11 million people rushed to cinemas in the United States to watch The Hobbit during its first week of release. Nearly 1.2 million more watched Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King during its opening weekend.
Therefore, visitors from the United States would possibly be interested to embark on a selection of tours or visit relevant sites and related locations pertinent to the moves. This selection could include:
New Zealand’s capital was the location for the movie’s Hobbiton Woods, the River Anduin and the Gardens of Isengard and Rivendell, where Frodo recovered after his knife attack.
The movie set remains for tourists to enjoy in city. Matamata area is a dairy farming region which provided the backdrop to the village of Hobbiton and the movie’s peaceful Shire region of Middle‑earth.
Privately owned, Mackenzie Country features grassy fields ascending to the mountains. This was the location for the movie’s epic battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Nelson Tasman is the Location used for the ‘One Ring’, Chetwood Forest, and Dimrill Dale. Visitors can view the original ring, which is on display here, or purchase 9ct and 18ct gold copies of the original ring.
Home to Mount Sunday, the sheer-sided hill where the main city of the Rohan people, Endoras, was set. The set may have been completely removed, but the location retains a certain powerful magic.
It’s the area where Mount Earnslaw featured in the opening sequence of The Two Towers. That includes also Lothlorien, the beech forest en-route to Paradise, and Wilcox Green, the movie scene of the Gladden Fields. The summit of Mount Cardona gives visitors a panoramic view of Middle‑earth, the River Anduin and the Pillars of the Argonath, and the Dimrill Dale and Amon Hen in the distance.
There is so much more to these Pacific Islands than an interesting culture, heritage and Peter Jackson’s and J. R. R. Tolkien’s visions. More than can be captured here.
Places of cultural and/or national significance decreed by the World Heritage Committee present “natural and cultural properties of outstanding universal value [protected] against the threat of damage in a rapidly developing world”. New Zealand boasts three World Heritage sites and is vying for even more.
South West New Zealand was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1990. It is home to the large flightless bird, the rare and endangered takahe, and the kea, the sole surviving remnant of alpine parrot.
Fiordland, Westland, Mount Cook National Parks and Mount Aspiring are all incorporated in the roughly 1.9 million hectares of Te Wahipounamu with its dramatic landscape shaped by long-passed glaciations. What remains for today’s visitors are the waterfalls, lakes, fjords, towering cliffs and rocky coasts. Many of its forests house trees are over 800 years old.
Tongariro National Park
This national park is in the central North Island became a World Heritage site in 1993, and was the first in the cultural criteria. The mountains hereabouts have religious importance and are culturally significant to the Maori. The Tongariro National Park has active volcanoes and a widediversity from herb fields to forests, and tranquil lakes to desert-like plateau.
The Sub Antarctic Islands
The Sub Antarctic Islands are in the Southern Ocean south-east of New Zealand incorporate the Antipodes islands, Auckland, Snares, Bounty and Campbell. Its fauna and flora are unique to the region and not found anywhere else in the world. Five species of the forty seabirds resident here only breed on these islands, with penguins and a further 86 bird species also nesting here.
The Southern skies
Above Aorangi Mount Cook, the skies have a bid pending to become the world’s first starlight World Heritage Site. The following New Zealand locations are currently on a tentative list of future World Heritage sites.
the North-East Islands including Poor Knights Islands. The Poor Knights Islands, 14 miles off the Tutukaka Coast, have been formed through millions of years of volcanic disruption. The Pacific Ring of Fire formed remarkable tunnels, arches, drop offs, and caves. The resultant eco system remained isolated for untold centuries from the mainland. With an enchanting underwater life, it is beguilingly described as “Middle Earth in the Middle of the Ocean”.
Practical Travel Advice for a Memorable New Zealand Trip
New Zealand happens to be God’s own place because of its breathtaking beauty, which is definitely not something you witness everywhere; it’s rare and profound. New Zealand tops in the list of world’s most beautiful countries. Renowned for its rich culture and unique lifestyle, New Zealand offers a multitude of matchless opportunities for first-time travelers.
If you are planning a long-delayed itinerary to New Zealand, keep reading this article, as we are going to unveil some essential aspects you must take note of, so you have an enjoyable and unforgettable stay there. Let’s ponder down bit by bit into this amazing traveling guide.
How long should you stay in New Zealand?
The duration of time you need to visit New Zealand depends upon a lot of factors:
- what you like to explore and experience?
- how long you are going be traveling?
- available budget?
- your preferred travel style?
- how much detail you want to include?
Also, do not forget to consider the travel time on your journey. Like, if you are visiting from the US, do not forget 12-24 hours of travel time, and add one day more to recover from jetlag. Long travel journeys consume a few days of your trip, so plan accordingly so that you can make the most of your itinerary and make some memorable moments with your loved ones.
Weather and Seasons in NZ
New Zealand has four seasons in a year. Isn’t it just incredible to experience? So, no matter what the season is, you are anyways going to experience a variety of weather changes. Nevertheless, here is what you will get in each season, as mentioned below:
- Summer (December-February): It is indeed the warmest time of the year and also the popular time to travel to New Zealand, which means flights and rentals are going to be a little more expensive than they usually are.
- Autumn (March-May): It is considered as the shoulder season when travel attractions get quieter, and so prices tend to go down. Autumn has milder weather between 42°F and 68°F.
- Winter (June-August): Usually, winters would depend upon which part of the country you are in. Temperatures can be anywhere between 26°F and 59°F. Prices are at their lowest in the winter season.
- Spring (September-November): Prices again remain pretty low during the autumn season until November as temperatures increase again a little.
Visas and eTA (electronic travel authorization)
New Zealand government has introduced an Electronic Travel Authorization system for a few travelers’ groups. It is a new security and facilitation measure which helps in pacing things up at the border. Over some time, the number of travelers coming to New Zealand has grown immensely, and this rise is expected to continue in future as well. Most of the visitors who are not required to get a visa before entering New Zealand would have to hold ETA.
This includes citizens of visa waiver countries, therefore also United States. Beyond VWP countries, cruise ship passengers, cruise ship crew and commercial airline crew are also supposed to have a valid eTA. Whereas, New Zealand citizens and holders of valid New Zealand visas (both resident visas and temporary visas) will continue to visit New Zealand without an Electronic Travel Authority (eTA).
Currency and Costs
The currency in New Zealand is the NZ dollar. New Zealand dollar traveler’s cheques can be easily exchanged at all big banks of the country, foreign exchange bureaus, international airports, and all international credit cards are accepted. You will easily get access to New Zealand currency from Maestro and Cirrus ATM machines using your pin code.
If you plan to live in this gorgeous country for a few months, you can save a lot of bucks by opening a New Zealand bank account. Although there is no limit to the amount of money you can take in or out of the country, you will have to submit a Border Cash Report if you are carrying cash more than NZ$10,000 (around 6,500 US dollars).
What is the exchange between US dollar and NZ dollar? In the last couple of years, it has been hovering between 1.40 and 1.50.
Accommodation in New Zealand
Many people don’t find New Zealand as a cheap place to visit and live in. As a matter of fact, a luxurious lodge can cost as high as NZ$900, and even more.
So, the best way to save money is with good yet inexpensive accommodation facilities. You have a lot of budget-friendly options there, such as hostels, holiday parks, Airbnb options, campsites, freedom camping, motels, and hotels. With these options, you can get accommodation for as low as NZ$100 per night. You will need to do a little research to find the best accommodation option in the place.
New Zealand has a huge number of local restaurants as well as branded restaurant chains in every locality. Food is not so expensive in the place. If you visit a local restaurant, you can have your breakfast in as less as NZ$5, and dinner may cost just around NZ$20 per person. Food in branded chain restaurants may range anywhere between NZ$5 to 15.
Health & Safety Standards
New Zealand is a safe place overall, but rules have become stricter after the Christchurch shooting of March 2019. 111 is the emergency number that you can call any time in case of urgency. Apart from that, keep your passport, visa, and other important documents always with you, so that you can show them whenever asked for. As far as health is concerned, New Zealand is a healthy and hygienic country to be in. But make sure that you do not drink water from any water body without boiling or chemically treating it. Also beware of mosquitoes if you are going for a forest, coastal or rural area.
Transportation – Public Transport or Rent-A-Car
Bus tours allow travelers to travel the country in groups so that you can have peace of mind that you will get the food and accommodation at complete ease. For a scenic experience, you can make the most of train tours. In addition to this, renting a car is another awesome way to discover the breathtaking beauty of New Zealand. Although this might come as an expensive little affair, it gives complete freedom for independent travelers who prefer making their own travel schedule. However, the cost of your car rental depends on the availability and the size of the car you are renting. For instance, you will have to pay NZ$9 per day for car rental during peak season, while an 8-seater campervan may cost as much as NZ$150 per day.
Domestic Flights in NZ
If you are traveling between islands or through long distances, domestic flights in New Zealand act as a brilliant idea to roam around this tiny yet beautiful country with your family or loved ones. You are sure to love the views from the sky as you take candid pictures, and most importantly being closer to nature takes you to a new happening life altogether far away from the hustle and bustle of cities. Several airlines operate domestic flights from different cities of the country. Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, and many NZ cities have their own airports. The cost of domestic travel is not so expensive either. For instance, a non-stop flight from Queenstown to Auckland operated by Jetstar costs NZ$ 130, and a non-stop flight from Wellington to Christchurch operated by Air New Zealand costs NZ$ 205.
There are plenty of things to do in New Zealand. These include outdoor activities, wildlife activities, scenery, wine and craft beer, adventure activities, and Maori cultural experiences. Also, the fact is that New Zealand is divided into two islands – North Island and South Island.
The North Island allows you to take tours of the bay of islands, Auckland for its city life, Rotorua for Maori culture, Whanganui National Park for canoeing, Wellington for capital city vibes and Taranaki.
On the other hand, South Island is famous for Picton for its water activities, Kaikoura for marine wildlife, Aoraki Mt Cook for mountains, Stewart Island for wilderness and wildlife, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier for glaciers. So, you can go on a travel tour as per your personal preferences.
If you wish to swim with the dolphins, you can visit Kaikoura, hop on a boat to reach the open sea, wear your flippers, and jump into the waters. This amazing dolphin encounter costs NZ$100 for 3 hours. A kayaking tour in the Marlborough Sounds costs around NZ$35 per day excluding a guide. A whale-watching tour in Kaikoura costs around NZ$85 per person.
Hopefully, you will find this guide worthwhile for your visit to New Zealand. Particularly in a country like New Zealand, which is so filled with wildlife, natural beauty, and adventure, anyone would find something worth to live in or travel to for a summer or winter vacation. So, why wait for more? The little heaven on this Earth is calling you!
Accept the call and move towards the most memorable journey of your lifetime keeping along with the loved ones you would cherish memories till the last breath of life.