Travel blogger Jaren Chen took a long trip across beautiful New Zealand. Here he sharestips on planning your holiday in New Zealand. For his top 10 recommendations of things to do in North Island, New Zealand, check out his next post here.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please return to your seat as we prepare our final descent into New Zealand,” the broadcast made by cabin crew. Finally, the moment has arrived! As I looked out of the window, excitement got into me immediately.
Having heard so much about the natural beauty of New Zealand, one certainly has to be there to experience it first hand!
So armed with tips I’ve learnt from my own journey, here’s a guide to help you maximize fun on your trip in New Zealand (North Island).
Part 1: General Travel Tips
Airfare to New Zealand
When flying into New Zealand, bear in mind that New Zealand’s geographical position so far into the Southern Hemisphere, airfares to New Zealand can get pretty pricey. So the first step to planning your holiday in New Zealand is to getting a good airfare. Planning early is essential!
Domestic Flights in New Zealand
Flight tickets between North and South Island New Zealand get crazy affordable during promotion deals. You can easily keep your eye on airfare prices online at Expedia.
It’s always cheaper to buy international round-trip tickets via the same city. So with so much ground to cover during your holiday in New Zealand, I’d suggest travelling from North to South Island then taking a cheap flight back up to Auckland, and hop on your flight home to Singapore from there.
Car Rentals: Driving in New Zealand
When in New Zealand, the best way to explore this country of beautiful landscapes, is to do your own driving. Road trip! With good road conditions and polite driving culture, driving there is an absolute breeze.
Here are some pointers for driving in NZ:
The speed limit is 100km/h on the open road and 50km/h in urban areas. You will find multi-lane motorways and expressways on the approaches to the larger cities, with most roads being dual carriageways. Signposts follows recognisable standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometers (km).
Booking on your own means one may encounter the hassle of booking with different websites. However, my recommendation would be to just choose one travel agency to handle your flights (International & Domestic), hotels, car rental etc. Not many can do it as well as Expedia that allow one to book all your different components in just a few clicks while offering good rates.
Booking with one online platform keeps things easier for you, particularly if there’s any issue you need help with, you only need to liaise with one agent instead of experiencing nightmare talking to different websites and creating more confusion putting you in panic mode before your holiday.
Choose the deal that allows you to pick up the car from North Island (Auckland Airport when you land) and drops it off at South Island (e.g. Queenstown Airport). Car rental companies will offer you lower rental rates if you help them to transport the car from one place to another.
Free maps are available in advance to plan for your trip. I had keyed in my home address and true enough; maps were delivered to me in hard copy at no cost! I registered my interest on the Top 10 Holiday Park New Zealand website.
However, do note that not all places can be accessed by car/camper van. For example, you can’t drive up to the Northern most tip of New Zealand, North Bay (90 Mile Beach).
Saving tip: Book tours early and stay committed to the date! The more confirmed tour members they have, the higher the package fare it will be.
Accommodation Cost in New Zealand
As with any holiday, the cost of your hotels and accommodation forms a large part of your budget. However, in roadtrip-friendly New Zealand, renting a camper van sorts out your bed and saves you a huge amount on accommodation. You can find Holiday Parks around the country where you can park your camper vans for a small fee.
If you are the last minute planner, look out for the many Visitor Centers found commonly in throughout New Zealand. Grab brochures from there and you’ll find lots of discount vouchers for major tourist attractions — lots of savings! Use it!
Next up, I’ll share my picks of the absolute must-see and must-do activities in New Zealand. A quick thing to note — New Zealand is divided into the North Island and the South Island. The North has a higher population but South Island has some truly epic landscapes.
Read my picks for the top things to do in New Zealand in my next post here.
Image Credits: Author’s Own
About the Author: Jaren Chen
Jaren Chen is a travel enthusiast who seeks adventure travel and aspires to visit exotic countries. The world is simply so big out there, with so much to discover and learn from each other’s way of living. Join me at www.theguytravel.com or on Facebook as we discover general travel tips and travel stories from around the world.