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New Zealand Tourism And Travel Guide
21.5° C / 70.7° F
December to February
15 to 20 Days
The island country of New Zealand is nothing less than paradise with contrasting scenes like glaciers and volcanoes, mountains and seas, forests and cities, all wrapped in one long strip of land. With such a great variety of services, it is no wonder tourism in New Zealand has been rated so highly. In addition, its location in the southern hemisphere provides a refreshing contrast to north dwellers, climate-wise. Tourism in New Zealand has something to offer to every kind of traveller. It facilitates some of the most adventurous sports for the adrenaline junkies, some of the most mind-blowing landscapes for nature lovers and some of the most wholesome activities for the family holidaymakers. With this travel guide to New Zealand hopefully, you can create the perfect holiday for you.
How To Reach
Traveling has never been easier than it is now, in the 21st century and New Zealand is no exception. With the number of airline services from all around the world, tourism has received the boost it needed. Being an island nation, the best way to travel to New Zealand is via air, however, for the adventurous, travelling by sea is an option too.
There are a total of five international airports in New Zealand, situated in each of the famous cities of the country. The northern part of New Zealand is covered by the airports in Auckland and Wellington while the southern parts can be accessed by the airports at Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch. Most carriers make a stop at nearby cities like Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. From India, flights can be arranged to New Zealand on a regular basis from all international airports in the country.
While a number of luxury cruises do stop at New Zealand, mostly from Australia, it is hard to find one leaving from India. For adventurers who want to travel by sea, there is a daring option. A number of freight ships leave India from ports in Mumbai and after multiple stops eventually, reach New Zealand. These ships are known to allow passengers from time to time. Though inconvenient it sure can make for a compelling story.
A rental car is an ideal way to get around when in New Zealand. Within the cities, one can avail taxis or public buses to get around. In the southern island, The Transalpine is a railway service that connects cities between Christchurch and Greymouth. There are also ferries from city to city. One such example is the one connecting the two islands.
Visa and Customs
Travellers from India should have a visitor’s visa before travelling to the country. These visas can be applied online and are valid for 6 months upon entry. A ‘Passenger Arrival Card’ is provided to visitors upon arrival in the country.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
New Zealand is a country that is open to tourism throughout the year. Every season offers some remarkable and unique experience. New Zealand is subject to four seasons; summer, autumn, winter and spring. Since New Zealand is part of the southern hemisphere, the timing of the seasons varies from those in the northern hemisphere.
Summer: (December to February)
Summer is, without a doubt, the time with the most influx in tourism. With warm temperatures ranging from 21°C to 31°C depending on the region, adventure sports at sea are in high demand. Summer is also Christmas season in New Zealand and with its personal Christmas tree, the Pohutukawa tree decorating the landscape, the season could not be more enchanting. Other activities that are quite popular during the season include trekking, cycling and sight-seeing. Summer also hosts some of the most exciting festivals like the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival.
Autumn: (March to May)
The temperature begins to drop by March and by mid-autumn it can be anywhere between 7°C to 21°C depending on the region. Autumn in New Zealand is breathtaking as the trees turn orange, completely transforming the country. Unlike summer, autumns do not see as many tourists and it is a great time to enjoy the quieter side of New Zealand. One of the common activity of the season is hiking.
Winter: (June to August)
Winter in New Zealand is a magical time. The temperatures vary depending on where in the country you find yourself, but it ranges between 2°C and 16°C. The peaks are draped in thick snow and it is a great time for sports like skiing, snowboarding and sledging. Winter is the perfect time to enjoy New Zealand’s famous hot springs. A great many festivals take place during these months like the Matariki festival that celebrates the coming year.
Spring: (September to November)
Spring in New Zealand is almost fairy-tale-like, with flowers blooming in the meadows and the streams and rivers replenished and full of life. The temperature is still quite cold and ranges from 5°C to 18°C but it is still great for activities like hiking and trekking. A great many festivals also take place during the spring.
Things To Do
New Zealand offers an array of things to do for its visitors, like trekking, hiking, sight-seeing, scuba diving, skiing and the list could go on. But there are a few things that are very unique to New Zealand and would take your holiday to the next level. Here is a list of a few of them.
Waitomo Caves Tour:
A 3-hour drive away from Auckland lays a spectacle so beautiful and an experience so thrilling that you will want more. The Waitomo caves are home to millions of glow worms that light up an otherwise pitch black environment, making the interior of the caves look like the starry night. But, this is not even the best part. The tour of the caves involve zip lining through the main entrance, the throat, and then backwater rafting through channels until you reach the light of day.
Fox Glacier Helicopter Hiking:
Among those sites that are unique to New Zealand, the Fox Glacier tops the list. Watching ice flow through a height of about 2600 m all the way to sea level is perhaps nearly impossible to find or access, yet this is exactly what you will see at the Fox Glacier or the Franz Josef Glacier. Located among the scenic Southern Alps, the glacier and the surroundings it has carved out through the millennia have attained a surreal quality. The helicopter hikes give one an opportunity to experience the falls and nothing beats the aerial view.
The light show near Lake Tekapo:
Lake Tekapo of the Southern Alps is one of the most scenic locations in the region. The lake is special for a number of reasons. One is the spectacular view you can catch of the Southern Alps from this point and the other has to do with the alluring turquoise colour of its water. These should be reason enough to visit and yet there is more! The region is also known for being able to witness the glorious ‘Southern Lights,’ also known as the ‘Aurora Australis’. Do look up the aurora forecasts if you plan to pay a visit.
Milford Sound Tour:
Another adventure waiting in the Southern Alps, Milford Sound is a destination you will have to work hard to reach. However, it is without doubt one of the most beautiful places in the country. Milford sound is a junction where the mountain meets the sea and the track to this paradise passes through some stunning landscapes, forests and waterfalls. The trek is usually 4 days, one way; and can be done both individually and with the help of trip organizers. Either way, this is a great opportunity for adventure seekers.
The Lord of the Rings movie set, the Hobbiton, about 2 hours away from Auckland is one of the major tourist attractions in the country. The set is a faithful representation of the beloved Shire the hobbits call home. The tour includes exploring the hobbit holes including, of course, the one that belonged to Bilbo Baggins. Besides tours, a number of special events take place from time to time like the feasts and banquets that are thrown in ‘Shire-style’ at the Green Dragon.
Food and Wine Festivals:
There is no better way to experience the culture of a place than from its food and in that sense, the many food and wine festivals hosted in different parts of New Zealand are sure to be such a gateway. The Seafood festivals, like Whitianga Scallop Festival, Seafest Kaikoura and Bluff Oyster and Food Festival are perhaps the most exciting. They showcase a number of delicious seafood along with ample entertainment. The Marlborough Food and Wine Festival is one to look for, with its special displays of vintage wines from their very own vineyards. Wellington on a Plate is similarly a fest that should not be missed. It is a foodie paradise with hundreds of varieties of dishes, banquets and cooking classes.
The food in New Zealand can be described as having Pacific, European and Asian influences. The food also reflects many aspects of Maori cooking. New Zealand is known for its fresh seafood and its tender lambs. A well-known fact about the cuisine here is that they always use local produce ensuring very good quality food. There are all sorts of restaurants throughout the country including fine dining Bistros, fast food chains, burger and fish and chips joints and cafes. Farmers markets that open early in the morning are great places to go get some fresh fruits and vegetables and local delights like jams, pickles, etc.; not to mention it is a great way to meet the local people.
While shopping in New Zealand, keep an eye out for items that are so typical of the country that they are termed ‘kiwiana’. These adorable and quirky items, like the red and yellow bee toys, often represent the country’s pop culture. In the arts and crafts section, you will find a number of items made of glass, wood or even jade crafted into enticing souvenirs. New Zealand is also known for its top-notch boutiques and is known for some very popular brands like Trelise Cooper, Annah Stretton, Huffer and Ruby and many more.