I made a few mistakes when I was travelling New Zealand during my working holiday there.
Some were oversights, some were just plain stupid! Here’s a few I made, so you can learn from me and not make the same mistakes I did!
- Clothes – I neglected to pack a jacket when I went to New Zealand. This was fine in February when I arrived, because it was still warm. However, as winter came in June, I was freezing. The weather is similar to England and it does et get cold and wet during winter. A jacket is essential! It pays to know what to pack for New Zealand beforehand.
- Sun – It’s a misconception that the sun isn’t that strong in New Zealand. Even though I had been to Australia before, I didn’t know the sun would be as strong in New Zealand. Make sure you wear suncream at all times when you’re outside unless you want to look like a lobster!
- Car – The best way to travel around New Zealand is by car. You can’t fly to all the best places and you’ll get to see more of the numerous beautiful spots in New Zealand by driving. A road trip in New Zealand is a joyous experience and you should do as many as you can while you’re there!
- Drive on the left hand side – Speaking of driving in New Zealand, a lot of visitors forget you drive on the left hand side of the road in New Zealand. Remember this when you’re on the roads, as accidents can happen!
- Money – New Zealand can be an expensive country. Petrol costs a lot and tours can be expensive too. It’s best to be as frugal as you can while you travel. Staying in hostels and cooking your own food will save you a lot of money!
- Time – A big mistake is not using your time in the country wisely, or not spending enough time in New Zealand. It’s a big country. The South Island alone is the same size as the UK! There is a lot to see. If you rush to see everything you will waste your trip. Give yourself enough time, 2 to 3 months is ideal, to see everything and savour New Zealand’s beauty!
- Rain – It can rain a lot in New Zealand. This is especially true if you go to the West Coast of the South Island, which is one of the wettest places in the world. Like I said before, bring a jacket, you’ll need it!
- Comparisons to Australia – New Zealand is nothing like Australia. The people are somewhat similar, but I felt kiwis were friendlier and more up for a laugh than the Aussies. They are two distinct countries and should be treated as such.
- Distance to Australia – New Zealand is further from Australia than you might think. It’s a 3 to 4 hour flight depending on where you’re going. It’s not as close as it looks on the map.
- Size – The same applies to New Zealand as a whole. The country is a lot bigger than it looks on a map. Driving from Christchurch to Queenstown can take 5 hours, even though it doesn’t look far on a map. Be prepared for some long, but beautiful drives in New Zealand!
- Sights – New Zealand is renowned as a beautiful country, but you don’t realise just how beautiful until you get there! You will be down away by its beauty. I don’t remember visiting one place that I didn’t like the whole time I was there!?
Wear warm clothes, it can get really cold in some areas, especially the South Island.
Wear SPF 50 sunscreen, New Zealand has the highest melanoma rates becuase of the hole in the ozone layer, so you should actually wear it all the time.
Don’t plan to stay too long in Dunedin, this probably applies to other cities as well but, I live in Dunedin and I know that it’s incredibly boring here. You’ll want to see the albatross colony and maybe Baldwin Street (world’s steepest street) but there is nothing here compared to most places. Than again, I don’t really know becuase I’ve never been a tourist here, I’ve only seen it from a local POV so you may actually enjoy yourself.
Go to Rotorua, it’s one of my favourite places in New Zealand, unlike Dunedin, there is a lot to do there and I have been a tourist there so I know!
Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the travel times and make sure you allow plenty of time to enjoy this beautiful country.