Helpful travel tips for a New Zealand Holiday

There is much to consider when planning a New Zealand holiday. Here are some helpful travel tips. Get answers to key questions frequently asked. This will make your holiday planning so much easier. For any additional questions please phone or email us and we’ll reply quickly.


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Questions Frequently Asked


Spring and summer are the most popular times, but also the busiest. Autumn generally has mild and settled weather plus stunning autumn colours. Winter is mild in the far north, however the rest of the country will be cold with snow on the mountains - great for skiers! New Zealand has four quite distinct seasons - Spring (Sept-Nov), Summer (Dec-Feb), Autumn/Fall (Mar-May) and Winter (June-Aug). In summer there's plenty of sunshine, and aquatic sports including rafting, snorkelling, diving and kayaking.


The Abel Tasman, Heaphy and Queen Charlotte Sounds Walkway at the top of the South Island can be walked all year round. However, higher altitude tracks such as the world famous Milford Track, Kepler and Routeburn, are closed in the winter. It is essential to book for the Milford and Routeburn tracks - these are open between October and April.


If you're travelling throughout New Zealand you’ll get all types of weather. The safest policy is to pack for all weather no matter what the season. Layer your clothing for easy removal or replacement. Wet weather gear, a wind proof jacket, woollen sweater and strong comfortable footwear are recommended. New Zealand has a relaxed lifestyle and on most occasions, dress is informal with smart casual clothes in most restaurants. A smart standard of dress will be required for fine dining restaurants, Shows and Casinos.


We strongly recommend travel insurance for your entire overseas trip. Your insurance policy should include coverage for emergency medical situations, baggage loss or damage and expenses incurred from disrupted travel plans.


Medical and emergency services are NOT free - it is advisable to arrange insurance coverage before your departure. For non-emergencies, full instructions on obtaining assistance are printed in the front of all telephone directories. Accommodation facilities will usually have individual arrangements with duty doctors and can assist you in finding a dentist. New Zealand's medical and hospital facilities provide a high standard of treatment and care.


Electricity is 240 volts via a slant pin outlet. Hotels often provide a 110-volt socket for electric shavers only. For all other equipment, an adapter and a converter are necessary.


Tips are appreciated but not expected for normal service.


Ferry Services between the North and South Island leave several times a day from each port and take around 3 hours. Some of the major rental car companies (e.g. Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty) require you to drop your rental car at one port (Wellington or Picton) and pick up another at your port of arrival. Others such as GO Rentals or Jucy Rental will require you taking the vehicle onto the ferry as they don’t have the depot logistics as the larger operators have. Please note: there is no guarantee you will get the same kind of rental car, although it will be of the same class. This standard procedure is easy and hassle free. As with an airport, your luggage is checked in at the ferry terminal and ready for you to pick up at the terminal building at the other end. We'll book passenger ferry tickets for you. Please note: If you are travelling with a motor home, you'll need to to take this onto the ferry yourselves. You will require passenger and vehicle ferry tickets, which we shall book for you.


If you are thinking about visiting with your family, you can be confident that New Zealand has a wide range of activities to keep your children happy. New Zealand's parks and large areas of pristine wilderness are ideal places to expand your children's appreciation of wildlife and the outdoors. Horse riding, snow activities, whale watching, fruit picking and wildlife centres are just some of the choices available. If you are visiting the larger centres, you will find a range of themed attractions including Rainbow's End (Auckland), Splash Planet (Hastings), Marine Land (Napier) and the International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch). Te Papa, New Zealand's interactive national museum, has a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Most family restaurants have children's' menus and high chairs. Most public gardens have well equipped play areas for young children, as do many holiday parks.


New Zealand cities and towns have excellent water supplies and in all cases tap water is fresh and safe to drink. Water from rivers and lakes should be boiled, chemically treated or filtered before drinking to avoid stomach upsets.


New Zealand has no snakes or dangerous wild animal, so visitors can enjoy the outdoors.


All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the planned departure date from NZ. As there are different Visa rules and regulations for different countries (for visits of less than 3 months) it is essential for you to check Visa Free Countries and at a New Zealand Embassy to ensure that you have the appropriate Passports and Visas before leaving home.


If you declare articles, your goods will be inspected, treated if necessary and returned when the pest or disease has been eliminated. Some fruits, vegetables, meat, animal products, seeds and plants are not allowed into New Zealand and may be re-shipped or destroyed. Prohibited items include some live animals, animal products, some meat products, eggs, live plant material including fruit, seeds, and products made from endangered species. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries - Quarantine Service based at airports use X-ray machines and trained detector dogs.


New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2 ; notes have values of $5 , $10 , $20 , $50 and $100. There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres.


All major international credit cards can be used in New Zealand and Travellers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. If your credit card is encoded with a PIN number you will be able to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs) situated at banks and shopping centres throughout the country.


Many businesses and all banks operate only Monday to Friday. Banking hours are 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and are closed on public holidays. In most cities shops are open 7 days and particular in shopping malls. Towns will generally have a "general store" open Monday through Friday. Most stores catering for visitors are open every day with extended hours. Most petrol stations are open every day. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are widely available at banks, along main shopping streets and in malls.


All goods and services purchased in New Zealand are subject to 15% tax (similar to V.A.T.) This is usually included in the price. If you purchase goods which you do not plan to use until you return home, ask the retailer if they have the facility to export these for you either by arranging delivery to Customs at the airport or by posting, in which case the goods will be zero rated (free) of G.S.T.
We spent 30 days on the South Island. Michael organized a diverse trip consisting of hiking, wineries, sheep ranches and the most gorgeous places to stay. Michael’s service level was over the top! We were in constant touch with him especially toward the end when we needed his guidance regarding leaving due to the Corina virus. If you plan to go to New Zealand I highly recommend Michael. He will guide you to the most beautiful places and you will stay in small intimate and very special boutique inns with the most personable and knowledgeable hosts. Michael knows all the special nooks and crannies of New Zealand. Our trip was beyond fabulous!
Annemarie Gilly
Annemarie Gilly
13:12 16 Apr 20
Michael planned an amazing 11 day trip for me and my family in Australia and New Zealand. We absolutely loved all of the excursions he set up. He was incredibly helpful in assisting us in planning the trip and also with a few changes that happened during the trip (my husband got sick and wasn't able to make the trip and Michael was able to cancel plane flights, excursions, etc. for him). I would highly recommend him for anyone planning a trip to Australia or New Zealand. We hope to go back and we will definitely call Michael first.
Amy Lettes
Amy Lettes
15:41 27 Mar 20
I don't believe we could have had a better experience in New Zealand! Every detail of our trip was perfectly planned and each experience Guest New Zealand recommended for us was informative and extraordinary. The ease of having every detail arranged in advance -including the inter-island flights, the car rental, and all accommodations provided an easy stressless vacation. Michael Nees was so accommodating..from the very beginning planning stage to the end, he was available and willing to answer questions, arrange different plans, and advise us of any issues we might encounter. It was like having a personal travel companion who knew all the best places to go. We could not recommend Guest New Zealand more highly.
patti gramse
patti gramse
03:01 05 Feb 20
Michael did a great job constructing a memorable family holiday within our budget. Great balance of one of a kind experiences and leisure time to do as we pleased. Highly recommended their service.
Julie Milanese
Julie Milanese
07:56 26 Jan 20
I went to New Zealand with my husband and mother-in-law for 15 days over the Christmas and New Years holiday. It was the trip of a lifetime thanks to the Michael Ness. Michael was constantly available to us before our trip to answer all the questions we had. We worked with him to list a few things we wanted to do/were interested in, and he seamlessly created a 15 day trip throughout the 2 islands with airfare/transportation and accommodations included. We were able to see and do everything we had told him, and all the tours he recommended made our trip spectacular. The hotels we stayed at were ones he recommended and I can't image a better experience.I think what we were all most impressed by was how detail oriented Michael was. Every time we picked up our rental car, or checked in to a hotel or dinner reservation, everything was ready for us. He created a detailed itinerary and included all travel info/dates/confirmations we would need to reference. Michael's work allowed us to enjoy our vacation. We did not have to worry about looking up connecting flights or checking out which tour was rated the best - he took care of everything. If you are looking for an excellent trip to NZ - go to Michael!
Shyia Alam
Shyia Alam
01:00 09 Jan 20
Our third trip to NZ. Michael did a great job with our itinerary and the bed and breakfast were very good. The Night Sky Cottage was our hi light. Also had a great time watching the gannet at Kidnapper's cape. Michael was contactable and prompt with all our queries and helped us changed the gannet tour provider at the last minute when the first one was not available. Highly recommended!
Jit Biaw Lim
Jit Biaw Lim
08:56 29 Dec 19
Thanks to Michael we had the most amazing, smooth and well organized honeymoon we could think of in New Zealand! Michael was amazing, efficient and quick throughout the whole process and always reachable when we had questions! Could we have organized it ourselves? Probably yes, but it would have been stressful and time consuming which is what you don‘t want on your honeymoon :)! Michael advised us exactly what itinerary made sense for the time we had which was very important! The accomodations were all lovely and well suited for to budget and taste! We really loved the tours, all were in small groups with great friendly guides! We will never forget seeing yellow-eyed penguins and sealions at the beach so closely! Thank you!!!
Rita Steinhardt-Kager
Rita Steinhardt-Kager
02:27 09 Dec 19
Michael planned a 3 week trip around Australia for us. I found Michael on the internet, so I was a little skeptical at first, but all the positive reviews were right! We spoke a few times on Skype and sent a few emails back and forth, but overall It was a very simple process. It was clear Michael knew Australia very well and was able to point us in the right direction. We had 6 different stops along the way and 6 different inter island flights, so the itinerary was very complex. Everything went perfectly. All the transfers/cars were waiting for us at every stop. All the prearranged tours were on time to pick us up from our hotels. The companies he chose for our transfers and tours were top notch professionals. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael to any of my friends that are thinking of travelling to Australia or New Zealand!
Dave Yarnold
Dave Yarnold
03:33 30 Oct 19
Had a phenomenal trip in Australia curated by Micheal at Guest travel. He figured us out and planned a seamless trip that fit our needs and timelines. Our time at Kangaroo Island was amazing. Overall our trip was smooth and thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you Michael!
It was our first visit to New Zealand, and didn't have a clue about where to start developing an itinerary. Michael developed a plan which ensured we got to see some amazing places, stayed in some wonderfully different accommodation, and experienced some fantastic kiwi hospitality. I can whole heartedly recommend Guest New Zealand, and will certainly be using his services again.
Christine Fleming
Christine Fleming
21:40 25 Aug 19
This is our second trip with Guest New Zealand and they are great to work with both before and even during the trip. Michael was always there when we needed a recommendation or a work-around mid trip. Highly recommended if you're looking for an easier way to plan your trip.
Todd Rubano
Todd Rubano
14:57 02 May 19
Michael planned our 10 week tour of the South Island and it was a lot of fun. He was really attentive prior to the trip to make the itinerary custom made to our taste and even made us a self drive itinerary with all of the details in the routes.During the trip he was always available for last minute changes and arrangements. A real NZ expert.
Our good friends went to New Zealand last year and had a wonderful experience working with Michael and Guest New Zealand. So, we also requested Michael's help in planning our recent family trip to NZ. The itinerary he came up with was amazing! We were able to see many stunning sights and have incredible adventures on both the North and South Islands during the kids' spring break that we won't ever forget! It would have been so difficult and time consuming doing all of the planning on our own, and there is no way that we could have done it as well as a local. Save yourself the hassle and use Guest New Zealand!:)
Michelle Meyer
Michelle Meyer
01:32 15 Apr 19