If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, there are a few things you’ll need to organise before you hop on the plane.
As with any country, you’ll need a valid passport that doesn’t expire for more than 3 months after your intended departure date.
Do I need a visa?
It depends where you’re from. You do not need a visa if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Australian or New Zealand citizen or resident
- UK citizen or passport holder (you can stay without a visa for up to six months)
- Citizen of a country included in our visa waiver agreement (you can stay without a visa for up to three months)
- See if your country is on the list here. https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/tools-and-information/general-information/visa-waiver-countries?utm_source=newzealand.com&utm_medium=referral
I need a visa!
That’s okay, too! If you’re from a country that isn’t listed above, you’ll need to apply for a visitor visa. This lets you travel through New Zealand for up to nine months.
The best way to apply is online. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to secure your visa before you depart!
New Zealand is lush as – please help us keep it that way!
To help protect our environment and biodiversity, there are certain quarantine rules about what you can and can’t bring into New Zealand. This includes things like plants, food, animal products and even sporting equipment such as ski’s or snowboards.
You may need to declare certain items before leaving the airport, so make sure you’re familiar with the regulations – or you may find yourself receiving a hefty fine.
Read the guidelines here.
Best time to visit
Any time! Seriously though, there is something for everyone year-round in New Zealand. Keep in mind that the temperature drops as you head towards the South Island.
Summer (December – February)
If you’re looking for the best weather to see more of both islands, summer is the perfect time of year. Whether you’re looking for a scenic escape through cities, markets, rainforests or beaches, summer is a great time of year to get the most out of New Zealand. Keep in mind that this is tourist season, so roads will be busy.
Summer temperature: 20 – 30ºC (50 – 86ºF)
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to watch New Zealand’s landscape change, particularly in Hawke’s Bay, Wanaka and Otago. It does get a little chilly, with the average temperature on the South Island dropping to 10ºC (50ºF) during the day. As it gets cooler, it’s easier to get around – especially if you’re driving.
Autumn temperature: 10 – 16ºC (50 – 61ºF)
Winter (June – August)
Love the snow? Come for ski season! Both the North and South Island have great skiing options, including Tongariro National Park and Turoa Ski Areas; and there’s great skiing in Queenstown and Wanaka on the South Island. It’s also a great time to go for a winery tour to explore one of our favourite (and highly awarded) exports.
Winter temperature: 10 – 16ºC (53 – 61ºF)
Snow ranges dip below freezing.
Spring (September – November)
If you’re looking for an adventure holiday, spring is a great time of year to go white water rafting as the mountain snow begins to melt. There’s also beautiful gardens and parks to visit as flowers begin to bloom, and the annual spring festival in Alexandra.
Spring temperature: 16 – 19ºC (61 – 66ºF)
Driving in New Zealand
Driving in New Zealand is easy. As long as you have a valid driver’s licence from your home country, you can legally drive and explore for up to 12 months. This applies if you have an International Driving Permit (IDP) too, as long as you also bring the driver’s licence that the permit is based on.
Make sure that you also carry an English translation of your driver’s licence if it’s in a different language. You’ll only be able to drive the types of vehicles that you can drive back home[GC2
Left is right
Keep in mind that as with most Commonwealth countries, in New Zealand, we drive on the left. Some of the roads – particularly in the South Island – can be quite winding, which combined with new driving experiences, can lead to accidents.
In New Zealand, we also have a saying when it comes to intersections: Hard Left, Easy Right. This means that if you’re turning left, you must give way to a vehicle that is turning right across an intersection.
Is there a minimum age to rent a vehicle in New Zealand?
Yes! You must be at least 21 to rent a car.
Alright – I’m gonna hire or buy a van and travel for a few months! What do I need to know?
If you want to freedom camp and see every inch of New Zealand, you’ll need to make sure you comply with the latest laws and regulations by ensuring you’ve got a fully certified, self-contained campervan. You’ll also need to keep up-to-date on where you can (and cannot) park your vehicle.
Wait – what’s freedom camping?
We’re glad you asked! It’s the best way to experience the real New Zealand. Essentially, freedom camping is where you can park your vehicle overnight on public land that isn’t a recognised camping ground or holiday park.
But you need to make sure you follow the rules based on each council district you visit. You must be fully certified as self-contained to freedom camp, and the locations you’re allowed to park in each council zone differ.
What is a self-contained campervan?
A self-contained campervan must meet the Caravan Self Containment Certification, which includes the following strict requirements:
- You’re able to live in it for three days without getting more water or dumping waste.
- It has a toilet[GC3]
- It has fresh water storage
- It has wastewater storage
- You have a rubbish bin with a lid
Although these may seem like simple requirements, there are some specifics that must be adhered to pass certification, particularly related to an onboard toilet.
The portable toilet must be adequately restrained or secured when travelling. It must be useable within the motor caravan or caravan, including sufficient head and elbow room whenever required, even with the bed made up. Where permanent toilets are installed, this shall be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and comply with the sanitary requirements in section 3 of the Standard (plumbing requirements).
Ready to start planning? Take a look at our range of campervans. [link to book/rent campervans]
WORKING IN NZ
So, you want to live and work and feel like a real Kiwi, eh? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re looking for a great way to travel and visit incredible places without burning through your savings, a working holiday in New Zealand is the way to go.
Do I need a work visa?
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, the short answer is no. You can live, work, study, party, explore and fall in love with our country for as long as you like. You’ll need to apply for a New Zealand resident visa when you apply, but not before.
If you aren’t an Aussie, you’ll need to apply for a working holiday visa.
Am I eligible for a working holiday visa?
Working visas are available to individuals aged 18-30 (or up to 35 for select countries). You’ll be able to work and travel for up to 12 months, or 23 months if you’re British or Canadian.
You’ll need to be able to provide a return ticket or enough money to purchase one later, and your main reason for coming will be
Find out more about eligibility criteria here.
WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms)
Well, not just on farms. You could find a WWOOF job anywhere, as long as you’re willing to work for your accommodation and maybe even your supper!
Wherever you end up, you’ll have the experience of living with your host for free, meeting other traveller’s, and working 4-6 hours per day learning new skills. You can choose to stay for a couple of days, or even as long as six months. If you want to see
It is true that a lot of the work will be on farms, and it’ll involve work such as gardening, harvesting, wine and cheese making, as well as a host of other interesting jobs.
It’s a great way to see New Zealand on the cheap and give back to our beautiful country.
Do you work for yourself? There really is nothing quite like going to work every day in a new location while you travel the world, which is why co-working spaces (and work-friendly cafes) are so popular.
Browse a range of New Zealand hot desk spaces that rent a desk by the day here.