Tips for Travelling to New Zealand
We know there are plenty of places in the world you can go, but New Zealand has some unique selling points. Number 1: It's close! Not only are flights quick, they are also plentiful. The Tasman has a high number of airlines competing for business, which in turn makes flights affordable.
As much as we love our trans-Tasman rivalry, Kiwis and Aussie do have a lot in common. Travelling to New Zealand is an opportunity for new experiences, but without the stress of being so far out of your comfort zone. You'll find many of your favourite things from home, with just a little exotic twist; fine wine, flat whites, and a love of oval ball sports. Top that off with opportunities to try things that are harder to find at home; like snow sports, and finish your holiday with the truly unique, such as Maori culture experiences. Sounds like the perfect holiday to me!
Things you can do to get the most out of your New Zealand holiday:
Revel in the Rugby
The sport of rugby needs no introduction to visitors from New South Wales or Queensland, but those from other parts of Australia may wonder what all the fuss is about. Rugby Union truly is the national sport, and as world champions, the depth of talent of players in New Zealand means that even a local club game can provide a spectacle. The ultimate is to plan your visit around either of the epic All Black versus Australia rugby tests when the Bledisloe Cup is the prize. There are two opportunities in 2016: August 27, All Blacks versus Wallabies, at Westpac Stadium in Wellington and October 22 final test at Eden Park, Auckland.
Ski the Slopes
While there are places to ski in Aussie, the frequency of flights across the Tasman may mean that it is easier to come to New Zealand. This is particularly the case this winter, with Queenstown Airport just completing an upgrade that will allow evening flights. Jetstar has scheduled a nightly flight from Queenstown back to Melbourne, leaving at 8.20 pm. This means you can get another full day on the slopes before catching your flight home. Bonus!
It pays to bear in mind that while New Zealand is acclaimed worldwide for its wines, the styles produced are very different to Australia's signature varieties. If you have been raised on hearty Coonawarra cab sav and buttery Padthaway chardonnay, you may find the subtle New Zealand varieties a change to your palate. Wine is such a subjective thing, but a good way of warming up your palate is to visit some wineries and be guided through tastings, giving you an idea of what you should be looking for. All main cities have a wine producing region within a half day drive away. Please don't limit yourself to sauvignon blanc, New Zealand makes world class wine across a range of varieties. Christchurch has Waipara on its doorstep, or is only a four hour drive from Blenheim. In Queenstown, you have the Gibbston Valley. Just over the hill from Wellington, you can experience the wineries of the Wairarapa. From Auckland, head west to Kumeu and Henderson, or take the ferry to Waiheke Island.
Learn a New Culture
Maori Culture is unique to New Zealand, and it's pretty cool to learn about a different culture while you are so close to home. The recognised heart of Maoridom in New Zealand is Rotorua, and there are several places where you can have an authentic experience. Try the Mitai Maori Village, which does nightly shows in a natural bush setting, including warriors in traditional dress paddling a waka (war canoe). It also offers the only opportunity to see glow worms in the Rotorua area. During the day, you can try Whakarewarewa, the living Maori village. It offers twice daily shows, and the opportunity to interact with local artists. You can even have a private session with resident Ta Moko (Maori tattoo) artists.
The best way to get around New Zealand is in your own hire car, and VroomVroomVroom can find you the perfect vehicle for your trip, at the best possible price. This is another advantage of New Zealand as a holiday destination, driving is very similar to home. However, there are a few differences it pays to know, you can check them out with our Driving Tips article.