Whether you're after dramatic landscapes or hot springs, fantastic snow or perfect surf, New Zealand has all the best bits of the great outdoors to choose from. It has cosmopolitan cities and friendly welcoming towns. For the gourmet, superb produce is showcased in restaurants to suit all budgets, and a visit to one of New Zealand's wine regions delivers fine vintages and lifelong memories.
With 1.5 million people, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and is also the main transport hubii. What makes Auckland truly remarkable is its convergence of stunning natural wonders and its bustling city lifestyle, where great food, shopping, cultural institutions and events can all be found in close proximity to pristine beaches and hiking trailsii. Although the risk of crime in New Zealand is similar to that in Australia, as in all big cities it's important to be aware of your surroundings while travelling and to look out for suspicious activityiii. Ensuring that you have comprehensive travel insurance before you leave Australia is a prudent way to financially protect yourself from theft.
Rotorua is a scenic 3.5-hour bus ride from Auckland, and is the home of Maori culture and New Zealand's renowned hot springsiv. Once you've explored this geothermal city, head to New Zealand's capital, Wellington, which is situated on the southern end of the North Island and boasts a thriving arts and culture scenev. While you're in Wellington, make sure you check out the interactive Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to gain a better understanding of New Zealand's natural environment, geology and Maori culturevi. You can also admire the city's views by riding the Wellington Cable Car to the Botanic Gardenvii.
One of the most scenic ways to travel from the North to South Island is by ferry from Wellington to Picton - this will allow you to view the stunning Marlborough Sounds and perhaps even sight dolphins, whales or fur seals along the wayviii. As you travel further south in New Zealand, the weather becomes cooler, and in winter the temperatures can drop to as low as -10°C inland in the South Islandix.
A popular way to discover the South Island is by rental car, which will not only allow you to travel at your own pace but will also give you time to take in the island's spectacular vistas made famous in the Lord of the Rings films.
Although New Zealander's also drive on the left-hand side of the road, Australians should take care as ice, fog, snow and high winds can render roads hazardousiii. Many roads in mountainous regions and near ski fields are also unpavediii. Allianz Travel Insurance can help cover the excess of a damaged or stolen rental car, as well as provide compensation for additional accommodation or medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident.
For many Australians, winter in the South Island means ski season and the search for the perfect run. With nine commercial ski fields within reach of Christchurch and Queenstown to choose from, there are plenty of skiing options for beginner and experienced skiers alikex. As exhilarating going down a ski run surrounded by impressive natural wonders is, it's important to know that you're covered by travel insurance in case you suffer a fall on the slopes. Allianz Travel Insurance can help cover medical expenses and travel plan rescheduling costs that could occur after a skiing injury, and also covers costly medical evacuations should the injury be very serious.
Travel smart by preparing for your trip to New Zealand by following this checklist:
- Take out a travel insurance policy that suits your needs so you are protected financially from unexpected events like theft or medical emergencies on your trip to New Zealandiii. The Australian Government recommends that all Australian travellers purchase comprehensive travel insurancexi. The best time to organise insurance is straight after you've booked your flights.
- Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your date of departure and during your tripxii.
- Organise your travel documents including passport, photo ID and plane tickets. Australian citizens and permanent residents do not require a visa to visit New Zealandiii. Make several copies of your travel documents and your itinerary, keeping one in your luggage and one at home with a trusted family member or friend.
- Go to the doctor's for a routine check-up to ensure you are in good health and have all the necessary vaccinationsxii.
- Pack clothes appropriate for New Zealand weather conditions and make sure you pack all of your necessary medications.
- Register your trip details with the Australian Government at the Smartraveller website.
- For more information on travel insurance cover for visiting New Zealand see our page on Travel insurance for New Zealand.
iStatistics New Zealand 2013 Census QuickStats about a place: Auckland Region, viewed 23 March 2016,http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/quickstats-about-a-place.aspx?request_value=13170&tabname=
ii New Zealand Tourism, Auckland, viewed 23 March 2016, http://www.newzealand.com/au/auckland/
iii Smartraveller 2013, New Zealand, Australian Government, viewed 22 March 2016, http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/New_Zealand
iv New Zealand Tourism, Rotorua, viewed 23 March 2016, http://www.newzealand.com/au/rotorua/
v New Zealand Tourism, Wellington, viewed 17 December 2013, http://www.newzealand.com/au/wellington/
vi Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, viewed 23 March 2016 https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/
vii New Zealand Tourism, Top 10 Must Do's in Wellington, viewed 23 March 2016, http://www.newzealand.com/au/article/top-10-must-dos-in-wellington/
viii New Zealand Tourism, Ferries & water taxis, viewed 23 March 2016, http://www.newzealand.com/au/ferrieswater-taxis/
ix New Zealand Tourism, Climate & weather, viewed 22 March 2016, http://www.newzealand.com/au/feature/new-zealand-climate-and-weather/
x New Zealand Tourism, Skiing, viewed 22 March 2016, http://www.newzealand.com/au/skiing/
xi Smarttraveller 2016, Travel Insurance, Australian Government, viewed 22 March 2016, http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/insurance.html#basics
xii Smarttraveller 2016, Travel Insurance, viewed 23 March 2016, http://smartraveller.gov.au/guide/all-travellers/insurance/#basics