Why go to New Zealand
One of the world’s most beautiful countries to explore has got to be New Zealand. It comprises of the North and South Islands plus 600 islets scattered in Southern Ocean atolls. Famous for its scenery, it’s an otherworldly place that was immortalised in the legendary Lord of the Rings film trilogy. In fact, locations from the films, like Tongariro National Park and the Putangirua Pinnacles, are some of New Zealand’s most popular places to visit.
New Zealand’s unlimited tourist attractions offer fun activities to suit every taste and budget, whether you prefer relaxing games of golf, hiking, health and wellness treatments or discovering the fascinating traditions and culture of the local Maori people. Outdoor sports abound, and Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu is a great place to enjoy them, including bungee jumping, skydiving and skiing.
Why we love New Zealand holidays
- New Zealand boasts vast national parks where you can immerse yourself in nature.
- The terrain is varied, from lush forests and mountains to lakes, beaches and fjords.
- There’s something for everyone, whether you want to go hiking, canoeing, mountain biking or just strolling the city streets.
- Food is fabulous, with a touch of British influence as well as inspiration from the South Pacific Islands and Western Europe.
- New Zealand’s coffee culture is legendary, wines are excellent, and the craft beers are sublime.
And then there are the cities, like the capital, Wellington, and dynamic Auckland with its stunning waterfront and harbour area and great beaches. By contrast, Christchurch is reminiscent of an old English university town – and the lifestyle is very similar, too. As much a playground for adventurers as it is for those seeking tranquillity, New Zealand is a joy to explore, and a perfect choice for family holidays, honeymooners or solo travellers.
Things to do in New Zealand
New Zealand’s spectacular natural tourist attractions include exquisite white sand beaches and rainforest areas on the Coromandel Peninsula, near Auckland, and the glaciers and crystal-clear lakes on the slopes of snow-capped Mount Cook. Whether you prefer to escape to a solitary location or enjoy dazzling city life with coffee bars, great shopping and food, New Zealand has it all. From hiking and white-water rafting to bungee jumping and deep-sea diving. The country boasts stunning birdlife such as the Royal Albatross and the elusive Kiwi bird, mind-boggling landscapes including fjords, lakes and mountain ranges.
Top things to do in New Zealand
- Walk to the top of Mount Victoria for panoramic views of the capital, Wellington.
- Explore excellent wineries around Hawke’s Bay and sample some of the country’s best wines.
- Go sailing in Auckland’s spectacular harbour.
- Enjoy glacier skiing and glacier walking in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
- Go ‘tramping’ (that’s what the Kiwis call hiking!) along the world-famous Milford Track.
- Enjoy adrenaline-fueled activities like sky diving and bungee jumping in Queenstown.
- Go scuba diving around the Poor Knights Islands to see an incredible underwater world and numerous shipwrecks.
- Visit the boiling whirlpools and sulphur pools in Rotorua.
- Cruise around the breathtaking fjords at Milford Sound.
There is so much to see and do on a trip to New Zealand, you’ll have to visit time and again to experience everything that’s on offer.
Know before you go...
- New Zealand has a temperate summer with plenty of sunshine and moderate rainfall.
- January and February are the warmest months.
- Much of the country lies on or near the coast, where temperatures are mild.
- The average temperature lowers the further south you travel.
- While the North Island stays milder in winter, South Island can get very cold.
- Some parts of the country can battle icy winds and other parts will have rain – and lots of it.
- The sun will come out occasionally, but you should be prepared for low temperatures.
- There are no direct flights to Auckland from South Africa, but there are regular connecting flights with one stop-over.
- Flight times vary according to your route – whether you fly to Auckland via an Asian destination or an Australian one.
- South African passport holders do require a visa to enter New Zealand.
- Visas must be obtained 6 weeks prior to arrival and be valid for up to 9 months.
- Take all your paperwork with you when you travel.
New Zealand is approximately 11 hours ahead of South Africa.
- Currency: New Zealand dollars and cents. Notes are available in $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5 denominations.
- Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, shops and restaurants.
English is the official language in New Zealand.
- Christianity is the dominant religion in New Zealand.
- Drinking water: It is recommended to drink bottled water.
- Health certificates & vaccinations: check with your doctor before travel.
What must I pack?
- Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day in New Zealand! Pack clothing that can be layered and keep a lightweight rain jacket on hand.
- Comfortable walking shoes – NZ is outdoorsy.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Support the local economy.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables.
What do I do in an emergency?
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
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Thompsons Holidays is the leading South African travel wholesaler catering to leisure travellers based in Southern Africa. Thompsons Holidays has over 40 years of expertise in providing the finest....