The All Blacks, Kiwi’s, millions of sheep, The Lord of the Rings…just some of the things that might come to mind when you think of New Zealand!
No doubt about it, New Zealand (NZ for short) is an amazing place to visit, and for those of you brave enough to battle the 24 hour flight to get there, you will definitely find it worth the trip! Read on for some tips on how to make the most of your trip to the bottom of the world without breaking the bank!
Without doubt, the most expensive part of any trip to New Zealand is going to be your plane ticket getting you there – no matter where in the world you are, New Zealand is really far away! This is part of the appeal though, and what makes it such a special place to visit. From Europe the flight takes around 24 hours depending which way you go (either through the USA or via Asia) so to get the best deal make sure you plan ahead!
The number of hostels in New Zealand is legendary and you will never be short of available accommodation in New Zealand with around 400 to choose from. The YHA (Youth Hostel Association) has a huge network of hostels, and are always kept to great standards. Another great option is camping, and with more campsites than Britain and France put together (seriously!) camping could be your key to a cheap holiday! Many hostels also have campsites attached. These tend to be well lit with electricity and water.
Rail travel in New Zealand is limited. The best way to get around and see more of the country is by bus or by car. A great low-cost transport company is Naked Bus. Despite the name, clothes are compulsory on ALL buses! 😉 They travel far and wide across NZ all for really low prices, but as always – you will get the best deals if you plan ahead a little. There are also car-sharing options where you can get in contact with fellow budget-conscious travelers and save some cash by sharing a trip. Kiwis call it “car-pooling”, and it is a great way to get to some of the more remote places in NZ that the buses will never reach.
New Zealand is actually quite a large country, and very diverse in its regions so make sure you give yourself enough time to get around and see everything – let’s be honest, you have travelled a long way to get there so you may as well make the most of it! The most common mistake people make when travelling here is not having enough time to see everything they want to see. The great thing about NZ is that so much of what you should see is outside, and therefore – FREE! The scenery is amazing, whether in the North Island or the South Island, and you could enjoy your holiday and take in the best of NZ without ever stepping inside a museum.
Your biggest expenses will be food and accommodation, so if you take my advice and stick with the cheap accommodation then you occasionally afford to splash out on some great Kiwi cuisine! New Zealand food doesn’t really follow any one theme – we tend to take ideas from all over the world, combine them then “kiwi-ify” them! The food is generally unpretentious, yet interesting – kind of like the people! 😉 The one thing that is essential though is that Kiwi’s love everything to be super fresh, and as we have so much coastline you will find amazing seafood on the menu almost everywhere you go. If you are not a fan of seafood, you HAVE to try some New Zealand Lamb (sorry to all you vegetarians!) – it’s world famous! And if you are in Taupo, the Trout fishing capital of the world, you of course have to try some of this local delicacy – this will require some effort from you though, as it is in fact illegal to sell Trout in a restaurant (unless you bring it in for the chef to cook!) so if you would like to eat it, you have to catch it yourself! Then of course there is the Annual Bluff Oyster festival where it is all about… hmm, you guessed it – oysters!
So, while you may not see a Hobbit on your trip to NZ, there are millions of other things to keep you busy, and hey – if you ever get bored you can always count the sheep, there is more than 40 million of them!