It’s official – New Zealand has been voted one of the very best countries to visit.
No surprises there! New Zealand packs the best of every landscape – from beaches, craggy mountains, and lush rainforest to volcanos, caves, fathomless fiords, and glaciers – into two small islands.
Add to that a booming tourist industry and a population known for its friendliness, and you have the perfect holiday destination.
Of course, the growing popularity of New Zealand means it’s becoming more important than ever to plan your travels in advance. A few years back, you could walk up to a hotel and book your room on the spot; now, if you show up unprepared at the height of the tourist season, you might just find yourself camping!
But don’t worry! If you plan your New Zealand holiday the right way, you won’t have to worry about anything.
If you’re travelling in the height of the tourist season (from December through the end of March), try to book your holiday at least 6 months in advance. Accommodation for December through February fills up by April. In other words, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a room at the last minute.
If at all possible, consider travelling in the shoulder season. The weather in October, November, and April is wonderful. In addition, you’ll be able to stay in nicer accommodation at lower prices. However, you still need to book at least three months in advance.
If you’re travelling for less than two weeks, avoid Queenstown between Christmas and January 2nd. Most accommodation operators in the area have very strict rules regarding minimum length of stay. In addition, you’re not allowed to check out on public holidays.
Book with a travel agent, especially during the height of the tourist season. Many accommodation operators raise their prices significantly for the peak travel times (especially around Christmas and during Chinese New Year, which falls in late January/early February). However, travel agents often get fixed room rates throughout the year, so you can avoid the inflated holiday prices.
Popular sites like Milford Sound can get crowded during the summer months. However, you can still find peaceful nature if you visit less well-known highlights.
Read on for New Zealand travel tips about our favorite hidden gems.
Milford Sound gets all the fame, but Doubtful Sound is even more spectacular – and it’s off the beaten track. Book a day trip or an overnight cruise to experience the grandeur of this incredible fiord.
North of Auckland, the Bay of Islands is much quieter than its coastal counterparts to the south. Take a boat cruise around the islands.
Glenorchy, an oft-overlooked gem just 45 minutes north of Queenstown, gained fame for its appearance in the Lord of the Rings films. With mountains on every side, mysterious beech forests rising up from the grasslands, and turquoise rivers cutting through every valley, Glenorchy looks exactly like a scene out of a fantasy world. Drive over and explore, jump on a Safari of the Scenes to see the Lord of the Rings filming locations, or join a Dart River Jet Wilderness Safari for an awe-inspiring wilderness experience.
At the heart of the Marlborough wine region sits the small town of Blenheim. The town may not look like much, but sits amidst gorgeous vineyards growing some of the finest wines in New Zealand. Hop on a wine tour and experience the area’s signature Sauvignon Blanc!
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