New Zealand - tips
|In short||With regards to unspoilt, natural
beauty, one of the gems of the world.
Considering the accessability of the nature, NZ must be one of the top destinations for hikers and trampers and it's actually hard to find someone who didn't like their stay "Down Under". For the average European, NZ must be one of the easiest countries to visit.
|Highlights||On the North Island, go for
Auckland, Wellington (lovely capital) and the central national parks. If you like
volcanoes and geysers, head for Roturoa in the north-east.
In the South, the West Coast, the Mt. Cook area, the various treks, the Otago highlands, the Fox and franz Josef Glaciers, the trout fishing etc. are easily worth the whole trip. The South Island is full of natural beauty, and with a car things come very easy to you. In particular the South Island is close to being one, big, wild highlight.
|Places to avoid||None - well, maybe the Kiwi Experience type of buses, unless you are between 17 and 22 and love 24 hour techno parties. For the ones with more sensitive ears, buying/renting a car is a much better option. if you are off for more than three or four weeks, it's more economical to buy your own car (see below).|
|Seasons||Especially in the South Island, go in the summer, i.e. the European winter (October to April/May).|
|Do's and don'ts||No real problems. Just behave nicely as you always should do. The kiwis are great people and a bit weird themselves, so they are used to all types of weirdoes running around, including foreign travelers.|
|Visa||No visa required for Europeans.|
|Value for money||Excellent, compared to the fact that it's a high-class country with a high standard of living. The easiest way to do it cheaply is to buy a car and camp in the wild. Even after selling the car afterwards, a couple of months can be done for less than 20 USD/day for 2 persons, including gasoline!|
|Others||Get a car! Buying is much cheaper
than renting (which is still cheap), at least if you consider staying for more than a
month. Try the backpacker hostels for "car for sale" advertisements or browse
your way through the "Trade & Exchange" paper in which you'll find lots of
cheap cars for sale. In any case, make sure that the Warrant of Fitness (WOF) exceeds the
period of which you intend to use the car.
Insurance: Don't worry. Damage to people is included in the registration (payable at the post office). Damage to "things", though, is not, however, coming from a right-hand driving country, it's going to be expensive. I never bothered to have an insurance and, fortunately, never needed one!