Travelling New Zealand in 2019: Everything You Need to Know
Wander into the wilderness, breathe in some of the freshest air in the world and experience some seriously epic pieces of paradise that Mother Nature has to offer… With mountains to climb, trails to hike, beaches to run wild on, waves to splash around in, hot springs to relax in and countless awe-inspiring views to soak up; it almost sounds unreal, doesn’t it? But it is real. All of this exists in a small country located between the Tasman sea and the almighty Pacific Ocean – New Zealand.
Visiting New Zealand in 2019 is a must for all those who love to get lost in travel and roam into new, wild adventures. Get ready for adventures that’ll leave you buzzing, forests so green and overgrown you’ll wonder if the dinosaurs are still roaming around, and views that’ll leave your jaw dropped so low your mouth will go dry. Don’t worry, there’s a craft beer round most corners to help with that…
This ultimate travel guide is packed full of information to help you plan your Wild Kiwi adventure; including the must-visit destinations, adventurous activities, an introduction to local Maori culture and route guides to help you find your bearings. Prepare to be inspired for some seriously awesome adventures.
Destination Hot List
Introducing 7 beautifully epic locations not to be missed on your New Zealand tour, accompanied by a few photos which are guaranteed to give you a serious dose of wanderlust.
The adrenalin capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is sure to have you diving into new adventures from skydiving to jet boating and canyon swinging. If that’s not enough, the entire area is full of epic natural scenery including mountains and lakes.
Renowned for its hot springs and bubbling mud pools, Rotorua is the geothermal centre of New Zealand. Once you’ve seen Mother Nature doing her thing, get out of town and take your adventure; choose from luging and rafting to mountain biking in the almighty Redwood forest and visiting the world-famous movie set of Hobbiton.
Most famous for its abundance of sea life, the coastal town of Kaikoura is the perfect stop for year-round whale watching and swimming with dolphins and seals. So, get out on those seas and get up close with New Zealand’s incredible sea life!
Awe at stunning beaches as you wind through the hills on this peninsula. Prepare to be dazzled by some seriously clear water, refreshing coastal walks and even the opportunity to dig your natural hot spring pool in the sand – don’t forget the shovel!
#5 Mount Cook
Towering over the National Park at a whopping 3,724m, the sacred Aoraki – as it’s known to the Maori – is the highest peak in New Zealand. With short walks, glacier hikes and stargazing on offer, enjoying the stunning scenery of Mount Cook and surrounding national park area is a must for any visit to NZ.
#6 Milford Sound
This epic national park is deservedly a UNESCO listed site… As soon as you enter Milford Sound, you’ll see why; dolphins, waterfalls and mountains make up just some of the stunning scenery alongside the dramatic Fiords.
#7 Franz Josef
The stunning formations that make up the Franz Joseph Glacier are thousands of years old – and as Maori legend has it – were made from a lost lover’s tears. You’re sure to gaze in awe at the epic landscape as you explore by hike or helicopter (or both!).
9 Adventurous things to do in New Zealand in 2019
Doing something crazy in NZ is essential; whether hiking along coastal trails, black water rafting through caves, or bungying off the side of a bridge, New Zealand is the home of adventure so get ready to get active!
#1 Mountain Biking
Throw yourself down epic MTB trails or stick to navigating the beginner’s loops; even if you’ve never done it before, you’re sure to experience the thrill of the ride. Be sure to take in the epic forest scenery as you go (but keep your eyes on the trail!).
Where: Rotorua, Queenstown
There’s approximately 15,000km of coast in NZ, so there’s plenty of opportunities to surf. Raglan offers one of the world’s longest left-hand breaks which pumps most of the year due to its sheltered location. When the conditions are right, the mellow break offers the perfect setting for taking a surf lesson.
Where: Raglan, Westport
You’re sure to be squealing with laughter as you soar down bubbling rapids on a rafting adventure; go hard on the white-water rafting of the highest commercially raft-able waterfall in New Zealand on the Kaituna river. Or head underground on a black water rafting adventure on tubes to take an alternative look at the famous Waitomo cave glow worms.
Where: Waitomo, Rotorua
Ever fancied throwing yourself out of a plane? With some of the best views in the world beneath you, experiencing an exhilarating ride as you freefall from 15,000ft with lakes and mountains below is a once in a lifetime moment. It’s not to be missed on your New Zealand adventure.
Where: Taupo, Queenstown
#5 Bungy Jumping
How about throwing yourself off a bridge attached to a bungy cord? New Zealand is not only home to the leading bungy company in the world A.J Hackett, but it’s also got a fair few on offer to suit your adrenalin junkie needs. Choose from a mellow 40m drop all the way to the country’s highest at 134m.
Where: Auckland, Queenstown, Taupo
#6 Jet Boating
If you don’t fancy throwing yourself out of a plane or off a bridge, here’s something a little different that’ll get your heart pumping. Hold on tight as you zoom at high speed across the water’s surface, getting lost in rivers and canyons on a jet boating adventure!
Where: Taupo, Queenstown.
Kayaking offers a slightly gentler way to take in the epic scenery of New Zealand as you explore from a new perspective – from the water’s surface. Land in small bays and look down into crystal clear waters, all while strengthening those arm muscles.
Where: Cathedral Cove, Abel Tasman, Franz Josef
Bizarre, but a must-do! Who doesn’t want to dive into a giant inflatable ball and roll down a massive hill? It might sound scary but it’s sure to leave you with a smile planted firmly on your face!
You’ll be sure to get your step count up on your New Zealand tour, wherever you go in the country! Most areas of natural scenic beauty come with a short walk to get there, which can be anything from five minutes to a few hours.
Where: Pretty much everywhere!
Local Māori Culture and Traditions
Although New Zealand is an adventure paradise, its history is rooted deep in the Māori culture where ancient customs and traditions still thrive today. A few local words and some background knowledge go a long way, especially in New Zealand, so be sure to get involved!
Kia ora! – Hello
Mā te wā – See you / Goodbye
Aotearoa – New Zealand
Ka pai – All good
A few local words for you!
Meaning ‘family’ is the most important of all things to the Maori people; family always come first. You’ll see and hear this word as you travel.
A traditional way of cooking food in an oven dug into the earth, you can even try one of these in Rotorua.
The Kiwis take rugby very seriously, as it does happen to be home to one of the most famous world-class rugby teams on the planet – the All Blacks, who are renowned for their pre-match Haka. This powerful traditional dance performance is quite spectacular!
Find your bearings – An Introduction to Wild Kiwi routes
Call us biased, but when it comes to road tripping adventures through New Zealand, we reckon Wild Kiwi tours offer a pretty sweet as selection of trips. From shorter 7 days trips to longer 21 day trips, one thing is for sure – every day is guaranteed to be jam-packed full of adventure. Travel in style in our Mercedes Sprinter cruiser (complete with leather seats and wifi) from destination to destination with your epic local guide, ready to show you around their backyard.
Tours in North Island
7 Days: Northern Voyager
Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland
Tours in South Island
7 Days: Southern Voyager
Stops: Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mount Cook > Christchurch
7 Days: Southern Loop
Stops: Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
New Zealand Tours (North & South Island)
14 Days: NZ Explorer
Combination of 7 day Northern Voyager & 7 day Southern Voyager
Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mount Cook > Christchurch
14 Days: Big South
Combination of 7 day Southern Voyager & 7 day Southern Loop
Stops: Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mount Cook > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
14 Days: NZ Adventurer
Combination of 7 day Northern Voyager & 7 day Southern Loop
Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
21 Days: NZ Discovery
Combination of 7 day Northern Voyager & 7 day Southern Loop & 7 day Southern Voyager
Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mount Cook > Christchurch
Now that we have you dreaming of New Zealand, here are a few top tips that’ll help you plan for your New Zealand tour including how to get around, currency, and a few other top tips you’ll love.
New Zealand Dollar / $1 NZD, you can check the current exchange rate here.
Did you see the part where we mentioned your step count will go up, up, up? Be sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes for all those adventures on foot.
Slip slop slap
While the climate might seem temperate, the sun is strong so be sure to bring a good sunscreen. You can easily get hold of sunscreen in supermarkets in New Zealand but if you are bringing something from home, we recommend nothing less than SPF factor 30 to keep you exploring comfortably.
Weather + best time to visit
The beauty of travelling in NZ is that you can really enjoy it any time of the year. The climate is seasonal, so of course, if you’re a summer lover, it makes sense to visit between Dec – Feb (inclusive) but the Spring and Autumn months are equally temperate and beautiful.
Local Sim Card
You’ll have wifi on our vehicles, but if you want to be fully connected while out and about, you’ll benefit from a local sim card. They are inexpensive and easy to get hold of, just check out the mobile providers at the airport when you arrive in the country, or head to a 2 Degrees, Spark or Vodafone store to pick one up.
Ready to explore New Zealand? Check out our all of our New Zealand 2019 routes here.