Heading to New Zealand? Were you aware that failing to declare an apple at customs will cost you $400?!? Please check out our 7 tips when travelling to New Zealand…

1. Weather

New Zealand is known for its beautiful scenery, although, this beauty comes from the quite erratic weather. It is well known for its ‘four seasons in one day’. You will certainly need to be prepared for all weather conditions when you come over. Don’t be put off by these constant weather changes, because you will not experience anything like it, anywhere else in the world.

If you’re visiting in the colder months and intending to hire a vehicle, you need to be aware of black ice – it is a thin layer of glazed ice on a surface and can be quite difficult to spot, we recommend reading up on how to drive on black ice before visiting.

Friends Camping


2. Size

While compared to Australia, New Zealand looks like the baby brother. However, appearances can be deceiving, New Zealand actually has the 9th largest coastline in the world. Many tourists struggle to see everything they wish on their trip simply because the sights are spread out. Make sure that you fill up with petrol, and allow plenty of time between destinations. And for those from Europe – there are little few highways around so speeding is not an option ;)

Size of New Zealand

(Image by American Wanderer)

3. Driving

This is especially important if you wish to hire a vehicle to travel around in. Like everywhere else in the world, you must wear a seatbelt and hold a current, valid driver’s license (please note, you require an international license or an English translation). You will be driving on the left side of the road, but not to worry if you aren’t sure when making a turn, there are helpful signs to let you know which side of the road you need to be on. However, there can be a few unusual signs which you have not come across. A one-lane bridge has specific rules – if the large arrow point ahead then you have the right of way (as long as nobody else is on the bridge), if the small arrow points ahead, then you do NOT have the right of way.

Make sure to do a little bit of research before you go.

Travellers Autobarn Campervan

Travellers Autobarn Campervan









4. Spending more time

While we sometimes only have a short time to go away on a holiday, it is important not to try and pack everything into one short trip. With such a large space to travel, you will not be able to see everything in a day. Try and plan your trip before arriving so you know the distance and time you need to travel and make sure it includes stopping for a rest every now and then. Unless you stay for a good few months through both Winter and Summer, you will need to come back…which isn’t such a bad thing, right?

5. Customs

When travelling to New Zealand (like any other country) it is important to make sure that you declare your items. They take certain items very seriously as items such as foreign wood can carry various bugs, or even if you are carrying simple hiking shoes, you need to declare them as outdoor gear.

Make sure to carefully read the declaration and cover all your bases – the minimum fine is $400!

6. Freedom Camping

One of the greatest things about staying in New Zealand is that unless it is otherwise posted you can basically camp on public conservations land, you just have to make sure that you have a self-contained unit or certificate – aka Campervan. For more information on it, head on over to the Freedom Campaign website.

7. Bugs

Buy bug spray when you arrive! There are many Sandflies around, and they love to hang around flowing water, especially beaches and lakes or swamps. You will find you get bitten more during the day because they cannot see at night (Yay!). Like anywhere else you will encounter the small bugs but as long as you have a good bug repellent, you should be more than fine.

If you are looking for more campervan travel tips check out our Campervan Travel tips section…

Don’t forget to check out our latest offers and specials on campervan hire in New Zealand.

About the Author

Bastian Graf

Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.

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