Travel tip: Travelling around New Zealand

Friday, November 11, 2016

At the airport

It pays to get some local currency out in hard cash, as most card transactions incur international transaction fees. Your bank may have partnerships with another NZ bank where you can use their ATMs for free, though, like between BNP Paribas and Westpac.

Get a prepay sim card from any of Vodafone, Spark, 2degrees, and keep using your phone under a NZ number while travelling. Make sure your phone is unlocked beforehand.

Multi adaptors
We probably use a differently shaped power plugs from you. Get it from the nearest pharmacy or travel shop before your phone battery runs out.

From the airport, you can take either a taxi, a shuttle or a bus, in order of the most to least expensive, depending on the number of your travel party. Otherwise, you could call an Uber to pick you up.


Airbnb - live like a local while travelling
Bookabach - the Kiwi equivalent of Airbnb
Hotels - for a more luxurious experience
YHA/hostels - when you're feeling more budget
Woofing - living and learning while volunteering in organic farms
Holiday parks - while you are camping or on a road trip

Useful website

TradeMe - everyone in NZ uses this site to buy and sell things, find flatmates, compare insurance options...

Travelling around NZ

Jucy - rental cars and camper vans. They are popular and a bit on the pricy side, but their insurance is the most comprehensive. When renting a vehicle, make sure you have your International Driver's Permit or at least your normal driver's licence translate into English
NakedbusIntercity - the two main bus companies with routes nationwide
BluebrideInterislander - the two main ferry companies across the Cook Strait between Picton and Wellington
Air NZ & grabaseat - the national carrier and its younger budget brand, respectively.
Bus cards - every city has its own transport network and its own card. In Auckland it's the HOP card. Wellingtonians have the Snapper, and in Christchurch you can get a Metrocard

Driving in NZ

Practise safe driving. Understand the common road signs. Everyone in our cars must have their seatbelts buckled in, even the passengers. There are many gravel roads. If you are not used to driving on the left hand side of the road, drive slower.


Pak n Save, Countdown, New World. Probably in that order of the most bargains to the most quality range available. I shopt at Countdown most of the time, New World if I'm picking something near work. Don't forget your passport/driver's licence when buying alcohol, especially in the big supermarkets. In NZ, if you look under 25 you are systematically ID'd, so don't be offended.

Gourmet grocery stores 
Nosh and Farro are a little bit fancier than the three above. A bit pricier, too.

Farmers markets
They are not as big as the ones in Europe, nor as common. The chances are, they are weekend markets. I love going to these.


A few useful shops along your journey may include the Warehouse - where everyone gets a bargain, Farmers - next level up in terms of quality, and Kathmandu - for your outdoor travel needs.

Eating out

Browse through the places I've been eating in New Zealand and take your pick. We love coffee here, especially lattes and flat whites. Fast food doesn't mean only McDonalds or Domino's. You'll see our streets filled with Sushi, Indian and Kebab places everywhere.

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