Essential Tips For Travelling To New Zealand in 2020 | First Time Friendly

new zealand scenery

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a great history and awesome scenery. Having done multiple visits, I realized potential mistakes I made when I first went so I wrote this guide so you can plan your adventure without any problems. 

Here are my 5 essential tips for traveling around New Zealand, in the new year 2020. 

1. Bring proper clothing suited for the right season 

In New Zealand, you’re most likely either visiting during the winter or any of the other seasons. Depending on what activities you’re doing, you want to make sure you have the right clothing.

Unlike most tropical countries (or if you live in LA), New Zealand weather can get quite bipolar. This means it can suddenly jump to t-shirt weather and all the way down to sweater weather. 

For a more comprehensive guide, check this out but otherwise, make sure you at least bring ample warm weather clothes. I highly recommend investing into a windbreaker, as New Zealand definitely gets windy, especially on South Island. 

One of the biggest things that surprised me was how cold it was on the South Island during summer. 

Yup, I had to wear gloves, a beanie, and a windbreaker in Queenstown and the glaciers.

So if you aren’t good with cold weather, you’d rather overpack then under pack. 

Finally, make sure you bring hiking shoes if you plan to do some climbs like Roy’s Peak. It can definitely get muddy so make sure you bring proper shoes!

2. Plan Ahead With Transport

For certain countries like in South East Asia, planning transport is not needed. This is because all you need mainly is a phone and either Uber or Grab. 

New Zealand is different. 

If you plan to uber everywhere, you’re going to be deep out of pockets and some areas are completely off limits with driver on-demand apps. 

You mainly have 3 options here: 

  • Rent your own car

In my opinion this is the most sensible option as New Zealand is super spacious and hard to get to. 

If you want to stop and go and visit areas spontaneously, go with this option.

  • CamperVan

If you don’t want to organize accommodation nor plan out your journey too well, consider investing in a CamperVan. This allows more flexibility and allows you to traverse certain areas without needing to do a day trip and back.

  • Tour Group

If you’re too lazy to do everything above, you can always go the tour group route. In my opinion, I would select the two previous options as New Zealand has so many spots you should stop for and it’s hard to account for everything. 

3. No Need To Tip

More for countries that have to tip customary in their system (USA), it’s always important to know if you should tip in a country.

The short answer is, no. you definitely do not need to.

However, if you’re planning to visit somewhere fancy, there will most likely be other tipping rules associated with those venues. 

4. Plan According To Seasons

New Zealand is vastly different in winter vs summer vs other seasons. If you’re there in winter, you’re most likely there to do snow activities so it’s very unwise to try other activities that may involve water.

It will greatly serve those who want to get a glimpse of the country’s best skiing destinations (Mount Ruapehu in the North; Mount Cook/Aoraki in the South) 

If you’re there in summer, plan some water activities. 

Some activities include white water rafting, cave tubing and more! 

I would recommend doing these types of activities in summer as it’s a lot warmer and the water can get pretty cold as mentioned. 

5. Lastly, try the coffee! 

Like its neighbor Australia, New Zealand coffee is renowned and has a dedicated coffee culture. 

The increased levels of popularity has meant new cafes and coffee roasting outlets are popping around the country. 

New Zealand has also gained notoriety on the world’s coffee scene having been credited with pioneering the “flat white” – traditionally a less milky brew with textured rather than frothy milk.

So definitely give New Zealand coffee a go. 


New Zealand is an awesome place to visit. It has a rich culture and I’ve always enjoyed my time there so hopefully you will too!

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