New Zealand Travel

New Zealand travel is easier than you think. Yes, this spectacularly beautiful two-island nation is tucked away in a far corner of the South Pacific, but its compact size (about the same as California), excellent infrastructure and friendly people make it one of the most convenient destinations you'll ever experience. With tours from Islands in the Sun, you can explore the the country on a self-drive vacation that visits the cosmopolitan city of Auckland and award-winning wineries and geothermal wonders of the North Island as well as the glaciers, fjords and adventure capital, Queenstown, on the South Island. Or you can travel as part of a multi-destination South Pacific vacation that includes stopovers on tropical islands by combining the upscale adventure of New Zealand with the romantic bliss of Fiji, Tahiti or the Cook Islands or on an Australia and New Zealand adventure that explores the best of these English-speaking neighbors.

The most obvious appeal of New Zealand is the country's incredible natural beauty. And amid this splendor, there's adventure galore: hiking, biking, kayaking, glacier trekking, skiing, jet boating and bungy jumping (invented here). New Zealand resorts, many of them intimate luxury lodges that indulge the senses with farm-to-fork cuisine and nature-based relaxation, are world-renowned. The country's golf courses are as challenging as they are scenic and its award-winning Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are waiting to be sipped. Add in fascinating Maori culture and you'll wonder how you ever overlooked New Zealand until now.

North Island

New Zealand's North Island is its gateway, home to Auckland (its largest city) as well as the major wine region of Hawkes Bay and the geothermal wonders and Maori culture of Rotorua. Other highlights: the Bay of Islands, the Art Deco city of Napier, Lake Taupo, and the capital, Wellington.

South Island

New Zealand's South Island is adventure central, a playground of majestic mountains, glacier-carved fjords and vibrant blue lakes. Indulge in every outdoor pursuit imaginable near Queenstown, climb a glacier. or spy on yellow-breasted gannets and royal albatross. More civilized pursuits include wine tasting in Marlborough and river punting in Christchurch.

Queenstown

You might expect the place where bungy jumping was invented to attract an adventurous crowd - and it does - but Queenstown's rugged beauty (it faces a range of mountains called The Remarkables) means you can enjoy it even if the craziest thing you do is go fly fishing on Lake Wanaka.

Wine Regions

You'll savor excellent food and wine all over New Zealand, but its main wine regions - Hawkes Bay and Martinborough on the North Island and Marlborough and Central Otago on the South Island - offer a chance to discover in person why the country's Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are so beloved.

LOCATION

  • New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is 900 miles east of Australia across the Tasman Sea

How to Get There

  • New Zealand is accessible from many international cities and there are airports throughout the country that you can fly into. Auckland Airport serves the largest number of international arrivals. Many airlines offer direct flights from North American cities, including Los Angeles. The major carriers flying into New Zealand are Air New Zealand, Qantas, Air Pacific, Air Tahiti Nui, Hawaiian Airlines, and Virgin Australia.
  • Air travel within the country is provided by two major domestic carriers: Air New Zealand and Jetstar

Time Difference

New Zealand is in the Pacific/Auckland time zone, which is 19 hours ahead of Los Angeles (PST).

Entry and Visa Requirements

To enter New Zealand you will need a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond you intended departure date. If you are from a Visa-Waiver country, which includes the United States, you do not need a visa, but you will require the following:

  • Travel tickets or evidence of onward travel arrangements
  • Evidence that you can support yourself monetarily while in New Zealand (approximately NZ$1000 per month)

If you are not from a Visa-waiver country, you must apply for a visa before you travel

Customs

Upon entering New Zealand you must declare food of any kind, plants, animals, or any form of biological specimens.

Drugs, chewing tobacco, chemical weapons and chemicals that can be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons are prohibited. For a complete list of prohibited items please go to the New Zealand Customs website.

Insurance

Travel insurance is highly recommended for any person planning on adventure sports during their vacation. A policy covering theft, loss, accident, and medical issues is strongly encouraged.

Health Requirements

No vaccinations are required to enter New Zealand. Visitors traveling with large quantities of medication are advised to carry a doctor's certificate to avoid any issues with New Zealand Customs.

Currency

New Zealand's currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZ$). Most major North American credit cards are accepted including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Climate

New Zealand enjoys a temperate climate with relatively high rainfall. The seasons are opposite of North America so January and February are the warmest months, while July is the coldest. The northern areas of the country have subtropical weather during the summer and the South has cooler, alpine weather during the winter. Temperatures range from 70-90°F in the summer and between 50-60°F in the winter.

Essential Items to Pack

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Rainproof jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Camera
  • Layers of clothing as weather varies greatly

Weddings & Honeymoons

New Zealand Wedding Information

Anyone is allowed to get married in New Zealand as long as they are legally free to marry. Legally free to marry is defined as:

  • Not already married or in a civil union with someone other than the person they will be marrying
  • At least 16 years old
  • Not closely related by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption

In order to get married you must complete the following:

  • Obtain a marriage license- this requires you to fill out a notice of intended marriage application where you must provide information on your marriage including when and where you want to get married, your choice of appointed marriage celebrant, and evidence of dissolution if you have previously been married.
  • Make statutory Declaration- a formal declaration made by you or your partner stating that there is no lawful impediment to the marriage, that the details given in your marriage license are true, that both parties are not within the prohibited degrees of relationship, and that consent has been given (where relevant).
    • For people living outside New Zealand you can send the completed form to the New Zealand Registrar of Marriages once it was been signed and witnessed by a Commonwealth representative or you may arrive in New Zealand at least three working days before your ceremony and have it signed and witnessed by the Registrar of Marriages in New Zealand.

For more information visit the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs website.

Honeymoon wedding registry:

Islands in the Sun offer a honeymoon wedding registry as a convenient alternative to the traditional bridal registry. Talk to one of our specialists to set up your free registry!

How it works:

  • Add items to your registry with your dedicated honeymoon planner
  • Inform your friends and family about the trip
  • Guests contact us to purchase from your registry
  • Collect wedding gifts
  • Have the honeymoon of your dreams!

New Zealand is known for fresh, local ingredients and distinctive Pacific Rim cuisine. Chefs in New Zealand rely on their natural environment to create extraordinary flavors of both food and wine. The main wine regions, Hawkes bay, Martinborough and Marlborough, and central Otago, offer acclaimed varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux. The restaurants serve freshly caught seafood, famous lamb and beef, and earthy flavors in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Popular Choices

Circle Island Tour

BELLOTA, AUCKLAND

A Tapas restaurant at SkyCity Auckland, serving up authentic dishes with a New Zealand twist. Bellota offers a selection of Spanish cheeses, French-inspired bread based tapas, traditional Spanish small plates, sweet homemade desserts, and a variety of Spanish and European wine. Renowned chef Peter Gordon opened Bellota in 2004 with the vision of taking guests on a complex journey of tastes and textures.

Circle Island Tour

DEPOT, AUCKLAND

This casual bistro is friendly and inviting and is open from 7:00 am every day. The majority of the food is cooked over charcoal or hard wood, giving everything a unique and succulent flavor. Share plates and enjoy fabulous wine and fresh oysters with friends and family.

Circle Island Tour

MARTIN BOSLEY'S, WELLINGTON

An award winning seafood restaurant at Wellington Harbor. Martin Bosley's offers a unique dining experience. Their philosophy is to serve fresh, local, and seasonal food with exceptional service and attractive presentation. Located at the Royal Port Nicholson yacht Club, Martin Bosley's is open for lunch on Thursday and Friday, and for dinner from Tuesday to Sunday.

Circle Island Tour

BLACK BARN BISTRO, HAWKES BAY

Open only for lunch and Friday evenings for dinner, this bistro is a wonderful way to experience the wine country of Hawkes Bay. Dine inside or outside on the courtyard and sip delicious wine as you look out over the vineyard. The menu focuses on fresh, local produce and seasonal delicacies.

Circle Island Tour

FLEURS PLACE, MOERAKI

A waterfront restaurant, cafe, and bar, offering freshly caught fish and natural ingredients on the small fishing village of Moeraki. Stop by for the fish of day, brought right in the southern waters the restaurant overlooks. Pair your fish with section of local Otago wine from their list of over 40 blends.

Circle Island Tour

FERGBURGER, QUEENSTOWN

This iconic gourmet burger joint has been around since 2001. Fergburger uses prime New Zealand beef and lamb to make delicious burgers and adds artisanal; toppings to create unique and mouth-watering flavors. The quirky staff and humorous origin story make Fergburger a favorite place of both locals and visitors.

5 Reasons to Take a Vacation to New Zealand

Circle Island Tour

1. AN AMAZINGLY DIVERSE AND BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE

New Zealand is home to mountains, fiords, glaciers, rolling hills, and spectacular coastlines. The dramatic features of the land are absolutely spectacular. There are picture-perfect sights everywhere you look and views that inspire and enchant. The beauty of the land is why it has been the setting for numerous Hollywood films. See soaring mountains and famous glaciers and return home with amazing photographs.

Circle Island Tour

2. A PERFECT PLACE FOR ONE-OF-A-KIND ROMANTIC EXPERIENCES

With the spectacular New Zealand landscapes as your background, you will treasure every moment with the one you love. Tour beautiful vineyards and drink delicious wine, or take a private scenic flight over endless breath-taking vistas while sipping champagne. Secluded hotels and lodges with unspoiled views will give you the private romantic experience you are looking for. Have an unforgettable adventure together or just relax and share the extraordinary sights with your other half.

Circle Island Tour

3. FRIENDLY AND WELCOMING LOCALS

New Zealanders or "Kiwis", are a blend of Maori, European, Pacific Island, and Asian cultures. They are down to earth and friendly, and have a love for the outdoors. These creative people embrace a unique lifestyle that is in harmony with the environment, while still embracing urban and sophisticated customs. Kiwis will welcome you and share their intriguing culture with you. After a few days their relaxed and care-free nature will rub off and you will feel like a local.

Circle Island Tour

4. EXTRAORDINARY FOOD AND WINE

New Zealand is a food and wine lover's dream destination. Four signature wine regions are home to over 120 vineyards and internationally acclaimed varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and more. To compliment the wine, New Zealand chefs are combining local flavors with fresh ingredients to develop a distinctive Pacific Rim cuisine that is all their own. Delicious seafood and famous lamb are the highlights of any menu and should not be missed!

Circle Island Tour

5. ENDLESS ACTIVITIES FOR ADVENTURE-SEEKERS

The diversity of the landscape and the temperate climate make New Zealand a perfect place for outdoor adventure. The range of activities is endless; you can hike, skydive, ski, bungy jump, river raft, jet boat, and so much more! Winding rivers, sparkling seas, sprawling hills, winding paths, and towering mountains, let you have a variety of exhilarating experiences. Whether you are chasing thrills or just enjoying the great outdoors, New Zealand is the perfect place.

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