A journey of discovery, not just a holiday
Many travellers have referred to this as a ‘holiday of a lifetime’. Whatever your definition of this, you will return with countless experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. The country of New Zealand itself is centre stage, revealing more extraordinary features every day.
Travelling around New Zealand on holiday is a dream. With wide open roads, little traffic, few large towns and a friendly English speaking population navigation is straightforward. You’ll be quickly at home here and enjoying every second of your New Zealand adventure.
The New Zealand climate
As you travel around you’ll undoubtedly encounter different climates. There is a distinct difference from the sub-tropical top of the North Island to the temperate bottom of the South Island.
Essentially, it’s the reverse of the UK: the further south you travel in New Zealand the closer you are to the Antarctic and the cooler it gets.
January and February are the warmest months, and July is the coldest month of the year. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30°C and in winter between 10-15°C.
Overall, however, New Zealand has a very mild climate making it a pleasant holiday destination throughout the year. There are seasonal variations though.
Summer: December – February
Summer in New Zealand is beautifully warm, with temperatures usually in the 20s. In most places you can wear shorts and a t-shirt during the day, possibly with a fleece for the cooler evenings.
Autumn: March – May
Temperatures can be a little cooler but the weather is usually bright, warm and it’s a great time for being a little active – perhaps some gentle hiking, or ascending a glacier? Like spring in the UK, this is a great time for travelling without the hordes of holidaymakers and when the sun is not relentlessly beating down.
You’ll want clothing for most eventualities, including warm sun, rain showers and cool evenings. Members who have been have often commented on how you can change outfits two or three times a day as the weather changes. Hence the famous ‘four seasons on one day’ expression!
Winter: June – August
Winter in New Zealand can be a chilly affair, with snow in the south and rain, well pretty much everywhere from time to time. As back in the UK, you’ll need jeans, fleeces, rainproof warm jackets as well as gloves and hats. And if heading to higher altitudes or more exposed spots, thermals are a great idea.
Spring: September – November
Spring can constantly surprise with its weather variations. Be prepared for warm, sunny days, but also clear frosty mornings and rain showers. Make sure you are prepared for this type of weather if you are visiting during this time. Practical trousers, jeans or cargo pants are a good choice and layers work well on top, allowing garments to be added or peeled off as required.
As in the UK, most shops and businesses are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, often Saturdays too. When travelling around it’s easy to keep stocked up with groceries, just bear in mind the driving times ahead and also that New Zealand is a country of considerable empty spaces, so best to stop for fuel and groceries when you see the chance.
New Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) with denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 & $100. Coins are 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 & $2. Getting currency is easy at ATMs, hotels, banks and international airports.
You’ll find major credit cards are widely accepted and Travellers Cheques are often welcome too. Banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday (usually closed at weekends).
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
All goods and services are subject to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price. Visitors cannot claim this tax back, however when a supplier ships a major purchase to a visitor's home address the GST will not be charged.
Hotels and restaurants do not generally add a service charge to bills. Tipping is left to your discretion.
The New Zealand official languages are English & Maori.
Driving in New Zealand
New Zealand is simply made for touring. Each morning you wake up with a day of fresh experiences ahead of you, along with the freedom of the open road. And what roads! Wide, well maintained and easily navigated, these roads make parking a doddle (even in a large motorhome) and there’s always somewhere to pull over for a break and a brew.
You’ll find many other motorhomes on the road and you will feel part of a community and a cheery wave to fellow travellers in their ‘vans is all part of the fun.
The driving may be easy, but do take plenty of breaks – this is no hardship as there’s so much to see en route.