I am planning a trip to New Zealand. What should I do and where should I go?

Hi my name is Shanky Smith. I am a traveler. I have visited almost every country. I also teach people how to travel for nearly free using points and miles. There's something amazing about encouraging people to dream about a place they've never visited. If you are planning to visit New Zealand , places like Queenstown and Milford Sound will rank very highly in most tourists' list of must-visit places but i will also recommend you to include these must-go places I have visited in New Zealand you've probably never heard of.


I live here.

Sadly to a degree it does depend on your budget, and interests. So with that said let's get started.

General Stuff

Buy or rent a car. Cars are cheap to buy and don't require insurance (but get it anyway). You can travel around NZ by bus and sort of a bit by train, but the reality is that to see all the sights here a car is very handy and allows you to do a lot.

The currency is the dollar and ATM's are everywhere. With a high minimum wage tipping is not expected. The drinking age is 18. The Kiwi is a bird not a fruit.

New Zealanders are always better than Australians. Even if wrong Australians are  always inferior to New Zealander's. The smart Australians move to New Zealand, and when a New Zealander moves to Australia the IQ of both countries rise. (We love them all the same).

New Zealander's live to live, not work to live. From Christmas day to 3rd of Jan most cities are deserted and the beaches full. The hottest month of the year is February. School holidays are in January (about 4 weeks), and there are regular 2 week breaks for school holidays throughout the year.


You most likely will arrive in Auckland. Auckland is our biggest city. There is no rail link to the Airport.
Things to do include
  • Free views from the top of MT Eden. There are also other volcanic cones in the city.
  • The Sky tower for non free views of the city.
  • Jump off or walk around the sky tower - for a price.
  • Take a ferry ride on the harbour.
  • Ferry ride to Devonport and then visit the free naval museum and the fortifications on North Head.
  • Boat trip to Waiheke Island, walk around or visit the wineries.
  • Jump on the train and just observe the city.
  • Visit the War Memorial Museum.
  • Walk around the Water frount.
  • A while back I was able to get a free cellphone SIM from the visitors desk at Auckland airport.

Driving in New Zealand.

We are a big nation with few people. This means that often you will be in isolated areas. Cellphone coverage may be spotty. Our main road State Highway 1 will normally be one lane in each direction. In some areas the roads will be Gravel.

We drive on the left.

Make sure you have enough fuel for the trip. The AA will sell maps.

Driving around allows you to stop and enjoy the sights sounds and views of the country. There are many rest areas around. Enjoy them.

5 Best Drives in New Zealand
Top five scenic drives of New Zealand

On my last holiday in New Zealand I took the Naiper to Taihape road. The road was very winedy but I was rewarded with spectacular views of the landscape.

Finally there are many hot springs in New Zealand. They can be a great way to enjoy the countryside and break the trip up.


The Government has been creating National Cycle trails as a way of opening up many areas of New Zealand to tourism. Trails are throughout the nation.

On my last trip in NZ I hired a bike in the three cities I visited Gisborne, Napier and Wanganui. The bikes I hired from the Hostels were poor, but the professional bike I hired from a bike rental was great. However non the less I enjoyed getting on a bike and riding through these cities and seeing the landscape at a pleasant pace.

Be aware that NZ Law requires you to wear a helmet at all times.

The New Zealand Cycle Trail - OFFICIAL WEBSITE


There are many walks in New Zealand where you can walk through the bush for days on end enjoying the countryside. However make sure you have the gear to do this. If things go wrong in the wilderness you can die quickly.


Top Tourist spots

  • Rotorua - hot mud pools, Maori culture.
  • Waitomo Caves - go on an underground river to see the glow worms
  • Wellington-Picton - The Interisland ferry goes between both places thus you most likley will too, great views but may get very rough. Wellington is the capitol and has great things like Te Papa the museum.
  • Queenstown. - Bungy Jumping, skiing, gold mining, the lake, gateway to Foudland.

Don't bring

New Zealand has strict Biosecurity laws. Importing food, even from the plane is forbidden. Even dirty shoes can be a risk.

When in doubt declare everything. Or pay a fine.

Given how far away New Zealand is from everywhere except Australia (it's a 24 hour trip from most Northern Hemisphere destinations), its unique beauty, and plethora of things to do, you'll probably want to spend at least three weeks there, and more likely four. Also, New Zealand's isolation and small population size means many goods and services are expensive (particularly clothes and shoes), either because of the distance travelled to get there, or the lack of scale for local producers. However, they are generally high quality.

I recently went to New Zealand. I did a ton of research before going. I'll tell you what we did, and what we would have liked to do if we had had more time.

One thing we prioritized was Milford Sound. It's about a three hour drive from Queenstown and some claim it's the most beautiful part of Fiordland National Park. Here are some of our travel pics:

This is a bit of a re-hash of one of my previous answers but I think the advice is the same. I have traveled to New Zealand twice as a tourist (once as a backpacker and once on holiday) and recently made the move to come and live here (been here for 3.5 years now). It is an amazing place to visit and since I have lived here, I have found even more little nuggets so here goes.

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and we are definitely not short on tourist attractions. In terms of the most popular, it completely depends on what you are looking for from your holiday - we have beautiful beaches, soaring mountains, adventure activities, glaciers, lakes, rolling hills, volcanoes...the list goes on! We also have the attractions that are super-popular because every guide book covers them, and then we have the ones that are less well known but equally as beautiful.

Here is my stab at the top ten tourist attractions - 5 of the most popular and 5 you might not have heard of:

Top 5 most popular attractions

  1. Milford Sound - this has to be the number one destination for most people visiting New Zealand - it is an unbelievable place which is often described as the eighth wonder of the world.

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