Dates may vary by a few days from school to school but most New Zealand schools are on holiday on these dates.
Whether you should visit the North or South Island in New Zealand entirely depends on your travel times. Ideally, you would do both! Mutually stunning, each island has unique, individual attractions. However, if you have limited time we recommend choosing one island to thoroughly explore as opposed to trying to rush them both. There's always next time! So to help you decide here's a quick overview of what you can expect:
If you're more of a sun and sand kind of person, then the North is for you. Significantly warmer with many accessible surf beaches, coves and sheltered bays - the North is also home to geothermal Rotorua, all of New Zealand's active volcanoes, and the country’s capital city Wellington. It boasts the longest beach in New Zealand (Ninety Mile Beach) and its sub-tropical Bay of Island region is renowned for its white sand and crystal clear waters.
The South Island
If you love mountains, vineyards and dramatic scenery, then the South is the island you'll enjoy the most. With the Southern Alps running the length of the country you’re never far from some of the most remarkable views in the country. Renowned for it’s hiking, the South has five of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks,’ multiple award-winning wineries, glaciers, rainforest, lakes and dusty plains. It is also home to the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown.
New Zealand is beautiful in every season - but the best time to come really depends on what you would like to do.
New Zealand in Spring is a great time to visit as the days are beginning to warm up, but the nights are still crisp and cool. Flowers begin to bloom, and lambs are born all across the country, making for a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
If you're headed here in the Summer expect long warm days perfect for swimming, kayaking, biking, and hiking. You’ll get plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors because it doesn't get dark until 10pm.
Have your camera ready if you're visiting in Autumn, because the changing of the leaves is really something. If you’re into hiking, this is the best time to come for you. Slightly cool but not too cold, the trails will be virtually empty and the days (mostly) clear and crisp. The new season brings spectacular colour to every New Zealand region, but a must-see at this time of year is Arrowtown, where the hillside is burnished with every shade of red and gold.
If skiing is your thing, Winter is the time for you. Think bluebird days and powdery snow followed by mulled wine and a crackling fire. If skiing isn't your thing, hiking is still great at this time of year, and many of the trails have natural hot springs to relax in.
New Zealand has a wide range of accommodation to suit any budget. There are six distinct styles including: Motels, three star hotels, four star hotels, luxury lodges and five star hotels, bed and breakfasts, and premium bed and breakfasts.
The motels we recommend are of a very high standard and many have facilities on-par with hotels. Costs can also be comparative of hotels, especially in smaller locations such as Kaikoura and the West Coast where other accommodation types are limited. All motels offer self-contained facilities including cooking utensils, a hot plate and microwave, kettle, crockery and cutlery. Some also offer facilities such as hot-tubs, swimming pools and saunas. Motes usually have bedrooms separate to the living area, making them ideal for families.
In New Zealand, the star rating of a hotel applies to the facilities and services on offer, and not necessarily the value or quality of these services. Throughout the country there are many three star hotels that offer exceptional service and accommodations. All the three star hotels that we book offer restaurant and room service facilities.
Four star hotels are prevalent in New Zealand and are generally very high quality. Most have a range or room types including standard, deluxe, superior or lake/mountain view suites etc. Many also have two and three bedroom suites which are great when travelling in a large group or with family. Most have swimming pools, gyms, a choice of restaurants and room service and most will occupy premium positions within a town network.
Luxury lodges and hotels
New Zealand is internationally renowned for its luxury lodges and upmarket hotels. From cool cosmopolitan properties to premium lodges in scenic locations these accommodations are five star and provide just about anything you can ask for including private in-house chefs, helicopter tours, fishing and hunting guides and spa treatments.
Bed and Breakfast homestays
Bed and Breakfast homestays are often the highlight of our guest’s tours. Beyond just a bedroom in a house, staying at these properties are like going on holiday to a friends place. Owners and operators are enthusiastic kiwi ambassadors and are situated in scenic or central locations. All the bed and breakfast properties we recommend have en suite bathrooms and comfortable bedrooms.
Premium bed and breakfast homestays
Premium homestays are simply the luxurious end of B&B accommodation. Properties are generally historically listed, contemporary or unique homes converted into high-end guest houses.
In New Zealand the cost of things will vary according to the location. In more remote places you should factor in paying a lot more for everyday items such as groceries and petrol. If you have children, tourist attractions usually offer a family rate which will give you the best value for money.
To give you an indication of what things will cost in New Zealand here is general price guide:
Petrol prices vary but you can expect to pay the following in petrol for your entire holiday:
New Zealand food is internationally renowned. A wide range of cuisine and styles are available to suit every budget. Dining out in the larger cities you will have a plethora of options while in the smaller towns you may only have one or two choices.
There is a far more extensive range of cuisine in our larger cities. Typically international eateries and fusion restaurants are the go-to fare. Most New Zealand fusion restaurants will offer at several ‘typical’ Kiwi dishes such as lamb or salmon. As a guide, you can expect to pay between NZ$25 and NZ$35 for a main dinner course at most restaurants. However, at a high-end restaurant, you can expect to pay between NZ$40 - NZ$100 for a main dinner course. For lunch, prices range between NZ$12-NZ$25 at most cafes. Tipping is not required in New Zealand and in no way expected. Hospitality staff are paid (at the very least) a living wage and are not reliant on tips.
Take-away/ fast food
If you're in need of a quick fix, New Zealand has an abundance of fast food options. Again, in the larger cities, there is more choice. In New Zealand ‘take-away’ or ‘fast food’ goes beyond the general ‘burgers and fries’ and includes all manner of cuisines including Indian, Thai, Japanese, Mediterranean and classic Kiwi fare, fish and chips. A take-away dinner for two people costs anywhere between NZ$20-NZ$30, and a breakfast is anywhere between NZ$15- $NZ25 depending on the style and location
When travelling New Zealand, the most cost effective way to dine is to self-cater - particularly if you are staying in motel or apartment style accommodations that contain a kitchenette or kitchen so you can prepare your own meals. Most towns will have a main supermarket or a general grocery store. New Zealand grows much of its own produce - and local farmers markets are a great source of fresh fruit, vegetables, honey and eggs.
Our team of New Zealand specialists can help you with your questions. We can create a holiday to suit your interests, accommodation requirements, self drive or by coach & bus. Whatever you want we can arrange. Just get in touch with us today.