New Zealand…Before You Go You Need To Know

New Zealand to me is an exotic, whimsical, wild and adventurous  destination that needs to be understood before you start galavanting through their lands.  
That is what I am here to talk to you about… 
the primary “need to know” topics before you head off to the land of Kiwi’s.
*A Kiwi in New Zealand is a flightless bird which is a symbol of the land. 
Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay New Zealand

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Weather and Climate
While much of the country lies close to the coast which means mild temperatures you will find sub-tropical climates in the far north and then arctic climates in the south. The average temperatures also vary depending on where you are but generally they decrease as you travel south.  Since it is located in the southern hemisphere the seasons are opposite of ours in the northern hemisphere.

Spring months = September to November

Summer months = December to January
Fall months = March to May
Winter months = June to August

Summer average temps = 70-90
Winter average temps = 50-60 

Warmest months = January & February
Coldest month = July
The wild side of New Zealand offers four seasons in one day…that is not uncommon so regardless of the season you travel in make sure you are prepared for anything!

The overall average yearly rainfall is high but is spread evenly over the months.  Winter months in the northern and central areas of the country receive the most and less in the summer.  Then in the southern region the winter receives less rainfall.
Typical months for snow are June through October but do not be surprised if cold front comes through unexpectedly and dumps a couple of inches on you.  

* Fun Fact: Majority of the country receives over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and since they have relatively little air pollution the UV rays are much, much stronger….protect yourself!!!

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New Zealand’s unit of currency is the dollar ($NZ).
As of today $1 USD = $1.23 NZ

All major credit cards are accepted but Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted.  

Bare in mind that since majority of goods are imported to New Zealand prices will reflex that so plan accordingly.

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Booking ahead of time
It is strongly recommended in certain parts of the country that you book your activities and stay ahead of time because for tourist and locals the popular destinations become booked up fast. 
Peak holiday season = November through March (summer)
While some of you folks may be like me and not like to plan a trip fully until you get there the New Zealand travel board highly recommends everything be book from your accommodations to your ferry tickets in advance but only during the high season.  
If you are traveling to hike The Great Walks, the Milford Track is often booked a YEAR in advance so as soon as you know you start date book it!
While you are there or before you go I would utilize their tourism website to help you along your way.
Again, for this reason I am writing this blog post.  I would hate for you to get all the way there and not be able to experience what you had “planned”. 

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Driving Tips

Regardless of how great of a driver you may or may not be, driving in New Zealand is quit a bit different than in the United States.  You should never under estimate your driving time because while the distance may be short the terrain may be narrow, curvy or hilly.  Also, always keep in mind the weather conditions when you depart and while you will be on the road.  Whether you are traveling near the coast or through the mountains – the weather can change at any minute so always be vigilant.  The mountains can produce icy passageways, high winds and snow.
Drivers drive on the left hand side of the road.  

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Staying connected

If you are coming from the United States then you will need to bring an electricity converter.  Their electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts and use angled two or three pin plugs.  So unless your device has a multi-voltage option you will need to bring an adapter/converter.

New Zealand is known for having the worst internet in the world as they are the last to receive it via the internet food chain.  This makes it really, really slow and expensive.  So if you need to stay connected to the outside world you will need to purchase a plan from any of New Zealand main networks.  Free WiFi does exist and can be accessed in big cities but can be sporadic and if you travel outside of the city it is non-existant.  To always have access to texting, calling and data it is best to buy a plan.  

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Time Zone

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and they do recognize Daylight Savings time.   

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 Now that you are filled in on the general traveling topics stay tuned this week to plan you New Zealand Adventures!!!


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