Travel tips

Driftwood’s travel tips for New Zealand visitors

Here are a few links that maybe helpful for planning your trip to New Zealand. Please feel free to tell us if there is other information that would be helpful on this page.

TRANSPORT:

How to get around New Zealand

WEATHER:

Average weather by region
Day to day weather forecasts

DISTANCES:

Will you be self drive? We suggest, you don’t plan to drive too long distances when you are in New Zealand. New Zealand roads are winding and you will want to stop along the way to photograph the natural splendor.

Approximate travel times

CULTURE:

New Zealanders also known as ‘Kiwis’ (named after the nocturnal flightless bird of New Zealand) are generally easy going by nature only too pleased to help travelers out.

New Zealand culture and etiquette

CLOTHING:

What to pack for a comfortable holiday

FINANCE: The currency in New Zealand is New Zealand dollars. Cash is always accepted. Most established tourist operators, accommodation places and nearly all shops will accept Visa and Master Card. Tipping is generally not expected in New Zealand, however this is suggested when you have received exceptional customer service and good value, the amount is at your own discretion.

How is the New Zealand dollar converting to other currencies?

BEST TIMES TO TRAVEL:

When will New Zealanders be on their holidays?

When are New Zealand school holidays?

BUGS AND OTHER ANIMALS:

New Zealand has no snakes or crocodiles! Its best kept secret is sand-flies. These are small flying insects the size of pin heads, they are attracted to humans and their painless bite becomes itchy. During summer months and in some parts of the country they swarm in large numbers during the day. Sand-fly repellent lotion of spray is an effective way to deter them. This can be purchased at a New Zealand pharmacy (chemist shop). Another bug which is a problem in the summer time is the wasp. Most people are familiar with this flying bug which has a stripped body and can give a quite painful sting if provoked. Wasps can be seen in New Zealand forests, the best way to avoid contact with them is to keep food in air tight containers and to not eat food where wasps are present.

HOSPITALITY:

There are various types of accommodation available in New Zealand, please note that the information is a general guide only, check with the accommodation host before you book.

  • Hotels are generally large, multi-story with restaurant dinning in house.
  • Motels are general one or two story. The connected units usually have the option of studio units which are one room with a bathroom, these usually have minimal or no cooking facilities; the other option are family or deluxe units which will usually have a built in kitchen and can have multiple rooms.
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation is usually in a home and comprises of a bedroom, private of shared bathroom and breakfast is served in a communal dinning. There is normally no cooking facilities but sometimes other meals or packed lunches are offered at additional cost.
  • Batches or holiday houses are second holiday houses owned by New Zealanders who rent them out, sometimes there is a minimum number of nights you have to stay in order to book.
  • Backpackers are large buildings with many rooms or shared dorms, this is budget accommodation and can be crowded and noisy at certain times of year as they are often booked by seasonal workers.

FOOD, KAI:

Here are some typical New Zealand foods you will encounter on your travels. Please note that the information below is a general guide only.

  • Seafood such as crayfish (lobster) paua (abalone). kina & mussels. Best fish is blue cod and groper. New Zealanders have takeaway fish and chip shops which sell other deep fried foods and sometimes ham burgers.
  • New Zealand lamb or mutton is a typical meal usually served with roasted vegetables and greens.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available at supermarkets and green grocers. They can also be purchased at roadside stalls and farmers markets.
  • Hangi is a traditionally Māori method of cooking in a pit under the ground in ovens. It usually comprises of pork, mutton and vegetables. This is not a common practice.
  • Takeaways are usually Asian, pizza & Indian.
  • Cafes generally sell a variety of cakes, biscuits, filled rolls and sandwiches as well as expresso coffee, teas and juices.
  • Service stations (gas stations) often sell meat pies, filled rolls and take away coffee and tea.
  • Restaurants are generally Asian, Indian, Italian and French although in main centres there are wider options.
  • Water in New Zealand is usually safe to drink from the tap unless instructed otherwise. Water from New Zealand rivers is not safe to drink unless boiled for ten minutes.
  • Alcoholic drinks available are beer and wine, many of which are made in New Zealand, these can be purchased in super markets except on certain holidays. Other spirits are available at hotels and bottle stores.
  • Smoking is generally not acceptable around places were people eat or children play. Some accommodation and restaurants have designated smoking areas.

Greville harbour, New Zealand
Walking near Milford Sound, New Zealand
Herzog Wines Organic Vineyard

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT OUR TOURS AND RETREAT IN MARLBOROUGH, NZ