They call it remote, rugged and romantic. New Zealand remains an unexplored paradise for adventurists backpacking through hinterlands and tramping their trails to volcanic mountain peaks. Known mostly for avocados, kiwis and the Maori the island country is spread across vast stretches of forest lands tucked between serene lakes and fiords. And if your bucket list has mountain biking, sky-diving or simply paddling a canoe left uncrossed then this is the one-stop shop for you.
NZeTA entry, Currency and Air tickets
If you are a UK citizen with a British passport then you don’t need a visa to enter New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months, but you will need to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before you travel.
This will cost you NZD $9 (1 GBP= NZD $2.013, at the time of writing) if you are applying through a mobile app. Online application is slightly more expensive at NZD $12. You are also required to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZD $35 when you apply. But, once issued, the NZeTA is valid for up to two years. This rounds your total entry cost to the country at a maximum of NZD $47.
Considering the distance there are no direct flights operating from London to any city in New Zealand and one-stop flights usually provide a layover at Dubai or Bangkok depending upon the airline of your choice. A round-trip from London to Auckland costs a pretty penny of about £700 per person with the average flying time estimated at 28 hours. December is considered the best time of the year to detox in the nature’s lap.
New Zealand is an expensive country and even a backpackers room booking at Expedia in Auckland can lead you to shelling out about £100 a night. Which means with your other expenses including food, travel and shopping you should allocate a bare minimum of NZD $150-$200 a day in expenses. What are some of the highlights in New Zealand though? Where to drink the pristine wine, and the trails to trek?
Skydiving in Auckland
Sky-diving in New Zealand is of three types: Accelerated freefall, Static line and Tandem. If you are a beginner then Tandem is the best choice among the three with an instructor quite literally having your back. Perhaps, a once in a lifetime experience this will cost you $ 295 NZD per person onwards depending upon your type of skydiving.
Scuba diving at the Poor Knight Islands
However, if you prefer discovering crumbling wrecks, technicolour coral reefs and dramatic drop-offs as opposed to heights then perhaps scuba diving at the Poor Knights Islands is the perfect spot. There are four dive spots, but your diving trip isn’t complete until you do the Maomao Arch, with thousands of maomao swimming around you! With tropical currents often coming through the area, this often brings a fascinating array of fish.
Mountain biking at the Old Ghost Road
The Old Ghost Road is an 85 km advanced singletrack adventure cutting through remote valleys, gorges and glacial mountaintops. The entire trail can be covered between 2 - 4 days on a bike packing trip. The route is an old gold miners road from the 1870s that has been revitalized for mountain bikers and hikers. As the name suggests there are 4 ghost towns along the route that hold the spirits and memories of miners and builders.
Explore the classic New Zealand Wine Trail
Stroll and sip your way from Hawkes Bay in the Northern Island to Marlborough in the Southern Island with stops in Wellington, Napier and Hastings. If you want to spend the last three days of your trip in glorifying luxury then perhaps the classic is the best way to rejuvenate yourself before you hit back to your office desk.