NEW ZEALAND SOLO TRAVEL

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL GUIDE 2024
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR NEW ZEALAND SOLO TRAVEL

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WELCOME TO NEW ZEALAND!

Gwen in Wanaka New Zealand

Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 28 years of solo global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my New Zealand solo travel guide, all from my New Zealand travel, so you can book and realize your New Zealand solo trip. What are you waiting for?

NEW ZEALAND: DID YOU KNOW?

About New Zealand

New Zealand – known as the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ in Māori, it is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the All Blacks; Sir Edmund Hilary– the first to summit Mt. Everest (with Tenzing Norgay); great cities like Aukland, Wellington, and Queenstown; the film location of The Lord of the Rings and King Kong; phenomenal outdoor sporting locations; Milford Sound; Toast Martinborough and world-class vineyards; entertainment biggies such as Peter Jackson, Karl Urban, Sam Neill, Russel Crowe, Lucy Lawless, and Anna Paquin; and, the first country in the world to give women the power to vote.

Languages in New Zealand

There are three official languages in New Zealand:  English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language, but English is the predominant language spoken.

Queenstown Mall New Zealand

New Zealand Culture

New Zealand culture derives from the Māori – the indigenous people originating from the eastern Polynesian islands 1000 years ago – and from the Britain, having been colonized from 1856 to September 26, 1907 when the United Kingdom granted New Zealand “Dominion” status (Dominion Day being a national holiday). Today New Zealand is a sovereign island country and considered a Western culture rich in both Māori and Westernart, performing arts, music, literature and sport.

Popular Activities in New Zealand

Comprising of two main landmasses—the North and South Islands (with large Southern Alps and Mount Cook) – and approximately 600 smaller islands, the Kiwis enjoy many outdoor activities such as rugby – considered the national sport – cricket, football (soccer), basketball, netball, sailing, kayaking, skiing, going to the beach, hiking volcanoes, boogie boarding down sand dunes, wine tasting, and then some.

Popular New Zealand Wine Tours

NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL PLANNING

New Zealand Currency

The New Zealand dollar (NZD or A$) – exchange rates are usually favorable for U.S. citizens.

Tipping in New Zealand

Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules.  That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated. 

What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc.  For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.

Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.

Cardrona Hotel New Zealand

New Zealand Holidays

It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.

Therefore, a key activity to do in your early New Zealand vacation planning stage is to know the national and local holidays in New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

Travel Documents for New Zealand

You will need a valid passport traveling from the U.S. Visas are not required if your stay is less than 3 months. Make sure your passport expiration date is greater than 3 months from your return to the U.S. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to New Zealand. It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.

If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

Choose from Top Travel Document Holders

Description
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Valante Premium Family Travel Document Organizer Capacious RFID Passport Holder Wallet (Large, gray)*
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ZOPPEN Multi-purpose Rfid Blocking Travel Passport Wallet (Ver.4) Tri-fold Document Organizer Holder, 1 Black*
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ZOPPEN Multi-purpose Rfid Blocking Travel Passport Wallet (Ver.4) Tri-fold Document Organizer Holder, 1 Black*
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ACdream Women’s Compact, Aa-Rose Gold*
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ACdream Women's Compact, Aa-Rose Gold*
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$8.99
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Valante Premium Family Travel Document Organizer Capacious RFID Passport Holder Wallet (Large, gray)*
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Valante Premium Family Travel Document Organizer Capacious RFID Passport Holder Wallet (Large, gray)*
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Vaccinations for New Zealand

There are normally no vaccinations required for New Zealand travel. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to New Zealand. It is advised to always check for any New Zealand travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.

If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

Cromwell New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Electronics for New Zealand

Want to use your 110 V electronics while travelling in New Zealand? New Zealand’s voltage is 230V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If you do not already have electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) made for New Zealand’s voltage, you will need to bring a voltage converter to use your electronics. Below are top-rated power converters for you to compare and buy.

Choose the Converter That’s Right For You

Description
ALLWEI International Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Power Voltage Converter for Hair Straightener/Curling Iron, Universal Power Plug Adapter UK, US, AU, EU, IT, India (White)*
BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Voltage Converter with 6A 4-Port USB Charging and UK/AU/US/EU Worldwide Plug Adapter (White)*
Ceptics 200 W Voltage Converter, Convert 220 V to 110V for Devices Like Curling Iron, Straightener, Chargers, Step Down World Power Plug – 4 USB Charging Fast QC 3.0 – EU/AU/UK/US Included*
Image
ALLWEI International Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Power Voltage Converter for Hair Straightener/Curling Iron, Universal Power Plug Adapter UK, US, AU, EU, IT, India (White)*
BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Voltage Converter with 6A 4-Port USB Charging and UK/AU/US/EU Worldwide Plug Adapter (White)*
Ceptics 200 W Voltage Converter, Convert 220 V to 110V for Devices Like Curling Iron, Straightener, Chargers, Step Down World Power Plug - 4 USB Charging Fast QC 3.0 - EU/AU/UK/US Included*
Price
$39.98
$37.99
$54.99
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
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Rating
Reviews
Description
ALLWEI International Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Power Voltage Converter for Hair Straightener/Curling Iron, Universal Power Plug Adapter UK, US, AU, EU, IT, India (White)*
Image
ALLWEI International Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Power Voltage Converter for Hair Straightener/Curling Iron, Universal Power Plug Adapter UK, US, AU, EU, IT, India (White)*
Price
$39.98
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
Rating
Reviews
Details
Description
BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Voltage Converter with 6A 4-Port USB Charging and UK/AU/US/EU Worldwide Plug Adapter (White)*
Image
BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Voltage Converter with 6A 4-Port USB Charging and UK/AU/US/EU Worldwide Plug Adapter (White)*
Price
$37.99
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
Rating
Reviews
Details
Description
Ceptics 200 W Voltage Converter, Convert 220 V to 110V for Devices Like Curling Iron, Straightener, Chargers, Step Down World Power Plug – 4 USB Charging Fast QC 3.0 – EU/AU/UK/US Included*
Image
Ceptics 200 W Voltage Converter, Convert 220 V to 110V for Devices Like Curling Iron, Straightener, Chargers, Step Down World Power Plug - 4 USB Charging Fast QC 3.0 - EU/AU/UK/US Included*
Price
$54.99
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Amazon Prime
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Reviews
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Most smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and similar electronics don’t require a converter (double-check your device(s) before you leave home), but you will still need a plug adapter.

Traveling to New Zealand, a Type I adapter will fit New Zealand’s electronic outlets. I recommend bringing 2 of each adapter required. I do not recommend using those single adapters for 100+ countries. They have been known to break and/or cause a power short.

Be prepared before you visit New Zealand. Bring a solid, reliable, and grounded power adapter to safely charge your electronics in New Zealand. Below are top-rated U.S. to New Zealand power adapter options, from the only brand I travel with, for you to compare and buy.

Choose the New Zealand Adapter That’s Right for You

Type I Adapters
Description
Ceptics Australia, China, New Zealand Travel Plug Adapter (Type I) – 3 Pack [Grounded & Universal] (GP-16-3PK)*
Ceptics Australia, New Zealand, China Travel Adapter Plug – Dual USB Input – Ultra Compact – USA to Type I – Perfect for Cell Phones, Chargers, Cameras, Tablets, and more (CTU-16)*
Ceptics Australian Travel Adapter Set, 20W PD & QC, Type I-3.1A – 4 in 1-2 USA Inputs, 1 USB Port, 1 USB-C Port – Australian New Zealand Fiji Argentina, Compact – Adapter Australia-Compatible Plug*
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Ceptics Australia, China, New Zealand Travel Plug Adapter (Type I) - 3 Pack [Grounded & Universal] (GP-16-3PK)*
Ceptics Australia, New Zealand, China Travel Adapter Plug - Dual USB Input - Ultra Compact - USA to Type I - Perfect for Cell Phones, Chargers, Cameras, Tablets, and more (CTU-16)*
Ceptics Australian Travel Adapter Set, 20W PD & QC, Type I-3.1A - 4 in 1-2 USA Inputs, 1 USB Port, 1 USB-C Port - Australian New Zealand Fiji Argentina, Compact - Adapter Australia-Compatible Plug*
Price
$9.99
$13.99
$14.99
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
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Rating
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Description
Ceptics Australia, China, New Zealand Travel Plug Adapter (Type I) – 3 Pack [Grounded & Universal] (GP-16-3PK)*
Image
Ceptics Australia, China, New Zealand Travel Plug Adapter (Type I) - 3 Pack [Grounded & Universal] (GP-16-3PK)*
Price
$9.99
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
Rating
Reviews
Details
Description
Ceptics Australia, New Zealand, China Travel Adapter Plug – Dual USB Input – Ultra Compact – USA to Type I – Perfect for Cell Phones, Chargers, Cameras, Tablets, and more (CTU-16)*
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Ceptics Australia, New Zealand, China Travel Adapter Plug - Dual USB Input - Ultra Compact - USA to Type I - Perfect for Cell Phones, Chargers, Cameras, Tablets, and more (CTU-16)*
Price
$13.99
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
Rating
Reviews
Details
Description
Ceptics Australian Travel Adapter Set, 20W PD & QC, Type I-3.1A – 4 in 1-2 USA Inputs, 1 USB Port, 1 USB-C Port – Australian New Zealand Fiji Argentina, Compact – Adapter Australia-Compatible Plug*
Image
Ceptics Australian Travel Adapter Set, 20W PD & QC, Type I-3.1A - 4 in 1-2 USA Inputs, 1 USB Port, 1 USB-C Port - Australian New Zealand Fiji Argentina, Compact - Adapter Australia-Compatible Plug*
Price
$14.99
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
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If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to New Zealand, you can check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.

Cyber Security While Traveling

Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.

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CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES

Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top New Zealand destinations, all from my travel in New Zealand, to plan your best New Zealand solo travel.

The more I travel in New Zealand, the more that gets added to this New Zealand Travel Guide. Keep checking back.

Queenstown

Queenstown, New Zealand is definitely known for its heart-pumping, outdoor sporting opportunities, including white water rafting, bungee jumping, skydiving, skiing, and then some. Did you know, however, there are things to do that are just as enjoyable but not so extreme? It’s true. Find 10 things to do in Queenstown less likely to cause a broken leg.

Book Now, Pay Later – Best Things to Do in Queenstown

It has been many years since I was in the following New Zealand destination. If revisit this destination in New Zealand, it will be updated. The more I travel in New Zealand, the more that gets added to this New Zealand Travel Guide.

Until then, here are my recommended things to do in New Zealand (from what I’ve already enjoyed or would do when I revisit).

Wellington

Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Wellington

HOW TO BOOK NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL

It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.

No travel guide for New Zealand would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun New Zealand things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo travel in New Zealand.

Cheap Flights to New Zealand

With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to New Zealand, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to New Zealand now.

Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to New Zealand

New Zealand Places to Stay

Second in importance to buying airline tickets to New Zealand is finding the best place to stay in New Zealand for your New Zealand solo trip. Develop your New Zealand travel itinerary now and find the best accommodations in New Zealand to knock one more item off your New Zealand travel planning list.

Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in New Zealand

Getting Around New Zealand

New Zealand has all forms of transportation, including Uber, Zoomy, and Carpoolworld (research in advance if they are in your destination area). There are also taxis, of course, and you can easily find a rental car if that better suits your New Zealand travel itinerary.

Find the Best Deals on New Zealand Rental Cars

New Zealand also has regional buses, ferry system, and 3 regional and inter-island trains: Coastal Pacific, Northern Explorer, and TranzAlpine.

Things to Do in New Zealand

Here are some more of the top things to do in New Zealand for planning a trip to New Zealand.

Popular New Zealand Food Tours & Activities

NEW ZEALAND ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in New Zealand. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources to supplement your travel guide to New Zealand.

Air Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ground Transportation

The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in New Zealand are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter. They are also apt to cost less than other ground transportation.

Explore New Zealand Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals

Try to avoid renting a car or flying in New Zealand by using a regional bus, ferry, or one of the regional and inter-island trains: Coastal Pacific, Northern Explorer, and TranzAlpine.

When booking an Uber in New Zealand, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars for cleaner transportation in New Zealand.

Lime also has electric scooters to rent in New Zealand for fast and clean commuting in select cities.

Wellington New Zealand

Accommodation Tips

Look for New Zealand accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for New Zealand Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

The Village Green Queenstown New Zealand

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for New Zealand certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find accommodations in New Zealand implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Booking.com Travel Sustainable accommodation. Booking.com started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.

Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in New Zealand

Eco-Friendly Things To Do

New Zealand has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in New Zealand. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

Top New Zealand Eco-Tourism

Eco-Travel Products

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect New Zealand’s environment. 

For more ideas on how to travel with the planet in mind, read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

Martinborough New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL SAFETY

Before You Go To New Zealand

Always consult your government’s New Zealand travel advisory for your New Zealand travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.

Buy New Zealand travel insurance and international medical insurance for your New Zealand solo travel to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.

Safety in New Zealand

For the most part, New Zealand is considered a safe place to visit. Street crime is unlikely. Beyond any possible theft or pickpocketing, which could happen in most tourist places to be honest, there is nothing I can recall from New Zealand making it more of a “safety concern” than traveling in my own home country, so my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:

  • always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
  • always be “street wise”.
  • always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
  • never leave your food or drink unattended.
  • keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
  • be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
  • research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
  • if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.

NEW ZEALAND BUDGET TRAVEL

Best Time to Visit New Zealand

New Zealand’s summer is December to February and their winter is June to August, so their high season is considered May to July, making May a decent – weather and cost wise – time of year to visit before their winter arrives.

Outside Martinborough New Zealand

Budget Accommodations

Staying in New Zealand hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in New Zealand, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.

Many hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in New Zealand – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.

Don’t overlook exploring hostels in New Zealand if you’re on a budget.

Reserve Your New Zealand Hostel

Best Time to Book Travel

Ready to book your New Zealand solo travel? Well, the sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.

Don’t miss out and find the best New Zealand travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money on your trip to New Zealand.

Book New Zealand Travel Early to Save Money

Town of Wanaka New Zealand

PERSONAL STORY

Another one of my best mates is from Wellington. We met in Portugal in 1995 while backpacking (same time I met my Australian mate) and have been in touch ever since. The day we met was the World Cup Rugby final with the All Blacks playing South Africa. Remember the 2009 movie, Invictus? Yah – it’s that final match. I know nothing of rugby, but I do remember how crazy the atmosphere was (like the Super Bowl on steroids) in Joe’s Garage in Lagos surrounding by all Kiwis and four South Africans. Unfortunately, New Zealand lost. My poor mate. A day I will never forget.

Also, unfortunately, New Zealand is a bit of a hike from the U.S., like Australia, so I don’t get to visit as often as I like.  I had such a wonderful time my last visit exploring Wellington and wine tasting on the south island and north island at Toast Martinborough, the annual wine tasting festival happening in November. My mate and I do love our bubbly. Hopefully a trip to New Zealand can be planned soon.

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