After living in New Zealand for 6 months, I’m convinced it should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. I mean, how many other places can you go and take a nap on a giant boulder?!
It’s one of the most visual stunning countries I’ve been to with the most lovely people and delicious food.
If you’re thinking about going or already planning a trip, here are a few things you should know before you go.
Usually I tick “nothing to claim” on my customs sheet on the airplane, but New Zealand is VERY particular and strict when it comes to what comes into and leaves their island.
When my parents came to visit me, my mom brought my hiking boots for me and forgot to declare them. In the security line they pulled her aside and lectured her for not saying there were boots in the suitcase and gave her an official warning paper saying if it happens again, she won’t be able to come into the country because the boots had dirt on them. Super scary. Beware.
It doesn’t really exist in New Zealand. If you feel like you’ve received exceptional service, pay it forward, but it’s not expected.
3. Going to the register to pay
Most restaurants won’t bring you a check. When you’re finished, head up to the register to pay. I learned this after waiting for what seemed like forever after meals only to realize, they’ll let you stay there as long as you like.
For all my ice cream lovers, listen carefully. If you want a milkshake like so thick you can’t suck it up the straw, don’t order a milkshake. In New Zealand you’ll basically get flavored milk. What we call milkshakes, they call THICKSHAKES, and even then I don’t feel like I ever really got a thick milkshake. I finally started asking for EXTRA thick and very little or no milk. And then I still didn’t get what I wanted so I stopped ordering it haha
Cookies are called biscuits so don’t be alarmed if someone asks you if you want a biscuit for dessert (See my article about other funny things kiwis say)
6. There are 3 types of Kiwi
A person, a fruit and a bird. In America we refer to Kiwis as the green fruit. In New Zealand however, they call that a kiwi fruit because a kiwi is a New Zealand person and a kiwi bird is their national bird.
7. There are 11 sheep per person in New Zealand
Not important, but I love sheep and I love fun facts so why not?
When you can find wifi (it’s sparse) it’s not that great. But hey! You’re in New Zealand, enjoy the nature, take pictures and post them when you get home. #DoStuff
9. Free Camping
One of my favorite parts about New Zealand is how you can practically camp anywhere for free if you’re in a self contained unit like an RV or campervan. We used the camper app which was really helpful when traveling to know were the campsites were and how much they charged if anything.
10. Rent a campervan!
This is the easiest and cheapest way of traveling around New Zealand. I did a 10-day trip through the South Island in a campervan, which saved on accommodation and food costs because our bed and kitchen were in our car! Jucy is a great company! Check out this article I wrote with my 10 day South Island Trip Itinerary.