Hi Guys….I am writing this as an extension to Complete Itinerary- Road Trip to New Zealand
Here are few pointers to help you plan your trip.
It took us two weeks, the process is fairly simple and clearly documented. You can find all the info here. We filed for individual visas for both of us and provided a covering letter stating we will be married by the time we visit. Don’t carry any food items to NZ, they have strict policies against food migration and even an apple can cost you a heavy fine. Clean soles of shoes is another checkpoint.
There is no international License required for NZ. We travelled with our Indian Driving License and it was seamless (DL has to be in English). It is a left side driving system there (similar to India and UK).
Book a car well in advance, to make sure you get the car you want and avail any offers available online. We chose Toyota Corolla automatic from Apex Car Rentals. Our experience was super smooth, will definitely recommend. It costed us NZ$1435, including the ferry transfer from South Island to North Island for us and the car. Apex are probably the only ones who will let you keep the same car while transferring islands, others would likely ask you to shift to a different car.
Save here and there:
**Of course Airbnbs are big when it comes to saving but in NZ they are also high quality. Sharing two our our favourite BnB stays.
Punakaiki : Waihaha Bach
Paihia: Chalet Romantica
**You are going to spend a lot on all the activities you want to do in NZ, so look at other avenues to cut from like Food. Supermarkets ( Countdown, PaknSave, Four Square) in all the big towns like Christchurch, Queenstown, Auckland- are your best friend to pick munches for the picnics on road sides and easy breezy lunches on the beaches.
We hoarded our 15 day supply (including the booze, which is way cheaper at supermarkets). You can also pick fresh fruits on the way from farmers markets, to keep it healthy, after all NZ is known for its fresh produce.
**Save on Drinking Water -You don’t need bottled water, water from tap is completely safe.
**Driving Rules are taken very seriously, so follow them all. Don't be baffled if a local from a car ahead approaches you to explain the one rule you broke. Fines for crossing speed limit are hefty, and they have speed cameras placed strategically away from your eye (almost at the entry and exit of all small cities, GPS will warn you well in advance).
**A camera to capture the scenic beauty, because you would want to do that all the time (although we used phone camera of Pixel 2 and got some amazing shots)
**Sunscreen- SPF 50+ is a must(Neutrogena Ultra Dry sheer is my choice, non sticky).
**Carry Mosquito Repellent(Goodbye Sandfly is a popular local brand). This will be required near beaches especially.
**Sunglasses and a hat or two: Ozone layer depletion has made sun very harsh in this region, protect your skin from burns.
**Picnic Essentials- You are going to spend more time on road amidst the captivating picnic spots Carry some essentials like a plate, a knife,napkins, some fresh bread and jams, a bottle of wine and two glasses.
**GPS Device- internet is not available in many parts of NZ, this device is a bliss. We were so thankful when it warned us about all speed cameras well in advance.
**Aux to play your favourite tunes in car, road trip without music is like earth without oxygen, lifeless.
**Rain Coat: It rains unexpectedly anytime anywhere and it’s very windy which leaves umbrellas useless, so raincoats come handy
**Trainers for a hike or adventure activities you have planned.**Good Camera to capture the captivating scenic beauty (Although we used phone camera of Pixel 2 and got some amazing shots)
Do write if I missed something or for more questions…...