New Zealand Journals

The New Zealand Experience

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An April 2008 trip to New Zealand by Red Mezz

Auckland airport Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific More Photos
Quote: It's sometimes hard to get a clear idea of what to expect in a long-stay trip to New Zealand - here are some basic tips and information from my one year stay in the land of the long white cloud.
New Zealand Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific
Quote:
As one of the hottest foreign destinations in the world right now for visitors, backpackers and adventure seekers – New Zealand is a place that it can be surprisingly difficult to get a real feel for before you arrive. Situated as it is on the other side of the globe from most places – you do assume a certain amount of mystery about it, and the possibility of remoteness and adventure available there is something that even sometimes seduces it's Australian neighbor across. I have recently returned to the UK after spending a year doing a working holiday in New Zealand – and found in many instances that the information I received before I left and the reality of what is there we...Read More

The Working Holiday Visa

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There are some great benefits and disadvantages of the New Zealand working holiday visa – something that I suspect can be said of any working holiday visa scheme. As some one who has constantly had to deal with the unpleasant red tape of the visa system for years in moving from the US to the UK, I am very sensitive indeed to the hassle and over inflated expense that can come with it. This was a a large part of our decision to spend a year in New Zealand. As I am a US citizen and my husband is a UK citizen, it's not easy for us to travel abroad together in extended stays. And any American citizen who has tried to stay or work in another country in the past ten years will appr...Read More

Life in New Zealand - Costs

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Story/Tip

New Zealand costs - Subway Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific
Quote:
If there is one thing that people love to say about New Zealand to prospective travellers it's how cheap it is. Especially to those coming from the UK with the formerly inflated pound, the idea of New Zealand prices was a traveller's wonderland.What I found to be true is in part due to the fact that I decided to spend my year in New Zealand in 2008 – when world currencies were fluctuating like mad and inflation was rampant globally – something felt especially hard in New Zealand. I haven't been in New Zealand for much of 2009 – so I can only give information on what I experienced while I was there. But as global economies continue to flux, it is very possible that a trip you...Read More

Airports and Airlines

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Story/Tip

Auckland airport Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific
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New Zealand flights/airports/regulations:For the most part, certainly where the international flights are concerned, this is pretty standard in New Zealand. As I mentioned in the 'working visa' section – the customs officials are some of the more pleasant and straight forward I've had dealings with, the visa process itself being pretty straight forward and so long as everything is in order I would be very surprised if you were to have any problems with the immigration officers. On the other hand, where immigration is very reasonable, customs is a little more intense. Being a smallish country island in the south pacific full of completely unique animal and plant li...Read More

Round the World & Flexible Tickets

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Story/Tip

Air New Zealand Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific
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This is a something that I think is particularly valuable for all travellers going to New Zealand or anywhere, in fact, where you will be flying on a Round the World or Flexible ticket – as it was something that many travellers we came in contact with were having problems with and that is very difficult to know the realities of until you are already using the ticket. For many who are considering these options – especially flying from Europe and North America - the Round the World or Flexible Multiple Destination tickets have become a very enticing concept. Where these tickets used to cost significantly more than a single ticket to one destination, in recent times the costs have become mu...Read More

WOOFing New Zealand

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Story/Tip

WWOOFing New Zealand Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific
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This widely practiced activity for the traveller and backpacker in New Zealand is not quite as dubious as it first sounds. Actually standing for 'Willing Workers On Organic Farms.' This is something that backpackers get very excited about and I myself – even with a work visa – was very keen to join in in my time in New Zealand. This is an international program (though I never heard the term until I was in the southern hemisphere) available in more countries than New Zealand. And before I review it here, I want to be very clear that as it is an international organization – I can not comment on the organization as a whole, and have no idea how it is practiced or executed in any country o...Read More

New Zealand Weather

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Story/Tip

Weather New Zealand Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific
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If you manage to get anyone to give you an accurate description of New Zealand weather before you arrive, then I commend you. You have achieved the impossible. I grew up in Texas and moved to Scotland when I was in my 20's. Not an easy weather transition to make, but one that I went into fully aware and with resignation – even determination. Yet after 7 years of life in the rainy, cold downpours of Scotland (and somehow always going on holiday in the winter rather than the summer as well as two of the worst Scottish summers in recent memory) I was desperate for a change of weather. A real, change of weather. In the year leading up to our time in New Zealand I asked again a...Read More

Myths and Truths...

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Story/Tip

Myths and Truths - Coffee Photo, New Zealand, South Pacific
Quote:
It is true of every destination that there are things that are simply untrue that you heard about it before you arrived, things you heard differently – different opinions and viewpoints, and hidden secrets yet to be discovered. All of these things are one of the great things about travelling – finding out for yourself where these myths and truths fall for you – and discovering new ones on your own. But for me there seemed to be a lot of the things I had always heard to be 'fundamental' things of New Zealand that did not seem to exist, as well as lots of things I have never heard it's praises sung for – which I rate highly for anywhere in the world. So even though this is based...Read More

Other Tidbits to Know...

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There are a lot of things to learn about and know if you're planning an extended stay in New Zealand. I've outlined some of the most important or surprising of those - and for the most part you'll discover the rest for yourself along the way. But here are just a few more little things to know about your time in New Zealand:Parking:If you are going to be driving in New Zealand - and if you're staying a long time then you probably are - then I very strongly recommend that the first thing you do is buy a Rules of the Road book. You can find these in any bookshop and some corner shops, and it will cost you around $10. And believe me, it is very well worth it. ...Read More