New Zealand where the sun rises first is a country of small land mass in the South Pacific. It was one of the last landmasses to be populated by humans and has a population of around 4.7 million. The native New Zealanders are Maori; they are of Polynesian descent.

The native language in New Zealand is English, with Maori a second language. The capital of New Zealand where the sun rises first is Wellington, the largest city is Auckland. There are two main islands that make up New Zealand. Most international flights arrive in Auckland, on the North Island, or in Christchurch, on the South Island.

Accommodation

New Zealand where the sun rises first is an expensive country, and this means that accommodation can run from $20 for a dorm bed in the winter to $40 for a dorm bed in the summer. Private rooms or hotels will be more expensive. You can look for affordable accommodation via www.airbnb.com, www.hostelworld.com, www.booking.com, and www.hotels.com. Hostels in New Zealand are well-equipped for anyone on a budget or even travelers who just want a little bit of social interaction. Private rooms at most NZ hostels are ensuite and almost like a hotel room. Some hostels will offer family rooms; check with individual hostels when booking. Other hostels do not allow children; consider a holiday park instead.

Mixed Hostels rooms – INR 950 – 1900 ($20-$40 NZD per person/night)

Budget Hotels  – INR 2375 – 11875 ($50-$250NZD)

Average Hotels – INR 9500 – 21375 ($200-$450+ NZD per room/night)

Transportation

Transportation in New Zealand where the sun rises first depends on where you are. There are buses to and from the airports in all major cities (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown) and then buses in the cities. Traveling around New Zealand is best done by car unless you are staying in a city.

Bus

New Zealand city bus systems within Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, and Christchurch tend to be good. In each city, you can buy a bus pass, but the passes do not work in the other cities.There are several intercity bus companies:  www.intercity.co.nz, www.nakedbus.com and  www.manabus.com.

With Intercity, you can purchase a FlexiPass, which allows you and your family to hop on and off buses from place to place. There are not family passes available, but by adding hours to a FlexiPass you should be able to manage. They start at 15 hours for $125 NZD (INR 5968)

https://www.intercity.co.nz/bus-pass/flexipass/flexipass-pricing/

Train

There is a train network in and around Wellington and in and around Auckland. Dunedin Railways operates scenic railway tours from Dunedin to Oamaru, and the Tranz-Alpine train operates from Greymouth to Christchurch.  For more information about the trains  www.dunedinrailways.co.nz and www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz/tranzalpine

Taxi

Taxis in and around New Zealand are expensive in all cities and non-existent in the small towns. It is better to get the bus in the city and to have your own car for the rest of the country. A taxi from the Auckland airport into the city will be anywhere from $75 – $90 NZD one-way for a taxi. In Wellington, a taxi from the airport to the CBD is capped at $25/person but may run more for large groups and more baggage. (INR 3580 – 4296, INR 1193)

A less expensive option for families or groups is Super Shuttle. They offer a group package: $33 NZD for one person plus $8 for each extra person together in the same group. (INR 1575, INR 381)  check www.supershuttle.co.nz

Ferry

There are two ferry companies that operate ferries on the Cook Strait – the body of water between the North and South Islands. They are fairly similar in price: Interislander and Bluebridge. Interislander prices in the high season (November to March) start at $263 NZD (INR 12554) for a family of 4 in a normal car. They get exponentially higher if you have a camper van or more people. Bluebridge prices begin around $280 NZD (INR 13366) for the same. Bluebridge also runs 2:00am ferries, which are not much less expensive than the normal daytime hours. Be sure you are aware of the time that you book. for more information check www.interislander.co.nz, www.bluebridge.co.nz

Rent a Car

The best way to see New Zealand is by your own car. This allows you the freedom to stop where you like and spend extra time in a place if you prefer. There are a lot of car rental companies in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

For a normal, four-door sedan, the average daily price is $50 NZD (INR 2387) without GST or additional fees. Vans will be approximately $121 NZD (INR 5776), but again, that does not include any additional fees or tax.

Top Tip: How to cut your expenses in New Zealand!

Take public transport – intracity buses in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin will get you to most tourist attractions!

Eat cheap – Save money by cooking for yourself in self-catered accommodation. Restaurants and even takeaways are expensive.

Ask about family packages wherever possible. Many museums and tourist attractions will offer them for 2 adults, 2 children.

Must Try Foods

Fish and chips are the Kiwi go-to food, but for the most part, New Zealand has a very Western style of eating. On the North Island, Coromandel mussels are the local delicacy; on the South Island, Marlborough mussels and salmon, Fiordland venison, and lamb are the top foods.

Things to See and Do

New Zealand first sun rise country is a  of outdoor sites and hiking, rather than architectural marvels and museums. Below is a short list of the top attractions in New Zealand.

North Island:

Cape Reinga: this is the most northern spot of the North Island (and therefore the country.) It is a five hour drive from Paihia/Bay of Islands and close to eight hours from Auckland. Consider staying in Paihia and taking a tour or driving yourself. Tours are offered by Fullers GreatSights.   https://www.dolphincruises.co.nz/

Bay of Islands: this beautiful bay is a summer hot spot. It is a three hour drive from Auckland. Tourists flock here for the easy access to Cape Reinga, the dolphin tours, and the many water-based activities. Fullers GreatSights offers tours from here to Cape Reinga, the Kauri forests, and other destinations nearby. Explore is the main company for boat transfers to islands in the bay.  visit www.exploregroup.co.nz

Top Tip:

You can buy package tickets from Fullers GreatSights for various options in the Bay of Islands. Check this website out for details: https://www.dolphincruises.co.nz/

Auckland: the largest city in New Zealand where the sun rises first, Auckland is the starting point for many travelers. Stay for a day to acclimate to the time zone and explore the museums, the vibrant Britomart entertainment district – with its plethora of cafes, restaurants, bars, and upscale shopping – Waiheke Island ($98 NZD/return, INR 4680) and the harbour. For thrill seekers, book tickets to climb the Sky Tower, the tallest building in New Zealand, and get a 360 panoramic view of the city and its many harbours ($460 NZD/family pass, INR 21969), or bungy jump from the Harbour Bridge. For more information http://skywalk.co.nz/prices and https://www.fullers.co.nz/timetables-plus-fares

Rotorua: Rotorua is the geothermal centre of New Zealand where sun rises first and has a lot of hot spa pools and volcanic activity to explore. On the road toward Taupo are several geological attractions: the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-Tapu and its unique Champagne Pool, and  Orakei Korako. In town, the Polynesian Spa is a wonderful destination for a late afternoon soak in a hot pool.  For more information  www.waimangu.co.nz www.waiotapu.co.nz, www.orakeikorako.co.nz , www.polynesianspa.co.nz

Tongariro Alpine Crossing: the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the world’s best one-day hikes. Challenging at the beginning, the hike turns flat below the summit of Mount Tongariro and then winds its way down through alpine scrub toward the trail end. It takes around 7-8 hours to complete and is free, except for the cost of getting there. If you are staying in Taupo, either drive or take the Tongariro Expeditions shuttle ($65 NZD/person.) For more details www.tongariroexpeditions.com

Wellington: Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and a very vibrant city. The national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, is on the waterfront and is an exciting place for children of all ages. Zealandia, in the suburb of Karori, is an interesting look at what New Zealand looked like before humans settled there. To gather more information  https://www.tepapa.govt.nz  and https://www.visitzealandia.com

South Island:

Abel Tasman National Park: only two and a half hours from the ferry at Picton, Abel Tasman National Park is full of beautiful golden sand beaches and meandering coastal walks. Day hikes here are free; for overnight hikes, book huts or campsites with the Department of Conservation. More details www.doc.govt.nz/abeltasmantrack

Christchurch: the site of several earthquakes, two of which permanently damaged the Gothic Revival cathedral, Christchurch is still a vibrant, exciting city. Quake City, the earthquake museum, explores what happened on both days and how it is still affecting the city. There are plenty of parks for kids to play in, and the Re:Start mall is a fun collection of bright shipping containers with local shops. for details  www.canterburymuseum.com/whats-on/quake-city

West Coast: the West Coast of New Zealand where the sun rises first has  one of the best drives in the world. From the coastal plains at Westport to the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, through to the calving glaciers at Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, the West Coast is breathtakingly gorgeous. Intercity buses run the length of the coast so book your travel accordingly, or rent your own car and stop where you like. Hikes at both glaciers are free; helicopter tours and hikes start around $300/person but are very worth it. Kindly check for better deals and prices www.glacierhelicopters.co.nz , https://www.scenic-flights.co.nz  and www.helicopter.co.nz/glaciers

Queenstown: the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown occupies a stunning location on the north shore of Lake Wakatipu. Two mountain ranges converge on the town, which is now a glittering jewel in the middle of Central Otago. You can arrange day bus+cruise trips to Milford Sound from here if you prefer not to drive. The town is extraordinarily expensive; for a less pricey place to stay, sleep in Wanaka (1 hour north) and drive into town for a day. In Queenstown, you can take a wine tour, bungy jump, skydive, cruise the lake, shop, and do exceptional hiking.

Milford Sound: by far the very best destination in New Zealand. See the sound from the water on one of the many tours that begin either in Queenstown, Te Anau, or Milford. The road to Milford is just as good, if not better, than the sound. Stop at all of the recommended stops for excellent photo opportunities. Cruises begin at $45 NZD/person; check for family deals with individual providers these are not available year around.

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