About New Zealand
New Zealand is found in the south-west Pacific Ocean, three hours east of Australia. We have two main islands called North Island and South Island.
Stewart Island is New Zealand's third largest island, situated 30 kilometres south of the South Island, across the Foveaux Strait. A seafood lovers paradise.
We also have many smaller islands dotted around our coastline.
The North Island has a range of rugged country, not quite mountains, that separate gentle rolling farmlands on each side. The Central Plateau surrounds Mt Ruapehu and dominates the central North Island. This is an active volcanic and thermal area.
The massive Southern Alps form the backbone of the South Island. To the east of the Southern Alps is the rolling farmland of Otago and Southland, and the vast, flat Canterbury Plains. On the western side are the most beautiful bushlands, glaciers and wildlife. The roads that run across the South Island from East to West are called passes, (e.g. the Arthur's Pass). In the southwestern corner lies Fiordland, a wonderland of lakes, fiords and mountainous grandeur.
New Zealand is a cosmopolitan nation made up of Maori, European, Pacific Island and Asian cultures. We are a nation of 'can do' innovators and inventors. Kiwis have a young history with pioneering roots and hard working ethos. We are a nation of sportsmen and outdoor pursuits. Typical of these are rugby, cricket, and yachting.
Our roads vary from sealed multi lane motorways, national highways, secondary roads and unsealed country gravel roads without centre lines marked.
We drive on the left hand side of the road and our vehicles are right hand drive. Please familiarise yourself with our road rules and enjoy a safe journey.
New Zealand will surprise you with photographic opportunities around every corner so please find a safe place to pull off the road before simply stopping to catch that magic shot.
If you are on a driving tour of both islands you will need at least 10 days. While it's a small country, the roads are often winding and your average speed is much reduced. There is so much to see, your journey will be broken with café and scenic stops as well.
Be prepared for a range of weather conditions at any time of the year. We enjoy our best weather from December through March but you can still have cool days and evenings. As you venture through high country or the further south you go and in particular through the autumn and winter months, the weather can turn cold quickly. The good news is that for most of the year, it never lasts for more that a day or two and we are into a completely different weather pattern. New Zealand is blessed with a temperate climate with numerous microclimates. Some towns and cities boast in excess of 2000 hours of bright sunshine every year.
Make sure you have a small wardrobe of warm gear for your tour and never venture on foot into the snow country without seeking advice and leaving a plan of travel with someone.
Before you leave home
You will need a passport and possibly a visa to enter New Zealand, depending on your nationality. Check here for the latest requirements and handy information from Immigration New Zealand.
Sickness and Accidents
While you are in New Zealand you are cared for by our Accident Compensation Commission should you require medical attention.
Please visit the ACC to familiarise yourself with the rules that protect you. Please remember the ACC cover does not continue once you leave New Zealand. Please read our Terms and Conditions regarding travel insurance. We do require that you be further protected with your own comprehensive insurance policy.
For all questions you may have please contact us.