Ask a New Zealander!


Just opening up a topic for people to ask questions about the country of New Zealand before they may want to book a trip, or if they have booked a trip, what would they like to know about New Zealand before arriving here.

I’m heading to Europe in June and I had the idea of things I would like to know about the countries I’m visiting over there so though why not create a topic for people who want to know a little bit more about New Zealand, and ask an actual New Zealander!

I’m hoping other New Zealanders will be able to help me out on this topic also so feel free to join in!

Questions could range from anything such as, What do you recommend to eat? Is ‘xxx’ activity expensive? etc.


Hi, I’m on a tour in the South Island late march, and then have 9 days free time in the North Island during early April. What can you recommend? I think I want to see Wellington, Auckland, Napier and Rotorua. Open to any and all suggestions! :slight_smile:


Hi I’m travelling to the south islands in July and I was wondering weather wise is there anything that I should specifically being a long on the trip? Also I will have two days in Christchurch prior to starting my your do you know any good places I can visit or go out for a good meal as I would love to explore before I go on my tour. Thanks


Hi Naomi88!

July is Winter in New Zealand and in the south island, temperatures might get to a high of 15°C depends where you are. I would recommend long sleeve shirts would be a good thing to pack just for that warmth. And you would probably need a coat (not to state the obvious lol) a waterproof one would be best as you might need it a few days in a row. Hopefully the weather puts out a good show for ya though!

Unfortunately I’m more of a North Island man and have only been to Dunedin once before (Christchurch airport for 1 and a half hours doesn’t really count lol) so I probably can’t help you out there sorry!

Hopefully someone else will pop along and answer your question.


Hi littlelahni!

Forgive me for writing this at night so I may have forgotten a few good things to try out however there are a whole heap of things to see and do in those places! I’m sure you’ll find something when you are there!

Te Papa Museum is a good time passer. Free of charge and sometimes they have a particular exhibition on for a fee (optional to visit). They currently have Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibition (free) on which I recommend if you’re into history.
Weta Workshop have a studio tour showcasing some of the things they do. You may have heard of them, they worked on Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, King Kong and many other films.
Mt Victoria gives good views if you’re keen for a walk.

If you’re into architecture/buildings, there are Art Deco tours available (or you can go look at the buildings for free by yourself).
There are also good vineyards in Napier/surrounding area.
You can hire a bike and ride along the path along the shoreline, across a couple of bridges.
The Bluff Hill lookout gives a good view of the port and ocean so a good photo op here.
Don’t go for a swim in the ocean there as there is a very strong undertoe that will sweep you out. Signs are in the informing the no swimming area.

This would be the North Islands tourist city. There’s quite a bit to do here. The Luge is the first thing that comes to mind where you go up a Gondola and ride down the hill on a kart (luge).
There are a few lakes in the vicinity which provide good photo ops and walks.
I recently heard of the redwood treewalk where you walk across suspended bridges spanning through the trees which I personally want to try out.
Zorbing is another activity in Rotorua you can do. It was invented in New Zealand so give that one a go!
Hamurana Springs is a great little walk (20min) which takes you around some redwoods near a stream that is crystal clear. The water from this stream comes up 75m below

New Zealand’s tallest structure, the skytower has a great viewing platform at the top. If you’re not too afraid of heights, you can jump off of walk around the tower at the top. Speaking of heights, you can also walk across the top of the Auckland Harbour Bridge or bungy jump of that too.
Near the Skytower is the SkyScreamer where you are strapped into a slingshot like ride and shoots you into the air. I loved the thrill of this and through it was definitely worth what I paid (I can’t actually remember what that was now though).

If you’re a lord of the rings fan, why not give the Tongariro Crossing a try! It’s one of New Zealands greatest one day walks. I did this last year and it took 7 hours including stops and lunch at the blue lake, however the views were amazing. There are also other shorter great walks in the area such as the Taranaki Falls (2hr loop)
Forgotten World Adventures takes some golf carts and puts them on a decommissioned rail line. Go through tunnels and over bridges - I have only heard good things about this.

New Zealand’s largest lake. Go take a bungy. Hitch a ride on the Huka Falls jet boat which gets inches to cliff faces as you ride past. The Huka Falls is also a great place to visit. You can also skydive in Taupo which has one of the best views when falling.

Want to get up close with an actual Kiwi bird, visit the Ootorohanga Kiwi House.

Waitomo Caves is a very touristy attraction and has many visitors daily. I recommend the glow worm caves experience (no flash photography!)

One thing I think is a definitely must do, is fish and chips on the beach. and if you can meet local people, ask about a Sunday roast and see if you can try this, even if it isn’t on a Sunday!

As some of these things are marketed to tourists, prices might be quite costly for what they are however they may be worh it!
If you have any other questions, I’ll try ask them as best I can. :slight_smile:


Hi Justin,

Thank you so much for your response. I’m use to the winter as it is as I’m born in July lol and it’s winter in Melbourne at the same time. I’ve already got the jacket sorted just need to get the thermal pants.

I’m sure I can find some brochures in the hotel I’m staying at in Christchurch. I’m really looking forward to it. Thinking of travelling to the north later on in the year.


Oh you’re coming from over the ditch? Nice!
Well if ya do travel the North, give us a yell and I’ll flick ya some things to do here, Or view my comment to littlelahni’s question. :slight_smile:


I’m another one coming from “over the ditch” in a regional city a couple of hours north of Melbourne.

Thank you so much for your reply Justin! It’s really nice to read honest opinions of what to bother spending time on and inside information from the locals on things which are not always mentioned in common tourist information.

The closer the trip gets, the more excited I am. To think, I actually nearly ONLY went to the South Island - so glad I have included the North Island in my trip.



Yes, I’am coming from over the ditch :blush:. I wanted to try one of these topdeck tours and see how it is before I do a big trip on my own. Thanks for your help.


Hey Naomi!
Christchurch is a really cool (also cold, make sure you pack warm haha!) city where there is constantly new things to do :slight_smile: if you are staying in the city you will be no more than 15 minutes walk from a number of cafe, bars, supermarkets and plenty of shopping! Victoria Street & New Regent Street have a heap of different things, there are good bars on St Asaph Street & High Street and good exploring everywhere else. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained :slight_smile:


Hi Jodie,
Thank you so much for that. I’m staying in Riccarton is that near those places I looked it up and it says like 8 mins from where I’m staying. I’ll definitely be packing warm clothes as its our winter and Melbourne as well. I thought I’d go to Christchurch for a holiday as a little birthday present for my self and absolutely can’t wait. Do you live in Christchurch? When you go out for drinks what do you normally go out in? Just so I don’t look odd if I do.
Thanks again you’ve helped a lot. :blush:


Riccarton is sort of the first suburb out of the CBD (there’s a big by NZ standards mall for some shopping and plenty of cafes/places to eat as well as a cute market on Saturday’s at Riccarton House) so easy to jump on a bus or walk through the botanic gardens to the city.
I live in Christchurch but currently in Europe until mid June! Generally going out I would wear jeans and boots with a nice top and coat as a lot of places can be outside or you’re walking between bars and I like to be warm haha! But honestly you would be fine in a dress & heels too.
Have fun! :slight_smile:


Thank you so much Jodie. I really appreciate it I’m doing my your in July and I absolutely can’t wait thanks for all your help.


Hi there @JHayvice Thank you for your post! I’m coming over to New Zealand on the Grand Kiwi in late November this year! I am from the Blue Mountains, NSW Australia. I’m wondering about the weather? More so the temperature so i know what to pack :rofl: I’ve been doing my research however i know it can be quite unpredictable! And i like to be prepared :slight_smile: Thanks heaps! Emily


Hi @emilyliddell!
Late November is coming into the warmer months however the mornings can get quite nippy!
Have you received a general packing list for your trip yet? That may come in helpful for a start.
(I emailed TopDeck directly a few weeks ago and asked for one for my Europe trip I’m going on in late June as it wasn’t included in the trip notes, however this may be updated closer to the trip departure).

I took a quick look at your trip and it looks like you have the option of doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike.
I did this around late March last year and it was amazing!
If you plan on doing this, I would recommend some thermals (top and bottoms) and a jacket as you never know what the weather is going to be like. Coming out of winter, there will likely be snow up on the mountain so maybe some shoes that have quite a bit of grip (I used some new Adidas running shoes and they were fine, just a little dirty at the end).
Whatever you do though, don’t wear jeans lol. 1) You look ridiculous. 2) Think about it, a 21km walk in jeans. Yea no thanks. It would be so uncomfortable! 3) You look ridiculous. :joy:
Take snacks. A couple of protein/energy bars are good and a Powerade and water (1.5L bottle).

I would say that as long as you have a mix of clothing you should be good to go!
Common sense stuff really haha.
Just remember a couple warm jerseys and pants and she’ll be right! :grinning: