Though it’s not feasible right now with the whole world seemingly on lockdown, there’s certainly no harm in a little escapism in times like this. And with an adventurous trip like one to New Zealand, proper planning is essential. Give yourself the luxury of time, and get well ahead with penning the itinerary of that trip of a lifetime, even if it is next year, with these; our 5 IDEAL things to know before visiting New Zealand.

KIWIS DRIVE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD 

If you’re coming from the UK, you can rest easy knowing that you don’t have to train your mind and body to get used to driving the opposite side of the road while exploring this amazing country. They drive on the left here. 

It’s also important to know that renting a car in New Zealand will more than likely see you presented with an automatic model; certainly worth knowing if you’re only used to a manual.

THE FLIGHT IS LONG

Painfully long. Indeed, the average flight time from the UK to New Zealand is around 24 hours, and that doesn’t even take into account your early initial arrival at the airport, your painful stop-offs, transfers, or a desperate search for caffeine in between.

So be prepared for discomfort, tiredness, and brutal jet lag. Try to plan ahead to make your flight as comfortable as possible, and plan your flight times in the best way you possibly can for the time difference.

THEY’RE PRETTY BIG ON LORD OF THE RINGS 

Unless you’ve been living in a hole in the ground – not unlike a Hobbit, now we come to think of it – you should already know that a visit to New Zealand means a visit to Middle Earth itself.

Whether you’re a seasoned Tolkien fan, a middle-ground Tolkien fan, or perhaps not much of a Tolkien fan at all, it’s essential to know that New Zealand presents an opportunity to explore many of the film sets, destinations and stunning scenery which helped make Peter Jackson’s movies what they are. 

Jackson chose some of the most stunning spots in the country to make his movies, which means even if you don’t know much about them, professional Lord of the Rings tours with a guide or exploration of these places still means an opportunity to view some of the best sights New Zealand has to offer – and a trip to Hobbiton is an absolute must!

THE SUN WILL CATCH YOU 

You can’t escape sunlight, but in New Zealand, even on a cloudy day, you’re at risk of sunburn. This means stocking up on sun lotion and prioritising skin protection while you’re out and about is an absolute must. Don’t be fooled by a grey sky and rain!

In fact, the weather in New Zealand is unpredictable, to say the least. Summer occurs during our winter, and vice versa, and temperatures are generally mild, though the North is warmer and as you travel south things get cooler.

In the winter, temperatures can dip below freezing. Average rainfall is high all year round and the sun is surprisingly intense and unrelenting even when temperatures suggest otherwise. In short, pack for all eventualities, as you would approach a holiday in Britain.

PESKY SAND FLIES WILL BE THE BANE OF YOUR SUMMER TRIP 

This certainly isn’t a reason not to visit, but it’s something you should be aware of so you can plan ahead. Insect repellent is an absolute must if you don’t want to fall victim to a swarm of these ever present, pesky sandflies, so try to cover up exposed skin as much as possible, wearing thick protective socks and a long-sleeved jacket. 

This is particularly pertinent if you’re planning a trip to Milford or Doubtful Sound, as these spots are a sand fly’s idea of paradise. You don’t want to spend your entire boat trip fleeing from flies rather than taking in your actual surroundings – and your travel snaps will only end up being blurry selfies of you flapping your arms.