New Zealand – Useful Info & Costs

RO: Da, Noua Zeelanda se face cu cortul. Sau rulota. Sau minivan-ul cu pat si bucatarie in portbagaj. Asa scrie la gazeta, ca e must do sa vezi Noua Zeelanda campand. Si suntem de acord, asta-i modul autentic de a vedea Tara Norului Lung si Alb. Atata doar ca pentru asta ai nevoie de cel putin o luna de concediu si-adevarul e ca nu prea-ti da corporatia 30 de zile libere sa umbli lerla pe la capatul lumii 🙂 Asa ca pentru cine nu a ramas cu suficiente zile de concediu, mai exista si varianta-killer de a vedea Noua Zeelanda in doua saptamani, cu zboruri intre destinatii, masina de inchiriat si moteluri. Asta ca sa fii eficient si sa vezi cat mai mult posibil.

EN: Yup, New Zealand is worth seeing with a tent. Or a caravan. Or that type of minivan with bed and kitchen in the trunk. That seems to be the rule, it’s a totally must do to see New Zealand camping. And we agree with that, that’s the authentic way to see the Land of the Long White Cloud. Just that you need at least one month of vacation and truth is that you can barely get 30 free days from the corporation 🙂 So for those that are left out of vacation days, there is the killer-option to see New Zealand in only two weeks, with flights between destinations, rental car and motels. So that you can be efficient and see as many places as possible. 
Queenstown_New Zealand_3
Peters Lookout_Mt Cook_New Zealand_5
Mueller Lake_Hooker Valley_New Zealand_1
Road trip to Franz Joseph Glacier_1
Castle Hill_New Zealand_1
Knights Point_New Zealand_1
Ship Creek_New Zealand_4
RO: Si nuuuu, nu am ales varianta confortabila. Deloc, deloc! Doar ca nu prea am avut de ales pentru cele 12 zile in care am vrut sa vedem mai toata insula sudica si partea centrala a insulei de nord. Si adevarul e ca nici companiile de inchiriat rulote nu prea te ajuta. Ai conditie de inchiriat minim 14 zile legate rulota, iar taxa de feribot pentru a ajunge de pe-o insula pe alta te omoara. Cum sa platesti 700 NZD dus intors pentru o masina cu 4 oameni?! (later edit: unele companii de inchiriat suporta ele taxa de feribot, mai ales pentru inchirierile pe perioade lungi – de discutat/negociat cu ei). Am cautat variante de camper van-uri (sau motor home-uri, mai mari si mai spatioase) pe site-urile Jucy, Tui Campers, Escape Rentals, Apollo Camper, Britz, Maui si Vroom Vroom. In final (din motive legate in principal de costuri) am ales masini 4×4 normale, inchiriate de la Sfantu’ Hertz. Plus ca in plin sezon de vara e aproape imposibil sa gasesti o rulota, atata-s de cautate si populare printre turisti – ca exemplu aproape toate companiile listate mai sus ne-au raspuns ca nu aveau nicio masina disponibila pentru perioada noastra de calatorie. A, si un lucru foarte important: e nevoie fie de permis international pentru inchiriat (da, cel care se obtine de la ACR si care costa o carca de bani), ori o traducere legalizata in limba engleza facuta pe unul dintre site-urile lor. Noi am ales traducerea pe care am facut-o aici, a costat 50 NZD si ii multumim tare mult lui Horia pentru pont. (later edit: avem niste prieteni care vor incerca sa inchirieze masina in NZ folosind in prima faza doar o traducere a permisului legalizata la noi la notar, in Romania – va tinem la curent daca vor reusi).

EN: And nooope, we did not choose the comfortable option. Not at all! Just that we actually didn’t have a choice considering that we only had 12 days to see the entire southern island and the central part of the north island. And honestly, the rental companies are not helping either. You must rent a camper van for at least 14 days, and the ferry taxes to go from one island to the other kill you. How could someone possibly pay 700 NZD return for a car with 4 people?! (later edit: some companies cover the ferry tax, especially for long periods of rental – this should be discussed/negotiated with them). We have searched for camper van options (or even motor homes, bigger and more spacious) on the following websites: Jucy, Tui Campers, Escape Rentals, Apollo Camper, Britz, Maui and Vroom Vroom. In the end, mainly due to cost constraints, we have chosen normal 4×4 cars rented from the almighty Hertz. And then, during summer time is almost impossible to find an available camper van, that’s how popular they are among tourists – as an example, almost all of the above listed companies replied that they did not have any car available during our travel period. Ah, and a very important thing: it is absolutely mandatory to have an international driving licence or a legalized translation that must be made on one of the official websites. We have chosen to make the translation here, it costed 50 NZD and we truly thank Horia for this tip. (later edit: we have some friends that will try to rent a car in NZ using just a normal legalized translation made in Romania, we will let you know if that worked for them).
Road trip Wanaka_Queenstown_New Zealand_2
Peters Lookout_Mt Cook_New Zealand_2
On the way to Hooker Valley (2)
RO: Ce ne-a ramas totusi ca un mic regret legat de Noua Zeelanda (poate mai mult noi, fetele, obsedate probabil de imaginea clasica a Noii Zeelande, cu rulota vintage printre peisaje dementiale), a fost faptul ca nu am putut inchiria un Volkswagen Classic Retro. Vorbisem cu o familie care avea cateva masini, insa niciuna nu mai era disponibila – spre fericirea baietilor care stiau la ce se inhama cu o masina atat de veche, incomoda din cauza spatiului mic si greu de condus 🙂 Site-ul pe care am cautat noi se numea Kiwi Kombis, insa sunt multe altele.

EN: A small regret that we have regarding New Zealand (probably for us, the girls, obsessed with that picture perfect image of New Zealand seen from a vintage camper van), was the fact that we couldn’t rent a Classic Retro Volkswagen. We have spoken with a family that had a couple of cars, but none of them was available – to the boy’s satisfaction that actually knew what driving such a car means – an old car, not very comfortable due to the lack of space and hard to be driven 🙂 The site where we’ve searched was called Kiwi Kombis but there are many others. 

VW Kombi 2
Photo Source:

RO: Asa ca pentru 14 zile de petrecut in Noua Zeelanda si un itinerariu lung cat o zi de post, compromisul a fost simplu: avion intre Auckland si Christchurch, masina inchiriata si cazari diferite in fiecare seara, in functie de traseu. Da, poate fi cea mai neinspirata varianta daca stai sa te gandesti ca nu ai flexibilitate mai deloc si ca petreci mai mult timp in masina, conducand, decat pe munti. Insa intre noi fie vorba, nici rulota (fie ea campervan micut sau motorhome cat… casa :D), nu iti da chiar atat de multa libertate. In Noua Zeelanda nu poti campa unde-ti pofteste inimioara, iar campingurile oficiale sunt suficiente de scumpe si de multe ori e nevoie de rezervare inainte. Noi am gasit doua harti cu toate campingurile de pe insula nordica si insula sudica, cu diverse informatii despre fiecare in parte, pe care le-am fi folosit cu siguranta daca am fi ales varianta de calatorit cu campervan.

EN: So, for 14 days to spend in New Zealand and an itinerary extremely long, the compromise was simple: airplane between Auckland and Christchurch, rental car and different places to stay every night, depending on the itinerary. Yup, it might be the most uninspired option if one would think that there is no flexibility at all and that in the end you spend more time in the car, driving, that on the mountains. But between you and me, not even the camper van would have given us more freedom. In New Zealand you are not allowed to camp wherever you want and the official camping sites are quite expensive and sometimes they need a prior reservation. We found two maps with all the camp sites in northern island and southern island, with different information about each of them, which we would have probably used if we would have chosen to travel with a camper van.
Road from Arrowtown to Queenstown_8

RO: Cat despre traseu, am alocat sase zile insulei sudice si opt insulei nordice (doua nopti pentru Auckland). De-am fi sa alegem din nou, am da cel putin o zi de pe insula nordica ca sa mai stam putin pe cea sudica. Fara nicio suparare popor kiwian, dar insula sudica pare o alta tara comparativ cu cea nordica. Si-acolo e intreaga esenta a Noii Zeelande, peisajele dementiale, fiordurile, crestele inzapezite ale muntilor, cerul plin de stele. Insa realist vorbind, ai nevoie de cel putin doua saptamani pe insula sudica, si tot n-apuci sa o vezi din scoarta-n scoarta. Insa macar nu alergi in disperare dintr-un punct la celalalt, cum au facut subsemnatii. O sa revenim in curand cu un articol detaliat despre itinerariul facut pe ambele insule.

EN: As for the itinerary, we have allocated six days for the southern island and eight days for the northern island (two nights for Auckland). If we could choose again, we would give at least one day from the northern island to spend some more time on the southern one. No offense Kiwi people, but southern island seems like a totally different country compared to the northern one. That’s where the real New Zealand is, gorgeous scenery, the fjords, the snow bounded peaks of the mountains, the sky full of stars. But realistically speaking, you need at least two weeks on the southern island, and you still can’t see it from tip to toe. But at least you’re not running around like crazy, from one point to the other, as we did. But we will soon come back with a detailed article about the itinerary we have done on both islands.
Auckland_To Visit

RO: Preturile? Da, preturile sunt exact asa cum se-aude pe internet. Mari de te apuca plansul. La cazare, la inchiriat masini si mai ales la mancare! Ce a fost foarte pe placul nostru e faptul ca am putut plati orice, oricand cu cardul. Am avut scosi si 150 NZD cash, pe care insa i-am schimbat inapoi la aeroport, la intoarcere. Chiar si in varful muntelui, de la o batranica care vindea tablouri pictate manual, am platit cu cardul. Hurray! 🙂

EN: The prices? Yup, the prices are exactly as we’ve heard of. Extremely big when it comes to hotels, rental car and especially food! What we did enjoy was the fact that absolutely everywhere we could pay by card. We had 150 NZD cash and we had to exchange those at the airport when we returned. Even in the top of the mountain, at an old lady that was selling handmade paintings, we payed by card. Hurray! 🙂

RO: Vom vorbi mai jos in principal despre costurile fixe ale calatoriei, foarte pe scurt am avea asa: avioanele din Bucuresti au costat aproximativ 600 euro/pers (100 euro segmentul Bucuresti-Munchen cu Tarom, 500 euro Munchen-Bangkok-Auckland cu Thai Airways). Pretul a fost foarte mic fata de preturile normale pentru o destinatie atat de indepartata, insa am avut noroc sa prindem o promotie foarte buna de la cei de la Thai. Pe insule, intre Auckland si Christchurch, am luat un zbor Air New Zealand care a costat 166 NZD/pers, aproximativ 100 euro/pers. Deci in total zborurile au fost 700 euro/pers.

EN: We will talk below mainly about our expenses during this trip, and in short terms this would be it: the airplanes from Bucharest were approximately 600 euros/pers (100 euros Bucharest-Munich leg with Tarom, 500 euros Munich-Bangkok-Auckland with Thai Airways). The price was very good compared to the normal prices for such a distant destination, but we were lucky enough to get a very good promotion from Thai. On the islands, between Auckland and Christchurch, we have chosen an Air New Zealand flight which was 166 NZD/pers so around 100 euro/pers. So in total the flights were 700 euro/pers. 

Air New Zealand_1RO: Cazarile – am incercat sa alegem cat mai multe moteluri/hoteluri cu preturi care sa nu depaseasca o medie de 100 NZD (60 euro) pe noapte/camera. De multe ori am stat in apartamente AirBnB de patru persoane ca sa nu depasim bugetul stabilit, astfel ca in final 14 nopti de cazare ne-au costat 1400 NZD (810 euro)/cuplu. In articolul dedicat intregului traseu in Noua Zeelanda vom mentiona fiecare hotel ales de pe traseu si pretul aferent.

EN: Accommodation – we have tried to choose as many motels/hotels with prices that did not exceed an average of 100 NZD (60 euros)/night/room. Many times we stayed in 4 persons AirBnB apartments so that we do not exceed the budget, and in the end 14 nights of accommodation were 1400 NZD (810 euros)/couple. In the article dedicated to the entire itinerary in New Zealand we will mention each hotel chosen and the afferent prices.

Northern Island Itinerary
Southern Island Itinerary
RO: Masinile de inchiriat (am inchiriat una pentru insula de nord – Toyota Highlander si apoi alta pentru insula de sud – Kia Sportage, ca sa evitam taxa de feribot din cauza perioadei de sub 14 zile de inchiriat). Ambele masini au fost inchiriate de la Hertz. Pretul Kiei Sportage a fost de 564 NZD pentru 6 zile – 330 euro. Pretul Toyotei a fost 666 NZD pentru 7 zile – 390 euro. Nu este nevoie neaparata de masini 4×4 pe niciuna dintre insule, insa pentru ca am fost patru persoane cu destul de multe bagaje, am preferat sa avem mai mult spatiu. Partea proasta e ca o masina atat de mare consuma mult, iar benzina in Noua Zeelanda este foarte scumpa – benzina pentru 13 zile de plimbat a costat 300 euro. In total, masinile ne-au costat 1020 euro, insa pentru ca am fost patru persoane, costul total al masinilor per cuplu a fost 510 euro pentru 13 zile (nu am inchiriat masina pentru zilele petrecute in Auckland ca sa nu ne complicam cu parcari).

EN: Rental Cars (we rented a car for northern island – Toyota Highlander and another one for southern island – Kia Sportage, so that we could avoid the ferry taxes due to the short period of rental – under 14 days). Both cars have been rented from Hertz. The price for Kia Sportage was 564 NZD for 6 days – 330 euros. The price for Toyota Highlander was 666 NZD for 7 days – 390 euros. There isn’t necessary a need to rent a 4×4 car on any of the islands, but because we’ve been four persons with quite a large luggage, we preferred to have more space. The bad news is the fact that a big car has a high fuel consumption and the fuel in New Zealand is expensive – fuel for 13 days of driving was 300 euros. In total, the price of the cars was 1020 euros, but we have divided everything by 2, being two couples. So the total cost of the cars per couple was 510 euros for 13 days (we did not rent a car for the days spent in Auckland as we did not want to have problems with parking).
Invercargill_New Zealand_1
RO: TOTALUL cheltuielilor fixe (pentru fiecare cuplu) a fost ~2700 euro. Un pret foarte bun pentru mai bine de doua saptamani in Noua Zeelanda, insa toate cheltuielile noastre (exceptand avioanele) s-au impartit la doi, avand in vedere ca am fost doua cupluri. Pentru restul cheltuielilor (mancare, vizitat, diverse activitati) am incercat sa ne incadram in 100 NZD/zi/cuplu, insa pe alocuri am depasit bugetul. Bineinteles, bugetul de cheltuiala depinde foarte mult de fiecare persoana in parte si de preferintele si alegerile facute pe parcursul calatoriei. Doar orientativ, noi am cheltuit in total aproximativ 1000 euro pentru toate cele 14 zile de vacanta. Deci, deci, deci, in final toata vacanta ne-a costat aproximativ 4000 euro pentru amandoi. Not that bad pentru o tara atat de scumpa!

EN: The total of our fixed costs  (for each couple) was ~2700 euros. A very good price for two weeks in New Zealand, but all our expenses (except the airplanes) were divided by two as we have been two couples in this trip. For the rest of the costs (food, sightseeing, different activities) we have tried to stay beneath 100 NZD/day/couple but here and there we exceeded the budget. Of course, this budget depends from person to person, we have different preferences and choices. Just as a reference, we have spent in total around 1000 euros for all the 14 days of vacation. So, so, so, in the end the entire vacation was approximately 4000 euros for both of us. Not that bad for such an expensive country! Tasman Glacier_Mt Cook_New Zealand_1
RO: Nu este nevoie de niciun fel de viza pentru a intra in Noua Zeelanda, insa controlul la frontiera este destul de amanuntit si dureaza foarte mult. Am stat mai bine de o ora la coada pentru a ne fi scanat bagajul. Nu este permisa intrarea cu fructe sau alte alimente (de verificat site-ul acesta care descrie tot ce trebuie declarat la frontiera), iar in cazul in care aveti echipament de urcat pe munte, acesta trebuie sa fie… curat 🙂 Dap, suna ciudat, insa nu vor sa riste sa fie aduse diverse vietati la ei in tara. Iar  amenzile sunt usturatoare, undeva pe aproape de 400 NZD. De regula fiecare persoana este interviata si intrebata in amanunt detalii despre calatorie. Noi insa am trecut foarte repede de controlul propriu-zis, am fost intrebati doar daca este prima oara cand venim in Noua Zeelanda. Cel mai indicat ar fi de citit indicatiile de MAE inainte de plecare.

EN: For Romanian people, there is no visa required to enter New Zealand, however the border control can be quite detailed and takes a lot of time. We have waited in line more than one hour for our luggage to be scanned. People are not allowed to enter the country with fruits or other foods (the following site should be verified as it describes everything that needs to be declared at the border), and if you have hiking equipment, that needs to be… clean 🙂 Yup, sounds weird but they don’t want to risk to have different bacteria in the country. And the fines are high, somewhere around 400 NZD. Usually each person is interviewed and asked in detail about the itinerary of the trip. This didn’t happen to us, we were asked just if that was our first time in New Zealand. Best would be to read the government instructions for each country beforehand.
Auckland Airport Thai Airways

RO: Ca perioada de calatorit, probabil ca mai toata lumea va prefera vremea frumoasa si caldura verii. Adica din decembrie pana-n februarie. Ca sa profite si de ziua lunga si de timpul (relativ) frumos pe trasee. Nu de alta, dar in insula sudica, pe partea vestica a Alpilor de Sud, ploua mai bine de 250 de zile pe an 😀 Atata doar ca in ianuarie este si vacanta copiilor la scoala in Noua Zeelanda, ceea ce inseamna ca preturile sunt mai mari, atractiile mai aglomerate, campervan-urile mai putin disponibile. Pe site-ul acesta se gasesc toate informatiile necesare despre climatul Noii Zeelande, temperaturile medii si numarul zilelor ploioase din fiecare luna. Noi am spune insa ca o perioada si mai grozava de calatorit ar fi sezonul lupinilor, cand totul in preajma lacului Tekapo e plin de flori roz-movulii – si asta ar fi undeva pe sfarsitul lui noiembrie, cel tarziu decembrie. Gasiti aici mai multe detalii despre perioada de vizitat si locurile cele mai bune pentru vazut lupinii 🙂

EN: As travel period, probably almost everybody prefers the good weather and the heat during summertime. That means from December until February. To enjoy the long days and (relatively) nice weather on the way. Relatively because we all know that in the southern island, on the western part of the Southern Alps, it rains more than 250 days per year 😀 The only problem is that in January there is the summer school vacation in NZ which means the prices are higher, the attractions more crowded, the camper vans not available. On this site there is all the necessary information about New Zealand’s climate, average temperature and the number of rainy days for each month. We would say that another good period to visit NZ would be the lupine season, when everything around Lake Tekapo is full of pink and purple flowers – that would be around the end of November, beginning of December the latest. You can find here more details about the travel period and the best places to see the lupines.

Lake Tekapo church with lupins
Photo Source:

RO: Foarte util in documentare ne-a fost site-ul, care descrie fiecare dintre cele 28 de regiuni ale Noii Zeelande. Pentru regulile de condus, am folosit documentul acesta. Traseul l-am facut dupa doua ghiduri turistice, New Zealand’s Best Trips de la Lonely Planet si New Zealand de la DK.

EN: Very useful in our documentation was the website, which describes in detail each of the 28 regions of New Zealand. For the driving rules, we used this document. We made our itinerary using two touristic guides, New Zealand’s Best Trips from Lonely Planet and New Zealand from DK. 
28 Regions of NZ

RO: Spre deosebire de vecina Australie cea plina de paianjeni veninosi si alte creaturi amenintatoare, Noua Zeelanda nu are nici urma de primejdii. INSA! Undeva pe insula sudica se gasesc nenoroceniile acelea de muste de nisip (sandflies) care nu numai ca sunt extrem de enervante, insa iti fac pielea de toata frumusetea cu muscaturile lor dubioase. Ca sa evitati niste picioare atat de delicate precum cele din poza de mai jos, ar fi bine sa luati in bagaj o rezerva consistenta de repelent. Just saying! 🙂

EN: Unlike the neighboring Australia full of poisonous spiders and other threatening creatures, New Zealand is lacking all these dangers. BUT! Somewhere on the southern island there are those damn sandflies that are not only extremely annoying, but make your skin look absolutely “gorgeous” from all those aggressive bites. To avoid getting such a delicate feet as the ones from the picture below, just bring a consistent stock of repellent. Just saying!  
Sandflies New Zealand
RO: O parea Noua Zeelanda o fasie de pamant pe harta, insa distantele sunt foarte mari. Jos palaria pentru baietii nostri care si-au petrecut mai toate zilele la volan pentru a ajunge in toate punctele puse pe traseu de catre fetele mai putin realiste 😛 Gluma-i gluma, insa din pacate vacanta in Noua Zeelanda a fost departe de a fi relaxanta. Totul a fost pe fuga, am fost mai mereu pe drumuri, iar timpul alocat fiecarei atractii a fost foarte scurt. Din cauza aceasta am ramas cu ceva regrete, insa stim pentru data viitoare ca e nevoie de ceva mai mult timp pentru Noua Zeelanda (sau un itinerariu mai permisiv). Apropo, se conduce pe partea “gresita” a drumului, ca in Marea Britanie 🙂

EN: New Zealand might seem just a stretch of land on the map, but the distances are very big. Hats off for our boys that spent most of the days driving to get to all the places that we, the less-realistic girls, put on the itinerary 😛 Jokes aside, but unfortunately the trip to New Zealand was anything but relaxing. Everything was on the run, we stayed more on the roads and the time spent to each attraction was very short. That’s why we have some regrets but we know for next time that we need some more time for New Zealand (or a less crowded itinerary). By the way, in NZ you have to drive on the “wrong” side of the road, as in Great Britain 🙂
Whakapapa Village_New Zealand_1

RO: Si noi punem deseori Australia si Noua Zeelanda in aceeasi oala, insa exista o rivalitate reala intre cele doua tari – chiar daca are tente prietenoase 🙂 Ideea de baza e sa nu confuzi un Kiwian cu un Aussie, ca-i prapad 🙂 Internetul nu-i grozav in Noua Zeelanda, ba chiar e renumit pentru viteza “ametitoare”. Dar hei, cine are nevoie de digitalizare cand esti in patria peisajelor dementiale? Totul este cu si despre Lord of The Rings, inghetata Hokey Pokey se gaseste pe toate drumurile si este senzational de buna, cafeaua flat white si mai si, iar daca nu terminam articolul acesta fix acum, siguuuur  scriem pana mai umplem sapte pagini de scroll 🙂

EN: We also think about Australia and New Zealand as two very similar countries, but there is a real rivalry between the two countries – even though it has some friendly notes 🙂 The basic idea is never take a Kiwi person for an Aussie, as you’ll trigger a war 😛 The internet is not so great in New Zealand, it is even renowned for the slow speed. But hey, who needs the digital world in a country with such gorgeous landscapes? Everything is all about the Lord of the Rings, Hokey Pokey ice cream can be found at every corner of the street and it is extremely delicious, the flat white coffee even more than that, and if we’re not ending the article precisely now, for suuuuuuure we’ll fill in some more scroll pages 🙂 

Hobbiton_New Zealand_1