General Requirements for travelling to New Zealand

There are a series of requirements upon which an eTA application is considered and the applicant’s entry is denied. They are:

General Travel Requirements for Entry into New Zealand:

  • A valid and undamaged passport together with required travel documents
  • If it is the case, a printed copy of the New Zealand visa designated to the given passport
  • A return ticket home or an onward ticket to a third destination where entry is permitted. New Zealand authorities are required to ask for a valid visa (or check for immigration conditions) to the final destination country
  • Proof of enough funds to cover travel expenses for the length of stay in New Zealand according to the visa borne
  • A health status that poses neither a medical threat to New Zealand residents nor a financial burden on the New Zealand Health Service

Good Character Requirements:

Neither a visa nor a travel authority shall be granted to a traveller who:

  • is forbidden to enter New Zealand
  • has been deported, excluded or removed from another country
  • has committed a criminal offense that resulted in a prison sentence beyond five years;
  • has committed an offense within the past ten years which led to over 12 months of a prison sentence;
  • is or appears to be susceptible to committing an offense;
  • poses any sort of threat to the security of people and/or public and general order

Since Canada is one of the countries within the New Zealand Visa Waiver Program, New Zealand requires Canadian travellers to bear the following:

  • a travel ticket back to Canada or onward ticket to a third destination or proof of sufficient funds to purchase one of the aforementioned;
  • cash, bank statements, credit cards, traveller’s checks, etc that show enough funds to cover the traveller’s expenses during their time in New Zealand;
  • in case visiting for “lawful purpose”, a visa valid for up to 90 days that states specific conditions.

What Canadian nationals should keep in mind when travelling to New Zealand

  • It is possible that a New Zealand Customs Officer asks to examine electronic devices such as laptops, digital cameras, hard drives, mobile phones, tablets, and hard drives. Should the traveller hinder the officer’s search (e.g. not providing associated passwords) a fine of NZD5000 (US$3380) can be charged.
  • New Zealand has strict biosecurity procedures in order to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases. Any items that pose a threat to New Zealand biosecurity regulations shall be declared or disposed of according to the legislation and under amnesty. If a traveller fails to declare goods categorized as biosecurity risks (e.g. honey, seeds, plants, and fresh fruit) an instant fine of New Zealand $400 (US$270) may be charged.
  • As a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand, the Cook Islands allow Canadian visitors a 31-day visa-free stay, provided that the passport is valid for a minimum of six months after the arrival date.

New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority Outline

  • it does NOT hold the status of a regular visa
  • applicants do NOT have to apply through an embassy or consulate
  • applications are done online and take between 5 to 10 minutes to complete
  • applicants can use either a credit or debit card to pay for the processing fee
  • travellers who bear a valid New Zealand eTA are exempt from a New Zealand visa
  • there are general visa requirements to be met by all applicants
  • only valid passport holders from one of the 60 countries enrolled in the New Zealand Visa Waiver Program can apply
  • the validity of a New Zealand eTA is either two years from the date of approval or until the registered passport expires – whatever comes first
  • any changes to the circumstances of the traveller which may affect the information provided in the application shall render the eTA invalid
  • in the majority of cases, the processing of an application should be either immediate or take only a few minutes
  • in some rare cases, applications may take longer and further information/documentation may be needed
  • in order to avoid complications during processing and potential delay/denial of an eTA application, travellers are required to thoroughly review the information provided and make sure it is complete and error-free
  • applicants who bear two or more passports must use the same travel document for the eTA application as for entry into New Zealand

Why Canadians visit New Zealand

As one of New Zealand’s largest tourism markets, Canadian travellers are increasingly choosing this island in the South Pacific as a travel destination. The best part of Canadian holidaymakers seeks places abroad where they are able to find a mix of relaxation and fun, learning about the culture and exploring the various landscapes within a safe atmosphere.

In New Zealand, all kinds of travellers – from those into luxurious holidays to young backpackers – are able to find something that satisfies their palate, whether it be a camping trip filled with adventure sports or a romantic getaway staying at high-end B&Bs. On top of it, are New Zealand’s unique and wide-ranging landscapes: beaches, deserts, forests, waterfalls, volcanoes, lakes, volcanoes, grasslands and an array of hiking trails filled with endemic fauna and flora. New Zealand is also home to the culturally-rich Maori, a ubiquitous friendliness that fills the air, and a large number of festivals and attractions throughout the year. Another reason why so many Canadians and other international travellers visit New Zealand is to experience some of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as the cinematographic settings from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The production of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit has kickstarted a niche within the New Zealand tourism industry, enticing travellers to visit the original film sets. In North America, nearly 11 million people attended to the premiere week of The Hobbit, while another 1.2 million viewers bought tickets for the opening weekend of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Hence, it is no surprise that Canadian visitors are interested in taking part in thematic tours or taking a closer look at the locations from the films, such as:

Wellington was the chosen setting for a variety of scenes and sceneries, as the River Anduin, the Gardens of Isengard, and Hobbiton Woods, as well as the place where Frodo was taken after being stabbed – Rivendell.

Matamata, a region in the North Island known for its dairy farming, is the real name of Middle Earth’s Shire region portrayed in the trilogy and one of the most popular sites among tourists.

Mackenzie Country, situated in New Zealand’s South Island, was the site chosen for the film’s battle of Plennor Fields due to its idyllic landscape that runs from grasslands to mountain ranges.

Nelson Tasman region was the setting for Chetwood Forest, Dimrill Dale, and the “One Ring”. Here, visitors are able to take a look at the original ring as well as buy gold copies in 9ct and 18ct.

Canterbury is where Edoras, the capital of the Rohan people, was set on top of Mount Sunday. Although the film set was removed, the magic remains.

Southern Lakes was featured in various scenes, from the opening of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers to Gladden Fields. It was also the set of Lothlorien and Wilcox Green. From the top of Mount Cardona, visitors can glance over the River Anduin, the Dimrill Dale, the Pillars of the Argonath, and Middle-Earth.

But New Zealand’s essence goes beyond its heritage, culture and the visions of J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson.

As decreed by the World Heritage Committee under the basis of presenting cultural and/or natural properties worthy of protection, New Zealand is home to three astonishing World Heritage Sites

Te Wahipounamu, a region in New Zealand’s South West of the South Island, was granted the title of World Heritage Site back in 1990 due to, among other factors, housing two endangered species of birds – the Takahe and the Kea. Within the nearly 1.9 million hectares that comprise the Te Wahipounamu are the Mount Cook National Parks, Westland, Fiordland, and Mount Aspiring. Here, visitors can indulge in some of the world’s most astonishing lakes, fjords, waterfalls, cliffs and stretches of coastlines, as well 800-year-old forests.

Tongariro National Park was added into the list of World Heritage Sites in 1993, winning the cultural criteria. Beyond featuring vivid landscapes that range from active volcanoes to forests, lakes and plateaus, this region in the heart of the North Island has deep cultural importance to the Maori people.

The Sub Antarctic Islands are situated to the south-east of mainland New Zealand and are made up of five islands: Auckland, Snares, Bounty, Campbell, and the Antipodes Islands. Among its endemic fauna and flora are various species of seabirds and penguins, some of which breed only on this part of the world.

The Southern skies above Aorangi Mount Cook are underway to be granted the title of world’s first starlight World Heritage Site. Other locations around New Zealand are also currently on the list of potential UNESCO Heritage Sites, such as:

Whakarua Moutere, the North-East Islands including Poor Knights Islands. These millionth volcanic islands are situated roughly 23 kilometres west of North Island’s Tutukaka Coast and are filled with dazzling caves, tunnels and arches shaped by the Pacific Ring of Fire. Also known as the “Middle Earth in the Middle of the Ocean”, the archipelago boasts an incredibly rich and untouched underwater environment, as well as a mysterious aura.

Practical things you must know before travelling to New Zealand:

New Zealand is the country that boasts of vast swathes of idyllic landscapes, and hence it consistently tops the list of most visited places across the globe. Once in New Zealand, you can indulge in some gut-wrenching adventure sports and other adrenaline activities to make ‘forever memories.’ New Zealand, alternatively known as the ‘land of long white cloud,’ is a very photogenic place, to say the least. Most of you won’t know that New Zealand is the place of three types of Kiwis-the fruit, the bird and the apple.

However, we have condensed here some practical information about New Zealand, knowing which will make your travel easier:

How long should you visit New Zealand for?

It depends on several factors, but the advisable amount of time is 14 days, which is the minimum period required to cover both Northern and Southern islands of New Zealand. Any visitor can have a gala time while making memories in that period. However, it solely depends on your budget whether or not it will support a fortnight’s stay. If your funds allow, then we will even recommend you to extend your stay for a week more so that you don’t miss some wonderful activities and sights. If you want to ascertain the length of your stay in New Zealand, land your decision based on a few things such as-

  • what you would like to do, see or experience
  • how long you have to spend travelling there
  • how fast you want to cover things
  • what is your budget

Prepare an itinerary beforehand to avoid goof-ups. If you have an organized plan, chances are you can make the most of this postcard-perfect country.

What is the weather and seasons in New Zealand like?

This island country is located between 37 and 47 degrees south of the tropic of Capricorn. You are likely to experience a very moderately, maritime type of climate. New Zealand’s climate is ruled by two main geographical features- the mountains and the sea. In terms of the temperature, New Zealand is very unlikely to heat up to the extreme, but the weather can certainly change unexpectedly and turn colder than ever. Therefore, you should go prepared for the sudden change in the weather condition, that is to say, carry proper clothing. Here is the detailed list of temperature around the year in New Zealand:

  • Spring– September, October, November (Average daytime temperature-16 – 19°C (61 – 66°F)
  • Summer– December, January, February (Average daytime temperature-20 – 25°C (68 – 77°F)
  • Autumn– March, April, May (Average daytime temperature-17 – 21°C (62 – 70°F)
  • Winter- June, July, August (Average daytime temperature- 12 – 16°C (53 – 61°F)

In the far north of New Zealand, there is subtropical weather during summer, while the inland alpine areas of the south island’s coldness can measure up to -10°C in winters.

Travelling and arriving in New Zealand:

You will have to showcase genuine reasons for coming to New Zealand at the airport on your arrival, as you will be screened thoroughly. You will have to make sure that your passport doesn’t expire until three months after you have left New Zealand, or if it expires one month after you have left, the passport has to be issued by a country that houses a New Zealand embassy or consulate. As for the Visa, you will have to provide proper evidence that you meet the conditions of your visa, for example, the amount of money that you will need to sustain in New Zealand solely depends upon the visa you have.

Here are the comprehensive Visa conditions for New Zealand:

Make sure that you can furnish all these required documents to the authority:

  • You can apply it by presenting your documents to an immigration officer
  • Bring a copy of your eVisa letter and evidence that you can meet the conditions of your Visa
  • Your travel ticket must show that you will leave New Zealand on the expiration of Visa
  • Your bank statement should testify your financial strength to support the stay you are looking at.

Easiest way to apply for and receive your electronic travel permission in New Zealand is using the eTA system to get your visa online

Currency, domestic flights, transportation and accommodation costs in New Zealand:

The currency used in New Zealand is New Zealand dollar, or NZ$. You will be able to use credit cards for many purchases in New Zealand. In most hotels and restaurants, credit cards are used. For swift cash, you can hit the ATM counters that are available across the country. As per the New Zealand dollars, your daily cost is likely to be around $150. In case you are hiring dorm beds in a midrange hotel, it should cost you around $110–200. For the food, main course in an average restaurant will be $15–32. Intercity bus pass starts from $125, which can range up to $159, and car rental can cost you $40 per day. If you are taking domestic flight from Auckland to Christchurch, the prices start from $100.

Health and safety measures in New Zealand:

New Zealand is abound with a variety of dangerous wild animals such as snakes. What you really need to heed in New Zealand aside of that are the changing weather conditions, insects and obviously sunburn. Weather is very inconsistent in New Zealand and can change the next minute. Further, you can expect annoying flies like sandflies or other pests in comparatively wetter areas such as Fiordland. Worse, Giardia is a water-borne parasite that can cause diarrhea. Refrain from drinking water from the lakes without first boiling or chemically treating/filtering it. You can develop sunburn across your body too, even though New Zealand has unpolluted atmosphere. Be geared with hats and sunscreens if you are planning for extensive sun exposure.

Ideally, before visiting New Zealand, you are required to arrange your own health insurance. However, the medical/hospital facilities provide a high standard of treatment, but they are not free for the visitors, except you have had an accident. Visitors in New Zealand are generally covered under Accident compensation scheme to help sustain the injury caused by an accident. The benefits will wrap hospital expenses and medication.

Some insights into the adventure tours in New Zealand:

While you have set for touring around the beautiful country, you can indulge in some adrenaline pumping sports ranging from learning the Māori haka, discovering ancient rainforests, sky diving, etc. During the course of your travel, you will be provided comfortable 16 seater bus, an experienced Kiwi guide, accommodations and dorms with private room upgrades available, and complimentary breakfast. You can soak in a sumptuous adventure in Northern Island, Southern Island, Bay of Islands, etc. You may also go for a wine tour, historical tour, nature cruise or other tours arranged by tour operators.

New Zealand is also a great option for some winter camping. There are government owned campground areas that you can avail in lower price ranges. Not to say, New Zealand is a paradise for shutterbugs alike for its breathtaking beauty, and more so for backpackers from the adventure angle.