New Zealand is often advertised as paradise on Earth. The problem with that is that there are many places with a similar ad campaign and all of them are lying. New Zealand is not excluded from the laws of nature that dictate that every place on this planet will have its pros and its cons. This is not to dissuade you from going to New Zealand. It is simply to remind you that it is a place like any other in the sense that you need to prepare for it accordingly if you don’t want the cons to outweigh the pros. Here are some of the things you need to know about before visiting New Zealand.
New Zealand is a remote place, and the internet is not the best in the world. Be prepared for that if you’re looking to do some nomadic-style remote work or freelancing during your travels. Major cities will have good reception like any other developed nation, but remote areas of the wilderness will leave you with zero bars on your phone, no matter how much data you buy.
They drive like they speak – English
Because this country has become such a prominent tourist attraction, the sea of tourists is only rising. And, without a doubt, most of them are not coming to look at the man-made stuff as much as the absolutely breathtaking nature and terrain. To access all that nature, people often rent a car, and fail to note that in New Zealand you drive on the left. The problem has become such that special signs were installed to remind visitors which side of the road they should be on. So please remember that if the steering is on the other side, then you should be driving on the other side too. And obey the speed limit – they have no margin for error when it comes to speeding.
The sun in New Zealand can be absolutely brutal. Given it is just south of the equator, this should come as no surprise, but people still don’t come prepared enough. The green landscape of the islands misleads visitors to believe it is more mild than it actually is, when in fact it is advised to wear sunscreen even on a somewhat overcast day, especially if you’re willing to travel to the mountains where there will be less air between you and the sun.
If you are planning to spend the night outside in a tent, especially in the more southern half of the country, make sure you have what you need to defend against sand flies. These infernal insects are what ruins perfectly good camping trips. Towards the evening they become especially aggressive and their numbers seem to double. Make sure to wear clothes made of thick fabric that is easy to wash because you’ll also need a rich layer of bug spray to keep the flies at bay. You’ll probably need to spray the tent as well. It is always best to overdo it than underdo it.