Preparing for Your Trip
Passport, visitor’s visa and permit
Secondly, you should find out if you need a visa. A visa gives you permission to travel to New Zealand. If your country has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, you don’t have to apply for one. On arrival, you will have to complete an arrival card, which is the actual application for a visitor’s permit. You will automatically be granted one for a maximum of 3 months (if you’re a British citizen, you’ll get a permit for 6 months, and if you’re an Australian citizen with a current Australian resident return visa, you don’t need to apply for a permit at all). To check out if your country has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, visit the website of the New Zealand Immigration Service. As a ‘visa waiver visitor’ you should hold a valid ticket to a country you have the right of entry to and have enough money to support yourself during your stay.
However, even as a ‘visa waiver visitor’ you need to apply in advance for a visitor’s visa if you want to stay longer than the 3 or 6 months normally granted. If you’re already in New Zealand on a short visitor’s permit and you decide you wish to stay longer, you may apply for a further visitor permit by using the online services of the New Zealand Immigration Service.
As an island nation, New Zealand is free from certain diseases, and wants to stay that way. The horiticultural and agricultural industries are vital to the New Zealand economy, and the introduction of a disease such as food and mouth disease would have a devastating effect. Consequently, our regulations about what you are and what you are NOT allowed to bring in are very strict. A lot of items are considered at risk, including all fresh, perishable food (meat and meat products, eggs and egg products, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables). Animal products such as untreated wool, some Chinese medicines, honey and honey containing products, dried edible plant products (like popcorn and nuts) are also prohibited. So it’s best not to take any food with you on your flight to New Zealand. If for some reason you really have to, you’ll need to declare it upon arrival, or put it in the amnesty bins at the arrivals area of the airport.
Other items that you will need to declare are footwear and outdoor equipment, as well as golf clubs (and shoes) and fishing tackle. It’s best to clean them thoroughly before you board your flight to New Zealand and pack all items you think may be inspected together in a separate bag. They will be checked and, if necessary, treated.
For more information about customs formalities when you travel to New Zealand, check out the Advice to Travellers section of the New Zealand Customs Service website.
Though New Zealand has a number of international airports, you’re most likely to start your New Zealand camper van rental holiday in Auckland or Christchurch.
Auckland International Airport
Auckland’s airport is situated about 25 km south-west of the city centre. It’s New Zealand’s largest and busiest airport (if you are yet to book your flight to New Zealand check the Auckland Airport website to see which international airlines are operating services to this airport). The fastest way to get to the city is by taxi (30 -40 minutes), but there are also shuttle services (40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the number of people that have to be dropped off along the way), and an airport bus (1 hour). The airport bus departs every 20 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes at night. You don’t need to make a reservation for it – just buy your ticket from the driver.
If you’re picking up a rental campervan directly after your flight, look for a rental company that provides transfers from the airport to their base.
Check out our Auckland accommodation page if you need accommodation for the first night(s) of your camper van rental vacation.
Christchurch International Airport
Christchurch Airport is located quite close to the city centre: just 12 km north-west of it. You’ll find a list of all airlines that fly into Christchurch Airport on their website. To get to the city from the airport, take a taxi (approx. 20-25 minutes), a shuttle (approx. 30 minutes), or an airport bus (approx. 35 minutes). The airport bus runs every 30 minutes, and once every hour in the evening.
If you’re picking up a rental campervan in Christchurch directly after your flight, look for a campervan rental company that includes transfers to/from the airport.
Visit our page about Christchurch accommodation if you need accommodation for the first night(s) of your camper van rental vacation.
You can find further information about preparing for your departure on the Immigration New Zealand website.