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Preparing Your Fight To New Zealand


Before you board the plane for your flight to New Zealand, there are probably a few things you’d like to know. Of course you need a valid passport, but what about a visa, the customs regulations and transport to your hotel or b&b?

Your flight to New Zealand: passport, visitor’s visa and permit

The first thing to do when you want to travel to New Zealand, is check your passport. This should be valid for at least 3 months past the date you plan to leave New Zealand.

Second, 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 (as a British citizen, you’ll get a permit for 6 months, and as 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.

If you would like to have more information about visas and permits, view (left-click) or download (right-click) the Guide for Visiting in New Zealandfrom the New Zealand Immigration Service (pdf-document).

Your flight to New Zealand: customs

New Zealand is afraid of certain diseases, especially food and mouth disease. So the regulations about what you are and what you are NOT allowed to bring in are very strict. A lot of items are considered a risk, such as all fresh, perishable food (meat and meat products, eggs and egg products, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables). But also animal products such as wool, some Chinese medicines, honey and honey containing products, dried edible plant products (like popcorn and nuts) are 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 have to declare it upon arrival, or put it in the amnesty bins at the arrivals area of the airport.

Other items that you have 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, be treated.

For more information about customs formalities when you travel to New Zealand, view (left-click) or download (right-click) Advice to Travellersfrom the New Zealand Customs Service (pdf-document).

Your flight to New Zealand: international airports

Though New Zealand has four international airports, you’re most likely to start your New Zealand camper van vacation 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 still have 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.
    NB: Check out our page about Auckland accommodation if you need accommodation for the first night(s) of your camper van vacation.
  • Christchurch International Airport — The airport of Christchurch is located quite close to the city centre: just 12 km north-west of it. There are only a few international airlines that operate services to this airport: Qantas Airlines, Korean Air, Air New Zealand, Freedom Air, Pacific Blue and Singapore Airlines. To get to the city, 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.
    NB: Check out our page about Christchurch accommodation if you need accommodation for the first night(s) of your camper van vacation.


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