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New Zealand Trails Guest Portal

Welcome to the New Zealand Trails guest portal. This page contains all the information you will need to get ready for your New Zealand Trails adventure. From your pre-departure guide to packing lists and plenty of FAQ's this page is a treasure trove of Kiwi information.

Important Travel Information

Specific trip information including pick up and drop off locations and times

Below are links to pages that detail the pick-up/drop-off times and locations for each of our trips.

Make sure you check these documents out before you book any flights, we specify here the latest time you can arrive on the first day of your trip and the earliest time you can book your departing flights.

When you are booking your pre-trip accommodation it is a good idea to book at our pick up hotel or somewhere close by so you don't have too much of a walk with your luggage on the first morning of your trip.

Packing Lists

Check out our packing lists below, please note there is a slightly different one if you are doing a Kiwi Classic Trip:

Your Pre-departure Guide - detailed information about travelling to New Zealand

Check out our detailed Pre-departure Guide for detailed information about travel to New Zealand.

Locals guides to Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch and Nelson featuring our favourite activities and restaurants

We have prepared some locals guides with some of our favourite things to do and places to eat in Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch and Nelson; check them out below:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you recommend a hotel near Auckland Airport?

At the airport itself we recommend the Novotel Auckland Airport which is walking distance from the terminal.

Alternatively here are a couple of other hotels that are close to the airport:

Sudima Auckland Airport - just over 1 mile from the airport and has a shuttle service
Heartland Hotel Auckland Airport - just over 1 mile from the airport and has a shuttle service

Which hotel should I book my pre and post trip accommodation at?

When you are booking pre-trip accommodation it is a good idea to book at our pick up hotel or somewhere close by so you don't have too much of a walk with your luggage on the first morning of your trip. Your pick-up hotel is listed in the trip specific information pack for your trip, just click the link below! Booking.com and Air Bnb both work in New Zealand. If you are booking a hotel we recommend contacting them directly to get the best rates.

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

For transport from/to the airport to your accommodation in Queenstown, Auckland and Christchurch we recommend www.supershuttle.co.nz, a New Zealand owned company that runs a door-to-door shuttle service. You can pre-book and pay online or organise this once you land at the airport.

How much cash do I need to bring with me?

When it comes to cash, we recommend about NZD $200 per person, this will cover the cost of incidentals, little souvenirs, extras at dinner. Most places will accept Visa or MasterCard as well so you don’t need cash for everything.

You’ll be able to withdraw money at the airport or in town but there will be other opportunities along the way during your trip and your guides can let you know.

What will the temperatures be like?

Temperatures on the South Island will vary depending on whether you are in an alpine area or not and the time of day. The temperature ranges you can expect will be:

• October – November (Spring): 5 – 19C ( 41 – 66F)
• December – February (Summer): 10 – 30C (50 – 86F)
• March – April (Autumn/Fall): 5 – 19C ( 41 – 66F)

Please note that the temperatures can change very quickly so you should bring layers to adjust throughout the day.

Temperatures on the North Island will be warmer and you can expect the following:

• October – November (Spring): 10 – 20C (50 – 68F)
• December – February (Summer): 16 – 27C (61 – 81F)
• March – April (Autumn/Fall): 13 – 23C (55 – 73F)

Please bear in mind that the Tongariro Crossing is an alpine crossing and you should prepare for wind and colder temperatures.

Can I do laundry on my trip?

Most of the places that we stay have laundry facilities available (for a small fee which is general around NZD $4), so it is possible to wash your clothes every few days.

Reception at your accommodation will often convert notes for you but it is always easiest to bring coins with you.

Feel free to bring your own detergent/pods however our guides will have a tub of laundry powder that you can use.

Do I need a Visa to enter New Zealand?

You will need to complete and pay for a Visa waiver called the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) as well as pay an International Visitor Levy (IVL). The NZeTA and IVL cost NZD$47 if you lodge online or NZD$44 if you lodge via the mobile app. They are valid for 2 years and cover multiple entries into New Zealand. You can apply here: https://nzeta.immigration.govt.nz.

If you have an Australian passport you will not need the NzeTA.

Everything you need to know about the NZeTA can be found here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/nzeta.

Should I get a SIM card?

If you’d like a SIM card during your time here, you will be able to purchase these at the airport or at various locations in each of the major cities. Vodafone has a great travel plan; otherwise Spark/Skinny and 2degrees are the other main providers in New Zealand.

Is there wifi every night?

Most accommodation will have wifi unless you are in a remote location. Please bear in mind that in some locations, even if there is wifi, it may not work as well as you are used to. If you need to make important video calls over wifi during your trip, check with your guides which nights will have the best wifi.

Should I bring a hair dryer?

Most of the places we stay will have hair dryers however if you need to use one every day, we recommend bringing a small travel hair dryer.

Should I bring soap/shampoo/conditioner?

Most of the places we stay will supply soap, shampoo and conditioner however we recommend bringing a small travel set just in case. If you are joining our Masterpiece or Kiwi Classic tour you will need to bring a travel set of toiletries for your stay at Ohau Quarters.

Why do I need a dry bag?

Dry bags are recommended to keep your valuables safe if you are hiking on a rainy day. We recommend using a dry bag or even a plastic zip-lock sandwich bag for your essential items, or a rain protector that covers your entire day pack.

How big should my water bottle be?

For all trips, except the Kiwi Classic, 1-2 Litres is absolutely fine. There are two big bottles of water in the van for filling up your reusable water bottle throughout the day.

For the Kiwi Classic trip 2 Litres is ideal as the hiking days are longer than on our other trips. On the 3-day Nelson Lakes backpacking section of the Kiwi Classic you will have the opportunity to fill your water bottles up at night at the huts.

It is personal preference whether you use a water bottle or a camelback style hydration pack.

How big should my day pack be?

For your day pack we recommend bringing a comfortable day pack, 25-30 litres is ideal, it should be able to hold your water bottle(s), a rain jacket, an extra warm layer, hat, beanie, suncream/insect repellant, camera and anything else you’d like to bring on your day hikes.

Do I need a prescription to bring my medication into New Zealand?

If you have any prescription medication that you need to bring with you, you will need to bring it into New Zealand in its original packaging accompanied by a prescription or letter from your doctor. You will need to declare this medication and the customs officials may ask to see it and the supporting prescription.

I am concerned about kayaking on my trip, do you have alternatives?

Just to give you a wee bit more information about the kayaking; the kayaks are very stable, two person kayaks. The tours are also guided by professional kayak guides and everyone is supplied with a life vest. The water we kayak in is very calm and sheltered. We can also pair you up with one of our guides if you’d like, just have a chat to them during your trip. If you’d like to skip the kayaking just talk to your guide during the trip and they can organise an alternative for you.

I am concerned about biking on my trip, do you have alternatives?

The biking on your trip will be on dirt/gravel grade 1 and 2 mountain bike trails. While these aren't technical trails you do need to have some biking experience to safely enjoy this activity. If biking isn't your cup of tea, no worries! On the days where biking is offered, we always give you the option to walk a beautiful section of the trail instead with your guide. If your trip has biking included in the itinerary we will be asking you to confirm if you are doing the biking or the walking option in your pre-departure survey which will be sent to you 90 days before your trip. That way we can let our bike supplier know how many bikes we need for each trip.

What do I need to know about customs and biosecurity when arriving in New Zealand?

You will be given a Passenger Arrival Card by your airline crew during your flight to New Zealand. Anyone entering New Zealand must complete one of these cards. The card will explain a number of ‘risk goods’ that must be declared to customs. You will need to fill in your arrival card before you land and declare any risk goods. On arrival in New Zealand, your bags may be sniffed by detector dogs, x-rayed or searched. If you have declared any risk goods, the customs officers will assess them and make sure they do not pose any threat to our biosecurity.

Common risk goods that New Zealand Trails guests bring with them are outdoor equipment (hiking boots, gaiters, camping gear etc) and food products. To make the customs process as easy and fast as possible make sure that any outdoor equipment is clean, dry and free from dirt, seeds and leaves and that all food products are sealed in their original packaging. Then pack any risk goods at the top of your bags so that customs officers can easily inspect them.

For more information on our customs processes and risk goods click here https://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/travel-and-recreation/arriving-in-new-zealand/items-to-declare/

Can I bring food into New Zealand?

You can bring trail mix, nut bars, chocolates and sweets that are sealed in their original packaging however you will need to declare everything that you bring in with you. It is very important to declare all food items when entering the country.

Your guides will supply snacks throughout your trip and will cater these to any dietary requirements you may have so you don’t have to bring hiking snacks with you unless you want to.

What do I need to know about bringing hiking boots and outdoor gear through customs into New Zealand?

New Zealand has very strict biosecurity rules and you will need to declare if you are carrying any items that have been used for outdoor activities. This includes things like hiking boots, hiking poles and gaiters. Customs officers will want to check that these are clean and free of dirt, seeds and leaves. Make sure you thoroughly clean your gear before leaving home and pack your boots and hiking gear at the top of your bag for easy inspection on arrival to NZ.

If you are unsure about whether or not your equipment needs inspecting – declare it anyway.

How much should I tip my guides?

Past guests, have on average, given approximately $150-200 for our longer trips and $50-$100 for our shorter trips per guide. Another way to show your appreciation is to leave a review; you’ll receive details on how to do this after your trip.