As I said in my last blog I will go into depth in this blog about must have travel apps and useful sites when you are in New Zealand.
The first thing we did when we landed in New Zealand, on Auckland Airport, is buying a sim card. For about $35 we had 1,5 GB during our stay and a NZ phone number. The provider of our plan was Spark, an advantage of this provider is that they have a lot of ‘1GB free wifi a day’-spots throughout New Zealand. And having your own mobile internet is much cheaper than buying it at campsites (yes you often have to pay extra for internet access).
Talking about campsites; there are a lot of campsites. We travelled during the high season (January-February) and there is no need to book in advance. To find all these campsites I can recommend to download the campsite app of rankers or campermate. I guess they are quite alike, we used the rankers app. The app gives an overview of all campsites, their facilities, reviews of other visitors and pricing. It has to opportunity to download maps for offline use, e.g. when your in remote areas or when you are on a strict data-diet :).
There is no need to book anything in advance, except for the Great Walks. New Zealand has nine multi-day hikes (or tramps) and they are fully booked a half year in advance. Because you have to stay overnight during the hike in huts or campsites and their number and space is limited. You can book these huts or campsites through this governmental website. The most recommended walks are the Milford Track and the Routeburn Track, but all of them must be beautiful. We were too late, but we did a kayak tour in Abel Tasman (see the picture in my first blog). If you are too late with booking, you have enough money and you really want to do a Great Walk, you can also book at a commercial operator (it is also more comfortable). These are easy to find on the web.
When you are in the bigger cities and you want to visit the highlights, the website bookme.co.nz offers good deals (like Groupon on the Netherlands). Thanks to this site we visited hot pools in Fox Glacier, booked a transfer for the Tongariro Crossing and tubed in the caves of Waitomo.
To make navigating easier you can download maps for offline use in Google maps. This is also possible in the campsite app, but in my opinion Google maps works better. Especially because I also saved some special locations, which I really wanted to see, in Google maps. We Dutchies are not used to the major effects forces of nature can cause, but trust me, you will be confronted with them in New Zealand at some point. Before you are driving somewhere, make sure you check the weather forecast and road conditions, to not to be faced with unpleasant surprises.
Next week I will blog about some things to do just before you leave!