New Zealand consists of two main islands known as the North Island and South Island, and there are regular international flights to both destinations. Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch are the three most popular entry points for international flights and the likely arrival cities for those travelling by air. There are regular flights from Europe to New Zealand, all of which require a change in Bangkok, Singapore or another city in Southeast Asia. Both islands have much to offer and what you do on your New Zealand adventure will largely depend on your time limitations and personal preferences. National parks, lakes, ravines and mountains await when you rent a car in New Zealand. With so much to see, planning in advance is recommended to ensure that you don't miss the best of what this magnificent country has to offer visitors.
Auckland, which is also known as the 'City of Sails', is the largest urban area in the country and an excellent place for some city sightseeing. While in town, don't miss the award-winning Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the Auckland War Memorial Museum boasting a range of contemporary art and a moving tribute to the victims of war respectively. The Central Business District is the place to shop, eat and drink while you're exploring Auckland. If Wellington is on your agenda then the Wellington Cable Car and the several lookout points (such as Mount Victoria and Wrights Hill) are not to be missed. Queenstown is the epicentre of extreme sports and the place to be if you're heading to New Zealand in search of an adrenaline rush. As well as taking in the scenery surrounding Lake Wakatipu by foot or bicycle, you can also partake in bungee jumping, skydiving, jet skiing and a whole host of other daring activities.
Perhaps the main draw of New Zealand is its wonderful natural landscapes which are abundant across the country. You'll be awestruck at every turn as you explore in your rental car. Abel Tasman National Park is particularly impressive - located on the top of the southern islands, the park is awash with golden beaches, lush vegetation and exotic plant and animal life. Keen hikers should make sure Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is on the agenda. It's a great location for numerous walking opportunities, as well as being the home of New Zealand's highest mountain. For some time spent by a crystal clear lakeside, there are few better locations than Wanaka. It's also the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park where you can partake in activities such as rock climbing, canyoning and kayaking.
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You don't need to apply for a special international permit if you're travelling in New Zealand for less than 12 months and have a valid licence in your home country. If your licence isn't in English, you'll need to provide an accurate translation to rent a car. New Zealand follows the British system and drives on the left-hand side of the road. All standard rules such as seatbelts and drink driving (0.5% blood alcohol level) apply in New Zealand and breaking them can incur both fines and sentences. The roads in New Zealand are generally very well maintained and you shouldn't have any issues with the conditions. When you rent a car in New Zealand, it is important to pay special attention when driving in mountainous regions where the roads are more undulating and bendy.