You’ve done the planning, got the job, packed the bags and boxes and now you’re on the cusp of a whole new life in New Zealand. Now what? What to do in New Zealand? As a newbie to foreign shores, prepare to start calling yourself a “South African expat”. Now is the time to ensure that you integrate with the community and become more of a “kiwi” (a term the New Zealanders are very proud of, by the way).
Where you land up in New Zealand will determine what you do and experience in the first few months and years you are there. Fitting in with the locals should be a priority. Existing in New Zealand is just like anywhere else in the world, so we aren’t going to give you a list of things to do to help you fit in. Instead, let’s look at what do in New Zealand to put you in touch with the locals, such as things to do in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Rotorua, Taupo, Wanaka, and of course Waiheke.
Things to do in New Zealand
Things to do in Auckland
While Auckland is the cultural and commercial centre of New Zealand, it is also the part of the country that offers some of the most breath-taking scenery. Some of your days should be spent in the car exploring, even if it’s alone. There are nature reserves, rolling hills of greenery, thermal springs, and inactive volcanoes.
Meetup offers a great expat meet up group in Auckland – so you’re in luck. There are over 2,000 members on the group and at least you won’t be lonely or “lost” while finding your feet.
If you’re looking for places to go to check out what the locals are up to, here are some ideas of what to do in Auckland:
- Volunteer at one of the listed organizations. Click here.
- Go to a Movies in the Park evening.
- Do the Point to Point walk (7.5km from St Heliers Bay to Point England Reserve). It’s a 4 hour walk with scenic coastal views and plenty stops along the way, offering a great opportunity to meet people.
What To Do In Wellington
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city and administrative hub. It also happens to be known as one of the country’s most relaxed and laid back cities. You won’t feel alone in Wellington as there are many expats living there due to the thriving financial industry and movie industry too. The city is jam packed with cafes and bars and has an exciting nightlife, if that’s your cup of tea.
Here are a few ideas of what to do in Wellington:
- Head to Hannah’s Laneway which is a hidden lane between Leeds Street and Eva Street. This is where locals head to enjoy quirky little restaurants. Some goodies to check out include Pizza Pomodoro, Goldings Free Dive, Shepherd, Six Barrel Soda, and Leeds St Bakery.
- Visit Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary in an urban setting.
What To Do In Christchurch
Christchurch, also known as “the gateway to South Island”, is the second largest city in New Zealand, and the oldest too. The Pacific waters will shimmer a welcome your way and the rolling Canterbury plains will have you in awe. Christchurch, a city focused on rebuilding since the 2011 earthquake destroyed a large portion of the city, is a popular place for both locals and visitors to spend time.
Volunteering, and joining the Christchurch expat community, is also a great way to get settled here. Water sports are quite popular in Christchurch, with a prolific marine life just waiting to be explored. The surrounding wineries also have a few treats waiting for you. Christchurch is a place to be enjoyed and loved – there’s no doubt that you will. Want to meet some locals in the area? Here are a few ideas of what to do in Christchurch:
- Visit a local coffee shop or 10! Christchurch locals are serious about their coffee. There are coffee shops and pop up stalls to visit. Try Addington Coffee Co Op, C1, Park Ranger, Supreme Supreme, or the Cup Café.
- Stroll through the streets looking at all the amazing street art. This is a popular thing for both locals and visitors to do.
- Hike the area. Check out Godley Head, Rapaki Track, Governor’s Bay, Diamond’s Harbour and Beacon Point.
- Browse through the Lyttelton Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 10am to 1pm.
Things To Do In Wanaka
Wanaka is seen as a little piece of paradise – where the mountains and lake meet. If city living is your thing, then Wanaka is not the place for you to move to. It’s a place where the locals love to speak about how lovely it is to live in Wanaka because it’s that secluded. It’s considered a dream place to live because it’s filled with more scenery than can be aptly described and of course…it’s laid back. Finding a job in Wanaka on a whim is no easy task. If you have your heart set on this area, get the job before making the move. There are plenty people looking for jobs in Wanaka…the place has that kind of draw.
If you want to get closer to the locals, here are a few ideas of things to do in Wanaka:
- Head to a café for, you guessed it; coffee! Good options include Relishes, Kai Whakapai, Florences, or Café Gusto.
- Go skiing. Popular spots for locals include Treble Cone, Snow Farm, and Coronet Peak.
- Join in the fun at Landsborough’s Puzzling World where there are illusions, mazes, puzzles and tricks waiting for you.
- Stroll around the Wanaka Farmer’s Market every Thursday from 3pm to 6pm.
What To Do In Queenstown
Queenstown has been described as a “transient” place to live by many expats before. The city is known to be a friendly place, but also the place most expats gravitate to, meaning that there are many people from all over the world living here. Most visitors to Queenstown head there in winter to learn to ski or snowboard and of course, enjoy staring out at the mountain peaks while sipping on a spicy mulled wine. If Queenstown is where you are headed, try to secure a place to rent before you arrive as the area is notorious for being an expensive place to live.
If you want to mix with the locals, here are some ideas:
- Hike Queenstown Hill.
- Get out at night! The Kiwis in Queenstown love to be out. Here are a few spots to head to: Buffalo Club, Frasers, Altitude, Winnies, World Bar, and Wakatipu Tavern.
- Get active at some of the many adrenaline junkie spots where popular activities such as canyon swinging, bungee jumping, zip lining, paragliding are enjoyed.
- Hop on a winery tour bus in Arrowtown and go wine tasting.
Already, your head must be buzzing with all the things you can do in New Zealand. You can also Google a plethora of things to do in Waiheke and what do to in Taupo too. You will be surprised at the many options available to you!
Get Your Financial & Tax Emigration In Order When Emigrating to New Zealand
Now that you know what to do in New Zealand when you get there, let’s take a look at what you need to do to get your finances in order. To enjoy your new life, you need to ensure that your tax emigration, financial emigration and retirement annuity in South Africa is all sorted out. At FinGlobal, we can assist. We have 10 years of experience in the industry and have assisted thousands of South African expats across the globe to get their affairs in order when emigrating. Simply contact us for a FREE and no obligation consultation and quote.