Exploring New Zealand On Your NZeTA: Everything You Should Know 

Updated on Feb 14, 2023 | New Zealand eTA

Kia ora. Are you planning to visit “The Land of the Long White Cloud”- New Zealand? If yes, then the Kiwi nation is likely to intrigue your senses with its spectacular scenic beauty, vibrant sports culture, and innumerable tourist attractions. It is one of the finest places to unwind, relax, and get back home with some of the best memories of your life.  

However, to visit and explore the country, the foremost step is to get a New Zealand eTA – also known as New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. Travelers and transit visitors from visa-waiver countries must obtain an NZeTA before visiting the country. Valid passport holders of these nationalities and territories do not require applying for a visa but must hold New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. 

It serves as an official visitor visa that is valid for up to 2 years and allows you to stay for up to 6 months in any 12-month period.  However, it is available only for:

  • Tourists (from a visa-waiver country)
  • Business travelers (from a visa-waiver country)
  • Transit passengers (from a visa-waiver country)

If you are arriving in New Zealand via cruise ship, you can be of any nationality. If you are planning to visit the country to study, work or for medical purposes, you need to apply for a visa.  Travelers from non-visa waiver countries must also apply for a New Zealand visitor visa before they can enter the country.

When is the Right Time to Visit New Zealand?

Before you apply for a New Zealand eTA, it is better to start planning. Begin with knowing the right time to visit the country.

The perfect season to visit New Zealand is during summer – offering its visitors abundant opportunities to soak in the sun, indulge in outdoor adventure, enjoy food & wine, and a bit of everything. During the summer months of December to February, you can make the most of the warm & salubrious weather.

Bask the sun in sugar-kissed beaches or indulge in some fun water adventure. Hike the mountains or take a romantic bush walk. And then it is time for Christmas too! Winter months from June to August are ideal if you are looking for some ski fun. Prominent ski locations like the Central Plateau, Wanaka, or Queenstown are always buzzing with travelers and locals during the winter.

And if you want better availability and rates on accommodation or other facilities, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons – Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May). Whichever season you visit, make sure to obtain your NZeTA first if you belong to a visa-waiver country. Travelers from other countries would require a New Zealand visa for visitors.

Must-Visit Places in New Zealand

Thanks to its diverse landscape, New Zealand is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, attracting travelers from across the world. Discover some of the most exemplary places you cannot miss visiting on your tour to New Zealand.

  • Bay of Islands, North Island

Encompassing over 144 islands along the glistening bay, the spectacular Bay of Islands is one of the top destinations in New Zealand. It is a haven for yachting, sailing, or sport-fishing. The place also provides excellent opportunities for hiking, sea kayaking, exploring the subtropical forests, or touring the famous Hole in the Rock and Cape Brett.

  • Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, South Island

It is a World Heritage Site, renowned for its breathtaking scenery sculpted by glaciers. Do not miss exploring the rain forests, mountain peaks, cascades, lakes, and offshore islands dotting the National Park. Some of the most famous fjords in this area are Doubtful Sounds, Dusky, and Milford. It is popular for hiking and sea kayaking.

  • Rotorua, North Island

If you want to experience the dramatic topography of New Zealand, Rotorua is a must-visit. Tucked amidst the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is an active geothermal region that has volcanic craters, thermal springs, geysers, mud pools, and much more. Some adventure activities to do here are mountain biking, trout fishing, luging, and sky-diving.

  • Queenstown, South Island

Once you get your New Zealand eTA or regular visa for visitors from non-visa waiver countries, plan your holiday and set off to explore one of the top adventure destinations. Queenstown is nestled amidst the Remarkables Mountains and the shores of Lake Wakapitu, offering abundant adventure activities. You can indulge in adrenaline-gushing activities like white water rafting, jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, jet boating, and downhill skiing.

  • Auckland, North Island

Visit the City of Sails, Auckland – the largest city of New Zealand and the home to two glimmering harbors that attract travelers from across the world. The city offers some of the finest experiences, featuring sandy beaches, volcanoes, forest hiking trails, islands, and picturesque coves. This makes Auckland one of the perfect destinations for wilderness adventures and day trips.

  • Napier, North Island

If you love food and art, Napier will definitely impress you. Whether it is the beautiful Napier Beach, the Art Deco architecture, Spanish Mission style design, or gourmet food – Napier is a must-visit.

To explore these spectacular destinations, make sure you apply for a visitor visa or get a New Zealand eTA at least 72 hours before you travel to the country. If you visit the country without an NZeTA, New Zealand visa authorities can deport you at any time without stating any reason thereof.

Top Things to Do In New Zealand

Whether you are traveling with your family, love luxury, or want to explore adventure activities that make your adventure rush? Getting a New Zealand eTA or a visitor visa can help you indulge in breathtaking experiences that you will cherish forever. Here are the top things to do on your visit to New Zealand:

  • Get up, close, and personal with whales, dolphins, penguins, and fur seals as you hire a kayak or boat and sail through the Bay of Islands
  • Climb the youngest volcano in Rangitoto Island and catch a breathtaking view of Auckland and the islands
  • Experience the irresistible appeal of Cathedral Cove, kayaking around the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula
  • Trek to the highest volcano cave of Auckland and enjoy the expansive view of the city. Discover the ancient relics of the Māori village or visit the Eden Gardens on your way back down
  • Unwind your stress, relax, and experience the natural spa at the Hot Water Beach
  • Visit the stunning glow worm caves at Waitomo
  • Sail through and experience the staggering beauty of Milford Sound
  • Flow over the snow-kissed peaks and beautiful mountain lakes of the Southern Alps
  • Watch an exciting game of rugby in real life

As a first-time visitor, you cannot miss indulging in these fascinating experiences. However, to seek entry into the country lawfully, you must obtain a New Zealand visa for visitors or a New Zealand eTA. These official travel documents allow you to visit the country and stay for a short duration for tourism purposes.

How Much Does Accommodation Cost in New Zealand?

For foreign travelers and tourists, New Zealand has a host of accommodation facilities, ranging from 5-star hotels to hiker cabins. For medium-value lodging, you can expect to pay somewhere between $150 and $230 (160-240 New Zealand dollars) for twofold accommodation. For 5-star inns, the cost would be higher but spending the money is worth the experiences you have in New Zealand.

Before You Travel to New Zealand

Before traveling to New Zealand for tourism and sightseeing, it is mandatory to apply for a New Zealand eTA. In addition to this, you also need to have a valid passport or an official travel document without which you cannot enter the country. If you do not hold the nationality of a visa-waiver country, you need to apply for a regular New Zealand visa for visitors.

Before applying for an NZeTA, it is crucial to check if you meet the eligibility requirements for a New Zealand eTA. Travelers visiting from a visa waiver country can apply for an eTA irrespective of whether they are traveling via air or cruise. If you hold the nationality of the United States, Germany, Canada, or New Zealand, then you are eligible to apply for an NZeTA online.

However, travelers holding the nationality of the United Kingdom are allowed to stay in the country for 6 months, while others may stay only up to 3 months. Make sure you apply for an eTA at least 72 hours before boarding your flight or cruise. Apply for a New Zealand eTA online at www.nz-visa-online.org.         

Ensure that you have checked the eligibility for your New Zealand eTA. If you are from a Visa Waiver country then you can apply for an eTA regardless of the mode of travel (Air / Cruise). United States citizens, Canadian citizens, German citizens, and United Kingdom citizens can apply online for New Zealand eTA. United Kingdom residents can stay on New Zealand eTA for 6 months while others for 90 days.

Please apply for a New Zealand eTA 72 hours in advance of your flight.