Traveling Safely in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most visited and welcoming tourist destinations in the world. It has created an efficient and a well-developed tourist infrastructure that rivals some of the best ones in the world. Like any other holiday destination, there are certain rules, written and implied, tha t need to be followed while you enjoy your holiday here. And like any other travel destination it does have its share of risks. But they’re of the common type and there are none that should deter your from visiting again.

As a traveller, it is your responsibility to treat your holiday destination with respect and you will find it returned in full measure. As far as New Zealand is considered, it is one of the safest travel destinations in the world for tourists. According to the 2019 Global Peace Index, New Zealand ranks as the 2nd safest country in the world. The country itself is a haven of peace and tranquillity interspersed with pockets of excitement in the form of adventure sports and other outdoor activities.

However, New Zealand will be as safe as your own conduct and the extent to which you follow the rules of the land. Let us take a look at all the safety aspects that you should consider while in New Zealand.


Keep yourself safe

Following the rules and a little common sense go a long way in keeping you safe anywhere in the world. Though the crime rate in New Zealand is one of the lowest in the world, petty theft and crimes of opportunity are always a possibility. Here are a few tips that will keep you safe in New Zealand.

  • Make copies of important documents like your visa, passport and return tickets and keep them in a separate location.
  • Make a list of all your electronics such as cameras and smartphones listing their details and serial numbers.
  • Always keep your hotel informed about your whereabouts.
  • Keep a printed list of important phone numbers like New Zealand’s emergency number (which is 111), your hotel’s contact number and the numbers of your country’s embassy, with you at all times.
  • When you’re out exploring glaciers or volcanoes, do not stray away from your guide.
  • Always follow the safety instructions issued by your guide and wear the recommended safety gear.
  • Avoid accepting lifts from strangers and do not hitchhike.
  • If you’re going hiking, do not go alone and take an experienced person/guide along.
  • Do not try to take a shortcut at unknown places and avoid going into dark areas, especially at night.
  • A taxi or a ride with a trusted person is the safest way to travel around the cities.
  • In a pub or a club, do not accept drinks from strangers and do not leave your drinks unattended.
  • Always carry a basic first-aid kit for emergencies.


Secure your possessions

Waipoua Forest
Nothing spoils a vacation as quickly as the theft of your possessions. Here are a few simple measures to secure your possessions and ensure your peace of mind.

  • Never leave your valuables or important documents such as a passport or credit card in a parked car.
  • Also ensure that you do not leave any luggage, brochures and maps visible in a parked car. They’re obvious giveaways that you’re a tourist.
  • Do not leave your bags, backpacks, cameras and smartphones unattended in a public place.
  • When going out for an adventure activity, leave your valuables locked in your hotel room’s safe. If your room doesn’t have one, ask the reception about one.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery while sightseeing.
  • Always withdraw small amounts if you ever need to withdraw cash at an ATM. Make sure the ATM is located in a well-lit area.
  • If you’re camping overnight, do not carry unnecessary valuables with you.
  • Park your camper van only in designated areas such as a holiday park or a Department of Conservation’s camping ground.
  • In case any of your possession does get stolen or misplaced, notify the local police immediately and provide them with the details from the list you’ve prepared.


Road safety

Driving around New Zealand is an awesome way to explore the country. Not only can you do so at your pace, but you can easily explore the off-beat attractions that are well off the beaten track. Here are some tips that will keep you safe on New Zealand’s roads.

  • New Zealand drives on the left-hand side just like we do in India, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to drive.
  • You must always carry your valid driving license while driving. Keep your rental papers handy to present for inspection if asked.
  • Do not use a mobile phone while driving unless you’re dialling the emergency number 111. The police use a number of fixed and mobile cameras to catch offenders.
  • Traffic rules are rigorously enforced by the police, so stay within posted limit at all times.
  • It is compulsory for all the passengers to wear a seat belt along with the driver. Children under 7 years must be buckled into a child seat.
  • Driving under influence will invite a heavy fine, suspension of driving privileges and even jail time.
  • Drivers under 20 have a zero-alcohol limit. If you’re under 20 and are caught driving even after one drink, it will be considered driving under influence.
  • Get plenty of rest before embarking on a road trip, especially if it’s a long one. Avoid driving at night.


Stay safe outdoors

Maitamo Cave
The great outdoors of New Zealand are its biggest attractions. From river rafting to mountain climbing and diving to bungee jumping, you can have adventures galore in New Zealand. But misadventures have the tendency to hurt you if you’re not careful outdoors. Here are some tips that will keep you safe while you enjoy all the adventures New Zealand has to offer.

  • Make sure to protect yourself from the strong Kiwi sun with a good sunscreen and a cap or a hat.
  • Drink plenty of water and always have a bottle handy when outdoors.
  • Whenever you’re near the ocean or one of New Zealand’s beautiful lakes, always wear a life jacket.
  • The weather in New Zealand can change at the drop of a hat, so make sure you check the weather when you venture out for camping or trekking.
  • Make sure you have enough food and water to last you the entire trek or camping trip.
  • When you’re cycling or trekking along the trails, do not stray away from the marked trails. It is easy to get lost in the wilderness.
  • If you’re out swimming in the ocean, make sure that you stay well within the areas marked safe with flags.

New Zealand is one of those countries that won’t let you remain indoors for long. Its outdoors is meant to be explored and experienced first-hand. These are our tips to keep you safe in all situations while you’re holidaying in New Zealand. As long as you remain aware of your surroundings and follow these safety tips, you won’t be running into trouble anytime soon.

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