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Bay of Islands, NZ Planning Tips and Fast Facts

Soak in “New Zealand Pure”. Pure Fun, Pure Beauty, Pure Adventure.

Our Expert Opinion

New Zealand dazzles from coast to coast, and the Bay of Islands is the most revered yacht charter destination– infinite sheltered bays, crystal clear waters and the warmest climate in the country. Be sure and save some time for some inland adventures in this lively nation of untamed natural beauty.

What is Destination Known For?

Rich Māori culture, , exquisite wine lands, breathtaking scenery, memorable hiking adventures, supreme sailing, semi-tropical beaches, and adrenaline sports.

Location and Size

New Zealand is a group of islands located 1504 miles (2421 kms) southeast of the Gold Coast in Australia. It has a land area of 103,483 sq.miles (268,021 sq.kms), which is roughly the size of Colorado. North Island (TeIka a Maui) and South Island (Pounamu) are the two main islands of this country with a coastline of 9,404 miles (15,134 kms). The capital of Wellington is situated on the North Island.

History

The first people to settle on this island country were Polynesians who developed the unique Māori culture which is based upon kinship connections and relationship to the land. They arrived here around 1200-1300 AD and named it Aotearoa, meaning land of the long white cloud. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman landed in this southerly region and named it Nieuw Zeeland after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

The English navigator James Cook explored the coasts of the country in 1769. Sealers, whalers and traders followed suit. Missionaries started arriving in 1814 and tried to convert the Maoris to Christianity. They taught them farming skills, reading and writing. With the influx of more settlers, the British government decided to take control of New Zealand. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British government and Māori chiefs, giving Māoris equal rights and ownership of their land.

In the 1860s, the “ land wars” broke out after Māori lands were either confiscated or they were pressured to sell them for colonial settlements. The treatment of the Māoris led to a serious decline in their population and a bitter relationship with the colonialists. Their concerns were largely ignored until 1975 when the Waitangi Tribunal was formed. It was set up to address Māori grievances and land claims.

Following the land wars, gold was also discovered and a worldwide gold rush doubled the population. The population continued to grow through assisted immigration policies which enticed new settlers from Britain. One of the first feminist movements in the world began in the 1860s with women gaining the right to vote in 1893 – the first country in the world to grant this right.

In 1907, the nation became a 'dominion' within the British Empire. New Zealand joined the British during World War I and II and suffered heavy casualties. New Zealand's gained independence from Britain in 1947. many Māori moved to the cities but their concerns remained ignored by the government until 1975.

New Zealand is primarily an agricultural country today. The peaceful country famous for its Merino sheep is also a major wool exporter. Besides its famous vineyards and the kiwi fruit, the country has a thriving tourism industry.

Getting There

Direct flights operate from the USA and Australia to Auckland and

Christchurch. Stopover flights also connect the country to Europe and various parts of Asia.

Best Time to Go

New Zealand has a very pleasant and temperate climate . November to April are the drier months and are considered as the best time to go to New Zealand on a yacht charter.

Local Customs to Observe

Local customs in New Zealand are influenced by the Maori culture, which include removing shoes while venturing indoors and refraining from asking personal questions. Maori people greet with a kiss on the cheek and also say a prayer (karakia) prior to meals. English etiquettes like the handshake are also prevalent in the country. Sharing a cup of tea is a common gesture of socializing.

Helpful Fast Facts

Currency: New Zealand Dollar

Time Zone: UTC+12:00 Local language: English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language – which is the main language of the deaf community, are the three official languages of the country.

Population: 4,556,435 as of April 5, 2016

Airport: The Auckland International Airport (AKL) and the Christchurch International Airport (CHC) are the country's gateways to the world which offer international arrivals and departures.

Entry Requirements: Every national visiting New Zealand requires a valid passport. No visa is required for the US, Canadian, Irish and South African citizens for stays of up to three months; while it is up to six months for UK citizens. Australian citizens may stay indefinitely in the country without a visa.

Departure tax: $NZ 25 per person

Legal Drinking Age: 18 years

Smoking Regulations: Smoking is prohibited in public buildings, including bars and restaurants. If necessary, it is expected to be done outdoors.

Staying in touch: Landlines as well as mobile phones with international roaming plans constitute an efficient tele-connectivity in the country. Internet facilities are also available across New Zealand .

Medical Information: New Zealand's healthcare is very accessible and of very high standard. The Auckland City Hospital is the country's leading medical facility. The Wellington Hospital and the Timaru Hospital at Canterbury are among scores of private and public hospitals which cater to the healthcare requirements of the country.

Public Holidays: January 1 (New Year Day); January 2 (Day after New Year's Day); February 6 (Waitangi Day); Good Friday; Easter Monday; April 25 (ANZAC Day); June's 1st Monday (Queen's Birthday); October's 4th Monday (Labor Day); December 25 (Christmas Day); December 26 (Boxing Day). Tourist Office: http://www.newzealand.com/in/ is the official travel website for which offers information on New Zealand's natural attractions, tourist activities, getting there and more.

Shopping Information: The Lake Wanaka region's Farmer's Market is ideal for procuring local seasonal produce. The Nelson Market and The Creative Queenstown Arts & Crafts Market are great places for buying handmade artefacts. The Wellington Underground Market has a wide variety of products for all shoppers. Duty-free shops exist at international airports and across the city. The latter not delivering upfront, instead sending them for pick up at an airport agency. Departure details are required to make duty-free purchases and the limits of purchases may be verified at the outlets.

Top Ten "Must Do's"

  • Sip away on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail
  • Get up-close with Maori culture on a Marae
  • Kite board or paddle board at the picturesque Bay of Islands
  • Ask your chef for a meal with New Zealand’s fresh and famous green lipped mussels
  • Snag an invitation to the venerable Swordfish Club in Russell
  • Pump up your adrenaline with a jet boating river tour
  • Scuba at Poor Knights Islands – rated by Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world
  • Bunny Jump off the Auckland Bridge
  • Take the magical boat ride through the glow worm grotto at Waitomo Cave
  • Walk on the wild side at Skywalk up high on the Sky Tower in Auckland

Major Local and Regional Events

  • Queenstown Winter Festival - a 10-day celebration of Queenstown’s unique culture with music, mountain races, street parties and fireworks
  • Bluff Oyster Festival – held in May every year, it celebrates the seasonal harvest of oysters
  • Matariki – a month long celebration of the Maori New Year
  • Beervana – an annual beer festival held in Wellington attracting select brews and numerous beer lovers from all over
  • Visa Wellington On A Plate – two weeks of culinary delight

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