Off we go - Getting to New Zealand

So you are now ready to leave and need to make final arrangements.

(In the secure login section of this website we will have a checklist of things you need to do, and you can use this tool for your own specific circumstances)

Airfares and Baggage

There are only 2 main routes to NZ. The shortest is via Australia. There is a short stopover in Sydney normally. No visa is required as you stay in the terminal.

The other routes all require stopovers. Many people fly Emirates via Dubai and Bali or Dubai and direct. Although this is a much longer flight, it is generally less expensive, and the baggage allowance is higher. There are other routes through Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur which enable one to stop over if you wish.

There are also baggage allowances on other flights which you can discuss with your travel agent.

(There is checklist of important items you need to take in your carry-on bag in our login area which is coming soon) 


The first thing is you do not need an international drivers licence. You should convert your SA drivers licence as soon as possible at the AA. It’s is extremely quick and provides proof of identity in NZ so you can leave your passport in a safe place.

Before you get here, look at the price of cars on a website such as TradeMe. You wont be able to buy, but you can browse.

Cars in NZ need a WOF (Warrant of Fitness) annually, so are in generally good condition. It’s time to change to an automatic car. Not only are manuals outdated, but they are more expensive and not suited at all to Auckland traffic. Be careful when buying a car. The stories you hear of used car dealers are all true. Buy from a registered dealer if possible. Here are some you may want to look at.

Avoid buying a new car and we recommend you don’t buy a European car, simply because of the high cost of maintenance. Also, try to buy cash. If you are unable to, vehicle finance is relatively easy to obtain if you have a work visa. It is also not expensive. And don’t forget to insure the vehicle before you leave the dealers yard.

Public transport is relatively good in the main cities, and excellent in Christchurch and Wellington. Download a transport app for bus/train/ferry timetables

Car Rental and Airports

It is extremely easy to rent a vehicle in New Zealand. It’s often best to search from SA as international prices can be better than local prices.

There are a number of car rental agencies. You can also contact Sterling Finance who provide short term car rental.

Point to point rental is more expensive. If you are just visiting, avoid landing in Auckland and flying out of Christchurch. Your return flight will be cheaper than a return to base car rental.

If you are coming into Auckland and moving on to another North Island town – maybe Hastings or New Plymouth, consider catching a bus. Stay overnight at the airport hotels and leave the next day. Rental vehicles or shuttles will not carry 4 people plus 46kg of luggage each

Mobile Phones and Broadband

You can pick up a SIM card from the airport or from most supermarkets. There are several providers, all of whom have either Pay as you Go or contract plans. They are very competitive and there is not much to choose between them. Coverage in NZ is similar. There are dead spots on some country roads, so if you plan to live in a remote area, check which provider gives the best coverage.

Your SA phone will work with a NZ Simcard, and your WhatsApp numbers will transfer automatically. Don’t buy a new phone in SA, as you will lose your warranty


This depends on if you are job hunting on a visitor visa or making the actual move.

If you are looking for a job, you need to avoid the year end. Summer holidays are essentially January and February, and for obvious reasons, employers don’t want to employ in December. Any other time of the year is fine.

It is very common for one of the partners in a family to come across first, to settle, find a rental and perhaps buy some furniture. The partner in SA wraps things up there. Finalise house sale if applicable, sell cars, get kids out of school and lots of other things. (See our secure area where we have a list of things you need to consider to wrap up your affairs.)

Please remember, that the move is traumatic, especially for the kids. You should try to come across as quickly as possible. Small children do not understand the concept of time, and a week can be forever, and they don’t understand that daddy/mommy are in another country and you will be reunited soon.

Also, say your goodbyes once. You are emigrating hopefully. Don’t promise to see your family in 6 months or come across with mom to help settle in. Just get on with things.