my brief 2c
- Flying from Germany - any tips - which companies to use?
It's a looooong flight, please wear compression stockings to prevent DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) you can buy them at the airport
- Comments/advices on the photography (technical) - different setup?
I would keep things light as possible but that's just me. I enjoy outings when my back is not hurting and I am agile enough to maneuver the wildly varied terrain (not so easy with 30lbs of gear).
- What to visit?
You can't go wrong in the South Island, it is sensory overload down there. I'll leave it to the guys down there to comment.
- Important titbits? - What not to forget (about) ?
- What is the chance to get the camper van broken into while on the hike?
Many tourists/trampers get lost on hikes (it CAN be deadly) so I would recommend you bring a light, portable handheld satellite GPS. Tag your start point location and use the GPS to navigate back to your start point if needed. Have a home base where you can keep the bulk of your clothes and valuables. Some tourists get caught out by parking at a trail in the middle of nowhere to come back from a half day hike with nothing left in their car. It's rare but it can happen, so keep your passports, cash and valuables out of the rental car in remote areas.
- How to declare the photography equipement when entering the NZ (not to be forced to pay import duties on theway there or back)
I'm not sure that is a problem but you can check the NZ customs site
You'll have a great time here. And with the weak NZ dollar (49c on the US at the moment) even better