A magnificent country famous for it's varied landscapes, New Zealand has sub-tropical and primeval forests, majestic fiords, sparkling clear rivers and lakes, snow-capped mountains, picturesque green farmlands, ice-age glaciers, thermal hot springs, geysers, and golden sand beaches.

New Zealand Travel Information

General Information

Area: 266,200 square km (103,735 square miles).
Population: 4 million
Capital: Wellington.

English and Maori are the official languages.

New Zealand is a centralised democracy with a western style economy. Parliament and government bureaucracy is based in Wellington.

Entry Requirements – Passports & Visas

Visitors to New Zealand require a passport which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date the visitor intends leaving New Zealand. UK passport holders complete visa and customs forms at the point of entry. For more information about visitor regulations, visa exemptions and visa waivers visit the New Zealand immigration service website www.immigration.govt.nz

Agricultural Regulations and Quarantine

New Zealand relies heavily on agricultural and horticultural trade and there are stringent regulations governing the import of animals, and the import of animal and fruit/vegetable matter. Visitors planning to bring in any material of this sort should make detailed inquiries at www.quarantine.govt.nz. All passengers are required to complete an agricultural declaration before arrival in New Zealand. Heavy fines are payable for passengers who do not make a true declaration of items they are bringing into New Zealand.

Further information on customs formalities can be found at www.customs.govt.nz

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required for entry into New Zealand.

Air Travel - Domestic

Scheduled flights link the following locations Kaitaia, Bay of Islands/Kerikeri, Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane, Gisborne, Taupo, Napier/Hastings, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Masterton, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Westport, Hokitika, Christchurch, Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin, Queenstown, Wanaka and Invercargill.

Scheduled flights also operate between Invercargill and Stewart Island.

Currency

The New Zealand Dollar is divided into 100 cents and is usually equal to around GB 37 pence.. For up-to-date currency conversions please click on the Currency Calculator

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand however every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report.

All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) are widely available at airports, banks, along main shopping streets and in shopping malls. Travellers' Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores although they are becoming less common.

Foreign exchange can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks which are found at international airports and in most city centres.

Climate

New Zealand's seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere summer months are December to February and winter months are June to September. Summer and winter temperatures vary by only about 10˚C over most of the country, making New Zealand an ideal holiday destination all year round. Weather can be very changeable throughout the year.

Summer days are generally warm and pleasant, with the most settled weather between December and March. In summer there is plenty of sunshine, and activities in and around the water are popular.

New Zealand winters are mild, and although there are four distinct seasons, there is no wet or dry season. Rainfall is generally evenly spread throughout the year. During winter months, there is snow on the mountains and excellent skiing opportunities in alpine areas. Away from the mountains temperatures generally do not fall below freezing.

Bring plenty of sunscreen – the sun in New Zealand is fierce and burn-times are short (between 10-15 minutes in summer).

Clothing

The New Zealand life-style is generally relaxed and casual and this is reflected in clothing. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for the evening. Tidy casual attire is acceptable at most restaurants and night-spots, particularly in resorts and regional towns. During summer, evenings can be spent without a jacket but it is a good idea to bring a jersey or light jacket in case it gets cooler, especially in those regions south of the top half of the North Island. In winter months, visitors should bring warmer clothes, especially in the tourist areas of Rotorua-Taupo and the mid/south regions of the South Island where winter clothing and shoes are essential. Medium weight clothing with a raincoat or umbrella is adequate for most other regions. Layers are recommended year-round.

Some guided walks and adventure activities advise on specific items of clothing to be worn on their trips. Some luxury lodges and fine-dining restaurants also require a certain standard of dress for dining.

Driving in New Zealand

Visitors to New Zealand can drive for one year after arrival providing they hold a current overseas driver licence or a current international driving permit. Visitors can only drive the types of vehicles covered by their overseas driver license or international driving permit. Vehicles drive on the left side of the road, as in the UK.

Speed limits are in kilometres, not miles. Speed limits include 50km/h in residential areas, and up to 100km/h on highways and freeways. Seatbelts are compulsory for all drivers and passengers. New Zealand has strict drink driving laws and only low blood/alcohol levels are permitted.

New Zealand roads are often windy and the spectacular scenery can distracting so drivers need to keep alert and allow for refreshment stops while travelling. New Zealand roads often wind up and around mountains and coastlines and the mileage on maps is not a good indication of travelling times. While New Zealand is a relatively small country, driving distances are deceptive.

Be careful when walking across a road as cars have right of way and they are unlikely to slow down. Also ensure that you are looking in the right direction of traffic flow before crossing.

Travel Insurance

It is strongly recommended that all travellers hold comprehensive travel insurance (including full medical and repatriation) before departing their home country.

Emergency and Medical Services

New Zealand's medical facilities, both private and public, provide a high standard of treatment and care. Services are not free for visitors to New Zealand unless as a result of an accident. Visitors should have their own medical insurance cover. Hotels and motels normally provide a medical service in case of illness

Accident Compensation

If visitors have the misfortune to be injured in an accident while they are in New Zealand, they will receive first class medical and hospital treatment in New Zealand at minimal cost to themselves. Rates of compensation are low by international standards and we strongly recommend that visitors take out adequate personal accident and medical insurance cover. In New Zealand it is not possible to obtain compensation for injury through litigation. New Zealand Accident Compensation does not cover medical costs unless they are as a result of an accident.

Personal Responsibility

In New Zealand you are totally responsible for your own safety. Your decisions and actions are your own. It is not possible to obtain compensation for injury through litigation – no suing or lawsuits. You need to use your own judgment when it comes to safety – you should feel comfortable with any activity that you undertake – eg. guided walk, adventure activity, scenic flight, cruise etc. You cannot sue anyone for your own misjudgment.

Goods and Services Tax

All goods and services in New Zealand are subject to a 12.5% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Visitors cannot claim refunds of this tax on goods or services purchased while they are in New Zealand. However when a purchase is made in a duty free shop or from a retailer who ships a major purchase to a visitor’s home address, the GST will not be charged.

Time Zone

There is one time zone through the country which is 12 hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Daylight Savings time is in effect from late September until early April, when time is advanced 1 hour to give extended daytime in the summer months. Travellers crossing the dateline lose a full day crossing the International Dateline and regain a full day returning from New Zealand.

Electricity

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Power outlets only accept flat 3 or 2 pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.

Insects etc

New Zealand does not have any poisonous snakes, dangerous animals and only one poisonous spider – the katipo which is very rare and only found in certain coastal areas. Katipo bites are rare.

If travelling to Fiordland, insect repellent is strongly recommended as the sand-flies are large and determined!

Internet and Email

Internet/cyber cafés are widely distributed through the country. Charges vary considerably between hotels and cyber cafés with cyber cafés usually offering internet access at a less expensive rate than hotels. Most accommodation providers offer internet access at a charge.

Telephones / Mobile Phones

New Zealand has a very high standard of international telecommunications available including extensive coverage for both analogue and digital mobile phones.

There are two mobile phone networks in New Zealand. Many international mobile phones will work in New Zealand – please check with your phone/network provider before leaving home to confirm if your phone will work here. Mobile phones are available for hire while travelling in New Zealand.

Mobile coverage is not available in some remote areas of New Zealand – eg. Milford Sound.

Public telephones are available and operate either by coin, credit card or pre-paid phone cards - phone cards are widely available from airports, supermarkets, gas stations, post offices and stationary retailers.

Rail Travel

Rail travel is limited in New Zealand, however the existing services are very scenic journeys with the TranzAlpine considered to be one of the most scenic rail journerys in the world. The Overlander service operates between Auckland and Wellington, The TranzCoastal between Picton and Christchurch and the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth.

Interisland Ferries

The Interislander ferry service operates between the North and South Islands and takes approximately 3-hours. We strongly recommend that ferry reservations are made in advance, particularly during the peak summer months of December, January and February and over the Easter holiday period.

Tipping

Tipping is not an obligatory part of any service rendered, but may be offered as a bonus when service excels. Employed persons in New Zealand do not depend upon tips or gratuities for their income.

Smoke Free Legislation

It is now illegal to smoke indoors in workplaces and hospitality venues including restaurants, bars, cafes, casinos and hotel lobbies. If you wish to smoke, you will need to smoke outdoors.

Water Supply

Tap water throughout New Zealand is fresh and safe to drink – it has been treated to remove impurities. Water from lakes, rivers and streams should be boiled or chemically treated before consuming.

More Infomation

These links can provide you with further information about New Zealand.

www.immigration.govt.nz

New Zealand Immigration. Find out about visa regulations etc.

www.ltsa.govt.nz

Information on road travel, safety and regulations in New Zealand

www.metservice.co.nz

Detailed information on the New Zealand climate and weather forecasts

www.doc.govt.nz

New Zealand Department of Conservation website for information on National parks, and New Zealand's native birds and flora & fauna.

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