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New Zealand Quick Guide
- Banking Hours
- Shopping Hours
- Local Telephone Codes
- Emergency Services
- International Airports
- International Airport Departure Tax
- Domestic Airports
- Domestic Airport Departure Tax
- Etiquette/Dress Code
- Diplomatic Missions
- Useful Sources of Information
- 5 Star Hotels in New Zealand
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Many countries have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand for visits of less than 3 months and current details on eligibility can be gained from the New Zealand Immigration Service. All visitors to New Zealand must ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months beyond their intended visit and must also have proof of sufficient funds to cover the duration of their stay. This amount is calculated as NZ$1,000 per person/per month or NZ$400 if accommodation is already paid for.
There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign or local currency, although visitors entering the country with more than NZ$ 10,000 (or foreign currency equivalent) must complete additional documentation upon arrival.
Visitors may take the following into New Zealand duty free:
- Alcohol - 4.5 litres of wine or beer (about 6 bottles) and 1.125 litres or 40 oz of spirits or liqueurs
- Tobacco - 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g tobacco
- Goods to a total value of NZ$700
It is worth noting that New Zealand customs have become very strict about people arriving with any type of food, and dirty footwear and sports equipment. If in doubt, declare all food items on your arrival card and ensure that footwear, golf clubs, tents etc. have been cleaned before arriving.
Refer to www.customs.govt.nz for specific customs requirements.
New Zealand time: GMT + 12 hours
New Zealand Summer time: GMT + 13 hours (from the first Sunday in October to the third Sunday in March)
- New Zealand Dollar (NZ$) Check current exchange rates
- NZ$1 = 100 cents
- Notes issued NZ$100, NZ$50, NZ$20, NZ$10, NZ$5
- Coins issued NZ$2 and NZ$1, 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents
The official language of New Zealand is English.
Tipping is not expected but is appreciated.
Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Automatic teller machines are widely available throughout the country.
- Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5:00 pm
- Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Some stores open later on Thursday or Friday evenings.
The international dialling code for New Zealand is 64
When making international telephone calls from New Zealand first dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number
Local Telephone Codes
|Manawatu, North, Taranaki, Palmerston, Whanganui||06|
|Bay of Plenty, Central Plateau, Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua, Tauranga, Waikato||07|
For emergency fire, ambulance and police services dial 111 from any telephone.
- 230 - 240 volts AC, 50Hz
- Flat 3 pin or 2 pin plugs are used in New Zealand, therefore it is advisable to carry an adapter and converter. Most hotels and motels have 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.
Tap water is safe to drink and bottled water is widely available.
The clear, pollution free air and the hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic makes the sun particularly strong in New Zealand, so take extra care when outdoors. No inoculations are required but check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with your doctor when planning your trip. New Zealand has no snakes and is free of poisonous spiders, however mosquitos and sand-flies can be unwelcome visitors in some forested and river/lake areas. A bottle of insect repellent is useful item to carry.
New Zealand beaches are generally safe places for swimming, but be aware that some surf beaches have dangerous undertows and rips which are not always visible until you are in the water. Visitors who are unfamiliar with such conditions should check with locals before entering the water.
Have you ever heard the saying "four seasons in one day"? Nothing is truer than this in New Zealand. It can be a beautiful sunny day one minute and raining the next. Whatever the time of year, it is advisable to arrive in New Zealand with rain gear and something warm to wear. Mountaineers and hikers in particular should plan carefully, and ensure they have the right equipment.
New Zealand motorists drive on the left hand side of the road. If you rent a vehicle check the driving rules with the rental company, as New Zealand has one or two slightly unusual driving rules. You must be aged 21 or over to hire a vehicle in New Zealand, and require a valid overseas driver license.
When driving the country, keep in mind that New Zealand roads vary greatly in quality. A particular 200 kilometre flat stretch of road may take 2 hours to drive, whereas another more winding, mountainous road of the same length may take 5 hours! The speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour on the open road, and 50 kph in built up areas.
International Airport Departure Tax
NZ$25 payable by credit card or in cash.
There are numerous domestic airports in New Zealand. These include those mentioned above plus:
- Bay of Islands
- Half Moon Bay
- Lake Pukkaki
- New Plymouth
- Palmerston North
- West Port
Domestic Airport Departure Tax
New Zealand is a fairly informal country, so dress is similarly relaxed. Some bars and restaurants may ban the wearing of vests/singlets, flip flops (thongs), beach and bush wear.
Many countries have representative offices and consulates in New Zealand.
Useful Sources of Information
Further information on New Zealand culture and tourist attractions.
- New Zealand Travel Guide and Information
New Zealand consists of two separate islands.
- North Island - experiences a sub-tropical climate. Temperatures remain reasonably warm throughout the year and rain is common at any time. This climate results in a wonderful lush, green countryside.
- South Island - experiences a temperate climate. Temperatures are much cooler and winters are dramatically colder than North Island. The west endures significantly higher rainfall than the east due to the mountainous central region of the Southern Alps.
North & South
In general, winds are a constant factor across the country and these vary between hot northerly and freezing southerly winds.
Weather can change rapidly so be prepared with clothes for all seasons!
A few layers, waterproofs and a warm jacket are necessary items whenever visiting New Zealand.
Carry a lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings during summer.
Note! Take Care in the Sun! Pack a sunhat, sunglasses and suntan lotion to protect yourself from the intense sunshine and the hole in the ozone layer over New Zealand.
New Zealanders are extremely aware of the dangers of overexposure to their sun and an excellent selection of good quality, high factor sunscreens are available in New Zealand shops.
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Spring (October - November)||12 - 20°C||96mm|
|Summer (December - March)||15 - 18°C||83mm|
|Autumn (April - May)||12 - 18°C||112mm|
|Winter (June - September)||9 - 14°C||125mm|
North Island's climate is characterised by mild winters, warm summers and the blustery winds that are a factor all year round.
Rain falls throughout the year and is spread fairly evenly across the island. Temperatures remain mild throughout with only a slight drop during the winter months.
A few light layers of clothes, an umbrella/waterproofs plus a warm jacket are a good idea at any time of year on North Island - even if you are planning a visit during summer.
In winter, pack thermals/warm woollen clothes and make sure that footwear is waterproof with plenty of room inside for thick socks.
Best time to visit: During spring and summer when rainfall is relatively low or in winter if visiting the mountainous areas towards the south of the island for skiing.
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall - West||Average rainfall - East|
|Spring (October - November)||9 - 16°C||280mm||48mm|
|Summer (December - March)||12 - 20°C||239mm||51mm|
|Autumn (April - May)||7 - 15°C||135mm||66mm|
|Winter (June - September)||3 - 12°C||229mm||52mm|
South Island has a more variable climate with quite marked variations in rainfall between the east and west coasts.
The Southern Alps running down the centre of the island act as a natural barrier to the westerly winds that bring moisture laden clouds rolling in. Most of the rain is deposited here before it can make its way eastwards resulting in the east being much drier.
Winds are prevalent all year and range from gentle breezes to destructive gales. In summer, hot winds blow down from the north and during the winter bitterly cold winds blast up from Antarctica.
A few light layers, an umbrella/waterproofs plus a warm jacket are recommended for most of the year. During the winter months take lots of sweaters and a warm jacket.
Best time to visit: During spring or summer when rainfall is relatively low on the east or in winter if going skiing.
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New Zealand Travellers Tales
We had a group of eight, so organizing eight outspoken persons (especially my four year old), was challenging. We did tour Nelson Lakes, the Marlborough Sounds, and the Abel Tasman Park (as well as Nelson itself). It is hard to think of a region in New Zealand with as many things to do.
Spent driving around for 4 days in Christchurch and Mt Hutt. The drive up Mt Hutt is not for the faint hearted. The Thai restaurant in Methven was quite nice. Some authentic Korean restuarants in city centre. The cable car experience was very nice. The sunday market was a bit dissapointing.
Can recommend Auckland Wine Trail Tours - the owner really knows his stuff. City museum well worth a couple of hours.
Rotorua was a lovely place. We were there for the Lions rugby, and we were made to feel very welcome by ALL the locals.
For a little action, I tried bungy jumping at the Kawarau Bridge, and the Shotover Jet boat ride. Both were excellent and tons of fun. Rather expensive, but worth the money. For scenery, I booked the Nomad Safari LOTR tour. There are 2 tours to choose from and both cover different locations. I asked the booking desk to recommend and the 2 people who worked there both recommended the Glenorchy area saying that they''ve been there and it''s extremely beautiful. Since we were going on a 4W drive, we expected a bumpy ride. But the ride going away from town was about 45 minutes to an hour and was on curvy roads. So if you get car sick, don''t do this tour!!! Anyway, we did stop at Glenorchy, but only because the driver needed to go to the bathroom. Was it as beautiful as the booking desk ladies said? I''ll never know because I only saw a small town restaurant and a public bathroom next to it. The major sites we stopped at was Isengard and the site where Sam cooked rabbit stew. It''s just some dried bits of land but its background sceneries of the mountains are nice. We drove by some wooded area (which may have been the forest of Lothlorien, part of the tour), but never went through it, and I don''t believe it was even mentioned. We did drive by miles of sheep farms and that was different and nice. For the money, I thought this tour was not worth it...and a waste of time. There were nice background sceneries, but you get these beautiful sceneries anywhere your head turns in Queenstown, and it''s free. Also, definitely take the gondola up to the peak for wonderful views and there''s no rush to go down. Try the luge ride, great for adults as well as kids. Nice little cafe there too. Food prices are unexpectedly reasonable as I always expect to get "robbed" when I''m at these type of tourist places. As for food, I always like a good mix of higher end restaurants and affordable restaurants. One of my favorite "affordables" is the Express Diner. I believe it''s on Shotover Street. Great wait staff, fair prices, and pretty good food. I went during low season and most of the restaurants are quite empty, except for the Express Diner. Don''t let the name fool you. It''s a few notches above the average diner in the United States.
Christchurch is a city to walk around in. The Arts and Craft Center downtown is an excellent place to buy something special. We enjoyed whale watching and the Trans Alpine although the scenery at home (Alaska) I must say is just as beautiful. Nevertheless, we found the railroad trip worthwhile especially since you don''t have to drive.
I really enjoyed visiting Dunedin. We went to Larnach castle and to Royal Albatross Colony. Both of the excursions were very interesting, and I would highly recommend the tour about the albatross.
I strongly recommend the Night Sky tour run by staff from the nearby Observatory. On a clear night with good visibility the stargazing from this little town is stunning and you need a professional guide just to find your way around the sky.
Stewart Island is a wonderful place to visit for a few days, but to get the most out of it you need to be fit and a good walker not dismayed by steep hills. Don''t miss a trip to Ulva Island to see rare NZ birds. Ruggedy Range Tours do an excellent half-day guided trip starting early in the morning when the birds are active. I saw 14 species including an owl which is supposed to be nocturnal! You can also take a trip in a semi-submersible which lasts an hour, although after twenty minutes you are unlikely to see anything you haven''t already had your fill of. To see kiwis in their natural habitat you have to go out on a small boat at night and spend a couple of hours tramping around the bush with torches-great fun if you are lucky enough to spot a kiwi but there is no guarantee of sightings. The South Sea Hotel and the Church Hill Cafe both serve a decent lunch of local seafood. I was very lucky with the weather but I don''t think I would have enjoyed myself nearly so much if it had been wet or cold. Take plenty of reading material with you because you won''t be able to buy any, except booklets on local and natural history.
Hired a car for a couple of days which was brilliant as we went to a few places which would have been difficult to get to otherwise, ie Glenorchy, which has the most amazing walks around it from 1 hour to 3-4 hours. Arrowtown which is an old mining town and extremely interesting and the ski slopes ( no snow ) but very interesting. Took a coach booked through hotel to Milford Sound which was wonderful. Too much to see to think of driving and the coach Great Sights was wonderful with a great driver/commentator. We took a coach with the same company from Christchurch to Queenstown which was well worth it as the scenery was amazing. Of course the drivers know all the good places to stop for the photographers! Best meal was a restaurant called The Captain, brilliant food and service. Queenstown a wonderful experience. Recommend it to everyone.