New Zealand travel guide
New Zealand, 'Land of the Long White Cloud', is a small, sparsely populated country consisting of two major islands, North and South Island, and a scattering of smaller ones. Despite its small size it is crammed with magnificent natural beauty and has an incredible amount to offer; the only complaint travellers have is that they haven't allowed enough time in the country. Fresh air, breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities are the main attractions of New Zealand, with a tremendously friendly, honest and helpful population, colloquially nicknamed after their country's distinct symbol, the unusual but amiable flightless kiwi bird.
The two islands have surprisingly different characters. The North Island has dramatic volcanic landscapes and highly active thermal areas, long stretches of beautiful beaches and excellent sailing, ancient indigenous forests and a strong Maori cultural influence. The South Island has a slower pace of life dominated by a magnificent spine of mountains, the snow-covered Southern Alps, and the spectacular scenery of the southern waterways of the fjord lands, with glaciers, deep lakes and verdant forests.
The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was New Zealand's founding document, an attempt to settle disputes between the European settlers and the Maoris, conceding the country to British rule while guaranteeing the Maori people possession of their land and cultural identity. Today, integration has been replaced by a policy of upholding two different cultures alongside each other. Their shared love of sport, most notably the revered national sport of rugby union, and their enthusiasm for adventure and the outdoors is the unifying factor among the whole population.
New Zealand offers a huge variety of action-packed and laid back activities, from bungee jumping to skiing, swimming with dolphins, scenic flights and boat cruises on the fjords, as well as several world famous walking trails with unrivalled scenery. Alternatively visitors can immerse themselves in culture at the museums and galleries of the country's main cities - Auckland and the capital Wellington in the North, and Christchurch in the south.
New Zealand is an easy and compact place in which to travel and its spectacularly dramatic landscape alone, famous for its setting for the 'The Lord of the Rings' film trilogy, makes the long trip to these southern islands more than worthwhile.
Local currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), divided into 100 cents. Most businesses accept MasterCard and Visa, and while Diners Club and American Express are also widely accepted in the main tourist centres, they might have limited acceptance elsewhere. ATMs can be found in all towns and cities.
Language : The official languages in New Zealand are English and Maori.
Electricity : Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Oblique flat blade plugs are standard.
Entry Requirements :
US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required, for stays of up to three months.
UK citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. British citizens holding a passport endorsed British Citizen, or a passport containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom (and accompanied by documents that further establish their right of abode in the UK), do not require a visa to enter New Zealand for a stay of up to six months. British citizens with passports endorsed British National (Overseas) may stay for up to three months without a visa. In all other cases, a visa is required.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required, for stays of up to three months.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in New Zealand. No visa is required.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. As of 21 November 2016, South African Nationals require a visitor visa which must be organised prior to travel.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required, for stays of up to three months.
Passport/Visa Note :
All foreign passengers to New Zealand must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country (usually NZD 1,000 per month, or NZD 400 if accommodation has been prepaid). Note that all visitors must obtain a permit to enter Tokelau from the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office in Apia, at least two weeks prior to travel. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Travel Health :
There are no health risks associated with travel to New Zealand. New Zealand's accident compensation scheme (ACC) covers emergency treatment for visitors, but health insurance is recommended to cover any additional charges and for those not entitled to free emergency treatment. Those intending to participate in adventure activities, such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, etc should ensure that their travel insurance covers these types of activities.
Gratuities are not expected in New Zealand and service charges are not applied to bills, but it is acceptable to tip at your discretion.
Safety Information :
New Zealand has a reputation as one of the safest destinations in the world, however sensible precautions against petty theft are still advised.
Local Customs :
Quarantine procedures mean that strict bio-security regulations are in place at immigration points into New Zealand. It is illegal to import most foodstuffs, and care should be taken when importing wood products, golf clubs and shoes (which may have soil and dirt attached), and items made from animal skin. The immigration arrivals card has full details.
Ranked an unbelievable 3rd in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings, those looking to do business in New Zealand are sure to find that the corporate atmosphere of the country is well-suited to their ambitions. The business culture of New Zealand conforms to a typically British model - being formal, reserved, and conservative. However, New Zealand's corporate culture distinguishes itself from the metropole with its characteristically Antipodean warmth and friendliness, creating a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere, in which rewarding personal relationships may be developed among associates.
The general approach to management in New Zealand is hierarchical, with decisions being made by senior-level executives - though ideas, input and collaboration, from all members of the organisation, are also highly valued in the New Zealand workplace. Business etiquette in New Zealand will be familiar to those who've worked in western corporate environments before. Use titles, until instructed not to do so, and maintain eye contact when speaking to your associates. New Zealand businessmen tend to favour forthrightness, honesty and hard work over self-aggrandisement and empty promises - they will be far more interested in what you actually do, than what you merely say you can do.
Business meetings should be scheduled at least a week in advance, and then confirmed a few days before they are due to take place. When raising an idea or responding to someone else's, present your point directly, and back it up with facts and figures - while a relaxed, human-orientated atmosphere is prized in the New Zealand workplace, business decisions remain unemotional, and motivated by the business' best interests. The dress code for business in New Zealand is difficult to pin down, though you should always appear well-groomed and presentable. For a first meeting, men should stick to a dark suit, worn with a tie; and women, should wear a smart dress/business suit/pants suit, and limited accessories. The official language of business in New Zealand is English, and business hours are generally from 8.30am (or 9am) to 5pm, Monday to Friday; and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.
The international access code for New Zealand is +64. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0061 for Australia). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)9 for Auckland and (0)4 for Wellington. Vodafone offers GSM 900 coverage in and around the main cities and popular holiday areas. Internet cafes are widely available.
Duty Free :
Travellers to New Zealand over 17 years do not have to pay duty on 50 cigarettes, or 50g of cigars or tobacco, or a mixture of all three not exceeding 50g; three bottles of spirits or liqueur each containing not more than 1,125ml, and 4.5 litres of wine or beer. Goods exceeding the allowances must be declared. Personal effects not dutiable include items such as jewellery, binoculars, portable radios, prams, camping equipment, cameras and video cameras. Prohibited items include concealed firearms, foodstuffs, animals, plants and plant products. It is forbidden to export Greenstone, Maori antiquities and Paua shells (unless they are products manufactured from such shells). Prescription medications need to be accompanied by a doctor's letter and the original prescription, they should not amount to more than three months worth of the medication.
Auckland International Airport
Location: The airport is situated 13 miles (21km) south of Auckland.
Time: Local time is GMT +12 (GMT +13 from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April).
Contacts: Tel: +64 (0)9 275 0789 or 0800 247 767 (NZ only).
Transfer between terminals: A free bus links the two terminals, and walking is also possible.
Getting to the city: SkyBus is the airport's transfer bus service and leaves regularly (roughly every 10 minutes during the day on weekdays, every 15 minutes during the day on weekends, and every 30 minutes overnight) for the city centre. Tickets start from NZD 18. Taxis are also available, as is car rental.
Car rental: There are numerous car rental companies including Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty and Europcar.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available in ranks outside both terminals. Any taxi can transport passengers to the airport, but only authorised taxis can pick people up from the airport. The trip to the city centre costs between NZD 75 and NZD 90.
Facilities: Facilities at the airport include left luggage, business facilities, a medical centre, banks and ATMs, bars, restaurants and shops, a crèche, a post office, a hairdresser, supermarket, internet kiosks, tourist information and hotel reservations desks. Disabled facilities are good, but those with special needs should inform their airline or travel agent in advance.
Parking: There is plenty of parking adjacent to both terminals including a 'wait zone' where cars can park free of charge for 30 minutes. Fees range from about NZD 10 per hour to NZD 50 per day. There are also cheaper long-term parking options located off site with free shuttle services to the terminals. Substantial parking discounts are available for those who book online in advance.
Christchurch International Airport
Location: The airport is situated eight miles (13km) from Christchurch.
Time: Local time is GMT +12 (GMT +13 from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April).
Contacts: Tel: +64 (0)3 358 5029.
Getting to the city: The airport is connected to Christchurch city centre by two public bus routes (the Purple Line and Bus 29) departing from the regional transport hub at the northern end of the International Arrivals Hall. One-way bus tickets cost NZD 8.50 and can be bought directly from the driver. Door-to-door shuttles are available with advance booking. Taxis and rental cars are also available.
Car rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Thrifty, among others.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available from outside the terminal. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the city centre and the standard fare is usually around NZD 45 to NZD 65.
Facilities: There are shops (including duty-free), bars and restaurants, banks, ATMs and currency exchange at the airport. Other facilities include left luggage, mobile phone rental, showers, a business centre, a post office, and a hotel reservations desk. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should inform their travel agent or airline in advance.
Parking: There is covered and uncovered parking available at varying rates in a selection of parking areas. In the short-term lot the minimum charge (up to two hours) is NZD 12, and in the long-term lot the minimum charge (up to 24 hours) is NZD 25.
Wellington International Airport
Location: The airport is situated five miles (8km) east of Wellington.
Time: Local time is GMT +12 (GMT +13 from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March).
Contacts: Tel: +64 (0)4 385 5100 (24 hours).
Transfer between terminals: There is only one terminal. Arrivals is located on the lower level while departures is on the upper level.
Getting to the city: The Stagecoach Flyer bus will cost between NZD 2 and NZD 17 for an adult fare, depending on where you are going. Shuttle services and taxis all go to the city centre for around NZD 15 and NZD 30 respectively.
Car rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty.
Airport Taxis: Taxis can be hailed outside the baggage claims area and cost up to NZD 35 to go to The Terrace, Lambton Quay, Railway Station, Courtenay Place and Seatoun. Fares to Johnsonville, Lower Hutt and Tawa range between NZD 45 and NZD 65, while it costs up to NZD 100 to go to Upper Hutt and Porirua.
Facilities: Facilities at the airport include left luggage, bureaux de change, ATMs, bars, shops and restaurants, a parent's room, post office and a tourist information and hotel reservations desk. Disabled facilities are good and those with special needs are advised to inform their airline or travel agent in advance.
Parking: Parking at Wellington International Airport ranges from about NZD 5 per half hour up to about NZD 40 per day for Premium parking, which is close to the terminal. Long-term parking is around NZD 27 for the first day and NZD 12 per day thereafter. The long-term parking lot is situated off Freight Drive and regularly serviced by a free airport shuttle.
Departure tax: Airport tax is NZD 25 (adults) and NZD 10 (children), in transit passengers (up to 24hrs) are exempt.
Location: The airport is just four miles (6km) from central Queenstown.
Time: GMT +13
Contacts: Tel: +64 3 450 9031.
Getting to the city: The best way to get into the city is by taxi, however, shuttles are also available to be booked. Shuttle fares range from NZD 5 for kids, to NZD 10 for adults. It also costs an extra NZD 10 for ski gear.
Car rental: Rental companies including Apex, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Jucy, Nationwide, THL, and Thrifty all offer car rental services at Queenstown Airport.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available from outside the terminal. The fare into town costs approximately NZD 25.
Facilities: ATM, currency exchange, baggage lost and found office, baggage storage facilities, Internet lounge, tourist help desk, first aid facilities, wifi, retail outlets and restaurants. The terminal is fully accessible for disabled passengers.
Parking: Long- and short-term parking charges range from about NZD 3 for up to 40 minutes to NZD 9 for three hours and NZD 1 per hour thereafter with a maximum charge of NZD 20 for the first day and NZD 17 from day two onwards. The first 20 minutes is free.
Departure tax: A departure tax of NZD 20 – NZD 25 is charged.
The weather in New Zealand is changeable throughout the year, however the climate is fairly temperate, with fairly predictable conditions over longer periods. The North Island has mild winters and warm and humid summers, the South Island has lower temperatures with cold winters and extensive snowfields and glaciers. Snow falls on all the mountains in winter, and the west coast receives the most rain. The summer months in New Zealand are from November to April.
Tourism New Zealand, Wellington: +64 (0)4 917 5400 or
United States Embassy, Wellington: +64 (0)4 462 6000.
British High Commission, Wellington: +64 (0)4 924 2888.
Canadian High Commission, Wellington: +64 (0)4 473 9577.
Australian High Commission, Wellington: +64 (0)4 473 6411.
Honorary Consulate of South Africa, Wellington: +64 (0)4 815 8484.
Honorary Consul General of Ireland, Auckland: +64 (0)9 977 2252.
New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 328
Foreign Embassies in New_Zealand
New Zealand High Commission, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 (0)20 7930 8422.
New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 5991.
New Zealand High Commission, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6270 4211.
New Zealand High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 435 9000.
111 (All Emergencies)
New_Zealand Emergency Numbers
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