Australian citizens are required to have a valid passport
for entry into New Zealand. Generally, all other citizens
must have a passport valid for at least three months beyond
the intended date of departure and a return or onward ticket
are required for visits of up to three months. Visitors who
are exempted from visa requirements must apply for a visitor's
However, all visitors should check with the nearest New Zealand
embassy or consulate in their home country before departure.
Banking and Opening Hours
Banks are usually open 9.00am - 4.30pm Monday - Friday,
and closed on weekends.
Shops are open 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday - Friday (but
usually open until about 9pm on Thursday or Friday); and 9.00am
- 2.00pm on Saturday.
The New Zealand currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$),
which is divided into 100 cents. Notes are available in denominations
of NZ$5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Coins are available in denominations
of NZ$1 and 2, and 1 cent, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.
In New Zealand, it is uncommon to give tips, but are generally
given in acknowledgement of good service or kindness.
The current is 230 volts AC, 50 Hz, the same as in Europe
and Australia. Three-prong plugs (like those used in Australia)
are standard. Visitors are advised to bring a plug adapter.
Facilities for the Disabled
The law requires that every new building and every major reconstruction
in New Zealand provide "reasonable and adequate" access for
people with disabilities. Every motel and hotel provides units
with accessible facilities. Contact The New Zealand Disabilities
Resource Center for information on travel and recreation opportunities.
Medical services are not free in New Zealand and a comprehensive
travel insurance is strongly recommended. Visitors are covered
under the local Accident Compensation Scheme for personal
injury by accident but must have visited a doctor in New Zealand
to benefit. Benefits include some medical and hospital expenses
but do not include loss of earnings outside New Zealand.
There are no poisonous snakes or dangerous wild animals
in New Zealand; instead there are sandflies. These tiny biting
insects live in humid areas, especially Fiordland. While they
pose no threat to your health, they can be very annoying and
their bites are itchy. Insect repellent keeps sandflies at
Giardia is now found in the rivers and lakes of popular
tourist destinations. To avoid giardia, it is best to filter,
boil or chemically treat water before drinking. Metropolitan
water supplies are of sufficient quality that is normal to
drink unboiled tap water.
The clarity of New Zealand's skies and relatively low altitude
means hats and sunblock are necessary precautions to guard
against sunburn when outdoors during the summer. Burn time
can be as low as 10-12 minutes at summer's peak.
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency
able to be brought into or taken out of New Zealand. All major
credit cards may be used and traveler's cheques are accepted
at hotels, banks and some stores. Credit cards are not accepted
Post offices are found in the cities and most towns. In smaller
areas, a postal agency is run in conjunction with another
business. Mail can be collected from Post Offices and agencies
under poste restante. Stamps are sold in most bookstores and
some dairies. Fax services are found throughout the country
and in many accommodation places.
Most public telephones take telephone cards, which can be
purchased from shopstalls. Some public phones accept credit
cards and a few accept coins. To dial a New Zealand number
from overseas, put 64 and the appropriate area code before
New Zealand standard time is GMT plus 12 hours. There are
no time differences within New Zealand. Daylight saving pushes
clocks forward 1 hour from the beginning of October until
the end of March.
Legal Drinking Age
Only those above 20 years of age are allowed to consume alcohol
New Zealanders drive on the left hand side of the road, like
Japan and Great Britain.
New Zealand has one unique set of road rules relating to
when two vehicles are both turning at a junction. At cross
roads, when one vehicle is turning left, and a vehicle approaching
from the opposite direction is turning right into the same
piece of road, then the vehicle turning left must give way.
When the same situation occurs and the vehicles are turning
onto a dual carriageway, then the left-turning vehicle must
turn into the left-hand lane, while the right-turning vehicle
must turn into the right hand lane. In this circumstance,
neither vehicle is obligated to give way.
Similarly, at an uncontrolled T-junction, where two vehicles
are turning right, the vehicle on the road that continues
(as opposed to the road that terminates at the T) must give
way to the other vehicle.
The legal speed limit is 100 km/hr and 50, 60 or 70 km/hr
in built up areas. Signposting follows international symbols
and distances are in kilometers. Seat belts must be worn at
all times, by both the driver and all passengers. Most foreign
drivers' licences are acceptable in New Zealand. Drink-drive
laws are very strict, drinking and driving is neither legally
nor socially acceptable.
By Air: There are three main domestic airlines,
which fly between the major cities and resort areas. Commuter
airlines service smaller towns. Off-peak fares offer considerable
discounts. A range of charter services are also available.
By Buses/Coaches: There are daily scheduled
passenger services throughout the country. A variety of coach
passes offer flexible travel options. Smaller transport companies
and shuttle buses run regularly between main centres, particularly
in the South Island.
Cycling Around New Zealand: Cycle touring
in New Zealand continues to grow in popularity and there is
often a backpackers hostel or camping ground within a days
ride.Cyclists are required by law to wear protective helmets.
Ferries: The North Island and South Island
of New Zealand are separated by the 19 kilometres of open
sea known as Cook Strait. Ferries catering for rail, road
vehicles and passengers, depart at regular intervals daily
and it is especially advisable to book a vehicle passage in
advance during the summer months, although standby fares are
taken as space allows.
Hitch-Hiking: Like so many countries, New
Zealand is no longer considered a safe place in which to hitch-hike
alone. For those prepared to take the risk and spend large
amounts of time standing on the side of the road, hitch-hiking
is still one of the best ways to meet the locals and travel
on the cheap.
Motoring: In New Zealand, you can rediscover
motoring on uncongested, good quality, though sometimes narrow,
roads. Multi-lane motorways are found on the approaches to
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. A network of State
Highways covers New Zealand; these are major highways which
generally enable cruising at the speed limit of 100 km/h.
Taxis & Limousines: Taxis are metered with
additional charges for calling by telephone and for luggage.
Taxis are plentiful in the cities and at airports. They are
hired from ranks and do not cruise for business, so it's unusual
to hail a cab.
Rental Vehicles: International car rental
firms are active in New Zealand and can be pre-booked before
leaving home. Local firms offer very competitive rates under
similar terms and conditions. Because of the high price of
car repairs in New Zealand, most rental firms insist that
clients take out accident insurance. A bond of approximately
$500 is usually requested and is refundable if all terms and
conditions are met. Four wheel drive vehicles are readily
available for winter or off-road use.