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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

New Zealand Travel Requirements

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 permit.

However, all visitors should check with the nearest New Zealand embassy or consulate in their home country before departure.

Banking and Opening Hours
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.

Health Facilities
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 bay.

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.

Credit Cards
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 in supermarkets.

Postal Services
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.

Telephone Facilities
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 the number.

Time Zone
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 publicly.

Road Rules
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.

Getting Around
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.


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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