You will need a valid passport to travel to New Zealand. It must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date and not damaged, defaced or excessively worn.
If you are a British citizen and or British passport holder who can produce evidence of the right to reside permanently in the UK, you don't need a visa to visit New Zealand for up to six months. If you hold an Irish passport you don't need a visa to enter New Zealand for up to three months, because Ireland has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand. However, you are still required to provide travel tickets or evidence of onward travel arrangements and evidence that your can support yourself in New Zealand (approximately 1000 NZ dollars per month per person).
English is the common and everyday language of New Zealand. New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and you may hear many other languages spoken, including Maori, which is also an official language of New Zealand.
New Zealand is free of many insect pests, plant diseases and animal infections that are common elsewhere in the world and a lot of effort is put into minimising the risk of these being introduced.
Substantial fines may be incurred if you arrive with these prohibited materials:
- Animal products including skin, hair, dung, feathers, bone, coral, eggs and sea shells. Some are banned because they can harbour pests and diseases; others are banned because they pose a threat to endangered species.
- Fresh, perishable foodstuffs, such as fruit, vegetables and meat.
- Items manufactured from plant products. These may be carrying viable seeds or insects. Inspection is required to determine the risk
The International Departure Tax that has been payable when departing New Zealand is now included in the ticket price and no payment is required at the airport. The exception is Queenstown and Rotorua where a tax of NZ$25.00 is still collected at the aiport for international flights but will be phased out shortly.
Some regional airports also have a small fee payable on domestic flights but again will be phased out shortly.
New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road. The speed limit is 100km/hour on the open road and 50km/hour in urban areas. Signposting follows standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km). The one law that was different where drivers give way (or yield) to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right has now been changed.
Do not drink alcohol before driving in New Zealand as drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced.
Both drivers and passengers must wear a safety belt in both the front and back seats. All children under the age of five must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint when travelling in cars or vans.
Helmets for riders of cycles and motorbikes must be worn at all times.
You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). After 12 months you are required to convert to a New Zealand licence. This applies to each visit to New Zealand. In New Zealand all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country.
The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.
The seasons in New Zealand are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer runs from December to March, winter from June to August. Average daily sunshine hours range from 7 to 8 in summer and 4 to 5 in winter. The north has a subtropical climate, whilst the south is temperate. Average temperatures range from 23ºC in summer to 14ºC in winter. Its agreeable climate is perfect for outdoor activities and the atmosphere is as clear and unpolluted as you will find anywhere.
New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer New Zealand uses ‘daylight saving', with clocks put forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, 1 and 2 dollars; notes have values of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to ""rounding"" of amounts either up or down.
International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN encoded. Check with your bank before leaving home.
Banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are widely available at banks, along main shopping streets and in malls.
Goods and Service Tax
All goods and services are subject to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price. Visitors cannot claim this tax back, however when a supplier ships a major purchase to a visitor's home address the GST will not be charged.
Tipping and Service Charges
Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory - even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.
The emergency telephone number in New Zealand is 111. It is a free phone call. If you have an emergency and need a quick response from the Police, the Fire Service, Ambulance or Search and Rescue, dial 111.
Electrical Power Points
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. Most hotels and motels provide 110 volt ac sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. The power outlets only accept flat 3 or 2-pin plugs, so you may require an adapter.
New Zealand's country code is 64. Most public call-phones take cards purchased from bookstalls and newsagents, with a minimum value of 2 New Zealand dollars. Some public call-phones also accept credit cards, but very few accept coins. Mobile (cell) phone network coverage is available throughout New Zealand but you should check with your phone company before leaving home about the international mobile roam facilities available to you. Alternatively Phone Hire New Zealand and Vodafone allow visitors to hire mobile phones or SIM cards.
You will need a RJ45 type plug to be able to connect your laptop into a computer socket in New Zealand, and an adaptor with a flat two or three-point power plug to connect to the power supply.
For further advice and helpful information visit www.newzealand.com