Important Visitor Information – New Zealand, for everything you need to know when planning your holiday to New Zealand.
Visas & useful information
If you bring your laptop or smartphone on your trip, you will be able to use these to access complimentary WIFI (e.g. in hotel lobbies or cafes). Internet is widely available however you may need to purchase a local SIM card. These can be purchased from shops of the major providers such as Telecom, Vodafone and 2 Degrees. In most places in cities and along the main roads, the mobile reception is good. In many places you will also find a number of Internet cafes.
Duty Free in New Zealand
In addition to items of a personal nature (clothing, cameras, clean camping equipment, etc.), visitors over 17 years are allowed the following tax-and duty-free items:
• Tobacco: 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco or 50 cigars respectively. A combination of tobacco products that does not exceed 250g.
• Alcoholic beverages: 4 ½ liter of wine or 4 ½ liters of beer and two bottles of liquor up to 1125ml.
• Other items with a total value of NZD700.
On arrival in New Zealand travelers are asked to fill in a declaration form. To protect the pristine nature and farming New Zealand has strict regulations regarding the importing of food, animals and plants. This is strictly prohibited.
Electricity in New Zealand
Electric devices throughout New Zealand are 230 volts AC (50 Hz). The voltage is slightly higher than in Europe, which, however, has no effect in practice. Very different are the sockets (flat plug). For the connection of razors, hair dryers you will need a world power adapter; these are available in New Zealand.
Food and Drink in New Zealand
New Zealand is a leading export of dairy and meat products, which are mainly meat lamb, beef and game. Local specialities include Tamarillo (tree tomato) or Kumara, the local sweet potato. You can choose from 70 to 80 different tasty fish. Numerous subtropical fruits grow here such as strawberries, apricots, grapes, oranges, grapefruits, artichokes, and asparagus to avocados, kiwis and macadamia nuts.
In the cities, you will find several restaurants, cafes, pubs and bistros where you can eat well for a reasonable price. Many restaurants are BYO (Bring your own) you can bring your own glass of a wine for a nominal corkage fee (about NZD 2 per person).
Wine and beer can be purchased in supermarkets or in “Bottle Stores”, “Wine Shops” or directly at the winery. Spirits can only be purchased in bottle stores. New Zealand is known internationally for its excellent wines, including Sauvignon (white), Chardonnay (white), Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir (red).
Language in New Zealand
In New Zealand English is spoken. However, the Maori language is an official language and is becoming increasingly important.
Currency & costs
In New Zealand, the banking system is well developed. In most large and medium-sized towns you will find a bank, usually with cash machine (ATM). In Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua, Dunedin and Christchurch will find many banks, including Westpac and ANZ bank, where you can do all your banking. The hours are: Mon-Fri 9:00 to 17:00 pm. Also you can find ATMS at airports nationwide.
Taxation in New Zealand
Goods and services in New Zealand a sales tax of 12.5% levied (GST). This tax is not refundable even for the export of items.
Payment in New Zealand
The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (1 NZD = 100 cents). There are coins of 10, 20 and 50 cents, 1 and 2 Dollar. Banknotes come in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar. Credit cards and traveler cheques: MasterCard, Visa, American Express are widely accepted.
Tipping in New Zealand
Tipping is not standard or expected in New Zealand. You are welcome to tip for exceptional service.
When to go
New Zealand is a year round destination. Whether you are looking for nature, culture, relaxation, beach or an adventure holiday you will have an amazing time. The climate makes New Zealand’s weather unpredictable. It can change from one moment to the next, a local saying is New Zealand experiences four seasons in one day. The busiest seasons are summer, December through to February, and the winter, May through to August.
The average temperatures in summer and in winter amounts in the Bay of Islands 25/15 ° C, Auckland 23/14 ° C, in Wellington 20/11 ° C and Christchurch 22/12 ° C. The South Island has the largest temperature differences with hot and dry weather in the north and east and colder in the west and south and wetter weather.
When are the public holidays in New Zealand?
In New Zealand the following public holidays (other than the international holidays of New Year, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas 1st and 2nd) apply
• 6 February Waitangi Day
• 25 April NZAC-Day
• 2 June Queens Birthday
• 27 October Labour Day
In addition, separate holidays are per region for example Auckland Anniversary Weekend.
During school holidays and public holidays, please bear in mind that many New Zealanders themselves going on vacation, and there will be extra pressure on hotels, camping sites, national parks and attractions during this time.
Welcome to New Zealand – Air New Zealands Inflight Briefing
International flights in New Zealand
New Zealand has three international airports in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Most tourists arrive and depart from Auckland International Airport.
The following airlines carriers include international flights:
• Air Caledonie (Noumea [New Caledonia])
• Air New Zealand (Brisbane, Cairns, Hong Kong, Honiara, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Nadi, Noumea, Papeete, Rarotonga, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo)
• Air Nauru
• Air Pacific (Nadi [Fiji])
• Air Vanuatu (Port Vila [Vanuatu])
• Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
• Emirates (Dubai [VAR])
• LAN Airlines (Santiago (Chili)
• Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur)
• Qantas (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
• Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
• Solomon Airlines (Honiara [Solomon Eilanden])
• Virgin Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
From Christchurch by the following airlines operated flights:
• Air New Zealand (Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney Nadi)
• Qantas (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
• Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
From Wellington by the following airlines operated flights:
• Air New Zealand ( Melbourne and Sydney)
• Qantas (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
In the ski season there are direct flights to Australia from Queenstown. All other airports and airstrips serve only domestic traffic.
International departure in New Zealand
The check-in time for international flights from New Zealand is 120 minutes before departure. Airport taxes (“Airport Departure Tax”) currently amounts to 30 NZD per person. This charge is already included in the fare of tickets bought in advance.
Immigration / Customs in New Zealand
Upon entering New Zealand tourists are granted a three month visa. Travelers will need a valid passport with at least one month still valid after the scheduled departure date, a valid return or onward ticket and sufficient funds for your stay fund. You can prove this by cash, traveler’s checks or a credit card. There are no special requirements mandatory vaccinations for tourists. Upon arrival a “Arrival Card” “must be completed with personal information. This will be distributed on the board the aircraft.
On arrival in New Zealand, the passenger asked to fill in a declaration. Brought about any food, plants and products of animal origin To protect the pristine nature and farming New Zealand has strict regulations regarding the importation of food, animals and plants. This can not be entered.
There are affordable Airport Shuttle services between airports and most city hotels in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
• Bus: New Zealand has an extensive intercity bus network, which almost all cities and main roads are included.
• Train: There is a reliable but limited rail network. Most trails offer wonderful scenic views. On the South Island, the Tranz Alpine Express runs: one of the six most special train journeys in the world. The train ride offers spectacular views of the Southern Alps to the West Coast and Greymouth.
• Taxi : Taxis can be found virtually everywhere in New Zealand. Most taxis have a meter. All airports are taxis available. Auckland Airport is 23 km from the city.
• Domestic Flights: Air New Zealand (NZ) and JetStar (QF) fly domestically.
Domestic flights in New Zealand
Domestic flights are possible in New Zealand with Air New Zealand and JetStar. Food and beverages can be purchased on board.
Both the airport in Auckland and Christchurch have a separate terminal for domestic flights. There is a free shuttle bus between the terminals or alternatively you can walk. Your luggage for the international flight can be checked through to your domestic airport and vice versa so you don’t have to lug your heavy luggage with you.
Air New Zealand domestic schedule includes flights almost every two hours to the three major cities of Auckland , Christchurch and Wellington. There are also daily flights from these three cities to regional airports such as Bay of Islands (Kerikeri), Chatham Islands, Dunedin, Gisborne, Greymouth, Invercargill, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth and Queenstown .
In addition to Air New Zealand airlines, there are a number of regional airlines operating flights to, for example, Cape Reinga, Coromandel, Fiordland National Park (Te Anau), Franz Josef, Kaikoura, Mount Cook National Park and Stewart Island. There are also a number of places opportunities to make sightseeing flights over national parks.
Driving in New Zealand
The two main islands of New Zealand are great to explore by rental car. The roads are well maintained and outside the main cities of Auckland and Wellington traffic is very quiet. The various islands off the coast of the North Island and South Island, including Stewart Island, are less capable, because of their size and the dirt roads. The maximum speed limit is 100 km on motorways and in residential areas 50 km / h. The signage is good, navigation systems work fine. Throughout New Zealand, you will find plenty of petrol stations. Particularly in the South Island, you should keep in mind that outside the large and medium-sized places few stations can be found.
We can hire cars and campers make reservations for you at various locations in New Zealand. The main pick ups are Auckand and Christchurch the international gateways to the country. Also at the ferry terminals, you can pick up or drop off a rental car, therefore you do not need to take on the Interislander Ferry with your car.
The insurance requirements vary by Rental Company. On the spot you (as driver) needs to pick up the car and have a valid driving license and credit card (we also recommend taking an international driver’s license). The minimum age is 21 years as a driver. Young drivers are charged an excess.
Tranz Alpine – Train Journey Through New Zealand
The TranzAlpine is high on the list most beautiful train journeys in the world! This legendary ride on the South Island takes you from Christchurch to Greymouth – or vice versa – and lasts more than 4 hours. Find Out More here.
Camping in New Zealand
Free camping is not permitted without RV toilet and waste water tank. Failure to comply with these rules may result in fines. Exceptions are vehicles with a “Freedom Camping Certificate”. All campers with toilet can rent such a certificate. The largest chain of campgrounds in New Zealand is the Top 10 Holiday Parks. Most rental companies offer a 10% discount card for this campsite. The campsites have good facilities such as power and water and a central place to dump sewage.
Health & safety
New Zealand is a safe country. In larger cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, where many tourists come, you must be mindful of petty crimes. We recommend that you do not leave valuables unattended in your car or camper.
Health in New Zealand
The climate of New Zealand is pleasant. No special medical precautions are required. However as with any travelling its recommended to visit your GP before you travel.
In New Zealand, almost no dangerous or poisonous animals occur. The most dangerous animal is probably the shark. Within the reefs in the lagoons you see at most small harmless reef sharks. The larger shark species – such as the hammer head, tiger shark and the great white shark – like deep water, and it therefore really only shows off the lagoons.
Emergency numbers in New Zealand
If you are in need of emergency assistance from police, fire and / or ambulance, you can use the following emergency numbers:
• Police: 111
• Fire Department: 111
• Ambulance: 111
With a mobile phone you can call international numbers 112 and 911.
Sunburn in New Zealand
The atmosphere above New Zealand is not polluted. There for the sunlight on this part of earth is unobstructed. It is strongly recommend to wear a hat and apply sunscreen regularly.
History & culture
Historically, New Zealand is a young country. Uninhabited for millions of years, until the arrival of the first Maori. According to legends, they came around the year 925 in their catamarans and canoes from Hawaiki and French Polynesia. The story goes that Kupe, a great Maori navigator, his people about the great ocean led to Aotearoa (New Zealand), which means the land of the big white cloud. He looked and explored the islands and then returned to the Hawaiki with enthusiastic stories. Only around 1200 were the Maoris back to New Zealand, due to overcrowding, disease and tribal warfare in Hawaiki.
Yet New Zealand was inhabited for hundreds of years by primitive tribes who were from the islands of East Polynesia. They were called the Morioris and they probably crossed over to New Zealand and the Chatham Islands around 700. They were hunters and fishermen and farmers to a limited extent. They have been largely responsible for the extinction of the moa, a large wingless bird. With a lack of weapons the Moriori stood no chance against the warlike Maori. In 1933, the last full-blooded Moriori died.
In 1642 Dutchman Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand. He was on his way to Batavia, commissioned by the Dutch East India Company. He anchored his ship on the West Coast of the South Island. He was not received kindly by the Maoris and several members of his crew were slain by the Maoris (cannibals). The newly discovered land was called “States Country” and later changed to New Zealand, in honor of the province of Zeeland where so many heroes came from. Tasman sailed further north along the west coast of the North Island. Tasman reported that the population was so hostile that trade is not yet a worthwhile endeavor.
In 1769, Captain James Cook set foot on land and claimed the area for England. Hereafter regularly visited European traders and whalers New Zealand, in particular hunting seals was made.
New Zealand British colony
The first whalers reached New Zealand in the early 19th century. They were from Tasmania and Australia and settled in the Bay of Islands, the northern part of North Island.
On February 6, 1840 a treaty was signed between the Maori and the British, the “Treaty of Waitangi”. With this treaty the Maori recognized the sovereignty of Great Britain and in turn Maori received the same rights as British. In this treaty it also recognized the possession of their land. This later resulted in major problems of interpretation.
The English and Maori were given by the treaty in principle, equal rights, but in practice dominated the British. There was a huge influx of British settlers. The British bought large scale land of the Maori. The Maoris thought they still possessed all New Zealand soil.
New Zealand Independence
In 1947 New Zealand became an independent, autonomous member of the British Commonwealth. On January 1, 1951 the House of Lords was abolished. The focus on the agricultural economy of New Zealand flourished in the fifties as never before and the income of New Zealanders were very high.
New Zealand has about 4.2 million inhabitants. About 70% of the population is of European origin; mainly from the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Ireland, but also include South Africa. Maoris make up about 14.7% share of the population and are the indigenous people of New Zealand. The remaining approximately 15% is mainly Asians and Oceanian.
Geography of New Zealand
The main land masses of New Zealand are the North Island and the South Island, which are separated by the Cook Strait. The highest peak of New Zealand is in Aoraki / Mount Cook (3754 m) mountain range in the South Island.
The North Island is less mountainous and more volcanic. From about the middle of the island is a volcanically active area to the northeast. The highest peak on the North Island Mount Ruapehu; an active volcano with a height of 2797 m, also a popular ski field.
Surface wise Stewart Island’s third largest island of New Zealand. It lies 30 km south of the South Island, and is separated by the Foveaux Strait. The highest peak is Mount Stewart Island Anglem (980 m). By population Waiheke Island is the third island, 18 miles off the coast of Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf lies. Furthermore, New Zealand consists of numerous small islands, including the Antipodes Islands, part of which is uninhabited.
New Zealand is the most geographically isolated country in the world. The nearest neighbor is Australia, which is about 2000 km northwest of which New Zealand is separated by the Tasman Sea. To the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. The only major land mass to the south is Antarctica.
Economy of New Zealand
New Zealand is a modern industrialized nation with a free market economy and relies heavily on imports and exports. The main export products are meat (mainly mutton and beef), dairy products (especially butter and milk), fruits (especially kiwifruit), fish and timber. Most imported products are machinery, vehicles, petroleum and electronic equipment. The main import and export partners are Australia, the United States and Japan. Other strong markets are the film industry and tourism. Since 1980, most radio and television stations, the telecommunications company, the postal services and railways privatized.
Politics in New Zealand
From the first settlement of Europeans in New Zealand there have been frequent disagreements between Maori and Europeans (which are called Pakeha). In an attempt to end the disputes over land, an end was signed by some Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown the Treaty of Waitangi on Thursday, February 6, 1840. From that time, New Zealand is an independent British colony and there were agreements on the allocation of land. This treaty operates to this day as a kind of constitution of New Zealand.
As a result of violations of the Convention by the various parties, tensions often run high. Between 1845 and 1872 many conflicts took place known as the ‘New Zealand Wars’ or ‘The Land Wars’ together. The ‘Dog Tax War “in 1890 was the last major armed conflict. Even then, not all disagreements resolved, but often they are resolved in court.
The years after the war, New Zealand maintains a strong link with the United Kingdom although it gained full independence in 1947. In 1967, the country shifted from the Pound to the dollar (and introduced the imperial measurement system replacing the metric).
New Zealand is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the head of state is Elizabeth II of New Zealand, which is represented by a Governor-General.
Education of New Zealand
New Zealand gives high priority to education and illiteracy is very rare. Free education is compulsory for all children between five and sixteen years. Most also start than with education in their fifth year and have often been followed before kindergarten, all subsidized by the state. Kohanga Reo kindergarten and Te Kura Kaupapa are language schools for Maori. Private schools often have a religious background.
There are about 2300 primary schools and 350 secondary schools. New Zealand has seven universities and a number of teacher training and technical training. There are two higher Maori education, “Te wananga O Raukawa” Otaki and “Te wananga O Aotearoa” in Awamutu.
Religion in New Zealand
According to the 2006 census, Christianity is still the most common religion, even though the number of Christians is to decline sharply. In 2006, 55.6% of the population follow Christianity, while there were still nearly 61% five years earlier (2001 census). Ten years earlier (1996 census), there were still 64%. Fifteen years earlier, there were 70% (1991 census) Christians, according to Statistics New Zealand.
The Anglican Church of New Zealand and the Roman Catholic Church are the main denominations. Both approximately 13% of the population. The number of Anglicans decreased in five years from 585,000 to 555,000 while the number of Catholics has increased from 486,000 to 508,000. The proportion of the population who reported that they have no religion has increased significantly during the same period from 29.6% (2001 census) to 34.7% (2006 census), an increase of 1% per year.
Sport and Culture in New Zealand
The New Zealand culture is a fusion of Maori and European culture. One way you see this come to live is the Haka preformed before each rugby game. The most popular sport is rugby and if the national team – the All Blacks – plays, many New Zealanders are glued to the TV. Other popular sports are cricket and golf. Adventure sports and the great outdoors is popular with most kiwis. With favorite pastimes including camping, hiking, kayaking and sailing.
English spoken in New Zealand, is characterized mainly by the “e” which is more pronounced like “I”
See some examples below of “Kiwi slang”:
• Mate = friend
• Not much chop = not very good
• See ya = bye
• Wops wops = in the middle of nowhere
• Bach = small holiday home (pronounced batch)
• Brekkie = Short for breakfast
• Sweet as = Fantastic
• Egg = Idiot (but in a playful way)
• Pissed off = Angry
• Take the piss = to make fun of
• Yeah nah = no
• Oh true = understanding of something
• Tiki tour = to take a scenic/longer route. Comes from Contiki tour.
Te Reo Maori
Aotearoa the “land of the long white cloud”, is the Maori name for New Zealand. Maori is spoken by more than 3% of the population and Maori themselves speak both languages. The number of Maori still talking among themselves is less and less, however there has been alot of emphasis in recent years to revive the language.
The Maori alphabet has only fifteen letters: a, e, h, i, k, m, n, o, p, r, t, u, w, ng, and wh. The last letter is pronounced as a hard f. The Maori has no s-sounds.
There are many Maori words that are used in everyday life by Kiwis these include the following:
• Aroha = love
• Haere mai = welcome
• Hui = meeting to discuss a specific topic
• Ka pai – all good / well done
• Ke te pai – Im good
• Whanau = family
• Kai = food
• Kia Ora = hello
• Chur bro = Great/Cool/Thanks and bro (short for brother meaning friend). Similar to cheers bro.
• Pakeru = Something is broken
Car & Campervan Rental
New Zealand is an ideal holiday destination to explore individually by car. The roads are good, the directions are clearly marked and the traffic is quiet.
You should take note that New Zealand consists of two main islands. If you have both the North-and South Island visit, you can use the Interislander Ferry. When renting your car or camper through Apollo or Budget you can arrange to leave you rental at the crossing and pick up a new rental once you reach the other island. This date should be booked in advance.
Please note that most car rental companies offer standard basic insurance with a relatively high deductible (excess). We advise you to reduce the close of this excess by purchasing supplementary insurance .
The driver must be at least 21 years old with an international driving license and a credit card.
The following are the recommended car rental companies in New Zealand:
• Apollo Carhire
• Budget Carhire
• Ezi-Rent Carhire
• Go Rentals Carhire
• Maui Carhire
• Britz Carhire
As for nights on the way there are many possibilities. You can opt for hotels, motels and lodges or camping. We advise you – especially in the high season to reserve your accommodation (December and January), otherwise you will lose a lot of time searching for a place to stay.
Campers & Motorhomes
You can choose from a wide range of campers, from 2 to 6 persons. The rental companies have depots in Auckland and Christchurch , and some also in Wellington and Queenstown . Experience shows that the campers are very popular in the New Zealand summer (especially mid-December to late January). We advise you to book early.
The following are the recommended car rental companies in New Zealand:
• Apollo Motorhomes
• Cheapa Campa
• Britz Motorhomes
• Mighty Camper
• Maui Motorhomes
• Star RV Campers
• United Campervans
• Kea Camper
As for nights on the way there are many possibilities. You can opt for private campgrounds (such as the Top 10 Holiday Parks) and camping in the national parks. The campgrounds often have great facilities and are located on the most beautiful spots in New Zealand.