Travel to New Zealand
New Zealand is a relatively remote island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
Geographically it comprises of two separate islands; the North Island and the South Island and 600 or more smaller offshore islands. It’s closest neighbour is Australia, located 2000 km to the east across the Tasman Sea. 1000 km to the north lie the South Pacific islands of Fiji and Tonga.
The remoteness of its location meant that New Zealand was settled fairly late in world history although Polynesians settled here as early as 1250 AD, giving rise to the Maori culture. This isolation also resulted in a unique biodiversity of flora and fauna.
Presently, the majority of the population comprises of people of European descent with the Maori being the largest minority group, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Accordingly, official languages in New Zealand are English and Maori.
New Zealand is a highly developed country meeting high standards with regards to quality of life, healthcare, education and economic standards. Tourism is an important source of the country’s revenue.
Travelers visit New Zealand for its stunning unspoiled natural beauty, great weather, outdoor adventures, the unique wildlife, the accessibility of the country, the wine and the local culture. This hits just the tip of the iceberg.
We hope that this carefully prepared travel guide will ease your travel planning and encourage you to plan a future trip to New Zealand.
Visa Requirements for New Zealand
Foreign nationals of Australia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and a host of other select countries do not require a New Zealand tourist visa. Check the list of Visa Free countries that applies for New Zealand.
Only Australians and permanent residents can enter New Zealand as visitors to work.
Nationals from countries that do not feature on the Visa Free List should refer to the New Zealand Immigration Page for further details.
If you require a New Zealand visa application, you can apply for it in a New Zealand Diplomatic Post in your home country or a British Embassy in the absence of one.
Please check the current guidelines, of the visa requirements for your country and ways to get a New Zealand visa before you travel to New Zealand.
Important Cultural Information
The majority of New Zealand’s population identifies themselves as having European descent. There is an indigenous Maori minority, people of African and American descent and Polynesians occupying the other minorities.
English and Maori are the main official languages of New Zealand. New Zealanders or Kiwis as they are called, have an accent that has a prominent nasal tone and flattened vowel sounds.
New Zealanders are a polite group of people, as a rule, but may seem to be a little aloof or distant at first acquaintance. Always remember to be polite. Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Tipping in New Zealand is not practiced. Don’t be surprised if your tip is refused or met with amusement.
The New Zealand way of expressing something is often understated. This is considered part of the polite behavior etiquette. New Zealanders dislike discussion related to disclosure of wealth, property or income.
Experiencing the Maori culture is a popular tourist pastime. Remember to be respectful and quiet during a particular ceremony or ritual.
Banking & Money in New Zealand
The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). This is mostly, the only currency accepted in the country.
Coin denominations are 10c (copper color), 20c (silver with Maori carving), 50c (silver with Cook’s ship – The Endeavour), 1 dollar (gold with a kiwi) and 2 dollar (gold, with a heron).
Banknotes come in $5 (orange with Sir Edmund Hillary), $10 (blue with Kate Sheppard), $20 (green with Queen Elizabeth II), $50 (purple with Sir Apirana Ngata) and $100 denominations (red with Lord Rutherford).
ATMs are widely available in almost every small or big town. Many shops have Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (Eftpos) terminals for credit card and debit card purchases. A minimum purchase amount is usually required, however, to avail of this facility. Diners Club and AMEX may have lower acceptability with some retailers. Cards with a CHIP and PIN system are used in New Zealand. ATM’s may not accept cards without a CHIP.
Some of the major banks in New Zealand are ANZ Bank New Zealand, Bank of New Zealand, Kiwibank, Rabobank New Zealand, TSB Bank and Westpac New Zealand.
Medical Emergency Information
Some Emergency numbers to keep at hand when visiting New Zealand include the following:
- 111 – for Fire, Police or an ambulance in emergency
- 105 – for non-emergency situations when you want to contact the police
- 555 – reporting of minor traffic incident from a mobile phone
- 0800 611 116 – for Helpline – advice on medical issues
- 018 – National Directory
- 010 – National Operator
Major hospitals in New Zealand include:
- Auckland City Hospital
- Bellevue Hospital in Auckland (Private)
- Bowen Hospital in Wellington
- Hutt Hospital in Wellington
- Wellington Hospital
- Mercy Hospital Dunedin
- Christchurch Hospital
To be sure, you should have travel insurance for New Zealand. Make sure to get good travel insurance for New Zealand beforehand. Compare options with both WorldNomads and SafetyWing.