Travel Tips For New Zealand

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.

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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.

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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.

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Wi-Fi and Internet in New Zealand

Places in New Zealand where you might be able to access free internet include public libraries. The Auckland City Public Library provides 1GB of data a day at no charge. Different libraries may have different rules.

Vouchers for Internet access may be bought from Starbucks cafes although McDonalds cafes may offer free internet access. Wireless hotspots are located in and around the city and can be accessed by buying vouchers from service providers.

Internet cafes are available in New Zealand but may not be very cheap with steep hourly rates. Internet access at airports and hotels may similarly, draw a fee. Make sure to set-up a VPN before using public Wi-Fi spots.

The country code for New Zealand is 64.

There are three major mobile carriers in New Zealand. They include Spark (4G network on 850MHz and supplementary 2100 MHz in metro areas), Vodafone (4G LTE on 700MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz and a nationwide 3G network on 900 MHz with supplementary 2100 MHz coverage and a GSM network), 2degrees (4G LTE on 1800 MHz and 700 MHz in Auckland and 3G in most towns) and Skinny Direct (providing large data packages and talk time for low prices).

Vodafone provides a visitor SIM package for travelers. Prepaid SIM cards from Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees come with preloaded credit.

Arrival in New Zealand

New Zealand is a long distance away from all other countries. Even its most proximal country, Australia, is a minimum of 3 hours away by air.

The main international airports are in Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin. Many different airlines fly into Auckland, which is a major hub and is connected with international destinations on nearly every continent.

Auckland International Airport (AKL) is located near Mangere, a suburb about 21 km south of Auckland city centre. The airport handles about 70% of New Zealand’s international air traffic. The airport is connected to the city via SkyBus express buses. Two state highways – State Highway 20A and 20B connect the airport to the city.

Christchurch has direct flights to destinations in Australia and Singapore. New Zealand also has direct flights between several South Pacific Islands.

Search for flights to New Zealand on Expedia.

There are also a few cruise liners that travel to New Zealand. Search for cruises to New Zealand here.

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