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Tips for Traveling in New Zealand

Before you arrive

When to come
New Zealand is suitable to visit all year round. Traveling is more pleasant, however, during the warmer summer months (November to April). The Christmas period is the busiest, with the schools holidays in the second half of December and all of January. We, therefore, recommend November, February and April as the best months to travel in New Zealand. Skiing is, of course, only possible during the winter months and is usually best during July and August.

While the Accident Compensation Scheme covers visitors for personal injuries caused by accident, this does not include loss of earnings outside of New Zealand. We highly recommend arranging travel insurance that includes accidents. Order travel insurance online.

Passport, Visas and Vaccinations
Only a passport valid for three months beyond the intended date of leaving the country is necessary for citizens of most countries. We recommend you visit the New Zealand Immigration website for further information. No vaccination certificates are required to enter New Zealand.

What to bring
If you plan to visit New Zealand during the colder months between May and September, bring warm clothes and a waterproof jacket. This is especially important in alpine regions where the weather can change rapidly.
It's also worth noting that the climate is colder the further south you travel - the opposite of the northern hemisphere.
Insect repellent for mosquitoes and sunscreen for the strong sun rays are also important during the summer months. Of course, these can be purchased on arrival.
Because of the importance of agriculture in the economy, strong restrictions are placed on animal products, fruit, plant material, and foodstuffs being bought into the country. Our advice is simply not to bring them. Visitors bringing in a quantity of medication are advised to have a doctor's certificate to avoid possible problems with Customs.

Getting there
New Zealand's three international airports are at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Which one to fly into is indicated when you create your itinerary on this site. Flying times are approximately 3 hours from Australia, 10 hours from Singapore, and 12 hours from the west coast of the United States.
Every person arriving in New Zealand must complete the arrival card handed out on the aircraft. Find the best prices for flights to New Zealand.

When you're there

Key facts
Area: 270,500 sq km
Population: 4.8 million
Capital city: Wellington (population 470,000)
People: 75% European (Pakeha); 10% Maori; 15% Polynesian, Asian and other
Languages: English and Maori
Religion: Predominantly Christian (80%)
Government: Independent member of the British Commonwealth
GDP: USD 220 billion
GDP per head: USD 45,000
Annual growth: 1.5%
Inflation: 0.4%
Major industries: Food processing, wood and paper products, wool, textiles, dairy products, iron and steel
Major trading partners: Australia, Japan, the USA

Health Risks
There are no major health risks in New Zealand. However you should be aware of Giardia, which is a water-borne parasite that causes diarrhea. To avoid it, do not to drink water from lakes, ponds or rivers without first boiling, chemically treating or filtering it.

Meals: Budget US$8-20 (NZ$12-35), Mid-range US$25-40 (NZ$35-60), Top-end US$40 and upwards (>NZ$60)
Accommodation: Budget US$15-30 (NZ$25-50), Mid-range US$30-150 (NZ$50-200), Top-end US$150 and upwards (>NZ$200)
It's possible to travel economically in New Zealand. Budget travelers can expect to get by on less than US$35 (NZ$85) a day if camping or staying in hostels and self-catering. If however, you want to stay at hotels, eat at restaurants and spend money on activities like bungy jumping, be prepared to outlay over US$150 (NZ$200) a day.
All goods and services in New Zealand are subject to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST), included in the displayed price. Visitors cannot claim refunds on this tax, but GST is not charged, on either goods or freight exported by a supplier to a visitor's home address.
You can calculate your total budget in New Zealand dollars and convert into your own currency when you create your itinerary on this site.

Banking and Foreign Exchange
All major credit cards are accepted for the purchase of goods and services. Travelers' checks are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. Bank hours are from 9.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday. International credit cards encoded with a PIN number may be used to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs), widely available in the main shopping. Banks will give cash advances on Visa and MasterCard, but for American Express card transactions you must go to an American Express office.
Most airports and hotels have currency exchange facilities. The currencies of Australia, the UK, Eurozone, USA, Canada and Japan are all easily changed in New Zealand.

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer, on the first Sunday in October, New Zealand has daylight saving when clocks are put forward one hour. Daylight saving finishes on the last Sunday of March.

Most foreign driver licenses are acceptable in New Zealand (check with official guidelines). New Zealanders drive on the left, give way to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right. Most rental car companies will provide a short list of the more important rules.

Tips in New Zealand are optional and are generally given in appreciation of extra good service. You should tip 5-10% of the bill in a restaurant (not in a simple café) if you feel you have received exceptional service.

Mobile network connection
Mobile device roaming and data connection is recommended for making local calls and getting information while traveling in New Zealand. Check prices with your mobile provider for roaming charges or, as an easy option, a prepaid SIM card can be purchased specifically for New Zealand traveling. Unlimited Wi-Fi access can also be purchased to connect multiple devices while traveling and avoid incurring unexpected mobile roaming connection fees.

Information Centers
New Zealand has a network of national visitor information centers that can provide comprehensive information and booking service, seven days a week.
Regional visitor information centers provide general information and booking service, seven days a week, and local information centers provide local information, usually five days a week.