Travel Trips for New Zealand
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about travel to New Zealand.
Feel free to call us, if we don't know the answer we'll make one up for you!
The kiwi, New Zealand’s national emblem, is a flightless bird with hair-like feathers and a long, slender bill, which it uses to pull worms and insects out of the ground. Found only in New Zealand, it is active at night in the wilderness areas of the country. Be sure to visit one of the many kiwi houses where you can watch them under special ‘nocturnal’ lighting.
The 4,350,000 people that live in New Zealand often refer to themselves as Kiwis, and the term is also used as a short form for the famous kiwifruit. On the stock exchange, the New Zealand Dollar is also referred to as ‘the kiwi’.
The weather in New Zealand
New Zealand’s seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. New Zealand has four quite distinct seasons: Spring (Sept-Nov), Summer (Dec-Feb), Autumn/Fall (Mar-May) and Winter (June-Aug). In summer there’s plenty of sunshine, and activities in and around the water include rafting, snorkeling, diving and kayaking. You’ll find snow on the mountains in winter and excellent skiing. Away from the mountains, New Zealand winters are mild and temperatures generally do not fall below freezing. Weather link
Medical and Emergency Facilities
You will encounter few health hazards when traveling in any part of New Zealand. Standards of hygiene are high, particularly in food preparation. Doctors and dentists are highly trained and hospitals are well equipped. Medical and emergency facilities are available but are not free to visitors. Please arrange for insurance coverage before you depart the United States and/or should check with your medical insurance company as to what type of coverage, if any, they might give you while you are out of the United States. If there are any doubts as to your coverage, you should consider getting a comprehensive health insurance policy for your journey in case of illness or accident. Comprehensive travel insurance can be purchase through our office and is highly recommended.
Most health care providers in Australia will treat you first, and ask for your money second. If you have no coverage, you will be expected to pay immediately for services. In the event of illness, your hotel can call a doctor, refer you to one, or you can ask your embassy, high commission or consulate for a list of approved doctors.
Visitors are permitted to bring reasonable quantities of prescribed (non-narcotic) medications. All should be clearly labeled and identifiable. For large quantities, it is advisable to bring a doctor's certificate to produce to Customs if necessary, and to a doctor if required. Local pharmacies are called "chemists."
Experts say the best way to deal with jet lag is to:
All in all, jet lag is not too much of a problem - don't let it interfere with the enjoyment of your wonderful vacation!
In New Zealand you drive on the left side of the road. Please take care when crossing the road or driving for the first few days.
An international driver's license is not required; a valid United States driver's license and passport is accepted.
United States Customs on Your Return
U.S. Customs allows returning residents to bring back goods up to the value of $200 per person duty free. Some restrictions apply to the maximum amount of alcohol and tobacco that can be brought in duty free, not withstanding this limit. This is a basic policy and there are various rules and exemptions. If you have any questions, you should check directly with the U.S. Customs Department prior to your departure to get accurate and up to date information.
Farmstays are an ideal way to get to meet local people and experience a slice of New Zealand rural life. Depending on the kind of farm, you may get the chance to share home cooked meals with your hosts and join in with milking cows, shearing sheep, lambing, kiwifruit harvesting or whatever else is happening on the farm.
Packing for the trip
New Zealand is a casual outdoorsy country, which is reflected in the locals’ attire. To be prepared for any weather, use the layer system. Wear a t-shirt, but carry a fleece and lightweight waterproof jacket in a daypack so you’re ready for all conditions. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. We provide you with a packing list with your final documentation.
Documents that are needed
All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country. Most visitors who intend to stay for less than three months do not require a visa. If you want to stay longer than three months, or your country of origin does not have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, then you will need to apply for a Visitor’s Visa.
Time and date changes
On the way to New Zealand you’ll skip a day on the calendar when you cross the dateline, but the reverse happens on the way back so you really haven’t lost anything. Here’s how it works: If you leave the US on a Monday evening, you’ll arrive in New Zealand on Wednesday morning. If you leave New Zealand on a Monday you’ll arrive back in the US on Monday, the same day.
Time zone: +12
Daylight savings: Last Sunday in October to last Sunday in March.
Currency and Credit Cards
The New Zealand dollar (NZ$) is the standard currency and one dollar equals 100 cents. Notes come in $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 denominations. Coins come in 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. You will notice that bank notes are more colorful and that the different value notes vary in size. Exchange rates change daily. US dollar travelers checks can be cashed at all airport exchange facilities, hotels and banks.
A cash withdrawal of up to $200 per day can be made using a Visa or Mastercard at any bank. ATM cards can be used at most retail locations so long as they have been validated for international access. Cardholders must use their personal identification number (PIN) when obtaining cash or services. Contact your local bank or credit card provider for information on availability and service charges.
You will get a better exchange rate, generally, converting your US dollars in New Zealand. However, we do recommend you have on hand a small amount of cash in New Zealand dollars for small purchases and taxis before you go. We can purchase this from our foreign exchange dealer for you, please allow at least two weeks. When converting US funds to local funds, be sure to only do this at a bank. Do not use the hotel or currency exchange services because the exchange rates are not nearly as favorable.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted on much the same basis as they are in the United States. Small country stores and discount stores are not likely to accept anything other than cash, but the large stores in the towns and cities will generally accept these cards without any bother and with no surcharge. Mastercard is sometimes also referred to as "Bankcard" which is the same thing.
American Express and Diners Care are also accepted in New Zealand but be sure to have a Visa or Mastercard as a backup.
We would encourage you to use a credit card to pay for things whenever possible. You get a very good exchange rate with credit cards and you have a good record of the transaction to refer back to. Also, if there is an unexpected problem, the credit card company might help you in any future dispute with the company from whom you bought the item.
One last suggestion: Try and spend your foreign currency before you come back , i.e. in the last few days. Preferentially, use up most of it so that you do not have to go through the bother and cost of reconverting it back to US dollars upon your return.
Languages & Mobile Network
New Zealanders speak English and Maori.
Mobile network: GSM
In New Zealand the electric current is 230 volts, AC 50 Hz and the 3-pin plug (slant pin outlet) is different from that in some countries so you will need an adapter. Be sure to check any appliance you are thinking of taking. If it has a 240-volt switch it is okay. If not, you will need a voltage converter.
Tipping and Taxes
New Zealanders do not tip. Kiwi's do not depend on tips for their income, and tips are not expected for normal service. All employees are paid a fair wage and do not need tips to live on. It is the same when you take a taxi. It is not customary to tip hairdressers or barbers.
While a tip would probably be accepted if you choose to give one, we would encourage you not to tip at all. New Zealanders are proud of the fact that their country give good service "for free" and hope that you will start acting like a local, keeping your money in your pocket!
New Zealand sales tax is generally included in the price of all goods and is not added at time of purchase. Most stores, however, will deduct taxes levied on opal jewelry when overseas purchasers show their passports and airline tickets.