Current time in NZ is
Imagine the geography of Europe wrapped up in a much smaller package - that's New Zealand. There are alps and glaciers, fiords, sweeping green plains, volcanoes, majestic forests, sparkling lakes and beautiful beaches. Mountain ranges extend down much of the length of the country.
And there's a surprising amount of space for such a small package. The population is under 4 million people with the vast majority of them living in the three main cities of Auckland and Wellington on the North Island and Christchurch in the south. Auckland is the largest city and Wellington is the capital.
English is spoken and, in spite of what the locals will tell you, they do speak with an excent (sorry, accent). You will come across many Maori words as well, especially in place names.
The seasons are quite pronounced and the weather can be changeable but temperatures only vary about 10 degrees between winter and summer. The north of NZ is sub-tropical and the south is temperate. Rainfall is higher on the west coast and snow is largely confined to the central part of the North Island (Mt Ruapehu area) and the Southern Alps.
For a current New Zealand 4 day weather forecast, click here.
All visitors must have a valid passport with at least three months validity beyond the date of departure and a ticket for return or onward travel. Tourist visas are granted on arrival, free of charge, for a stay of up to 3 months for most countries including visitors from Australia and the United States of America.
There are three international airports, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Most travellers arrive via Auckland. If a New Zealand holiday is a stopover on the way to or from Australia, it may be worth considering Auckland - Christchurch - Australia (or vice-versa). NZ Customs operates a Dual Channel System - the Red and Green Channels - for clearance of air travellers.
Note: Your baggage may be examined by Customs whether you take the Red or Green Channels.
Travellers over the age of 17 can import 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, 1 x 1125ml bottle of spirits or liqueur and 4.5 litres of wine (6 x 750ml bottles) and up to NZ$700 per passenger of any duty free goods. There are airside duty free lounges in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
An airport user fee of NZ$20 is payable by all international passengers 12 years and over departing from Auckland and NZ$25 from Wellington and Christchurch. Children aged 2 - 11 pay NZ$10 from Wellington.
All goods and services are subject to a 12.5% tax (GST) which is usually displayed in the price. Visitors cannot claim a refund on this tax but if a supplier agrees to transport a major item to a visitor's home address, GST is not charged on the goods or the freight.
All major credit cards are welcomed by most hotels, restaurants, shops, car rental companies and tour operators. Provided they are encoded with a PIN, international credit cards may be used to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines which are widely available in shopping centres and malls.
Normal banking hours are from 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday. All banks are closed on public holidays.
are no requirements regarding vaccinations. The water is completely
safe to drink although, if you prefer bottled water, it's readily
New Zealand is one of the safest holiday destinations in the world but occasionally visitors can fall victim to petty crime (as they can anywhere!) Common sense should prevent this happening - lock unattended vehicles, don't leave cameras or other valuables lying about and use hotel safes for valuable. For more information on comprehensive travel insurance, click here.
transport is efficient and taxis are metered. Unless you take an organised
coach tour, we recommend a self-drive holiday. It's the ideal way
to get around, giving you the freedom to go where you want and when.
The roads are excellent are posted with good signs.
Most hotels have direct dialing facilities. Check with the operator for long distance and international charges, which may also be found in the telephone directory. The international country IDD code for New Zealand is 64. Mobile customers are advised to check with their network operators for their roaming status before travelling to New Zealand. Mobile reception on the whole is good as are on-line facilities for email sending/collecting.
Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
your country is on daylight savings, add one hour to above time. From
October to March, NZ time moves ahead one hour with its own daylight
Retail stores in New Zealand are open 7 days a week in the suburban shopping malls, however are closed on Good Friday, Anzac Day & Christmas Day.
New Zealand is a great destination for the disabled traveller. Apart from the sights being so accessible, the law requires that every new building and major reconstruction provide reasonable and adequate access for people with disabilities. Every motel and hotel must have units with accessible facilities.
Autumn and winter can be quite cold (see climate) and dressing in layers to put on or take off as required is a good idea. Coastal areas in summer are usually warm enough to go out in the evenings without a jacket, but it's still worth taking one (or a light jumper) in case the weather turns cooler. In the west and Fiordland you can expect some rain so a light waterproof jacket or coat is recommended.
The New Zealand scenery is so spectacular nearly every visitor will take home photos that look like postcards. You should also take a camera to any traditional Maori ceremonies. Because of the exchange rate it can be worth having your photos processed before heading home.
230/240 volts, 50 hertz (same for Australia and most of the South Pacific).
The range and quality of dining is superb. For a selection of fine restaurants, click here. Be sure to sample New Zealand wine with your meal, even if you don't find time to visit a winery.
Tipping, even in restaurants is not expected. New Zealanders do not depend on tips for their income but if a visitor wishes to tip in appreciation for special service, attention or kindness, that's fine too. A tip of more than 10% would be over-generous. Service charges are not normally added to hotel or restaurant bills.
At the Airport...
The TravelOnline Trademark (TM) is registered to Travel Online Pty Ltd.
Web Site � 2002 Travel Online Pty Ltd.