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new zealand visitor information

Most night-spots, restaurants and cafes serve liquor seven days a week. You can purchase alcohol from liquor outlets (beer, wine and spirits) and supermarkets (beer and wine only) seven days a week. Legally you must be 18 years old to buy alcohol or consume it in a public place, and you may be asked for a photo-ID.

Banks are open from 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday. All banks are closed on public holidays.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are widely available at banks, along main shopping streets and in malls.

The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August.

In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC and in winter between 10-15ºC. You can check on weather conditions in New Zealand on the New Zealand Met Service website.

Mean daily maximum/minimum temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit
Sep, Oct, Nov
Dec, Jan, Feb
Mar, Apr, May
Jun, Jul, Aug
Bay of Islands
Temp (C) 19/9 25/14 21/11 16/7
Temp (F) 67/48 76/56 70/52 61/45
Rain days 11 7 11 16
Temp (C) 18/11 24/12 20/13 15/9
Temp (F) 65/52 75/54 68/55 59/48
Rain days 12 8 11 15
Temp (C) 17/7 24/12 18/9 13/4
Temp (F) 63/45 75/54 65/48 55/39
Rain days 11 9 9 13
Temp (C) 15/9 20/13 17/11 12/6
Temp (F) 59/48 68/55 63/52 54/43
Rain days 11 7 10 13
Temp (C) 17/7 22/12 18/8 12/3
Temp (F) 63/45 72/54 65/46 54/37
Rain days 7 7 7 7
Temp (C) 16/5 22/10 16/6 10/1
Temp (F) 61/41 72/50 61/43 50/34
Rain days 9 8 8 7

Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and night-spots. Men are generally not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the top formal bars and restaurants in major cities.

In summer a light jacket or sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or you visit higher altitudes. You can expect some rain, so include a light rainproof jacket or coat. If visiting between May and September, pack warm winter garments and layer your clothing.

credit cards
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.

New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Coins have values of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2; notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Driving On An Alpine Roaddriving in new zealand
Self-driving holidays are one of the most relaxing ways of enjoying New Zealand’s landscape. Many of the roads are scenic and traffic is low when compared to international standards.

You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country, or an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Recent law changes mean all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.

New Zealander's drive on the left hand side of the road. Maximum speed limits in towns and cities are 50 km/h (30mph) and 100 km/h (60mph) on the open road, unless signs indicate alternative speeds. New Zealand's tourist routes are of a generally high standard and the main roads are sealed. Most of the best routes have been named and comprehensively signposted, so there's little chance of getting lost.

For further information on driving in New Zealand, please click here.

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. For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Please note that power outlets only accept flat three or two-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.

emergency numbers
Dial 111 for Ambulance, Police or Fire.

food & restaurants
The range and quality of dining is superb. Be sure to sample New Zealand wine with your meal, even if you don't find time to visit a winery.

Topgeography & population
New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific ocean, between latitude 34'S and 47'S. The country runs roughly north-south with mountain ranges down much of its length. Its two main islands (North and South) cover 266,200 sq km (103,735 sq miles), about the size of Japan or California and slightly larger than Great Britain.

Comparable in size and/or shape to Great Britain, Colorado or Japan, New Zealand has a population of only 4 million - making it one of the world's least crowded countries.

getting around
Getting Around New Zealand With Tranz AlpinePublic 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, with good signposts. Please click here for further information on driving in New Zealand.

goods & services tax
All goods and services are subject to a 12.5% goods and services tax (GST), which is usually displayed in the price.

There are no requirements regarding vaccinations. The water is completely safe to drink although, if you prefer bottled water, it's readily available. New Zealand's public and private medical and hospital facilities provide a high standard of treatment and service but it's not free (except in the case of an accident). Health and/or Travel Insurance therefore is highly recommended. For further information on Travel Insurance please click here.

Detailed New Zealand Map - Click To EnlargeAll 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.

For further entry requirements, please check out the Visiting New Zealand section of the New Zealand Immigration Service website.

interislander ferry
Interislander offers daily ferry services across the Cook Strait – linking Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island – providing transport for passengers and vehicles (cars & campervans). The 92km journey between Wellington and Picton takes only 3 hours and has been described as ‘one of the best ferry rides in the world.. jaw droppingly stunning’.

The 3 hour journey bridges New Zealand’s most fascinating regions. Wellington on the north island is both New Zealand’s political and cultural capital. Marlborough and Nelson on the south island offer a truly unique mix of calm, natural beauty, fine food, wine and adventure.

Interislander offers you the freedom and convenience of exploring all of this by road. You can take your rental vehicle* between islands – just drive on and drive off. *with the exception of Budget vehicles, whereby you drop off the vehicle at one end and pick up another Budget vehicle at the other end.

Interislander offers daily services and 3 passenger vessels – Arahura, Kaitaki and Aratere – catering for passengers, vehicles and rail. The ferry timetable varies. Please confirm the time of ferry with your agent at the time of booking.

Click here for further information and bookings for interislander ferry

English is the common and everyday language of New Zealand. New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and you may hear many other languages spoken, including Maori, which is also an official language of New Zealand.

maps from new zealand
Wellington NightlifePlease click here for a map of New Zealand. Also, click on the following links for a CBD map for each of these cities Auckland Wellington Christchurch Queenstown

Lively DJ and band scenes, particularly in the larger cities, have given New Zealand's night life a renewed vibrancy. You will find a variety of night-clubs, cabarets, pubs, concerts and live performances to choose from, and there are also four casinos, in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.

public holidays

Holiday: 2006 Dates: 2007 Dates: 2008 Dates: 2009 Dates:
New Year 1 - 2 January 1 - 2 January 1 - 2 January 1 - 2 January
Waitangi Day 6 February 6 February 6 February 6 February
Good Friday 14 April 6 April 21 March 10 April
Easter Monday 17 April 9 April 24 March 13 April
ANZAC Day 25 April 25 April 25 April 25 April
Queen's Birthday 5 June 4 June 2 June 1 June
Labour Day 23 October 22 October 27 October 26 October
Christmas Day and Boxing Day 25 - 26 December 25 - 26 December 25 - 26 December 25 & 28 December

New Zealand's rail journeys will take you on a series of spectacular sightseeing trips, all in the comfort of fast, modern trains. Light meals and drinks may be purchased onboard, and a commentary describes scenic highlights and historical spots en route.

Tranz Scenic operates eight long-distance train services in New Zealand, including: The Overlander (Auckland to Wellington) takes you through the central North Island's majestic scenery of native forests, ravines, gorges and volcanic peaks. The TranzCoastal (Picton to Christchurch) runs along the South Island's east coast between snow-capped mountains and rugged coastline. The award-winning TranzAlpine (Christchurch to Greymouth) winds its way through spectacular gorges and river valleys before crossing the snow-capped Southern Alps.

To help make your holiday planning easier, we have split New Zealand into 11 key regions Northland & Bay Of Islands Auckland Central North Island (Bay of Plenty, Lake Taupo) Rotorua Wellington & Lower North Island Marlborough & Nelson West Coast Christchurch & Canterbury Queenstown Fiordland, Wanaka & Mt Cook Dunedin.
For general information, maps and attractions on these regions, please click here.

Shopping In WellingtonMost shops and businesses are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, as a minimum, with late nights usually on Thursday and Friday. Many stores also open Saturdays and some open on Sundays. In resorts you will find most stores open in the evenings. Banks are closed at weekends.

suggested itineraries
For a variety of suggested itineraries for the North Island, South Island and all of New Zealand, please click here.

Toptime differences
New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer New Zealand uses 'daylight saving', with clocks put forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the third Sunday of the following March, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.

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.


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