FAQs and Travel Tips
1. Where is New Zealand?
New Zealand is notable for its geographic isolation: it is situated about 2,000Â kms (1250 miles) southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea and its closest neighbors to the north are New Caledonia, the Cook Islands and Fiji.
2. How long does it take to get there?
It is a short hop of around 3 hours from Auckland to Sydney and likewise to Rarotonga (Cook Islands), Nadi (Fiji) and Noumea (New Caledonia). Auckland is a 12 hour, non-stop flight from LAX and 13 hours from SFO.
3. What documentation do I need to enter NZ?
All visitors must have a current passport, valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from New Zealand.
4. Do I need a Visa?
Most visitors to New Zealand do not require visas unless they intend to work, study or seek employment. We advise you to check with your local travel authority.
5. How do I pay for things?
New Zealand’s currency is based on dollars ($) and cents (c). There areÂ five notes ($5, $10, $20, $50, $100) and five coins (10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2). Trading bank hours are 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Most banks are not open Saturday, Sunday or public holidays. Currency exchange facilities are available at the International Airports – hours of trading link with arrival and departure times. Travellers cheques can be changed at banks, bureaux de change, hotels and trading establishments in cities and towns.
6. Are Credit Cards accepted?
Paying by credit card is widely accepted throughout New Zealand. Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club and American Express cards are commonly used. Please note credit cards with â€śSmart cardâ€ť technology, which often have no magnetic strip, arenâ€™t accepted everywhere in New Zealand. You may experience problems using these cards, and we therefore recommend you contact you card provider for further information before arriving in New Zealand.
7. What if something happens while in NZ?
All emergency services can be contacted throughout New Zealand by dialling 111. New Zealand’s medical and hospital services are both public and private. Medical services are not free to visitors (except as a result of an accident). It is strongly recommended that visitors purchase health insurance.
8. There are no snakes or dangerous wild animals in New Zealand.Should I buy travel insurance?
Yes. But you donâ€™t need any special shots for NZ and there are no major epidemics or infectious diseases
9. What is the measurement system?
Cook Islanders use the metric system for weights and measures and the Celsius scale for measuring temps.
10. What about taxes?
All goods and services (except certain financial transactions) in New Zealand are subject to a government 12.5% Goods and Services Tax, commonly known as GST. Overseas visitors cannot claim back GST, however some stores sell goods to overseas visitors exclusive of GST provided you show proof of onward travel arrangements (i.e. departure ticket). It is possible to purchase duty free and GST exempt goods upon arrival at all international airports in New Zealand.
11. What if I want to drive on my own?
Reciprocal driving rights exist between New Zealand and most other countries. Most rental car companies will ask for an International Driverâ€™s Licence. The driver will need to be 21 years of age. Driving in New Zealand is on the left hand side of the road. The majority of roads are one lane wide in each direction and sealed.
12. Will I be understood?
English is the common language of New Zealanders with indigenous Maori the second official language. Japanese, Korean, and major European languages are also spoken in some restaurants, hotels, visitor centres and by tour guides. In New Zealand translators are available for most languages.
13. What if I have to plug something in?
Electricity is supplied at 230 volts, 50 hertz. Hotels and motels provide 110 volt 20 watt sockets for electric razors only. Most power sockets in New Zealand accept three-pin plugs or similar international adapters
14. Is NZ a safe destination?
New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, with a relatively low crime rate, few endemic diseases and a first-class healthcare and accident compensation system. Wellington has also been designated a World Health Organization (WHO) Safe Community – the only capital city of any country to currently be recognised in this way. However, we recommend you observe the same precautions with your personal safety and your possessions as you would in any other country or at home.
15. What is the time difference?
New Zealand Standard Time is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight Saving Time (an advancement of one hour per day) is observed from early October until late March.
16. What is the policy on tipping?
Employees in New Zealand do not depend or expect tips as part of their income but recognition for good service is always appreciated.
17. Is the water safe to drink?
All New Zealand cities and towns have excellent public water supplies; tap (faucet) water is fresh and safe to drink.
18. Can I stay electronically connected?
New Zealand is technologically one of the most advanced countries in the world. It has a pervasive Wi-Fi network, providing near complete wireless coverage in major cities with an array of Internet facilities in smaller places. Local carrier networks reach well around the country.