You can also find more detailed FAQs about New Zealand on the the official Tourism New Zealand website.
All visitors must have a current passport, valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from New Zealand.
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.
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.
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.
Currency, Banking and Travellers Cheques
New Zealand's currency is based on dollars ($) and cents (c). There are 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.
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 “Smart card” technology, which often have no magnetic strip, aren’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.
Employees in New Zealand do not depend or expect tips as part of their income but recognition for good service is always appreciated.
Goods and Services Tax or GST
All goods and services (except certain financial transactions) in New Zealand are subject to a government 15% 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.
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.
Medical and Emergency Services
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.
There are no snakes or dangerous wild animals in New Zealand.
Reciprocal driving rights exist between New Zealand and most other countries. Most rental car companies will ask for an International Driver’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.
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.
All New Zealand cities and towns have excellent public water supplies; tap (faucet) water is fresh and safe to drink.
Wellington has a pervasive wi-fi network, providing near complete wireless coverage of the city’s CBD along with hotspots in many non-CBD areas. Wellington International Airport also offers free wi-fi in the main area and the Airport Flyer bus offers free wi-fi on board.
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