New Zealand Travel Information
Business Hours | Currency | Banking/Traveller Cheques | Goods and Services Tax (GST) | Internet Access | Weights and Measures | Tipping and Service Charges | Electricity Supply | Emergencies | Telephones | Health Services | Accident Compensation and Personal Insurance | Pharmaceuticals and Medicines | Climate | Sunburn | Bites and Stings | Water Supply | Vaccinations | Provisions for Travellers with Special Needs | Television | Postal services | Public Holidays
Offices and businesses operate Monday-Friday, 8.30am-5pm; some tourist agencies and airlines have longer hours. Petrol (gas) stations often open 24 hours, stocking food and newspapers. Shops are usually open 9am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday, with late shopping usually Thursday or Friday. Many supermarkets, grocery stores, some large retail chains, most shopping malls and markets also operate Saturdays and Sundays; large supermarkets are often open 24 hours. Local convenience stores - dairies - usually open 7am-7pm daily.
New Zealand currency ($NZ) is decimal with the dollar as the basic unit (100 cents equals one dollar). Notes come in $100, $50, $20, $10, and $5 denominations. Coins come in $2, $1, 50c, 20 and 10c denominations.
Banks open Monday-Friday (except public holidays), 9.30am-4.30pm. Automatic teller machines operate on a card/PIN number system. Cash can be withdrawn 24 hours a day. Use of EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) is common. All international credit cards (American Express, Diners, JCB, VISA, Mastercard) are accepted. Travellers' cheques may be changed at banks, hotels and large stores in the main cities and tourist areas.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Goods and services are taxed at 15% in New Zealand. All visitors to New Zealand have to pay GST and the tax is non refundable when leaving New Zealand. All of the tours on our website have GST included in the price - so no hidden surprises. (Note: There is talk from the New Zealand Government that they are considering raising GST to 15% in the next few months. Last edited: 25/2/10)
Most hotels offer internet access either in the comfort of your room or in the public areas of the hotel. You will also find a great selection of Internet Cafes providing fast and convenient Internet connections to keep in touch with those at home.
Weights and Measures
New Zealand has used the metric system since 1975.
1m (metre) = 1.1 yards
1km (kilometre) = 0.62 miles
1ha (hectare) = 2.5 acres
To convert C to F: multiply by 9, divide by 5, add 32.
Tipping and Service Charges
If you wish to leave a tip for excellent service this is perfectly acceptable, but is not expected. Service charges are not added to hotel or restaurant accounts.
New Zealand's AC electricity supply operates at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. Most hotels and motels also provide 110 volt, 20 watt AC sockets for electric razors.
Dial 111 for police, fire or ambulance services. For non-emergency calls, full instructions appear in the front of telephone directories.
The majority of payphones in New Zealand are CardPhones, which use PhoneCards as the payment mechanism. PhoneCards can be purchased at many outlets, and can be useful to have for emergencies. Detailed instructions on phone services, including calling codes and charges, can be found in the front of regional phone books. Local calls are free from residential telephones.
Public and private health facilities have a high standard of treatment and care. Larger hotels and motels often have a local doctor on call; otherwise, doctors and other medical services are listed in the front of the telephone directory.
Accident Compensation and Personal Insurance
Visitors are covered by the Government-run scheme for personal injury by accident. Claims may be lodged with the Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Insurance Corporation (ACC) irrespective of fault. Some medical/hospital expenses and physical disability compensation are covered, but not loss of earnings outside New Zealand. Actions for damages may not be brought, and personal travel insurance should therefore cover accidents. Medical services are not free. Accident care is subsidised. ACC does not cover any medical treatment relating to illness.
Pharmaceuticals and Medicines
Available from chemists during normal shopping hours. Most cities have urgent dispensaries open outside these hours, listed in the front of the telephone book under Hospitals. Chemists also sell cosmetics and insect and sun protections. A certificate for Customs is advised if visitors plan to bring pharmaceuticals into the country. Many drugs sold over the counter in other countries are often not available without a prescription.
New Zealand's warmest months are December to March; with winter June to August. Northern New Zealand is sub-tropical and the south temperate. For most of the North Island and northern South Island the driest season is summer. However in the South Island winter is the driest season for the West Coast, much of inland Canterbury, Otago and Southland. For more information click here
Due to New Zealand's high level of ultraviolet radiation it is highly advisable to wear sunglasses and/or a hat if spending time in the sun, and to use sunblock even if the day is overcast, or if skiing.
Bites and Stings
There is no dangerous wildlife; no snakes, and only two poisonous spiders, the Katipo and the white-tailed spider. Bites are serious but rarely fatal.
Tap (faucet) water is safe to drink. City water is chlorinated; most is fluoridated. Water sourced from rivers and lakes should be boiled or treated before drinking.
Vaccinations are not required unless you have come from, or visited a yellow fever infected country or zone within six days before arrival. No other health certificate is required to enter Australia.
Provisions for Travellers with Special Needs
It is best to check availability prior to arrival, or to contact the Disability Resource Centre (phone number at the end of this section), which will have a list of the accessible facilities and services at your destination. Some major carriers have excellent provision for people with disabilities, but all prefer advance notice of your access needs so they may prepare in advance.
If you are a tourist from outside of New Zealand and propose to acquire and use a car for your stay, Mobility Parking Permits are available from branches of New Zealand CCS, which are in all the main centres. Addresses are on their website www.ccsdisabilityaction.org.nz. These permits also allow parking in other time-limited parking areas for an extra period that varies with each local parking authority. These concessions do not apply in privately owned parking facilities.
Under New Zealand law, guide and hearing dogs may accompany you anywhere there is public access. Tourists from the UK, Australia, Sweden, Singapore, Ireland, Hawaii and Norway do not have quarantine restrictions on service dogs. Animals from other countries must complete up to six months preparation in the country of origin before arriving in New Zealand. Further information can be obtained from Disability Resource Centres. Enable New Zealand, National Office: Ph: 0-6-952 0011 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are seven public broadcasting channels including a Maori language station. Broadcasting varies from 18-24 hours per day. Daily papers list programme details. Sky Network Television provides, to subscribers with a decoder, several 24-hour channels offering news, movies, sport and general entertainment.
Besides specialist Post Shops in most areas, stamps can be bought from supermarkets, bookstores and grocery shops. The main forms of postal carriage are standard post and FastPost. Standard post delivers next day across town and in two to three working days nationwide; fastpost, which is also the designation for international airmail letters originating in New Zealand, delivers next day between major towns and cities.
It is unavoidable to have a touring programme that is not in certain places on weekends, public holidays and on days of closure for public buildings, shops and museums. We regret you may miss certain opportunities but these are kept to a minimum. Many businesses and all banks close on public holidays; all shops are closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday except for a few dairies (convenience stores) and some petrol stations.
2016 Public Holidays
|New Year's Holiday||1-2 January|
|Waitangi Day (National Day)||6 February (Observed 8th)|
|Good Friday||25 March|
|Easter Monday||28 March|
|Anzac Day (war remembrance day)||25 April|
|Queen's Birthday||6 June|
|Labour Day||24 October|
|Christmas Day Holiday||25 December|
|Boxing Day Holiday||26 December|