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New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand Travel Guide

New Zealand, 'Land of the Long White Cloud', is a small, sparsely populated country consisting of two major islands, North and South Island, and a scattering of smaller ones. Despite its small size New Zealand is crammed with magnificent natural beauty and has an incredible amount to offer its visitors. Fresh air, breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities are the main attractions of New Zealand, with a tremendously friendly, honest and helpful population, colloquially nicknamed after their country's distinct symbol, the kiwi bird.

The North Island has dramatic volcanic landscapes and highly active thermal areas, long stretches of beautiful beaches and ancient indigenous forests. The South Island has a slower pace of life dominated by the magnificent snow-covered Southern Alps and the spectacular scenery of the southern waterways of the fjord lands, with glaciers, deep lakes and verdant forests.

The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was New Zealand's founding document, an attempt to settle disputes between the European settlers and the Maoris, conceding the country to British rule while guaranteeing the Maori people possession of their land and cultural identity. Today, integration has been replaced by a policy of upholding two different cultures alongside each other. Their shared love of sport, most notably the revered national sport of rugby union, and their enthusiasm for adventure and the outdoors is the unifying factor among the whole population.

New Zealand offers a huge variety of activities, from bungee jumping to skiing, swimming with dolphins, scenic flights and boat cruises on the fjords, as well as several world famous walking trails. Alternatively visitors can immerse themselves in culture at the museums and galleries of Auckland and the capital Wellington in the North, and Christchurch in the south.

New Zealand is an easy and compact place in which to travel and its spectacularly dramatic landscapes alone, famous for its setting for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, makes the long trip to these southern islands more than worthwhile.

Best time to visit New Zealand

The weather in New Zealand is fairly temperate all year round, though the south of the country gets cold in the winter. The western sides of the islands tend to be very rainy, while the eastern parts are shielded from ocean winds by mountain ranges. Most locals and overseas tourists take a New Zealand holiday in December, January and February, crowding most beach destinations. The best time to visit New Zealand is in spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) when the temperatures are moderate.

What to see in New Zealand

-Take a tour of film sites from The Lord of the Rings.

-See the huge collection of Maori artefacts at the Auckland Museum.

-Watch the sun set from a yacht in the Hauraki Gulf Islands.

-Take a scenic ride in the Christchurch Gondola.

What to do in New Zealand

-Go kayaking in Milford Sound.

-Try extreme sports like bungy jumping, white-water rafting and paragliding in Queenstown.

-Go hiking on the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.

-Scuba dive in the coves of the Bay of Islands.

Getting to New Zealand

Direct flights to New Zealand are impossible to find from the UK or the US, but connecting flights with stopovers in Bangkok, Singapore or Dubai are common from the UK; US flights to New Zealand usually stop in Hawaii.


Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff.


E Ipo (Prince Tui Teko) and Settle Down (Kimbra).


Whale Rider (2002) and Eagle vs Shark (2007).


New Zealand wine.


Hangi (meat cooked over heated rocks).

What to buy

Maori arts and crafts, carved jade and greenstone.

What to pack

Comfortable hiking boots; New Zealand's terrain can be challenging.

What's on in New Zealand

The Pasifika Festival celebrates Polynesian art and culture each spring. Some of the best comedians in the world gather each year in Auckland for the NZ Comedy Festival around the end of March.

Did you know?

-Wellington is the most southerly national capital in the world.

-To become a New Zealand citizen, an oath of loyalty must be sworn to Queen Elizabeth.

A final word

New Zealand's rustic blend of Western and Polynesian culture combines with its stunning scenery to attract travellers to the end of the world.


The official languages in New Zealand are English and Maori.


Local currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), divided into 100 cents. Most businesses accept MasterCard and Visa, and while Diners Club and American Express are also widely accepted in the main tourist centres, they might have limited acceptance elsewhere. ATMs can be found in all towns and cities.


Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Oblique flat blade plugs are standard.


Gratuities are not expected in New Zealand and service charges are not applied to bills, but it is acceptable for guests to tip at their discretion.


New Zealand has a reputation as one of the safest destinations in the world, however sensible precautions against petty theft are still advised.


The international access code for New Zealand is +64. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0061 for Australia). A good option is to purchase a local prepaid SIM card at the airport on arrival in New Zealand. WiFi access is widely available in hotels, restaurants and other tourist establishments, except in some of the more remote areas.


There are no health risks associated with travel to New Zealand. New Zealand's Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) covers emergency treatment for visitors, but health insurance is recommended to cover any additional charges and for those not entitled to free emergency treatment. Those intending to participate in adventure activities, such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, etc should ensure that their travel insurance covers these types of activities.

Public Holidays

New Year’s Day1 Jan1 Jan
Day after New Year’s Day2 Jan2 Jan
Waitangi Day6 Feb6 Feb
Good Friday10 Apr2 Apr
Easter Monday13 Apr5 Apr
ANZAC Day25 Apr25 Apr
Queen's Birthday1 Jun7 Jun
Labour Day26 Oct25 Oct
Christmas Day25 Dec25 Dec
Boxing Day26 Dec26 Dec


New Zealand is ranked first in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings. The business culture of New Zealand conforms to a typically British model: formal, reserved and conservative. However, this is tempered with a characteristically Antipodean warmth and friendliness, creating a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere.

Business etiquette in New Zealand will be familiar to those who've worked in western corporate environments before. Foreigners should use titles until instructed not to do so, and maintain eye contact when speaking to their associates. Business meetings should be scheduled at least a week in advance, and then confirmed a few days before they are due to take place. The dress code for business in New Zealand is usually formal. For meetings, men should stick to a dark suit, worn with a tie; women should wear a smart dress/business suit/pants suit and limited accessories.

The official language of business in New Zealand is English, and business hours are generally from 8.30am (or 9am) to 5pm, Monday to Friday; and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.

Passport & Visa

All foreign passengers to New Zealand must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country (usually NZD 1,000 per month, or NZD 400 if accommodation has been prepaid). Note that all visitors must obtain a permit to enter Tokelau from the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office in Apia, at least two weeks prior to travel. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Though New Zealand has a strong reputation for tolerance towards homosexuality, there are still isolated incidents of homophobic related crime. LGBT travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, especially when visiting rural areas. Importing illegal drugs is punishable by up to 12 years' imprisonment.

Duty Free

Travellers to New Zealand over 17 years do not have to pay duty on 50 cigarettes, or 50g of cigars or tobacco, or a mixture of all three not exceeding 50g; three bottles of spirits or liqueur each containing not more than 1,125ml; 4.5 litres of wine or beer; and other goods to the value of NZD 700. Goods exceeding the allowances must be declared. Personal effects not dutiable include items such as jewellery, binoculars, portable radios, prams, camping equipment, cameras and video cameras. Prohibited items include concealed firearms, foodstuffs, animals, plants and plant products. It is forbidden to export Greenstone, Maori antiquities and Paua shells (unless they are products manufactured from such shells). Prescription medications need to be accompanied by a doctor's letter and the original prescription, they should not amount to more than three months worth of the medication.


Tourism New Zealand, Wellington:+64 4 462 8000 or

111 (All Emergencies)

Entry Requirements

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required for stays of up to three months. Travellers must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding.

UK citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. They must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding. British citizens holding a passport endorsed British Citizen, or a passport containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom (and accompanied by documents that further establish their right of abode in the UK), do not require a visa to enter New Zealand for a stay of up to six months. British citizens with passports endorsed British National (Overseas) may stay for up to three months without a visa. In all other cases, a visa is required.

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required for stays of up to three months. Canadians must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. South Africans require a visitor visa which must be organised prior to travel.

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required for stays of up to three months. They must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding.

Embassy Consulates

United States Embassy, Wellington: +64 4 462 6000.

British High Commission, Wellington: +64 4 924 2888.

Canadian High Commission, Wellington: +64 4 473 9577.

Honorary Consulate of South Africa, Wellington: +64 4 815 8484.

Honorary Consul General of Ireland, Auckland: +64 9 919 7450.

Embassy Consulates

New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 328 4800.

New Zealand High Commission, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7930 8422.

New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 5991.

New Zealand High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 435 9000.


There is so much to see and do in New Zealand that it is difficult to know where to start. This is, after all, the self-styled 'adventure capital of the world', where willing participants can bungee jump, zorb and sky dive to their heart's content in outdoor playgrounds such as Queensland or Wanaka.

The natural landscape in New Zealand is astonishing. Visitors can take in the pristine fjord of Milford Sound, or get lost in the turquoise waters of the Bay of Islands. Highlights of the Hauraki Gulf islands near Auckland include Waiheke, famous for its wine, and the volcanic Rangitoto. The three mighty volcanoes of Tongariro National Park are awesome for skiing and trekking, enjoying dual UNESCO status for volcanic landscape and cultural importance.

The rugged and uninhabited West Coast, framed by the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, is home to stunning natural features such as the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Not to be missed in this region is the TranzAlpine train, one of the world's great railway journeys, traversing the Southern Alps and passing through Arthur's Pass National Park as it makes its way from Greymouth to Christchurch.

The cities offer an entirely different experience. Auckland, known to the Maori people as 'Tamaki Makaurau' (city of many lovers), is renowned as one of the top cities in the world for quality of life. Wellington, the capital, is small but with a big city feel. Here, visitors can enjoy the culture, caffeine and, of course, the craft beer. Otago's rolling hills are home to some top wine producers.

New Zealand is also developing other sides to its tourist offering with a burgeoning wine industry, fascinating Maori culture, restorative thermal pools and natural spas, and plenty of tours themed around The Lord of the Rings, which was filmed at locations around the country.


The weather in New Zealand is changeable throughout the year, though the climate is fairly temperate, with fairly predictable conditions over longer periods. The North Island has mild winters and warm and humid summers, the South Island has lower temperatures with cold winters and extensive snowfields and glaciers. Snow falls on all the mountains in winter, and the west coast receives the most rain. The summer months in New Zealand are from November to April.

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