New Zealand offers all standards, from hotels to backpacker hostels. Book in advance whenever possible and always confirm bookings for accommodation if your clients are travelling during public or school holidays, particularly during the high season between December and February.
Key international airports are located in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Limited Australian flights land at Hamilton, Rotorua, Queenstown and Dunedin.
The legal age limit for consuming alcohol in New Zealand is 18. Anyone who looks under 25 years of age will be required to produce proof of age before buying alcohol.
Banks are generally open during working hours from Monday to Friday, except on public holidays. Many banks have branches in shopping malls that are open at weekends. All major international credit cards are accepted and automatic teller machines (ATMs) are widely available in all but the smallest towns.
Infrastructure is of a high standard, with excellent telecommunications and transport. Business services are easy to find in all main centres. Hotels may offer an in-house secretarial service.
More than one quarter (approximately 1.4 million) of New Zealand’s population lives in Auckland in the North Island. The capital is Wellington, located in the south of the North Island. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island.
The climate is temperate, except in subtropical Northland. Average maximum summer temperatures are 20 – 30°C and in winter, 10 – 15°C. Seasons occur in reverse of the Northern Hemisphere’s. Outside of alpine areas, temperatures rarely fall below freezing.
Conditions can change rapidly – visitors should dress in layers of clothing. Rain can occur at any time, so they should pack a waterproof jacket, plus warm clothing for winter visits.
New Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$), comprising coins of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2; and notes of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Major credit cards can be used and travellers’ cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some retail stores. Most banks are part of the Cirrus or Plus networks.
The departure tax is now included in most airfares.
New Zealand law requires new buildings to provide access for people with disabilities. Visitors may obtain a parking concession with a mobility card or medical certificate. Contact Enable New Zealand on NZ freephone 0800 362 253 or visit www.weka.net.nz.
To drive in New Zealand, visitors will need to provide their home country licence or obtain an International Driver’s Permit.
Duty free shopping
Duty free goods may be purchased at airport stores on arrival and departure, and downtown duty free stores will deliver purchases to airports.
Electricity is supplied at 230/240 volts (50 hertz). Most hotels also provide 110 volt a/c sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors. For most other equipment an adaptor is necessary. Power outlets accept only flat 2- or 3-pin plugs. Use an RJ 45-type plug to connect laptops to computer sockets and an adaptor with a flat 2- or 3-point plug.
New Zealand is known as ‘clean and green’ for good reason! A growing number of tourism operators are benchmarking with the globally recognised sustainable travel and tourism brand Green Globe New Zealand.
New Zealanders are known for being friendly, obliging and polite. They are egalitarian by nature and New Zealand has no formal class structure.
Abundant fresh, locally grown produce, including wonderful seafood and wines, is always available. Visitors should sample some of the local delicacies on offer around the country.
Gay & lesbian travellers
New Zealanders are generally very accepting of homosexuality, with gay marriage legalised in 2013. The Human Rights Act 1993 makes it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.
New Zealand consists of three major islands and many small islands, and lies in the South Pacific Ocean between latitudes 34°S and 47°S. It is 6,500 km south-southwest of Hawaii and 1,900 km east of Australia – 3 hours by air from Australia, 12.5 hours from the United States and about 10 hours from Hong Kong or Singapore. The land area covers about 270,000 km².
Goods & Services Tax
All goods and services purchased in New Zealand are subject to 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is included in the display price. Goods bought from duty free shops before departure are exempt from GST.
New Zealand is a sovereign state with a democratically elected parliamentary government. Constitutional history dates back to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, when Maori ceded sovereignty to the British Queen. Politically stable, it is a founding member of the Commonwealth and the United Nations.
Health & safety
New Zealand is one of the world’s safest destinations, but basic safety precautions should be taken. New Zealand’s medical facilities operate to a high standard but services are not free, so visitors should purchase comprehensive travel insurance. Care should be taken in the water (www.watersafety.org.nz) and when hiking, especially in remote areas. Advise your clients to ensure they are appropriately equipped for the conditions. The sun is intense, so sunscreen should be worn year-round. New Zealand has a relatively low crime rate but sensible precautions, such as keeping valuables out of sight and locking doors and vehicles (even in remote locations), should be taken. In some areas it is inadvisable to walk alone late at night. In health and safety emergencies, dial 111 for ambulance, police or fire services. Doctors, dentists and 24-hour surgeries are listed in telephone directories.
Most visitors are not eligible for publicly-funded health services. Those covered by reciprocal health agreements with Australia and the UK are entitled to publicly funded health care for immediately necessary treatment only. Travel insurance should always be recommended.
Internet access is widely available in internet cafés and public libraries for an hourly charge. Most hotels have internet access, including wireless access, for their guests’ use. Free Wi-Fi zones can often be found in urban areas.
English is the major official language. Maori is the second official language. New Zealanders are generally understanding if visitors do not speak English and will appreciate any effort made. Look online for English language courses. www.englishnewzealand.co.nz
Use an RJ 45-type plug to connect laptops to computer sockets and an adaptor with a flat 2- or 3-point plug to connect to the power supply.
Visitors can go walking with a Maori guide, visit a marae or watch carving, weaving and traditional performance art and join workshops.
New Zealand has AM and FM radio stations. Radio New Zealand National broadcasts news and weather on AM and FM (around 101 MHz FM). There are 4 major nationwide free-to-air TV networks. SKY TV is the main pay-television operator. There are several major daily newspapers and many towns also have local newspapers. Stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz are the country’s two most popular sources of online news.
New Zealand has analogue and GSM digital networks. International mobile roaming is available with some mobile phone providers. Travellers without a roaming-capable phone could rent or buy a cell phone, or buy a SIM card, for convenience and flexibility.
Passports & visas
Passports are required for all visitors and must be valid for at least three months after the date the visitor intends to leave New Zealand. Visas are not required for most visitors staying less than three months. For longer stays, a Visitor’s Visa may be required. To check requirements, visit the New Zealand Immigration Service website www.immigration.govt.nz
New Zealand has a population of approximately 4.7 million people, mostly of British descent. New Zealand’s indigenous Maori make up around 15% of the population. Other European cultures and people of Asian and Pacific Island descent have become an increasingly large proportion of the population.
Post shops (or smaller agencies run in conjunction with another business) are available in most centres. Most post shops open 9am to 5pm on weekdays and Saturdays. Some post shops are open on Sunday mornings. www.nzpost.co.nz
New Zealand is a good value destination, particularly for visitors from Australia, Europe and the United States of America. Visitors can spend as little as NZ$65 per day by staying in backpacker accommodation, which starts at around $15 for dorm beds, and self-catering. A night’s accommodation in a private room will cost anywhere from NZ$50 to NZ$300 and beyond. As a general rule, a typical main meal in a restaurant may cost NZ$15 to NZ$45.
There are trading restrictions on some public holidays, including Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and before 1pm on Anzac Day. Banks generally close on public holidays, but many shops remain open. Confirmed bookings, especially for accommodation, vehicle rental and Cook Strait ferry sailings, are essential if your clients are travelling during public holidays. A few establishments, such as some cafés, may impose a holiday surcharge of 10% to 20%.
Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality. There are categories for accommodation, activities, transport and venues. Accommodation providers and venues are rated on a star grading system, and there is also a category for environmental sustainability. www.qualmark.co.nz
Regional Tourism Organisations
New Zealand is home to a network of Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) that offer a wealth of visitor information about their region. Each maintains a region-specific website full of in-depth information for visitors.
Nearly half of New Zealand’s population (48%) identify as Christian, but New Zealand is also a relatively irreligious nation, with 42% of the population not identifying with any particular religion. Nevertheless, followers of many religions will find places of worship in cities and larger towns, and New Zealand is accepting of many different religious beliefs.
Although businesses don’t usually close during school holidays, attractions and popular holiday destinations may be busier than usual, so it is a good idea to book accommodation and transport ahead of time to ensure your clients’ bookings. The dates of holidays vary from year to year, so visit the Ministry of Education website for current information. www.education.govt.nz
In resorts and cities, shops typically open 7 days, 9am to 6pm, often with late nights on Thursdays and Fridays. Smaller centres may have more restricted hours.
Smoking indoors is prohibited in all hospitality venues and public buildings in New Zealand. If visitors want to smoke, they will have to take their cigarette outside. The legal age limit for purchasing cigarettes in New Zealand is 18 and the law is strictly enforced. www.moh.govt.nz/smokefreelaw
Public phones can be operated with phonecards purchased from convenience stores and information centres. Some public phones accept credit cards but few accept coins. The international dialling code for New Zealand is +64. National area codes are listed in the front of phone directories. 0800 and 0508 numbers are free within New Zealand. 0900 numbers will incur an additional charge.
New Zealand standard time is Greenwich Mean Time +12 hours; ahead of all other OECD countries. From the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April, New Zealand is on daylight saving time of GMT +13 hours. Find out the correct time and date at www.timeanddate.com.
Employees in New Zealand do not depend on tips. Tipping in appreciation of good service is at your clients’ discretion.
New Zealand is well served by air transport, rail and ferry networks. Coaches are comfortable and cost effective. For independence, visitors may hire a campervan or rental car.
No vaccination certificates are required to enter New Zealand.
New Zealand has an extensive visitor information network providing visitors with free and comprehensive local knowledge. www.newzealand.com/int/visitor-information-centre
Hiking opportunities range from 10-minute urban walks to multi-day alpine tramps.
Tap (faucet) water is fresh and safe to drink throughout the country. Water taken from rivers or lakes should be boiled or treated before use.
See www.metservice.com for weather information, tailored reports on New Zealand ski areas and official mountain forecasts. Alternatively, phone one of the MetPhone Mountain & Ski Info numbers listed: Central North Island 0900 999 15; Nelson Lakes 0900 999 02; Canterbury 0900 999 26; Southern Lakes 0900 999 81. Note that 0900 numbers incur a fee.
Weights & measures
New Zealand is metric, although imperial measurements are still sometimes used for height and weight.
Public Holidays 2017/18
Labour Day 23 October 2017
Christmas Day 25 December 2017
Boxing Day 26 December 2017
New Year’s Day 1 January 2018
New Year’s Holiday 2 January 2018
Waitangi Day 6 February 2018
Good Friday 30 March 2018
Easter Monday 2 April 2018
Anzac Day 25 April 2018
Queen’s Birthday 4 June 2018
Terms & Specialist Organisations
Bed & Breakfast Association of New Zealand (NZ Association of Farm & Home Hosts) Providing quality assessed hosted accommodation throughout the country. www.bandbassociation.co.nz
Budget Backpacker Hostels (BBH) Online guide to New Zealand’s network of hostels. www.bbh.co.nz
Bus and Coach Association Advocacy and promotion for New Zealand bus and coach operators. www.busandcoach.co.nz
Conventions and Incentives New Zealand Markets New Zealand’s convention facilities offshore. www.conventionsnz.com
Department of Conservation (DOC) Government organisation for conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage. www.doc.govt.nz
Hospitality Association New Zealand (HANZ) Advice on legal and trade issues, and purchasing deals with wholesalers. www.hanz.org.nz
Holiday Accommodation Parks of New Zealand (HAPNZ) Holiday Park industry association. www.holidayparks.co.nz
Inbound Operator (IBO) Assembles itineraries and processes reservations on behalf of overseas wholesalers.
Inbound Tour Operator New Zealand-based agents who assemble itineraries and process reservations on behalf of overseas wholesalers and retailers.
Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TEC) Represents Inbound Tour Operators (Full Members) and their suppliers (Allied Members). www.tourismexportcouncil.org.nz
Land Transport NZ Government agency dedicated to long-term integrated, safe and sustainable land transport. www.nzta.govt.nz
New Zealand Trade Manual Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) National network of self-contained motel apartments. www.nzmotels.co.nz
Ministry of Tourism The Ministry provides policy advice to the Minister of Tourism and works with other government departments on tourism-related issues. www.tourism.govt.nz
Maori Regional Tourism Organisations (MRTO) Build capacity and encourage networking through the New Zealand Maori Tourism Council.
New Zealand Customs Te Mana Arai o Aotearoa Government agency that protects the community by controlling who and what crosses New Zealand borders. www.customs.govt.nz
Gay Tourism New Zealand (NZGLTA) Organisation established to assist gay, lesbian and bisexual travellers. www.gaytourismnewzealand.com
New Zealand Lodge Association Operators offering distinctive accommodation in exclusive retreats and lodges. www.lodgesofnz.co.nz
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Provides marketing, research and educational opportunities to government tourist offices and tourism industry operators. www.pata.org
Qualmark Official tourism quality agency licensing professional and trustworthy New Zealand tourism businesses to use the Qualmark™. www.qualmark.co.nz
Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) Responsible for marketing their region to domestic and international visitors.
Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) Represents New Zealand travel agents, retail, wholesale, inbound and outbound. www.taanz.org.nz
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) Main tourism industry association, responsible for TRENZ, NZ Tourism Conference and Tourism Awards. www.tia.org.nz
Toi Iho ‘Maori-made’ mark that was introduced to guarantee authenticity and quality of Maori arts and crafts. www.toiiho.co.nz
Tourism New Zealand Responsible for international marketing of New Zealand as a destination, working closely with product suppliers, TIANZ and RTOs. www.tourismnewzealand.com
Tourism Industry Rendezvous New Zealand (TRENZ) Annual international tourism tradeshow for New Zealand tourism operators and international tourism buyers. www.trenz.co.nz
YHA New Zealand Information on New Zealand hostels and travel packages. www.yha.co.nz
Travel Information www.destination-nz.com
Tourism New Zealand www.newzealand.com
Tourism Northland www.northlandnz.com
Tourism Auckland www.aucklandnz.com
Tourism Coromandel www.thecoromandel.com
Tourism Bay of Plenty www.bayofplentynz.com
Hawke’s Bay Wine Country www.hawkesbaynz.com
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism www.waikatonz.co.nz
Visit Hamilton www.visithamilton.co.nz
Waitomo King Country www.waitomo.org.nz
Tourism Rotorua www.rotoruanz.com
Venture Taranaki www.taranaki.co.nz
Great Lake Taupo www.greatlaketaupo.com
Visit Ruapehu www.visitruapehu.co.nz
Visit Whanganui www.visitwhanganui.nz
Palmerston North City & Manawatu www.manawatunz.co.nz
Tourism Wellington www.wellingtonnz.com
Tourism Wairarapa www.wairarapanz.com
Tourism Marlborough www.malboroughnz.com
Nelson Tasman Tourism www.nelsonnz.com
Tourism West Coast www.westcoastnz.com
Hurunui Tourism www.visithurunui.co.nz
Kaikoura District Council www.kaikoura.co.nz
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism www.christchurchnz.com
South Canterbury www.southcanterbury.org.nz
Aoraki Mount Cook Mackenzie www.mtcooknz.com
Tourism Waitaki www.visitoamaru.co.nz
Tourism Dunedin www.dunedinnz.com
Tourism Central Otago www.centralotagonz.com
Tourism Southland www.southlandnz.com
Lake Wanaka Tourism www.lakewanaka.co.nz
Destination Queenstown www.queenstownnz.co.nz
Tourism Fiordland www.fiordland.org.nz
NZ City Codes
Kerikeri (Bay of Islands) KKE
Milford Sound MFN
Mount Cook MON
New Plymouth NPL
Palmerston North PMR
Stewart Island SZS
Te Anau TEU