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New Zealand is a beautiful and truly diverse country tucked away at bottom of the world (or the top of the world if you look at the globe upside down!).

Total land mass is 268,000 square kilometres making it a similar size to that of the Great Britain, however with the population of just over 4 million, it is vastly different.

New Zealand is made up of 3 islands – North Island, South Island and the very small and remote Stewart Island.

The North Island is home to a vast array of land scapes from balmy sub tropical climates and beaches in the north, to the geothermal landscapes of Rotorua, and volacanoes on the desert plateaus. The North Island is also home to the majority of New Zealand population with the two largest cities, Auckland and Wellington, both located on this island.

The South Island is home of breath taking scenery from glacial mountains, alpine rivers and remote fiords. From whale watching to skiing, the South Island has it all to when it comes to natural attractions and is home to the adrenalin junkie Queenstown and garden city of Christchurch.

Climate

In the north of New Zealand the temperature is very mild, with the warmest temperatures consistently in the far North. The South Island temperatures tend to be more extreme, with winter temperatures falling to 0ºC in the mountain areas.

March and April are very good time to travel, as the weather is still very settled over this period, and it is just out of peak season which is even quieter.

In summer, the average mean temperature ranges between 19-23ºC (maximum 30) and in winter between 10-14ºC.

Mean daily maximum/minimum temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit

Seasons Spring
Sep, Oct, Nov
Summer
Dec, Jan, Feb
Autumn
Mar, Apr, May
Winter
Jun, Jul, Aug

Bay of Islands

Temp (C) 19/9 25/14 21/11 16/7
Temp (F) 67/48 76/56 70/52 61/45
Rain days 11 7 11 16

Auckland

Temp (C) 18/11 24/12 20/13 15/9
Temp (F) 65/52 75/54 68/55 59/48
Rain days 12 8 11 15

Rotorua

Temp (C) 17/7 24/12 18/9 13/4
Temp (F) 63/45 75/54 65/48 55/39
Rain days 11 9 9 13

Wellington

Temp (C) 15/9 20/13 17/11 12/6
Temp (F) 59/48 68/55 63/52 54/43
Rain days 11 7 10 13

Christchurch

Temp (C) 17/7 22/12 18/8 12/3
Temp (F) 63/45 72/54 65/46 54/37
Rain days 7 7 7 7

Queenstown

Temp (C) 16/5 22/10 16/6 10/1
Temp (F) 61/41 72/50 61/43 50/34
Rain days 9 8 8 7

 

Language

The official languages of New Zealand are English and Maori, although you will only generally hear English spoken. Due to our accent you may not understand our English at first, so here are some helpful colloquialisms, which may help you along the way!

  • Gidday – Greeting or Hello
  • No problem – Your request is not a burden
  • Shaz - Sharon
  • Baz - Barry
  • Sex - Six
  • Fush - Fish
  • Crikey - Wow

Services

Telephones:

Hotels/Motels have phones which can be used to access national and international phone numbers. There will be normal toll charges plus any additional cost the hotel/motel levies on the call.

Country and area code for:

  • Auckland : +64 9
  • Rotorua: +64 7
  • Wellington: +64 4
  • Christchurch: +64 3
  • Dunedin: +64 3
  • Queenstown: +64 3

Mobile Phones

If your phone and mobile provider have roaming capability, you will be able to use this in New Zealand. Please check with you mobile phone company that it is activated. You can also hire mobile phones from all international airports on arrival.

Electricity

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. An adapter/converter will be necessary, unless the electrical item has a multi-voltage option.

Power Outlets

Accept flat 3 or 2-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted. Most hotels have adaptors, or they can be purchased in various retail outlets throughout the cities.

Internet

Most hotels offer internet service with a RJ45 plug to connect to your laptop. Some hotels also offer wireless broadband access for an hourly or daily charge.

Time Zones

New Zealand is the first place in the world to see the dawn of a new day. This also means we are the first to get up out of bed in the morning.

New Zealand is all in one time zone, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and in summer New Zealand has Daylight Saving, which means the clocks are put forward one hour.

  • 3rd Sunday in March to 1st Sunday in October - GMT+12
  • 1st Sunday in October to 3rd Sunday in March - GMT+13

If flying from North America to New Zealand you will loose a day on the way down, and gain a day on the way back. If you get confused, just click this link here to get your bearings: www.timeanddate.com/worldclock.

Money, money, money

New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$).

Denomination

  • Coins: 10, 20 and 50 cents
  • Dollars coins: $1 and $2
  • Dollar notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, a Boarder Cash Report must be filled out for amounts greater than NZ$10,000 per person carried into or out of the country.

Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, most hotels and Bureau de Change outlets, which are found at airports and throughout the major cities.

All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Travellers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and limited retail stores.

Exchange Rates

Calculate the value of your currency in NZ Dollars by clicking here.

Rates will differ slightly depending which bank or company you exchange your money with.

Banking

Banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. ATM’s are widely available at banks, along main streets and in shopping malls. International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN. Check with your service provider or bank before leaving home.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

All goods and services are subject to a 15 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the advertised or displayed price.

This tax cannot be claimed back by visitors when leaving New Zealand.

New Zealand Public Holidays

Following is a list of public holidays in New Zealand for 2013 & 2014. Although these are "days off" for most employees, it is only Christmas Day, Good Friday and ½ of Anzac Day that shops are not allowed to open. Generally the only day that tours or activities don’t operate is Christmas Day.

  • Queen's Birthday: Monday 3 June 2013
  • Labour Day: Monday 28 October 2013
  • Christmas Day: Wednesday 25 December 2013
  • Boxing Day: Thursday 26 December 2013
  • New Years Day: Wednesday 1 January 2014
  • Day after New Years Day: Thursday 2 January 2014
  • Waitangi Day: Thursday 6 February 2014
  • Good Friday: Friday 18 April 2014
  • Easter Monday: Monday 21 April 2014
  • Anzac Day: Friday 25 April 2014
  • Queen's Birthday: Monday 2 June 2014
  • Labour Day: Monday 27 October 2014
  • Christmas Day: Thursday 25 December 2014
  • Boxing Day: Friday 26 December 2014

New Zealand School Holidays

Following is a list of public school holidays in New Zealand for 2011. The length of each school term has been adjusted for 2011. Terms 1 and 2 are slightly longer than normal, and Term 4 is two weeks shorter. This adjustment was made so that the October term coordinated with the final stages of the 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament.

  • 13 July 2013 - 28 July 2013
  • 28 September 2013 - 13 Oct 2013
  • 20 December 2013 - 07 February 2014
  • 18 April 2014 - 04 May 2014
  • 05 July 2014 - 20 July 2014
  • 27 September 2014 - 12 October 2014
  • 19 December 2014 - 05 February 2015

Clothing

Dress in New Zealand is generally informal and relaxed from shorts and jandals at the beach, to jeans around town. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants, bars and night clubs, with the exception of a few very formal hotel and exclusive bars/restaurants.

Business attire is standard with most opting for suits and ties, however even rules around this dress code is becoming more relaxed, with most businesses now opting for a “casual Friday” each week.

In summer pack a light jacket and sweater just in case the weather turns cooler. Rain is usually inevitable, so be sure to pack a light rain coat as well.

You will need warm clothes in winter, so ensure to pack appropriately depending on where in New Zealand you are travelling to, and what activities you plan on doing.

Safety

New Zealand is generally a very safe place to travel, however it is important that common sense and precautionary actions observed.

  • Don’t leave valuables such as passport, cash, laptops, cameras in unattended cars or campervans
  • Avoid venturing into remote, isolated unlit areas at night, especially by yourself
  • Lock your motel/hotel/campervan door in the evenings and when they are unattended

In New Zealand you can ask for help from the police whenever you are unsure or feel threatened - they are happy to provide information and advice. Ensure to report any theft and crime to the police immediately.

In an emergency (Fire, Police, Ambulance, Search & Rescue) dial 111 from any phone.

 

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