Frequently Asked Questions
We have provided below some commonly asked questions to help in your decision making. Should you have anything else you would like to know please don’t hesitate to ask us.
What is the size of New Zealand?
New Zealand is 266,200 square kilometres – similar in size to Great Britain or Japan, but unlike these countries New Zealand has a population of less than 5 million. The country comprises of two main islands; the North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui), and the South Island (Te Waipounamu).
Do I need a passport or visa to enter New Zealand?
Visitors to New Zealand require a passport which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date the visitor intends leaving New Zealand. Some travellers may also require visas.
From 1 October 2019, some visitors must have an Electronic Travel Authority and pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy before travelling to New Zealand. Read more about this in our article; Are you ready for the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority?
For more information about visitor regulations, visa exemptions and visa waivers visit the www.immigration.govt.nz
When is the best time to come to New Zealand?
New Zealand really is an all-year round destination as it enjoys a mild climate ranging from temperate areas at the bottom of the South Island to sub-tropical regions in the upper North Island. We have designed our Small Group Tours around the most popular times to visit, through spring, summer and autumn.
What sort of clothing should I bring with me?
When on tour in New Zealand dress is generally relaxed and casual with an informal dress standard on most occasions. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for evening dining. If taking part in outdoor activities, make sure you have a waterproof coat, comfortable footwear and dress in layers to help you adjust to any sudden changes in climate. Be prepared for New Zealand’s powerful sun, even on cold windy days, bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Do I need any vaccinations?
No vaccinations are required for entry into New Zealand.
What currency should I bring with me?
The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD$). Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks which are found at international airports and in most city centres. All major credit card can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely. ATM ’s are generally available in all except the most rural areas.
Can I use my mobile phone in New Zealand?
Many international mobile phones will work in New Zealand although higher rates can often apply, please check with your phone/network provider before leaving home to confirm. Alternatively, prepaid SIM cards are available to purchase when you arrive in New Zealand. Mobile coverage is extensive across most of the country but not available in some remote and rural areas.
Is tipping expected?
Tipping is not obligatory or expected in New Zealand but if you choose to reward a job well done it is always greatly appreciated.
What are the legislations around smoking?
It is now illegal to smoke indoors in workplaces and hospitality venues including restaurants, bars, cafes, casinos and hotel lobbies. If you wish to smoke, you will need to smoke outdoors.
Does New Zealand have any dangerous animals?
New Zealand does not have any poisonous snakes, dangerous animals and only one poisonous spider – the Katipo which is very rare and only found in certain coastal areas and Katipo bites are rare. If travelling to Fiordland, insect repellent is strongly recommended as the sand-flies are large and determined!
Do I need travel Insurance?
While New Zealand’s medical facilities, both private and public, provide a high standard of treatment and care, it is strongly recommended that all travellers hold comprehensive travel insurance (including full medical, cancellation and repatriation) before departing their home country. Visitors to New Zealand are covered for subsidised treatment for personal injury caused by accident under the Government-run ACC scheme. However ACC does not cover any medical treatment relating to illness. Visitors should have their own medical insurance cover.
What can I bring into New Zealand?
New Zealand relies heavily on agricultural and horticultural trade and there are stringent regulations governing the import of animal and fruit/vegetable matter. All passengers are required to complete a passenger arrival card and proceed through customs and biosecurity checks on arrival in New Zealand. Heavy fines are payable for passengers who do not make a true declaration of items they are bringing into New Zealand. Further information on customs formalities can be found at www.customs.govt.nz
What is New Zealand’s climate like?
New Zealand’s seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere, summer months are December to February and winter months are June to September. Summer and winter temperatures vary by only about 10˚C over most of the country, making New Zealand an ideal holiday destination all year round.
While there are four distinct seasons, there is no wet or dry season and rainfall is generally evenly spread throughout the year. Summer days are generally warm and pleasant, with plenty of sunshine, and activities in and around the water are popular. During winter months there is snow on the mountains and excellent skiing opportunities in alpine areas, however, away from the mountains temperatures are generally mild and do not fall below freezing.
Bring plenty of sunscreen – the sun in New Zealand is fierce and burn-times are short (between 10-15 minutes in summer).
What licence do I need to drive in New Zealand?
Visitors can legally drive in New Zealand for up to one year after arrival providing they hold a current overseas driver license or international driving permit. If the licence is not in English, an accurate English translation must be carried.
Vehicles drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand and roads are often windy with some different road rules visitors should be aware of before they drive. Visitors can complete the AA’s Visiting Drivers Training Programme to experience what it is like to drive on New Zealand roads before they arrive.
How long does the ferry take between the North and South Islands?
The Interislander ferry service operates between the North and South Islands and takes approximately 3-hours. We strongly recommend that ferry reservations are made in advance, particularly during the peak summer months of December, January and February and over the Easter holiday period.
Is it safe to drink tap water in New Zealand?
Tap water throughout New Zealand is fresh and safe to drink. Water from lakes, rivers and streams should be boiled or chemically treated before consuming.