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Tips

GENERAL TIPS

 

Accommodation
From international hotels and bed & breakfasts to camping grounds and backpacker hostels, New Zealand has many types of accommodation. It's advisable to book ahead, particularly during the high season (December to February in most places).
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Business
New Zealand has an efficient market-oriented economy and a stable business environment. Infrastructure is of a high standard. Business services, from photocopy and printing services to more comprehensive secretarial services, are easy to find in larger towns and cities. Hotels may offer an in-house service. Ask at the reception or check the local telephone directory.
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Cities
More than one quarter (1 million) of New Zealand's population live in Auckland in the North Island. The capital city is Wellington, in the southern North Island. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island.
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Climate
In general, the climate is temperate and relatively mild. The north of the North Island is subtropical. Eastern parts are generally drier and the west experiences more rain. In summer, average maximum temperatures range between 20-30°C and in winter between 10-15°C. Four definite seasons occur in reverse of Northern Hemisphere seasons – spring (Sept-Nov), summer (Dec-Feb), autumn (Mar-May) and winter (Jun-Aug). Outside alpine regions, winters are mild and temperatures generally do not fall below freezing. For current weather information see www.metservice.co.nz.
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Clothing
New Zealand can experience ‘four seasons in one day’, so layering is key. In summer most visitors wear shorts or skirts and t-shirts, but keep a sweater handy. Rain can occur anytime so bring a waterproof jacket, plus warm clothing including gloves and hat if you are visiting between May and September. Bring thermal underwear if you’ll be spending time outdoors. New Zealand is a relaxed place and smart casual clothes are usually acceptable. You don’t need to pack too much: New Zealand is a great place to shop!
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Currency
New Zealand's currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$), comprising coins with values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2; and notes with values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Banks are generally open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. All major credit cards can be used and travellers cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some retail stores. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available at banks and in shopping areas. Most credit and cashflow cards are part of an international network such as Cirrus or Plus – check with your bank before leaving home.
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Departure Tax
Departure taxes are not included in airfares. A tax of NZ$22 – 25 is collected from all adult (12 years and over) international passengers departing New Zealand. This can be paid by cash or credit card. Some regional airports have a small fee payable on domestic flights.
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Disabled Access
New Zealand is a great destination for disabled travellers. The law requires every new building and major reconstruction to provide “reasonable and adequate” access for people with disabilities, but check when booking. Parking concessions may be obtained – bring a mobility card or medical certificate as proof of disability and contact NZCCS on 0800 227 200 (NZ). For more information see New Zealand’s disability information website – WEKA – www.weka.net.nz or phone 0800 171 981 (NZ).
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Drinking Age
The official drinking age is 18. Anyone who looks under 25 years of age must be able to produce proof of age on request when purchasing alcohol at a bottle shop or bar.
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Duty Free Shopping
Duty free stores are very competitive. Goods may be purchased at airport stores on arrival and departure, and downtown duty free stores will deliver purchases to airport collection points.
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Electricity
Electricity is supplied at 230/240 volts (50 hertz). Most hotels and motels provide 110 volt ac sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors. For other equipment an adaptor is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Power outlets accept only flat two or three-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.
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Etiquette
New Zealanders are generally friendly, obliging and polite. In turn, it is expected that visitors behave in kind. New Zealanders are egalitarian by nature and New Zealand has no formal class structure.
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Geography
New Zealand is a long, narrow country lying roughly north-south. It consists of three major islands and many small islands. The land area covers 268,000 km², slightly larger than the United Kingdom, about the size of California or Japan. Purchase detailed regional maps at http://www.wises.co.nz/. New Zealand lies in the South Pacific Ocean between latitudes 34°S and 47°S. It is 6,500km south-southwest of Hawaii and 1,900km east of Australia – 3 hours by air from Australia, 12.5 hours by air from the United States and about 10 hours by air from Pacific Rim centres such as Hong Kong or Singapore.
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Goods and Services Tax
All goods and services purchased in New Zealand are subject to 12.5% Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is included in the display price. Goods bought from Duty Free shops before departure are exempt if your travel ticket is presented.
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Government
New Zealand is a sovereign state with a democratic parliamentary government based on the Westminster system. Elections are held every three years and since 1996 Members of Parliament have been elected using a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system of proportional representation. The judicial system is based on the British model, with the judiciary independent from the executive. New Zealand is a founding member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations.
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Health and Safety
New Zealand is a safe destination, but precautions should be taken. Take care in the water (see www.watersafety.org.nz) and when hiking – check the weather on www.metservice.org.nz. The sun is intense, so wear sunscreen. Valuables should be kept out of sight and vehicles locked when unattended. In some areas it is inadvisable to walk alone late at night. New Zealand Police are polite and helpful. In an emergency dial 111 for ambulance or police. See www.police.govt.nz. 24-hour doctors are listed in telephone directories.
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Holidays

Confirmed bookings are recommended for accommodation, vehicle rental and Cook Strait ferry sailings if you are travelling during public or school holidays.
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Public Holidays

  • Waitangi Day 6 February 12
  • Good Friday 6 April 12
  • Easter Monday 9 April 12
  • Anzac Day 25 April 12
  • Queen’s Birthday 4 June 12
  • Labour Day 22 October 12
  • Christmas Day 25 December 12
  • Boxing Day 26 December 12
  • New Year’s Day 1 January 13

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See www.moe.govt.nz. There are trading restrictions on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and before 1pm on Anzac Day. Banks generally close on public holidays, but many shops remain open. Some establishments charge a holiday surcharge of 10% – 20%.
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Insurance
In most cases visitors to New Zealand are not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services. People covered by New Zealand’s Reciprocal Health Agreements with Australia and United Kingdom are entitled to publicly funded health care for immediately necessary medical treatment only. Comprehensive health insurance for the duration of your visit is recommended.
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Internet
Internet access is widely available in cyber cafés and public libraries for an hourly charge. Hotels may have Internet access for guests.
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Language
English is the major official language. Maori is the second official language. New Zealanders are generally understanding if you do not speak English, and will appreciate any effort made. See www.englishnewzealand.co.nz for English language courses.
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Media
New Zealand has AM and FM radio stations. National Radio is the non-commercial national network, broadcasting news and weather on AM and FM (around 101 MHz FM). There are four nationwide free-to-air TV networks, as well as regional stations. SKY TV is the main pay-television operator. Major newspapers are available around the country, and many towns also have their own local newspapers.
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Mobile Phones
New Zealand has both analogue and GSM digital networks. Check with your phone company about international mobile roaming.
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Passports and Visas
Passports are required for all visitors and must be valid for at least three months after the date the visitor intends to leave. Visas are not required for most visitors staying less than three months. For longer stays, a Visitor’s Visa may be required. Check requirements with the New Zealand Immigration Service: www.immigration.govt.nz.

Obtaining a New Zealand Visa for an Indian Passport Holder
The New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi issues visas. To obtain a visa you must be able to submit the following documents :

  • 3 years income tax paper
  • 3 months bank statements
  • Photocopies of all your international credit cards (both sides)
  • A passport valid for 6 months from the date of departure from New Zealand
  • An endorsement in your passport of a minimum of a USD 1000.00
  • Photo copy of your air ticket to / from New Zealand

The above is a guide line only please consult your local travel agent issuing your air ticket or the New Zealand high commission in New Zealand.
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Population
New Zealand has a multicultural population of about 4 million people. Most New Zealanders are of British descent (sometimes referred to as Pakeha). Other European cultures have also had a significant impact. In more recent times, people of Asian and Pacific Island descent are also a significant proportion of the population. Maori make up around 14 percent of the population.
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Postal Service
Post Shops are found in most towns. In smaller areas, an agency may run in conjunction with another business. Post shops are generally open from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and some may open from 9 am to 12 noon on Saturdays.
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Prices
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$50 per day or as much as they like. As a general rule, a main meal may cost between NZ$15 to NZ$45. A night’s accommodation will cost anywhere from NZ$30 to NZ$300 and beyond.
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Religion

The New Zealand population is predominantly Christian, but followers of many major religions will find places of worship in cities and larger towns.
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Shopping
New Zealand is known for sheepskins and leather goods, paua (abalone shell) and Maori carvings in wood, bone and greenstone (jade). More recently, fashion designers have earned a reputation for high-quality creations. An original artwork is another memorable purchase. In resorts and cities, shops are open 7 days a week, with late nights on Thursdays and Fridays.
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Telephones
Most public phones can be operated with phonecards purchased from convenience stores, bookshops and visitor information centres. Some public call phones also accept credit cards but very few accept coins. The international dialling code for New Zealand is +64. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code. National area codes are listed in the front of all telephone directories. Numbers prefixed 0800 and 0508 are free to call within New Zealand. Numbers prefixed 0900 will incur an additional charge. Internet cafes are widely available.
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Important Numbers :

  • Emergency Services 111
  • Local Operator 010
  • International Operator 0170
  • NZ Directory Assistance 018
  • International Directory Assistance 0172

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Time Differences
New Zealand standard time is Greenwich Mean Time +12 hours or roughly 6.5 - 7.5 hours ahead of IST (depending on the season)  . From the first Sunday in October to the third Sunday in March, New Zealand is on daylight saving time of GMT +13 hours. New Zealand’s time zone is ahead of all other OECD countries. Find out the current time in New Zealand at www.timeanddate.com.
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Tipping
Employees in New Zealand do not depend on tips for income. Tipping in appreciation of good service is at the discretion of the visitor.
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Transport
Cities and major towns are well served by air transport. Hire a campervan or rental car for a self-drive holiday. Travel by coach or rail is comfortable and cost-effective. A regular ferry service connects North and South Islands.
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Vaccinations
No vaccination certificates are required to enter New Zealand.
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Visitor Information Network
Look out for the i-SITE – New Zealand has an extensive Visitor Information Network providing visitors with free and comprehensive local knowledge.
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Water
Tap (faucet) water is fresh and safe to drink throughout the country. Water taken from rivers or lakes should be boiled or treated.
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Weights and Measures
New Zealand is metric, though it is common to hear people still using imperial measurements for distance, height and weight.
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Airports
New Zealand’s key international airports are Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Some flights from Australia also land at Hamilton, Palmerston North, Queenstown and Dunedin.
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Arrival Declaration Card
New Zealand has strict regulations about what can be brought into the country. Visitors must fill in an Arrival Declaration Card, stating whether they are carrying :

  • Any type of raw or cooked food, i.e. nuts, baby food, airplane food, honey etc
  • Dirty footwear, sports gear and camping equipment
  • Plant materials i.e. flowers, herbal medicines, potpourri, seeds, straw bags or hats, gardening equipment
  • Products made from wood and curios
  • Items made from animal products i.e. leather goods, feathers, bones, sea shells
  • Equipment used with animals i.e. saddles, fishing equipment
  • Endangered Species protected by CITES i.e. turtle shells, ivory, coral
  • Or whether you have visited a farm, rural area or abattoir

Luggage will be x-rayed or physically searched and if any of the above items are found and have not been stated on the card, an instant fine of at least $200 may be imposed. See www.protectnz.co.nz or www.maf.govt.nz.
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Connecting Transport
There are several options for connecting transport between the airport and the central city. At all airports visitors will find taxi stands near the terminals. Taxis are convenient, but the fare will vary depending on the distance between airport and city. Major airports also offer shuttle services in which visitors share a van or minibus with a small group of other passengers. Shuttles are economical, but may take longer if there are a number of pick-ups and drop-offs along the way. Most airports are also served by an airport to city bus service. Buses are great value, but passengers may need to find other transport from the city drop-off point to their accommodation. See the regional information sections for more specific advice about connecting transport options.
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Customs Allowances
The Arrival Declaration Card also contains a Customs Declaration section. You must declare goods that may be prohibited or restricted, e.g. weapons; goods or currency in excess of allowances; and goods for commercial purposes. See www.customs.govt.nz for further information.
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ON THE ROAD

Getting Between the Islands
The North and South Islands are separated by a body of water called the Cook Strait. There is no bridge, but there are several ferry services for passengers and cars. Book your ferry journeys well in advance. Sailings fill up quickly, particularly during New Zealand Public and School Holidays, and the timing of your Cook Strait crossing can have a major influence on your itinerary.

Travelling Times.
To check distances : http://www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php.
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Deceptive Distances
The times provided in this guide allow for a driver travelling at 80 – 100km/h on open stretches, with traffic delays, petrol stops and refreshment breaks.

Distances are longer than they may appear on a map. You cannot, for instance, travel between Queenstown and Auckland in a day. Because roads are generally not multi-lane roadways, and may be winding or steep, driving in New Zealand also requires careful concentration. It is therefore important that you allow time for regular rest breaks along the way – a perfect excuse to stop and admire the astonishing scenery!
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Highways and By-ways
Are you renting a car or campervan and driving in New Zealand? Roads in New Zealand may be very different from what you are used to. You can expect highways between main centres to be sealed, but they are not multi-lane roadways. Remember to keep left at all times and take care when overtaking.
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Seat Belts
It is compulsory in New Zealand that the driver and all passengers wear their seatbelts. This is an important safety requirement.
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More Information
For more detailed information, you can visit the New Zealand Government Land Transport Safety Authority website. Here you will find information specifically for visitors who intend to drive in New Zealand.
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Getting Here
The easiest way to get to New Zealand from India is via South East Asia. Most commercial airlines operate flights from major Indian metros to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore (approx. 4 - 5 hrs) and then on to Auckland (approx. 10 hrs.)
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DRIVING IN NEW ZEALAND

Get Behind the Wheel
New Zealand's tourist routes are of a generally high standard and the main roads are sealed. All roads, including those in rural locations, are signposted. Remember to drive on the left!
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International Driving Licences and Permits
You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). After 12 months you are required to convert to a New Zealand licence. This applies to each visit to New Zealand.

In New Zealand all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.

Make sure your driver's licence is current. If your licence is not in English, you must bring an English translation with you or obtain an IDP. Contact your local automobile club for further details about obtaining a translation or an IDP.
A translation of your overseas licence or permit can be issued by:

the New Zealand Translation Service, or a diplomatic representative at a high commission, embassy or consulate, or the authority that issued your overseas licence (an international driving permit may be acceptable as a translation). It is important to note that if you are caught driving without an acceptable English translation or an IDP, you may be prosecuted for driving unlicensed or for driving without an appropriate licence and will be liable for an infringement fee of NZ$400 or up to NZ$1,000 on conviction in court.

The Police also have the power to forbid an unlicensed driver to drive until they have an appropriate licence. If you continue to drive after being forbidden, the vehicle you are driving will be impounded for 28 days, at the vehicle owner's expense. You may also risk not being covered by your insurance in the event of a crash.
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Road Rules
New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road. Drivers give way (or yield) to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right.

The speed limit is 100km/h on the open road and 50km/h in urban areas. You will find multi-lane motorways and expressways on the approaches to the larger cities, with most roads being dual carriageways. Signposting follows standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km).

Both drivers and passengers must wear a safety belt in both the front and back seats. All children under the age of five must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint when travelling in cars or vans.

Get plenty of sleep before a long drive. Take regular breaks - one every two hours and when you get sleepy. Road Safety

Self-driving holidays are one if the most relaxing ways of enjoying New Zealand's landscape. Many of our roads are scenic and traffic is low when compared to international standards.

Although New Zealand is a relatively small country it can take many hours to drive between cities and other destinations of interest. Even when distances are short, hilly or winding terrain or narrow secondary roads can slow your journey.

If you're used to driving in the city, you should take care when driving on the open country roads. New Zealand has a good motorway system but weather extremes, the terrain and narrow secondary roads and bridges require drivers to be very vigilant.

Never drive if you are feeling tired, particularly after you have just completed a long-haul flight.
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The following, general information is provided for your road safety :

  • Always drive on the left-hand-side of the road and give way to your right.
  • All road distances are measured in kilometres.
  • When turning left, give way (yield) to traffic crossing or approaching from your right.
  • When the traffic light is red, you must stop. There is no left turn rule as in North America.
  • The amber traffic light means stop unless you are so close to the intersection you can’t stop safely.
  • The speed limit on the open road is usually 100km/h (approx 60m/h). In urban areas the speed limit is 50km/h. Speed limits are strictly enforced by the police.
  • Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts or child restraints at all times, in both front and rear seats.
  • During long journeys take regular rest and refreshment breaks.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.
  • Refer to the Transit New Zealand website for country wide information on New Zealand roads. For up to date information on South Island roads you can also call toll free 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
  • Do not drink alcohol before driving in New Zealand, drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced.

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