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New Zealand Survival Kit
ABOUT NEW ZEALAND
The North and South Islands of New Zealand comprise a country that is rich in nature, heritage and culture. Roughly the same size as Japan, but with only 4 million people, New Zealand is one of the world’s least crowded countries. Each year tourists discover new reasons to explore this amazing country, whether it’s for the stunning & dramatic landscapes, peaceful & laid-back attitude, or world renowned adventure playground, New Zealand has something for you. There are a seemingly infinite number of possibilities when traveling to New Zealand and the specialists at Downunder Journeys are ready to work for you.
CLIMATE & WEATHER
The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August (opposite of the Northern Hemisphere). In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC (68-86F) and in winter between 10-15ºC (50-59F). You can check on weather conditions in New Zealand on the New Zealand. www.metservice.co.nz
There are regulations and concessions covering personal effects, prohibited goods, alcohol, tobacco, sporting equipment and other goods brought into New Zealand. Please be advised that New Zealand imposes severe penalties on those found carrying narcotics and other controlled substances. Please visit the New Zealand Customs Service website for detailed information. www.customs.govt.nz
A tax of NZ$22-NZ$25 has to be paid at the airport when you leave New Zealand. Please note that this tax is not included in your ticket price.
In New Zealand, you will find yourself driving on the right-hand side of the vehicle as well as on the left-hand side of the road. This is opposite to countries such as the United States, Canada and continental Europe, and can be quite confusing at first. Taking the time to concentrate, particularly when turning corners, and allowing yourself to become accustomed to driving on the right-hand side of the car, will make the transition easier.
You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). After 12 months you are required to convert to a New Zealand license. This applies to each visit to New Zealand.
Recent law changes mean all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their license 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 license is current. If your license is not in English, you should 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.
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Please note that power outlets only accept flat three or two-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS / VISAS
All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country. Visa Exemptions
You do not need a visa or permit to visit New Zealand if you are:
· A New Zealand citizen or Resident Permit holder
· An Australian citizen traveling on an Australian passport
· An Australian resident with a current Australian resident return visa
· A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand
Currently travelers from more than 50 countries do not require a Visitor's Visa for stays less than three months. You do require:
· A passport that is valid for at least three months after your planned departure from New Zealand
· An onward or return ticket to a country that you have permission to enter
· Sufficient money to support yourself during your stay - approximately NZ$1000 per month per person
If you have stayed in New Zealand for up to three months previously you may need to apply for a visa. To find out if your country qualifies for a visa waiver, check out the Visa Free Countries of the New Zealand Immigration Service website, where you'll find a list of all eligible countries and other useful visa information. Your travel agent, airline or nearest New Zealand Embassy will also be able to advise you if you require a visa.
British citizens and other British passport holders who have evidence of the right to live permanently in the UK may be allowed to stay in New Zealand for up to six months.
FLYING TIMES TO NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand is a three and a half hour flight from Eastern Australia. From the West Coast of the United States, a direct flight to New Zealand is 12 hours. Other places on the Pacific Rim, like Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo, flights take around 10 hours.
New Zealand's 'Pacific Rim' cuisine style takes its inspiration from regions and countries such as Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Polynesia, Japan and Vietnam. This unique blend of influences has created a mouth-watering range of flavors and food available from cafes and restaurants nationwide. While you are there, take the opportunity to discover more about New Zealand wines. White wines, particularly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, have achieved an international reputation for excellence - and the reds are catching-up fast!
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
All goods and services are subject to a 15 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price. Visitors cannot claim this tax back; however when a supplier ships a major purchase to a visitor's home address the GST will not be charged.
If you are injured here, you may need the help of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) - New Zealand's accident compensation scheme. You still need to purchase your own travel and medical insurance because ACC does not cover everything. ACC only covers treatment and rehabilitation in New Zealand, and usually you must pay part of the cost yourself. We strongly advise you to arrange your own health insurance. New Zealand's public and private medical/hospital facilities provide a high standard of treatment and service but it is important to note these services are not free to visitors, except as a result of an accident. The ACC does not pay any additional costs resulting from an accident, for example delayed or curtailed travel costs, travel home, treatment at home and loss of income in your home country.
While New Zealand is a relatively young country, it has a rich and fascinating history, reflecting both our Maori and European heritage. Amazing Maori historic sites and taonga (treasures), some dating back almost a thousand years, are a contrast to many beautiful colonial buildings. A walk around any New Zealand city today shows what a culturally diverse and fascinating country we have become.
English is the common and everyday language of New Zealand. New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and you may hear many other languages spoken, including Maori, which is also an official language of New Zealand.
New Zealanders have often been thought of as people who prefer the ‘quiet life.’ However, as tourism grows, so does the variety of lifestyles. From cities to farms, coasts to mountains, or high pace to slow pace - New Zealanders march to their own beat.
MONEY AND BANKING
New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Coins have values of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2; notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centers. All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Travelers Checks are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. Banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are widely available at banks, along main shopping streets and in malls.
- New Zealand’s national symbol is a nocturnal flightless bird called a Kiwi. It is now endangered, and difficult to see in the wild. However, there are a number of ‘kiwi houses’ at zoos and wildlife parks. While they may look cute, kiwi can be fierce and highly territorial.
- Over 20 percent of New Zealand is covered in national parks, forest areas and reserves.
- The central North Island is dominated by the Volcanic Plateau, an active volcanic and thermal area. The massive Southern Alps form the backbone of the South Island. New Zealand has over 15,000 kilometers of beautiful and varied coastline.
- The Maori people are the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Today, Maori make up over 14 percent of the population. Their language and culture has a major impact on all facets of New Zealand life.
- Despite recent changes, New Zealand still has a sizeable rural population and farming is a major export earner. Like the rest of the population, the farming sector have diversified and embraced technology, making New Zealand one of the most productive and efficient agricultural producers in the world.
- Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, has more restaurant seats per head than New York City.
- About 80% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world.
City Circuit is the free inner-city bus loop operated by Stagecoach Auckland. The City Circuit uses environmentally friendly hybrid-electric buses. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) have electric engines powered by batteries. The bus runs every 10 minutes between 8am and 6pm, seven days. City Circuit connects Britomart to Queen St, the CBD universities, the Civic Theatre, The Edge and the Sky Tower. Look out for the red bus and connect to the City Circuit. Stagecoach Auckland provides most of the public bus services in the Auckland Region. With over 560 buses covering 90+ routes, Stagecoach can get you to and from most parts of the Auckland region. Also operated by Stagecoach is the popular Link bus circuit with a bus every 10 minutes weekdays and Saturday; and every 15 minutes in the evenings and Sunday. The Link circuit covers key Auckland CBD locations.
The Stagecoach Flyer is the express bus service operating between Wellington Airport, Wellington City, Queensgate in Lower Hutt then Upper Hutt. You can use the Flyer to travel between Wellington and the Airport and Wellington to the Hutt Valley as well. The $9 Star Pass can be used on the Flyer and on all Stagecoach Wellington and Cityline Hutt Valley buses. Get it from the driver on the bus.
Ferries / Water Taxis
Ferries and water taxis service many areas in New Zealand. To get detailed in formation please visit: www.newzealand.com/travel/transport/transport-home.cfm
The MAF Quarantine Service is New Zealand's first line of defense against invasion by pests and diseases which could devastate the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors. Because of New Zealand's geographical isolation, a unique range of plants and wildlife developed here free from many of the pests and diseases which plague other countries. The MAF Quarantine Service seeks help from the public to keep New Zealand the "Cleanest and Greenest" place on earth. Detailed descriptions on what can or cannot be brought into New Zealand can be found at: www.maf.govt.nz/quarantine
New Zealand is predominantly a Christian country, however services for most religions are catered for.
Shopping in New Zealand is a fantastic experience. Whether you are after the downtown experience in Auckland or interested in buying native Maori art in Rotorua, or just basic souvenirs at all of the main destinations, New Zealand will satisfy even the most enthusiastic shoppers.
SIZE AND POPULATION
Total: 268,680 sq km, Land: 268,021 sq km
About the size of Colorado or Japan.
Total Coastline: 15,134 km
Highest Point: Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 m
Population: 4,035,461 (July 2005 est.)
There is no question that New Zealanders are passionate about the outdoors and sports in general. With almost any type of sporting activity available in New Zealand, it is no wonder that adventure enthusiast flock there year after year. As for professional sports, the most popular include rugby union and cricket. New Zealand has a multitude of local regional and national clubs for both sports, and is represented internationally. Rugby is a particularly popular sport, having brought European descendents and native Maoris together. The international rugby team, named the All Blacks, is world renowned and has been engaged in a fierce rivalry with Australia for over 100 years! Check out the All Blacks website for match times and locations: www.allblacks.com
STATES, REGIONS OR TERRRITORIES AND THEIR CAPITAL CITIES
New Zealand does not officially have any states or territories on the main islands, therefore different organizations divide the country into different regions, but on a basic level one can divide the country like so:
North Island: Main cities include Auckland and Wellington (capital of NZ). Other well known areas include Rotorua, Northland and Lake Taupo.
South Island: Main cities include Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. Other well-known areas include Fiord land, Kaikoura and Mt. Cook (with the Tasman Glacier).
New Zealand’s country code is 64. When calling specific cities the codes vary, some of the bigger city codes are such: Auckland – 9, Christchurch – 3, Dunedin – 3, Queenstown – 3, and Wellington – 4. All other city codes are available at www.whitepages.com, Just search the international calling codes link.
New Zealand uses the same time zone throughout the country. One interesting fact about New Zealand is that it is one of the first countries in the world to see the sun every morning.
Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory - even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.
New Zealand is such an interesting country that it is difficult to list specific wonders. At Downunder Journeys we consider the whole country to be one combined wonder in which words could never do justice!
If you are traveling from the United States or Canada directly into New Zealand, no vaccinations are required. If you plan to make a stopover enroute to New Zealand, please check the requirements with the nearest New Zealand Consulate or Embassy, which can be located at: www.nzemb.org
WHAT TO WEAR
Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and night-spots. Men are generally not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the top formal bars and restaurants in major cities. In summer a light jacket or sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or you visit higher altitudes. You can expect some rain, so include a light rainproof jacket or coat. If visiting between May and September, pack warm winter garments and layer your clothing.