New Zealand Travel information
New Zealand Travel Information
The following information is provided free to assist you in preparing for your trip. This pre-departure information is to help you prepare for your adventure in New Zealand. All the information is compiled in good faith and is up to date at the time of compilation. For more details information on frequently asked questions, what to bring, food, accommodation or activities please go to the relevant areas of the site. It must be realised however that things do change from time to time so please also feel free to contact our office before you come to New Zealand for any additional information.
Flights & Visas
The price of the flight to New Zealand is not included in the price of the tour. We can recommend certain travel agents at which you can acquire your flight tickets. When booking your flight, you should arrive at the point of assembly the day or night before the start date of the trip. You should also allow time at the end of the expedition for any unexpected delays. Any accommodation or food outside of the official start and finishing times of the expedition are your own responsibility.
Everyone arriving into New Zealand who is not a New Zealand citizen (including NZ residents with a foreign passport) requires a valid passport.
Visa Waiver Agreements
If you are a citizen of one of the following countries, which have visa waiver agreements with New Zealand, you do not need to apply for a Visitor Visa if you plan to visit New Zealand for 3 months or less:
* Portuguese passport holders must have the right to live permanently in Portugal.
** Includes US nationals from American Samoa and Swains Island.
*** Residents of Hong Kong travelling on Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or British National (Overseas) passports.
People Travelling on a United Nations (UN) Laissez-Passer
British Citizens and Passport Holders
If you are a British citizen or are a British passport holder and have evidence of the right to live permanently in the United Kingdom, you may be granted a Visitor's Permit valid for 6 months on arrival.
As a Visa Waiver Visitor You Must:
- hold a valid ticket to a country you have the right of entry to; and
- have sufficient money to support yourself during your stay; and
- hold a passport valid for 3 months beyond the date you are leaving New Zealand; and
- only wish to visit New Zealand for the time granted on arrival (if you wish to visit for a longer period you will need to apply for a Visitor''s Visa).
Temporary Permit Exemptions
The following people are exempt from having to hold temporary permits while in New Zealand:
- citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia; or
- people exempted by special direction; or
- any country, or crew members of any craft transporting such people to New Zealand, while in New Zealand
In order to protect New Zealand's unique flora and fauna from disease, New Zealand has some very strict quarantine/customs conditions. In order to avoid an embarrassing search by a customs officer, if you have any of the following items, you MUST declare them when entering the country. Items include:
- Plants and plant matter - which includes wooden spoons, statues, straw hats, grass skirts, seeds, flowers etc - anything made from a plant or plant matter.
- Fresh food including meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs and packaged foods.
- Any goods of animal origin
There are special bins located in the airport where you can discard unwanted items before reaching the customs area. If you do have any of the above items and you wish to declare them, make sure you use the appropriate exits from the customs hall and have a customs officer inspect your goods. Just because you have to declare it, doesn't mean you will lose the item. As long as a customs officer is able to inspect the item, more than likely you will find you'll be able to take the item with you as you leave the airport.
Other prohibited items include:
- Live animals and goods made from protected animal species (such as ivory or tortoise shells).
- Weapons and firearms
- Illegal drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine to name just a few.
For more information about quarantine regulations and customs laws, please visit the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries web site.
It is recommended that all travellers arriving into New Zealand are covered by comprehensive travel insurance. If you get into trouble, New Zealand can be an expensive place to receive medical treatment. If you are planning on doing any adventure activities such as scuba diving, sky diving, bungy jumping, skiing or any other number of activities that are deemed as 'dangerous sports/activities', make sure you read the fine print on your insurance policy to determine that you are indeed covered for those activities. The last thing you want is to take out an expensive cover, only to find you weren't covered at all. For a competitive quote from Nomads insurance follow this link for New Zealand Tour Insurance.
Vaccinations are not generally needed to travel through New Zealand. It is highly recommended that travellers have comprehensive insurance. If you are on medication and need to bring it with you, you are allowed to bring reasonable amounts of prescription (non-narcotic) medication with you. All medication must be clearly labeled and if you have large quantities, it must be accompanied by a doctor's certificate. All medication must be carried as hand luggage and declared on arrival to customs.
We recommend that you bring with you a good supply of insect repellant like RID to keep mosquitoes at bay. In general, most creepy crawlies can't do you much harm as long as you don't provoke them. There are no snakes or person eating animals in New Zealand.
It is a personal preference as to how you want to travel with your money, but the easiest way is to have a mixture of traveller's cheques and a credit card or cash card. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards, as well as American Express, Diner's Club, Maestro and Cirrus cards. Credit cards and cash cards are an alternative to carrying large amounts of traveller's cheques or cash. If your credit card or cash card has the Cirrus or Maestro logo on the back of it, then you will be able to access funds from your bank account back home at ATM's which are located everywhere. Travellers cheques incur fees and commissions and are at the mercy of exchange rate fluctuations. American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa and other well known international brands are widely accepted throughout New Zealand. Buying New Zealand dollar travellers cheques may be a better option. They can be exchanged immediately at the bank and they don't incur any fees or charges.
While we include loads of extras in our tours, there's also plenty of time for you to do lots more. Feel the adrenaline pumping as you hang glide* over beautiful Lake Wakatipu at Queenstown or hire a kayak*, swim with the dolphins*, discover the countryside from the back of a horse*, scuba dive* on the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior…. The choice is yours!! (*at own expense)
Just remember - wherever there's an optional extra, there's also a free alternative. On board your vehicle there are comprehensive lists of everything available at a destination, so you can plan ahead the extra activities you'd like to do. So you can be as active as you like, or just chill out and relax on the beach if that's what you want to do! Your crew will advise you on the best possible places to do your activities.
Lying between 34°S and 47°S, New Zealand sits squarely in the ''roaring forties'' latitude, which means a prevailing and continual wind blows over the country from west to east; this can range from a gentle breeze in summer to a buffeting, roof-stripping gale in winter. The North Island and South Island, because of their different geological features, have two distinct patterns of rainfall: in the South Island, the Southern Alps act as a barrier for the moisture-laden winds from the Tasman Sea, creating a wet climate to the west of the mountains and a dry climate to the east; while the North Island's rainfall is more evenly distributed without a comparable geological feature such as the Alps. Temperatures are a few degrees cooler in the South Island, and both islands receive snow in winter. Winter falls in the months of June through August and summer from December through February. It is important to remember that New Zealand's climate is maritime, rather than continental, which means the weather can change with amazing rapidity and consequence. The busy tourist season falls in the warmer months between November and April, though ski resorts, such as Queenstown, are full during winter.
New Zealand has a very modern telephone system, and you'll find telephones all over the place. You will have access to phones and internet most days.
Internet cafes are everywhere, so keeping up with family and friends is very easy. Some internet cafes even allow you access to download your holiday pics to send home. Prices vary for services and as there's loads of competition between internet cafes, it pays to shop around for good deals.
Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and you'll find a post office or sub agent in every town you come across. Stamps cost 40c for local post, and $2.00 for international letters to the UK, USA and Europe, slightly less for Asia.