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General Info about New Zealand

New Zealand General Info

Currency

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). Each dollar is divided into 100 cents.

Language

Currently, there are three official languages in New Zealand; English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language. Of these, English is the most predominant.

Climate

New Zealand’s climate is usually described as a temperate maritime climate; however, different regions of the country can experience quite different conditions at any one time. The country generally experiences four distinct seasons with lots of warm, sunny weather during summer and colder conditions during winter. The weather can be quite changeable so keep that in mind when you’re packing for your trip. As New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, it enjoys summer from December to February and winter from June to August.

Time Zone

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Daylight Saving starts at the end of September, when clocks are moved one hour forward and ends in March, when the clocks are put back an hour.

Opening Hours

Offices and businesses tend to open on Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. Shops are usually open on Monday to Saturday from 9am-6pm, with many stores closing later on Thursdays and Fridays. Some shops now also open on Sundays.

Electricity

Electricity in New Zealand is 230V, 50 Hz. Australian-style three-blade plugs are used in New Zealand.

Goods and Services Tax

Goods and services in New Zealand are subject to a 15% goods and services tax, commonly known as GST. Overseas visitors cannot claim back GST; however, some stores sell goods to overseas visitors exclusive of GST provided proof of onward or return tickets is shown.

Visa Requirements

Australian citizens and current residents don’t need entry visas to visit New Zealand, while British citizens and UK passport holders don’t need visas to visit New Zealand for a period of up to six months.

Other countries have visa waiver agreements with New Zealand, meaning citizens can visit without a visa for a period of up to three months. These countries include: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, Uruguay and USA.

Citizens of all other countries are required to hold a visa to enter the country. These are available from any NZ embassy and are usually valid for three months.

Before travelling to New Zealand, ensure that your passport is valid for at least three months after your intended departure date from NZ.

Telephones

Public telephones are commonplace, though some only take phone cards. Phone cards are available at Visitor Information Centres, newsagents, service stations and other outlets. The country code for New Zealand is +64.

Post Office

Post offices located all over New Zealand are usually open on weekends from 9am to 5pm.

Tipping

Tipping generally isn’t expected or required in New Zealand; however, it is becoming more common. If you get outstanding service, you should give a tip of around 10%. Also, although it’s not customary to tip taxi drivers, it’s a good idea to round fares up to the nearest dollar when paying.

Public Holidays

It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In New Zealand they take place on January 1st, January 2nd, February 6th (Waitangi Day), Good Friday, Easter Monday, April 25th (Anzac Day), Queen’s Birthday (1st Monday in June), Labour Day (4th Monday in October), December 25th (Christmas Day) and December 26th (Boxing Day). It is a good idea to check out what’s going on in particular areas too, as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.

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