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Useful information for New Zealand visitors

There's always a lot of things you need to know when travelling to a new country for the first time.

We've made things easy and gathered all the must know info for your first trip to New Zealand!

Passports

When visiting New Zealand you will need to carry and present a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date from New Zealand.

Visas

You DO NOT need a visa to visit New Zealand if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • An Australian citizen travelling on an Australian passport
  • An Australian resident with a current resident return visa
  • A citizen of a country that holds a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand

You DO need a visa to visit New Zealand if you are not from a country that holds a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand.

To find out if you qualify for a visa waiver or would like additional information, visit the New Zealand immigration website.

Drivers' licenses

To be able to drive in New Zealand you must have one of the following:

  • A full drivers' licence written in English
  • A full drivers' licence not written in English must be accompanied by a certified translation by an NZTA-accredited translation company or translator
  • An international drivers' licence - contact your country's automotive association for details on how to obtain an international drivers' licence before you travel

Currency

The unit of currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2. Notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into New Zealand, however if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash you will need to complete a Border Cash Report on arrival in New Zealand.

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely used and accepted across New Zealand, however it is a good idea to carry a small amount of local currency with you just in case, especially if you are visiting a more rural or isolated destination.

The major credit cards that are most widely accepted are Visa and Mastercards, other cards are readily accepted at most outlets. Diners Club and AMEX credit cards may incur an additional fee.

Goods and Services Tax

All goods and services in New Zealand are subject to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST). This will be included in the displayed price of any given product or service unless it is specifically stated otherwise.

Seasons and weather

The seasons in New Zealand fall in the following months:

  • Spring - September, October, November
  • Summer - December, January, February
  • Autumn - March, April, May
  • Winter - June, July, August

The weather in the North Island is subtropical and generally warmer throughout the year, further south it gets colder and there are some great skiing options in the winter months.

Take a look at this article for some more information about New Zealand weather, along with tips on what to pack so you are prepared.

Travel between the North & South Islands

There are two ferry services that offer passage across the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands:

  • The Interislander Ferry
  • The Bluebridge Ferry

Alternatively you can fly between the islands via the major airports on the North and South Islands.