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.
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 travelling 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, travellers 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.
To find out if your country qualifies for a visa waiver, check out the Visiting New Zealand section of the New Zealand Immigration Service website www.immigration.govt.nz where you’ll find a list of all eligible countries and other useful visa information. Your travel agent, airline or nearest New Zealand Embassy should 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.
Visitors Visa Applications
If your country is not on the visa waiver list, or you wish to stay longer than three months, you’ll need to apply for a Visitor's Visa. You can download application forms directly from the New Zealand Immigration Service website, or contact your nearest New Zealand Embassy.
Study and Work Visas
The New Zealand Immigration Service also has information on work, business or student visas. If you’re interested in studying in New Zealand, check out the New Zealand Independent English Language School website and Education New Zealand Trust website.
If you're thinking about living permanently in New Zealand, there is a Migration section in the New Zealand Immigration Service website. It contains a brief summary of immigration requirements and information on obtaining a residence application pack.
New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer New Zealand uses ‘daylight saving’, with clocks put forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the third Sunday of the following March, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south is temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC and in winter between 10-15ºC. You can check on weather conditions in New Zealand on the New Zealand Metservice.
New Zealand's unit of currency 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 restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres. All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Travellers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores.
You can calculate the value of your currency in NZ Dollars using the currency converter on the website www.newzealand.com. The rate you are offered in your home country is likely to differ slightly. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand provides a monthly online summary of the New Zealand Dollar's average value against the US Dollar, the Pound, the Australian Dollar, the Yen and the Euro.
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. International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN encoded. Check with your bank before leaving home.
Goods and Services Tax
All goods and services are subject to a 12.5 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.
The Bluebridge Ferry that travels across the Cook Strait between the North and South Island (between Wellington and Picton) travels daily. The normal adult price is around $55 (price can vary depending on season and events). The cost of the Bluebridge Ferry is not included in Stray hop-on, hop-off passes. Please book your space on the Bluebridge Ferry with your driver when you're on your way to Wellington or Picton.
Getting through New Zealand customs is a unique experience in itself. Sam Berwick tells you how to navigate your way safely to the other side.