New Zealand Currency
New Zealand’s unit of currency is the dollar (NZ$). All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand,
with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely.
Tipping and Service Charges
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 banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some are also during weekends. Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) 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.
Bringing cash into New Zealand
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.
- Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2.
- Notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
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.
Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to “rounding” of amounts either up or down. The Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system prices, ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up. For example, a purchase of $15.14 would be rounded down to $15.10, and a purchase of $15.16 would be rounded up to $15.20. It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents.
Driving in New Zealand is different to driving in other countries. What do you need to know before getting behind the wheel?
https://youtu.be/TircMu9yTa4 Exploring New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes by car, campervan or motorhome is a popular way to get around. Even if you’re used to driving in other places, you need to be well aware of things like weather extremes, narrow, windy roads and different road rules before you begin on your journey.
What’s different about driving in New Zealand?
Never drive when you are tired and take regular breaks.
It doesn’t matter what country you are driving in, it is extremely dangerous to drive when you are tired. Visitors to New Zealand might be tired because of jet-lag, early starts and late nights, or because they had a long day driving the day before. Because driving in New Zealand can be very different to other countries, you need to be well-rested and alert – tired drivers are dangerous drivers.
Many roads have varying conditions, and can be narrow, windy and cover hilly terrain.
New Zealand’s diverse terrain means roads are often narrow, hilly and windy with plenty of sharp corners. Outside of the main cities, there are very few motorways. Most of our roads are single lane in each direction without barriers in between. You may also encounter gravel roads. It’s important to allow plenty of time, go slow and pull over in a safe place if traffic wants to pass from behind you. Take plenty of breaks so that you stay alert.
It’s easy to underestimate drive times when looking at a map.
Maps don’t show how narrow and windy roads can be. What might look like a short trip can take a long time. For example: Hokitika to the town of Haast, a popular drive for visitors stopping to see New Zealand’s glaciers, is 278km (172mi) on the map and may look like a short 3-hour drive. However, drivers should allow for up to 4 hours’ of driving time because of the windy road. This is common all over New Zealand –always allow for more time than you think you’ll need.
Weather-related hazards are commonplace.
In New Zealand, you might experience four seasons in one day. It’s possible to start your day off with blue sky and sunshine, but arrive at your destination in rain and hail. Because of this, weather related hazards on the road can occur at any time. Always check the weather forecast before departing, and adjust your plans accordingly. If you’re driving in the South Island in winter, spring or late autumn, snow is a possibility – ensure that you’re carrying chains if a cold snap has been forecast. Most rental companies will provide you with chains and demonstrate how to fit them. Read our winter driving tips.
Winter roads can be treacherous.
Snow, ice and fog can be common in winter, especially in the South Island and around mountain passes. Ensure you’re clued up on the weather forecast for the region that you’re driving in, leave large following distances and make sure you’re travelling with snow chains (and know how to fit them).
Not all New Zealand rail crossings have automatic alarms.
Only half of the 1500 rail crossings in New Zealand have automatic alarms. When red lights are flashing it means a train is coming so stop and only proceed once the lights have stopped flashing. Other crossings have a ‘Railway Crossing’ sign and give way or stop signs only. If you see this, stop, look both ways and only cross the track if there are no trains approaching.
We drive on the left hand side of the road, so the layout of the car and the road should be similar to your own country. However as the driving conditions can be very different, it is a good idea to get familiar with important New Zealand road rules before your arrival.
VISAS AND IMMIGRATION
Having a valid passport and the right visa is key to a trouble-free entry into New Zealand. Read more about our immigration requirements.
We enjoy welcoming visitors to New Zealand. To ensure you have an experience to remember, make sure you’ve done your homework and have everything sorted before you leave.
When you arrive, your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date, and if required, have a valid New Zealand visa.
Holidaying in New Zealand
You do not need a visa to visit New Zealand if you are:
- A New Zealand or Australian citizen or resident
- A UK citizen and/or passport holder (you can stay up to six months)
- A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (you can stay up to three months).
If you don’t meet the above, then you’ll need a visitor visa, which allows you to holiday in New Zealand for up to nine months. The fastest and easiest way to apply for a visitor visa is online.
Before travelling to New Zealand, you need to make sure your passport is valid for at least three months longer than your expected departure date. If you come from a country that needs a New Zealand visa to enter, please be sure to apply in advance.
If you have a biometric ordinary passport (or electronic passport) and are over 12 years old, you may be able to use New Zealand Customs eGate service. This allows you to complete your Customs and Immigration checks faster so you can get on with enjoying your visit to New Zealand.
You will need to complete a Passenger Arrival Card before passing through Customs Passport Control. A passenger arrival card will be given to you during your flight. If not, cards are available in the arrival area.
What you can bring into New Zealand
After you’ve cleared passport control, you should collect your baggage and proceed through customs and biosecurity checks. In order to protect New Zealand and its environment, certain items are not allowed to be brought into the country, have restrictions for entry or must be declared if they are deemed to present a biosecurity risk. These include food, plants, animal products and outdoor recreational equipment.
Your baggage may be sniffed by a detector dog and/or x-rayed, and it may be searched to identify any risk goods you might be carrying.
To avoid penalties it is best to familiarise yourself with these guidelines prior to travel. For a detailed list of prohibited, restricted or declarable items, please visit Ministry for Primary Industries (biosecurity agency).
Allowances and duty free concessions
As a visitor to New Zealand you may be entitled to various concessions and duty free entries on some of your goods. If you are 17 years or older, you are entitled to allowances for alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco. For detailed information on allowances and duty free concessions, please visit New Zealand Customs.