New Zealand consists of two main islands in the South Pacific, three hours to the east of Australia by plane, an overnight flight west of the USA, or ten to twelve hours direct flight from most Pacific Rim countries. Comparable in size and shape to Great Britain, Colorado or Japan, it is a stable English-speaking democracy with a population of approximately four million people, making it one of the world's least crowded countries.
Internationally, it is known for the beauty of the landscape and the culture of the Maori - New Zealand's indigenous people. The cities are clean, open and lively, with Auckland in particular showing many Pacific influences. New Zealand's oceans, mountains, and open spaces provide many opportunities for adventure tourism. New Zealand has earned an international reputation for its politically independent stance, support for environmental causes and radical economic reforms. Its people have made significant contributions to the worlds of science and technology, the arts, medicine, conservation, food, wine, sports and fashion.
Australian citizens do not require visas to enter New Zealand. New Zealand also operates a visa waiver system for many countries. For a list of these countries visit: Click here.
For more information on visas and requirements visit the New Zealand Immigration website.
Arriving in New Zealand
Auckland is the main gateway to New Zealand. Auckland International Airport is serviced by 20 international carriers with direct flights from more than 31 cities. Regular domestic flights link Auckland with the rest of the country. Auckland International Airport is south of the central city - a 30 to 50 minute drive depending on the time of day.
Transport from the Airport
The 'Airbus' travels between the airport and central city. It departs from both the city and airport every 20 minutes, and every 30 minutes in the evening.
Taxis and Shuttle Buses
Taxis and shuttle buses are available for all arriving and departing flights from both the international and domestic terminals.
A shuttle and taxi rank is situated at the western side if the international terminal http://www.auckland-airport.co.nz/PaxInfo/taxi.php
For more information on the process of arriving at Auckland International Airport visit: http://www.auckland-airport.co.nz/passenger_info.php
Quarantine Restrictions - Restricted Items
New Zealand has some strict rules in terms of what items can and cannot be bought into the country. This is to protect the country from the spread of foreign pests and diseases which can harm the environment. For information on quarantine regulations and the process involved in declaring items visit: Auckland Airport
Currency and Money Matters
New Zealand's currency is comprised of New Zealand dollars ($) and cents and is based on the decimal system with 100 cents in the New Zealand dollar. If possible, arrive into the country with some New Zealand currency in several denominations.
Automated Teller Machines (ATM's/cash dispensers) are located on the outside of most banks as well as selected shops. 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.
All major credit cards are accepted at most shops, tourist centres, hotels, restaurants and service stations. The types of credit cards accepted are often displayed by logos on the exterior facade or in another prominent position within the respective business.
Travellers Cheques and foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change, hotels and some shops.
Link to an online currency converter: www.xe.net/ucc/classic.shtml
Using Electrical Appliances
Most foreign electrical appliances do not work in New Zealand without an electrical adaptor being used. New Zealand's power system is 240 volts and 50 cycles per second. The plugs have two or three narrow pins.
Phone Booths are usually located in town centres or suburban shopping centres. Most booths require a phone card which can be purchased from supermarkets and convenience stores. International calling cards such as the 'Kia Ora' or 'Yabba' card offer cheap international calling rates.
Mobile phone services are provided by Telecom and Vodafone. Both companies offer a range of different phones and payment plans. Please visit www.telecom.co.nz and www.vodafone.co.nz for more information about what each company offers.
Dial: 111 in an emergency if you wish to contact the NZ police, an ambulance, or fire fighters. More information on who to contact in an emergency can be found on the inside front or back cover of the Yellow Pages telephone book. Click here for the Civil Defence website.
New Zealand Culture
New Zealand has a thriving cultural life - represented by many different ethnic groups; European, Maori, Polynesian and an increasing number of other nationalities. This diverse, sophisticated society has honest, open and friendly people. Their place in the South Pacific, their love of the outdoors, sport and the arts makes New Zealanders and their culture very unique. More on culture...
For further information about New Zealand as a tourist destination visit: Tourism New Zealand's official destination site. This site includes a map of New Zealand, driving routes, and other travel information. An exciting feature is the 'travel planner' which enables visitors to create their own personalised travel plan that can be sent to their travel agent.
NZ Information Network - This site is dedicated to providing unbiased information about accommodation, transportation and travel tourism. Visitors to the site are able to chat with one another to gain advice about travelling within New Zealand.
Take the Virtual Tour of New Zealand to discover what this beautiful country has to offer. This site has a convenient format that lets you explore everything you would like to know about our country.