As New Zealand has a long narrow land mass consisting of 2 main islands, our weather conditions vary greatly. In winter months, regions often drop to freezing temperatures overnight and rarely make it into double digits (centigrade) during the day. Summer can have temperatures averaging in the low to mid 20s (centigrade), although some regions have temperatures reaching the mid 30s.
Our seasons are very changeable due to our coastal country and inland mountainous terrain. The seasons are also reversed from that of the Northern Hemisphere with our summer being December, January and February. It is not uncommon to experience many different weather conditions in one day (eg sun, rain and wind).
The high season for New Zealand runs from 1 October to 31 March with Christmas through to mid-February being our busiest time. The low season runs from 1 April to 30 September although this is a popular time for winter sports (eg skiing and snowboarding).
Due to the distance from the rest of the world, New Zealand has maintained a unique character. We have many nationalities living in New Zealand and with a population of only 4.4 million, friendliness and space is apparent wherever you travel.
New Zealand is broken up into many different regions and although we only have a small land mass, each region is vastly different. Some areas you may wish to "google" before you visit New Zealand are:
We have our own currency (New Zealand dollar). Our local banks can change major currencies for you into New Zealand dollars (eg US Dollars, Euro, Pounds) or you can change your currency at the New Zealand international Airport arrivals hall. Major credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa can be used at most venues throughout New Zealand with ATMs being a readily accessible option for withdrawal of funds.
New Zealand pricing includes GST (Goods and Services Tax) of 15% for all goods and services. During your stay in New Zealand this tax is included in all of your activities, accommodation, dining, shopping etc. All prices (unless stated otherwise) already have the GST included in the price so you will not be surprised with an additional cost when you come to make payment. This is a non-reimbursed tax for personal items purchased during your stay.
Unlike other countries tipping for good/exceptional service is not the normal standard in New Zealand. While tipping is appreciated it is not mandatory.
New Zealand has a health service called ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation). In the unlikely event you are injured during your visit to New Zealand ACC may be able to help with the treatment costs however it is important to be aware this is for accidents only (not illness) and you cannot sue for personal injury as ACC replaces that right. ACC may only cover treatment while in New Zealand; it is not a replacement for travel insurance and does not cover illness, disrupted travel plans or emergency travel home. We strongly advise you to purchase a comprehensive policy covering medical expenses, illness, baggage loss, emergency travel arrangements, disrupted travel plans etc.
Due to the topography of New Zealand, our roads are often small and winding. Care needs to be taken on our roads at all times due to our left hand drive rule, many scenic spots distracting you from the driving task at hand and at times, icy conditions. Of course being chauffeured lets you sit back and relax.
Due to the nature of our roads, our average travelling speed (approx 80kmh) is also considerably slower than that of the US and Europe.
New Zealand has an abundance of activities. There are so many choices you just won't have enough time but listed here are some of your options.