Travel Guides ? New Zealand

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New Zealand

New Zealand, 'Land of the Long White Cloud', is a small, sparsely populated country consisting of two major islands, North and South Island, and a scattering of smaller ones. Despite its small size it is crammed with magnificent natural beauty and has an incredible amount to offer; the only complaint travellers have is that they haven't allowed enough time in the country. Fresh air, breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities are the main attractions of New Zealand, with a tremendously friendly, honest and helpful population, colloquially nicknamed after their country's distinct symbol, the unusual but amiable flightless kiwi bird.

The two islands have surprisingly different characters. The North Island has dramatic volcanic landscapes and highly active thermal areas, long stretches of beautiful beaches and excellent sailing, ancient indigenous forests and a strong Maori cultural influence. The South Island has a slower pace of life dominated by a magnificent spine of mountains, the snow-covered Southern Alps, and the spectacular scenery of the southern waterways of the fjord lands, with glaciers, deep lakes and verdant forests.

The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was New Zealand's founding document, an attempt to settle disputes between the European settlers and the Maoris, conceding the country to British rule while guaranteeing the Maori people possession of their land and cultural identity. Today, integration has been replaced by a policy of upholding two different cultures alongside each other. Their shared love of sport, most notably the revered national sport of rugby union, and their enthusiasm for adventure and the outdoors is the unifying factor among the whole population.

New Zealand offers a huge variety of action-packed and laid back activities, from bungee jumping to skiing, swimming with dolphins, scenic flights and boat cruises on the fjords, as well as several world famous walking trails with unrivalled scenery. Alternatively visitors can immerse themselves in culture at the museums and galleries of the country's main cities - Auckland and the capital Wellington in the North, and Christchurch in the south.

New Zealand is an easy and compact place in which to travel and its spectacularly dramatic landscape alone, famous for its setting for the 'The Lord of the Rings' film trilogy, makes the long trip to these southern islands more than worthwhile.

Climate

The weather in New Zealand is changeable throughout the year, however the climate in New Zealand is fairly temperate. The North Island has mild winters and warm and humid summers, the South Island has lower temperatures with cold winters and extensive snowfields and glaciers. Snow falls on all the mountains in winter, and the west coast receives the most rain. The summer months in New Zealand are from November to April.

Money

Local currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), divided into 100 cents. Most businesses accept MasterCard and Visa, and while Diners Club and American Express are also widely accepted in the main tourist centres, they might have limited acceptance elsewhere. Travellers cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels. ATMs can be found in all towns and cities.

Passport Visa

All foreign passengers to New Zealand must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country (usually NZD 1,000 per month, or NZD 400 if accommodation has been prepaid). Note that all visitors must obtain a permit to enter Tokelau from the Tokelau Apia Liason Office in Apia, at least two weeks prior to travel. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry Requirements

  • US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required, for stays of up to three months.
  • British citizens holding a passport endorsed British Citizen, or a passport containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom (and accompanied by documents that further establish their right of abode in the UK), do not require a visa to enter New Zealand for a stay of up to six months. British citizens with passports endorsed British National (Overseas) may stay for up to three months without a visa. In all other cases, a visa is required.
  • Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required, for stays of up to three months.
  • Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in New Zealand. No visa is required.
  • South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required, for stays of up to three months.
  • Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required, for stays of up to three months.

Health

There are no health risks associated with travel to New Zealand. New Zealand's accident compensation scheme (ACC) covers emergency treatment for visitors, but health insurance is recommended to cover any additional charges and for those not entitled to free emergency treatment. Those intending to participate in adventure activities, such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, etc should ensure that their travel insurance covers these types of activities.

Embassy Consulates

  • New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 328 4800.
  • New Zealand High Commission, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 (0)20 7930 8422.
  • New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 5991.
  • New Zealand High Commission, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6270 4211.
  • New Zealand High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 435 9000.

Foreign Embassies

  • United States Embassy, Wellington: +64 (0)4 462 6000.
  • British High Commission, Wellington: +64 (0)4 924 2888.
  • Canadian High Commission, Wellington: +64 (0)4 473 9577.
  • Australian High Commission, Wellington: +64 (0)4 473 6411.
  • Honorary Consulate of South Africa, Wellington: +64 (0)4 815 8484.
  • Honorary Consul General of Ireland, Auckland: +64 (0)9 977 2252.