Passports and Visas
All passengers require a machine-readable passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip, with appropriate visas. You should carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against its loss or theft in hotels. Check with the New Zealand Consulate to determine if any visas are needed. Securing required documents is the responsibility of the traveler. This information is a guide only and it is essential that you check all current passport and visa rules with your travel agent before departure.
The New Zealand dollar is the local currency. Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2. Notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. You can change US dollars at banks and currency exchange agencies for the best rates, hotels and some shops can also change them for you, but the rate will likely be much higher. ATMs are also an efficient way to get money in the local currency.
New Zealand has 230 V at 50 Hz, with a type I socket. America's electrical currents are 120 V at 60 Hz, with a type A or B socket, so you'll need a converter and an adapter.
Wireless and wired Internet access is widely available throughout New Zealand. Many of the hotels we use offer this service free or at a small charge. There are also Internet cafés in main cities that allow you access, usually for a small charge.
Phoning home from another country can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (payphones) if your cell phone is not set for international calls. Your Travel Director can explain how to dial internationally if you are unsure.
Shopping in New Zealand is a must and you'll find everything from factory outlet stores to trendy boutiques, from galleries to arts & craft shops. Some popular souvenirs include Māori jewelery, art, bowls or shells, jade carvings or jewelry, photos of you bungee jumping (!) or white water rafting, kiwi or penguin plush toys, and All Blacks (New Zealand's rugby team) shirts. New Zealand discontinued the use of 1, 2 and 5 cent coins, so purchases may be subject to rounding of prices, either up or down.
Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory, even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is up to you. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.
Public transportation within cities in New Zealand is safe and easy to navigate. Depending on where you are and where you are going, you could travel on buses, trains or ferries. If you are in Auckland, look for the MAXX. In Wellington, you'll ride the Metlink, and in Christchurch, hop aboard the Metro. Taxis, including mini-vans, shuttle buses and wheelchair-access vans, are not expensive, and most belong to the New Zealand Taxi Federation.
Generally, casual jeans or slacks, shirts, sweaters, a jacket and comfortable walking shoes are all you'll need. If you plan on an evening at a nicer venue, dressier clothes may be called for. If you're traveling in New Zealand's spring, autumn or winter, be sure to bring a warm jacket, as the weather can be quite cold.