Visiting New Zealand - Information

Helpful tips and information for an enjoyable time in New Zealand.

New Zealand currency

Currency is the New Zealand dollar. One dollar is equal to 100 cents.

Driving in New Zealand

New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Find out important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

Electricity supply

New Zealand’s AC electricity supply operates at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), the same as Australia's. Most hotels and motels also provide 110 volt, 20 watt and AC sockets for electric razors. An adaptor is needed to operate all other electrical equipment.

Emergency services

In an emergency, phone 111 to call for police, fire or ambulance services. Do NOT dial 911.

Goods and services tax

GST (goods and services tax) of 15 percent is added to the cost of all goods and services and is usually included in prices.

Offices and businesses

Offices and businesses are mostly open from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5:30pm.

Post office

Most post offices are open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, but some have longer hours and may also open for several hours on Saturday.

Shopping

Shops are usually open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5:30pm. Some close later on Thursday or Friday and open on weekends, especially in larger towns.

Convenience stores, known as dairies, and supermarkets are usually open every day until mid to late evening.

Farmers’ and craft markets offering locally grown produce and artisans’ wares are held on weekends in many cities and towns.

Service stations (petrol stations) open until late evening and for 24 hours in most major centres. Some allow self-service using a credit card.

Smoke-free law 

Schools and early childhood centres, licensed premises (bars, restaurants, cafes, sports clubs, casinos), and workplaces are legally required to be smoke-free.

Some hospitality businesses provide special areas for smokers outside.

Tipping and service charges

Gratuities are not expected, but a visitor may leave a tip in gratitude for outstanding service. Service charges are not added to hotel or restaurant accounts.

Trading banks

Trading banks are mostly open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4:30pm. Money machines (known as automatic transaction machines or ATMs) are available at all times.

Transport

It's easy to get around using  public transport; various companies offer public bus services and coach tours. Ferry services link the three main islands as well as many smaller islands. New Zealand’s rail network traverses the country from north to south and includes some renowned scenic rail experiences.

New Zealand is well served by air transport, with all cities, major towns and resorts linked to the national network. The main domestic airlines are Air New Zealand and JetStar, with commuter airlines linking some smaller destinations.

Road cycling is an enjoyable way to tour, and the South Island is one of the best locations for cycling in the world, with its mix of populated areas and long stretches of scenery. The best months for road cycling are generally from February to April.

Motorcycle touring is a popular alternative, and campervans are also a favoured choice for touring, combining accommodation and transport. 

Find out important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

Water supply

Tap (faucet) water in New Zealand is fresh, treated and safe to drink. In cities, water is both chlorinated and fluoridated.