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Exploring New Zealand


The currency is the New Zealand dollar. ATMs are widely available in cities and large towns for cash withdrawals. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere although there may be a minimum purchase required. Costs are generally similar to the UK although in more remote locations you will find prices are higher.

Staying safe
New Zealand is generally a very safe country to travel around. It pays to follow basic guidelines to keep your belongings safe however such as keeping valuables out of sight, not leaving bags unattended and parking your vehicle in well-lit busy areas where possible. If travelling to a remote location or heading out to do adventurous activities without a guide, make sure someone knows where you are going and when to expect you back as well as making sure you have appropriate clothing as weather conditions can change dramatically and mobile phone signal is not always reliable.
New Zealand is susceptible to sudden natural events such as earthquakes. Whilst it is highly unlikely that you will experience a significant event on your holiday it is essential that you make yourself aware of the risks and what to do in the event of emergency. In earthquake prone areas, all accommodation will have detailed instructions in the rooms.
The water is a big draw in New Zealand, however also a big hazard. Never swim alone and ask locals about conditions before entering the water. At popular beaches there will be lifeguards on duty throughout the summer season so it is recommended to swim between the flags at all times.
The emergency number is 111 and there are police stations in all main towns and many rural areas. Please make sure that you have appropriate travel insurance.

On arrival
New Zealand has strict biosecurity procedures at airports and ports to prevent the introduction of unwanted pests and diseases. On the flight into New Zealand you will be asked to complete a passenger arrival card which lists items that you are required to declare or dispose of. Some common items are food, animal or plant products and any equipment that has been used for outdoor or farming activities such as footwear, camping gear or sports equipment. There are bins in the airport to dispose of any products that are not permitted, or if you are in doubt, declare the item on the form and a biosecurity officer will make an assessment. Outdoor equipment such as hiking boots should be cleaned of all visible mud and plant seeds before you arrive as they will be inspected. It is always better to declare an item if you are unsure as there are sniffer dogs in the arrivals hall and bags are put through scanners to detect offending items. Fines are payable if you fail to disclose biosecurity risk goods.

Staying connected
New Zealand’s electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts, and uses angled two or three pin plugs (the same as Australia and parts of Asia).
Wifi is generally available at accommodation and cafes and is usually free. Some of the main city centres have free wifi zones however this can be unreliable.
If you are staying for a while, it may be worth purchasing a local sim card for your mobile phone however it is wise to check whether it will be compatible with your phone before going down this route.
The time difference to the UK is between 11 and 13 hours ahead depending on the time of year.
International postal services are estimated to take 6-10 working days.

Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is a coastal area of Northern New Zealand with a collection of over 140 sub-tropical islands ready to be explored. This area is well known for its quiet and beautiful white sand beaches, sparkling emerald seas and abundant marine life. More
New Zealand's largest city is a vibrant melting pot of cultures and a thriving hub of arts, music and cuisine. Known as the City of Sails, the beautiful harbour provides the perfect backdrop to this relaxed and easy-going metropolis. The nearby island of Waiheke; well-loved for its wine and food scene is just a short ferry ride away. More
Coromandel Peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is a favourite getaway for Aucklanders and with good reason. This area is blessed with great weather, fabulous beaches and some fantastic hiking trails in the mountainous, rainforest clad interior. Don't miss Cathedral Cove; one of the most picturesque spots on this beautiful peninsula. More
Rotorua is a hive of geothermal activity with bubbling mud pools, explosive geysers, plumes of steam and natural hot springs perfect for bathing in. It is also a great place for adventure with over 90km of world class mountain biking trails, magical redwood forests and plenty of opportunity for adrenaline with zorbing, zip-lining and luging some of the most popular activities. More
Tongariro National Park
This is New Zealand's oldest national park and home to three active volcanoes surrounded by alpine meadows, hot springs and emerald lakes. The park's most popular activity, and deservedly so, is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a one-day trek that traverses the slopes of all three mountains and takes in steaming craters, old lava flows and thermal lakes. More
Hawke's Bay
This is one of New Zealand's warmest and driest regions which has made it one of the country's leading areas for wine production as well as an abundance of delicious fruit. There are dozens of off-road bike trails which have made wine-touring by bike a favourite pastime with locals and tourists alike. It is also home to the quirky Art Deco town of Napier where 1930s architecture has been beautifully preserved. More
Only an hour drive from Wellington is the sleepy rural village of Martinborough; the centre of the region's wine industry and the home of some of the best pinot noir in New Zealand. Most of the, mainly family-owned, vineyards are within walking or cycling distance from the village centre. More
New Zealand's capital is a compact little city full of quirky shops, plenty of street art and a fantastic waterfront area. It's an ideal place for exploring on foot. The craft beer scene and coffee culture are in full swing here and there are plenty of great places to sample both. More
Marlborough is New Zealand's largest wine region and there are plenty of vineyards to stop off at here. But it's not all about the wine, the beautiful winding waterways of the Marlborough Sounds make up one fifth of New Zealand's coastline and can be explored on a boat trip, from the air or hiking along the ridges and through lush coastal bush on the Queen Charlotte Track. More
Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman is situated in the sunniest region of New Zealand and is a highlight on any trip. The marine reserve is home to seals, dolphins and native sea birds and best explored on a kayaking or sailing adventure. The picture-perfect, deserted, golden sand beaches are only accessible by boat or hiking through magical, untouched forests. More
This area is famed for its impressive limestone rock formations. The pancake rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki are the most well visited of these and at high tide, with westerly swells, geysers of sea water shoot skywards creating an impressive display. More
Franz Josef Glacier
The glaciers on the West Coast are some of the most convenient to visit in the world and their low altitude means that you can be on the ice yet still comfortable in just a t-shirt. The glaciers are best explored on a heli-hike or a guided walk on the ice to experience the incredible colours and formations of the frozen landscape. More
Queenstown has it all. A stunning natural setting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu surrounded by dramatic alpine scenery, a plethora of outdoor activities to keep even the most adventurous entertained for weeks plus fantastic restaurants, buzzing nightlife and great shopping. More
Milford Sound
Milford Sound is a remote, breath-taking and spell-binding place where the mountains rise vertically from the dark water and waterfalls plunge hundreds of metres downwards. Explore by boat, kayak or from the air, this place is magical in any weather. More
Mackenzie Country
This area is dotted with remarkable turquoise coloured lakes with a dramatic backdrop of the Southern Alps, making it extremely picturesque. At night, the beauty doesn't fade with the sunset as this area is part of an International Dark Sky Reserve which makes it one of the best star gazing spots on the planet. More
Kaikoura is home to some of the most nutrient rich waters in New Zealand and is a permanent feeding spot for whales, seals and dolphins. There are plenty of boat trips out to visit the wildlife or if you want to get even closer, swimming with the seals or dolphins is a highlight. It is also a great spot to try some of the local delicacy; crayfish. More
Known as the Garden City, Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and is well known for its beautiful parks and award-winning botanical gardens. It is a creative hub with plenty of independent boutiques, pop-up restaurants and modern art. More

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