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Capital City: Wellington
Currency: New Zealand dollars (NZD)
Continent: Oceania
Population: Approximately 5,028,900 made up of Maori, New Zealand European, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Chinese, Australian, Pakistanis, Italian, Indians and many more.
Official Language: English, Maori, New Zealand sign Language.

New Zealand is an Island country located in the South Western Pacific Ocean. It comprises of two main islands- the North island and the South Island with numerous other small islands situated within hundred miles from the main group. Having incredible scenery, New Zealand’s geography is breathtaking from active volcanoes, spectacular caves, gigantic glacier lakes, boiling hot springs and amazing wildlife.

The climate of New Zealand is varied due to the country’s diverse landscape. The far North has subtropical weather during summer, while inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10 degrees in winter. However, most of the country lies close to the coast which means mild temperatures year-round.

New Zealand climate has four distinct seasons. Summer between the months December to February, Autumn between March to May, Winter between June to August and Spring between September to November.

New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to see the sunrise. It is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

During Summer, New Zealand moves one hour ahead with its own daylight savings (GMT+13) that begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following year in April.

New Zealanders also referred to as Kiwis and are friendly, down to earth people who embrace the spirit of manaakitanga, or hospitality. The country’s population is made up of people from various racial backgrounds including Europeans, Indigenous Maori, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Australians.

New Zealand’s national identity comes from the Maori culture and the Kiwi bird. As members of this unique and multi-cultural society, kiwi’s have wholeheartedly embraced urban living, café culture and an appreciation for new culinary tastes, fashion, and art.

When arriving into New Zealand, visitors should ensure that their passport is valid at least six months beyond their intended departure date, and if required, have a valid New Zealand visa.  Additionally, visitors from visa-waiver countries must request an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) prior to coming to New Zealand. You can check here for more details.

Travelling to New Zealand is easy as there are several airports that visitors can fly into, with Auckland being the most common international airport. There are various airlines available, with Air New Zealand being the Flag carrier of the nation. Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and Dunedin are some of the other international airports. Cruising is another popular way to get into the country and explore New Zealand. Most cruises to New Zealand depart from Australia and other Pacific island countries that voyage on round the world journey.

Accommodation options in New Zealand are diverse, with something to suit every level of comfort and budget. From luxury lodges and hotels to nature camping in the most stunning locations makes your journey extra special. Visitors can also live like a local for a real kiwi experience in a holiday home, an opportunity to experience a deeper insight into local culture.

Travelling within New Zealand is easy with various transportation methods available.

Domestic flights are extensively available for visitors that need to travel within the country at a less time frame and its highly recommended that flights be booked in advance for better and reasonable airfares.

Trains operate in some cities and there are a range of scenic and world class train journeys available for tourist’s convenience.

Passenger ferries between Wellington and Picton connects the North island and South Island with an estimated three and a half hours journey, enabling visitors to explore the scenery as they arrive at their next destination.

Self- drive is also an option for many visitors that wish to explore New Zealand by road. With varied landscapes and dramatic geographical features, visitors are sure to have an amazing experience on their road trip. For New Zealand road rules and driving conditions visit nzta.govt.nz

New Zealand is a mountainous island nation and so the weather tends to be unpredictable. Which also means that visiting anytime of the year visitors would still get to experience glorious days.

Many tourists prefer visiting New Zealand during summer that is between the months of December to February to be able to enjoy all the outdoor activities that the country has to offer. However, there are many winter activities that are worth enjoying too.

New Zealand has three official languages that is English, Te Reo Maori and New Zealand Sign Language.

Even though English is the main language, 4% of the population speak Te Reo Maori.

Below are a few key words that will help you while touring New Zealand

Hello Kia ora
Hello (More Formal) Tena Koe
Good Morning Morena
Hello to Two people Kia ora korua
Hello Everyone Kia ora tatou
Greetings to you Tena koutou
Welcome Nau mai, haere mai
How’s it going? kei te pehea koe?
Good kei te pai
Really good Tino pai
See you later Ka kite ano
Goodbye Haere ra
Thank you Tena Koe

New Zealand’s country code is +64. The country is well serviced by local mobile networks including Vodafone, Spark and 2Degrees.You can also arrange roaming status before travelling to the country or even on arrival. Internet access and email is available in most part of New Zealand as well as internet café and information centers.

New Zealand uses three prong angled power sockets at 230/240 volts, identical to Fiji and Australia. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 11v shavers, hair dryers and other electrical appliances. However, you may want to carry your own universal adapters.

New Zealand does not require any vaccination in specific, before entering the country, however, tourists are recommended to check latest country- specific health advice at least eight weeks prior to their travel.

Health insurance is essential for all travellers while health care in New Zealand is of a high quality and not overly expensive by international standards, considerable costs can be built up and repatriation is pricey.

The 24- hour Healthline offers health advice throughout NZ (free from local mobile phones or landlines). For more details, see www.health.govt.nz

New Zealand cuisine is strongly influenced by Europe, Asia and Polynesia and described as the Pacific Rim. This blend of influences has created a mouth- watering range of flavors and food in cafes and restaurants across New Zealand. The country is spoilt for their choice of fresh produce of wines allowing you to choose a world class sauvignon blanc or chardonnay from one of New Zealand’s 376 wineries and have the perfect complement.

For a true taste of New Zealand, the smoky flavor of the traditional Maori Hangi (Pronounced as Hung-ee) is an essential culinary experience. It is cooked underground with red- hot stones and covered with vegetation. The variety of food- chicken, pork, lamb, potatoes and so much more, are left to steam for several hours. This is usually prepared for special occasions and is found prepared for tourists in Rotorua in the North Island.

Food festival held every year in Hokitika, is something visitors would not want to miss and is about celebrating New Zealand’s wild foods. Various food stalls show all types of odd but interesting dishes, everything from sheep’s eye, curried Hoki Tikka, pesto ice cream and many more.

Tipping in New Zealand is not a common practice, but it is only necessary to tip at restaurants, bars, hotels and even taxi, if the service exceeds all expectations.

Employees in New Zealand typically earn a decent wage, so tipping is in fact a true sign of job well done.

All goods and services sold in New Zealand are subjected to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the display price.

New Zealand is a country that does not offer tourists Goods and Service Tax (GST) refunds unlike other countries. Therefore, tourists travelling and spending on goods and services inclusive of GST tax, are not eligible to get a refund.

The New Zealand Dollar is the official currency of New Zealand and is available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes. Coins are 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. NZD $1 is equivalent to $0.67 US approximately. Normal banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted widely. There is a 24-hour currency exchange service at the arrival’s concourse at all international Airports with ATMs available across the country.

When entering New Zealand, visitors are entitled to a personal goods concession excluding alcohol and tobacco products obtained overseas and/ or purchased duty free in New Zealand which have a total combined value of NZ$700.

Visitors above the age of 17 are entitled to bring the following quantities of alcohol products duty free:

Cigarettes, Cigars, Tobacco: 50 Cigarettes, or 50 grams of cigars or 50 grams of Tobacco products.

Alcoholic Beverages: Up to six bottles (4.5 litres) of wine, champagne, port or sherry; or up to 12 cans (4.5 litres) of beer; or 3 bottles containing not more than 1125ml of spirits, liqueur or spirituous beverages.

Contact New Zealand custom for more information at  www.customs.govt.nz

New Zealand has extremely strict biosecurity procedures at their international borders to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases. All risk goods must be declared at the airport or disposed in marked amnesty bins. If unsure, it is wiser to declare.