New Zealands climate has an exotic name – oceanic temperate. This basically means that the country, unlike larger land masses, has a climate controlled by the ocean, and as such, has very changeable weather. Conditions can change very quickly and it is important to be prepared for all eventualities, especially when tramping or camping away from cities. Generally the temperature is always a few degrees cooler in the South Island than the North Island. It’s pretty warm in Northland at all times of the year, the highlands are always cooler than other parts of the country and it’s usually pretty windy in Wellington. New Zealand is famous for its skiing and there’s snow in winter, especially in the mountains, although occasionally the South Island will get snow even at sea level in the winter.

Banks are open 9am-4.30pm Monday to Friday. Nationwide banks like Westpac, ANZ and Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) have the most branches throughout the country and, if you are planning on spending a long period of time in the country, issue keycards for use at ATMs (cashpoints). 

Changing money
You can change money at any bank. American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Thomas Cook travellers’ cheques are all widely recognised. Banks will give cash advances on Visa and Mastercard credit cards but for American Express transactions you must go to a designated American Express office.

Foreign exchange and travellers’ cheques
Foreign exchange is available for all international flights at airports. Travelex Foreign Currency Services (All Travelex branches are Western Union agents) Auckland: 32 Queen St, six days, 8am-8pm, Sun 10am-8pm, Ph: (09) 358 9173; Rotorua: Tourism Rotorua Complex, 1167 Fenton St, seven days, 8am-6pm, Ph: (07) 348 0373; Christchurch: 730A Colombo St, seven days, 8.30am-8.30pm, Ph: (03) 365 4194; Queenstown: Clock Tower Centre, 42 Camp St, seven days, 7.30am-7pm, Ph: (03) 442 6606

There’s no free health care for overseas visitors in New Zealand, so you will need travel insurance. Make sure that you’re covered for “dangerous activities” if you plan to take advantage of NZ’s adventure sports. Some policies won’t cover you if you’ve been scuba diving, motorcycling, or even tramping. There are no vaccination requirements to enter NewZealand. It’s a pretty clean, healthy country so you needn’t worry as you travel. 

Auckland Metro Doctors Travelcare
For accident and medical care and all international travel vaccines. Pharmacy, X-ray and laboratory. Open six days. BNZ Tower, cnr 125 Queen & Swanson Sts, Auckland, Ph: (09) 373 4621, Email:

For all your medical needs.
Christchurch, Ph: (03) 379 4000

Post Offices are open 9am-5pm on weekdays. Mail can be sent to “Poste Restante, CPO” in the relevant city. CPO stands for Chief Post Office. Mail will be held for 30 days. Mail within NZ can be sent in a variety of ways. Regular postage stamps cost 50 cents; delivery time is two days between major centres, a bit longer for rural areas. For international mail, use an airmail sticker. From NZ to Europe, letters will cost $2 and take four to 10 days to deliver. Postcards to anywhere in the world are $1.50.

Travellers Contact Point
Travellers Contact Point has a travellers mail holding and forwarding service. Join at 87 Queen St, Auckland or Ph: (09) 300 7197,

There is only one time zone in New Zealand and it’s 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. So, if it’s 12 noon in London, it’s midnight in New Zealand.

Pay phones in NZ are usually of the card variety and phone cards are available in values of $5, $10, $20 and $50. The country dial code for New Zealand is 64. 
Directory assistance Ph: 018 
International operator: Ph: 0170 (reversed charges)
Emergency (Fire, ambulance, police): 111

Phone services
Local calls from a phone booth are 50c and most public payphones accept phone cards, credit cards or coins. New Zealand phone booths are colour coded as follows:

  • Yellow = Credit cards 
  • Blue = Coins
  • Green = Phone cards; get phone cards from hostels and retail outlets.

Toll free numbers are prefixed with 0800
Compass communications
Kia Ora cards. Prepaid calling card

Country & area codes
New Zealand 64; Auckland 09; Northland 09; Rotorua/Taupo 07; Wellington 04; South Island 03
Directory service International: 0172

With the exception of the New Zealand Herald, New Zealand has no national daily newspaper, although The Dominion Post (Wellington) and The Press (Christchurch) both come close. International publications are available in all large city centres.

Cyber cafés
Travellers can use cybercafés to send and receive email, check out attractions on the web or e-chat in a relaxed café environment.

Central City Library
44-46 Lorne St, Auckland, 
Ph: (09) 377 0209

Cybersurf Café Christchurch
166 Gloucester St

Cybersurf Internet Café
Piccadilly Arcd, Grey St, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, Ph: (07) 578 7303,

Travellers Contact Point
87 Queen St, Auckland, 
Ph: (09) 300 7197

Departure tax
NZ$25 is a mandatory payment on international departures. Be prepared to pay up at the airport because it is not always built into the price of your ticket.

Downunder Worldwide 
Travel Insurance
Ph: (09) 376 8292, 

International Airlines
Air New Zealand – Freephone: 0800 737 000
British Airways – Ph: (09) 966 97777
Qantas Ph – (04) 472 1100
Singapore Airlines – Ph: (04) 499 0271

Dunedin, Hamilton & Palmerston North
Freedom Air 
Flights to Sydney, Coolangatta and Brisbane from Dunedin, Hamilton and Palmerston North,
Freephone: 0800 600 500

Aerolineas Argentinas – Ph: (09) 379 3675
Air Canada – Ph: (09) 969 7470
Air New Zealand – Freephone: 0800 737 000
Cathay Pacific – Ph: (09) 379 0861
Japan Airlines – Ph: (09) 379 9906
Lufthansa – Ph: (09) 303 1529
Qantas – Ph: (09) 357 8900
Singapore Airlines – Ph: (09) 303 2129
Thai Airways – Ph: (09) 377 0268
United Airlines – Ph: (09) 379 3800

Air New Zealand – Freephone: 0800 737 000
Japan Airlines – Ph: (03) 365 5879
Qantas – Ph: (03) 379 6504
Singapore Airlines – Ph: (03) 365 2039

Domestic airlines 
Air New Zealand – Ph: (09) 357 3000
Great Barrier – Ph: (09) 275 9120

Air New Zealand – Freephone: 0800 737 000
Soundsair Wellington – Freephone: 0800 505 005 
or Ph: (03) 520 3080.

Shopping hours
General shopping hours are: 
Mon-Wed: 9am-5.30pm 
Sat: 9am-12.30pm 
Sun: most shops open all day
Thurs and Fri: 9am-9pm.

Visitor Information Network
The Visitor Information?Network (VIN) has over 80 centres located throughout NZ, dedicated to the provision of comprehensive, accurate, objective information on what to do, where to go and what to see. Almost as valuable as your TNT Magazine as far as travel info goes – check them out every time you arrive at a new destination. 

The type of visa you will need to enter New Zealand is determined by how long you want to stay and what you want to do while you’re there. If you are only entering NZ as a tourist you may need a visa depending on what country you are from. If you intend to work while you are in New Zealand you will need to obtain a work visa before you travel to New Zealand or you may be refused entry on arrival.

Visitor’s Visas
Citizens of a number of countries do not require visas if they are visiting NZ for three months or less. On arrival, all visitors to NZ must be in possession of a valid ticket or enough funds to purchase a ticket out of NZ to a country they have the right of entry to, ie: you must already hold a visa for that country if one is required – you cannot expect to get the visa once you are in NZ. Your passport must be valid for three months beyond when you expect to leave NZ, and you must also have sufficient money (NZ$1000 for each month of your visit) to support yourself during your stay. If you wish to stay longer than three months, you should apply for a Visitor’s Visa (which will allow you to stay in NZ for up to nine months) before you arrive inNew Zealand, although British passport holders on arrival in NZ may be issued a permit valid for a stay of up to six months.

If you like New Zealand and decide you would like to stay here longer you may extend your stay to a maximum of nine months in an 18 – month period. To do this you need to apply for a further visitor permit. You can now apply for these permits online ( – no more dealing with unimaginably long queues at Immigration offices! If you do need to apply in person, New Zealand Immigration Service offices are located in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The office in Auckland is the busiest office and you may experience long delays when applying there. When applying for a further permit you will need to show your outward ticket or evidence of your ability to purchase such a ticket; your current passport, a recent passport-sized photo and evidence that you still have sufficient funds to support yourself. If you do not have the required funds, you will need a guarantee of accommodation and maintenance from a New Zealand friend or relative who is willing and able to be your sponsor. Applications for a further permit must be made while you are on a valid permit, ie: before the permit you hold expires.