NEW ZEALAND > FACTS ABOUT THE VISITORS
WHEN TO GO:
There are things to see and do all year-round in New Zealand, and fortunately the weather is never so miserable. Between November to April is the busiest season, especially during the school holidays from December 20 to the end of January. During these months, the weather goes warmer. During the winter months, the ski resort towns are apparently busier. You would better to book ahead should you intend to travel during the peak periods as the accommodation and transports usually fills up. It's perhaps more enjoyable to visit either before or after this hectic period, when the weather is still warm and there aren't as many other travellers around.
GETTING THERE & AWAY:
There is a great numbers of visitors come to New Zealand by air. The Auckland airport is the major exit and entry points, while others are the Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports. Departure tax on international flights is NZ$25. There are no regular passenger ship services and working your way across the Pacific, though some cruise ships visit New Zealand. Crew on a yacht now seems a thing of the past.
GETTING AROUND: New Zealand is compact and generally easy to get around. There is an extensive bus network. Services on main bus routes are at least once a day, but they can be expensive and slow. You can alternatively use shuttle bus which are smaller, cheaper and friendlier. Meanwhile, train travel is reasonably fast, though there is only a few train routes. It is a modern and comfortable transport which sometimes are cheaper than those by bus on the same routes. The country's roads are good with well- road signs, thus car travel is recommended. Please note that new Zealanders drive on the left. Rentals of cars, motorcycles and campervans are popular with a range of special deals provided. There are several boat services available. The Interislander ferry operated between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. Also, New Zealand as a cyclists' paradise, as the country is clean, green, uncrowded and unspoiled. For the views over the mountains or volcanoes, it makes senses to take a flight. A variety of discounts also make flying economical.
only a valid passport is necessary for citizens of most countries
WELLINGTON: Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. The city which is populated by around 345,000 people set on an impressive marina at the southern tip of the North Island. Wellington is a sparkling city of culture and arts with almost monthly festivals. Beside of hosting the country's government and national treasures, the city is also a home for several ethnic restaurants and cafés. The city's points of interest include the modernist Beehive, the National Library and the Katherine Mansfield Memorials. Shopping lovers may feel energized on the Cuba Street, while splendid views of the city from the top of Mount Victoria awaits visitors to experience.
AUCKLAND: Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with the population of around 1,002,000 people. The city known as the City of Sail, as it hosts fabulous harbour and bridge with a passionate number of yachting fanatics. Shopping lovers can go to the suburbs of Parnell and Newmarket, while the city's points of interest include well-preserved Victorian buildings in Devonport, Polynesian handicrafts, cafes, restaurants and markets in Ponsonby, panoramic views of the city from the vanished volcano One Tree Hill, and good swimming beaches including Kohimarama and Mission Bay. Other highlights include the Auckland Museum and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World & Antarctic Encounter.
OTAGO & SOUTHLAND: Visitors to Otago and Southland may be thrilled with various adrenaline activities in Queenstown, while also experiencing the walkways of Fiordland Naitonal Park and the Otago Peninsula. The Queenstown boasts various furry adventures, such as parasailing, white water rafting, bungy jumping, etc, while the Fiordland National Park is a wilderness of mountains, ice and beech forests; and Otago Peninsula is a significant wildlife area with woodland gardens, albatross, penguin and seal colonies, plus aquariums, museums and historic sites. There is a chain of vast lakes in the area, including Hawea and nearby Wanaka in Otago, and Lake Te Anau in Southland. The Catlins is the largest remaining area of native forest on the east coast of the South Island, and has reserves of rarefied plants and trees, plus fauna such as fur seals, sea lions, penguins and ducks.
NORTHLAND: Northland is often referred as the winterless north, and is also the cradle of both Maori and Pakeha culture, as it was here that the Pakeha first got in touch with the Maori, the first whaling settlements were launched and the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Visitors to Northland can go visit several interesting museums, like Otamatea Kauri & Pioneer Museum, the historic towns of Pahia and Waitangi, and the flora and fauna reserves of Waipoua Kauri Forest. This area is also a paradise for water joy. You can laying down the glorious, blonde beaches (Ninety Mile Beach) and do diving at Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve which is to be among the top 10 diving sites in the world, or simply enjoy the game fishing at Bay of Islands
ACTIVITIES: New Zealand is a haven for outdoor activities lovers. A number of wide-open spaces and physical activities await the thrill seekers. Over the ground you can go bungy jumping, skydiving, parachuting, skydiving, abseiling and flying, on the water you can go rafting, boogey boarding, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, jet-boarding, white-water sledging and scuba diving, while overland challenges are mountain bike riding, skiing, tramping, horse riding and hydro sliding.
Off-beaten activities are plenty, but tramping is the most popular. Everyone from experienced hikers to country strollers can enjoy the activity, as thousands of kilometres of marked tracks and an efficient network of trampers' huts are available. However, some popular tracks will be rather busy, especially in summertime.
In wintertime, usually between June and October, New Zealand is jam-packed by reliable and abundant snowfall. That is why the country is known as the most popular destinations in the southern hemisphere for skiing and other winter sports.
EVENTS: Some of the remarkable cultural events include:
The series of festivals around the city on Summer City Programme which is usually held around January to February at Wellington
Marlborough Food & Wine Festival on 2nd week in February at Blenheim
International Festival of the Arts in Wellington on February, but only at even-numbered years
Golden Shears Sheep-Shearing Contest on March in Masterton, a must for those who love sheep, scat and sweat
Canterbury Show Week on November at Christchurch
CLOTHING: In accordance with New Zealand's relaxed way of life, dress is casual on most occasions. A jacket is optional only for those who want to visit a better restaurant or evening show. A waterproof jacket and umbrella is advisable.
CURRENCY: The country currency is the New Zealand Dollars (NZ$). Current exchange rate is just about 1USD =NZ$2. Please check with your bank for current exchange rates. Travellers cheques and most major international credit cards are accepted.
GST: All goods and services purchased in New Zealand are subject to 12.5% Goods and Services tax, which is usually included in the price. But some hotels and restaurants may quote prices excluding GST.
ELECTRICITY: There is a slant 3 pin outlet which supplying the 240 volts electricity throughout the country. Hotels often provide a 110 volt socket for electric shavers only. For all other equipment, an adaptor and a voltage converter are required.
MEDICAL AND EMERGENCY FACILITIES: Please arrange for insurance coverage before your departure, Medical and emergency services are available but not free to visitors.
ROAD RULES & PETROL: New Zealand road rules observe international standards. New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. The petrol averages around 96 cents (NZ$) per litre throughout New Zealand.
TIPPING: For normal service tips are not expected, New Zealanders do not depend on tips for their income, however you may wish to show your gratitude for more extraordinary attention.
DEPARTURE TAX: People over 12 years old departing via the three international airports are charged with a departure tax which costs approximately NZ$25. This fee can be paid by credit card and varies depending on your departure airport.
CUSTOMS & DUTY FREE ALLOWANCES AND RESTRICTIONS: As Agriculture and horticulture play very important roles for the country economy, fruits, certain animal products and plant material or foodstuffs that could contain plant or animal pests may prohibited into the country. Other forbidden imports include firearms and weapons (unless a special permit is obtained); any form of ivory; tortoise or turtle shell jewelry and ornaments; medicines using musk, rhinoceros or tiger derivatives; carvings or anything made from whalebone or bone from any other marine animals; cat skins or coats and certain drugs (eg diuretics, depressants, stimulants, heart drugs, tranquilisers, sleeping pills) unless enclosed a doctor's prescription. Followings are allowances for some common items:
Tobacco: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams tobacco
Liquor: 4.5 litres
Perfume: reasonable for personal use
Cameras: no restrictions
Film: no restrictions
Others goods up to a value of nz$700
Currency no restrictions - import/export
HEALTH: Yellow fever vaccination is none required, as well as Malaria and Cholera which are not found in New Zealand, but it is recommended for travelers to check with local Department of Health for prevention. Health risks: Amoebic Meningitis from bathing in natural hot thermal pools
TIME: GMT/UTC +12(two hours ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time)
WEIGHTS & MEASURES: metric
Two Worlds: First Meetings Between Maori and Europeans 1642-1772 by Anne Salmond is a fascinating historical account of the first contact between the Maori and European explorers.
The Greenpeace New Zealand Story by Michael Szabo, chronicles the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by French agents and outlines Greenpeace activities in New Zealand and the Pacific.
Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Maoritanga by Michael King, is a collection of writings on Maori culture, with contributions from a number of respected Maori authors.
The Stories of Katherine Mansfield: Definitive Edition edited by Antony Alpers, is an authoritative volume of work from the distinguished New Zealand writer.
Janet Frame: An Autobiography by Janet Frame, is a fascinating insight into the life of the novelist, poet and short story writer.
Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff, is a gritty, no-nonsense account of Maori urban life, subsequently made into an internationally acclaimed film of the same name.
The Bone People by Keri Hulme, is a provocative fable about three fiercely unique characters, bound in Maori myth and entwined in Christian symbols. It won the British Booker Prize in 1985.
Full country name : New Zealand
Area : 270,534 sq km
Population : 3.8 million
Capital city : Wellington (pop 345,000 )
People : 74% European (Pakeha), 13.5% Maori, 6%
Polynesian, 6% Asian
Languages : English and Maori
Religion : Predominantly Christian (81%)
Government : Independent member of the British Commonwealth
Prime Minister : Helen Clark
GDP : US$85 billion
GDP per head : US$22,360
Annual growth : 2%
Inflation : 2%
Major industries : Food processing, wood and paper products, wool,
textiles, dairy products, iron and steel, machinery,
Major trading partners : Australia, Japan, UK, China and the USA