new zealand lake rotoiti rotorua
new zealand lake rotoiti rotorua
New Zealand travel guide

Practical information

Are you searching for practical information about travel to New Zealand? It's maybe not the most exciting part of planning your trip, but still equally as important. We have provided some information to help get you started, but of course, our travel specialists are happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Our travel specialists are native, or have lived, worked and travelled through New Zealand extensively
Join one of our presentations (currently online) for more in-depth information

Visa and passports

As a British passport holder, you are required to obtain an NZeTA - New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. This can be applied for on the New Zealand Immigration website or via the NZeTA app.

Please allow up to 72 hours for processing time. You are required to have a passport that is valid for 6 months to travel outside of Europe.

Your passport must have a validity of more than 6 months
© Ethan Wilkinson
Business class flight | Australia holiday
We recommend submitting your visa application at least a several weeks before departure

How long can you spend in New Zealand?

The NZeTA - New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority is valid for up to two years. As a British citizen, you can travel through New Zealand for up to six months at a time. If you would like to stay longer, it is possible but you will need to apply for another type of visa. We can advise you further about this when we sit down together.

Planning your trip to New Zealand | New Zealand holiday
How long will you spend in New Zealand?

Cost of living in New Zealand

The cost of living in New Zealand is slightly higher than in the United Kingdom but this can vary depending on the region. Petrol prices are around NZ$2 per litre. A cappuccino costs around NZ$4.50 and you can expect to pay anywhere between NZ$150 to NZ$450, for one night of accommodation for two people, depending on comfort level. Lunch at a cafe is approximately $20 per person.

Two men hanging out of a cafe window
Enjoy a cup of coffee from local cafes for approximately NZ$4.30
Cable car Wellington | New Zealand holiday
New Zealand has a good public transport system

Language and money

Feel right at home while travelling New Zealand, English is the primary language and is very similar to British English. Kiwi’s love to use a lot of slang words, ask your hosts for a quick lesson to blend in as a local. There are two other official languages, Maori and Sign Language. The Maori language can often be seen in names of places/towns.

The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar. It is possible to pay by cash or card almost everywhere. Mastercard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted. You will find many ATM’s in banks, and in shopping malls or shopping streets. Banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4:30 pm.

New Zealand dollars | New Zealand holiday
New Zealand's currency is known as the New Zealand dollar
Maori man and a woman with their faces touching each other
Since the Maori Language Act of 1987, Maori has been one of the two official languages of New Zealand
© TravelEssence

Driving DownUnder

If you hold a valid driver's license in English, you can drive in New Zealand and Australia for up to 12 months while travelling as a tourist. In both countries, you drive on the left side of the road, just like the United Kingdom!

The speed limit in both countries is generally 50 km/hr in residential areas and 100 km/hr on motorways and open roads. Be aware, during school hours there are strict speed limits. We advise paying close attention to all road signs.

What do I need to rent a car?

  • A MasterCard, Visa card or American Express in the driver's name.
  • An international drivers licence.
  • A national drivers licence.

What do I need to take into account when renting a car?

  • A deposit will be held on your credit card for each rental car.
  • You will sign a rental agreement when you collect the car. By doing so, you agree to the terms and conditions of the car company. Please read these in advance. You will find the terms and conditions in your travel documents.
Travel at a relaxed pace and find the hidden gems of the West Coast Route
At the turn of every corner, New Zealand's landscape changes
© TravelEssence
Watch out for penguins on the Otago Peninsula!
Feel at home driving on the left hand side of the road

Internet and phone in New Zealand

We recommend that you purchase a local SIM card after you arrive in New Zealand. This is the best way to ensure that you will make the most affordable calls. These are available at the airport, but your phone needs to be sim lock-free. Another option is to buy a simple phone upon arrival for approximately 40 pounds.

When you buy a prepaid SIM card from a local provider, it is also possible to connect to the internet. This is handy so you can use Google Maps on the go for navigation. For this, your own phone also needs to be sim lock-free.

Overall, New Zealand has limited access to free WiFi. Hotspots are found mostly in cities and other urban areas. However, in many rural areas and small towns, it is more difficult to find. Please note that all of New Zealand’s public libraries have free WiFi service.

We recommend buying a sim card upon arrival at the airport to get the best and cheapest connection
© Rodion Kutsaev
Countryside | New Zealand holiday
In some rural parts of New Zealand, there is no WiFi

Wearing sunscreen in New Zealand

The seasons in New Zealand are the opposite of the United Kingdom. Don’t forget to use high SPF sunscreen, even in the cooler months. The UV rays in New Zealand are much stronger, therefore you can burn quickly if you don’t apply sunscreen throughout the day. We also recommend wearing a hat and sunglasses for protection.

Seal on the beach at Otago Peninsula | New Zealand wildlife
Even when it's cloudy in New Zealand, we highly recommend that you wear sunscreen
© TravelEssence

Drinking tap water in New Zealand

Tap water is generally safe to drink throughout New Zealand. We recommend you bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day. This way you can ensure that you stay hydrated.

If you are planning to go on a hike or drive in a remote area, be sure to bring a large supply of water with you. Enough to last you a sufficient amount of time.

Hike the U-Pass Track, Fiordland National Park
Along the Milford Highway, there is water so fresh it is drinkable
© Barton Matthews
It is very important to stay hydrated during your journey through New Zealand
© Nathan dumlao

New Zealand's time zones

New Zealand is divided into two time zones. New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) and Chatham Standard Time (CST). The North and South Island use NZST and the nearby Chatham Islands use CST. During the summer months, daylight saving hours are observed and the clocks are put forward one hour. This occurs from the last Sunday in September till the first Sunday in April.

Watch | New Zealand holiday
Depending on daylight savings, New Zealand is approximately 13 hours ahead of the UK
© Angus Gray
Jet lag is inevitable. However, there are things that you can do to reduce the effect

New Zealand's ferry crossing

Do you need to cross over to the other side? Travel on a ferry across the waters between the North and South Island. A journey that is renowned for being one of the best ferry rides in the world. Surrounded by spectacular scenery, it is truly one of New Zealand’s most iconic experiences.

The Interislander is the ferry service between Picton and Wellington. It is a 92-kilometre crossing and takes approximately three hours. The Interislander sails through the Marlborough Sounds and crosses the Cook Strait. There is a restaurant on board and you can make use of WiFi.

Interislander between the North and Sound Island | New Zealand holiday
A journey renowned for being one of the best ferry rides in the world
Stunning views over Wellington | New Zealand holiday
After arriving from the friendly South, you will be welcomed in the vibrancy of Wellington

What to wear in New Zealand

Thin light warm layers such as merino will keep you the most comfortable in New Zealand because of the changeable climate. They also take up less room in your bags so you can pack lighter, and you will want to pick up local items along the way.

We recommend bringing a waterproof rain and wind jacket, along with quick-drying walking or hiking pants. Also, thermal socks and under layers are great because they repel moisture efficiently, dry quickly and can be re-worn which is an important thing on long trips.

Sheep in the Glenorchy Mountains | New Zealand holiday
Merino wool is a natural fiber grown by Merino sheep and its thinner and softer than regular wool

Discover more about New Zealand

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