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

Practical information

Are you searching for practical information ahead of your travels to New Zealand? It may not be the most exciting part of planning your trip, but it is still important. That is why we have provided some information to help get you started below.

Of course, if you have any doubts or questions regarding any of the information you read below, we are more than happy to help you and answer any and all questions you may have.

Contact our team of travel experts at your convenience, whether it be during evenings or weekends. Whether you prefer a face-to-face consultation at our London office, a phone conversation, or an online chat, rest assured we're available to discuss your plans at the time and place that best suits you.

Passport, visa, and entry requirements

The first port of call is to check that your passport is valid - as it is a requirement to have at least six months of validity. Should your passport's expiration date fall within your time abroad, we strongly advise renewing it before initiating the visa application process. For more information on passports, please click here.

Children are also required to have a valid passport and are subject to the same stipulations and criteria.

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 and it 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.

For more information on entry requirements for British nationals, please click here.

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

Language and currency

Feel right at home while travelling in New Zealand, as English is the primary language and is very similar to British English. Kiwis love to use slang words, so ask your hosts for a quick lesson to blend in as a local.

There are two other official languages, Māori and Sign Language. The Māori language can often be seen in the 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.

Carrying cash with you is always advised, especially if you visit more remote areas. You can exchange money in the UK before departing, in places like the Post Office or Currency Exchange Counters in supermarkets, or once you land in New Zealand.

Just remember to check the exchange rates, as ATM transactions at the airport are generally more expensive.

Driving in New Zealand

If you hold a valid British driving licence, you can drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months as a tourist. Driving on the same side of the road as the UK, you will find it easier to get your bearings and drive around from place to place.

What do I need to rent a car?

  • A Mastercard, VISA, or American Express in the driver's name.
  • A valid driving 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.

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Health and safety

UK travellers to New Zealand should have comprehensive travel insurance to cover medical expenses.

While no vaccinations are mandatory, it is advised you to stay current with routine innoculations. If you have any medical queries, we advise you to consult your GP or click here for the latest advice.

As New Zealand's climate is different from that of the UK, it is important that you protect yourself with high-SPF sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, UV-protective clothing and by staying hydrated - tap water is generally safe to drink in built-up areas, while remote areas may be best if you drink only filtered, or store-bought water.

If you have specific health needs, make sure you take with you the necessary medication with proper documentation.

While New Zealand is generally a safe country to visit, UK travellers to New Zealand should observe local laws and customs and it's important for visitors to take standard precautions like securing personal belongings and staying alert, particularly in tourist-heavy areas.

The country experiences natural phenomena like earthquakes, so it’s advisable to understand emergency procedures and register for alerts on the New Zealand Civil Defence website.

Would you like to find out more?

How to contact us

Your travel specialist is waiting to share their local knowledge and answer any questions you may have.

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How do I prepare for a flight to New Zealand?

Embarking on a long-haul flight from the UK to New Zealand requires careful preparation to ensure a comfortable journey.

Adjust your sleep schedule a few days before departure to minimise jet lag and organise all travel documents, including your passport, visa, and any necessary insurance information, in an accessible place in your carry-on luggage.

When preparing for the flight itself, pack strategically by including the essentials such as:

  • Travel pillow to ensure you have a pleasant rest onboard
  • Noise-cancelling headphones to block background noises
  • Eye mask to enable you to sleep even if the lights are on
  • Warm socks to enhance your in-flight comfort
  • Water to stay hydrated throughout the flight
  • Dress in layers so you can adjust to changing cabin temperatures

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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.

Therefore, the time difference between the UK and New Zealand depends on which time zone you are in.

We suggest that you add the regions you will visit on the world clock on your smartphone. This will hopefully save any confusion when you arrive.

Ready for the holiday of a lifetime?

Discover a world beyond ordinary

At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.