Driving NZ


New Zealand is a beautiful and truly diverse country tucked away at bottom of the world (or the top of the world if you look at the globe upside down!).

Total land mass is 268,000 square kilometres making it a similar size to that of the Great Britain, however with the population of just over 4 million, it is vastly different.

New Zealand is made up of 3 islands – North Island, South Island and the very small and remote Stewart Island.

The North Island is home to a vast array of land scapes from balmy sub tropical climates and beaches in the north, to the geothermal landscapes of Rotorua, and volacanoes on the desert plateaus. The North Island is also home to the majority of New Zealand population with the two largest cities, Auckland and Wellington, both located on this island.

The South Island is home of breath taking scenery from glacial mountains, alpine rivers and remote fiords. From whale watching to skiing, the South Island has it all to when it comes to natural attractions and is home to the adrenalin junkie Queenstown and garden city of Christchurch.


In the north of New Zealand the temperature is very mild, with the warmest temperatures consistently in the far North. The South Island temperatures tend to be more extreme, with winter temperatures falling to 0ºC in the mountain areas.

March and April are very good time to travel, as the weather is still very settled over this period, and it is just out of peak season which is even quieter.

In summer, the average mean temperature ranges between 19-23ºC (maximum 30) and in winter between 10-14ºC.

Mean daily maximum/minimum temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit

Seasons Spring
Sep, Oct, Nov
Dec, Jan, Feb
Mar, Apr, May
Jun, Jul, Aug

Bay of Islands

Temp (C) 19/9 25/14 21/11 16/7
Temp (F) 67/48 76/56 70/52 61/45
Rain days 11 7 11 16


Temp (C) 18/11 24/12 20/13 15/9
Temp (F) 65/52 75/54 68/55 59/48
Rain days 12 8 11 15


Temp (C) 17/7 24/12 18/9 13/4
Temp (F) 63/45 75/54 65/48 55/39
Rain days 11 9 9 13


Temp (C) 15/9 20/13 17/11 12/6
Temp (F) 59/48 68/55 63/52 54/43
Rain days 11 7 10 13


Temp (C) 17/7 22/12 18/8 12/3
Temp (F) 63/45 72/54 65/46 54/37
Rain days 7 7 7 7


Temp (C) 16/5 22/10 16/6 10/1
Temp (F) 61/41 72/50 61/43 50/34
Rain days 9 8 8 7



The official languages of New Zealand are English and Maori, although you will only generally hear English spoken. Due to our accent you may not understand our English at first, so here are some helpful colloquialisms, which may help you along the way!

  • Gidday – Greeting or Hello
  • No problem – Your request is not a burden
  • Shaz - Sharon
  • Baz - Barry
  • Sex - Six
  • Fush - Fish
  • Crikey - Wow



Hotels/Motels have phones which can be used to access national and international phone numbers. There will be normal toll charges plus any additional cost the hotel/motel levies on the call.

Country and area code for:

  • Auckland : +64 9
  • Rotorua: +64 7
  • Wellington: +64 4
  • Christchurch: +64 3
  • Dunedin: +64 3
  • Queenstown: +64 3

Mobile Phones

If your phone and mobile provider have roaming capability, you will be able to use this in New Zealand. Please check with you mobile phone company that it is activated. You can also hire mobile phones from all international airports on arrival.


Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. An adapter/converter will be necessary, unless the electrical item has a multi-voltage option.

Power Outlets

Accept flat 3 or 2-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted. Most hotels have adaptors, or they can be purchased in various retail outlets throughout the cities.


Most hotels offer internet service with a RJ45 plug to connect to your laptop. Some hotels also offer wireless broadband access for an hourly or daily charge.

Time Zones

New Zealand is the first place in the world to see the dawn of a new day. This also means we are the first to get up out of bed in the morning.

New Zealand is all in one time zone, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and in summer New Zealand has Daylight Saving, which means the clocks are put forward one hour.

  • 3rd Sunday in March to 1st Sunday in October - GMT+12
  • 1st Sunday in October to 3rd Sunday in March - GMT+13

If flying from North America to New Zealand you will loose a day on the way down, and gain a day on the way back. If you get confused, just click this link here to get your bearings: www.timeanddate.com/worldclock.

Money, money, money

New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$).


  • Coins: 10, 20 and 50 cents
  • Dollars coins: $1 and $2
  • Dollar notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, a Boarder Cash Report must be filled out for amounts greater than NZ$10,000 per person carried into or out of the country.

Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, most hotels and Bureau de Change outlets, which are found at airports and throughout the major cities.

All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Travellers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and limited retail stores.

Exchange Rates

Calculate the value of your currency in NZ Dollars by clicking here.

Rates will differ slightly depending which bank or company you exchange your money with.


Banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. ATM’s are widely available at banks, along main streets and in shopping malls. International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN. Check with your service provider or bank before leaving home.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

All goods and services are subject to a 15 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the advertised or displayed price.

This tax cannot be claimed back by visitors when leaving New Zealand.


Dress in New Zealand is generally informal and relaxed from shorts and jandals at the beach, to jeans around town. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants, bars and night clubs, with the exception of a few very formal hotel and exclusive bars/restaurants.

Business attire is standard with most opting for suits and ties, however even rules around this dress code is becoming more relaxed, with most businesses now opting for a “casual Friday” each week.

In summer pack a light jacket and sweater just in case the weather turns cooler. Rain is usually inevitable, so be sure to pack a light rain coat as well.

You will need warm clothes in winter, so ensure to pack appropriately depending on where in New Zealand you are travelling to, and what activities you plan on doing.


New Zealand is generally a very safe place to travel, however it is important that common sense and precautionary actions observed.

  • Don’t leave valuables such as passport, cash, laptops, cameras in unattended cars or campervans
  • Avoid venturing into remote, isolated unlit areas at night, especially by yourself
  • Lock your motel/hotel/campervan door in the evenings and when they are unattended

In New Zealand you can ask for help from the police whenever you are unsure or feel threatened - they are happy to provide information and advice. Ensure to report any theft and crime to the police immediately.

In an emergency (Fire, Police, Ambulance, Search & Rescue) dial 111 from any phone.


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