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New Zealand Travel Agents and Australia Travel Agents

Specialists in New Zealand Holidays and Australia Holidays

New Zealand Travel Tips

Help and advice for visiting New Zealand on holiday or vacation

As New Zealand travel agents we are pleased to provide you with the following New Zealand travel tips and important information resources to help you prepare for your New Zealand vacation.

Topics Covered:

(Click on name for more information)

 

General informationInterests
Accident CompensationConservation
Accommodation Doubtful Sound
Airport Transfers Fiordland
Banking and Business Hours Glow Worm Caves
Biosecurity Great Walks
Cancellations Hiking Safely
Climate & Seasons Historic Places Trust
Clothing & Accessories Hunting and Fishing
Contacting Hosts Walks and hikes
Crime Maori Culture
Currency Marine Reserves
Departure Tax Museums & Art Galleries
Dietary and Special Requirements Milford Sound
Driving in New Zealand Milford Track
Electricity National Parks
Emergency telephone numbers Sea Kayaking
Goods and Services Tax (GST) Sheep Station Visit
Guided Trips Smoke-free
Insects Trout Fishing
Insurance Visitor Information Centres
International Dateline & Travel Times    Whale Watching
New Zealand tailor made itineraries Wineries
Medical and Emergency Facilities World Heritage Sites
Medication & Medical Conditions 
Navigating your way around Website Activities
New Zealand Customs Service 
New Zealand Quarantine 
Passports and Visas 
Paying for Goods and Services 
Public Holidays 
Rental Cars 
Reservations 
Route Guides 
Sunburn 
Time 
Tipping & Gratuities 
New Zealand vacation planning 
  

Emergency Telephone Numbers:

Police, fire or ambulance: Dial 111

For other problems and non emergencies or if you are uncertain, please contact your accommodation hosts you are staying with, they will know how to help you best.

Climate & Seasons:

In New Zealand the seasons are the opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. Summer is December to February whilst winter is June to August. Average summer temperature is 22° Celsius (72° Fahrenheit) and winter 9° Celsius (48° Fahrenheit). At any time of the year and especially in the mountains we recommend that you plan for changes in the weather that can happen quickly.
 

Clothing & Accessories:

When traveling around New Zealand you are likely to encounter most types of weather. A hooded three quarter length raincoat/wind proof jacket, woolen sweater and strong comfortable footwear are all recommended just in case. If you are planning to do some short hikes, ankle high lightweight hiking boots are suggested, for longer hikes or hikes over rough terrain stronger hiking boots are recommended. We recommend you bring a lightweight waterproof backpack for carrying your personal possessions when you go hiking. We suggest you bring a small pair of binoculars and consider purchasing a thermos flask and basic picnic essentials when you get here, there are plenty of cafe's, but, also many wonderful picnic spots.
 

For the evenings, smart comfortable casual attire is recommended, however if you like to wear a jacket and tie and dress more formally for dinner then please feel free to do so.
 

Currency and paying for goods and services:

Your bank will advise you of current exchange rates.
 

Travelers cheques are not commonly used. and most major international credit cards are accepted with Visa and MasterCard being the most popular, then AMEX, Diners Card is infrequently accepted.
 

A large proportion of merchants and service providers offer EFTPOS (Direct Debit or Point of Sale) facilities and most towns have ATM machines, check with your bank to see if your card will work here. When using your card with a merchant you will invariably be asked if you would also like some cash.
 

When we at DesigNZ on Travel make your reservations and arrangements for you we will notify you on your Reservations Schedule of services and accommodation where you will need to pay in cash.
 

Banking and Business Hours: New Zealand shopping malls follow the international trend of opening for extended hours 7 days a week as do shops and businesses servicing visitors requirements. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and are closed on public holidays, ATM machines operate 24 hours/7 days and many businesses provide cash advances against EFTPOS cards with transactions. Fuel & services for motor vehicles is available in most places 7 days a week, if in doubt ask your hosts.
 

Tipping & Gratuities:

Tipping is not expected, however if you wish to show your appreciation to someone who has given you exceptional service, you won't offend by tipping. When staying at B&B’s and Farmstay’s in New Zealand you are considered to be a house guest, so its not really appropriate to tip your hosts, if you would like to show your appreciation then a small gift from your own country or town is a suggestion. Possibly your local promotion association has some items.
 

Goods and Services Tax (GST):

All goods and services purchased in New Zealand are subject to 12.5% goods and services tax, this is usually included in the price, if in doubt please ask. When purchasing goods such as souvenirs that you intend to take home, check if it is worth having the merchant post them home for you and save the paying of GST.
 

When we at DesigNZ on Travel provide prices to you these include this tax.
 

Departure Tax:

A departure tax is payable by passengers on international flights leaving New Zealand, the amount can vary from airport to airport.
 

Electricity:

Electricity is 240V the socket is common with Australia, shaver outlets are 110v. Most accommodations will be able to assist you with adaptors or help you with a hairdryer. For curling and other appliances you need to bring you will need a transformer to reduce from 240v to 110/120v
 

Accident Compensation:

New Zealand operates a unique, no fault accident compensation scheme. If you have the misfortune to be injured in an accident while you are in New Zealand, then you will receive first class medical and hospital treatment in New Zealand at very little cost to yourself. However, the rates of compensation are very low by international standards and we suggest that you take out adequate personal accident insurance in case you suffer an accident that leaves you with some form of disability. It is rarely possible to obtain compensation through litigation.
 

Accident Compensation DOES NOT cover medical costs, unless they are as a result of a motor vehicle accident. ACC laws are subject to change without notice.
 

Medical and Emergency Medical Facilities:

Medical and emergency services are available but not free to visitors. Please arrange for insurance coverage before your departure. Comprehensive travel insurance is recommended. Dial 111 for emergency calls to police, fire or ambulance services. Your accommodation Hosts will be able to assist you with finding medical assistance. If you need help at any time ask someone, we live in a friendly society and finding someone to help will not be difficult.
 

Insurance:

Your rental car agreement will include some limited vehicle insurance it is normally necessary to pay for additional insurance cover to reduce your risk. We recommend you take out a comprehensive travel insurance to cover health, accident, loss, damage, cancellation and normal travel risks.
 

Public Holidays:

Generally New Zealander's take their annual summer holidays between 26 December and mid January each year, short holidays are also taken at Easter. The only effect on visitors is to reduce the number of activity options on Christmas Day, and the need to ensure that rental cars, accommodations and inter island ferry crossings are booked well in advance. Please ask us at DesigNZ on travel if you require further information on this
 

Time:

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.  New Zealand operates daylight saving in summer when clocks are put forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the last Sunday of the following March, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
 

Accommodation:

New Zealand provides a wide range of accommodation including hotels and motels, but if you want to really experience our country and meet our people we highly recommend staying in Hosted accommodation, including Bed & Breakfasts, Inns and Lodges, where the warmth and friendliness of your Hosts will leave you with fond memories of our country.
 

At DesigNZ on Travel our services for booking your accommodation are free for you to use. Whether you have already found accommodation you like the look of, would like recommendations or have chosen from the selection on our website, just let us know and we will promptly take care of your arrangements for you. We will then provide you with full documentation, please see further details at the end of this document under DesigNZ on Travel Services
 

Passports and Visas:

All visitors require a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after their intended departure. A visa is not required for most visitors traveling to New Zealand for a stay of less than 3 months. You should check with your local New Zealand embassy or consulate for the latest information.
 

Website: http://www.immigration.govt.nz
 

New Zealand Embassies & Consulates:

New Zealand embassies and consulates can be found worldwide, contact details are available online. http://www.mfat.govt.nz
 

New Zealand Customs:

Please check with your airline for current information about what allowances and restrictions apply. For further information see New Zealand Customs Service online. http://www.customs.govt.nz
 

New Zealand Quarantine:

New Zealand has very strict quarantine regulations. Do not bring any raw food, fruit, plant material, or soil with you. There are severe penalties if you do.

www.quarantine.govt.nz
 

As a general rule

  • Pack everything which you think may be inspected together, in a separate bag, in your hand luggage, or near the top of your suitcase
  • Try not to travel with food, including food for young children and babies. If you have to, keep it handy and declare it
  • Keep any certificates you will need handy
  • Clean all outdoor footwear and equipment, including camping and sports gear before you pack them.
Airport Transfers:

All the normal choices of taxi’s, buses and shuttles are available to you.

However as you have probably spent a long time getting here, we recommend the following services that will make life a little easier

  • When you book your rental car through us we will have a rental car company representative personally meet you from your flight and take care of getting you on the road as quickly as possible, no queues at rental desks to face
  • Where there is not an immediate need for a rental car, we will if required arrange for a Corporate Cab driver to personally meet you from your flight. The charge for this is little more than a standard cab fare and well worth it.
Driving in New Zealand:

Driving in New Zealand is enjoyable and a highlight in itself, visitors have remarked that to get behind the wheel in New Zealand is like it was at home in the 1950's with open roads and no traffic jams.
 

New Zealand Road Rules:

New Zealand road rules follow international standards. New Zealand drives on the left side of the road (the same as in the UK and Japan, and opposite to the USA and Europe).

The main rules to remember are giving way at uncontrolled intersections, these are.

When at a crossroads and turning left, give way to traffic
(1) Coming from your right
(2) Coming towards you and turning right
(3) When at a tee intersection or roundabout, give way to traffic coming from your right.   
(4) When you are turning right from a major road into a minor or other road.
(a) Traffic coming towards you and turning left into the road you want to use, must give way.
(b)    Traffic on your right coming out of the road you want to use and turning right must give way to you.

If in doubt please give way and wait until the road is clear  

Drivers Licenses:
International licenses are valid in New Zealand as are the licenses from many individual countries if understandable in English.

All drivers must be at least 21 years of age to hire vehicles from most rental car companies.

Traveling Times:
The maximum speed limit for the open road in New Zealand is 100 kilometers/hour (62 miles/hour). Drivers generally travel slightly under the speed limit. Speed limits are marked, urban areas are mainly 50 kph, school zones are identified and usually have lower speed restrictions when children are present.  Speed restrictions are enforced and speed cameras are common, unidentifiable police vehicles are commonly used. Please note that average speeds are lower and it takes longer to travel distances in New Zealand than might be expected. This is due to the roads going around the spectacular scenery.

Drinking and driving Permissible blood alcohol levels are low and drive drinking laws are strictly enforced. 

Rural Driving:
Most New Zealand routes have good roads especially designed for our prevailing conditions. Many roads have gravel verges. Be mindful to keep clear of the verge, especially on corners. Some isolated roads are unsealed and use gravel as the surface. In these cases, drive slowly. Note that there are some roads that are not suitable for rental cars. You will be advised of these at the time you pick up your vehicle. In some areas beware of boggy ground at the side of roads, before parking on grass verges test them for firmness

One Lane Bridges
In remote areas or due to geographic considerations you will encounter one-lane bridges, as a general rule if there is no sign telling you to give way then you have the right of way, the sign shows a black arrow and red arrow, (In extremely remote areas who gives way is reputedly decided on the basis of who has lived there longest!!!)

Winter and Mountain Driving:
During winter and early spring, some roads in the South Island and central North Island may be closed because of snow and ice. There will usually be an alternative route for you to take, it is recommended that you carry a set of snow chains during June through to September when traveling in our alpine regions.

Seat Belts: It is compulsory in New Zealand that the driver and all passengers wear their seatbelts, children must be in approved seats or restrained properly by their seatbelts. This is an important safety requirement.

Driving Times between places:
As a client of DesigNZ on Travel you will receive full details of place to place driving times plus for highlights along the way in your set of Route Guides, your comprehensive itinerary will also contain additional information.

Smoke-free:
When we at DesigNZ on Travel make your reservations for you we always specify Non-Smoking or Smokefree, if you have an alternative preference please let us know.

Museums & Art Galleries:

New Zealand has a comprehensive network of museums and art galleries to suit all interests, from private collections of special interests through to major exhibitions and national collections. To find them an online national database is available and is searchable by interest and regional location.

http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz
 

Hunting and Fishing:

Opportunities abound throughout the country and access is generally free, professional guides are available throughout New Zealand to ensure you get the most from your experience. For fishing, in general, if in salt water no license is required, in fresh water a license is required. Ask your accommodation Hosts, sports shop, or information office for advice.

For rules and regulations online. http://www.fish.govt.nz
 

New Zealand Conservation and National Parks:

With less than 4 million people and an area larger than the United Kingdom, New Zealand has a lot of open spaces; Many hundreds of Scenic Reserves, National Parks and Marine Reserves have been created. Walking and Hiking tracks abound generally free, picnic spots and a full range of recreational opportunities. Accessibility is easy, but a word of warning, be careful as conditions can change, seek advice from locals on prevailing conditions before you venture too far.

New Zealand's conservation estate is managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, a group of dedicated professionals who have done and continue to do a wonderful job of protecting our treasured land and making it possible to visit it. Wherever you get the chance to visit one of their information offices, we recommend you do so as you will be well rewarded. Excellent online resources are provided
 

Website: www.doc.govt.nz
 

Covered in depth are

  • National Parks.
  • Marine Reserves
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Great Walks
  • Flora
  • Fauna

Historic Places Trust:

New Zealand's historic places are protected and administered by The New Zealand Historic Places Trust, for visitors who belong to similar overseas organizations you may find you have reciprocal rights where entry charges are applicable.

Online resources are available. http://www.historic.org.nz
 

Maori Culture:

The places you plan to visit on you New Zealand itinerary will generally determine your opportunities to experience and learn about Maori culture. Most main centre and Rotorua in particular offer opportunities to meet Maori people and understand their culture. Museums throughout New Zealand will generally have some Maori representation. Modern influences in our Arts are widespread.
 

Navigating:

Finding your way around New Zealand is relatively easy as there a few roads, however there is lots to see and do along the way that often make the journey the highlight rather than the start and finish.
 

As a client of DesigNZ on Travel you will receive Route Guides and comprehensive itinerary information when we plan and arrange your New Zealand holiday with you. This saves the aggravation and frustration of the navigator having to juggle maps and guidebooks whilst trying to see the scenery and listen to instructions from the driver all at the same time!
 

Cancellations:

Most New Zealand accommodations and service providers have cancellation policies that you will need to be aware of when making bookings. Some of these can have a long duration.

When we make your reservations for you, we will advise you of any cancellation policies that will be applicable from time of booking and all policies will be included in your comprehensive Reservations Schedule
 

Contacting Hosts:

We recommend that you contact your hosts the day prior to the day of your stay with them to let them know an approximate time of arrival, then if you are delayed or plan to change your arrival time a further call is recommended.
 

Crime:

Crime, we are still relatively isolated from serious crime, it is mostly safe to leave your car when you go for short walks but do cover your luggage and take your documents and valuables with you in your daypack. Treat the cities as you do at home. If you have uncertainties regarding leaving your vehicle to take an extended hike, ask the nearest Information Centre before you start, they are spread throughout the country and will give you good advice. They are identifiable as official information centres by a green "i", our National Park Centres will also advise you these are always worth a visit and have good interpretational displays.
 

In an emergency the police emergency phone number is 111
 

Dietary and Special Requirements:

If you have special dietary or other requirements you should advise your hosts or other service providers where relevant.
 

When we make your arrangements it is only necessary to advise us, we will then make sure that those that need to know are advised
 

Guided Trips:

If you would prefer to be guided for all or part of your visit to New Zealand, please let us know, we work with a number of guides that provide a range of services to meet most requirements.
 

Insects:

Whilst we do not have a significant mosquito problem, but we do have a thing called a sandfly which can be a nuisance for those that attract them, so recommend spraying exposed areas and thin socks when they are around (we use Aerogard, readily available from supermarkets and pharmacies), make sure you spray under watch straps they seem to like this part of us especially.
 

International Dateline & Travel Times:

Please carefully check the details of all of your arrangements to ensure that sufficient allowance has been made for travel and connection times, plus the right dates and days are specified if you are crossing the International datelines to come to New Zealand
 

Itineraries:

As a client of our company DesigNZ on Travel you will receive a comprehensive New Zealand Itinerary free of charge when we plan with you and make your arrangements for your holiday here in New Zealand.
 

Please see our services at the end of this document for further information.
 

Medication & Medical Conditions:

If you have special medication, we recommend you make sure you either bring plenty or check with you physician to see that it is available here, we further recommend that you get a referral letter from your physician so you can acquire further supplies here and one that you can show authorities here if you are asked what your pills are. If you have a medical condition we recommend that you carry a letter from your physician detailing their contact details and any special requirements you may need, in especially serious cases your full details will expedite any urgent treatment.
 

Rental Cars:

Most of the major international companies are represented in New Zealand, there are also a number of very small companies. Some of the areas you will be traveling to are remote and it will take some time to get a replacement vehicle to you should the one you hire break down. We strongly recommend that you consider the following points.

  • The rental car should be new and well maintained (some are imported second hand)
  • The rental car company should have a national network and representation
  • The rental car company should have a 24-hour emergency contact service in case you need them
We further recommend a car with automatic transmission so you can concentrate on the scenery.
 

There is a full range of rental vehicles available to our clients on our website please Click Here
 

Reservations:

We recommend that to avoid disappointment accommodations, rental cars and some activities be reserved well in advance of your visit to New Zealand.

Our company DesigNZ on Travel offers a reservations service for accommodations and activities to enable you to really experience our country. We will be pleased to make recommendations to meet your requirements or to work for you to secure accommodations you have already chosen.
 

Route Guides:

As a client of our company DesigNZ on Travel you will receive a set of Route Guides free of charge when we plan with you and make your arrangements for your holiday here in New Zealand.
 

These Route Guides will simplify navigating your way around New Zealand and ensure you do not miss what others rush by
 

Please see our services at the end of this document for further information.
 

Sunburn:

We recommend you use sunscreen, the air is very clear here and its easy to burn, we use 30+ as a minimum. When hiking we recommend you wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim. Visitors from the Northern Hemisphere, children and others with sensitive and fair skin are especially vulnerable
 

Vacation Planning:

At DesigNZ on Travel we offer you our unrivalled personal service dedicated to providing you with a special New Zealand vacation unique to your needs.

Our company has the knowledge and experience based on our regular New Zealand travels and research to make sure that you will get the most from your vacation, not only will you visit the many wonderful highlights, you will also experience the special places in this beautiful country we call home.
 

We are proud to you the services detailed at the end of this document.
 

Visitor Information Centres:

Should you need independent information during your visit to New Zealand, please visit one of the many official information centres spread throughout our country, these centres are recognizable by being identified with a sign having a green coloured “ I “. Please note that some commercial companies calling themselves information centres may not be able to offer you the same independent advice.
 

Hiking Safely:

In New Zealand our roads will easily take you into some of the most hostile
environments so please be prepared if you are planning longer walks into the
mountains or forests, let someone responsible know your plans, record your intentions with the appropriate National Parks Centre, keep to tracks and if you get lost stay where you, make a shelter and a way of attracting attention, do not hide, and do not under any circumstances keep moving.

Please make sure you tell those you informed at the start of your trip that you have returned safely.
 

Interests:

Our website at www.designzontravel.co.nz is regularly updated with new information on interests that may be relevant to and enhance your visit to New Zealand. The information is on particular interests as an overview as well as commercial operations chosen for their interpretative value.

Interests include:
 

Biosecurity: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry check 100% of passengers' luggage for signs of pests and diseases that could have a major impact on our economy, environment and lifestyle.  You must declare on your passenger arrival card any food or goods made from plant or animal materials that you are carrying.  You also need to declare if you have been on a farm or hiking as well as any equipment, like horse riding gear, that you are bringing with you.  Take special care when filling out your form because you will receive a $200 instant fine if you forget to declare.  Visit www.protectnz.org.nz to find out more. 

 

Our New Zealand Travel Agents Services

As your New Zealand Travel Agent we are proud to offer you our following services. (Please click on the titles for further information) for Australia Travel Agents services please click here

  • New Zealand Custom holidays, vacations & honeymoons
    For New Zealand holiday travel itineraries custom designed especially for you. We take care of everything here, from your initial consultation through booking your arrangements and providing you with your comprehensive documentation.

  • New Zealand Holidays & Short Breaks
    An exciting range of New Zealand self-drive independent vacations, pick one that suits your requirements, or let us know the special changes you would like and we will take care of everything for you.

  • New Zealand Activities
    A comprehensive range of New Zealand activities to really experience New Zealand and its people and culture

  • New Zealand Accommodation
    A full range of New Zealand accommodation including New Zealand Bed and Breakfast , New Zealand Luxury Lodges, New Zealand Hotels, Resorts and Self Contained. We are always pleased to meet our individual clients requirements and work with all of New Zealand best accommodation providers.

  • New Zealand Rental cars for hire
    For rental cars hire in New Zealand, we have chosen those companies who are able to provide the most diverse and modern fleets of rental vehicles in New Zealand. You can choose from standard sedans and wagons, through to 4 wheel drive vehicles, and luxury sedans

At DesigNZ on Travel we appreciate that you're coming a long way and your vacation time with us is precious. We will help you make sure you get the most of what you want from your New Zealand holiday.

We look forward to the opportunity of assisting you.

Russell Wenn and Julie Collier (Please click to meet us)

New Zealand & Australia Travel Agents

Testimonials (Please see what our clients say)

If you would like more information on our New Zealand Travel Agent services or have some questions you need reliable answers to, just e-mail us, it's free to ask and the answers may well prove invaluable.

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