New Zealand Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Packing for New Zealand
Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and night-spots. Men are generally not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the top formal bars and restaurants in major cities. In summer, a light jacket or sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or you visit the high country. You can expect some rain, so include a light waterproof jacket or coat. Pack warm winter clothing if visiting between May and September. Layer your clothing.
Best time to visit New Zealand
Visit our climate page for more details
on weather and seasons.
You can visit New Zealand at any time of the year. New Zealand's seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere.
New Zealand has four quite distinct seasons - Spring (Sept-Nov), Summer (Dec-Feb), Autumn/Fall (Mar-May) and Winter (June-Aug). In summer there's plenty of sunshine, and activities in and around the water include rafting, snorkeling, diving and kayaking. The best time to visit is October to March.
In the winter, you will have snow on the mountains and excellent skiing. Away from the mountains, New Zealand winters are mild and temperatures generally do not fall below freezing.
International Flights to New Zealand
New Zealand's main
gateway for North American visitors is Auckland airport.
Air New Zealand (NZ) has direct flights from Los Angeles, Honolulu, and many Asian Gateways. Qantas (QF), and United (UA), and Hawaiian Airlines (HA) also provide service. Air Tahiti Nui (TN) - also provides service from Papeete, Tahiti and Sydney.
Christchurch (CHC): Direct flights from North America, Singapore, Tokyo, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart.
Wellington (WLG): Will have flights only from Australia, Fiji and some pacific islands due to the length of the runway.
Some average flight times...
- From Los Angeles to Auckland:
- 11 hours, 45 minutes
- From New York to Auckland:
- 17 hours, 45 minutes
- From Vancouver to Auckland:
- 15 hours
- From Sydney to Auckland:
- 3 hours, 20 minutes
New Zealand Cuisine
You will find the food of the highest quality. Fresh farm produce and seafood and, of course, the best lamb in the world. The New Zealand diet and the American diet are very similar so you will be at home with most of the food served. New Zealand has experienced a lot of immigration so there are restaurants serving every type of ethnic food you can imagine.
New Zealand is one of
the first places in the world to see the new day, 12
hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) In summer, New
Zealand uses daylight savings time with clocks put forward
one hour to GMT+13. Daylight savings
time for New Zealand begins on the first
Sunday in October and ends on the third Sunday of the
following March, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
New Zealand is, of course, ahead of the USA and going to
New Zealand you cross the International date line and
lose a day. Coming home from New Zealand you gain a day.
Time differences can change due to daylight savings
The current date and time of Auckland is:
Types of Accommodations
New Zealand offers a
wide range of accommodation options,
first-class hotels, exclusive lodges, motels,
guest houses, and farm stays. Major chains include
Westin, Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, Rydges and Intercontinental
are found in the main cities and resort areas.
Room rates range from NZ$200 to NZ$2000+
per night. We will
select the best accommodation that fits your
There are some outstanding world-class, luxury properties in New Zealand that are worth the price to stay if your budget will allow. Huka Lodge and Puka Park Resort on the North Island are two examples of these luxurious properties. Also on the South Island, Eichardts in Queenstown and The George Hotel in Christchurh are highly regarded.
On the other end of the spectrum, Farm Stays, are an ideal way to get to meet local people and experience a slice of New Zealand rural life. Depending on the kind of farm, you may get the chance to share home cooked meals with your hosts and join in milking cows, shearing sheep, lambing, kiwifruit harvesting or whatever else is happening on the farm.
New Zealand Activities
New Zealand is a perfect destination for everyone. If you wish for a pure scenic vacation, with fine accommodations and outstanding cuisine, it is a perfect destination. If you enjoy an action oriented vacation, New Zealand offers you great adventures. You will find river rafting, hang gliding, bungy jumping, para sailing, hiking, boating, even flying over a canyon suspended from a cable called Fly by Wire. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world.
Fishing, golf and hiking: New Zealand offers world class golf courses for the golfing enthusiast. Fishing is also outstanding in New Zealand in both the North and South Island. Hiking is a national pastime in New Zealand, so the country has many short or long hikes with many of them being guided walks. People from around the world walk the Milford Track and Routeburn Track in Fiordland. The guided walks include overnight accommodations in huts on the trail. The walks vary in length. Itineraries can be arranged to take advantage of each individuals particular interests.
Voltage and Outlets
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Please note that power outlets only accept flat three or two-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.
If you are thinking
about visiting with your family, you can be confident
that New Zealand has a wide range of activities to keep
your children happy. New Zealand has
always been very family friendly. New
Zealand's parks and large areas of
pristine wilderness are ideal places to expand
your children's appreciation of wildlife and the
outdoors. Horse riding, snow activities, whale watching,
fruit picking, wildlife
centers and zoos are just some
of the choices available.
Most family restaurants have children's menus and high chairs. Many cafes also have high chairs, and to find a toy basket to amuse babies and toddlers is becoming increasingly common in both cafes and shops. Most public gardens have well equipped play areas for young children, as do many holiday parks.
Nightlife in New Zealand
Lively DJ and band scenes, particularly in the larger cities, have given New Zealand's night life a renewed vibrancy. You will find a variety of night-clubs, cabarets, pubs, concerts and live performances from which to choose. There are also four casinos, one in each major city, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.
Capital of New Zealand
Wellington is not only the capital, it is also the political, banking and financial center for New Zealand. The Parliament building known as the ‘Beehive’ is one of the city's top attractions. The National Archives, National Library and Old Government Buildings (the second largest wooden building in the world) are located nearby and are open to casual visitors free of charge.
What is a Kiwi?
The kiwi, New Zealand's national emblem, is a flightless bird with hair-like feathers and a long, slender bill which it uses to pull worms and insects out of the ground. Found only in New Zealand, it is active at night in the wilderness areas of the country. Be sure to visit one of the many kiwi houses where you can watch them under special ‘nocturnal’ lighting. New Zealanders often refer to themselves as Kiwis, and the term is also used as a short form for the famous kiwifruit. On the stock exchange, the New Zealand Dollar is also referred to as ‘the kiwi’.