Loading... Please wait...

FAQ

FAQ

Banking:Trading banks are open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Automatic teller machines are widespread, and can be used on a card/PIN number system to obtain cash. EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) are common from petrol stations, supermarkets and large chain stores to liquor outlets and many smaller retailers. All international credit cards (American Express, Diner's, JCB, Visa, Mastercard) are accepted in New Zealand. Travellers' cheques may be changed at trading banks, hotels, and large stores in the main cities and tourist areas.

Business Hours: New Zealand offices and businesses operate Monday to Friday between about 8.30am and 5pm, though some tourist agencies and airlines have longer hours. Some petrol (gas) stations open 24 hours, stocking food and newspapers. Stores and shops usually open 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, with late shopping until 8.30 or 9pm on one or two nights each week (usually Thursday or Friday). Saturday shopping varies; many shops shut at 12.30 or 1pm, but others stay open longer. Many supermarkets and grocery stores, some large retail chains, most shopping malls and weekend markets are also open on Sundays, with large supermarkets often open until 8pm. Local convenience stores, known as dairies, are usually open from 7am to 7pm seven days a week.
Currency

The New Zealand dollar ($NZ) is the basic unit, divided into 100 cents; the coins are 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. Notes are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

Electricity Supply: New Zealand's AC electricity supply operates at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz, the same as Australia. Most hotels and motels also provide 110 volt 20 watt AC sockets for electric razors. An adaptor or converter is necessary to operate all other electrical equipment.

Emergencies: In emergencies dial 111 to summon police, fire or ambulance services. For non-emergency calls, full instructions appear in the front of telephone directories and beside public telephones.

Emergency services:
(and state police, fire or ambulance) - no charge 111
Local operator 010
International operator 0170
NZ Directory assistance 018
International directory assistance 0172
National direct dialing full area code (with the 0 prefix) and local number
International direct dialling 00 followed by country code, area code and local number

Goods & Services Tax (GST): A value-added tax of 15% applies to all goods and services. This tax is usually included in the advertised price of an item. Goods and souvenirs bought before leaving the country from Duty Free shops are exempt from this tax if your travel ticket is presented.

Telephone Payphone Service: Telecom operates three types of payphone and these are easily identified by their exterior booth colour - CardPhone (green), Credit Card (yellow) and Coin (blue). Instruction notices which explain how to use the Payphone are located in all booths. The majority of Payphones in New Zealand are CardPhones which use PhoneCards as the payment mechanism - these are widely available from newsagents, petrol stations, dairies and other outlets (a map in the payphone booth indicates the nearest PhoneCard retailer). Standard credit cards can be used in Credit Card phones - a minimum charge of $2.00 applies to each call. Coin Payphones accept all New Zealand coins except 5 cent pieces. Please note that no change is given from partly used coins. Unused coins, however, are returned. You can find out the cost of the call in advance simply by calling the number without putting a coin or a card into the phone - the price per minute will show up on the LCD screen.

Telecom Telephone Services: Detailed instructions on phone services, including calling codes and charges, can be found in the front of the Telecom Telephone Book for each region. Local calls from residential telephones are free. If you want to make a price required international call, dial 0160 instead of 00 at the start of your call and for 30 cents an operator will call back immediately after you hang up to tell you the cost of the call. It is also possible to pay for national and international calls using a credit card by dialling the operator on 0170. Telecom accepts American Express, Diners, MasterCard, Visa or Bankcard. For charges see the front of the Telephone Book. New Zealand travellers can apply for a Telecom Calling Card which allows you to make national and international calls and have them charged to your home phone account or credit card account. To apply for a Telecom Calling Card call 123.

IMPORTANT NUMBERS:
Emergency services
(and state police, fire or ambulance) - no charge 111
Local operator 010
International operator 0170
NZ Directory assistance 018
International directory assistance 0172
National direct dialing full area code (with the 0 prefix) and local number
International direct dialling 00 followed by country code, area code and local number
Health Services
Public and private health facilities have a high standard of treatment and care. Larger hotels and motels will often have arrangements with a local doctor who they will contact in case of illness; otherwise, doctors and other medical services are listed in the front of the telephone directory.

Accident Compensation and Personal Insurance: Visitors are covered by New Zealand's Government-run Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Insurance scheme for personal injury by accident, and are entitled to make a claim to the Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Insurance Corporation (ACC) irrespective of fault. Benefits include some medical and hospital expenses and physical disability compensation, but not loss of earnings outside New Zealand. Actions for damages may not be brought in New Zealand courts, partly because of the ACC scheme, and personal travel insurance should therefore cover accidents. Medical services in New Zealand other than those necessitated by an accident are not free, and ACC does not cover any medical treatment that relates to illness..

Bites and Stings: There is no dangerous wildlife in New Zealand; no snakes, and only one very rare poisonous spider, the katipo, the bite from which is serious but rarely fatal. Sandflies and mosquitos, known locally as "mossies", can be annoying in some areas, but insect repellent will take care of them. No serious diseases are carried by these insects, though travellers from overseas may come out in itchy lumps in reaction to being bitten by them until they adapt. Wasps can be a nuisance in some areas; if allergic to their stings, medication should be carried.

Pharmaceuticals and Medicines: A "chemist" is the New Zealand term for a pharmacist or druggist; their shops will be open during normal shopping hours, and most cities have urgent dispensaries open outside these hours, listed in the front of the telephone book under Hospitals. Visitors planning to bring quantities of pharmaceuticals into New Zealand should have a certificate to avoid difficulties with customs. Many drugs sold over the counter in other countries are often not available in New Zealand without a prescription. Chemists also sell cosmetics and insect and sun protections.

Sunburn: The clarity of the air in New Zealand allows more ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth than is the case elsewhere, especially since the hole in the ozone layer began opening over the Antarctic. It is important to wear sunglasses and/or a hat if spending extended time in the sun, and to use sunblock even if the day is overcast, or if skiing. Travellers from the Northern Hemisphere winter are especially susceptible to sunburn, unless adequate precautions are taken.

Provisions for Travellers with Special Needs: It is wise to either phone ahead to the hotel or motel of your choice (or possibly have your travel agent do this for you), or to contact the nearest Disability Resource Centre (phone numbers given below) which will have a list of the accessible facilities and services in your chosen destination.
Some major carriers have excellent provision for people with disabilities, but all prefer advance notice of your access needs so they may prepare in advance.
If you are an overseas tourist and propose to acquire and use a car for your stay, any New Zealand Disability Resource Centre branch can, for $20, provide you with a temporary Operation Mobility card. This allows use of carparking which is specially provided for people with disabilities throughout the country. It is best to phone ahead to make arrangements and to carry some form of documentation to verify your disability (medical certificate etc).
Under New Zealand law, guide and hearing dogs may accompany you anywhere there is public access but, unfortunately, no animal may pass directly into New Zealand. There is, without exception, a six-month quarantine period, so unless tourists from overseas who are owners of guide dogs are planning to visit for less than six months, it is not possible to be accompanied by a dog.
Further information on these and other services to people with disabilities can be obtained from Disability Resource Centres. Enable New Zealand, National Office (Palmerston North): Ph: 0-6-952 0011 Fax: 0-6-952 0022 .

MEDIA: Television
There are five public broadcasting TV channels in New Zealand (all commercial): Television One, which carries much sport and current affairs, and TV2, which is more a light entertainment channel. Privately-owned TV3 and Channel 4 successfully combine both. Prime concentrates on serious drama and documentaries, mostly originating in Britain. Broadcasting hours vary, but average 15 hours per day. Check daily papers for programme details. Sky Network Television provides, to subscribers with a decoder, several 24-hour channels offering news, movies, sport and general entertainment. There are local UHF channels servicing Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin. Action TV shows coverage of horse racing and related comment .

Radio: New Zealand's hilly terrain means that many radio stations, particularly FM stations, have a somewhat limited range, and this, along with deregulation of the airwaves, has led to a multiplication of public, private and non-profit stations catering to all tastes including classical, easy listening, rock and alternative, as well as several new Maori stations and Pacific Islands Radio. There are two national public non-commercial networks, the AM National Programme which carries mainly news, talk, documentaries and drama as well as light entertainment, and the FM Concert Programme which emphasises classical music with some plays and discussions. A national programme on the AM network caters for sport and carries commentaries on major sporting events. The other national broadcaster is the non-profit Christian network Radio Rhema, the oldest radio station in the country, originating in Dunedin..

Tourist Information FM: Tourist Information FM as been specially established to service the free and independent traveller. The service is broadcast nationwide from 54 sites throughout New Zealand (look for our distinctive road signs). It broadcasts on low power FM radio transmitters on three frequencies, 88.2 (English), 100.4 (German), and 100.8 (Japanese). The presentation is exciting, informative, and authentic.
Each site broadcasts specific details about the area, incorporating relevant historic, geographic and cultural information with that on local activities and services. Tourist Information FM is believed to be the world's first multi-lingual, nationwide radio information service operating 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Newspapers: The main centres of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton are serviced by the New Zealand Herald (morning), The Press (morning), the Otago Daily Times (morning) and the Waikato Times (afternoon) respectively. Two national Sunday newspapers - the Sunday Star-Times and the Sunday News - are produced. Other daily newspapers are the Northern Advocate (Whangarei - afternoon), the Northland Times (Dargaville - morning), the Bay of Plenty Times (Tauranga - afternoon), the Daily Post (Rotorua - afternoon), the Daily News (New Plymouth - morning), the Wanganui Chronicle (Wanganui - morning), HawkeÕs Bay Today (Hastings & Napier - afternoon), Evening News (Dannevirke - afternoon), Evening Standard (Palmerston North - afternoon), The Chronicle (Levin - afternoon), Wairarapa Times-Age (Masterton - afternoon), the Marlborough Express (Blenheim - afternoon), Nelson Mail (Nelson - afternoon), The News (Westport - afternoon), Greymouth Evening Star (Greymouth - afternoon), West Coast Times (Hokitika - afternoon), Ashburton Guardian (Ashburton - afternoon), Timaru Herald (Timaru - morning), Oamaru Mail (Oamaru - afternoon), the Southland Times (Invercargill - morning).

Postal Services: Besides specialist Post Shops in most areas, stamps can be bought from supermarkets, bookstores and grocery shops. The main forms of postal carriage are standard post and Fast Post. Standard post delivers next day across town and in two to three working days nationwide; Fast Post, which is also the designation for international airmail letters originating in New Zealand, delivers by the next day between major towns and cities.

Tipping and Service Charges: Tips and gratuities are not expected for service, including restaurant and bar service. If the visitor wishes to leave a tip in gratitude, this is acceptable, though again not expected. Service charges are not added to hotel or restaurant accounts.

Water Supply: Tap (faucet) water in New Zealand is fresh, treated and safe to drink. City water supplies are chlorinated and most are fluoridated. The parasite giardia is found in some back-country rivers and lakes. To prevent any problems, ensure water is boiled or otherwise treated before drinking.