Getting to New Zealand
New Zealand is a beautiful country and a must-do for any travel holiday.
Every region in New Zealand is a holiday destination in its self, so try and allow yourself as much time as possible to travel around and really get to see and experience New Zealand as it should be.
New Zealand's spectacularly beautiful landscape includes vast mountain chains, steaming volcanoes, sweeping coastlines, deeply indented fiords and lush rainforests.
New Zealand is comparable in size and/or shape to Great Britain, Colorado and Japan. With a population of only 4.1 million this makes New Zealand one of the world's least crowded countries.
It is a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and relaxation as well as a playground for thrillseekers and adventurers.
A temperate climate with relatively small seasonal variation makes it a year-round holiday destination.
New Zealand is a three and a half hour flight from Eastern Australia, a non-stop overnight flight from the United States, and around 10 hours flight from most places on the Pacific Rim, like Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day. It is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer New Zealand has daylight saving, when clocks are put forward one hour to GMT +13. Daylight saving 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 Road Information
Before travelling to New Zealand, review the following road safety information.
International Driving Licences and Permits
You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country, or an International Driving Permit (IDP)
Recent law changes mean all drivers, including overseas visitors, must carry their licence or permit when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 25 years.
Make sure your overseas driver's licence is current. If your licence is not in English, you should bring an English translation with you or obtain an International Driving Permit. Contact your local automobile club for further details about obtaining a translation or an IDP.
If you prefer to drive yourself, please note the following important points:
- In New Zealand, all motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road When turning left, give way (or yield) to traffic crossing or approaching from your right
- When the traffic light is red, you must stop
- There is no left turn rule as in North America
- The speed limit on the open road is 100 kilometres per hour (approximately 60 miles per hour)
- In built up areas the speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour
- Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times
Check out the New Zealand Land Transport Safety Authority Web site for details on the New Zealand Road Code, as well as cycle safety and other general motoring information.
New Zealand Climate
Since the Maori people named New Zealand 'Land of the Long White Cloud', weather and climate has been of paramount importance to the people of New Zealand, many of whom make their living from the land.
New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall, and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the country. New Zealand's climate is dominated by two main geographical features: the mountains and the sea.
New Zealand Seasons
New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10 C in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine.
Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC and in winter between 10-15ºC.
Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and nightspots. 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.