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Travel Information

for New Zealand

New Zealand is a fantastic destination to explore and is a popular choice for those seeking adventure, beautiful scenery and friendly people. There are some important factors of your trip to consider so we’ve compiled a guide to help make planning your trip a little easier.

Accidents and Emergencies

The emergency telephone number in New Zealand is 111 – this is a free phone number. If you need a quick response from the Police, Fire service, Ambulance service, or Search and Rescue regarding an emergency, this is the number to call.

There are two main mobile phone providers which offer a text messaging service for visitors to New Zealand. You can send updates about your location and travel movements to the number 7233 [SAFE], which are then kept on detail on a central database which the police can access if necessary.

Every message you send to 7233 will be acknowledged by an automated response, which will advise you to call 111 if you require police assistance and are in danger. Both the police and the New Zealand Tourism Industry encourage visitors to use this service – it helps to ensure you’re safe whilst travelling around the country.

We recommend you give a copy of your itinerary to a friend or relative back home as well, with any contact numbers they may need on it. You should also take a copy of the last two pages of your passport with your photo on it.

Alcohol

You must be 18 years old or over to drink alcohol in New Zealand.

Children

  • If you are travelling outside of school holidays remember to get permission from the head teacher and fill in the correct forms. You could encourage your kids to keep a travel journal so that they can take it into school on their return to show that holidays can be a learning experience as well.
  • Get your children interested in the local language, currency and culture; it makes the simplest of excursions exciting and adventurous.
  • Limit the use of hand held computer games; they will get more out the holiday if they take part in it and so will you.
  • On-board luggage rules do change so it’s worth checking what you can and cannot take in terms of food and drink nearer to your travel date. You should make sure you have plenty of water for the flight (you can buy it airside) and snacks which you can all have – boiled sweets for take-off are useful.
  • Remember to request bassinet seats for babies and children’s meals where necessary.
  • Take extra underwear for the kids and spare socks. Remember planes are often chilly on night flights so take a jumper, layer clothing and leave enough hand-luggage room to stash it later if you are going to the tropics. Leave your flip-flops in an outer checked luggage pocket so you can retrieve them and change your footwear before you make your onward journey.
  • Onboard distractions should be noiseless and without lots of bits which will get lost. Felt tips aren’t ideal as the caps can get lost and they can leak, causing a mess for you and other passengers. Most long-haul airlines have TV screens in the back of the seats which have gaming consoles on and a choice of entertainment.
  • Children’s hand luggage is best stored in their own bag and then put in your bag. Children under eight often lose or misplace their bags, which can become a security risk. The easiest way to manage your luggage is to count how many adult hands there are and limit your bags to that number.
  • Check passport requirements – children must have their own and they expire after five years, after which you must update them. Many countries require your passport to have a minimum of six months validity left in them so check well in advance.

Climate

The North Island enjoys a subtropical climate whilst the South Island is more temperate. The best times to travel if you’re seeking warmer weather are December, January and February – the coldest months are between June and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 and 30ºC and in winter between 10 and 15ºc. You can check on weather conditions in New Zealand on the New Zealand Met Service website.

It’s advisable to pack for sudden changes in weather and temperature, as the weather here can change unexpectedly due to cold fronts or tropical cyclones which can quickly blow in. If you’re hiking or planning outdoor activities, ensure you’re prepared for all eventualities.

Creepy Crawlies

New Zealand doesn’t have any dangerous species, with the exception of one species of poisonous spider – the katipo – though it is incredibly rare.

Currency

The currency used in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).

Driving

Driving in New Zealand is easy for visitors from Ireland, as they drive on the same side of the road. In New Zealand, all drivers must carry their driving license or permit at all times when driving, including visitors. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you’re licensed to drive at home; the legal age to hire a car is 21 years.

You must ensure that your driving license is up to date, and if your license is not in English then you must bring an English translation with you or obtain an IDP. You can contact your local automobile club for more details about obtaining this.

Electricity

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. 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 angled two or three pin Type I plugs (as also used in Australia) depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.

Time Zone

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), meaning it is one of the first places in the world to see in the new day. In the summer, the country uses Daylight Saving, with clocks going forward one hour to GMT+13 – this begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when the clocks go back to GMT+12.

Tramping/Hiking

The best advice regarding hiking in New Zealand, or any country, is to be prepared. Always inform someone of your intentions and route, and make sure you’re well prepared with regular stop-off points along the way. Contact the local Park Rangers before you set off to make sure you have all the advice you can before you begin trekking through the fabulous tracks.

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. 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 angled two or three pin Type I plugs (as also used in Australia) depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.

Visas

Visitors from Ireland can visit New Zealand visa-free for up to three months, providing they have a valid passport. If you’re entering the country as a visitor, you must be able to show a ticket to an onward destination or provide details of onward travel arrangements, if you’re travelling via another mode of transport such as a yacht.

Weather and Sun Protection

The summers in New Zealand get incredibly hot and you’ll find the sun and levels of ultraviolet radiation around 40 per cent higher than in the Mediterranean during this time, so it’s vital you take precautions and wear a high SPF sunscreen. Be sure to pack sunglasses and a hat, as well as covering up with loose, light clothing during the hotter times of the day to protect your skin.

Brendan was excellent and his suggestions made it a real holiday to remember! - Glyndwr Ottery

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