Did you know?
It was discovered by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who christened it Niuew Zeeland after the Netherlands province of Zeeland.
Flights from the UK
via Los Angeles or Singapore/Bangkok.
Domestic flights are economical and there is an extensive bus network. There are few main train routes although trains are comfortable, quick and sometimes cheaper than the buses. Car travel is recommended.
New Zealand dollar.
Prices are reasonable, as a guide: Bottle of beer £1.70, moderate restaurant meal £12, 36-exposure camera film £3.50, litre of petrol 30p, four-mile taxi ride £5.
Island is normally several degrees cooler than the North Island. On average summer temperatures (December to February) range from 50-70F (10-21C) and winter (June to August) from 30-50F (-1-10C).
12 hours ahead of GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
230Hz, 50Hz. Australian-type flat three-prong plugs are used.
Government offices Mon-Fri 8.30am-4.30pm. Shops, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-12.30pm, late-night shopping to 9pm Thurs or Fri. Small convenience stores and larger supermarkets often open seven days a week until late.
Health - Before you go
No jabs needed. Medical treatment is expensive so make sure your insurance covers it.
Health - When you are there
The ozone layer is said to be particularly thin over New Zealand so a good sunscreen is essential, even when it's cloudy.
Beware of the extremely changeable weather, particularly when trekking.
Police dial 111. British High Commission, 44 Hill Street, Wellington 1 (PO Box 1812, Wellington), Tel. (4) 472 6049.
The national obsession is rugby union - playing it and watching it. The national team, the All Blacks, aren't famous for nothing. The Maori culture is prevalent.
New Zealand is included in the PETS travel scheme under long-haul regulations. However, this is a long and complicated procedure requiring vaccinations, medical check-ups and route planning; it is not as simple as walking on and off a plane with your pet. Therefore the scheme is best suited to those returning from a long stay abroad, rather than the two-week holidaymaker. It takes several months to set up the relevant documentation; see your vet for further details.
Becoming more widespread, particularly in major centres where there has been more foreign influence. Tip 5%-10% in a restaurant (not a simple cafe), if you receive exceptional service.
Tourism New Zealand, 80 Haymarket, London,
SW1Y 4TQ. Tel. 09050 606060 information line (60p a minute).