Fact file: New Zealand

Did you know?
It was discovered by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who christened it Niuew Zeeland after the Netherlands province of Zeeland.
Language
English, Maori.
Visas
None required.
Getting there
Flights from the UK via Los Angeles or Singapore/Bangkok.
Flying time from London
26 hours.
Getting around
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.
Currency
New Zealand dollar.
Costs
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.
Weather
The South 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).
Time difference
12 hours ahead of GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
00 64
Voltage
230Hz, 50Hz. Australian-type flat three-prong plugs are used.
Opening hours
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.
Warnings
Beware of the extremely changeable weather, particularly when trekking.
Emergency
Police dial 111. British High Commission, 44 Hill Street, Wellington 1 (PO Box 1812, Wellington), Tel. (4) 472 6049.
Customs
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.
Pets
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.
Tipping
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.
Tourist office
Tourism New Zealand, 80 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4TQ. Tel. 09050 606060 information line (60p a minute).


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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