New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific ocean with the country running roughly north to south with mountain ranges down much of its length. Its two main islands (North and South) cover 266,200 sq km (103,735 sq miles), about the size of Japan or California and slightly larger than Great Britain.
With over a thousand years of human settlement, New Zealand has a colourful and dramatic history, dominated by the relationship between Maori and Pakeha making it a perfect holiday destination. Stunning landscapes, lush vegetation, and unique wildlife make New Zealand a paradise for nature lovers.
New Zealand’s spectacularly beautiful landscape includes vast mountain chains, steaming volcanoes, sweeping coastlines, deeply indented fiords and lush rainforests. Comparable in size and or shape to Great Britain, Colorado or Japan, New Zealand has a population of only 3.8 million – making it 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 thrill seekers and adventurers.
A temperate climate with relatively small seasonal variation makes it an ideal year-round holiday destination. It has a diverse multi-cultural population of around 3.8 million people, the majority of whom are of British descent. New Zealand’s indigenous Maori make up around 14 percent of the population. New Zealand welcomes everyone to experience and discover its unique physical attractions – its dramatic mountains, unpolluted beaches and green countryside and precious natural heritage.
Restaurants & Foods in New Zealand
New Zealand’s ‘Pacific Rim’ cuisine style takes its inspiration from regions and countries such as Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Polynesia, Japan and Vietnam. This unique blend of influences has created a mouth-watering range of flavours and food available from cafes and restaurants nationwide. For dishes that have a distinctly New Zealand style look out for lamb, pork and venison; salmon, crayfish, Bluff oysters, paua (abalone), mussels and scallops; kumara (sweet potato); kiwifruit and tamarillo; and pavlova, our national dessert.
Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills. While the main centres support a few elegant, silver-service restaurants, the trend is towards more relaxed cafe-bar dining. There is a wide variety of international food available including Japanese, Indian, Halal, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Malaysian, and Thai. There are more than 900 Asian restaurants throughout New Zealand.
Accomodation in New Zealand
Qualmark is New Zealand’s quality rating system for accommodation. Properties displaying the Qualmark sign are visited annually by professionally trained assessors.
The Qualmark system operates on a 1 to 5 star scale:
1* Meets minimum Qualmark requirements – clean and comfortable
2* Exceeds Qualmark minimum requirements, providing a wider range of facilities and services
3* Provides a good range of facilities and services
4* Provides high standards of facilities and services
5* Best available
Looking for somewhere different to stay? Just 20 minutes north of Christ church you will find the Silverstream Alpaca Stud farmwhere you can get up close with the Alpacas.
Weather in New Zealand – Best time to go
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.
New Zealand Banks and Currency New Zealand’s unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$). Coins have values of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2; notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres. All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Travelers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores.
Driving in New Zealand
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 (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 100km/h (approx 60m/h). In urban areas the speed limit is 50km/h.
Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times, in both front and rear seats. 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 visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving.
Events in New Zealand
New Zealand has a huge variety of annual festivals, concerts, shows and events. Check out what’s on when you’re planning to hit town. You will also find a variety of night-clubs, cabarets, pubs, concerts and live performances to choose from, and there are also four casinos, in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.. Most cities stage first-class concerts and shows. Theatre, orchestral concerts, ballet, rock and jazz are well represented
For more information see the New Zealand Tourist board for more information New Zealand Tourist Board
All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country. Currently travelers from more than 50 countries do not require a Visitor’s Visa for stays less than three months. You do require to have a passport that is valid for at least three months after your planned departure from New Zealand
An onward or return ticket to a country that you have permission to enter
Sufficient money to support yourself during your stay – approximately NZ$1000 per month per person
To find out if your country qualifies for a visa waiver, check Your travel agent, airline or nearest New Zealand Embassy.
English, Māori language New Zealand Dollar