Around 4.5 million people live in our country, which is roughly the size of California, Britain or Japan. The majority of New Zealand’s population live in the upper North Island, with around 1 million of the population living in the South Island. New Zealand has a diverse ethnic mix, with a majority of the population being European/Pakeha (of British descent), with Maori making up 15%, with Samoan, Tongan, Chinese, South African, Latin and Indian immigrants making up around 20% of our population. The national capital of New Zealand is Wellington.
English is the major language of New Zealand with Maori as our second language. With New Zealand’s diverse population, Southern World also has access to Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian and French speaking Driver/Guides and Guides.
Major banks are open Monday-Friday (except public holidays), 9.30am-4.30pm, with Money/ Foreign Exchange booths open 7 days a week in the larger city centres or tourist areas. Automatic teller machines (ATM’s) operate on a PIN number system. Cash can be withdrawn 24 hours a day by credit card, as long as you have a pin setup on your card. Use of EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) is very common. All international credit cards (American Express, Diners, VISA, MasterCard) are accepted. Travellers’ cheques may be changed at banks, hotels, Money/Foreign Exchange booths and large stores in the main cities and tourist areas.
For short stays of 3 months or less, New Zealand have visa waiver agreements with many countries. We suggest you check online to see if you need to apply for a visa before leaving home at NZ Visa Information
Goods and services are taxed at 15%. This tax is usually included in the advertised price. If the price does not state ‘Excludes GST’, the price includes GST.
In New Zealand tipping is generally not customary and is only exercised as a genuine thank you for receiving great service. There is no obligation to tip, although the practice is common with the restaurant and tourism transport industries. Coach drivers, Guides, Driver/Guides, wait staff and porters do receive tips on a regular basis from overseas guests and from locals for good service only.
During public and bank holidays, many restaurants and cafes add a 10 to 20% surcharge on top of your total bill. This does not apply to prebooked meals organised by Southern World.
New Zealand’s AC electricity supply operates at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. Special plugs to convert your appliances to the New Zealand plug pin system can be easily purchased.
New Zealand’s best beaches are situated in the North Island and also in the Nelson and Abel Tasman regions of the South Island. A number of popular beaches are patrolled by Lifeguards who designate safe swimming areas, so please swim between the flags. For New Zealand’s many isolated beaches, a majority of these are very safe for swimming, but please take special care when the surf is up as rips and strong currents can be very dangerous.
New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) during months April to September and 13 hours ahead of GMT during the daylight savings period which is typically from late September through to the end of March.
Tourism New Zealand for Consumers
Events in New Zealand