New Zealand is the first country on Earth to see the sunrise every day.
New Zealand Standard Time is GMT + 12. It is 17 hours ahead of New York City and 12 hours ahead of London.
If you’re a citizen of the United States, you will be eligible for a Visa Waiver, and you won’t need a visa if you’re staying less than 90 days. Citizens of the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Greece, Germany, and France won’t need a visa either.
International visitors who have COVID-19 symptoms when they arrive in New Zealand by air are encouraged to take a free rapid antigen test at the airport, then take a free PCR test. Visitors who test positive again must isolate for 7 days and source and pay for their own accommodation as well as any healthcare costs.
Auckland Airport is the busiest airport in New Zealand. To get to your next destination from Auckland Airport you can take an Uber, taxi, Ola, or Zoomy. There is also a light rail that takes you to Mount Roskill where you can then transfer to Old Dominion to get to Queen Street. There is also a SkyBus system at the Britomart Transport Centre that can transport you to Central Auckland.
Wellington International Airport
Wellington International Airport, the airport for New Zealand’s capital city, is only 6 km from the central downtown. At ground level, you can take an Uber, taxi, Ola, or Zoomy to your next destination. The bus system is currently under renovation but is usually another convenient option for getting downtown.
Christchurch Airport is the biggest airport on the South Island and the second biggest in the whole country. From Christchurch airport, you can transport to your next destination either by Uber, bus, or taxi. Taxi services are located at the “Loop” and Uber has its own labeled pickup and drop off area. The most direct bus line to downtown is the Purple Line.
While Queenstown Airport is known for its scenic views, it also has many international and domestic flight options. Once you arrive at Queenstown Airport, you can either take Uber, shuttle, or taxi to your next destination. The airport is only 15 minutes away from the downtown area and the average taxi fare to downtown Queenstown is 10$.
Uber: Uber operates in most cities in New Zealand, including Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown. Taxi fares in New Zealand can get pretty hefty, and Ubers are generally more economical. There are also two other rideshare companies that operate in only Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland called Ola and Zoomy.
Public Transportation: All cities in New Zealand have buses. On the North Island, Auckland is the largest metropolitan area and consists of trains, buses, and ferries. Since 2003, many improvements have been made to the rail services in Auckland, including electrification of the rail network. The South Island, however, is most known for its natural beauty which is not as accessible via public transportation. The best way to truly enjoy all that the South Island has to offer is to rent a car. Car rental prices can be as inexpensive as 11$ a day.
New Zealand is a great country for solo traveling and it is very safe for those who especially love the outdoors. Since there are many ways to make your way around the country, we highly encourage traveling solo to New Zealand.
The best times to visit New Zealand are from February to April and between September and November. Between June and August are when people usually stop visiting, as temperatures begin to drop off. Throughout most of the year, however, the weather is generally mild and perfect for hiking.
English is the native language of New Zealand, and almost the entire population either speaks it as a first or second language. The indigenous is called Te reo Māori and is spoken by about 3-4% of the population.
Smoking is becoming increasingly rare in New Zealand and is forbidden in public buildings such as restaurants and bars. If you want to smoke, politely ask to do so even if you are outside. There is a prominent drinking culture in New Zealand; the legal age for purchasing alcohol is 18. Topics to avoid in conversation include how much money people make, their marriage status, or their weight; anything seemingly private or personal.
It is also important to note that “Kiwi” is the nickname often used internationally to refer to people from New Zealand. It is also used as a self-reference. Unlike various demographic titles, “Kiwi” is not considered to be offensive, it is actually seen as a symbol of pride and a term of endearment. The name comes from the kiwi; not the fruit, but rather the native bird which is a national symbol.
There are many sacred Maori sites throughout the country, so it is extremely important to be respectful and always ask permission before visiting any of them. Never walk through a burial ground and always ask permission before visiting a meeting ground. Please also always ask permission before taking pictures of a Maori site.
The official currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar. 1 New Zealand Dollar is approximately 65 US cents.
Tipping in New Zealand is a symbol of a job truly well done. It is not necessary to tip at restaurants, hotels, bars, salons, or spas, as well as in a taxi unless the service exceeds all expectations. Still, in every situation, it is completely up to you.
New Zealand’s electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts, and typically uses angled two or three-pin plugs.
New Zealand’s tap water is completely safe to drink on both the North and South Island and even in the major cities, Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, and Christchurch.
The main networks in New Zealand are Vodafone, 2degrees, and Spark. You’re going to need to take your mobile device into one of the said branches when you first arrive to purchase a plan.
In major cities on the North and South Island, there are many free WiFi hotspots that give you 1 GB of data per day.
The protection of LGBTQ rights is quite progressive in New Zealand, especially when compared to other countries in Oceania It is one of the most liberal in the world, as it was the first in the region to legalize same-sex marriage, and 13th in the world. Discrimination in regards to sexual orientation and gender identity has been forbidden since 1993, the same year they were allowed to openly serve in the military.
It is quite well known that the famed Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, as the director Peter Jackson hails from the nation. The films are known for their gorgeous cinematic scenes of the North and South Islands, and many people visit New Zealand to see it for themselves.
The Māori arrive in New Zealand.
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sights the South Island. He calls it ‘Staten Landt,’ but Dutch East India Company cartographer Joan Blaeu subsequently changes it to ‘Nieuw Zeeland.’
James Cook introduces sheep, which later become a significant industry in the country.
The Treaty of Waitangi is signed, marking a period of harmonious correspondence between the Māori and England.
Te Wherowhero is installed as the first Māori King, taking the name Pōtatau I.
Following the passage of the Female Law Practitioners Act in 1896, Ethel Benjamin becomes the first woman admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.
Malcolm Champion becomes first New Zealander to win an Olympic gold medal.
Throughout the first World War, New Zealand soldiers are referred to as ‘kiwis,’ a name derived from the flightless bird unique to the area.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is filmed in New Zealand, making it one of the largest film projects ever undertaken.
Jacinda Ardern becomes the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand.