Consisting of two main islands, New Zealand's spectacular landscapes are characterised by a contrast of simmering geothermic activity and volcanoes, and glaciers. The South Island, in particular, has an otherworldly charm, recognisable as Peter Jackson's 'Middle Earth' in the Lord of the Rings films. Powerful glaciers, bubbling mudpools, dramatic mountains and volcanoes, and unique glaciers are visually stunning - and its many lakes, rolling hills, mountainous terrain and sublime forests make for great hiking. But New Zealand has other gems to be discovered: world-class surfing, a thriving culinary scene, the distinctive Maori culture, easy-going and friendly people, and cool, cosmopolitan cities.
Key facts before you go:
- Capital: Wellington
- Currency: New Zealand dollars
- Time Difference: New Zealand observes Daylight Saving Time, with summer time commencing on the last Sunday in September and ending on the first Sunday in April. There are two standard time zones in New Zealand, with the main islands observing New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) while the outlying Chatham Islands observe Chatham Standard Time (CAST). There is a 45 minute difference between the two time zones, with Chatham Islands 45 minutes ahead of the main lands. The New Zealand dependencies (the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau) use several different time zones at their own discretion.
New Zealand Standard Time is 12 hours AHEAD of GMT during its winter and 13 hours AHEAD of GMT during its summer.
- Flight time: From 23 hours and 35 minutes to Christchurch, 23 hours and 50 minutes to Auckland, There are no direct flights.
- Official language: English and Maori
- Entry requirements: Visas are not required for stays up to six months, BUT you are required to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) in advance of travel (as of 1 October 2019, you will be denied boarding if attempting to travel without). The NZeTA can be applied for on a dedicated mobile app or online. Fees apply for application, as well as an additional payment to the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) when you apply. Once issued, the NZeTA is valid for up to two years. The New Zealand immigration authorities recommend that applicants allow up to 72 hours for processing. On arrival in New Zealand, you will also need to satisfy the Immigration Officer that you meet the criteria for visa-free entry, which includes having an onward ticket and sufficient funds to support you during your stay. You can check the full criteria on the New Zealand Immigration website. Passports are only required to be valid for one month following date of exit from New Zealand.
Up-to-date information on which medications are restricted on bringing into New Zealand can be found here: https://www.customs.govt.nz/business/import/prohibited-and-restricted-imports/prohibitions-and-restrictions/?q=8&s=8
- Vaccinations and Health: For up-to-date information, please check this website (as recommended by the Foreign Office): https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/162/new-zealand#Vaccine_recommendations
General information on travel vaccinations can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/
There is a reciprocal health agreement between the UK and New Zealand, which entitles UK nationals who live in the UK and who are on a short-term visit to New Zealand to immediately necessary healthcare under the health system on the same terms as citizens of New Zealand, which also extends to pre-hospital care, including air or road ambulance transportation (you should show your UK passport when requested). However, you should still ensure that you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and/or repatriation. If travelling in the Cook Isladns and the Islands of Niue and Tokelau, please note that medical facilities there are limited, and in the event of a medical emergency, evacuation to mainland New Zealand is likely to be the only option for treatment, and you should ensure that your insurance policy covers this eventuality.
To find out more, and for the most up-to-date advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand/
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