There are approximately 4.2 million people living in New Zealand. About 75% of this population live in the north island. About three quarters are of European heritage.
New Zealand has about 40 million sheep as well!
The north and south Islands of New Zealand each have a different climate. The north island is more sub-tropical and the south island is mostly temperate.
Because of the country’s latitude and wide-ranging altitude, the weather can change quickly. In summer, the temperature can range between 20-30 degrees and the winter months can range from 0-18 degrees.
The warmest months are December, January and February and the coldest months are June, July and August.
The weather in New Zealand can change without warning so you should be prepared for sudden changes. It is recommended you carry a windproof jacket for all seasons.
New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 19 hours ahead of Pacific Standard time.
New Zealand has Daylight Saving (GMT+13) which begins on the first Sunday in October and finishes on the third Sunday in March.
A full Australian, English language or international drivers licence is required to hire cars and drive in New Zealand. The minimum driving age is 21 years.
In New Zealand, all cars are for left-hand driving. Drivers can expect the speed limit to vary from 50kmh to 100kph and seatbelts are mandatory.
Driving within new Zealand may take a few hours to get from place to place. Even though it is a small country, it can at times be quite windy and hilly, and these factors can slow your journey.
Fuel varies and in late 2008 can be from NZ$2.20 per litre for petrol and from NZ$1.85 per litre for diesel.
230/240 volts, as in Australia and Europe. Three prong plugs are used and appliances designed for DC supply or different voltages need a transformer.
Currency / Banking
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be taken in or out of New Zealand.
All major credit cards are accepted for all purchases. There are also plenty of ATMs that can be used throughout both islands with your credit cards and your everyday EFTPOS cards.
New Zealand banks are usually open 9am to 4pm from Monday to Friday and most will exchange travellers cheques at a better rate than available in most large shops and hotels.
Good and Services Tax (GST)
New Zealand applies a 12.5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the price of all goods and services. Tourists are not able to claim a refund on this tax.
All visitors require a passport valid for at least three months after their planned departure date from New Zealand.
International Departure Tax
There is a tax for landing at Auckland Airport, but this is incorporated into the ticket price. For Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, there is a fee that must be paid at the airport.
New Zealand School Holidays
The 2012 dates for primary, intermediate and secondary school holidays are:
- 20 Dec 11 – 30 Jan 12
- 06 Apr 12 – 22 Apr 12
- 30 Jun 12 – 15 Jul 12
- 29 Sep 12 – 14 Oct 12