New Zealand
Country profile

Travel and accommodation in New Zealand

The city of Auckland is located on the north island and is the busiest entry point into New Zealand, along with two other major international airports at Wellington (located south-west of the north island) and Christchurch on the south island. Smaller airports are also located at Hamilton, Queenstown, Dunedin and Palmerston North.

Auckland International Airport is situated 20km south of the city (around 60 minutes to the centre of town by public transport) and is New Zealand's largest and busiest airport, Wellington International Airport is located 8km from the city centre (around 30 minutes to the centre of town) and Christchurch International Airport is located 11km from the city centre (about quarter of an hour from the centre). There are buses, shuttles and taxis at each of the airports, with free buses between the international and domestic airports at Auckland.

The most expensive time for travel to New Zealand is in their summer months (between December and February) when flight prices will be at their premium. In the low season (winter months) you will probably find that fares are almost fifty percent cheaper, but they may have restrictions, so always read the small print.

Getting to New Zealand from the US, the Americas and Australasia

The national airline Air New Zealand has an excellent international network (direct flights and code-share flights) with over 100 countries across the globe. Both Air New Zealand and Qantas travel to New Zealand from the US (mostly from the west coast) and Aerolineas Argentina flies direct from Buenos Aires to Auckland.

Cathay PacificEmiratesSingapore AirlinesMalaysia AirlinesJapan Airlines and Korean Air flies between major Asian hubs and Australia into the major New Zealand airports. The flight time to New Zealand from the east coast of Australia is around three hours and approximately 10 hours from Asian cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Freedom Air and Freedom Air International (the low cost airlines from Air New Zealand) also fly between Australia and New Zealand with budget airfares.

Getting to New Zealand from the UK and Europe

Airlines flying from the UK include QantasCathay PacificAir New ZealandEmiratesSingapore AirlinesMalaysia AirlinesThai AirwaysRoyal Brunei, and Korean Air   The flying time from the UK to Auckland is around 25 hours via Asia, and the journey time is longer via the US, adding on another two hours. With an average flight of 25 hours from Europe to New Zealand it is wise to consider a stop-over to break up your journey and reduce the dehydrating effects of flying, and jet lag.

Getting around New Zealand

New Zealand isn't called the long white cloud for nothing, and the size and shape of the island means that traversing it can be quite lengthy so many visitors opt for domestic flights.  Air New Zealand and Qantas have extensive national networks and daily domestic connections from Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. The smaller companies; Sounds Air and Air2there fly domestic routes from Wellington.

If you would like to sit back and enjoy the views, there are many scenic coach tours on offer and an excellent Intercity coach network. There are also some pretty scenic train routes to consider.Tranzscenic trains journeys travel around the coast (Christchurch, through Kaikoura to Picton), the Southern Alps (between Christchurch and Greymouth) and overland from Wellington and Auckland.

The roads are excellent in New Zealand and driving is highly recommended to choose where and what you want to see, and take in some spectacular views and fascinating landscapes along the way. Car rental companies are at the airports, and in cities and towns. Ferries operate between the north and south islands with Interislander and the Cook Strait ferry, Bluebridge, from Wellington on the north island to Picton on the south island. Public transport is efficient in towns, village and cities.

All visitors need a passport to enter New Zealand (valid for at least three months). UK, Irish, US, Canadian and Australian citizens do not require a visa. Check with the New Zealand Embassy or Consular Office about individual country visa requirements and duration allowances.

In terms of accommodation, New Zealand has plenty to offer the visitor from boutique hotels and cosy motels to traditional farm or home-stays and beach homes. Since the tourism department introduced the Qualmark system you can look out for their official sign of quality and be assured of what quality accommodation to expect, for example, one Qualmark star means acceptable, and five stars means that the hotel is of exceptional quality.

New Zealand farm-stays are a great way to get a feel for the country and many families in New Zealand open their homes to offer tourists a unique style of B&B accommodation. Hotel prices vary, and there are always late deals to take advantage of. A room in a hip hotel in Auckland for example will cost around NZ$125 (circa €75), and a bed and breakfast home-stay style accommodation in the geothermal city of Rotorua from NZ$80 (circa €48).

The currency is the New Zealand dollar, made up of dollars and cents. NZ$1 is equal to approximately €0.6.

The country code for New Zealand is + 64 and the time: GMT + 12 (or +13 between April and September).

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