Travel info

If you are not from a western culture, you might find the following advice useful.

New Zealand culture differs from eastern cultures such as that in China. As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. In that way, your stays will be more enjoyable and relaxing.

Here are a number of tips:

  1. Customs: New Zealand customs requirements are very strict. When you fill in an immigration card, make sure you read it carefully and declare truthfully which items you carry, especially food, animals, plants, their products, medicines and cigarettes. If you do not declare truthfully, you may face a fine or even be refused entry. Then, on your passport, you will have a record of the fine, which is not conducive to the next visa application.
  2. Immigration checks in New Zealand are very strict: New Zealand is an agricultural country, and, so, you are not allowed to bring seeds, plants, fruits and meat into the country.
  3. Driving: New Zealand drives on the left side of the road. China and many other countries drive on the right. When you just arrive in New Zealand,you need to be very careful. If you are going to self-drive, it is best to learn the driving rules at home before you come to New Zealand. Even so, you need some time to adapt when you arrive in New Zealand. So, pay attention to traffic rules such as the maximum speed signs. Drive neither too fast nor too slow. Otherwise, you will receive a $150-200 fine. You must wear a seat belt whether you are the driver or a passenger.
  4. Try to drive as much as possible in the day time. In that way, you should be safer.  Outside of the cities, the distance between petrol stations can be large. In which case, check that you have sufficient petrol for the journey.
  5. Car rental and accommodation: If you need a car to travel, you can hire a car or you can book a guide who also drives the car. You can book a driver here online. October to the following April is the main tourist season. The last week of December and the first two weeks of January are the peak and, so, if you need those dates, you are best to book in advance.
  6. Travel preparation: New Zealand has a lot of outdoor adventure activity and recreational sports such as tramping, cycling and skydiving. The air is clear in New Zealand and the sun is powerful. Therefore, you need to have sun block, hats and suitable clothing. You can ride bicycles in most areas, and bicycles in New Zealand are used as a tool for exercising more than transport. You are required by law to wear a helmet when cycling on the roads. If you cycle at night, turn on a flashing warning light and wear a reflective safety jacket.
  7. Daily language: New Zealand is a very friendly country. When walking on the street, strangers may see say “Hello”or “Good day”to you. Please smile and say “Hello” or “Good day”in response. The daily simple polite languages should be used frequently, such as Good Morning, Thank you, You are welcome, and See you.
  8. Culture: Most New Zealanders are of British descent, respect Western culture and are polite. In public places, do not speak too loud. If you have an issue, keep calm, be patient and do not argue with others. Do not jump a queue. Do not throw garbage anywhere. Do not leave rubbish in public areas except in the bins provided. If you are in an elevator, when the door opens, pay attention to any people behind you.
  9. Cross the road: In New Zealand, many pedestrian traffic junctions have traffic lights. Always look left and right when crossing a road otherwise the different side of the road people drive on in New Zealand will catch you out. When crossing the road, press the pedestrian button on the lamp post and wait until the green pedestrian light turns on.
  10. Property security: Although the overall security situation in New Zealand is very good, occasionally theft or car break-ins occur. So, do not leave valuable stuff, such as handbags, computer bags, cell phones, etc. in the car. If you must leave stuff in the car, put it in the trunk (the boot). Never let others see valuable stuff through the car windows.
  11. Payment: New Zealanders generally pay for items by credit or bank card. Most people have only $20-40 NZD cash in their wallet. If you go to a weekend market or take a bus, you need to have cash.
  12. Shopping: New Zealand’s large shopping malls generally close at 6 o’clock. Supermarkets close at 10 o’clock. In some small towns, supermarkets close earlier. You can buy food and drink in large supermarket Some chain stores such as McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken are open 24-hours. The nightlife here is not as rich as in China. Some bars close at midnight.
  13. Drinking water: Tap water is drinkable everywhere. Air quality: Is very good all year round.
  14. Inquiries: Different cities, towns and tourist attractions all have information centres (i-sites) that provide information on local accommodation, meals, and travel. They are all free of charge.
  15. Climate: New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere. The four seasons are at opposite times of the year to those in China. The summer sunshine time is long and the climate is comfortable. In spring and summer, the temperature is 10°C-28°C, but morning and night are cooler.  If you go out at night, you may need a coat or other warm clothing. Some parts of the South Island in winter will be -10°C, but the North Island is warmer than the South Island. Except on high mountains, it does not snow in the North Island.
  16. Driving in winter: If you drive in snow, pay special attention to safety, and contact the car rental company to see whether chains can be fitted on the wheels.
  17. Caravan: When traveling by camper van, at night, stay in camper van parks.
  18. Motorcycle groups: On the highway In New Zealand, often you see groups of of motorcyclists. Do not panic. They are not malicious. You can just drive as normal.
  19. Driving through a roundabout: Always look to the right to see whether a car is coming. Do not enter the roundabout until it is clear.
  20. Self-service stalls: often you see these at the side of the road selling flowers or fruit. Next to it is a money box, but nobody is there. If you need a product, you can just put the money into the money box, take the product and go.