Good to know before you travel to New Zealand

Good to know before you travel to New New Zealand!

Please take a look at the following tips:

There are many things to know about New Zealand. It’s the first place in the world to see the sunrise, we are nuclear-free and rocking the Renewable Energy game, Birds are a big thing here, we are the youngest country on Earth and in 1893 we’ve bee the first country where women obtained the same right as men to vote in polls. Before the Wright brothers, Kiwis were the first to fly in an airplane and the first man on the Himalaya came from New Zealand (Sir Edmund Hillary).
‘God’s own country’ offers endless milestones and the following small things may help you to spend Great Days in our country.
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The Tiaki Promise – Care for New Zealand:


New Zealand is precious, and everyone who lives and travels here has a responsibility to look after it!

The New Zealand tourism industry has come together to launch the Tiaki Promise which actively encourages all visitors to experience New Zealand in a way that keeps them safe; protects the natural environment; respects all cultures; and preserves the country for future generations. 

Tiaki means to care for people and place in New Zealand’s native language Te Reo Māori and the Tiaki Promise is an invitation to visitors to care for New Zealand alongside Kiwis. Visitors to New Zealand will learn about the Tiaki Promise before arriving and while travelling around the country. The Tiaki Promise is a commitment to care for New Zealand, for now and for the future.

Great Days New Zealand Tours are proud to support the Tiaki Promise. Help us protect, care and preserve our home by following these commitments.

Yes, Customs are strict:


Basically, you can’t bring food into New Zealand. You are also not supposed to bring “dirty” shoes and camping gear into the country. It might seem a bit over the top, but New Zealand is an island nation with a fragile environment. There are many endemic plants that can be easily harmed when non-native species are introduced. Unfortunately we have had very bad experiences with it in the past.

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Driving in New Zealand:

  • We are driving here on the left-hand side of the road. This is the right side for us 😉
  • Each person who wishes to drive must present their driving license and an international driving license. Drivers under 21 are not permitted.
  • Add time to what Google Maps tells you! Seriously, do it. Google knows nothing (when it comes to New Zeland roads)!
    Roads tend to be quite narrow and in many places in the South Island, there is only one lane in each direction.
  • Let people pass you. When you’re driving in New Zealand, it’s a law to pull over (when safe) if there are more than 4 vehicles  backed up behind you. Locals can (understandably) get a bit put off when they are stuck behind large campervans.
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Driving in New Zealand



New Zealand is virtually a nearly cashless society, we use credit and debit cards for everything – even out in woop woop (New Zealand expression for ‘in the middle of nowhere’). Some shops will decline credit card payments for purchases under $20.

  • New Zealand’s unit of currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZ$ or NZD). All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely.
  • Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to “rounding” of amounts either up or down. Most retailers are adopting the ‘Swedish Rounding System’. The smallest coin in New Zealand is a 10-cent piece, so the total cost will always be rounded up to the nearest zero. It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents.
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New Zealand Financial Advice



 If nobody tells you about the sandflies, we do. First of all – why we have sandflies in New Zealand: 

Early Maori legend even has it that the god Tu-te-raki-whanoa had just finished creating the landscape of Fiordland, but the landscape was so stunning in beauty that it stopped people from working and they stood around staring in awe. The goddess Hinenuitepo became so angry at these unproductive people that she created the sandfly to bite them and get them moving again.

Whether it was the goddess’s fault (interestingly, it’s only the sandfly females that bite) or the beauty of our country or our relaxed lifestyle has not been clarified until today. However, the most vicious biters live exclusively on the west coast of the South Island. These pesky insects will swarm on you in the summer, especially in stunning  places like Milford Sound or beautiful Lake Rotoiti (Nelson Lakes National Park).

Don’t bring plenty of strong bug spray or purchase some before you leave civilisation to head out back-country hiking. Don’t spray everywhere with insect repellant. Why not? It’s useless and doesn’t help this much! Our tips and tactics to refrain from scratching:

  • Use coconut oil or baby oil instead.
  • Eat or drink stuff with Vitamin B, e.g. Avocado and a Beer ;-). It’s the evaporation through the skin that the buggers don’t like.
  • They are attracted by yellow, so don’t wear yellow trekking clothes.
  • Sandflies occur wherever there is flowing water and bush near lakes and swamps, so cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants in these areas. T-shirts and Board-Shorts are generally not a good item to wear in the bush.

And another ‘Don’t’: Do not underestimate these tiny pests. Foreigners appear to be the least tolerant to the insects and it is almost like the sandflies can sense their blood is sweeter or that they are most vulnerable.

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New Zealand Sandflies



Practice sun safety because we have a good strength of the sun. Even if it’s not sunny or hot outside, still put on a layer of SPF to protect your skin. Especially at high altitudes and on the North Island, so always wear sun block even if it’s a cloudy day.

While New Zealand is in the deep southern hemisphere, Auckland is on the 36th parallel south of the equator. So when thinking about the sun, think of cities on the 36th parallel north of the equator – places you’re probably more familiar with, such as Malaga in Spain, the Tunisian capital Tunis, San Luis in California or Las Vegas.

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Visa – Costs for Electronic Tourist Authority (NZeTA) and International Visitor Conservation & Tourist Levy (IVL):

For travel to New Zealand after 01 October 2019 the New Zealand Government has introduced an Electronic Tourist Authority (NZeTA) and International Visitor Conservation & Tourist Levy (IVL). These are designed to both strengthen our border security and improve regional infrastructure so it can cope with New Zealand’s growing popularity as a destination.

Key points:

  • Travelers will need to request an ETA either online or via the available app.
  • Exceptions are passengers traveling on a New Zealand or Australian passport, as well as travelers who hold a valid New Zealand visa (such as Resident or Temporary Visas).
  • An ETA will last up to 2 years and cost NZD $9.00 for mobile application requests and NZD $12.00 for web browser requests.
  • The IVL will be charged at the same time as making the application for the ETA and will cost NZD $35.00. Once paid, the IVL will last as long as the ETA is valid.
  • Australian permanent residents will need to hold an ETA but will not be required to pay for an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). Friendly neighbours and all that.
  • Please click here for further information and your application
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Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

Get in touch for your unforgettable New Zealand holiday. That’s what we are here for. Behind this website are real people who are at your disposal with expertise and passion for this extraordinary place in the world. We know where to go as we live here – and we are looking forward to sharing our hidden gems with you.

Enjoy the Holiday of a lifetime