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Subject: The soc.culture.new-zealand FAQ (part 4 of 6)
This article was archived around: 17 Aug 2002 01:01:06 +1200
Posting-frequency: monthly, and a pointer is posted to s.c.n-z on Mondays.
Subject: B3.4 Holidays
Annual leave depends on who you are employed by and is usually negotiable
under the Employment Contract Act. Three weeks leave and several 'sick
days' per annum seems to be about the norm.
The Holidays Act over rides the ECA which manadates at least three weeks
leave a year. You may negiotate a more favourable arrangement than this,
but not less favourable.
Getting 3 weeks holiday does not mean you will always get a choice as to
when you take it. Some offices close between Christmas and New Year, so
that's a compulsory 1 - 2 weeks off. It less likely in the retail trade,
but certainly still happens in factories.
Bruce Hamilton added:
"It is just an option. You can demand the leave. Also these days most
companies *want* their staff to take the leave for genuine health and
morale reasons. The "use it or lose it" option is a fairly recent
innovation that has arisen because these days, at financial year end,
accrued annual leave is listed as a liability. Silly I know, as they
gained from the worker actually working, but that's how many companies now
view it, and ask staff to not accumulate more than a year's worth, or face
forfeiting leave in excess of the limit. Note that many companies extend
the leave entitlement to 4 weeks after a suitable employment period."
01/01 Jan 01 New Years Day (first Monday/Tuesday if 1st is Sat/Sun)
02/01 Jan 02 Day After New Years day
06/02 Feb 06 Waitangi day (not moved if on a weekend)
10/04 Apr Easter Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
13/04 Apr Easter Monday (Monday after Easter Sunday)
25/04 Apr 25 ANZAC Day (not moved if Sat/Sun, shops closed morning only)
01/06 Jun Queen's Birthday (first Monday of June)
26/10 Oct Labour Day (fourth Monday of October)
25/12 Dec 25 Christmas Day (first Monday/Tuesday if 25th is Sat/Sun)
26/12 Dec 26 Boxing Day
Note these are subject to variations typically to accommodate local show
days. As a general rule (apart from holidays which are observed on show
days) if the Anniversary Day falls on Friday to Sunday (inclusive) it is
observed the following Monday, if it falls on Tuesday to Thursday it is
observed the preceding Monday.
Observed Date Region
1998 Jan 19 Southland Anniversary
1998 Jan 19 Wellington Anniversary
1998 Jan 26 Auckland and Northland Anniversary
1998 Feb 02 Nelson Anniversary
1998 Mar 09 Taranaki Anniversary
1998 Mar 23 Otago Anniversary ( 150th Anniversary )
1998 Sep 28 South Canterbury Anniversary
1998 Oct 23 Hawkes Bay Anniversary
1998 Nov 02 Marlborough Anniversary
1998 Nov 13 North and Central Canterbury Anniversary (3rd Friday after
Labour Day) called 'Show Day' and on the third day of the
annual Chch A&P Show.
1998 Nov 30 Chatham Islands Anniversary
1998 Nov 30 Westland Anniversary
B3.4.3 Web Resources on Holidays
Department of Labour Industrial Relations Online Information
Public Holiday dates 1997 - 2004
1998 Public holiday dates
Paid Holiday and other leave incl Annual leave rights and public holidays
Subject: B3.5 Technical Stuff
If it isn't here, ask in s.c.n-z. If no-one can tell you, your problem is
either dazzlingly obscure, or embarrassingly mundane! Whatever it is, if
you still can't find out, wait till you get to wherever you're going; they
are likely to have all the fixes for foreigners with their strange voltage
gear, and they will even have the right plug to put on it.
The normal electricity supply is 230 volts 50 hertz alternating current
3 pin appliance socket from a viewpoint looking at the wall or a plug seen
from the inside as one would while wiring it up.
phase -----> / \ <---- neutral
| <--------- earth
If the wires you have are brown, blue, and green [yellow or white striped],
then; brown = phase, blue = neutral, green = earth. The old code is red,
black, green respectively.
If you have ANY doubts, PLEASE consult a qualified electrician.
Most hotels will have shaver plugs suitable for all international appliance
of low power rating, and which will supply 110 and 230 volts. These plugs
may be for shavers only. If in doubt, ask.
B3.5.2 TV Info
NZ runs on PAL G on UHF. This gives the same picture and sound spacing
(5.5MHz), but the channel spacing is slightly wider - the same as that used
for 6MHz intercarrier spacing. Standard 50 hertz field rate, 25 hertz
We also use NICAM for stereo tv, rather than one of the various analogue
In the Southern Hemisphere, the locally-vertical component of the field is
in the opposite direction to where it would be an equivalent distance north
of the equator.
This affects the colour convergence of video monitors. It's not a *huge*
difference, and it took computer companies until the late 1980's to wake up
to the difference and ship different monitor versions to New Zealand, South
America, and Australia. Northern hemisphere monitors *work* but the
colours won't be as crisp as you'd expect.
Mike Tuppen wrote:
" lines ch bw Vision bw Sound spacing Vision Mod Sound Mod
U.K. 625 8MHz 5.5MHz +6MHz -ve f.m.
N.Z. 625 7MHz 5MHz 5.5MHz -ve f.m.
UK NICAM Standard I Second sound carrier is at 6.552MHz Main carrier
modulated with mono sound or A The 2nd carrier digitally modulated with L &
R or A and B or Mono plus data or full data.
NZ NICAM Standard B/G Second sound carrier is at 5.85MHz Main carrier
modulated with mono sound or A. The 2nd carrier digitally modulated as in
So without tweaking you coils your audio output is likey to be somewhat
poor! Also if channel spacing is different (as the channel band width
hints) and if you set is digitally tuned you may possibly not be able to
tune into the NZ stations.
If your set is modern it might be worth contacting the manufacturer to see
if it can be modified.
Alan Brown wrote:
"Our video/audio intercarrier separation is 5.5MHz compared to the UK 6MHz
and the cost of getting the traps adjusted and IF retuned makes it
uneconomic - especially on modern TVs where to achieve the change an entire
module usually has to be swapped out.
"Additionally few UK PAL sets have VHF modules and our free-to-air channels
work almost exclusively in VHF 1 and 3 bands."
B3.5.3 Video Conversion
NTSC/PAL tv's are available but expensive. Commercial conversion
facilities are available.
B3.5.4 Bringing Computers In
Only problems are power supply suitability. Large monitors may experience
problems changing hemisphere (or Sun would have us believe!). See notes on
tv info and video conversion above as applicable.
Telecom NZ ( http://www.telecom.co.nz )
Sole supplier of residential phone lines.
Cellular network is an analogue/digital hybrid system.
The Telecom white and yellow pages are available online at:
Clear Communications ( http://www.clear.co.nz/ )
Competes with Telecom on toll call market, business lines and
Internet ( http://www.clear.net.nz )
Bell South NZ ( http://www.bellsouth.co.nz )
Mainly Cellular phone service.
Only supplier of GSM Digital cellphone within NZ
Similar to British Telecom style. Uses BT 600 plug (not RJ-11) Phone line
is pins 2 and 5 of the BT 600 plug (RJ-11 is pins 3 & 4). Hotels will have
difficulty in converting plugs styles but conversion cables are available
Most NZ telephone systems can handle DTMF tone dialling.
BEWARE: NZ pulse dialing is the reverse of most countries. The digit are
reversed and so produce different numbers of pulses. The conversion is:
digit | # of Pulses
0 | 10
1 | 9
2 | 8
8 | 2
9 | 1
The best solution is to use tone dialing.
Lin Nah contributes:
"Here's something that may be handy for travellers with a digital Mobile
phones. Those without GSM Mobile phones may rent or buy one.
"There are SIM cards available on short term rental. This allows them to
use their GSM digital mobiles. They will be allocated a NZ mobile number.
They can drop the card off at the Budget rental car desk at the airport on
their way out of the country."
"There is no need to reserve a card. Arrangements can be made when they
arrive in NZ. All they need to do is call 0800 800 021. Ask the help desk
person where is your nearest Bellsouth office. (I think this presumes you
are going to arrive in one of our cities with international airports like
Auckland, Wgtn or Chch. I have this feeling that trying to get it when you
are in Colville won't be too successful ;) )"
To find out more:
There is also another option where you buy a GSM SIM card that has been
loaded with a certain number of minutes. Each card is only valid for
two months. There is no option available online on this pre-pay scheme.
I suggest you ask Bell South about it if you are interested.
Apparently NZ radio stations broadcast on different frequencies to the US
which may cause problems with some [imported] radio gear. Conversion kits
are often required for radios in imported Japanese cars.
Guide to ISPs in NZ
Wired Kiwis http://www.wiredkiwis.co.nz/isps/
Consumer Online http://www.consumer.co.nz/cgi-bin/net/isp_menu
Subject: B4 COMING TO NEW ZEALAND
Fly, sail, paddle or swim. See a travel agent near you. Soon! Bring lots
of money, and leave as much here as you can...
One of the cheapest ways to fly is as a courier. You must be reasonably
groomed, have a clean record and be over 21 to do this sort of thing, also
you have to be prepared to wait around until a job comes up.
Also, try Reading the rec.travel.air FAQ for hints on saving money and
rec.travel.australia+nz for stuff specific to us.
Subject: B4.1 Immigration
B4.1.1 Online Resources to Immigration
Immigration Service http://www.immigration.govt.nz/
includes information about Visitor's permit, Student permit, Work permit
and migrating to NZ
Facts for the Visitor http://www.nztb.govt.nz/visitor/
Christopher Werry has created a 'Moving to New Zealand' web page, which
has info and links to Info on Immigration, Jobs, Housing, Appliances
and Kiwi Expressions. The url is:
NZ Immigration - Information on Migrating to NZ
NZ Immigration Consultants and Advisory Services
NZ Immigration Calculator Version 2 by Mark Cresswell
Overview of Categories http://www.rmmb.co.nz/investnz/immig.html
Wilson White Unofficial Notes http://www.wilsonwhite.co.nz/immig.htm
B4.1.2 Visitor's Permit
Visitors to NZ must have a valid passport. The only exceptions are
children under 16 who are included on the passport of an accompanying
adult. Passports must be valid 3 months beyond date of departure. Visas
may be required depending on nationality, purpose of visit, and intended
length of stay. Visas are not required of US citizens in possession of a
return or onward ticket staying up to 90 days.
Australians and NZers need passports to get into each others countries.
NZers now need visas too, although these tend to be no real difficulty.
To find out more about the Visitor's Visa or Permit and how to
apply for it, please refer to:
B4.1.3 Permanent Residence
The following is from a New Zealand Immigration Service pamphlet entitled
"Applying for Residence in NZ; Self-assessment Guide". It should be note
that people in NZ unlawfully are ineligible to apply for for residence
(except under certain circumstances).
Migrants can apply for residence under FOUR categories, and need only meet
the requirements of ONE category to 'qualify' for residence. The four
1. General Category (the points system; awards points against a number of
2. Business Investment (applicants are assessed on basis of skills, work
or business experience, and their ability to transfer >NZD 100,000 to NZ.
3. Family (prospective migrants must have a 'genuine' relationship to NZ
4. Humanitarian (people with "exceptionally" difficult circumstances,
resolvable only by moving to NZ, providing there's a close family
If one has less than the current requirements of 25 (May 96) points it's
very difficult to get a job/grant money.
To assist you in calculating the points you have, Mark Cresswell offers:
Version 2 of the New Zealand Immigration Calculator for 16-bit Windows, is
now available to download:
This program is still FREEWARE, and is targeted at those amongst you who
wish to gain residency in New Zealand. It covers the following categories
There is an extensive amount of online immigration information, and the
program will calculate your points score based on the revised immigration
policies. (Refer to Section B4.1.1 Online Resources to Immigration )
You are advised to contact your nearest NZ Embassy or NZIS office, to find
out the current Pass Mark (25 according to the immigration office in Chch
10/5/96), and for more detailed info.
B22.214.171.124 Resident Permit
Residency gives you the right to live and work here, but it can lapse if
you're out of NZ for too long (a couple of years I think). A first permit
is valid for a period of four years from date of issue. To prevent
individuals from receiving residency and never actually living in the
country, future renewals to a returning residents permit may be issued for
shorter terms, depending on how long the person has actually been resident
in NZ, work status, etc.
A person in New Zealand cannot renew their visitor's permit if they have
applied for residence whilst in the country. If the Immigration Office
cannot process the application within the validity of the V.P., the
applicant has to leave New Zealand. The application is forwarded to the
overseas post which deals with the country to which they have returned. It
is better to apply before going to New Zealand, especially when you take
into account the customs concessions available to first time migrants.
If you are given a visa for residency you have some time to move to nz, but
it pays to come in once within the first 6 months. This proves you are
taking up permanent residency. If you provide a good reason, it's possible
to take as much as two years before you move here.
There are 2 types of residence permits; single entry and multiple entry.
If you have single entry it means you have to apply every time you want to
leave to ensure you can come back in.
What you may get is a 1 year or 5 year permanent residency permit. At the
end of that period, the amount of time you spend in NZ will probably
determine if it is going to be renewed or not. So if you have not spent
even a year living in NZ by the end of 5 years you better have a good
explanation. There is probably a minimum. Check with the department.
What you need to do is be able to explain why you are not permanently
living in NZ (if you are not). Talk to your nearest NZ counsulate.
B126.96.36.199 Points System
Paul Nixon has provided the following (reformatted) outline of the new
"I have listed below what I understand will be the points structure of the
new General Skills Category [formerly the General Category] which will come
into effect in October 1995.
Principle applicants to meet a minimum standard of English ie pass the
IELTS General Modual Level 5. Non-principal applicants aged 16+ must also
meet this standard or pay a fee of $NZ20,000 [refundable if qualification
Character & Health:
No change. Applicants are required to be of good character and health.
Evidence of this by references and medical.
HUMAN CAPITAL FACTORS
Flatter points structure created. Ten pts minimum requirement.
Base degree [or equivalent], trade or 3 year diploma/cetificate = 10 pts.
Advanced trade or professional qualification = 11 pts.
Masters degree [or equivalent] = 12 pts.
Statutory resistration for professionals eg. doctors, dentists, vets.
Maximum age = 55
Job Offer; offer of skilled employment = 5 pts.
$100,000 - $200,000 transferred to NZ and readily available = 1 - 2 pts.
Spousal Human Capital:
If spouse/partner has base degree, trade or 3 year diploma/certificate = 1
pt. Advanced qualifications = 2 points.
New Zealand Work Experience:
Up to 2 pts available for work experience already gained in NZ on a lawful
Family sponsorship = 3 pts, Community sponsorship scrapped.
Under the new system there will not be an automatic points pass mark which
applicants will have to equal or exceed. But a floating mark which may
change from month to month, no doubt depending upon the "quality" of
applicants at that time.
Clearly the new system makes it much more difficult to get points in the
first place and then much more difficult for applicants to assess if their
points total will be enough to obtain a visa."
Subject: B4.2 Agricultural Restrictions
NZ's isolation has kept its free of many animal and plant diseases. To
maintain this, restrictions are imposed on the importation of certain
animal and plant material. Before arrival you will be asked to complete a
declaration stating whether you have food, plant or animal material with
you or in your baggage. Aircraft cabins are often sprayed before
disembarkation to ensure there are no foreign insects imported
accidentally. You may ask to be removed if you have respiratory problems.
Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) Online Information
MAF Home page http://www.mqm.govt.nz/
B4.2.1 Animal Quarantine
Gloria Williams wrote:
"I've seen this query from time to time in this news groups so thought
there might be some interest in the latest policy on animal importation
into NZ as documented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
"The main changes are: quarantine for dogs and cats can now take place
within NZ instead of outside the country (Hawaii for instance) and the
quarantine period is 30 days instead of 6 months. Your animal needs to be
microchipped and there is a very stringent set of tests and treatments for
diseases such as rabies, heartworm, parvo, distemper etc. which must be
administered and verified by an accredited veterinarian. Travel to NZ from
the country of origin must be in an IATA approved container which is sealed
with a government approved seal. Animals must be from countries which have
declared themselves rabies-free, or countries which NZ recognises as not
having urban rabies or it is well contained. (Canada and US fall into this
"These are the basic changes. To see if your animal will qualify for the
new procedure, obtain the complete information package and the import
health permit application from the:
Chief Veterinary Officer
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
P.O. Box 2526
"Ex-pats overseas can obtain the information package from their NZ
"John Mee wrote:
"Having just gone through that [changed countries] with my cat, perhaps I
can shed some light on the process. First of all it will take close to a
year to accomplish the process, with all the microchip implants, and tests.
You should write to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for a copy of
the latest protocols. They have changed recently, and I used the old ones.
The people there are EXTREMELY helpful, compared to American bureaucrats,
but the rules are very stringent, since NZ is an island nation and is
"By and large, after you have the requisite tests, treatments, etc. done,
you will then have to find a place in (I believe) the only dog quarantine,
which is Raymond Cheung's place in Auckland:
Qualified Pet Services
150 Airfield road
"He has places for (my notes indicate) 8 dogs and 8 cats. I did not use
him, since I had a cat, and chose to use the other cat quarantine facility.
"Next you will have to find a carrier. United Airlines told me that they
do not transport animals to NZ, however my quarantine facility HAS received
cats from there. I used Air New Zealand from LAX. They will only accept
animals from either Jet Pets or Kennel Club. I used Kennel Club, and had a
good experience. Talk to:
"Be aware that her services, including freight charges were something like
$700.00. I don't what the charges are for a dog.
"You will next have to acquire AND modify an IATA approved carrier, such as
VARI-KENNEL. This will involve attaching screen over the doors and sides
to make it paw and nose proof, drilling holes in the back for additional
ventilation, and attaching a dish for water inside, with a funnel on the
outside to allow water to be added without opening the cage, and then
drilling holes for the USDA seals.
"I think my total costs were something like $2,000, but I haven't added it
up, nor do I intend to :-)
"Quarantine takes 30 days, but that could be longer if the seals get messed
up, if the paperwork isn't right, or if the Rabies test isn't correct."
Noeline McCaughan suggests that costs are lower at about $1,000 each, but I
suspect that's from the UK and may exclude some of the costs outlined
Ceinwen Currie adds:
"I brought my cat from the UK and all she needed was up to date flu jabs
and two samples of faeces tested for hookworm eggs by the Min of Ag. She
was examined by a vet before the flight and had a specially made crate to
travel in. She was collected at the airport as soon as she got off the
plane. It cost 600 pounds, so I hope she has a long and happy life here."
Subject: B4.3 Customs
NZ Customs does not have a web site or email address.
New Zealand Customs
Address: PO Box 2218
Phone: 04 473 6099
Fax: 04 473 7370
B4.3.1 Duty Free allowance
Customs are generally more formal than in neighbouring Australia.
Total value of Duty Free goods can't exceed NZ$700
Duty Free quantities:
3 x 1.125l bottles of spirits
- must declare 2 bottles
4.5l of beer and/or wine
- equivalent to 6 x 750ml bottles of wine or 1 doz cans of beer
For more information:
or ask at the duty free shop at the airport. They are usually quite
up to date with the duty free allowances of each country.
B4.3.2 Allowances for people relocating to NZ
You will be given an allowance of value of goods to be brought into NZ.
So within the first 5 years ( I think) you can bring in quite a lot as
long as you are within the allowance without being taxed (customs duty)
provided they are personal belongings for your use here.
Check the details with the NZ Embassy/Consulate in your country or
write to the NZ Customs. You need to find out the allowance and ensure
you know the exact conditions pertaining to your circumstance.
Subject: B4.4 Moving to New Zealand
Hints on how to move your household good to New Zealand. Hopefully this
will be useful to Expat NZers moving back, and anyone else relocating
B4.4.1 Shipping stuff to NZ
Richard Turner offers:
"Well, I've just had the experience of moving back to New Zealand after
spending ten years in the USA. Since there are oftentimes a number of
enquiries about moving companies on this newsgroup, I thought I'd pass on
my experience - in hopes that it may help someone else.
"The cost of getting a moving company:
"Quoted Rates from Iowa (Midwest USA) to Wellington, New Zealand ranged
from US $160 to $225 per 100 pounds of goods. depending on the company.
Also, an insurance cost of $25 per $1000 of goods values was also added.
(This was door to door - other rates are cheaper if you go door to port or
port to port)
"In my experience, I got a number of quotes, I decided to go with a company
(I won't name them - but think of Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock and the ship
they came on) - Anyway, we were all set for them to come and get the stuff
2 weeks before we were due to fly out - a couple of days before the movers
were to arrive, they called up and said that they could come and pick the
goods up, but that they would have to sit in the Des Moines Warehouse for 3
months. I then requested that they not even bother to show up the next
"The next company I went with was Allied Van Lines - the agent I dealt
with, and the company were quite good to deal with. Between the time they
picked the stuff up till the time I will get my stuff will be less than 6
"Also, the NZ agents for Allied, seem to be quite competent, but you should
be aware that when your goods arrive certain forms have to be delivered to
the company. These are quarantine forms and customs declarations, along
with these you need to send your passport, and if you have been away more
than 21 months - some proof of your extended absence from NZ - such as Tax
forms and financial records (all of mine - were packed aboard the boat) -
or a letter from your foreign employer.
"As for moving a car - it would cost about $4000 US to ship a mid size car
such as a Camry (weighs about 3000 pounds)
"Also, if, at some point, you wanted to sell it in NZ, you would then have
to convert it to right hand drive - this can get VERY expensive."
Frits Schouten adds:
"It's not really a followup on Richard Turners experience, but it's
certainly related. Five years ago or so, I had to move my household from
The Netherlands to New Zealand and using movers is not the cheapest way to
"Here is my experience. Note: all prices are in US dollars unless
"Various big international movers quoted me between $7000 and $9000 for
door to door moving. Basically what they do is, pack your goods in a
container (20ft for a normal household) and ship it for you. This is an
easy way of doing it but not cheap. Also, if anything is broken on arrival
the insurance will pay for replacement. The insurance is in most cases
based on an itemised list of the contents of the container and is not
cheap. Normally 6% of the contents value.
"If you like a bit of challence in life you could do it my way.
"I went to a shipping company (NEDLLOYD) and asked them what it would cost
me to hire a 20ft container (you know the same one the movers were using)
to ship my household to New Zealand. Answer: $2500 from Rotterdam to
Auckland. I had to pay an aditional $150 for the truck to bring the
container to Rotterdam and agreed to have the transport in New Zealand
organised by their agent in Auckland. Here was a cost risk I was prepared
"The insurance is quite different. You can only insure the container for
total loss. You agree on a contents value and the premium is normally 1.3%
to 1.6% of that value. If the container goes overboard or is dropped from
a crane etc. the insurance pays out the value you have agreed. This means
that if, on arrival, you find lets say your beautiful mirror broken that is
then to bad. But that is not a problem because this will not happen you
know. You've packed it yourself :-)
"The people from NEDLLOYD gave me heaps of help and excellent information
on how to go about packing a container to get it flawless through customs
and MAF inspections.
"Bottom line is:
- Have a very detailed list of the contents of the container, like box
numbers and content lists per box.
- Very inportant is to state how everything is cleaned!!!
"The container arrived at the worst possible time of the year. The week
before Christmas. Anyway the local agent for NEDLLOYD worked out to be of
great value too (for the really keen ones, check out www.nedlloyd.com).
That was btw International Forwarding Co Ltd.
"We got a phone call from them telling me that the container had arrived
and if I could come to Auckland to organise the paperwork. I dropped in
just before lunch and the guy said: give me your passport and consignment
papers and I'll take care of the rest. Bit scary but. Come back after
lunch, please. So I did and guess what, everything was organised after
lunch. The only thing left was to pay an additional few hundred NZ dollars
to get the container to Papakura. The cost risk wasn't really there.
"Two day later the container arrived and within a few hours I had several
people asking if I had a garage sale. My whole household was on the front
"Moral of the story is: take that challenge, it's exciting and it might
save you a lot money."
John Mee wrote:
"The hot deal for shipping goods [from the US?] is via Australia-New
Zealand Direct Line, or any Conference member and ask them about using a
'Non-Operating Refigerated Container' (NOR). Because these are used to
ship meat OUT of Australia and New Zealand, they have to get them back
there, so the savings can be substantial.
"I was quoted a price of $1525 for a NOR container, as opposed to about
$3,500 for a regular container. I am not sure about the regular container,
but the NOR container, I just looked up in my notes.
ANZDL's home page is at:
"I would also look at the Port of Oakland's (California) home page which
has a lot of pointers to other shipping companies. It is at:
"At the rates for an NOR container, I seem to recall that the breakeven
pont for Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) was about three or four cubic
metres. On top of that, you can buy all kinds of stuff to fill your
container and then sell it when you arrive in NZ."
B4.4.2 Importing a Car
Martin Lange wrote:
"I imported my left-hand drive Fiat Uno from Germany after I was granted
residency. That was three years ago.
The rules in 1993 where:
a) You can get a "Left-Hand Drive Exception Permit" if
- You are a Permanent Resident, Holding a Work Permit or have a long-term
- Owned the car for at least two years overseas.
b) You are not allow to sell the car unless it is older than 20 years
OR converted to a right-hand drive.
c) Your car must pass a technical check through the Land Transport
For up-to-date information, contact the
Land Transport Safety Authority,
7-27 Waterloo Quay,
P.O. Box 27-459
Anyhow, unless your car is something VERY special, it is not worth the
Especially Japanese assembled car are not expensive. If you arrive in
Auckland, rent a car for a few days and shop around at the "Japanese
Assembled Car Dealers".
Be aware of the fact that most "Japanese Assembled Cars" have tinkered
clocks. Do not believe the mileage the dealer tells you - it has been
manipulated in every second import.
The dealers have huge ranges for negotiations. A friend of mine in
Auckland negotiated the price down by 45% THREE times. After purchasing
such a car he brings it to a PIT Stop, gets the brakes fixed and drives
Another hint: The New Zealand Automobile Associations runs at least one
independent workshop in Auckland. You can bring your potential "next car"
there and get an non-partisan assessment."
Subject: B4.5 Information for Visitors
A brief summary of entry requirements can be found at
B4.5.1 Departure Tax
A departure tax of $NZ20 per person (over 5 years old) is charged of people
leaving New Zealand who have been in the country more than 24 hours. This
is to be paid after the traveller has checked in as the tax receipt is
attached to the traveller's boarding pass.
No vaccination certificates are required to enter New Zealand, but if
illness occurs within three weeks of entering the country, consult a doctor.
Facilities are good but not free to non NZ residents (except in the event
of injury due to an accident). Please refer to this page for advice
regarding Health and General Insurance:
B4.5.3 Overseas Embassies In NZ
32/38 Quay St.
ph 0 9 303 2429
72 Hobson St
ph 0 4 473 6411
52 Symond St
ph 0 9 377 3460
90 Hobson St
ph 0 4 473 6063
151 Queen St
ph 0 9 303 2971
2 The Terrace
ph 0 4 472 6049
37 Shortland St
ph 0 9 303 4106
Cnr Victoria and Hunter Sts
ph 0 4 473 1540
Cnr Shortland and O'Connell Sts
ph 0 9 303 2724
29 Fitzherbert Tce
ph 0 4 472 2068
Subject: B5 TRAVEL WITHIN NZ
Be warned that transport services are likely to be VERY well patronised
around the beginning and end of any school or university holiday period,
Easter break, long weekends and Christmas period. These change yearly
so anything more specific would be pointless. If you want more accurate
dates, refer to section B3.4 Holidays.
Subject: B5.1 Info Sources
B5.1.1 Tourism Board
There is one. There is also the Visitor Information Network which has
conspicuous black, green, and white signs including a large italic 'i' at
the left hand end, throughout NZ cities/towns. http://www.nztb.govt.nz/
Tourist Maps (ones for each town with the sights marked etc) can
be obtained from the Visitor Information Centre of that area.
Usually these are free.
Road Maps can be purchased from the Visitor Information Centre, the
Automobile Association shop, Bookshops and Petrol Stations. The
AA Shop and big bookshops will have a good selection. Petrol
stations tend to stock regional maps only.
For maps on walking tracks or other geographical maps of NZ can be
obtained from the nearest branch of the Land Information New Zealand
(was the Department of Survey and Land Information), or the Department
of Conservation. Visitor Information, Bookshops and the AA are likely
to have the maps too.
It pays to carry a light tent and be prepared to camp if travelling in the
more popular places during the summer. Watch out for Giardia. Boil
drinking water in areas known to be infected (ask at a DoC office) and
FOLLOW the rules for waste disposal; we don't want it to spread...
Subject: B5.2 Accommodation
There is a wide variety of accommodation available in NZ, with something to
suit each budget or travelling mode. Travellers will be spoilt for choice.
Types of accommodation include Hotels, Motels, Backpackers, Bed and Breakfast,
Camping Ground, Caravan Parks, Holiday Parks, Farm Stay etc.
As a rule it pays to book accommodation (and transport) well in advance if
you plan on being here during the tourist season (November to March).
Booking is less important with Backpacker style accommodation.
If you have access to a web browser, you will find the URLs available
in Section B5.2.6 "Online Accommodation Guides" a useful starting
Basically these are buildings with rooms rented out by the night.
They tend to have a dining facility like a cafe or restaurant,
bellboys to help you with bags etc.
The price and quality depends on the type of hotel it is.
There are budget hotels that provide the basic room. Some even have
cheaper rooms if you share facilities. An example is the Kiwi
International Hotel in Auckland where the price starts from about
NZ$70 per night.
At the other end of the scale there are luxury 5 star hotels where the
average double room is at least $150 - $200 per night during off peak.
There are very few 5 start hotels in NZ, the good ones are mostly four
The mid-range hotels are at least $100/room/night. The Chains in this
range include, Quality Hotel, Flag Inns and Best Western.
B5.2.2 Motels and Motor Lodges
These are by far a more popular choice of accomodation compared to hotels.
As with other accomodation modes, the range is from cheap to expensive.
Motels are typically big units that usually have full kitchen facilities.
They are suitable for families as you request for units that have more
than one room. You should be able to park your car near your unit.
Most motels will not have a dining facility. The larger or more upmarket
ones may have a restaurant. There's definitely no room service though
many of them provide breakfast if you wish to order it (at additional cost
The range of prices go from around $60 per night to $200 per night.
Two examples of recent motel experiences:
27 Dec 97 - Motel in Taupo at $160 per night. It was essentially a 2 room
unit. There were 2 king sized beds, a huge bathroom, a spa pool, tv and a
kitchen. The kitchen had a dining area with a table that will accommodate
6 people. The kitchen facilities include a microwave, fridge, toaster,
electric kettle, stove, a set of cutlery and crockery, tea, coffee (plunger
coffee), and milk. Towels and toiletries like shampoo, and soap were
provided. There was a swimming pool in the Motel.
September 97 - Motel in Hamilton $65 a night.
1 bedroom unit with Queen sized bed, tv and arm chair. Kitchen had
microwave, stove, toaster etc with table that seats 2 ppl.
Bathroom was small with shower, toilet and sink.
Some information about backpackers:
For those of you not familiar with backpackers here's a quick rundown.
Most of the time you have multiple beds in a room. This can be either
single beds or bunk beds. Backpackers are either old houses converted
into backpackers or purpose built buildings. Each backpacker has a
kitchen as backpackers tend to cook their meals to lower their cost.
Some backpackers segregate their rooms by genders and some don't.
Same goes for toilets and bathrooms. Many backpackers also have single
and double rooms but the price is more. Bunk beds in dorms range from
NZ$10 a night.
The kitchens (whether purpose built or not) tend to be designed so that
more than one person can cook at the same time. So at blenheim
backpackers, by each stove was a food prep area with its own knives,
forks, pots, bowls etc. There's more than one stove. There are ovens
and microwaves. There's more than one fridge too but most of the time
there are no freezers. At the backpackers in Dunedin, the fridge was
one of those multidoor ones you get at dairies or petrol stations.
This was a four door fridge with glass doors and shelves.
There are no chores (not even at the YHA). However you have to clean
up your own mess. ie if you cook, you have to do your own dishes and
should give the stove and bench you used for food prep a wipe. The
detergent for dishes is provided.
There is a lounge and dining room. There's showers, toilets but very
rarely are there baths. It is not usual to have an ensuite. In fact
at Topspot(Kaioura), in the main house, none of the rooms there had
ensuites. But at the newer house, each room had an ensuite. Even if
you check out by 10am, you can hang around and use the communal
facilities (lounge/kitchen/shower/toilet) till you leave. all you need
to do is vacate your bed and room.
All backpackers have a laundry facility with washing machine and dryer.
Some of them are coin operated. I brought my own laundry detergent.
You either buy a small bottle to take travelling with you or some
backpackers sell small packets of washing detergent.
Sometimes you can lock your rooms (so only people in your room have
the key to it) and at other times there's no key. If they lock up
at night, you can find out the combination or key if you plan to come
in later. You should keep your food in the kitchen. There are
lockers there and the fridge. no one steals it as you have to label
the bag/box with your name.
I bring a sleeping bag to sleep in. you can bring your own sheets
and blankets. Some do provide bed linen and blankets. The backpackers
guides or YHA guide (booklets) usually tell you what's provided.
Otherwise you can ask when you ring to book. Usually they are quite
flexible. So if I decide to stay on the same place, all I have to do
is tell them before 10am (the normal checkout time). Usually you only
need to book a day or two ahead. Unfortunately since we were travelling
over the peak time, many places were full so I booked weeks earlier
(last weekend of nov). By then a couple of places were fully booked.
Each backpacker is unique. Whether it is a good backpacker or not
depends on the people who run it. Many I have encountered view it
as a way of life. They love meeting travellers. They often help
you by providing Information about the area, and any travel related
help. For example they may have the timetable of trips. Some even
ring up to make the bookings for you. They can provide some very
useful advice (what to see, where to eat, where to go , what's on etc)
They usually have a map handy for that area with important spots
marked out (like the nearest supermarket etc)
The atmosphere they create is quite important to the people who stop
there for the night (or longer).
Sometimes they join in or organise social events for the people
staying there that night. For example it is not uncommon to find
a notice on the noticeboard saying "BBQ tonight - bring something
to throw on the grill". So you socialise with the other travellers.
Or sometimes everyone contributes a small amout of money for the stuff.
It is not uncommon to strike up conversation with other travellers
either in the lounge or dining room. This is handy for picking up
travelling hints. It is quite interesting hearing of others
B188.8.131.52 Youth Hostel Association
There are about 58 YHA hostels throughout NZ. YHA are a few dollars more
per night than Backpackers. The YHA web site is http://yha.org.nz/
YHA (Youth Hostel Association) NZ
PO Box 436, Christchurch, NZ
Phone: (+64 3) 379 9970
Fax: (+64 3) 365-4476
* you can get the info from your nearest youth hostel.
As an indication, This info from Judy Shorten:
"The Auckland Youth Hostel, called City Hostel is excellent. Twin bed
rooms, small shop and dining facilities on the premises, tourism
information available, etc. It is approx. $18 per night, and you can also
buy a 20/230 card which allows you to stay 20 days in any YHA around New
Zealand for $230. You also can request the bus from the Airport to drop
you off right at the door. There is another YHA in Parnell, a couple of
miles out of the central city area."
You do not have to be a YHA member to stay at a YHA hostel. Non members
can get a starter card where you pay $4 more per night for up to six
nights. After six nights (if these are within six months of starting the
card), you trade the starter card for a year's YHA membership, without
additional cost. YHA membership is quite cheap - only around $25/yr. It
is worth it if you are travelling around NZ as you will be eligible for
certain discounts like 50% on standby flights or 30% discount on any
travel by bus or train and other discounts.
B184.108.40.206 Backpackers Accommodation
There are many different booklets on backpackers accommodation to NZ. They
can be obtained free from the visitor information centres or backpackers.
Only the 2 - 3 more popular guides are available.
During peak season, you only need to book up to a week ahead. However if
you are looking for double rooms or family type rooms in backpackers, you
best book earlier as those are quite scarce. During off peak season
sometimes you can either just turn up or book a day or two ahead.
It is possible to get the backpackers you are at to 'forward book' you to
the next place. Most of them are happy to do it without payment for the
service or charge a minimal fee.
The number of groups catering for backpackers is expanding rapidly with
nice new accommodation being built (at least in Christchurch!). In
Auckland, Wellington, Chch and Queenstown, there are also a couple of
backpackers travel centres.
Other than the YHA card, there's the VIP Backpacker discount card.
The VIP card gives you similar discounts to the YHA card train
and bus seats. There are also other discounts available.
This can be purchased at backpacker travel centres, certain backpacker
hostels (usually the hostels within the VIP chain). The cards are not
available to NZers. For more information try this contact:
Galaxy Holdings Ltd (Trading as VIP Backpacker Resorts Int'l NZ)
9 Fort Street Phone: (+64 9) 357 0177
Auckland Fax: (+64 9) 358 1142
New Zealand email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prices are normally $8-20/night for a room.
Backpacker accommodation in Chch:
Dreamland 03-3663519 21/23 Packe St
Foley Towers 03-3669720 208 Kilmore St
Stonehurst Hotel 03-3794620 241 Gloucester St
Charlie Browns 03-3798429 268 Madras St
Backpacker accommodation in Auckland:
Parkside Backpackers Inn 09-3098999 189 Park Road, Grafton
Aotea Backpackers Hostel 09-3033350 295 Queen Street, Central
Kiwi Hilton Backpackers 09-3583999 430 Queen Street, Central
Auckland Central Backpackers 09-3584877, fax 09-3584872
cnr Fort Street & Jean Batten Place, Central
Central City Backpackers 09-3585685, fax 09-3584716
26 Lorne Street, Central
The odd thing is that when two of these (Aotea Backpackers Hostel and Kiwi
Hilton Backpackers) were checked recently (3/97), they stated that they
will NOT accommodate NZers, and that people who just turn up get priority
over people who book in advance!
Here are the details of who published guides:
Budget Backpackers Hostels NZ Ltd ( http://www.backpack.co.nz )
This is the main/Blue book with over 200 hostels in it.
Mark Dumble: 99 Titiraupenga St, Taupo, NZ
Phone/fax: (07) 377 1568; email: email@example.com
Eric Foley: 208 Kilmore St, Christchurch, NZ
Phone/fax: (03) 379 3014; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NZ Backpacker Hostels Association Ltd
PO BOX 5475, Auckland, NZ
Backpackers Accommodation Down-Under
PO Box 4446, Auckland, NZ
Phone: (09) 303 4482
Fax: (09) 443 8004
ATA (Accommodation Travel Activities)
PO Box 8, Kaikoura, NZ
Phone or fax:(03) 319 5916
(03) 319 5359 (business hours only)
There is an internet resource called The Internet Guide to Hostelling
which, among other things, contains a list of hostels in New Zealand. It
is available via WWW, Gopher, FTP, and Email. The WWW URL is:
For information on how to access the guide in other ways send email to:
Cabins in motorcamps are usually the next step 'down' from motels.
Campervan parks: There is a free brochure by the CCA whose members run the
parks for campervans, camping grounds etc. This is avail at the Visitor
Info centre in Queen St.
Department of Conservation huts in National Parks have variable facilities,
with charges reflecting this; a few simple shelters are free, the more
comfortable huts (gas stoves, mattresses) are $15/night.
You can always bring a tent...
B5.2.5 Published Accommodation Guides
These can be purchased from Visitor Information Centres (or at least
from the ones in the main cities) and bookshops.
Jasons publishes several guides. There's one on Hotels and Conference
Centres. The Jason's Budget Accommodation gives information about cabins,
tourist flats, cheap motels, camping and caravan sites. There is also
Jason's Motels and Motor lodges. Some consider them more comprehensive
than the AA books.
The AA guides provide an extensive outline of all types of accommodation
for all areas as well as local attractions. There's one for each Island
as well as one for the whole of NZ.
There's a guide to Bed and Breakfasts in NZ
B5.2.6 Online Accommodation Guides
Destination NZ page of Accommodation Links
Jasons accommodation guides
The page takes you to the Jasons Online Accommodation guides.
The guides are listed below and are searchable.
- Jasons Motel guide
- Jasons Hotel Guide/Conference Directory
- Jasons Budget Accommodation guide (incl. holiday parks and campgrounds)
- The New Zealand Bed & Breakfast Book
- Jasons Backpacker and Hostels Online
AA Accommodation Guide http://www.aa.org.nz/accom/
YHA Guide http://www.yha.org.nz/
Budget Backpacker Hostels http://www.backpack.co.nz/
Worldwide Hostel guide - NZ http://www.hostels.com/nz.html
NetTravel NZ Accommodation http://www.nettravel.co.nz/
Unique Hotels & Lodges http://www.unique-lodges.co.nz/
Subject: B5.3 Transport
Trains are good but have limited distribution. Buses tend to be more
flexible and there are a variety of regional bus passes available.
Information should be available from the relevant booking offices. Bus
tickets for around the South Island are around $250 per person. The
'Travelpass' offers unlimited travel on Tranz Rail (formerly New Zealand
Rail) trains and InterCity buses for, for example, five days travel over
fifteen days, or fifteen days travel over five weeks. A further option (to
be taken at time of purchase) is to add one trip by air with Ansett New
Zealand at extra cost.
Unofficial details on 'Travelpass' are at:
There's are also 'through fares' (you have to ask for them) but there are
limited seats. Typically:
Auckland to Picton $108
Auckland to Christchurch $159
and these include a seat on the train then the Interislander. Unofficial
details at: http://www.waikato.ac.nz/rail/money.html.
Buses and trains have seats discounted at around 20-50% but there are
limited seats each day allocated on a first come first serve basis. So the
earlier you book the more chance you have of getting them, eg. try to make
bookings for Christmas/New Year break in mid-October and you may find many
of the cheap fares are gone.
There are a variety of other discounts available for students, senior
citizens, YHA members and so on.
'The Kiwi Experience' and similar budget travel systems are worth
investigating if you want less structured transport arrangements. Due to
an increase in theft and vandalism, leaving vehicles on the main roads has
become unwise. Always remove valuables and lock it when leaving the
Backpackers card holders (includes YHA cards) also gives you a 30% discount
on any bus or train fare on the main bus lines or TranzRail.
B5.3.1 Cycling/Sea Kayaking
Excellent cycling in NZ but it pays to like hills... Bringing a bike in
from overseas is often a good idea and resale here is possible although it
may take several weeks at some times of the year. ALWAYS lock your bike
solidly to something immobile when you aren't actually on it. For cycle
tourists, there are two books available - Cycle Touring in the South Island
and Cycle Touring in the North Island. There is also one that covers both
islands, but apparently there are many mistakes in it.
Lin Nah kindly generated this contribution:
"For the Auckland area, go to the Auckland visitor's centre and ask for
advice. For further afield, look into one of the packages like Wild Cycles
offered by Kiwi experience [phone (64 9) 366 1665; fax (64 9) 357 0524]
there are probably other companies that offer similar packages.
Here's a list of places to rent bicycles from (typed late 1993).
Name Phone Fax Address
Bicycle Tour Services 276 5218 276 5218 PO Box 11296
Cycle Xpress 379 0779 11 Beach Road
Kiwi Experience 366 1665 357 0524 PO Box 1553
Mountain Bike Hire 358 9893 575 5105 5/28, Armadale Rd, Remuera
NZ Pedaltours 302 0968 302 0967 PO Box 37575, Parnell
Pedal Packers 302 0880 25 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell
Pedal Pushers 360 0512 Ring when arrive in Auckland
Penny Farthings 379 2524 309 1559 PO Box 8829, Symond St
Ross Adventures 357 0550 357 0502 PO Box 33686, Takapuna
If you are interested in the Kiwi Experience, they have something called
Wild Cycles. This combines their bus trips and cycling. KE runs a cheap
bus network in both the North and South Island. So the deal in Wild Cycles
(as I understand it) is that you can send you luggage ahead by the bus. So
you carry the minimal necessities with you while you are cycling. If you
are tired of cycling (tired, fed up, too hot, too cold and whatever excuses
you want to discontinue) just stop on the road side along one of their
routes and flag the next KE bus that comes along. It is also good for
those who only have time to cycle one way and have to take the bus back.
Unfortunately no one seems to have email 8-(
The ones below I have not called. They are either not within the Auckland
calling area or are within the Auckland area but no one replied whan I
Name Phone Address
Adventure South 03 332 1222 Box 33153 Christchurch
Classic Cycle Tours 06 358 9893 Box 4499, Palmerston North
Desert Coast Bikes 09 411 8612 47 Waitea Rd, Muriwai
Rock Hard Mountain Bike 07 892 2938 National Park
Sounds Cycling 03 578 0442 2 Selwyn St, Blenheim"
David Morris offers:
"Another option: Active Leisure Cycle Express, cnr Beach Rd/Anzac Ave,
Auckland. Ph 379-7790. The guy who runs it is a real cycle nut... his
knowledge of touring is encyclopaedic.
"If I want any work done on my machine I go to him. Can't give a better
recommendation that that!"
John McHarry sent me this e-mail:
"NZ Pedaltours operates fully supported cycle tours in both the North and
South Islands. These include a sag wagon, all meals, and overnight
accomodations in motels with one or two farmstays. I have been on two of
their tours and found them excellent and good value for money."
For ideas on where to go, try:
It's the NZ Mountain Bike Web Page. If it's run by [one of] the legendary
Kennett Brothers, it's likely to be well worth a look!
Sea kayaking is a great way (the best way?) to see parts of NZ, and guided
tours are becoming more popular and available. For information on cycle
touring or sea kayaking, email A.Ferguson@chem.canterbury.ac.nz
The coastlines around Abel Tasman National Park and the Marlborough Sounds
are renowned as sea kayaking areas with trips possible all year round.
"For the Abel Tasman National Park (cruise, coach - from Nelson to the
park, and everything related to activities in the Abel Tasman National
Park) talk to:
Abel Tasman National Park Enterprises
ph (+64 3) 528 7801
fax (+64 3) 528 6087
"They are open all year except for Christmas Day. The 1994/95 prices:
"Full Day Cruise. I took this on NY day '95, it was excellent. Bring your
own lunch. 9am - 3:30/4pm, adult $42, child $14
"Coach, Cruise, Kayak and Hydrofoil. Start 9am at Kaiteriteri. Take the
launch to Torrent Bay - arriving at around 10.25am. Your guide and kayak
are there. You start on a 5 hour guided kayak from Torrent Bay to Bark
Bay. then you catch the hydrofoil back to Kaiteriteri, ETA 6pm. Start &
finish Kaiteriteri; adult $90
"There are quite a few more variations. Once you see their brochure you
will know what I mean. I was very impressed at how flexible it is. For
example with the kayak example above, you could have paid $80 to start and
finish in Torrent Bay. You could have left Kaiteriteri a few days before
by the boat, been dropped off at Totaranui (or any beach the cruise passes)
and walked your way back to Torrent Bay.
"The park has one of the most beautiful set of beaches and scenery I have
seen. I hope no one spoils it.
"Kaiteriteri to Torrent Bay; if you don't want the guided kayak trip you
can hire kayaks from them. Single kayaks $18; double kayaks $25 (this is
from the 93-94 brochure).
"No, I have no connection to the family who owns the Abel Tasman enterprise
(this is a family business). I was very impresssed with the choice and
"In the Nelson/Marlborough region; don't forget the swim in the river at
the Pelorus Bridge. Also visit the vineyards in that area."
If anyone can suggest a better place to put this, I'd like to hear it!
Tidal predictions are now available for Auckland, Wellington, Lyttelton and
Dunedin, a week at a time from:
New Zealand Tidal predictions, Notices to Mariners and links to marine
weather are available on Waypoint 1. There is also information on the
Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation, Yacht and boat clubs etc. Other
major boating areas will be added. Thanks to the Hydrographer RNZN.
Hitching is *relatively* safe in NZ, but generally speaking, busing is
advised in the more obscure corners on NZ; it's likely to be quicker and
safer. Lots of people hitch, but every now and then one of them is
assaulted and/or has all their gear stolen.
B5.3.3 Renting A Car/Campervan
Several main companies; Hertz, Avis, Budget, Maui, etc. Some agencies have
mini-buses as well as cars. There are usually cheaper local alternatives
to the big chains. Taking a vehicle from one island to the other is
expensive and it is normal(?) to drop a rental vehicle off on one side of
Cook Strait and pick up another on the other side, but may not be possible.
If you leave a car at the end of a road and fly out (eg. Milford Sound) you
may be charged the cost of retrieving it.
The general impression is that renting a car in NZ is are not cheap
compared with US and European rates.
>From an advert in a New Zealand Tourist Board info packet, Ed Guy
(email@example.com) contacted Pegasus Rentals in Christchurch. The
result was a car at about $35/day.
In Auckland, it is possible to hire a car for around $40 a day if it is for
a 'long' period, but the problem with using these cheaper companies as
opposed to the well known ones is the quality of the car. The bigger (more
expensive) rental agencies have newer cars (1-2 years old). The cheaper
companies have older cars. Most of them provide you with a special AA
(Automobile Association) membership for the duration of the car rental
which covers towing anywhere in NZ.
Most companies have branches or associates around the country and although
there are (were?) only 3 international airports in NZ (Auckland, Wellington
and Christchurch) there is usually no problem in being be able to drop off
Christmas/New Year is a peak period so it is difficult getting a car at the
last minute. Most cars in NZ are not automatic so if you want one you had
Check the Yellow Pages of the phone directory for an extensive list of
M. Steven offers:
"Maui have a web site at:
They are one of the biggest companies in the campervan/motorhome market.
There are several sizes. They are not cheap."
Lin Nah provides the following list(!) dated 20 Nov 1996:
[non-affiliation disclaimer removed :-)]
Pointers to car rental companies (some of them have campervan hire):
Quick reference to car rental places in Auckland (campervans on pg 3)
This points to quite a few pages. All they have are names of car hire
places in Auckland with phone and fax numbers.
Rental cars in Christchurch
Adventure New Zealand:
This site has pointers to car rental, campervans(motorhomes), and
Maui campervan hire:
Nationwide car rentals and "Wheels rent a car"
Pegasus car rentals
Seabrooks (car sales with a buy back scheme)
Link lowcost rentals
Apex Car Rentals - chch
Rhodes Rent a car - canterbury
Regarding campervans, Greg Lauer offers:
Last May (1995) we hired a '2 berth luxury' campervan from Adventure
Rentals in Christchurch. Because it was off season it cost us NZ$60 a day.
>From what I can remember we just phoned them and picked it up the same
afternoon. We had four people in it.
If you want some more info email me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A while back, Dale Gold wrote:
"Here's what I posted on the subject in Oct '94. No doubt the prices are
all different now, but I hope it is helpful. Perhaps you can repay the
favour by posting any changes to this newsgroup :-) [hear hear!]
"This is *only* a list of the companies that had brochures at Christchurch
Airport on 10-Oct-94, and I can make no recommendations. I included some
points which looked interesting, but made no attempt at any detailed
comparisons. Hopefully, this will provide a rough guide and a means of
getting more detailed information.
Most places require that vehicles be returned to their starting point, but
you'll have to ask about this. $200-500 deposits are typical, and some
companies have age restrictions, minimum hire periods, etc. Most vans will
come with cooking gear, heater, etc. Bedding, ski racks, bikes, etc. are
often available at extra cost.
"All prices are in NZ dollars. GST = a 12.5% tax. The two prices are for
High and Low seasons.
High Season = 1 November - 30 April
Low Season = the colder months
Area codes: Auck=09, Chch=03, Picton=03, Wgtn=04
2 berth $124 $74
Excludes: $15 insurance
7 day minimum, age 21, appears to allow auck-chch rental!
Auck 275-3040, fax: 275-3496
Chch 379-3822, fax: 365-5651
NZ Freephone: 0508-258-258
UK enquiries: (0993) 823-363, fax: (0993) 823-648
Gypsy Hire Ltd.
2-3 hi-top $129 $83
2-4 $135 $90
4-6 $189 $95 shower, loo
big 6 $210 $130 shower, loo
Includes: Unlimited km, GST, insurance. 5 day minimum
Auck 480-5098, fax: 443-0485, cell: 025-328-126
Chch 327-6230 (ph/fax), cell: 025-328-126
2 berth $144 $89
4 berth $203 $123
6 berth $228 $137
Excludes: $13.50 daily insurance
One of the 2 biggest companies, but no brochure. Auck & Chch branches
New Zealand Adventure
All sizes, no prices listed.
Auck 256-0255, fax: 275-3027
Chch 359-7917, fax: 221-7305
NZ Travel Bureau Ltd
2 berth $139 $59
4 berth $199 $89 shower, loo, diesel
6 berth $229 $109 shower, loo, diesel
Includes: insurance, GST, unlimited km
PO Box 14189, Chch Airport
Thrifty 2 $69 $49 Townace
Economy 2 $79 $59 Hiace S.W.B.
Tourist 2 $99 $79 Hiace L.W.B., 2 adults, 2 kids
Executive $119 $99 Hiace Pop-top, Diahatsu Delta
All include: GST, insurance, unlimited kms 4days+
Auck 358-5757, fax: 373-5727
Chch 365-1100, fax: 365-1104
Picton 573-7733, fax: 573-7759
Wgtn 384-4883, fax: 384-3225
Pleasure Motor Homes
2 berth $90 $60
All inclusive. Minimum age 25. minimum 7days (sum), 5 days (win).
Also offer 4 & 6 berth vans.
Chch 359-9657, fax: 359-9628
516 Wairakei Road, Chch
Breakaway in Hastings offers 4 berth campers, no prices in
brochure, minimum age 30 ph: 06-874-8833, fax: 06-874-8850"
Lin Nah adds the following list dated 20 Nov 1996:
Campervan rental from AA
Maui campervan hire
Pegasus car rentals
B5.3.4 Train Services
Good, if they go where you are going.
In the North Island, there are the main line from Auckland to Wellington
which runs west of the central volcanoes, a main line to the east coast at
Tauranga and a number of branch lines.
In the South Island, there is the main trunk line north-south down the east
coast between Picton and Invercargill, and the midland line east-west
between Christchurch and Greymouth via Arthurs Pass.
The middle and long-distance trains operated by Tranz Rail under the name
"Tranz Scenic" are listed below. All fares quoted are full adult fare in
NZ$ as at July 1997. Various discounts are available, even during the
peak travel season. Range of discounts are 20% - 50%; Supersaver(50%),
saver(30%), economy(20%) and full fare.
If you have a youth hostel membership card or a recognised backpackers
card, you will automatically be eligible for a 30% discount on all train
and bus fares - use that if supersaver fares are not available. Students
(with recognised student IDs) are eligible for a 20% discount.
Overlander; (Daylight) Auckland to Wellington, 685km/10 hours 40 mins, both
ways, Daily $55-135 (route includes cities, rural towns, lakes, volcanic
plateau, gorges, bush, rolling farmland).
Northerner; (Overnight) Auckland - Wellington, 685km/11 hours, both
ways, departs Sun-Fri $120. Half-price 'no-frills' fares are available
during holiday periods on both the Overlander and the Northerner. The
frills omitted are the more comfortable carriages and the complimentary
refreshments, including lunch.
Kaimai Express; Auckland - Tauranga, evening, 3 hours 25 mins daily $54
Tauranga - Auckland, morning, 3 hours 30 mins daily $54
Geyserland Express; Auckland - Rotorua - Auckland, approx 4 hours 10mins
each way, daily $63 (route includes rolling farmland, towns, city, bush,
volcanic plateau, thermal areas)
Bay Express; (Daylight) Wellington - Napier 334km/5 hours 20 mins, both
ways daily - $70 (route includes city, farmland, bush, river gorge, hill
ranges, wine making country)
Southerner Express; (Daylight) Christchurch - Invercargill, 594km/8hours
40 mins, both ways daily, $117 (Christchurch - Dunedin $74) (route is east
coast of South Island to the southern-most town, farmland, hill ranges,
coastal). This train has in the past run only Monday to Friday during
winter. There is only one train per day north and one south between
Invercargill and Christchurch.
Coastal Pacific; (connects with Interisland ferry) Christchurch - Picton,
350km/5 hours 20 mins, both ways, daily $72 (route is northern half of
east coast of the South island, hills, seaward mountain ranges, fishing
towns, whale watching area, Marlborough Sounds)
Tranz-Alpine Express; (Daylight) Christchurch - Greymouth, 5 hours 20
minutes each way, daily, $99 return or $76 one way (route is spectacular
crossing of Southern Alps from east to west coasts; Pacific Ocean to the
The Taieri Gorge Railway run excursion trains through the spectacular
Taieri Gorge to the west of Dunedin. It's possible to take the Taieri
Gorge Limited from Dunedin and connecting bus service to Queenstown or vice
versa. The timetable for the Taieri Gorge Limited varies through the year,
running only on some days of the week outside the peak season.
All Tranz Rail services (except suburban) and Taieri Gorge Railway
services, together with a reasonable sample of current fares and the
details of the various discounts on offer, can be found at:
Everything that's there is accurate as at July 1997. Be warned that
Tranz Rail's fares are not as systematic as those in some countries.
Three suggestions regarding scenic train runs. The Railway Enthusiasts'
Society do excursions from time to time as well as operate the Glenbrook
Vintage Railway, SW of Auckland.
Write to: PO Box 13-684, Onehunga, Auckland
The Mainline Steam Trust,PO Box 2722, Wellington
Otago Excursion Train Trust, PO Box 140, Dunedin
Charles Eggen offers:
"There is one night and one day train daily [Auckland - Wellington].
Forget the night train. You might consider getting off at Otorohanga and
spending time visiting the many wonders of the cave system around Waitomo.
Actually there is a nice native bird aviary in Otorohanga, the largest in
New Zealand. The Kiwi House, as it is called is open 9:30am-5pm daily,
unless there have been changes recently. There are frequent shuttle buses
from Otorohanga to Waitomo(30 min.trip) daily and lodging is usually easier
to locate and cheaper in Otorohanga, but there has been a growing number of
Bed & Breakfast and Farmstay facilities in the Waitomo area, so an improved
selection of accommodations seems to be occurring.
You should check out the Waitomo website at:
"Another possible consideration for a stopover would be National Park.
There are accommodations in that small rail community as well as within the
Tongariro National Park at Whakapapa Village where the Grand Chateau Hotel
tops the list with economy rooms at about $110 and the prices go up from
there. Ruapehu volcano is the dominate feature htere, but not the only one
and if you enjoy walking/tramping, there are many possibilities."
B5.3.5 Cook Strait Ferry
(See also under B5.3.4 Train Services)
There are 2 types of boats; the Interislander which takes 3 hours and the
Lynx which takes 1hr 45mins for the crossing.
The Interislander - ferry service connecting North and South Islands
between Wellington and Picton. As at July 1997, the full adult fare was
$46 one way.The fare for a car up to 6m was $165, with an extra $21 per
For timetables, see http://www.waikato.ac.nz/rail/interislander.html
It is possible (and cheaper?) to drop a rental car at one terminal, travel
as foot passenger and pick up another rental car on the other side. The
trip takes 3 hours 15 min, with spectacular scenery of mountains and the
sounds. The ferry usually departs Wellington and Picton five times a day
depending on weather.
Another 'high-speed' ferry service is in operation seasonally. The Lynx
(the catamaran) is back for the summer; timetable at:
The Lynx costs NZ$190 for a car and NZ$60 per adult.
Michael Steven adds:
"The ferries sail roughly four times a day - around 10am, 1pm, 6pm and 10pm
(from memory) Make sure you are up on deck for the last hour of the trip
through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. [....] The 10am ferry coincides
with the daily train from Picton to Chch which leaves about 1.50pm Full
fare passengers get very comfortable - airline-type seats with a fixed
coffee table between each set of four. Afternoon tea is served free.
Budget tickets do not get the afternoon tea and have less comfortable seats
for the trip."
Bruce Hoult offered:
"Booking is not required, but it can be a very good idea if you don't want
to end up on the 2am sailing at peak times. You should be OK in November
or the first week or two of December though. Foot passengers and
motorcyclists (that's me :-) will virtually always get on any sailing they
want, without booking in advance.
"If you will have a rental car, the best option is usually to use a company
that lets you drop your car in Picton and get a new one in Wellington and
take the ferry as a passenger."
To which Lin Nah adds:
"They have changed the booking rules recently. Both ferries have cheaper
rates for those who book early but there are possibly no cheap fares during
peak periods. I believe they are using the similar rules of allocating
"seats" as airlines, buses and trains are.
"I agree with bruce's advice regarding rental car. IMHO the cost of taking
the car across far outweighs the inconvenience of having to unload and
reload the car at each end."
There is a new venture for the yacht 'Lion New Zealand', renamed 'Phantom
of the Straits' which runs between Wellington and Picton.
Any information about making reservations, etc., would be appreciated.
The ferry to Stewart Island, the Foveaux Express, sails twice daily from
Bluff, phone; +64 03 212 7660
The only alternative is to fly. Southern Air have several flights daily
from Invercargill and one from Dunedin. YHA/Student standby rates are
available. Phone; +64 03 218 9129.
B5.3.6 Coach Travel
Buses go pretty much everywhere there are main roads. There are many
different options with several companies including the Backpacker buses for
which you buy a ticket to travel the whole country and get on and off when
you wish (prices for Backpacker buses fluctuate wildly due to a price war).
Here is some miscellaneous information (prices quoted are in $NZ).
Auckland to Wellington overnight; around $45 - $50 per person (full fare -
Intercity bus currently (March 96) has only one bus per day north and south
along the West coast.
There is a daily bus between Queenstown and Dunedin, via Cromwell, each
way, but you will not be able to make connection in Cromwell without an
There is a small van bus that travels between Invercargill and Dunedin via
the Catlin region that is a beautiful trip. For details, contact Charles
Most(?) coach lines run strictly point to point. If you want to stop in
the intermediate sections, you will need to pay more.
Greymouth - Queenstown $125
Greymouth - Franz Josef $42
Franz Josef - Fox Glacier $10
Fox Glacier - Queenstown $87
Mount Cook Land Line:
Nelson to Queenstown $144
Wanaka to Queenstown $25
More from Lin Nah:
"There's a coach pass for the North Island. It is for bus travel only with
Intercity. I am going to type excerpts from the brochure.
"North Island Coach Passes
Convenient passes for travel throughout the north island on any intercity
coachlines scheduled services linking the major cities, towns and tourist
destinations in the North Island. Coaches operate daily between main
"All passes are designed to offer you the freedom to get off and on the
coach where and when you want. Valid for up to 3 months with travel being
on a standby basis. However for a reservation fee of $3 per sector, you
may reserve seats in advance." (A sector is from where you get on to where
you get off the bus.)
"North Island Value Pass
Offers flexibility for travel between Auckland and Wellington. Adult -
"There are 2 routes. You either go from Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua -
Taupo - Wellington, or Auckland - Thames - Rotorua - Taupo - Wellington.
You won't be eligible for any discounts (i.e. no student or YHA discount).
There are other combinations, for example you can go Auckland - Thames then
go round the Coromandel Peninsula, Tauranga, Rotorua and Wellington for
$130 per adult. The second combination is Auckland - Waitomo Caves -
Rotorua - Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisbourne, Napier, Taupo, Wellington for $180
"Which option you take depends on how much time you have. The $3 booking
fees do add up. However April (unless it is Easter Break) is not peak
travel and you may get away with not paying the booking fee.
"There's a travelpass which offers travel with Intercity (bus), Tranzscenic
(train) and Interislander (Cook Strait ferry; Wellington - Picton). You
can buy the pass for travel within an island or one for both island. (I
presume that within one island means no Interisland ferry). There's also
an option where you can include Ansett airline as well.
"This pass is valid for a set number of days. You can buy a 10 day pass or
a 3 week pass (the price varies of course). You are only allowed to travel
a certain number of days within the duration of your pass, e.g. you can
travel for 5 days over a 10 day pass, 8 days over a 3 week pass.
"There are tour services that do Auckland - Wellington with overnight stops
along the way (probably Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua, night stop in
Rotorua, Rotorua - Taupo - Wellington, etc.). They will have stuff like
accommodation booked for you and stop for the sights along the way.
"Other options if you are willing to divert from the mainstream is to use
one of the [main] backpacker bus services; Kiwi Experience or Magic Bus.
Magic has a better reputation than Kiwi Experience, however I have not used
Magic and can't say much more than that. Kiwi Experience is known as the
party bus where there's a lot of drinking, etc. I have only heard good
things about Magic (from other backpackers and people running backpackers).
The price should be comparable as they are both in competition. In terms
of where one goes, they are almost identical.
"The good thing about these backpacker buses is they do allow for stops
along the way.
"The overnight stops mean you can do activities along the way like
whitewater rafting, blackwater rafting, bungy jumping, grass skiing, jet
boating, maori cultural shows, adventure caving or abseiling, walks, etc.
The bus driver will book you on the trips you want and you pay for them as
you go. They will also book accommodation for you at a backpackers or you
book yourself. Again you pay as you go. Backpackers prices are $10 - $16
per night. YHA is more expensive but the quality is more consistent. You
can also choose to stay more upmarket - there are double rooms avail at the
backpackers and most YHAs. The buses pick up and drop people off at most
YHAs and backpackers."
Kiwi Experience (KE) have a package called the 'Back Paddock' which runs
from Christchurch through Arthur's Pass to Greymouth then down the West
Coast and back to Chch via Wanaka, Queenstown, and Mount Cook. For $204,
you need a minimum of 6 days and can take up to 3 months to finish this
route. They take you to a few places on the way. You pay for your own
accommodation and any entrance fee to any sights. KE run daily so there is
no problem with stopping as long as you like.
Magic Travellers' 'Tranzalpine' is very similar to the 'Back Paddock' but
swaps Mount Cook for Dunedin. For $229, your route needs a minimum of 7
days and should be valid for 3-6 months. The network only runs every other
day so if you want to stay longer than one night, you may end up staying 3
Kiwi Experience has a trip called Geyserland. Minimum of 3 days of travel
and valid up to 3 months. The route is: Auckland -> Thames -> Waitomo ->
Rotorua -> Auckland. Your night stops are at Waitomo and Rotorua. Cost is
$75 but this doesn't include accommodation or the $12 entry to the
glow-worm caves. They can arrange blackwater rafting, hangi, stay at a
marae in Rotorua, abseiling, etc.
"This is from my Kiwi Experience brochure in 1995 - so things may have
changed a little other than price.
"Auckland - Waitomo; Waitomo - Rotorua; Rotorua - Taupo; Taupo - Ohakune;
Ohakune - Thames; $121"
"This year's map has the Auckland - Wellington - Auckland return for $219.
Since Wellington - Auckland is done in one day, I know the minimum length
for Auckland - Wellington is 5 days. I doubt the price will be more than
Magic Travellers network had a route called 'Top of the Town' for $120:
Auckland -> Hamilton -> Waitomo -> Rotorua -> Taupo -> Turangi -> Rotorua
-> Thames -> Auckland.
As a comparison, Intercity coach lines has a route from Auckland to Rotorua
via Waitomo Caves for $100.50 including admission to the caves.
Discounts are available on some lines if you have a backpackers card and/or
book [well] in advance. YHA and backpackpers card (VIP) get a 5% discount.
Numerous other tour operators and routes exist. Shop around!
Tourist Information Centres may handle all the bookings for you (see
A1.2.2) or, for Auckland:
Phone 357 8400 or 0800 731 711
Phone 309 5395
Phone 366 1665
Fax 357 0524
Phone 358 5600
Fax 358 3471
Visitors should get, and READ, a copy of the Road Code. The most important
thing to remember is that driving is on the LEFT HAND SIDE.
The Automobile Association has a site at:
There is info there for travellers, like suggested itineraries for touring
NZ by car, and AA accommodation guide (a quick guide that has an estimated
price range). Another useful thing is there's a NZ map with a table of
distances between towns in NZ.
"I've hired cars the three times I've been in the US, and I don't think it
took any longer than 30 seconds or a minute to get comfortable driving on
the "wrong" side of the road each time. Your US license [presumably this
also applies to licenses from other countries] and passport are all you'll
need. The international license is an unnecessary ripoff."
"Most people seem to have little trouble adapting. Remember, right-hand
turns cut across the traffic, and that you give way to the right. Watch
the speed limits and remember that they are in km/hr, not mph."
If you want to go between (or even to) main centres, and can drive, check
the car hire companies. Some of them may want to relocate cars and will
let you drive their car, for free hire as long as you pay petrol AND pay
the insurance excess if you meet an accident. There are likely to be other
conditions, such as delivering the car within 24 hours of picking it up.
B5.3.8 Commercial Tours
Are available in most main and holiday centres. Prices will vary and it
may be worth shopping around. See B5.3.6.
Three main options (Air New Zealand, Ansett and Mount Cook) and numerous
smaller airlines including companies offering helicopter transport/tours.
If you have a backpackers card, you can also opt for standby seats at 50%
Here are some air fares for Christchurch to Auckland one way:
Mt Cook Air/Air NZ cheapest fare is $124
Unlikely to be any left for this summer due to a recent special where you
could book a seat for $149 to anywhere in another island, or $99 to
anywhere within the same island. These turn up from time to time so keep
an eye open.
Air National: $119
Relatively unknown (check the Auckland phone book). Not so much an airline
as a cargo plane with seats. The service cost $99 back in January 1995
(Lin posted something then).
Air NZ: $164