Travel Hints & Tips Zealand/NZ_TravelHints_01.jpg

Travel Hints & Tips

A ski New Zealand holiday is reasonably fuss free, but here are a few travel tips to make it as uncomplicated as possible.

Security & Safety

In relation to health, NZ and Australia have reciprocal arrangements so any public hospital medical treatment will be free.

Considering that New Zealand sits on the Pacific Rim of Fire, there is always the risk of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Eruptions occur frequently at Mt Ruapehu and if you visit the local pubs you can look at photos of the last major eruption where people continued to ski whilst the volcano was spewing lava down the mountain. Crazy!

Also take care of the Keas (the native mountain parrots with mega-beaks). They won’t attack you, but they may ruin your windscreen, roof racks, goggles, gloves or anything else that looks yummy. Don’t leave windows open in buildings or your car without maintaining a watchful eye, and don’t encourage the birds by feeding them. Keas are protected species so even if they’ve just destroyed your ski clothing you can’t take vengeance.

New Zealand is not crime free and usual precautions regarding your valuables will be required. You may also need to be careful if the All Blacks lose by toning down your joy.


New Zealand has a decimal currency based on dollar and cent denominations. Often the NZ currency isn’t as strong as many other countries. Check Oanda for currency conversion.

A GST (Goods and Services tax) of 15% applies in New Zealand, but it’s included on the price tag. Unfortunately there is no traveller scheme to enable this to be refunded.

Tipping is not expected in restaurants or taxis, but if you do want to demonstrate your appreciation you certainly won’t embarrass anyone.


The tap water in New Zealand is safe to drink.

Electrical plugs

Electricity throughout New Zealand is supplied at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. The sockets are the same as that in Australia.

Time Zone

New Zealand is close to the international dateline and during non-daylight savings time (ie winter) NZ is 2 hours in front of Australian Eastern Standard Time. This makes it hard for Australians to want to get up early in the morning to go skiing, but the time zone helps if you want to stay up late.


Mobile phone coverage is fine in the towns and cities, but it isn’t great in some rural areas, and only some of the ski fields have coverage.

The country dialling code is +64.

What to Pack?

For advice on items to pack on a ski or snowboard holiday to New Zealand, check out the packing checklist.

Souvenir Shopping

New Zealand sells some pretty great souvenirs. It seems compulsory to buy something to do with sheep whether it is a soft toy, key ring, poster or t-shirt. Nothing like a t-shirt with an unoriginal joke about Kiwis and their sheep! There are also lots of sheepskin products and clothing items including moccasins and Ugg boots, although at least for Australians it may seem criminal to buy a product which is so readily available back home.

With the abundance of merino sheep in New Zealand, there are plenty of items utilising the fine merino wool. Icebreaker is a very popular brand of inner garments, which seem to feature in most outdoor and ski shops. Merino wool products are also often combined with possum fur to make very soft hats, gloves and g-strings (?!).

Wood carvings are also popular, as is jewellery and other items that contain the indigenous Pounamu (greenstone) and the paua shell. Manuka honey and associated products are also great. Kiwi fruit products such as hand cream and shampoo are also readily available. As a form of patriotism, there are many many shops selling All Blacks merchandise. Other souvenirs to signify “the country” include those emblazoned with the silver fern and the good old Kiwi.