To help you plan your travels, find out the answers to commonly asked questions when travelling to Auckland and New Zealand.
How long does it take to get to Auckland, New Zealand?
Auckland Airport is the second largest airport in Australasia and is serviced by 18 international airlines flying direct to Auckland from 32 destinations around the world.
We are approximately a 10-hour direct flight from most places in the Pacific Rim, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and the west coast of the USA. It is only a three-hour flight from the eastern seaboard of Australia. No matter where you fly from, New Zealand is no more than a day away by air.
There’s also more than 300 daily flights to 20 cities around the country, making it easy for visitors travelling within New Zealand.
Do I need a passport or visa to visit New Zealand?
All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months from the date when you intend to leave the country. Currently travellers from more than 50 countries do not require a visitor’s visa for stays of less than three months. For longer stays a visitor’s visa may be required.
Make sure you check your passport and visa requirements on the New Zealand Immigration Service website.
Do I need health insurance when travelling to New Zealand from overseas?
Medical services are not free to visitors, so travel insurance that covers health and medical is strongly recommended.
How safe is New Zealand?
New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, and Auckland is also rated the third most liveable city in the world on the global Mercer Quality of Life Survey.
Kiwis are friendly, free-spirited and welcoming. With a high respect for human rights and equality, our travel experiences can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages and cultures and are gay-friendly.
Always take the same precautions with your safety and possessions that you usually would at home or travelling elsewhere, including making copies of your passports and visas and taking out travel insurance.
What is the weather like?
Enjoy Auckland in any season – the region has a warm coastal climate without extremes of temperature.
The seasons are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. Auckland’s summer is from December to February, autumn or fall is from March to May, winter is from June to August and spring is from September to November.
The mean daily temperature during January and February is 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit), and during July and August, the mean daily maximum is 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit).
What clothing should I bring?
Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and night spots. Men are generally not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few select formal bars and restaurants in major cities.
Although Auckland doesn’t have extremes of temperature, it’s best to cover your bases. In summer a jacket and sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or you visit higher altitudes. Whatever the season, include a light rainproof jacket or coat just in case. If visiting between May and September, pack warm winter garments and layer your clothing, and bring your scarves, hats and gloves.
Can I use my credit card in New Zealand?
Yes, we accept all major credit cards and money can be changed at banks and Bureau de Change kiosks throughout the country, as well as some hotels.
How far will my money go?
New Zealand’s currency is based on dollars ($) and cents (c). There are five notes ($5, $10, $20, $50, $100) and five coins (10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2).
Check out www.xe.com for the latest exchange rates or visit one of the currency converters at airports and kiosks, which can be found in most city centres.
Do I need to tip in New Zealand?
Employees in New Zealand do not expect tips or depend on tips as part of their income, however recognition for good service is always appreciated.
Does New Zealand tax goods and services?
New Zealand has a 15% goods and services tax (GST), which is included in the advertised price of goods and services unless stated. Overseas visitors cannot claim this back. Some stores may waive GST if you show onward or return air tickets, or when international shipment of goods is arranged.
When I arrive in New Zealand, who can help me find out where to go?
Visit one of our i-SITE Visitor Information Centres for free advice and bookings for activities, attractions, accommodation and transport. You can also phone the team on 0800 AUCKLAND (0800 282 552). Find out more about how i-SITE Visitor Information Centres can help you get the most of your time in Auckland and New Zealand.
How do I know the services and activities I am going to use will be of a high standard?
Look out for the Qualmark sign. Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance programme, which provides a guide to quality travel experiences, making it easy for you to choose high quality places to stay, things to do and ways to get around.
For advice on quality tourism experiences, talk to the knowledgeable staff at our i-SITE Visitor Information Centres or phone 0800 AUCKLAND (0800 282 552). Find out more about how i-SITE Visitor Centres can help you get the most of your time in Auckland and New Zealand.
Which side of the road do New Zealanders drive on?
In New Zealand, drive on the left. That means visitors from some countries might need a bit of adjustment, and English and Australians will feel right at home.
Is it easy to hire a car in New Zealand?
It’s extremely easy to hire a car in Auckland and New Zealand. There are many rental car companies – including all the main international car hire companies – offering everything from standard sedans and hatchbacks to motorhomes and motorcycles.
Most major rental car companies have depots at Auckland Airport and in downtown Auckland.
View our top tips for an Auckland road trip
What type of food can I expect in New Zealand?
Auckland and New Zealand offer a huge variety of cuisine from around the world. Surrounded by three harbours, Auckland is particularly famous for its delicious fresh seafood and Pacific Rim fare.
You’ll also find everything from Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern delights to Italian, French and Mediterranean food. Plus of course traditional dishes such as roasts, burgers and our local favourite, good old fish and chips.
Because of our clean rivers and harbours, fertile farmland and mild climate, local food is made with the freshest ingredients for unbeatable flavours. Auckland and New Zealand also have several internationally-renowned wine growing regions, so make sure you try a bottle of our finest while you’re here.
How do I get from Auckland Airport to the city?
Auckland's international and domestic airport terminals are located approximately 45 minutes from downtown Auckland. Regular shuttles, transfers, private transport and bus services are all available 24 hours, seven days a week.
Taxi and shuttle ranks are located outside the arrivals area at the international terminal and outside the luggage collection area at the domestic terminal. Stop in at the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre in the international or domestic terminal for more information about getting to your destination from the airport.
Is it easy to find your way around Auckland?
With a free downtown city bus service, a low-cost bus service for the inner city suburbs, a comprehensive public transport system and a great motorway network, getting around Auckland is easy. The main transport hub of Britomart Transport Centre is located downtown, with easy access to hotels, dining, attractions and waterfront areas.
Where do I catch the city bus?
The LINK bus services offer a convenient and cheap way to get around Auckland and are simple to use. To catch a LINK bus, just look for the red, green or amber buses and wait at a matching bus stop. The service operates on such a frequent basis that a timetable is not necessary. There are three different LINK routes and fares start from just 50 cents.
How do I find out about the Explorer Bus?
What types of accommodation are available in Auckland?
You name it, we’ve got it. There’s everything from 5-star hotels and boutique luxury lodges to motels, backpackers and camping grounds next to beaches. No matter what your taste or budget, we have something for every traveller. Find out more about Auckland accommodation.
How can I experience Māori culture in Auckland?
Māori culture is an important part of Auckland and New Zealand’s heritage, present and future. Make sure you experience this dynamic culture while you’re here. There are lots of different authentic experiences available in Auckland, from daily cultural performances and the huge collection of Māori taonga (treasures) at Auckland Museum to sailing the harbour on a traditional Māori waka (canoe).
What are shop hours in Auckland?
Standard shopping hours from Monday to Friday are from 9am to 5pm, with most shopping centres open until 6pm. Some shops and malls are open late on Thursday and Friday to 9pm. On Saturday and Sunday most malls are open normal shopping hours. There are a number of 24-hour convenience stores, service stations and supermarkets in the central city.
What wildlife can I expect to see?
Auckland’s stunning natural environment makes it a haven for native wildlife, particularly birds and sea creatures. The conservation of this precious environment is close to our hearts.
Head out on a whale and dolphin spotting safari in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park or visit Tiritiri Matangi Island, an open wildlife sanctuary. Our native forests are alive with birdsong and magnificent trees and you’ll see all types of birdlife in our regional parks and reserves.
What kind of nightlife does Auckland have?
There is a huge variety of nightlife in Auckland to suit every taste. Catch a live band, dance to the DJ in one of the many nightclubs or see some live comedy. There’s a thriving theatre scene, cinemas, pubs, elegant bars and a world-class casino.
In Auckland, there’s a stellar line up of events year-round, including festivals, Broadway musicals and concerts from some of the biggest music acts in the world.
Where can I find a church in the central city?
- Saint Patrick's, 43 Wyndham St, Auckland Central (Catholic)
- Anglican Church, 12 St. Stephens Ave, Parnell
- Auckland Greyfriars Presbyterian Church, 544 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden.
Is it safe to swim at the beaches in Auckland?
Auckland is surrounded by three harbours, with the Hauraki Gulf on the east coast and the Tasman Sea on the west. There are hundreds of beaches throughout the Auckland region, from sheltered bays to wild, windswept ocean beaches. Many are suitable for swimming, however there can be hidden dangers such as rips at some. If a beach is patrolled by lifeguards, always swim between the yellow and red flags and take notice of warning signs.
- i-SITE Visitor Information Centres
Auckland i-SITE Visitor Information Centres can help you make the most of your holiday, not just in Auckland but for the whole of the country.