Weather and seasons
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 to wear
Although Auckland doesn’t have extremes of temperature, it’s best to cover your bases. In summer, you might spend most of your time in a t-shirt and shorts or jeans, but always bring a jacket and sweater so you’re prepared should the weather turn cooler.
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.
If you’re not travelling for business, 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 formal bars and restaurants.
English is the most commonly spoken language in New Zealand, with Māori and New Zealand Sign Language also official languages. Auckland is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, so you may find some multi-lingual staff in hotels, restaurants, hospitals and our i-SITE Visitor Information Centres.
If you can, it always helps to learn a few basic words and phrases in English before you come – particularly around times, directions and prices – so you can ask for help if you need it.
Visas and passports
All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that’s valid for at least three months from the date when you intend to leave the country. 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 when you’re planning your trip.
Safety and health
New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, and ‘Kiwis’ (New Zealanders) are known for being friendly, free-spirited and welcoming. With a high respect for human rights and equality, our travel experiences cater for all ages and cultures and are LGBTIQ+ 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.
Vaccinations are not required to visit New Zealand. We are disease free and there are strict regulations on bringing animal, plant and food products into the country. Please help us keep our country safe and check our customs regulations before you leave home.
Health insurance for overseas travellers
Medical services are not free to visitors, so travel insurance that covers health and medical is strongly recommended.
Tap water in New Zealand is treated, so it’s safe to drink in most places in Auckland, including hotels, motels and restaurants – however check at your accommodation first if you’re not sure.
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. Not all of our beaches are patrolled – you can find patrolled beaches at findabeach.co.nz.
Make sure you keep safe while you’re in, on and under the water – see New Zealand’s Water Safety Code for tips.
Getting around Auckland is easy, whether you’re using public transport, hiring a car, joining a tour or exploring the country in a campervan or motorhome.
Find out how to get around Auckland when you’re here, and what licences you’ll need if you’re driving.
Money – currency, costs and taxes
Using your credit card in New Zealand
All major credit cards can be used and money can be changed at banks and Bureau de Change kiosks throughout the country, as well as some hotels.
Our national currency is New Zealand dollars ($) and cents (c). There are five notes ($5, $10, $20, $50, $100) and five coins (10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2).
Check the latest exchange rates and conversions at xe.com or visit one of the currency converters while you’re here. You can change your money at Auckland Airport, Bureau de Change kiosks, and banks in the city centre and other spots across Auckland.
Costs for flights, accommodation, vehicle hire and some activities will vary depending on what time of year you’re visiting, and the day(s) of the week. Costs for dining out, entertainment and shopping are generally consistent year-round, though if you’re visiting around a holiday, such as Christmas or Easter, you may find some great sales.
Tipping is not expected and hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills – however a tip for good service is always appreciated.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
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.
i-SITE Visitor Information Centres
Visit one of our i-SITE Visitor Information Centres for free advice and bookings for activities, attractions, accommodation and transport in Auckland, and throughout New Zealand. The i-SITE staff have a huge amount of local knowledge and can help you make the most of your time while you’re here.
Things to do in Auckland
There’s so much to experience in Auckland year round – beautiful beaches, superb food and wine, world-class shopping, unique cultural experiences, island escapes, and plenty of action and adventure. And because it’s all so close, you can pack a lot in, even if you’re only here for a short time.
Look out for the Qualmark sign. Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance programme, which provides a guide to quality travel experiences. This can make it easier for you to choose quality accommodation (from budget to luxury), activities and ways to get around.
Other travel tips and information
Shop hours in Auckland
Standard shopping hours from Monday to Friday are usually from 9am to 5pm. Many shopping centres/malls are open slightly longer hours and may be also open late on Thursday and Friday to around 9pm. On Saturday and Sunday, most malls are open normal shopping hours.
There are 24-hour convenience stores, service stations (petrol/gas stations) and supermarkets in the central city, as well as some of the larger suburbs.
Mobile phone network
New Zealand operates on a 900 or 1800 MHz network, as do most countries except Canada and the United States. Mobile phones from these countries won’t operate in New Zealand – you can buy or rent a compatible phone or SIM card on arrival.
You can find some free Wi-Fi spots in central Auckland and some cafés also offer free Wi-Fi for customers. A number of accommodation providers offer free Wi-Fi access; check when you book your room.
New Zealand's electricity supply runs at 230 volts/50 Hertz, and we use angled two or three pin plugs in a three-pin socket – the same as Australia and some parts of Asia. You can bring an adaptor with you or buy one for a small cost from an electrical store or at the airport when you arrive.
Luggage storage is available at:
- the Harbour Information desk at the ferry terminal in downtown Auckland on Quay Street
- the Intercity Coach Terminal at 102 Hobson Street
- the international terminal at Auckland International Airport (longer-term storage).
It’s illegal to smoke in many indoor spaces in New Zealand, including restaurants, bars, cinemas and on public transport. However, many pubs and bars have separate outdoor areas where you can smoke. You must be 18 years or older to buy cigarettes.
Churches in the central city
- Saint Patrick's Cathedral, 43 Wyndham St, Auckland Central (Catholic)
- Anglican Diocese of Auckland, 12 St Stephens Ave, Parnell
- Auckland Greyfriars Presbyterian Church, 544 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden