New Zealand

Sheep in New Zealand   Maori man

Why New Zealand?                                                            Click here to view video

There’s a reason the sun shines on New Zealand before anywhere else – every new day in Aotearoa is something to cherish! Small, remote and thinly populated, yes, but NZ punches well above its weight with its outlandish scenery, fabulous festivals, superb food and wine, and magical outdoor experiences. Equally impressive is NZ’s potent, mainstream Maori culture. This is a country that recognises and celebrates its indigenous people – the world is a kinder, gentler, more respectful place down here! And while the fanfare surrounding the Lord of the Rings trilogy is waning, visiting the real-life Middle-earth still has a geeky allure - LOTR director Peter Jackson's filmmaking prowess still holds Wellington (aka ‘Wellywood’) in its thrall.

On the broader arts front, Kiwi live music remains brilliant (dub, hip-hop, reggae and rock), while NZ radio remains abysmal. Culturally, debate rages between anti- and pro-arts lobbies: one side would rather chew their arms off than see another art gallery open; the other sees cultural celebration as the future for both community and tourism. How does NZ forge its cultural identity? What role do the arts play? Do cultural attractions lure the tourists? From our perspective, they most certainly do!

And then of course there’s the national obsession – rugby. 2011 will go down as the year that New Zealand, at last, fulfilled their potential by winning the Rugby World Cup. The All Blacks may have sneaked across the line with a nerve-jangling 8-7 win over traditional party-poopers France, but the scenes of mass jubilation that broke out across the country at the final whistle showed that it was the result that really mattered. Now New Zealand have broken their fast it'll take a mighty challenge to wrench it from their grip. Other topics on local tongues include fixed-net fishing endangering dolphins, vexatious treaty settlements, and didymo (aka ‘rock snot’) infestation in rivers and lakes. And don’t get anyone started on petrol prices...That’s contemporary NZ in a nutshell! You’re in for an awesome trip. Back home on the couch, your memories will drift from rampaging outdoor activities to world-class food, wine and beer (oh, especially the wine and beer), and chilled-out locals. But your most sparkling recollections will come courtesy of NZ’s natural splendour – there are few countries on this lonely planet as diverse, unspoiled and utterly, utterly photogenic.

  • When should I travel?
New Zealand is beautiful year round and has so much to offer in all seasons. With great snow and skiing in Winter – golden beaches and sunshine in summer, beautiful colours and breathtaking scenery in Autumn and Spring. New Zealand offers it all. The best time of year to see New Zealand will ultimately depend on what you want to see and do. Seasonal temperature variation is by about 10 - 15 degrees Celsius between Summer and Winter throughout most of the Country. 

  • Is it safe to travel and are there places to avoid?
Most visits to New Zealand are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • What money should I take?
The currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. ATMs are common. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at official rates at trading banks, large hotels and some shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

  • What language will they understand?
English is the common and everyday language, but other languages are also spoken, including Maori, which is New Zealand's second official language (spoken by the indigenous Maori people who constitute approximately 15% of the population).

  • How about my health?
Medical facilities, both public and private, are of a high standard. Comprehensive medical insurance is strongly recommended before travelling to cover any additional charges. Due to a thinning of the ozone layer over New Zealand, sun burn can occur quicker than in other areas of the world and precaitions should be taken; such as shortening exposure time to the sun, wearing hats and applying high-factor sun cream.

  • Public Holidays

2012
01 January New Year
06 February Waitangi Day
06 April Good Friday
09 April Easter Monday
25 April ANZAC Day
04 June Queen's Birthday
22 October Labour Day
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day

2013
01 January New Year's Day
06 February Waitangi Day
29 March Good Friday
01 April Easter Monday
25 April ANZAC Day
03 June Queen's Birthday
28 October Labour Day
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day

  • Do I need a visa?
South African passport holders do not require a visa for a visit of up to 3 months.

  • Will I need any innoculations before I depart?
No vaccinations are required.