Additional Information About Travel to New Zealand
TippingAt the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter New Zealand, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, please contact the relevant embassies for your entry requirements.
The flights for tours beginning or ending in New Zealand will arrive or depart from Queenstown and Auckland. On-tour transportation is provided primarily by private motor coach, but may include planes, trains, boats, ferries, or other modes. During free time, you may wish to explore the cities by public transportation, and your tour coordinator and tour guide will have suggestions. While in Auckland, transportation by ferry, rail and bus is now connected by the Britomart interchange.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
In the tropics, lightweight clothing is suitable year-round. During the southern winter (June– August), warm clothing is advised, as is rainwear for the South Island of New Zealand. Sneakers are advised for exploring reefs and beaches, as are sun hats and sunscreen. There will rarely be an occasion for formal attire.
New Zealand operates on 240 volts.
There are no health risks associated with traveling to New Zealand. Travelers should take particular care of sun exposure and drink plenty of liquids. If you choose to go swimming, be careful of powerful surf. Make sure to obey signs and lifeguard orders and always swim between the well-marked flags. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for the latest health updates and overseas travel requirements.
In New Zealand, there are many good local varieties of fish and seafood, excellent venison and superb fruits, including kiwi and passion fruits. For lunch, tea rooms serve savory meat pies, quiche and desserts. Regions of New Zealand are well-known for their wines, and produce some fine vintages.
All airport and departure taxes for your tour are included in the total trip cost printed on your invoice, except for those noted here. All visitors departing New Zealand must pay an airport departure tax directly to the airport. At press time, this tax was $25 New Zealand dollars and is subject to change without notice.
The unit of currency you’ll be using on your tour is the New Zealand dollar (and the Fijian dollar on extension). Better rates of exchange are found in those countries. We recommend taking a combination of ATM/bank cards and credit cards. All are widely accepted. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges and freeze your account.
New Zealand is 14 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time (PST). When it is 6 pm in California, it is 8 am the next morning in New Zealand.