Nestled deep in the South Pacific, New Zealand
offers the visitor a sparkling, clean and safe environment. It is a small
country - the same size as Japan or Great Britain - but with a small population
of only 3.8 million it offers more space per capita than most other holiday
destinations in the world.
New Zealand is a land where nature is at its most spectacular. In the south,
soaring, majestic peaks and fathomless fiords while in the north there are
thermal regions where the mud boils and the fractured earth sends jets of steam
and water metres into the air. From hills cloaked in multi-toned layer of native
bush to beaches stroked by the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is a country where
enjoying the outdoors has become a way of life. World class wines increase that
enjoyment from local vineyards which are the first in the world to see the sun
each day. It is a land of awesome beauty - a land of contrasts. Come and enjoy
it with us.
New Zealand is approx 1600 kilometers (1000
miles) in length and consists of two major islands - North and South (fairly
original and no hard names to remember). The North Island is 115,000 sq
kilometers (44,000 sq miles) and the South island is 151,000 sq kilometers
(58,300 sq miles). There is another bit at the bottom called Stewart Island
which is 1700 sq kilometers (656 sq miles). The total coastline is 15,134
kilometers if you have desires to 'circumnavigate'.
New Zealand is situated 10,400 km (6,464 miles)
south-west of North America, 1,700km (1,056 miles) south of Fiji, and 2,250km
(1,400 miles) east of Australia. If you still can't find us, track down the 180
degree Longitude where it intersects the 40 degree south Latitude and we are
there just a few millimetres to the left!
A Geographic coordinate: 41 00 S, 174 00 E .. if
you want to have a precise dot somewhere in NZ amongst the sheep.
New Zealand has a population of approximately 3.8
million including 280,000 Maori. Both Maori and European (Pakeha) are a united
population (mostly) sharing the same legal and citizenship rights. The ethnic
mix is about: New Zealand European 74.5%, Maori 9.7%, other European 4.6%,
Pacific Islander 3.8%, Asian and others 7.4%
There is approximately 100,622 gay and lesbian
people between 16-64 years living in New Zealand.
Auckland has the largest gay and lesbian
population (41,255), followed by Wellington (13,583), Christchurch (7748),
Hamilton (7144), Dunedin (1310) and rest of New Zealand (29,582).
We have about 3.4 million radios, 1.7 million
television sets, 1.9 million telephones, 92,200 km of roads, 44 airports with
paved runways, and we got our Independence on 26 September 1907 (from the UK)!
More things you
may or may not want to know:
meaning of 'Gay Friendly' -
New Zealand is the only international gay and lesbian destination to adopt a
clear policy of what is meant by being 'gay friendly'.
The two catergories that New Zealand's gay and lesbian industry has adopted
'Approved Gay Friendly' -
This category means that the tourism operator accepts the expression of gay
and lesbian lifestyle, prepared to resolve any despitues concerning
homephobia and as committed to the ongoing development of New Zealand's gay
and lesbian tourism industry.
'Gay Friendly' -
This category means that the tourism operator has a established
creditability that they accept the expression of gay and lesbian lifestyle.
'If you experience any problems or
discrimination with any tourism operator that belong to any other of
the above categories, please contact Gay Tourism New Zealand - firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Zealand is served by Air New Zealand, Qantas, United Airlines, Singapore
Airlines, Korean Airlines, Thai International, Air Pacific, Polynesian,
Japan Airlines, Cathy Pacific and some others. These airlines have co-share
flights with most of the international airlines.
Decimal currency - New Zealand Dollars (NZD). Banks are open 9:00am until
4:30pm Monday through Friday. Banks do not operate Saturdays, Sundays or
public holidays. Major Credit Cards are accepted throughout New Zealand
(American Express, Diners Club, Visa, Mastercard, JCB). Gay Card is not
accepted yet. In addition various Currency Exchange outlets operate
(government regulated as to operation) and no matter where you change
currency the exchange rate should be the same international rate.
New Zealand's has a excellent network of ATM (Money making machines) that
accept Visa and Mastercard and select overseas ATM/Bank Cards that uses
Visa's 'PLUS' or Mastercard 'Cirrus' systems.
EFTPOS (Electronic funds transfer at point of sale) facility is available in
shops, restaurants, gay stations, etc, for payment of goods and services.
Camping grounds and sites are found throughout New Zealand. They are not
'camp' as such - except 'Vinegar Hill' over Christmas/New Year when it's ALL
'Camp' with a capital 'C'.
New Zealand's climate is an oceanic, temperate one with no close land mass
to modify it. Situated in the westerly wind belt with alternating patterns
moving steadily eastwards, the weather follows a relatively steady 6 to 10
day cycle but with many contrasts throughout the country.
We enjoy long sun hours and the seasons are
reverse to those of the northern hemisphere - warm October through April,
cooler May through September.
Temperatures throughout New Zealand vary due
to the diverse nature of the country, but average North Island Summer
temperatures range between 16°C - 26°C and in winter 7°C - 18°C. South
island Summer temperatures range between 12°C - 25°C and in winter 3°C -
200 Cigarettes, 1125 ml bottle of spirits plus 6 bottles of wine are
permitted. There is no need to carry this stuff onboard the aircraft as Inbound
Duty Free shops are available on your arrival at Auckland, Wellington and
Christchurch airports with some of the lowest Duty Free prices for booze and
cigarettes anywhere in the world.
Do not be
tempted to try bringing any Drugs (non-medicinal) into New Zealand. There
are strict Drug and Trafficking laws in New Zealand with major emphasis on
boarder control including drug dogs operating at all International airports.
Our Customs people are generally pretty cool - but this changes rather
dramatically if you have dope stashed in your baggage! And you don't need
drugs here to have a good time.
NZ$25.00 (Depending on airport) is payable (cash or credit card) by all
international passengers upon departure - except same day international
transit passengers (coming from country-1 and departing to
country-3) and children under the age of 11. There are no 'special'
exemptions for gays or lesbians.
Almost all major countries are represented in New Zealand.
You can wear one if you wish. New Zealanders generally dress casually for
most occasions even in the best hotels and nightclubs, although neat attire
is expected - especially in the trendy places. Formal dress (suit and tie)
are not mandatory anywhere. At the gay/lesbian dance parties, anything goes!
The electrical zap through the country is 230 volts, 50 hertz and a 3-pin
plug. Most hotels and motels have 110-volt AC sockets (20 watts) for
electric razors only - there is not enough
woomph in them to drive anything else such as hair dryers etc. Best to
borrow a local hair dryer before the big party. If you're interestsed, we
produce about 36 billion kWh of electricity each year - mostly from Hydro
Dams (water power!). If you're not interested then just remember the light
& plug switches work the correct way here: Up=Off and Down=On. If you're
going to plug a vibrator in it's best to know these things!
Extensive emergency services are in operation throughout New Zealand. The
emergency service telephone number is 111
(Police, Medical/Ambulance, Fire) and can be dialed free of charge from ANY
telephone (including pay, card and cell phones).
Passports are required for all visitors and must be valid for at least 3
months beyond your intended departure date out of New Zealand. You must also
have an onward or return ticket to a country that you have permission to
enter, and sufficient funds to support your stay (NZD1,000 per month per
person). Visa requirements vary so please
check with your travel agent.
Some foreign nationals are permitted to enter
New Zealand for up to 3 months without a visa for tourist purposes only.
Check the NZ Immigration website for the
current list of countries: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/visit/
Visa's are NOT issued on arrival!
New Zealand is a major producer of pasture-fed lamb (little sheep), venison
and beef. Our seas yield a variety of fish, rock lobsters (crayfish),
oysters and scallops. Fruit and vegetables are locally grown, fresh and
tasty. Heaps of restaurants (both fully licensed and BYO) in the cities and
towns, with quite a few out in the county as well, offer a wide range of
local and international cuisine. Prices obviously vary but if you have
$NZ20-30 you can get a good two course meal and for an extra $NZ12 get
sloshed on a reasonable bottle of wine. For $60 you can have a really really
If you are on the cheap, many fast food
outlets abound throughout New Zealand from the local corner 'Take Aways'
(burgers, fish, chips, oriental etc) to the big names like McDonalds, Burger
King, Wendys, KFC etc (yep, there is no escaping - and we also make Coke and
and Service Tax (GST):
To help the government make money, a 12.5% Goods and Service Tax (GST) is
payable on everything you buy. Generally this is included in the advertised
price but if it starts to make things look too expensive, there will be a
note on the price tag, brochure or menu that states GST is additional. On
all receipts issued, the GST content must be shown as a separate item (ie
Condoms $12, GST $1.50, Total $13.50 - or the words GST Content $1.50).
New Zealand is free of health hazards - biological and animal (no snakes,
wild bears, lions or tigers except in the Zoo's). Nothing dangerous will
leap out at you in the middle of the night, except if a tiger escapes from
the zoo or your partner gets aroused. No vaccination certificates are
The most dangerous things we have are goats
(they tend to "bunt" a lot), some Pitt Bull Terriers (don't open
the gate), The All Blacks (sometimes), and David Tua.
English is the common language of New Zealanders but Maori is also an
official language of increasing importance to Maori. Maori is spoken
predominately amongst the Maori community. Many French/German/Spanish and
Asian bi-lingual staff work at major tourist places and major hotels.
Australian is also generally understood.
Offensive language in a public place is not too smart and you could end up
staying with the local police. The police dress in blue and wear blue/white
chequered caps - most generally looking quite cool.
New Zealand provides a high standard of medical treatment and care, both
public and private facilities. Please note that medical services are not
free to visitors or non-residents - except as a result of an accident
(and you don't want to go around having those all the time). It is strongly
recommended that you carry adequate medical insurance.
Yes we have one of those. The Government of New Zealand is a party approach
to politics (in more ways than one) with an independent judiciary. New
Zealand is a constitutional monarchy, the Head of State - Her Majesty, Queen
Elizabeth II - is represented within the country by a resident Governor
General. Most of us ignore the whole thing and just get on with living.
Christian - predominantly Church of England and Roman Catholic. Almost every
other religion is also represented. If you don't have a religion that is not
a problem either.
Shops are mostly open 9am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday. Also in most areas 9am
to 4pm Saturdays and 10am-4pm Sundays. Late night shopping in the main
centres is Friday until 9pm. In some areas, particularly in the suburbs,
late night shopping is on Thursdays until 9pm. Shopping hours are now quite
flexible and some shops remain open longer - particularly in the tourist
areas (we need your money). It is also expected that you pay for items you
want, we are not a free country!
Fisherman, golfers, skiers, hunters, windsurfers, snowboarders, campers,
hikers, surfers, etc etc come from all parts of the world to enjoy the
virtually unlimited scope for their sport and recreation in New Zealand.
Except for Big-Game hunting (lions and tigers and things where you need to
go to Africa) if you want to do it then we provide it. You can even see
rugby, soccer, tennis, basketball and a few others if that turns you on. The
one thing we are a bit short of is ice (except in drinks) so ice based
sports are a bit hard to find - except some parts of the South during winter
where you can go ice skating. Snow skiing is not a problem, it's higher up
and is some of the best in the world - particularly in the South Island with
many ski fields.
We are isolated geographically so we have a heavy requirement for
telecommunications to connect us to the world via satellite, fibre optic and
analog circuits. All the modern stuff is here and well used. If you have a
world traveling capable bat-phone it should work here OK, again either
analog or GSM digital (if you arrange it with your local service provider).
Cell phones are also available for hire. Some hotels offer plug-in-the-wall
sockets for laptop connection so you can hook into your email and pick up
messages from friends and lovers. New Zealand uses the British Telecom BT600
phone plug (if that information helps!).
New Zealand is almost right on the International date line and is 12 hours
ahead of GMT Mid-MAR through Early-OCT, and 13 hours ahead of GMT Early-OCT
through Mid-MAR (NZ Daylight Saving Time).
Persons employed in New Zealand do not depend upon tips or gratuities for
their income, and tips are not expected for normal service. However, when
you get good restaurant service or if the waiter is real spunky - give them
a tip. It is accepted and will make you feel good!
A comprehensive network of scheduled road, rail and air transportation
operates throughout New Zealand. A note here that often it is cheaper
to buy domestic New Zealand air travel tickets outside of the country in
conjunction with your International ticket. Hire cars, rental cars, rental
campervans and taxi services are readily available. Oh, and we drive on the LEFT
side of the road over here (the correct way to drive). ie: keep the
white line on the right hand side of the car at all times). Speed limit on
the open road is 100kph and in urban areas 50kph. Drink/Driving is not
permitted and the penalties are tough so don't
do it. Get a taxi.
New Zealand cities and towns have excellent public water supplies. In all
cases, tap water is fresh and quite safe to drink - unless you are allergic
to fresh water without whiskey in it. Ice Cubes in drinks are SAFE to chew
on or let melt. In most country places there are usually 'filters' over the
water inlet pipes to prevent dead possums (fury things similar to cats - but
with sharper claws & teeth) getting into the water supply - so the water