New Zealand Gay Travel Information

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.

LongBay 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:

  • The 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 are -

    '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 -

  • Airlines:
    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.

  • Banking/Currency:
    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 majority of shops, restaurants, gay stations, etc, for payment of goods and services.

  • Camping:
    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'.

  • Climate:
    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 16C - 26C and in winter 7C - 18C. South island Summer temperatures range between 12C - 25C and in winter 3C - 12C.

  • Customs/Duty Free:
    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.

  • Departure Tax:
    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.

  • Embassies:
    Almost all major countries are represented in New Zealand.

  • Dress:
    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!

  • Electrical Voltage:
    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!

  • Emergency Services:
    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).

  • Entry Requirements:
    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:
    Visa's are NOT issued on arrival!

  • Food:
    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 good feed.

    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 Pepsi).

  • Goods 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).

  • Health:
    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 required.

    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.

  • Language:
    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.

  • Medical Services:
    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.

  • Politics:
    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.

  • Religion:
    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.

  • Shopping:
    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!

  • Sport and Recreation:
    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.

  • Telecommunications:
    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!).

  • Time Zone:
    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).

  • Tipping:
    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!

  • Transport:
    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.

  • Water Supply:
    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 is kewl.

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