Horseback riding in New Zealand

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Equestrian tours in New Zealand

New Zeland Mini Guide
   Source: World Travel Guide


New Zealand is a unique land of breathtaking scenery. Craggy coastlines, sweeping golden beaches, verdant rainforests, snow-capped alpine mountains, gurgling volcanic pools, fuming active volcanoes, flashing fish-filled rivers and glacier-fed lakes compete for attention, all beneath a brilliant blue sky. Pair this with a thriving indigenous culture, bustling cosmopolitan cities, traditional towns and friendly people with a distinct lust for life and you have an outstanding and unusual combination.

New Zealand is spread over several small islands. The more developed North Island is home to the main cities, whilst the vast empty spaces of South Island are best for escaping the crowds. Tiny, undeveloped Stewart Island is reminiscent of how New Zealand must have looked before the arrival of people.

Getting around is easy as the country has a modern and efficient transport network, quiet roads, plenty of flights and two stunningly scenic rail journeys. The plant and animal life are also excellent offering opportunities to see the varied birdlife (including kiwis), seals, dolphins and whales.

Enjoy the chance to explore two of the richest New World wine regions on the planet, taste wonderful cuisine, stroll on moody beaches, tramp through the national parks or over alpine passes on well-maintained, beautifully sited tracks.

The country is also perfect for every kind of outdoor activity. Not surprisingly, some of the world's most cutting-edge adventure activities originated in New Zealand. Try bungee jumping, caving or white-water rafting. Or if that is not your bag, immerse yourself in culture in the museums and galleries of New Zealand's main cities - Auckland, Christchurch and the capital Wellington.

New Zealand was first settled at least 1,000 years ago by the Polynesian Maori, a well ordered tribal society. The first European arrival was Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642, although it was not until the voyages of Captain James Cook, in 1769 and 1779, that the islands were charted and explored.

Since then the country has developed into one of the cleanest, greenest, most popular places to live and visit. Tourist numbers rocketed around the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which showcased New Zealand's fantastic scenery to a worldwide audience.



Passport Required?









Other EU


Visa Required?









Other EU


Return Ticket Required?









Other EU




Passport valid for at least three months beyond the intended period of stay required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.


Not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to three months except:
(a) nationals of the UK who may stay for up to six months;
(b) nationals of Australia who may stay indefinitely.

Visa Note

Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact their nearest New Zealand Immigration Service to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).
1. Visa waiver does not apply to people travelling on alien (non-citizen) passports issued by Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Types and cost

On arrival, all visitors are required to complete a Passenger Arrival Card before passing through customs or passport control. These cards are usually given out during in-bound flights but are also available in the arrivals area of the airport. Visitors from countries which have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand do not need a visa for visits of up to three months (six months for UK visitors). All other nationals require a visitor’s visa. Work, business and student visas are also available for people travelling in these capacities.

Visitor visa: NZ$165; transit visa: NZ$145.




New Zealand Dollar (NZD; symbol: NZ$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of NZ$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of NZ$2 and 1, and 50, 20 and 10 cents.

In November 2006, the New Zealand Reserve Bank introduced new, smaller 50, 20 and 10 cent coins. The 5 cent coin has been phased out. Old coins can only be exchanged at the Reserve Bank.

Currency Exchange

Exchange facilities are widely available throughout New Zealand.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. ATMs are common.

Traveller's 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, Pounds Sterling or Australian Dollars.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0930-1630, except public holidays.

Exchange Rate Indicators


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Special Precautions



Hepatitis A










Yellow Fever


Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.


Food and Drink

Mains water is considered safe to drink. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.

Other Risks

Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended.

Health Care

Medical facilities, both public and private, are of a high standard. Telephone numbers for doctors and hospitals are listed at the front of the white pages of local telephone directories. Should you need drugs or pharmaceutical supplies outside normal shopping hours, refer to ‘Urgent Pharmacies' in the local telephone directory for the location of the nearest pharmacy or check with your hotel. Many hotels have doctors on call.

Long-staying visitors with a valid permit to stay for two or more years are entitled to health care services on the same basis as New Zealand citizens. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK, which entitles short-term British visitors to publicly funded health treatment. They will receive free treatment as a hospital inpatient, but must pay some charges for any services provided by outpatients and private doctors.

Comprehensive medical insurance is strongly recommended before travelling to cover any additional charges. If you intend to participate in adventure activities, such as bungee jumping or white-water rafting, you should ensure that your travel insurance covers these types of activities.


Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Air New Zealand (NZ) (website:

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Auckland is 25 hours, to Wellington is 29 hours and to Christchurch is 30 hours. From New York to Auckland is 20 hours.

Main Airports

Auckland (AKL) (website: is 22.5km (14 miles) south of the city (journey time - 40 minutes). To/from the airport: Airbus runs an efficient service between the international terminal and the city centre. In addition to regular taxis, there is a shuttle taxi service that operates 24 hours. Heletranz has a helicopter service from Auckland's North Shore and city to the airport (journey time - 12 minutes). An interterminal bus operates daily. Facilities: Duty-free shopping, banks/bureaux de change, post office, restaurants and cafes, car hire and baggage facilities/left luggage. There is a wide selection of hotels near the airport.

Christchurch (CHC) (website: is 10km (6 miles) northwest of the city (journey time - 20 minutes). To/from the airport: Buses operate all day between the city centre and the airport (journey time - 40 minutes). A door-to-door shuttle service operates. A journey into the city centre by taxi takes approximately 20 minutes. Facilities: Currency exchange, ATM, mobile phone rental and bank. Good hotels are within 10km (6 miles).

Wellington (WLG) (website: is 8km (5 miles) southeast of the city (journey time - 30 minutes). To/from the airport: Stagecoach Flyer operates a bus service to the city centre every 30 minutes. The shuttle service operates on demand (maximum 10 persons). Taxis are available from outside the terminal. Facilities: Duty-free, bar, restaurant, ATM and currency exchange.

Queenstown International Airport (ZQN) (website: is 7km northeast of central Queenstown. To/from the airport: A taxi into the town centre takes 10 minutes. Shuttle buses are available (a discount is available for more than one passenger) and the journey lasts 15 minutes. A bus takes passengers into town and will also pick up from some hotels (journey time - 20 minutes). Facilities: Duty-free, currency exchange and baggage storage.

Departure Tax

Usually included in the air fare.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Lyttelton, Opua, Picton and Wellington. They are served by international shipping lines sailing from the USA and from Europe.

A few cruise ships visit New Zealand, but there are no regular passenger ship services. For further details, contact Tourism New Zealand (see Contact Addresses).



Subtropical in the north and temperate in the south. The north has no extremes of heat or cold but winter can be quite cool in the south, with snow in the mountains. The eastern areas often experience drought conditions in summer; the west, particularly in South Island, has more rain.

Required Clothing

Lightweight cottons and linens are worn in North Island most of the year and in summer in South Island. Mediumweights are worn during winter in South Island. Rainwear is advisable throughout the year, and essential if visiting South Island's rainforest areas.



New Zealand High Commission in the UK

2nd Floor, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TQ, UK
Tel: (020) 7930 8422.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

New Zealand Immigration Service in the UK

Mezzanine Floor, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TE, UK
Tel: 0906 910 0100 (visa information and immigration service; national calls cost £1 per minute; from outside the UK call Tel: +44 1344 7161 99, charged at normal toll rate).
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 1000-1545.

Tourism New Zealand in the UK

Level 7, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TQ, UK
Tel: (020) 7930 1662 or 0906 910 0100 (immigration).

New Zealand Embassy in the USA

37 Observatory Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 328 4800.

Tourism New Zealand in the USA

501 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 300, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA
Tel: (310) 395 7480 or 1 866 639 9325.
Website: or

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