New Zealand's currency unit is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$) with coin denominations in 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c and $1 and $2 and notes in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Banks operate Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4.30 and are closed public holidays. ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) are available at all banks, major shopping precincts and malls. All major credit cards are accepted by most shops, restaurants, hotels, tour operators and rental companies. New Zealand electricity is supplied at 230/240 volts (50 hertz) however most accommodation provides 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors. Otherwise, a converter or adaptor will be necessary. Power outlets accept flat two or three-pin plugs only.
Emergency numbers: dial 111 for Ambulance, Police or Fire.
You must be 18 years or older to purchase or consume alcohol in public and photo identification may be requested as proof of age. Public transport is plentiful with metered taxis, organised coach tours, interisland ferries and rail journeys. The ferry allows you to cross the Cook Strait from New Zealand's North Island to the South Island. Passengers, cars and campervans are welcomed on board for the spectacular 3 hour journey. New Zealand's rail journeys offer a fast and modern way to see the sights in comfort, with 8 long distance services available including the Overlander from Auckland to Wellington, the TranzCoastal from Picton to Christchurch and the TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth.
New Zealand features a high level of private and public hospital and medical services however this comes at a cost, therefore travel insurance is recommended. A 12.5% tax (GST) applies to all goods and services and is generally reflected in the price displayed. A passport valid for a minimum of three months from the date you intend to depart New Zealand is required for all international visitors. If your stay is less than three months, a visa is not required however if you wish to say for longer than three months and you do not fall under a visa waiver program with your country of origin, you will be required to apply for a Visitor's Visa. One of the first parts of the world to greet a new day, New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and uses 'daylight saving' in summer, turning clocks forward an hour to GMT+13. Beginning on the first Sunday of October, daylight savings ends on the third Sunday of March where clocks return to GMT+12.