New Zealand Travel Advice
Security travel advice for New Zealand
How safe is New Zealand?
Threat level: Low
The general travel advice for New Zealand is that the current level of threat in New Zealand is very low in most areas of the country.
When visiting hot spots such as the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown be wary that the petty crime rate such as pickpocketing is slightly higher than in the rest of the country.
New Zealand provides an ideal destination that caters for all visitors: from young backpackers seeking the thrills and diverse destinations the country has to offer, to holiday goers wanting to visit the beautiful national parks, the tourism industry is thriving.
On the 15th March 2019, there was a white supremacist terror attack on two Mosques in Christchurch on the country's South Island. The attacks were coordinated and at least one attack was lived streamed on Social Media. The suspect was arrested by the police and has appeared in court. 50 people died and 50 were injured in the attack.
There are very few recent security risk events as crime rates, particularly violent ones, are extremely low and are only isolated cases. Travellers to New Zealand are advised that petty crime and theft of personal belongings may be a slight issue, particularly for backpackers staying in hostel dorms. To avoid this, you should make every effort to secure your personal items and important documents somewhere safe or keep them on you at all times.
Hitch hiking is a popular method of travelling around the country, with the majority of visitors having no issues with this; Kiwi citizens are amongst the friendliest and most helpful nationalities. However, there have been isolated cases of travellers running into trouble whilst hitch hiking and it is advised that you stick to more traditional methods of transport, including the Kiwi Experience whereby a bus will transport you to all destination.
One of the most attractive qualities of the country is the myriad of activities it can offer, many being adrenaline-seeking whilst enjoying the amazing nature and views of New Zealand. Participation in such activities is taken at your own risk and should be booked through reputable companies only. You should also ensure that your insurance covers you for all extreme sports.
New Zealand's International Relations
New Zealand has deep ties with Australia, both countries enjoying the Trans-Tasman relationship which allows trade and movement of citizens between the two countries. They are extremely close with both sharing a British colonial heritage. The historical relationship between New Zealand and Great Britain is well made and the people of New Zealand are welcoming to all tourists, especially those from the U.K.
Like Australia, relations between New Zealand and Fiji have been strained since the military coup in Fiji. The High Commissioner for New Zealand was expelled from Fiji by the military leader which has led to trade sanctions against the country.
Travelling around New Zealand
You can drive in New Zealand with a full UK driving licence for up to a year, and the same for a U.S driving licence. Many car rental companies will have a minimum rental age of 21 or 25, however there are some rental companies that will cater for the younger backpackers on their gap year.
Many destinations have just one road running to it which is often one or two lanes wide, so travellers are advised to drive more carefully than they may do in their home country. In rural areas, the roads may be thin and winding which can take a while to get used to. Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and do not rush your journey, as this is when road accidents are most frequent.
Earthquakes in New Zealand
New Zealand is on the boundary of two tectonic plates and as such the country suffers 100-200 earthquakes per year, there have been 20 or so earthquakes of a magnitude of 6.0 or greater in the past decade. For the most part, these are small and insignificant, however there can occasionally be large quakes such as the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch where there were 185 deaths and devastating damage to the infrastructure of the city.
Emergency services in New Zealand:
Emergency services operator: 111
Civil Defence: Vist: Civil Defence groups
New Zealand Overview
Currency: New Zealand Dollar
Time now in Wellington:
Consular information for New Zealand
U.S. Embassy Wellington
29 Fitzherbert Terrace,
Telephone: +64 4462 6000
British Embassy Wellington
44 Hill Street,
Telephone: +64 4924 2888
Visa requirements for New Zealand
There are a number of visa options for entering New Zealand. Most travellers visiting the country for tourist purposes only will be able to enter the country for at least three months visa-free. This includes the United States and Canada. British nationals are permitted to stay in New Zealand for up to six months visa-free.
Another form of visa is the holiday working visa which is available for young travellers between the ages of 18 and 30. This agreement allows some foreign nationals to work and stay in New Zealand on a temporary basis for 12 months for majority of travellers including American, Canadian and EU nations. British citizens are eligible for a 23-month-long visa.
There is a small visa cost with this and you may be asked to provide evidence of either onwards travel from the country or sufficient funds to pay for a travel ticket out of New Zealand. Your local Embassy or travel agent may be able to help or you can find out more information here: Working Holiday Visa New Zealand
Healthcare and Immunisations
Ensure that your primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended as normal in the United Kingdom. One other vaccine you may want to consider is tetanus.
New Zealand is a mountainous country with many regions exceeding an altitude of over 2400m. Travellers are advised to remain wary of altitude sickness if your plans involve visits to such regions.
It is important that travellers purchase comprehensive travel and health insurance in case of an accident or illness. Medical facilities are generally of an excellent standard but you may have to pay for treatment and be reimbursed at a later date. British nationals are entitled to healthcare on the same terms as a Kiwi citizen; present your passport when requested.