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What do you need to travel to New Zealand?

by Alexandra Walter | Tue 25 Oct 2022
map of New Zealand

New Zealand is an outdoors paradise, with mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and even fjords waiting for you. If you're looking for culture, New Zealand is also for you as Māori cultural traditions are incredibly rich. You can also visit the Lord of the Rings filming locations. 

If you're planning on travelilng to this breathtaking land and you're not sure about what you need, this article will tell you everything you need to know. 

Requirements to visit New Zealand


All travelers must have a valid passport with at least 3 months validity and a blank page for stamps. You must also hold a return or onward ticket or enough money to purchase one. 


Most travelers will need to apply for a New Zealand visa, except if they are:  

  • An Australian resident or citizen.
  • A UK citizen or passport holder and they are staying in New Zealand for less than 6 months. 
  • Eligible for the NZeTA, (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) and are staying for less than 3 months. 

If you are eligible for the NZeTA travel authorization, which is available for over 60 nationalities, you can apply for it online and save yourself the waiting time at the airport. This is for people travelling to the country as tourists.

If you are travelling for other purposes or wish to stay longer, you will have to apply for a visa, so make sure you check out our guide to see what type of visa you need. 

Travel insurance

Although travel insurance is not compulsory to travel to New Zealand, it is best if you have it as there is no free healthcare. If you face any health problems, it can end up being very costly. 


The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) and it is divided into 100 cents. There are 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar notes and 1 and 2 dollars and 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. 

1 NZD is worth 0,58 EURO or 0,56 USD. 

There are plenty of ATMs in New Zealand, so you don't need to exchange currency before you travel, but it's best to check with your bank to make sure your card works before you travel.  The NZD is also used as currency in some areas of Polynesia, for example Niue, Tokelau and the Pitcairn Islands.

road and trees with mountains in New Zealand

Things you need to know when travelling to New Zealand

Vaccines, health and Covid-19 restrictions  

Covid-19 vaccines or testing requirements are no longer compulsory for travellers to New Zealand. 

Is New Zealand open for tourists? 

Yes, New Zealand is fully open for tourists and there are no Covid-19 restrictions, but it is recommended that you keep your distance and wear a mask in crowded indoor places. 

Do you need a transit visa for New Zealand?

Unless you are an Australian citizen you might need a transit visa if you are just passing through New Zealand.  If you are coming from Australia you might require an Australian transit visa also. 

If you are transiting through New Zealand, you will have to stay in the transit area and usually spend less than 24 hours in New Zealand. If you are eligible for an NZeTA you can transit with this visa waiver program. 

How to travel around New Zealand 

New Zealand is a much bigger country than many travellers realize.There are many ways to get around New Zealand, but one of the ways that will allow you to have the most freedom and see the most secluded places is driving, either a car or a campervan. However, there are other transport options, such as buses, internal flights or even ferries depending on where you are heading to. 

Best time to travel

The weather in New Zealand depends on which area you travel to. The North Island is warmer than the South and as it is in the Southern Hemisphere. Remember that the seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, so July is the coldest month. In general, much of New Zealand experiences high levels of rainfall, and thanks to that it is a very green country.  


New Zealand is a safe place and it has quite a low crime rate. In larger cities you might face some crime such as pickpocketing or muggings. In more remote areas there are chances of cars and homes being burgled. 

Earthquakes can be a risk in New Zealand. There are about 15.000 tremors a year in the country, but only around 150 are actually felt and can be potentially damaging or dangerous. 

Unlike Australia, wildlife in New Zealand is not dangerous, and there are only two poisonous spiders. However, farm animals can be dangerous if approached, so stay away.

Travel tips 

  • New Zealand has very strict biodiversity rules in order to protect ecosystems, so you must declare any animal or food products you might be carrying in your luggage. 
  • Remember that New Zealanders drive on the left hand side of the road, so be aware when you're driving. 
  • Make sure you carry sunscreen with you. 
  • If you are travelling to remote areas be prepared to not have phone service or internet access, particularly on the South Island. 
  • Be prepared for unpredictable weather in New Zealand. Regardless of the season, carry a waterproof jacket and warm clothes.

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