New Zealand travel information Tourleader New Zealand

Arrival at the airport

Arrival in AucklandNaumai, haere mai - welcome to New Zealand!

  • Fill out the New Zealand arrival card that you will be given on the plane before entering immigration. Be prepared to answer some questions about the purpose of your trip.
  • Prepare for the biosecurity checks by ensuring that you do not have any plants or fruit with  you, there are heavy fines if you did not declare items and they are later found. The officers will want to know exactly what they are and are quite friendly. Biscuits, chocolate, etc. is usually no problem. See our separate biosecurity information
  • In the arrivals hall there will be tourist and rental car information, free accommodation books to pick up, city maps and brochures, telephone booths and help counters to get you started as well as ATMs and bank counters to organise your New Zealand Dollars. See under money, cost and prices in New Zealand.

Arrival information for Auckland airport
Arrival information for Wellington airport
Arrival information for Christchurch airport 

Dealing with jet lag

After a long exhausting trip you might be disoriented, dehydrated and uncomfortable with swollen legs and feet. Try to plan your trip so you do not have to drive long distances immediately with your own vehicle, especially if driving on the left side of the road is new to you.

You may experience a few sleep deprived nights because your body clock is out of order. Usually the body has more trouble travelling eastwards as the day is suddenly much shorter than normal. But when you have a 12 hour time zone difference on your way from Europe to New Zealand, we believe the jet lag depends more on whether you can sleep on the plane and your arrival time.

Arrival tips:

  • Take earplugs and an eye mask for better sleep in the airplane.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol, which will dehydrate you and make your jet lag more pronounced. Also sleeping pills may have a more negative than positive effect, as a natural alternative you might try homeopathics.
  • Try to nap as often as possible and don’t worry if you can’t sleep, resting with eyes closed is also rest.
  • From our experience if possible it’s best to arrange your flight with an evening arrival and drive straight to your accommodation for a good first night‘s sleep.
  • The sooner you can get yourself into the local time pattern the better for your jetlag. Once arrived, try not to go to bed before it’s dark, or not to sleep for longer than 2-4 hours if you arrive during  the day. Don’t sleep in until the afternoon or the next night will be all the worse.
  • Try to eat lightly, try to avoid having a heavy dinner at times when your body would normally expect something different.

Culture shock in New Zealand

Do you think you’re in for a culture shock in New Zealand? Maybe if you are lucky enough to be greeted with a Maori haka at the airport this is certain to happen. You may laugh but New Zealand is full of many cultures and understanding them can be sometimes tricky.  

  • New Zealand accommodationIf there really is a haka right in front of you: Don’t be afraid of the warriors and their chanting but feel honoured and simply show your respect. Maori don’t expect foreigners (or other Kiwis) to know their protocols and are very tolerant and welcoming. Also if you are invited onto a marae just stand back and don’t impose your confusion to your hosts, show your good intentions and you will be treated like family.
  • Driving on the road: Many visitors are not used to drive on the left side of the road, so be careful when you pull onto the road and especially approaching  roundabouts. Sometimes there are fast and pushy drivers who think they own a race car, just give them the opportunity to overtake. There are a few other special rules that seem strange at the beginning, see our special rules about driving in New Zealand.
  • Kiwi slang and dialect: If you don’t understand the Kiwis just ask again or tell them to slow down.  After a while you will get used to the pronounciation and special words. Listening to radio and TV is good training.
  • Casual attitude and humour: Kiwis are generally friendly and sincere, to deal with them is not complicated. If you decline an invitation for dinner that is fine and not taken as an insult. Equally don’t feel insulted when you are not treated with the same formal attire as you may be familiar with from home. Consider the modest Kiwi salaries when you are invited and things are perhaps more simple than you expect.

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