When thinking about New Zealand, you probably already imagine yourself in immense natural landscapes, listening to birds and splashing waterfalls. New Zealand is, therefore, a popular holiday destination. For any trip, far away or close by, good preparation is essential. For this reason, in addition to our visa expertise, we also offer comprehensive travel advice for New Zealand.
There are no Covid-19 measures listed on this New Zealand travel advice page. You can find more information about the current situation regarding Covid-19 in New Zealand on the relevant page.
This travel advice for New Zealand is based on various official government sources. These sources are consulted regularly to keep the information on this page up-to-date. e-Visa.ie cannot be held liable for any damage or injury during the trip. It can never be guaranteed that the trip will be completely problem-free. Nevertheless, this travel advice can help you prepare for your trip.
Travel advice for New Zealand: safe to travel
A positive travel advisory is in place for all of New Zealand. This means that there are no dangers or threats that affect the country’s population or visitors on a large scale. However, New Zealand does experience cyclones and tropical storms, especially between November and May. You should therefore check the weather forecast before departure and stay tuned to the local weather forecast during your stay as well.
On 17 February 2023, a temporary state of emergency was declared in the country due to dangerous floods caused by Hurricane Gabrielle. This state of emergency was officially ended on 1 June.
Tips for good travel preparation
Preparing a trip to New Zealand is more than just booking an aeroplane ticket and accommodation. Just as for travel to most countries outside Europe, travellers have to meet several requirements for a trip to New Zealand. For example, have you already thought about applying for an NZeTA or visa for New Zealand?
|Visa or NZeTA
| If you are travelling to New Zealand, you require a visa or other travel authorisation. You can easily apply for the NZeTA (New Zealand electronic Travel Authority) with a digital application form. Once the NZeTA is granted, it allows you to travel to the country multiple times within the 2-year validity period. Upon arrival in New Zealand, the maximum duration of stay is 3 months. Each calendar year, you cannot stay in the country for more than six months in total.
For a tourist or business trip, an NZeTA usually suffices. Travellers from countries with a visa exemption can apply for this travel authorisation instead of a visa. In total, there are 66 countries that are exempt from the New Zealand visa requirement, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, and many other European countries.
Apply for your NZeTA here
If you or your travel purpose does not meet the NZeTA requirements, you need another type of visa for New Zealand.
| To be able to apply for a New Zealand visa, you require a valid passport. This passport has to meet several requirements. For example, your passport has to be valid for at least 3 more months from the day you leave New Zealand and you have to travel with the same passport you used when applying for the visa or NZeTA. Both children and adults each require their own passport and travel authorisation. If a passport is no longer valid for long enough, you need to apply for a new one before submitting a visa application.
Make a copy of your passport before departure and print it out. Keep the paper copy in your carry-on luggage in addition to a digital copy on your phone. You will need these copies in case your passport gets lost.
|Check with your insurance company to see if you are insured enough for an intercontinental trip. Make sure to check whether you require additional insurance for certain activities, such as extreme sports, and if any healthcare costs are covered. By doing so, you protect yourself in advance against unexpected medical costs.
| You can no longer register your trip to New Zealand with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. Instead, you are advised to carefully read the FCDO foreign travel check list and the crisis overseas page prior to your trip. Should you have any questions that cannot be answered on those pages, you can fill out an inquiry on the UK government website. However, keep in mind that the advice given is only general in nature and cannot be tailored to your specific trip.
It is recommended to write down the contact information of the British High Commission, the British Consulate General, or the Irish Embassy in case of any emergencies.
| If you want to drive in New Zealand yourself, you have to apply for an international driving licence (IDP) before departure. It is not possible to obtain this licence after you arrive in New Zealand. Always make sure that you carry both your current normal driving licence and the IDP in the car.
A European or other (in New Zealand’s perspective) overseas driving licence can be used for up to 12 consecutive months in New Zealand. After a year, you have to apply for an official New Zealand driving licence. If you are travelling with an NZeTA, you can stay in New Zealand for up to three consecutive months. In that case, you can always use your national driving licence in combination with the IDP.
Tips for your stay
Once you have all the required documents, you can focus on the travel advice in place during your stay. Even though New Zealand is a safe country for travellers, the circumstances are not identical to those in the United Kingdom or Ireland. Continue reading for key advice about traffic safety, culture, nature and climate.
Traffic in New Zealand
Driving left: Just as in the United Kingdom, people in New Zealand drive on the left side of the road. If you rent a car here, you will see that the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. The sides of the road are not always clearly marked, so it is up to you to make sure you drive far enough left.
Overtaking: Since driving is on the left side of the road, overtaking should always be done on the right. Most roads have only one lane, so overtaking can be dangerous. You should therefore always wait to overtake until you encounter a road widening or until your predecessor lets you pass. Just as in Europe, overtaking over a continuous line is not allowed in New Zealand.
Pedestrians: Even if you are not going to drive a car yourself, it is important to take into account the traffic rules. Because cars drive on the left side of the road, as a pedestrian, you have to look right first instead of to the left before crossing a road.
Nature and climate
The potential dangers of nature are closely monitored in New Zealand. To protect yourself from the dangers of unexpected natural disasters, such as a storm or volcanic eruption, it is wise to keep a close eye on the local news. Should a natural disaster occur while you are in New Zealand, follow all advice from local authorities.
Storms and hurricanes: New Zealand owes its largely green landscapes to the heavy rainfall that occurs throughout the year. Particularly between November and May, these frequent rainstorms can develop into tropical storms and cyclones. This can cause flooding, such as in February 2023 with Tropical Storm Gabrielle.
Earthquakes: The New Zealand islands experience earthquakes on a daily basis. However, most earthquakes are so small that they are not perceptible to humans. Of the about 14,500 earthquakes that occur in New Zealand each year, only about 200 are perceptible.
Tsunamis: The high number of earthquakes and seaquakes automatically comes with an increased risk of tsunamis for an island nation such as New Zealand. Are you by the sea, and you suddenly see the water recede? This is one of the main features of an approaching tsunami. In that case, move inland as quickly as possible and warn everyone else you encounter.
Volcanic activity: Located at one of the ends of the Pacific Ring of Fire, New Zealand has no fewer than 10 active volcanoes. In general, volcanoes are mostly very popular tourist attractions, with little concern for both the local population and scientists. Nevertheless, active volcanoes remain a potential hazard. The last deadly volcanic eruption occurred in 2019 on White Island. This island, called Whakaari in Maori, has been closed to tourism to date.
Generally, New Zealand has a low crime rate. Sadly, tourists are sometimes the target of thieves and pickpockets. In particular, camper vans and cars are often the chosen targets. You should therefore never leave important or valuable belongings unattended. If you do have to leave belongings or bags in a vehicle, make sure they are out of sight.
Applying for an NZeTA
If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, do not forget to apply for a New Zealand visa. Even if you are currently just orienting and have not booked anything concrete yet, you can already apply for a NZeTA. Because you can make multiple trips to New Zealand with the same NZeTA, you do not have to indicate any definitive travel plans in the online application form for the NZeTA.
However, you have to make sure you have already booked a return or transit ticket before departure. You have to be able to show that you leave the country within the maximum duration of stay of the NZeTA upon arrival in New Zealand. In addition, always check if you meet the requirements of the NZeTA before applying for a visa.
e-Visa.ie is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the New Zealand visa. e-Visa.ie acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (58 NZD per visa, via nzeta.immigration.govt.nz). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.ie, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 58 NZD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as € 31,75 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous New Zealand visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.