Travellers Guide

On this page we provide some useful tips for travellers into and out of New Zealand

New Zealand is located in the South Pacific Ocean 1600km to the east of Australia and some 4600km from South America. It has two Main Islands North and South with Stewart Island to the south of the South Island. Land Area is 103.000sq Miles or 268,021 sq. Kilometres

The Pacific Plate and the Australian Plate are moving together at some 2m per year hence the high range of mountains up the length of the South Island. Mount Cook is 3754m 12349ft.

These are the Southern Alps containing Fiords, lakes, snowfields and Glaciers. The Tasman Glacier in Mt Cook National Park is 28.5km long. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers although shorter descend to almost sea level, something unique in a temperate climate.

The coastal plains of Canterbury are evidence of the breakdown of these mountains. They join to Banks Peninsular, a former volcano, and a reminder of New Zealand being on the "Pacific Ring of Fire" at Christchurch.

There is little evidence of volcanic activity in the South Island Except for hot springs at Hanmer, Sylvia Flats and Maruia Springs in the Lewis Pass.

The North Island on the other hand has the countries active volcanoes Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and the offshore White Island. Hot springs Geysers and mud pools abound around Rotorua.

Polynesian Settlers arrived in New Zealand about the 10th Century and by the 12th century there were settlements scattered around the coastline. There is growing evidence that humans may have been present much earlier than that.

Able Tasman the Dutch navigator visited briefly in 1642, it was not until 1769 that James Cook the British Naval Captain and his crew became the first Europeans to explore and Map New Zealand’s shores thoroughly.

Christchurch Has a population of 316,227 Mean Annual rainfall 648mm Mean annual Temperature 12.1C Mean annual sunshine Hours 2100.

Most fine days there is a cool easterly sea breeze, which starts about 11, am. Since the weather is largely dependent on Highs and Lows moving across the Tasman from below Australia we have two other main winds.

The Nor Wester which has the same characteristics as a Foehn wind in Scandinavia or the Chinook in North America, it drops its moisture on the west coast, and crosses the Southern Alps (3,000m) to cross the Canterbury plains as a hot dry wind.

A southerly can bring rain or a polar blast. Snow is rare in Christchurch settling once in every 2 or 3 winters, and lasting up to a day or so.

Airport Check in

Check in Times for local flights are generally much less than overseas Terminals

Airport Security

When travelling with today’s heightened security it is useful to wear a jacket with plenty of pockets to put all your items in that will set off the alarm, then you only have one item to put through the scanner.

Bio Security

New Zealand has very strict importing laws in place for food products that may harm or agricultural economy check your travel agent or airline if in doubt. Definitely declare any item you have the slightest doubt about to customs.


New Zealand has very strict importing laws in place if you attempt to import a prohibited drug it is likely you will not be permitted to enter the country.


220 - 240 Volts AC, 50 Hz

No flies or annoying insects.

The only bugs in NZ, which are a nuisance, are the sandfly, a small 4mm long black fly whose bite leaves a vicious lump.

There are very few sandflies in Canterbury, as conditions are too dry. Any proprietary insect repellent works, Personally I take 2 tablets of vitamin B1 per day 2 to 3 weeks before venturing into sandfly country, this aids with healing if you do get bitten

Mosquito’s can be found in some damp areas

No Snakes

No Smoking. New Zealand adopted a no smoking policy in Bars Restuarants and Public Places in December 2004.


New Zealand has clear air compared with some countries; Sunburn can be a problem particularly in summer or on Ski fields, use a 30 rating.

Wind chill

New Zealand spans the "Roaring Forties" The old sailors described wind conditions aptly, even in summer come prepared with an effective windproof and bulky layers underneath if necessary.

Sumner to Ferrymead is in Christchurch "The Garden City"

Within 80 minutes drive of Akaroa A Town the site of the original French colony on Banks Peninsular.

Within 80 minutes drive of Akaroa site for viewing the endangered Hector’s Dolphin.

Within 80 minutes drive of Akaroa start of the Banks Peninsular track (4 nights).

Within 30 minutes drive of Airforce World

Within 35 minutes drive of The Antarctic Centre

Within 20 minutes drive of The Arts Center Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens in the Central City

Within 120 minutes drive of Arthur’s Pass

Within 90 minutes drive of Canterbury’s Skifields

Within 20 minutes drive of the City Center Tramway, 35 min on an excellent Bus service

Within 35 minutes drive of Christchurch International Airport

Within 55 minutes drive of Christchurch to Little River Rail Trail

Within 25 minutes drive of The Alpine Express one of the top 10 rail Journeys of the world (to Greymouth Return).

Within a few minutes drive of The Gondola, and Ferrymead Historic Park including The Tamaki Brothers Heritage Experience of Old Christchurch and Maori Pa are to open in mid December 2006

Within 180 minutes drive of Kaikoura for Whale watching, Swimming with Dolphins and Seals

Within 120 minutes drive of Hanmer Thermal Springs an Alpine Resort area

                    Within 40 minutes drive of Orana Park Wildlife Reserve, Kiwi House, Tuatara.

Within 40 minutes drive of Orton Bradley Farm Park with Chartris Bay Golf Course close by

Buying a vehicle

If you are thinking of Purchasing a vehicle in NZ are some tips

All vehicles must be registered, currently NZD220 for one year, and can be taken for 6 months at half the cost.

They must have a warrant of fitness which is valid for 6 months can be obtained at most service stations (WOF). 
Ensure your vehicle has a current warrant of fitness when you buy it, and make sure the vechicle is not altered from factory standard. If in doubt ask the seller to obtain a Warrant of Fitness for you as a condition of the purchase.
If it has been altered you may be required to get the vehicle certified before a new WOF is issued, which will be an added expense.

Fuel Costs at the pump. 4th July 2006
91 Grade NZD 1.70 per litre
96 Grade NZD 1.75 per litre
Diesel NZD 1.23 per litre plus tax below. Prices do vary

For a Diesel vehicle you are required to display the current tax certificate inside the windshield of the vehicle showing the Odometer reading the tax is paid to. This can be paid at any NZ Post Shop. 
Aprox NZD120 for 3000km

For further infomation on perminent immigration to New Zealand 


The Sumner Bus Timetables, a good cheap and regular service operates to the Center of Christchurch using Ferry Road or Linwood Avenue. 

The best site I have come across for a general guide to New Zealand is maybe looks a little unusual in its presentation, but is well worth a visit for a comprehensive presentation.

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