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AUSTRALIA Travel Information

Things to know before you go

From what to pack (and what you’ll need to leave at home) to how to get around and what to tip, we’ve put together a collection of some of our most frequently asked questions and practical travel information. 

This section provides essential travel information for Australia including: climate and currency, time differences and dialling codes, visas and other entry requirements.  There’s also information about the nation’s food and drink, flora and fauna, history and culture; but if we have left any of your travel questions unanswered, our locally-based Travel Design teams are here to provide in-the-know and up-to-the-minute advice. Contact us.


Important Information

All international visitors (except Australian and NZ passport holders) require a visa for entry into Australia. All visa applications must be made before arriving in Australia. The length of stay and purpose of visit will determine the visa required. Short stay holiday visas (up to 3 months) can be arranged electronically for most passport holders.
Check for further details.
All visitors must carry a passport valid for the period of intended travel in to and out of Australia.
To help protect Australia’s unique environment, certain foods, plants, animal products, weapons and drugs are subject to customs controls or prohibition. We advise you check for further information before carrying any of these products into Australia.
All international visitors (except Australian and NZ passport holders) require a visa for entry into Australia. All visa applications must be made before arriving in Australia. The length of stay and purpose of visit will determine the visa required. Short stay holiday visas (up to 3 months) can be arranged electronically for most passport holders.
Check for further details.
All visitors must carry a passport valid for the period of intended travel in to and out of Australia.
To help protect Australia’s unique environment, certain foods, plants, animal products, weapons and drugs are subject to customs controls or prohibition. We advise you check for further information before carrying any of these products into Australia.
No other particular health certificates or vaccinations are currently required for entry into Australia unless visitors are arriving from, or have visited, a yellow fever infected country within 6 days prior to arrival in Australia.
Geographic isolation, strict quarantine laws and a high standard of health care contribute to Australia being a very healthy country in which to travel.
However, should medical attention be needed, the citizens of many countries (including UK, Ireland, NZ, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Finland) are entitled to subsidised health services for medically necessary treatment under the reciprocal health care agreement with Medicare, Australia’s national health scheme. has further details.
In any event, it is strongly recommended that all travellers take out comprehensive health insurance before departure to cover the duration of their stay in Australia.
Food hygiene standards and water quality are very good. It is generally safe to eat anywhere and drink tap water without concern.
Medicine brought into Australia for personal use must be declared on arrival. The issuing doctor’s prescription or a letter outlining the medicines carried is recommended. If additional prescription medicine is required whilst travelling in Australia, the prescription must be written by a doctor in Australia.
  • Some special precautions:
    • Always wear a high protection sunscreen. Pack a hat, sunglasses and try to minimise your time in the midday sun.
    • Always observe safety signs and warnings regarding swimming restrictions.
    • Always swim between the yellow and red flags on the patrolled surf beaches.
    • Insect repellent is recommended, particularly for visitors travelling in tropical parts of Australia.

The client accepts that Southern Crossings at all times acts only as an agent for all accommodations, excursions, airlines and transport operators and that Southern Crossings is not liable for in relation to any of these principal’s services. All bookings are made subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by service provider principals. Southern Crossings excludes liability for the supply of all leisure and recreational services. Southern Crossings strongly advises all clients to take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking to protect themselves against the loss of deposit, cancellation charges, medical expenses or loss of personal possessions

From 21 February 2022, Australia welcomes all fully-vaccinated international travellers without the need to quarantine on arrival*. 

To enter Australia, visitors are required to:

– Provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with an Australian Government-recognised vaccine

– Provide proof of a negative Covid test before boarding their flight to Australia; and 

– Complete and submit a Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours of their departure.

In addition to holding a valid visitor’s visa and a current passport with more than 6 months validity after their date of arrival in Australia.

For further details please visit: 

* PLEASE NOTE: Individual Australian States/Territories may have additional border restrictions, vaccination requirements and/or quarantine rules.  

Visitors are also advised to familarise themselves with the travel restrictions and requirements of any other countries that they are transiting through or returning to. 

For further details please visit: 

* PLEASE NOTE: Individual Australian States/Territories may have additional border restrictions, vaccination requirements and/or quarantine rules.  

Visitors are also advised to familarise themselves with the travel restrictions and requirements of any other countries that they are transiting through or returning to. 

Australia is well renowned for its endless blue skies and bright sunshine. Visitors should however be aware that the seasons are reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere and that Australia can broadly be divided into two climatic zones.

The tropical north (Far North Queensland, the Top End and the Kimberley) has two distinct seasons. The ‘green’ season runs from November to April with the heaviest rainfalls usually in January–March. Temperatures range 24–33°C (75–91 Fahrenheit) and may be accompanied by high humidity. It is a spectacular time to see the region’s rainforests and waterfalls. The ‘dry’ season (May to October) is characterised by clear blue skies and warm sunshine, averaging between 16–26°C (61–79 Fahrenheit) and is perhaps the most comfortable time to enjoy the tropics.

Australia’s southern states largely enjoy a temperate Mediterranean style, climate. Warm summers and cool winters can usually be enjoyed without extremes. The further south you travel, the more distinct the four seasons become, with the country’s most southern reaches and highlands experiencing frosts and winter snow falls.
Summers by the beach in Sydney, clear blue skies over Kakadu in the Australian winter months, spring wildflowers in Western Australia or the autumn colours around Canberra – Australia’s geographical and climatic diversity make any time a good time to visit. December through to February is the ideal time to join in the Australians’ celebration of summer. It is also a popular holiday season with the locals, particularly for travel along the east coast. However, spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are perhaps the best times to visit when combining travel to both the northern and southern parts of the country.

The bureau of meteorology provides information on current weather conditions and general climate information specific to each part of the country. Our Australian Climate Guide also provides useful information about the weather you can expect

In the tropics, casual lightweight clothing is suitable at all venues, all year round. In the Southern temperate regions, layers are the best solution to warm days and cool nights, and smart-casual clothing is the norm almost everywhere. Warmer layers are recommend when visiting the southern regions between May and September.

Getting Around

New Zealand law requires that every new building and major reconstruction provide ‘reasonable and adequate’ access for people with disabilities. Most facilities have wheelchair access, but it is wise to check when booking. For further information visit

New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day, 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In summer New Zealand uses Daylight Saving Time, with clocks put forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.

US visitors should also be aware that New Zealanders write the date in day/month/year format.

Hiring a car is a great way to enjoy the flexibility of getting to know a particular region at your own pace. New Zealanders drive on the left hand side of the road (as in the UK and Australia). Drivers give way (or yield) to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right. Speeds and distances are quoted in kilometres.

Due to a number of high profile incidents in recent years, Southern Crossings very strongly recommends against clients driving long distances straight after arriving on longhaul flights.

Most New Zealand roads are sealed and well maintained. However, New Zealand has few highways

between cities and most roads are one lane in each direction. Intermittent passing lanes are found on busier routes.

International visitors can drive in New Zealand using their valid overseas licence. If the licence is not written in English, an International Driving Permit or official English translation must also be carried with the licence when driving. Drivers must carry their licence with them at all times and should be aware that New Zealand strictly controls drink driving, the use of seatbelts and speed limits with random checks and cameras.

We suggest you also check with your local motoring association for reciprocal road side assistance and other touring benefits with New Zealand affiliates.
The minimum rental age ranges between 21 to 25 years depending on the type of vehicle hired.

Metered taxis are available in all major cities and towns. You can book a taxi by phone, by hailing one in the street, or by getting one from a taxi rank. There is a minimum flagfall charge, and then a charge for the distance travelled. Small additional charges are made for luggage, telephone reservations and where applicable tolls, otherwise the amount payable is shown on the meter. Therefore, prices are not negotiated in advance.

Rideshare apps are increasingly popular. Uber is the major player, as well as local option Zoomy. These options are only available in larger New Zealand towns, and typically would not be available for intercity travel. Most have designated pick up and drop off locations at airports which are signposted.

Whilst New Zealand is a small country, the distances between some locations, particularly in the South Island, can be deceptive. For example the drive between Auckland to Wellington is approximately nine hours by car, yet is one hour by air. To drive between Christchurch and Queenstown would take seven hours, or 50 minutes by air.

For maps and further information on distances between attractions visit (Time and Distance calculator).

Temperatures are pleasantly warm in summer, often reaching 30°C+. The warmest months are December, January, February and March (average maximum temperatures ranges between 20–25°C (68°–77°F). and the coldest are June, July and August with average maximum day temperature ranging between 10–12°C (around 50°F) in the south and 15–17°C in the north (around 60°F).

Most areas of the North and South Islands have between 2000 and 2400 hours of sunshine a year. There is no rainy season; rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year. Much of the North Island has a Mediterranean climate and the South Island has hot summers and cool winters.

New Zealand’s National Meteorology Service ( provides information on current weather conditions and general climate information specific to each part of the country.

In keeping with New Zealand’s relaxed lifestyle, dress is informal on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants, lodges and nightspots. Men are not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the top formal bars, lodges and restaurants, where a jacket is suggested for evening dining (but not required).

In summer it is usually warm enough to go out in the evenings without a jacket, but a light jacket or jersey should be packed for cooler weather and visits to the high country. You can expect some rain, so include a light waterproof jacket or coat.

Swimsuits, sarongs and beachwear are suggested when visiting in summer, and be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen. A hat is also good for protection against the sun. Sunglasses for sun reflection.

‘Layers’ is the main thing to remember when packing your clothes. The weather can change from sunny and hot to cool all within one day. Bring casual clothes that can be layered. T-shirts, sweater shirt and a sweater. Whether you are travelling in the summer or winter, you can never predict the weather in this semi tropical South Pacific country. Good walking shoes are advisable for outdoor excursions.

Please note that there may be luggage restrictions on some return regional flights (for example Auckland to Waiheke or Great Barrier Island; Invercargill to Stewart Island), visitors are therefore advised to bring a small bag to be able to transport some of their luggage for this part of their holiday. Storage facilities are available for excess luggage.


New Zealand’s unit of currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD$), and is the only currency accepted in New Zealand. Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 dollars. Notes have values of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars.

New Zealand is about as close to a cashless society as you can get. Most people pay by debit or credit card, even if the charge is only a few dollars, and cards are accepted almost everywhere. However, smaller shops such as dairies (convenience stores) may not accept credit cards, or will have a minimum spend to accept one. ATM’s are found widely throughout the country.

Any card connected to the international banking network (Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and Eurocard) should work with your regular PIN. Visa and Mastercard are accepted almost everywhere, and American Express in most places, whilst Diners Club is not widely accepted.

Foreign currency and travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks, travel exchanges and hotels in the major centres. Banks in New Zealand are open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm, and are normally closed at weekends. Check or your local bank for current exchange rates.

Amounts of NZ$10,000 or more (or foreign currency equivalent) must be declared on arrival and departure.

Tipping is not customary or expected. Hotels and restaurants do not add a service charge to their bills. Tipping is entirely discretionary in appreciation of good service. Employees do not depend on gratuities for their income nor are service charges routinely added to accounts by hotels and restaurants; however a tip of up to 10% in recognition of excellent service is much appreciated. You should not feel obliged to tip tour guides or concierge, it is however appropriate where service has been exceptional. Taxi drivers and hotel porters also appreciate a small change tip for their services.

It is important to note that all incomes in New Zealand are subject to minimum wage requirements set by the government and therefore no employees are reliant on tips to supplement their income.

New Zealand’s ‘Pacific Rim’ cuisine style takes its inspiration from regions and countries such as Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Polynesia, Japan and Vietnam. This unique blend of influences has created a mouth- watering range of flavours and food available from cafes and restaurants nationwide.

For dishes that have a distinctly New Zealand style look out for lamb, pork, venison, salmon, crayfish, Bluff oysters, paua (abalone), mussels, scallops, whitebait, kumara (sweet potato), kiwifruit, tamarillo and fejoia. Pavlova, our national dessert, is made from meringue and lashings of fresh whipped cream topped with fresh fruit or berries.

While the main centres support a few elegant, silver-service restaurants, the trend is towards more relaxed café/bar dining. There is a wide variety of international food available including Japanese, Indian, Halal, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Malaysian, and Thai. Kosher food is not widely found. Vegetarian or vegan options can easily be found in most restaurants. Some local favourites to try when in need of a snack include Whittaker’s chocolate, Pineapple Lumps (confectionary), L&P soft drink, hokey pokey ice cream, manuka honey, cheese rolls and meat pies.

While you are here, take the opportunity to discover more about New Zealand wines. Our white wines, particularly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, have achieved an international reputation for excellence, whilst the reds (in particular Pinot Noir) are also gaining recognition. Craft beer and breweries are surging in popularity in New Zealand, particularly in Wellington and Nelson. There is also a number of high end distilleries producing vodka, gin and whisky.

Minimum hours for shops and businesses are 10:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. Many stores also open Saturdays and Sundays, with some having a late opening one night a week, usually Thursday or Friday. In resort locations most stores are open to the early evening, e.g. 7:00pm. Some supermarkets and petrol stations are open 24/7. Almost all shops are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Easter Good Friday.

New Zealand offers a huge variety of shopping from arts and craft markets, galleries and museum shops to exclusive designer stores. For traditional New Zealand souvenirs look for examples of superb Maori carvings in wood, bone and pounamu (greenstone or jade). Also available are jewellery and ornaments made from the iridescent paua shell (abalone), treasured by Maori for centuries. At souvenir stores, do check to make sure the goods are actually made in New Zealand (particularly greenstone).

New Zealand artisans are recognised as among the world’s finest, with works available in stone, wood, glass and metal. The country’s vast wool industry makes it possible to find wonderful handknitted wool sweaters, beautiful wall hangings, homespun yarns and top-quality sheepskins. New Zealand artists are earning an enviable reputation abroad and there are a number of galleries displaying for sale a wide range of work. These are able to be purchased and freight will be arranged to your country of origin.

Alongside top international fashion in boutique stores in the main city areas, you will also find New Zealand’s own award-winning fashion labels, including Zambesi, NomD, Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper, Huffer and World.

All goods and services are subject to a 15 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price. Visitors are not able to claim this tax back, however when a supplier ships a major purchase to a visitor’s home address (e.g. artwork) an exception from GST can be applied for.


The country dialling code for New Zealand is +64. The outgoing international code is 00.

Vodafone and Spark are the two main mobile (cell) phone operators in New Zealand supporting a range of technology enabling many overseas mobiles to operate in New Zealand. Visitors should check with their local provider and activate international roaming before leaving home. Alternatively, mobile phones with a local SIM can be hired by the day at most major airports; and prepaid SIM cards are also available for purchase. Coverage is generally good around the major population centres, however some remote locations do not have mobile coverage.

Ambulance, fire brigade or police can be called free of charge from any phone by dialling ‘111’.

You will need a RJ45 type plug to be able to connect your laptop into a computer socket in New Zealand, and an adaptor with a flat two or three point power plug to connect to the power supply.

Additionally there is a good network of wireless hotspots around New Zealand, a selection of local aircards available, and countless internet cafes to access the internet whilst travelling across the country.

WiFi is available at all hotels and lodges, however, at some there will be a charge for this service.

About New Zealand

New Zealand has a number of public holidays, particularly in the summer. In addition to the below, each region has its own anniversary day which is a holiday in that region only.

New Years Day – 01 January.
Day after New Years Day – 02 January.
Waitangi Day – 06 February.
Easter – Good Friday and Easter Monday.
ANZAC Day – 25 April.
Queens Birthday – First Monday in June.
Labour Day – Fourth Monday in October.
Christmas Day – 25 December.
Boxing Day – 26 December.

The New Zealand school year is divided into four terms and school holiday dates vary each year. For information on school holiday dates visit

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. Most accommodation provide 110 volt ac sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.

For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Please note that power outlets only accept flat two or three pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted. Adapters/converters are often available at hotels and lodges, or for purchase locally.

If travelling with hair straighteners, curling irons and hair dryers, please check your appliance to see if it has a built in converter otherwise you may need a voltage converter so it changes the frequency.

Most international flights arrive into and depart from Auckland International Airport, by far the largest in the country. There are also limited flights from North America, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands to Christchurch International Airport, and flights from Australia to Queenstown, Wellington and Dunedin airports. There are direct flights from most major North American, Asian and Australian cities, as well as limited destinations in the Middle East and South America. Auckland is also the main international hub for Pacific Island nations.

New Zealand has one main airline, Air New Zealand, which provides the majority of domestic flights within New Zealand. It is rated one of the safest airlines in the world. All domestic destinations can be reached from Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington. The low cost carrier, Jetstar, also provides competing service, but only between the major cities. Several smaller airlines such as Air Chathams and Soundsair provide services to small towns not serviced by Air New Zealand. The longest flight within New Zealand is just under two hours, and thus the only class of travel on all domestic flights is economy. Generally, tea, coffee and water are provided on Air New Zealand flights.

There are only three passenger rail routes remaining in New Zealand, the Northern Explorer between Auckland and Wellington, the Coastal Pacific between Christchurch and Picton, and the famous TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth. These services now cater mostly to tourists rather than New Zealanders travelling between cities. The TranzAlpine is the only year round service, with the other two operating mostly in summer. There is only one class of travel on all services.

The above train services are complimented by the InterIslander ferry which sails several times a day between Wellington and Picton, linking the North and South Islands. The journey is scenic, particularly when travelling through the Marlborough Sounds. The ferries do transport cars, however rental cars are forbidden due to insurance purposes. There are depots at both ports to facilitate easy exchange.

Buses run regularly throughout the country, however journeys are slow. All bus services are directed towards cost conscious travellers.

New Zealand has three official languages, English, Maori, and New Zealand Sign Language. English is the dominant language throughout the country and all signage is in English, often with Maori accompanying it. Maori did not have a written language when they first encountered Europeans, so todays Maori written language is mainly pronounced how it is spelt. The main exceptions are ‘wha’, which is pronounced as an ‘f’, and ‘nga’, which is pronounced as ‘nar’. Macrons are also used, mainly above the letter ‘a’, to indicate lengthening or exaggeration of the vowel. Many Maori words are incorporated into English conversations or text by New Zealanders. New Zealand also has a number of informal phrases unique to the country, which you will almost certainly encounter throughout your travels. Here’s a handy guide to get you through.

Kia ora – Hello (pronounced key-aura).
Haere mai – Welcome.
Haere ra – Goodbye.
Hangi – Traditional method of cooking/feast.
Nga mihi – Greetings.
Kia mihi – Thank you.
Kai – Food.
Whanau – Family.
Wai – Water.
Moana – Ocean.
Morena – Good morning.
Marae – A Maori meeting house.
Pa – A Maori camp or fortress.
Waiata – Song.
Whare – House.
Aroha – Love.
Tapu – Sacred.
Haka – Traditional Maori war dance, now used frequently by New Zealand sports teams.
Sweet as – Great/no problem.
Bach – Holiday home (pronounced batch).
Barbie – Barbeque.
Choice – Great/good/excellent.
Chur – Cheers/thank you.
Dairy – A convenience store.
A feed – A meal.
Jandals – Flip flops.
Knackered – Worn out.
Lollies – Sweets/confectionary.
He’s a ‘hard case’ – He’s funny.
Gutted – Disappointed.
Mate – Friend.
Munted – Broken/destroyed.
She’ll be right – It’ll be ok.
Stoked – Very happy.
Eh/aye – What?
Wee, inserted into phrases such as ‘I’ll do it in a wee bit’ – Little/a short time (I’ll do it in a moment).
Wop wops – The countryside or a remote place/backwater.

Sport is integral to New Zealand culture and most New Zealanders play sport in some form on a weekly basis. Traditionally rugby, cricket and netball have been the most dominant sports, but rugby league, soccer, sailing and basketball are becoming increasingly popular.

The iconic national rugby team, the All Blacks, are New Zealand’s most famous sporting team. They won the Rugby World Cup in 1987, 2011 and 2015. Exactly how the team got their name is open to debate, but due their dominance since the 1900’s, many other national sports teams have named themselves after the team, such as the ‘Tall Blacks’ in basketball, and the ‘Black Sox’ in softball. Women’s teams often have the word ‘Fern’ in their name, thanks to the national netball team being known as the Silver Ferns.

New Zealand has a proud Olympic history and ranks highly in the medals per capita ratio. Rowing, athletics and sailing are the most successful sports. New Zealand also competes in the Commonwealth Games, and has hosted it three times in 1950, 1974 and 1990.

The upcoming 2021 America’s Cup sailing is largest sports event currently on the calendar.

Many visitors wish to see the All Blacks play, however rugby is a winter sport so not played when most people are visiting in summer. However, Super Rugby, a regional tournament with teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina, can be scheduled as early as February.


New Zealand has a surprisingly large local music scene with many bands becoming household names in New Zealand and Australia, but few making it big internationally. Below are a few favourites for your roadtrip around the country.

A must for any New Zealand roadtrip, Natures Best is a collection of New Zealand’s top 30 songs as voted by the Australasian Performing Rights Association.

An exception to what’s written above, Lorde gained worldwide fame with this pop album which went number one around the world and earned her two Grammy Awards. The album features the single Royals.

Perhaps New Zealand’s most treasured musician, rocker Dave Dobbyn has had countless hit songs throughout his 40 year career. This album is a ‘Best Of’ compilation. Keep an ear out for Loyal, a song that has become synonymous with New Zealand’s America’s Cup success.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is a well known name in the opera world and is particularly associated with Mozart, Strauss and Puccini.

In recent years New Zealand has developed its own reggae scene, and Fat Freddy’s Drop are one of the pioneers. This album garnered international acclaim and is so perfect for a roadtrip, it even has a song named Roadtrip.

Bic Runga (pop), Brooke Fraser (pop), Split Enz (rock), Crowded House (rock), The Feelers (rock), The Black Seeds (reggae), Six60 (reggae), Shapeshifter (electronic/dance), Che Fu (hip hop), Kimbra (pop), Hayley Westenra (opera), The Naked and Famous (indie), Broods (pop) and Hollie Smith (soul).

Up until the late 1980’s the film industry in New Zealand was non existent. Then came along Weta Workshop, a special effects and props company used by the makers of Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The two TV shows were wildly popular around the world at the time, and launched Weta into the big league, along with a little help from Hollywood director and proud New Zealander, Sir Peter Jackson. Since then Weta has gone on to produce dozens of blockbuster films including King Kong, X-Men, Planet of the Apes, Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia, and most famously, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. New Zealand’s spectacular scenery is the main drawcard of course, as well its highly trained workforce and relatively low wages (due to exchange rates). Sir Peter Jackson and the team at Weta Workshop have won so many Oscar’s that they can be seen throughout the Weta premises in Wellington.

Here’s a few of our favourite locally produced movies, as well as the best blockbusters to see before you arrive…

A moving story about a young Maori girl whose ambition it is to become the chief of her tribe, a roll reserved for males. This movie provides a great insight into life in a predominantly Maori village in a remote and ruggedly beautiful corner of the country. Based on the novel by Witi Ihiaera.

THE PIANO (1993)
Phenomenally successful, this movie tells a harrowing story of a Scotswoman shipped off to New Zealand in the 1860’s for an arranged marriage, and the drama that unfolds when she falls for another man.

Scenery, scenery, scenery! Filmed in every corner of the country, this trio of movies showcases the extreme beauty and vast array of landscapes packed into this tiny country. Of course, the epic storyline is one of the world’s most famous books-cum-movie and earned Sir Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop dozens of awards. Later followed by another trilogy, The Hobbit.

BOY (2010)
An endearing film about young boy who worships two individuals in life, his father, and Michael Jackson. When the father comes home from jail, Boy and his airy younger brother get to reconnect.

This movie tells to true story of lovable Burt Murno (portrayed by Anthony Hopkins), an unassuming Kiwi who travelled to the US in the 1950’s and 1960’s with his homemade motorbike and set the world speed record which still stands today.

Set during the New Zealand Wars between Maori and English, this film follows a young Irishwoman in her search for her Maori child who was kidnapped by his tribe. An insight on how Maori lived before modern day society, and their grievances on losing their land.

One of the most pivotal and controversial moments in New Zealand history (as told in the above History section ), this movie follows the New Zealand Police as they work to expose the truth behind the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, and the capture of the French secret service agents that orchestrated it. Part of an excellent series of made for TV films about notable events in New Zealand’s history, available on

With unprecedented access behind the scenes of the All Blacks, and following a notoriously reserved protagonist, this documentary follows Richie McCaw in his last year with the All Blacks as he works to cement his legacy as the world’s greatest rugby player by winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Four mischievous Samoan lads are banned from their best friend’s wedding, unless they can prove themselves mature and sensible by finding, and keeping, girlfriends of their own. A hilarious look at Pacific Island culture in New Zealand.

Tiaki means to care for people and place.

We are incredibly lucky to call this small group of islands our home, and equally as proud to have you visit and enjoy. As responsible hosts, we have some tips on how you can explore the country safely, while also preserving it for us, our children, and the travellers who follow you.


Our spectacular landscapes are the first and foremost reason for most travellers visiting our shores, and much of our unique wildlife cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

The best way to get up close to our wildlife is with our trained guides who have concessions and expertise. When not with a guide, please keep at least 20 metres away from any wildlife you encounter. Do not feed wildlife, particularly our rare native birds whose tameness has become their downfall. Be especially vigilant around our parrots, who are all too happy to snatch food, cameras and passports that aren’t tied down! Some marine animals, particularly dolphins and whales with calves, are protected by strict government regulations and fines can be issued if you get too close.

When hiking, please always wash and scrub your boots at the end of each day, especially in the northern parts of the North Island. The Kauri Dieback is a disease that doesn’t affect humans, but easily kills kauri trees and is spreading quickly through our forests, transmitted by hikers boots. Many forests have had to close to visitors to stop the transmission of the disease. Also when hiking, remember that there are few rubbish bins along the way, so you will have to carry any rubbish home with you. Similarly, plan your toilet stops around your hikes. Fines are possible for all infringements.


Our indigenous Maori people have a rich and unique culture which should be experienced at some stage during your visit. Maori people are completely integrated into everyday New Zealand society, and you will likely meet many along the way without realising it. Most of your experiences will include a Maori component, and you are encouraged to ask any questions you may have.

There are no ‘native reserves’, however some Maori owned land and buildings are considered ‘taonga’ (treasures), and therefore off limits to visitors. This is always clearly signposted.

When meeting Maori people, particularly elders, there are just a couple of basic guidelines to be aware of. Unless invited, do not touch a Maori person’s head, this can make them uncomfortable. Sit only on chairs, not tables, and do not stand on either tables or chairs. Food is considered sacred and therefore food preparation and serving areas should be treated with respect. Finally, always ask permission to take a photo of someone, no matter their race.


Please refer to the above Driving section for more information on New Zealand’s road rules. Most importantly, do not drive after a longhaul flight, stick to the left hand side of the road, and frequently pull over for any traffic queued up behind you.

New Zealand has produced several fine writers of international acclaim, and two have gone on to win the Booker Prize.

Winner of the 2013 Booker Prize, The Luminaries is a wonderfully written mystery novel set in the town of Hokitika during the gold rush in 1866, A new prospector travels to the town to try to make his fortune, but instead stumbles into a tense meeting between twelve local men, and is drawn into a complex mystery that is covering up a series of unsolved crimes. Make sure you start this book in plenty of time, it’s a whopping 832 pages long.


An extensive and educational read of New Zealand’s history from pre Maori times to the current day.

Janet Frame is perhaps the most famous writer ever to have been produced by New Zealand. As her fame grew, readers became curious to know more about her private life. Her reluctance to make public appearances led to a perception of her as a recluse. Exasperation at some of the ‘myths’ she heard about herself led her to write a celebrated autobiographical trilogy, An Angel at my Table being the second.

Iconic Katherine Mansfield’s wrote four short stories, At The Bay, The Doll’s House, The Garden Party and Prelude, about her formative years in New Zealand, the latter of which she was encouraged to write by Virginia Wolf. Although never realised, her intention was that they would come together to form a novel named Karori.

An iconic New Zealand children’s book about a group of dogs led by Hairy Maclary who set off on an unescorted outing to the park, only to be scared away one by one by local bully and tomcat, Scarface Claw.

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All details provided by you will be held by Southern Crossings and used in accordance with our privacy policy