Are there any poisonous animals in New Zealand?
New Zealand has no snakes or dangerous wild animals, making it safe for visitors to enjoy outdoor activities.

Backpacking - If you're travelling with a pack on your back, there are hundreds of places to rest your head and share stories with like-minded people. New Zealand's backpacker lodges and youth hostels have a reputation for being clean and comfortable. Very good value too! Some lodges are individually owned and operated, others are part of a backpackers' network. Room types vary from lodge to lodge. Some only offer dormitory rooms (single sex on request), others provide a choice of dormitory, double, twin and single rooms. In most cases, bathroom and kitchen facilities are shared. Communal dining and living areas are great for meeting people and finding out about where to go next. If you're not travelling with a sleeping bag, you can hire bed linen. Laundry facilities are available so you can catch up on washing.

Discovery - The Maori made an epic journey from the legendary Hawaiki, probably in Polynesia to the north of New Zealand, about 1000 years ago. The great explorer Kupe named the new land Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud. The first documented European to discover New Zealand was Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, who came here in 1642 in search of the fabled great southern continent. Over a 125 years later, Captain James Cook claimed it for Britain in 1769 and produced a map of the country.

Government - New Zealand is a modern country with a well-developed economy and a government structure based on the British parliamentary system. New Zealand has long been a sovereign nation in its own right with only tenuous ties to Britain through New Zealand's membership of the British Commonwealth. You can find more information on New Zealand's government and its monetary policy at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and New Zealand Government Online.

Hotels - Hotels in New Zealand come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. You can expect to find top international hotel chains, such as Sheraton, Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, Rydges and InterContinental. You'll also discover smaller hotels that are memorable for their individuality and in convenient locations on all the main travelling routes. Large international chains are mostly found in the major cities - Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. They're also located in key holiday destinations, such as Rotorua and Queenstown. Character and boutique hotels, which range from heritage buildings to purpose built facilities in stunning regional locations, vary in price according to their level of luxury. Hosts are welcoming and provide insight into the local culture and attractions.

Kiwifruit - Perhaps the best-known kiwi is the delicious kiwifruit. Originating in China, kiwifruit were grown in New Zealand domestic gardens for decades as ‘Chinese gooseberries’. However, when enterprising New Zealand farmers began propagating the fruit intensively for export, it was given the name kiwifruit and has since achieved worldwide fame.

Money - In the international financial markets, New Zealand’s basic currency unit, the New Zealand dollar, is frequently called ’the kiwi’ The dollar coin features a kiwi bird on one side.

Motels - New Zealand motels offer clean and cosy, superior accommodation with all the comforts of home. Motels usually have one or two bedrooms, lounge, bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen. They are ideal if you prefer to cook your own meals.You will find motels everywhere. Larger motels often have facilities similar to hotels - swimming pool, spa, sauna, in-house video, laundry facilities, room service, breakfast, restaurant and so on.

New Zealand - is the youngest country on earth - the last major landmass to be discovered. It has a rich and fascinating history, reflecting both our Maori and European heritage. Amazing Maori historic sites and taonga (treasures), some dating back almost a thousand years, are a contrast to many beautiful colonial buildings. A walk around any New Zealand city today shows what a culturally diverse and fascinating country we have become.

Passports - All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country. Most visitors who intend to stay for less than three months do not require a visa. If you want to stay longer than three months, or your country of origin does not have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, then you will need to apply for a Visitor's Visa.

People - New Zealand is an independent nation and a member of the British Commonwealth. It has a diverse multi-cultural population of 4 million people, the majority of whom are of British descent. New Zealand's indigenous Maori make up around 14 percent of the population.

Telling the Time
New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer New Zealand uses ‘daylight saving’, 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.

The Spoken Word
English is the common and everyday language of New Zealand. New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and you may hear many other languages spoken, including Maori, which is also an official language of New Zealand.

Travel - Getting between New Zealand destinations is half the fun of being here. The scenery you’ll discover on the road, in the air or along the rail tracks makes every journey totally enjoyable. New Zealand has a well-maintained road network and the main islands are linked by ferry and air services. Our network of international and domestic airports throughout the country has New Zealand air travel covered. 

When is the best time to visit New Zealand
New Zealand is an extremely popular summer destination, both for overseas and domestic visitors. Tourism New Zealand strongly recommends you book at least your first two nights accommodation during the months of January, February and March to avoid disappointment. It's a good idea to make contact with the local i-SITE visitor centre in the region you are travelling to, and discuss with them whether late bookings will be available.

What's the climate like?
New Zealand's seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. This means that the warmest months are December, January and February, while the coldest are in June, July and August. Don't let cold months put you off - winters tend to be short and generally fairly mild. That said, on any given day the weather and temperature can change unexpectedly and sometimes dramatically. You should be prepared for that, particularly if you are going hiking or doing other outdoor activities.

What clothes should I take?
Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and night-spots. Men are generally not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the top formal bars and restaurants in major cities. In summer a jacket and sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or you visit higher altitudes. You can expect some rain, so also include a light rainproof jacket or coat. If visiting between May and September, pack warm winter garments and layer your clothing.

Provisions for Travellers with Special Needs
It is best to check availability prior to arrival, or to contact the Disability Resource Centre (phone number at the end of this section), which will have a list of the accessible facilities and services at your destination. Some major carriers have excellent provision for people with disabilities, but all prefer advance notice of your access needs so they may prepare in advance.

If you are a tourist from outside of New Zealand and propose to acquire and use a car for your stay, Mobility Parking Permits are available from branches of New Zealand CCS, which are in all the main centres. Addresses are on their website www.ccs.org.nz. These permits also allow parking in other time-limited parking areas for an extra period that varies with each local parking authority. These concessions do not apply in privately owned parking facilities.

Under New Zealand law, guide and hearing dogs may accompany you anywhere there is public access. Tourists from the UK, Australia, Sweden, Singapore, Ireland, Hawaii and Norway do not have quarantine restrictions on service dogs. Animals from other countries must complete up to six months preparation in the country of origin before arriving in New Zealand.

Further information can be obtained from Disability Resource Centres. Enable New Zealand, National Office: Ph: 0-6-952 0011 Email: info@enable.co.nz 
Travel to New Zealand. You will find a diverse range of scenery and conditions from sub-tropical to a little colder down south in the winter time. New Zealand can be enjoyed at a pace to suit every age group. Grab a cheap flight to New Zealand for a game of golf, Buy a map, hire a rental car, have an adventure and fill your lungs with the smog free air New Zealand has to offer. Accommodation from backpackers, bed and breakfast to luxury hotel.