New Zealand FAQs | New Zealand Travel Tips - About New Zealand



1. What is the size of New Zealand?

It’s roughly the size of the US Eastern Seaboard (North to South).  

2. Where can I go to see scenes of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit?

You can actually see scenes from various cities.  Queenstown and Christchurch on the South Island offer varying opportunities with dramatic landscapes typically on a 4WD vehicle.  On the North Island, there are also tours from Wellington, Auckland and Rotorua.  Hobbiton, located between Auckland and Rotorua is the only film sight maintained.  All other locations are scenic.  

3. Can I use USD or AUD (Australian Dollars) for travel in New Zealand?

No, New Zealand has their own currency called the New Zealand Dollar.

4. Is tipping customary in New Zealand?

Tipping is not to be expected when you are in New Zealand. New Zealand has generally protected employee’s wage rates and overtime payments in the hospitality industry.

5. Do they drive on the left side in New Zealand and do I need to obtain an international drivers license?

Yes, in New Zealand driving is on the left side.  It is typically very easy to drive in New Zealand coming from a right-side driving country. Roads are narrow – one lane highways with no shoulders with frequent passing shoulders that should only be used for passing.  

6. What is an average meal cost?

Because there is no tipping in New Zealand, the meals can look more expensive; however, keep in mind that they already include taxes. To budget accordingly, when you dine in the States and include the tip amount and taxes to the menu costs, this would be roughly the cost of dining in New Zealand on average.   

7. What is a 'Kiwi'?

The Kiwi is a flightless bird with a long bill which is uses to hunt and dig up insects out of the ground. It is only found in New Zealand. You can find one in the wilderness areas of New Zealand, but they are active during the night hours. New Zealanders call themselves “Kiwis” as a way to show origin and who they are. The Kiwi is the national emblem for New Zealand

Money (Exchange Rates, Credit Cards & ATMs)

8. Can I use my credit card in most places?

Yes, Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted; however, most places do not accept American Express or Discover.  

Passports and Visa's

9. Do I need a Visa for New Zealand?

The United States of America has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, but you will need a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) for entry to New Zealand. This includes nationals of the USA as well cruise ship visitors and transit passengers.  You can find more information about the NZeTA and easily apply online on the Depart of Immigration (New Zealand) website.

Weather, Climate & Seasons

10. What is the climate like in New Zealand?

The beautiful mountains and sea surrounding New Zealand affect the type of weather you experience on the island. Both the North and the South islands enjoy mild temperatures, moderate to high rainfall and many hours of sunshine.