New Zealand Facts sheet

New Zealand facts sheet for backpackers
Largest CityAuckland
Main CitiesAuckland, Wellington, Christchurch
Population4.5 million (+1 million travellers)
Official languagesEnglish, Maori, New Zealand sign language
CurrencyNew Zealand Dollar
LocationSouth Pacific Ocean (Southeast of Australia, below the Pacific Islands and above Antarctica)
Size267 000 km²
A little bigger than the UK, Japan, and California, and a little smaller than Sweden
ClimateGenerally mild, with huge differences depending on location
Summer 20°C to 30°C
Winter 10°C to 15°C, with temperatures below 0 on the south island
TimeGMT+12, usually you are ahead of UK time by 12 hours
Main exportsWood and paper products, textiles, wood products, wool, dairy and meat products, fish
National sportsRugby all year round, Netball for women in winter, and cricket in summer.
MoneyATMs are widely available in cities and towns. Credit cards are accepted basically everywhere, especially at accommodation and tour providers, as well as restaurants.
High SeasonNew Zealand’s high season stretches from December to February. It is summer. Beaches are busy. People attend outdoor explorations, festivals and sporting events. Big-city accommodation prices rise.
Mid SeasonNew Zealand’s mid season stretches from March to April and from September to November and represents the main travelling time. Good weather, short cues. School holidays are over. Long warm evenings.
Low SeasonNew Zealand’s low season stretches from May to August offers brilliant southern hemisphere skiing, no crowds, good accommodation deals.
Important NumbersNew Zealand country code: 0064
Police, ambulance, fire: 111
Opening HoursBanks: 9:30am to 4:30pm
Cafes: 7am to 4pm
Pubs and bars: 12pm to late
Restaurants: 12pm to 2:30pm and 6:30 to 9pm
Shops: 9am to 5pm including weekends
Supermarkets: 8am to 7pm, in larger cities up to 10pm or 24 hours